My Man Booker 2011 Short List Guesses

September 6, 2011 at 12:10 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

All right, I’m going crazy right now because I can’t figure out what time the Booker short list will be announced.  I want to make sure mine is posted before the official one is announced, and it’s about 8 AM in London right now.

I have yet to read Snowdrops, A Cupboard Full of Coats, Half Blood Blues, The Sisters Brothers, or The Last Hundred Days, but I’ve read at least a couple of paragraphs from each and I have been looking at the Ladbrokes odds off and on over the last two weeks.

The Sense of an Ending – Julian Barnes

The Stranger’s Child – Alan Hollinghurst

Jamrach’s Menagerie – Carol Birch

Pigeon English – Stephen Kelman

Snowdrops – A. D. Miller

The Sisters Brothers – Patrick deWitt

Okay, that last one was so tough I’m practically sweating blood.  If I can finish something else from my stack before the press conference, I may come back here and change my mind.  I’m basically basing my guess on the realization that I’ve been saving The Sisters Brothers for last because it’s the one I most want to read.

Book Head

August 31, 2011 at 12:45 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My man Rocket Scientist enjoying some light reading.  I’m not sure what he’s doing, either.  I just know I wanted a picture of it.

The President’s Summer Reading

August 22, 2011 at 12:46 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Here is President Obama’s summer reading list:

The Bayou Trilogy – Daniel Woodrell (496 pages)

Rodin’s Debutante – Ward Just (272 pages)

Cutting for Stone – Abraham Verghese (667 pages)

To the End of the Land – David Grossman (672 pages)

The Warmth of Other Suns – Isabel Wilkerson (640 pages)

That would be seven books in nine days, adding up to 2,747 pages, or 305 pages per day.  Depending on what constitutes a fun vacation for the Obama family, he could undoubtedly pull it off, but I’m guessing he’ll only get through half that stack before they head home.

If the Chief wants my advice, I’d skip the Grossman and the Verghese… Personally I found at least one character in both those books to be extremely annoying and it took me about two months per book to force myself to finish.  Definitely start with the Woodrell; he’s amazing.









When Your Kids Need Less Screen Time

August 20, 2011 at 1:26 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Yesterday I posted our household’s Electronics Use Policy.  I realized it might not be obvious to some parents why such a thing is a good idea.  Here are the indicators that led me to create this document, an artifact that smacks somewhat of fascism even to me.

How to know your kids have a problem with electronics:

