Thursday, September 13, 2007

Middle Name Meme

My good friend Josi Kilpack tagged me to play this little blogging game and she said some very sweet things about me in the process at the end of her blog--so please go read hers too. I will try and add a link to hers but I'm never very successful at doing that sort of thing. http://josikilpack.blogspot.com/2007/09/middle-name-meme.html

Okay did that work? I hope so because seriously I don't know what I'm doing.
Now on to my middle name. I have two middle names that I use regularly. For blogging purposes one of my middle names has become my last name because it's also my pen name--Thayne. The other middle name is my mother's name--so hey--I've got to use that one too--Jeanne. Consequently this might be one of my longer blogs. But considering my inconsistency in writing, long is good

"J" is for jocular. I like to think I'm jocular. I am very fond of a good joke, a funny story, a comedy or anything that strikes me as humorous. I have a brother who said I don't have a sense of humor and yet in sixth grade I was voted the class clown. It's strange that we take on different roles in different situations. I can definitely see why my brother said that. At home, being the youngest child with four older brothers and no sisters--I was either crying, screaming, or hiding. School was my escape. I lived to make people laugh. I may not be so funny now, but I sure love to laugh.

"E" Easy--not easy in the sexual way obviously, but easy as in "whatever." While I can be very picky about some things, I have a reputation for being easy going.

"A" Angry. I know this may be the opposite of the one above, but a favorite saying of mine is--"If you aren't mad as hell, you aren't paying attention." A lot of things make me angry, and one of my favorite things in life is to find a person who is angry about the same kinds of things I am, and then I know I've found a good friend.

"N" Needy is what comes to mind. I really do need people to do things for me. I find friends who can help me out. It's not intentional, but it seems like I'm alway asking people for help. One of my friends, Sherry, is always helping me out of a pinch. For instance, I locked my keys in the car at the car wash in Logan, some 18 miles away, and Sherry was the one I called for help. She had to break into my house and find the extra set of keys, then bring them to me. This is just one of an endless number of things my friends do for me.

"N" I like to think I'm nice, but I'm probably the only one who thinks so. My husband is nice, really nice, and it's one of the first things people notice about him. Everyone who knows him tells me how nice he is and I always agree. I asked him if people tell him I'm nice. He had to think about that. Finally he answered, "everyone likes you." Yes, but do they think I'm nice? "Everyone likes you." Yes, but do think I'm nice? This conversation goes on and on with the conclusion that everyone likes me, but no one thinks I'm nice. I'm okay with that. I think I'm nice and so does my husband.

"E" E again? I had a hard time with the first one. Enigmatic. Okay, I had to look that one up. It means difficult to understand or mysterious. I'm not, but my other choice was excellent, and that didn't quite fit either.

Next name: Thayne--I was always proud to be a Thayne. It seemed to me that my parents were people of great respect in Orem, Utah where I grew up.

"T" Talented. I know--that's bragging, but there are a few things I do pretty well, and I believe everyone has things they naturally do better than others. I'm quite creative. My brothers were all excellent artists. Being a Thayne meant that you could draw well. I couldn't draw all that well, but kept at it until I got pretty good, but more than that I was always thinking of things to make. Doing pottery was perfect for me and something that used my creative energies. Even before that I enjoyed writing. I won third place in the LUW contest at thirteen. That bolstered my belief that I could write, and a bunch of teachers thought so too. Fortunately so did Covenant Communications.

"H" Honest. I had a bishop tell me I was brutally honest and he didn't mean it as a compliment obviously. He said it because I told the truth when he asked if I would like a certain calling. I'm always surprised when people make this observation about me. I'm not brutally honest, but if you ask me my opinion about something whether it's global warming or who I think would make the best president of the U.S., then I'm happy to tell you.

"A" Appropriate. I'm actually inappropriate. Is that close enough? I do often wear the wrong thing, say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing. For example the same bishop as in the above example asked me once to stop making faces at the speakers in church go over their time limit. He was joking--or maybe not.

"Y" Yellow. You know that color personality test? I have a significant amount of yellow. Red is actually my first color--meaning bossy, pushy, rude, etc.--but yellow was very close behind, meaning I base a lot of my decisions on whether it will be fun or not. "Carole would you like to come to the cannery tomorrow and work for eight hours?" Not just no, but hell no. Sometimes when I'm in a really good mood, I'll ask the person to rephrase the question to "Carole, will you come help us in the cannery tomorrow?" Yes, I will, but only if you take me out for dinner afterwards.