  • You have to call them more than once to come to dinner
  • They spend more time with their headphones in than out
  • They fall asleep with their headphones in
  • They complain of back pain
  • You wake up in the middle of the night to find them online or gaming
  • Their grades have declined
  • They fight with their siblings over use of the computer, game system, or remote control
  • They have a problem with their weight
  • They go outdoors only when forced
  • They tune out during family gatherings or meals
  • They are rude
  • You have to fight them to make them do chores or homework
  • They have temper tantrums, raise their voices to you, or throw things
  • They are sleep-deprived and may “pass out” on the couch at odd times
Most of these things may seem to have nothing whatsoever to do with electronic devices.  I’ll go over them again with explanations of my reasoning.
  • You have to call them more than once to come to dinner (because they can’t hear you or they are too distracted to care).
  • They spend more time with their headphones in than out (and it’s been proven to cause permanent hearing damage, not to mention a few fatal accidents when listeners did not hear an approaching vehicle).
  • They fall asleep with their headphones in (and a cord near their throats).
  • They complain of back pain (because they are always hunched over the laptop and have no fitness plan.  A teenager or younger child should not be suffering adult levels of back pain!)
  • You wake up in the middle of the night to find them online or gaming (because it’s rude to you; they’re not getting enough sleep; and they’re running around unsupervised).
  • Their grades have declined (because they’re lying to you repeatedly when they claim to be doing homework; they’re not reading, exercising, or doing anything constructive with their spare time; and perhaps too much screen time is inducing artificial ADHD).
  • They fight with their siblings over use of the computer, game system, or remote control (meaning, in my book, that the machines have taken over your home and there is no adult in control there.  You don’t have to live that way).
  • They have a problem with their weight (because they sit or lie down all day and all night; also because they aren’t sleeping enough and it leads to weight gain).
  • They go outdoors only when forced (because they can’t perceive anything of interest in the natural world; they’d rather be interacting with a device than any other activity).
  • They tune out during family gatherings or meals (because they have headphones in or are playing an electronic game.  Hopefully not because they’ve been too distracted to learn normal human interaction during this vital phase of their development!).
  • They are rude (and it’s your job to teach them not to be.  Use their addiction to electronic gadgets as what may be the only leverage you have to force them to be civil).
  • You have to fight them to make them do chores or homework (because they have decided that interacting with one machine or another takes priority over those things, and you’ve tacitly agreed with them).
  • They have temper tantrums, raise their voices to you, or throw things (all completely socially unacceptable behaviors that I think are caused by sleep deprivation and abetted by weak parenting).
  • They are sleep-deprived and may “pass out” on the couch at odd times (because they can’t force themselves to turn off the computer and go to bed, and that’s why they need you to set a firm bedtime and help them keep to it).
Some kids are more mature than others.  Some are tough at certain ages and easier at others.  What works for one family may not work for another.  Those things being said, I think there is nothing to be gained from allowing a kid to tune out during family time, set his or her own maladaptive household rules, or indulge negative behaviors.
When my husband got a DVR, my stepdaughter’s grades took a noticeable dip.  She had always been a straight A student, and he couldn’t understand what happened.  He got rid of it, and the grades went back up, where they have remained.  Coincidence?
Her mother (with whom we share half custody) has bought her a GameBoy, an iPhone, and some kind of game system – an X-Box maybe?  I noticed that playing with the GameBoy seemed to act like a radioactive personality disrupter, resulting in a nasty attitude and constant power struggles over chores and homework.  I convinced my husband there was a problem when we banned it from our house and caught her playing it rather than talk to her grandmother, who had just been diagnosed with cancer a second time.  My MIL is the sort of person it’s impossible not to like.
Custody changes on Monday mornings.  Almost every Monday, our kid comes home in a foul mood and then winds up falling soundly asleep for 2-3 hours.  Questioning reveals she routinely stays up until midnight or later playing the X-Box (or whatever it is).  It’s remarkable how by Tuesday morning she’s back to her usual sweet self.  If your teen is a bitter pill some days, come up with an experiment and see if sleep deprivation is behind it.
Since I put our electronics use policy into effect, our kid has gotten in better physical condition, taken a sudden interest in studying for the SAT and planning for college, and started following current events.  She even seems to like her stepmother more.  It works for us and I hope it will work for you.

Our Home “Electronics Use Policy”

August 19, 2011 at 12:41 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

By request, this is how we manage my teenage step-daughter’s screen time.  She’ll be 17 in November.  We followed this policy all summer and I was actually stunned at the way the “static” over her laptop simply vanished.  One day she was late coming home and didn’t call.  We took away her phone until she finished her work the next day – and she was done with everything on the list before noon.

Electronics Use Policy


Businesses commonly have a ‘computer use policy’ that all employees sign upon hiring.  It reminds employees that all computer equipment is provided for business purposes only.  Employees are advised that the company may review any information they store on the computer, including personal e-mail.  Certain web sites may be off limits and certain activities are prohibited and can lead to termination.

Similarly, we have an electronics use policy.  A laptop has been provided specifically for homework and educational purposes.  Conflicts over its use have led to restrictions and revocation of usage privileges.  Its availability remains subject to strict adherence to the electronics use policy herein defined.


  1. Laptop is to be checked out for use only after day’s duties have been completed.  Permission must be requested politely and will be granted based on review of tasks and academic work.
  2. Laptop is to be checked in at or before 10:00 pm and is not to be kept in bedroom overnight.
  3. Laptop time may be earned according to formal guidelines.
  4. Laptop time may not be used during family time.
  5. Laptop use can and will be restricted if household rules are not followed.
  6. E-mail, documents, and web search history will continue to be considered private unless cause is given to indicate increased supervision is necessary.
  7. Web site access will continue to be unlimited unless cause is given to indicate increased supervision is necessary.
  8. Electronics use policy may cover, but is not limited to, laptop, television, and phone.  Use of these items is a privilege, not a right, and their use is considered of lowest possible priority after other educational, family, health, professional, and recreational purposes.


I acknowledge receipt of the Electronics Use Policy.



___________________________      __________

Signature                                              Date


Here is the companion document:

Earning Laptop Time


Daily Requirements

  1. Be showered and dressed
  2. Make bed
  3. Wipe counter after breakfast
  4. Unload dishwasher and dish rack, load breakfast dishes
  5. Chores done, if any (clean bathroom, put away laundry, clean up yard)
  6. Walk dog: minimum half hour
  7. Essay
  8. Essay re-write
  9. Vocabulary worksheet – write 10 words from SAT flashcards with definition and sample sentence in your own words
  10. Any additional assigned worksheets and corrections
  11. PSAT book: minimum half hour
  12. Read non-illustrated novel or non-fiction book: minimum one hour


Meeting daily requirements earns one hour of unsupervised laptop time to be used in accordance with Electronics Use Policy.  Goal is to teach independent work habits.


Additional Time


Additional time may be earned in 30-minute increments as supervised.

30-59 minutes = 30 minutes

60-89 minutes = 60 minutes


Ratios denote time spent to time earned.  A 1:2 ratio means 30 minutes earns one hour.


Note that activities are weighted to encourage certain activities over others.  Writing a research paper earns the most time, but requires use of earned time to complete.  Writing a book report is also a high earner because it requires reading an entire book first.


Academic activity

  • Extra vocabulary worksheets – one page earns 30 minutes
  • Extra writing or math worksheets – one page earns 30 minutes
  • Current events report – half page read at dinner earns 30 minutes
  • Book reports (on approved titles) – one page earns 2 hours
  • Research paper (on approved topics) – 3 pages earns 4 hours, 5 pages earns 8 hours
  • Research paper outline – earns 30 minutes, not necessary to develop into paper
  • Rewrites of any ‘extra’ writing assignment – one page earns 30 minutes


Family activity

  • Call Grandma or cousins – 1:1 ratio
  • Write letters to Grandma or cousins – one page earns 30 minutes


Physical activity

  • Running – 1:2 ratio
  • Walking – 1:1 ratio
  • Riding bike – 1:1 ratio (riding to library earns bonus hour on library computer)
    • Library: 6.2 mile round trip, >60 minutes
    • Safeway: 2 mile round trip, >20 minutes
    • Convenience store across from firehouse: 2 mile round trip, >20 minutes
  • Going to swimming pool – 1:1 ratio (making a new friend earns bonus hour)


Vocational training

  • Hired for formal job or internship that requires résumé, application, and interview – unlimited time for duration of employment
  • Hired “under the table” for job – to be negotiated
  • Start own business – to be negotiated depending on review of earnings
  • Babysitting for pay – 2:1 ratio
  • Extra chores – 1:1 ratio (can be done daily if desired unless otherwise designated)
    • Clean microwaves inside and out
    • Sweep and mop tile floors, including both bathrooms and moving all furniture and trash cans out of the way
    • Vacuum carpeted areas
    • Vacuum/spot clean couch
    • Wash and dry dog bedding and set it up again (maximum once/week)
    • Groom dog (brush him outside)
    • Sweep porch, including cobwebs
    • Take out garbage, compost, and recycling
    • Mow lawn (maximum once/week)
    • Cook dinner (unassisted)
    • Grocery shopping
    • Family errands (take dog to vet, get oil changed in truck, etc)
  • Work on game design project – discuss with project supervisor
  • Other tasks or commitments as negotiated


Life skills

  • Budget worksheets – one page earns two hours
  • Write résumé – one page earns one hour
  • College research worksheets – one page earns one hour
  • Mending/altering clothes – 1:1 ratio (sew buttons, hems, darning, etc)
  • Sewing machine use – 1:1 ratio (projects as negotiated)
  • Power tool use – 1:1 ratio (as supervised)
  • Home repairs – 1:1 ratio (hand and power tools)
  • Bike maintenance – 1:1 ratio (pump tires, change flat, install accessories)
  • Kitchen appliance use – 1:1 ratio (food processor, rice cooker, etc)
  • First aid/safety classes – 2:1 ratio
She is now pediatric first aid and CPR certified (though she didn’t ask for the laptop time she was entitled to), and she walked 30 miles a week to the library and back all summer.  When I took her shopping for school clothes this week, she had dropped a size from last year.  She never did anything else on the list, though; it turned out she was usually satisfied with the free hour she got at the library.  She only wound up asking to use her laptop time 2-3 days a week and she’s racked up, gosh, 17 hours and 45 minutes!