"N" Not another "N." Unfortunately I'm a bit negative. I don't want to be. I love optimistic, positive people. People who no matter what look at the silver lining. I'm not that way. I can't help but point out all the negative things in life.

"E" I'm starting to hate the letter E and N. Perhaps there are too many of these letters in the world. Here's one "environmentally friendly" I was in high school in the seventies when the earth movement was big. I've always loved the mountains, nature, and all things outdoors, so for me being an environmentalist just makes sense. Yesterday when I put out my garbage, my recycling bin was overflowing and my regular trash was almost empty. Life is good.

I guess I'm supposed to tag someone. I will tag Janet Jensen. Janet is a very talented writer and has a novel coming out in November called "Don't Marry the Mormon Boys." http://www.janetjensen.com/

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Creating a Space



About thirty years ago I was in a Creative Writing course at Utah State taught by the late Ken Brewer. Ken was the state's Poet Laureate when he passed away last year with a fast life-taking cancer. He was one of the most inspirational teachers I've ever had. One thing I remember him saying is that you needed a space to call your own to do your writing. It should be a place free from distractions and somewhere dedicated to writing.
At the time that was a pretty impossible thing for me. I was sharing an apartment with five other girls. Our apartment was often the gathering place since we had the largest living room on Darwin Avenue, right behind the LDS institute. Boyfriends, friends, and others would gather at our place for dances and parties. We would put on Dolly Parton music and my room mates would teach me and others how to do the country swing and how to waltz and do the two-step. With all that was going on, there wasn't a quiet spot. Sometimes I'd find a corner in the LDS institute, or outside on the lawn, or in the Merrill library to write for class.
Now thirty years later, I have my own office, but instead of using it, I most often do my writing in the kitchen. I sit on a chair that should be hauled to Deseret Industries, and type my stories on my lap top, with my feet propped out in front of me. But it's quiet, or at least free from distractions. Our children have been out of the house for several years now. I can even hear the gold finches outside my window, my neighbors coming and going, and the occasional cat meowing at my door. It's my space and I love it.
Another important space for me, and one that requires much more is my pottery studio. My first pottery space was in my parent's basement. Then when I attended USU, I hauled my wheel with me and placed it in the Art Barn. I still use the same potter's wheel. It was a top of the line Robert Brent and I've had it for thirty-three years and it still works beautifully. After we got married, finding a space to throw was more difficult, but my husband always tried to help me find somewhere. In our first apartment, I threw pots right in our kitchen. Later in unfinished basements, or under the stairs, or outside in the garage. None of the places were ideal. Then when we moved to Paradise, and I rented the old post office. It was perfect. I used it for about seven years. Recently though, we purchased some property to build on. The property had been a pig farm lots of years ago and had a pig shed on it. The pig shed had been converted to a quilting studio and then was used for storage. Right when I peaked inside I was excited. It already had cupboards, and shelves galore and behind it a lean-to with a cement pad--perfect for kilns and glazing.
My friend Sherry helped me pull up the carpet and clean out the mouse dung. Then in the dead of winter I made my first mistake and sealed the cement floor. Now six months later the floor is still tacky, but oh well, now its covered with clay dust anyway. The cupboards although nicely built were a baby blue. I didn't love them, but could live with them. However, Ginger, my 23 year old daughter thought we could really brighten up the place. We painted the cupboards kind of a terra-cotta orange in the background and a split-pea green. The blue paneling became a bright yellow with the terra-cotta trim. We moved things around and still have to paint the outside (now peeling pink) and put up display shelves and my new space is done for now. We also have some larger windows to put in. It's amazing what paint can do to make you feel excited to work in a place. Again, it's my space and I love it. Within another six months we could be moving into our house on the same property.
Finding space can sometimes be daunting. I have author friends who carry around their laptops or notebooks and write while they sit in doctor's offices. They've written several books in these snatched times and less than ideal places. I can't seem to do that, but if I could have, I probably would've started my career at least ten years earlier that I did. No matter what your situation, don't let not having a space keep you have being creative.