Booker Long List!

August 16, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

It’s Booker time, kids, and you know what that means!  I’m going to try to read through them all before the short list is announced on September 6 and then guess which titles will make the cut.  I missed last year but I’ve beat the odds in the past and I’ve done a little better each time.  I’ve even guessed the winner before without having read it.

As you can see, I have 10 of the 13 titles.  The Last Hundred Days is back-ordered.  My Amazon UK books all came early after a delivery date of 8/31, which is good because my days of reading 1806 pages in six days are probably behind me.  I have Snowdrops on reserve and… I just realized that I somehow forgot to order The Sense of an Ending!  Ye gads, that won’t do.

I’m nearly done with Pigeon English and really enjoying it.  I’ll review each book as I go, though I must say it will be a challenge while trying to finish my own manuscript.

Any Booker-related news, opinions, or speculation?

How Do You Sell a Rectangle?

August 1, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I’m getting ready to self-publish my first book, and I’ve promised to share my experiences as I learn from them.  It is hard for a person with skills and knowledge to replicate “beginner’s mind,” so I hope my naivete and silly mistakes will be useful for other rank neophytes.

The first thing to know is that the publishing world is undergoing a seismic shift right now, and nobody knows “the rules” any more.  In the Bad Old Days, self-publishing could mean saying goodbye to selling your work to a conventional publisher.  It meant you submitted your work unsuccessfully until you gave up and paid someone to print it.  It meant your book wasn’t marketable.

Now anyone can publish anything.  I just did it tonight, and you’re reading it right now.  The only questions left are:  Will someone pay to read my work? and Where do I sell it?

Actually, it’s slightly more complicated than that, and that’s what I am going to recap in this post.

  1. I checked out my competition.  If there are a lot of books out there that are similar to yours, you can look at it in one of two ways.  Either you shouldn’t bother, or you can assume there is a solid market for your type of book.  If you already have a manuscript, you may as well wade in and try to sell it.  Take a good, long look at your competitors’ book jackets, advertising copy, and customer reviews.
  2. I read a big stack of writing manuals.  These books always have a chapter on Things to Avoid.  Pay heed.  Editors and writing instructors will have seen more examples of terrible writing than any mortal should endure, and these books will almost certainly contain advice that affects your work.  Beyond that, you will learn about how the publishing industry works (or used to work), and it will help you with your marketing strategy.
  3. I realized I needed a cover.  I can barely draw a stick figure.  I do, however, know several talented artists, one of whom just graduated from art school.  I approached him and offered two options:  Sell me the cover art at a fixed price and let me retain the rights, or give it to me on spec for a percentage of profits.  He speculated.  The work is of far higher quality than I would have gotten from a conventional publisher.  It’s also of higher quality than I expected my artist to deliver!  I believe very strongly that an eye-catching cover has always been one of the main features that will lead a reader to pick up a book.  In the age of e-publishing, I predict it will become even more important.  How do you sell a rectangle in the midst of thousands of other rectangles?  Make it stand out.  If I’m right, e-publishing will become a way for obscure artists and graphic designers to make names for themselves along with authors.  I can also sell my book to my artist’s friends.  I call these “pity purchases.”  It’s how word of mouth starts.
  4. I found out I can sell my book on Amazon via Kindle Direct Publishing.  The advantages are a higher percentage of sales than what a conventional publisher would offer; lower prices for readers; an e-book that stays “in print” as long as you like; the ability to choose your own title and cover; the ability to direct your own marketing campaign; and the ability to tag your work, helping readers find your book and avoiding the problem of a publisher or bookseller that doesn’t know where to shelve your title.  The caveats are that Amazon can sell your book at a price other than your chosen list price; the text needs to be formatted (I haven’t reached this stage yet, but I watched a video tutorial and it looks complicated); and, of course, you’re responsible for your own editing and marketing.  Oh, and you don’t get an advance.
  5. I found out I can also sell my book via print-on-demand through  This means my readers can order a print copy and choose as fancy a binding as will fit in their budget.  It also means I can buy print copies to sell directly. [WRONG!  Although it’s a cool idea, the reader can’t choose the binding.  The author chooses one.  Lulu also offers e-publishing, but I’m not sure yet whether I can sell multiple print versions in different bindings].
  6. I decided to set up a website.  Oh brother.  I was able to buy a domain name, my first and last name dot com, that I didn’t think would be available, so that was lucky.  Then I found out I had to pay separately for hosting.  My site is administered through a separate website, and it requires an 18-character password, among other things.  It took me about two weeks to figure out how to upload files.  I still haven’t designed any pages for it, and I need to know how to upload video and accept PayPal, while I’m still struggling with the part where I juggle three URLs and the concomitant log-ins and passwords.  At the rate I’m going it will take me about eighteen years to get the thing up and running on a professional level.  The good news is, it only cost me $80 for two years!
  7. I decided to make a book trailer.  I was able to convince a friend to perform in it for free, and she gave such a brilliant performance I got chills.  Alas, I found out too late that my handheld digital camera isn’t really the right tool for this kind of job, and the audio was out of sync.  Due to the nature of the clip, it took me two hours of editing to realize this.  Because I am very lucky in my friends, I have been getting technical assistance on this that I really don’t deserve, and I should be able to salvage my project.  I also just happen to have a good friend who composes film scores, and he agreed to write music for me.  If you are flexible and fun to work with, and your project is interesting, you may find all sorts of people will be willing to help you.  Be appreciative and respectful of your friends’ time.  Also try to return these favors in any way you can, and pay it forward by helping others.
  8. I’m keeping a running list of new ideas about how to market my book.  This is the kind of thing that will vary depending on your genre.  I believe there are no limits in the new world of publishing.  Anything I want to try may very well work, and there is some intrinsic interest in the attempt itself.  I don’t want to give away any of my secrets, which probably wouldn’t do you much good for your particular book anyway.  I’ll use the example of a friend of mine, who just paid to publish her first book two months ago.  She is a home-schooler mom who is active in her church.  She is already selling her book at a local gift shop – one that would slam the door as soon as they saw the cover of my book! – which is fantastic as far as I’m concerned.  I suggested that she send out review copies to home-schooling newsletters, and check to see if any branches of her church have reading groups that might be interested.  Now I just have to convince her to start a second book.
  9. I’m already working on my next book.  Realize that your first book may be a bomb.  It may mysteriously become popular years later.  It may simply sell at a slow and steady rate.  Regardless, if you’re like me you’ll walk a bald patch in your carpet unless you find a way to channel your energy into something constructive.  Start planning your next project.  Put to use everything you’ve learned while creating the first one, and try to make your next book better than your first.

“The Winter of Our Disconnect”

July 27, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

As the stepmother of a sixteen-year-old, I found The Winter of Our Disconnect to be a highly relevant, absolutely gripping, and sometimes hilarious read.  Susan Maushart sleeps with her iPhone and her three teenagers appear to have been born into this world wrapped in cords and cables.  She decides all four of them should go screen-free for six months and observe what happens.  The book goes beyond stunt journalism and explores some fascinating philosophical questions raised by our modern technology addiction.

Product Details
“Screens” include the phones, the laptops, the televisions, and the hand-held gaming apparatus.  Naturally, a great deal of haggling goes on, and the result is that the house and car are screen-free, but anywhere else is fair game.  Also, the kids receive cash bribes for their participation.  In the interest of full disclosure, our teen operates under a formal Electronics Use Policy at our house, but not her mom’s.  Rather than pay her to follow it, she has to buy time to use her pet devices by doing chores and extra academic work.  We don’t allow electronic games whatsoever and we had to cancel cable – both draconian policies put in place after years of unfavorable academic and attitudinal results.

Maushart explores the idea that boredom is actually constructive, both for kids and adults.  She has some pretty compelling things to say about unlimited screen time, family meals, sleep, and kids’ behavior.  Her strongest message is that untrammeled electronics use tends to drive a wedge between family members.  The entire family, and an extended circle of the kids’ friends, draws closer and has a great deal of fun over the course of the project, playing board games and – believe it or not – singing around the piano.

We don’t have a piano at our house, but otherwise I would say our experience meshes well with Maushart’s.  Our kid under the influence of GameBoy had a nasty temper and was nearly impossible to deal with.  It took nearly a year to exorcise the beast fully from our house because she would wait a month or so, then sneak it back in.  Then she would bring in other handheld games to take its place and we would have to argue it out again.  “Yes, solitaire on the iPhone counts.  You are free to play solitaire with actual playing cards.”  The introduction of an expanded cable package resulted in a substantial drop in grades, which went back up when the cable went away again.

Next was the laptop.  Obviously we buy our kids a computer “for homework.”  Equally obviously, they use it for gaming, social media, web surfing, fan fiction, illegally downloading stuff, turning off the anti-virus software, and all sorts of naive teenage behaviors.  (We don’t want them doing that stuff on our desktop, now do we?)  We started having issues with late nights, non-completion of homework, and non-compliance on chores.  Hence the Electronics Use Policy.

The rules at our house:  Complete a certain set list of chores, including walking the dog, emptying the dishwasher, and learning SAT vocab, before touching the laptop.  It cannot be kept in the bedroom overnight and needs to be unplugged by 10:00 at the latest.  No laptop during “family time” as arbitrarily stipulated.  Extra time can be earned via a long, varied list of activities with different ratios biased in favor of running, doing research papers, and getting a paying job.  In practice, she walks 30 miles a week to get her daily free hour online at the public library!  The key component of our policy is that laptop use is a privilege, and she needs to ask politely to use it.

Believe it or not, it works like a dream.  In fact, most days she doesn’t use it at all.  She seems to have thrown herself body and soul into studying for the SATs.  By the time I get up in the morning, she is already showered, dressed, and well into her chores list for the day.  Even the “politeness” part works.  We don’t have to micromanage her any more – I put in a little clause about “independent work habits” that seems to have flipped some kind of switch in her mind.  The change has been so dramatic it’s absolutely stunning.

Most businesses have Electronics Use Policies.  I’ve known a colleague to lose his job over repeated violations of this type of policy, and I’ve also had a college friend lose both his and his roommate’s internet access for illegal downloading.  It is sensible to prepare a teenager for reality in this way.  I don’t see any benefits to letting a kid run the house, or an inanimate object dominate the family’s schedule.  What it comes down to is that if it causes disharmony in the home, it needs to be reined in.  The alternative to a fully wired kid is one who is physically active, helpful around the house, studious, literate, socially adjusted, polite, and appreciative.

Legal Issues in Self-Publishing

July 23, 2011 at 12:22 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

I am getting ready to self-publish my first book, and as I do so, it has occurred to me that there are potential legal liabilities involved.  A traditional publisher would provide advice and help arrange permissions where necessary, if possible.

1. Quoting other works.  Use of song lyrics, poetry, or quotes from another work, even as epigraphs at the beginning of a chapter, could potentially violate Fair Use doctrine.

2. Use of images.  In my particular case, I am considering a photomontage as a part of my book trailer, and I am researching whether I will be able to do it without infringing on Fair Use.  There is no way I would be able to get access to photograph most of the subjects I want on my own; otherwise I would just go around with my digital camera and get it done.

3. Fan fiction.  Evidently, parody is considered fair use, while satire often is not.  Straight-up homage is not fair use, although authors generally condone it because it broadens the market for their work.  So far fan fiction as fair use has not been tested in court.

I am not a lawyer and I have never worked in publishing.  I don’t have much advice to offer on these possible pitfalls.  The purpose of this post is to raise some concerns, so other self-publishers can take them into account.

Write It Anyway

July 20, 2011 at 1:32 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Your book may not be the Great American Novel.

Write it anyway.

Your friends may tell you you’re wasting your time.

Write your book anyway.

It may not become a bestseller.

Write it anyway.

It might get reviews so bad they make you cry all night.

Write it anyway.

It may hit the top of the charts, and your family still won’t be impressed.

Write it anyway.

You may sell ten million copies, and still meet people who have never heard of you.

Write it anyway.

People may misinterpret it.

Write your book anyway.

You may look at it one day and cringe in embarrassment.

Write it anyway.

If you’ve gotten this far, you may as well just finish it, because all these scenarios will continue to live on in your mind

Whether you write it or not.

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