Fear of a Letter

So when I can catch an hour, I’ve been learning Spanish. And I’ve developed the fear of a letter—of the letter R. I’m calling it R-phobia.

(According to Dumbledore, naming something takes some of the fear away. Or something like that.)

If you speak Spanish, you might be laughing now, because almost every freakin’ word in Spanish has an R in it—or worse, a double R. It’s so bad that the other day, when I was discussing Spanish words with someone, I realized I was spelling every word out letter by letter in order to avoid trying to pronounce words with the letter R in them.

*rolls eyes at self*

The bad thing about being an ex-teacher is that every single lecture I’ve given to my students haunts me. When I was a teacher, I knew when students took shortcuts because I’d taken the same shortcuts when I was younger. (And shortcuts almost never work!—as I told my students millions of times.)

But now that I’m learning again, I feel like all my old students will know if I take a shortcut—or if I don’t practice something the “magic three” (three times correctly in a row—actually seven is the magic number when we’re older than twelve or so). I feel like I’d be letting them down or something.

(Do you see how much anxiety I’m having over speaking a stupid letter? It’s ridiculous!!!)

I’m having a blast, though. I love how learning a new language compels you to examine the intricacies and subtleties of your native language more closely. It makes me choose more precise words in my own writing.

Speaking of which, I’d better get back to it.

How’s your writing going? How do you have fun with words? What inspires you?

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Written by Natasha Fondren in: Languages | Tags:

What’s Going On?

Glenn’s coming home! I’ve been sitting by the phone. I probably won’t know which day until he’s flown to Anchorage, given the difficulty of phoning from Dutch Harbor. It could be any day (or really, any hour) now.

Good news: Bernita has a new Lillie St. Claire story in Weirdly: Volume 3. Lillie rocks, I’m telling you, totally rocks.

 Smart Pop Books has released excerpts of Ardeur, an essay anthology about Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series. There are some great essays in there! Mine is “The Domestication of a Vampire Executioner.”

Laurell K. Hamilton guest-edited, and she wrote really awesome and heartfelt intros to each essay. Lots of times, editors write a paragraph, a couple sentences. She wrote a page or two. I have to say, her success is not surprising; the extra mile must be automatic with her.

Speaking of Smart Pop Books, if you’re a fan of Dollhouse, they’re having an essay contest for the Dollhouse anthology.

So I mentioned I’m learning Spanish. The Listen ‘n’ Learn Spanish with the Movies book assigned Eight Below first. Um, YEAH RIGHT. I sobbed the whole way through. And I’m not watching it again, no way no how. I don’t care if I haven’t learned the Spanish I’m supposed to learn from it.

I’m an emotional weakling. The whole time, I knew there was going to be a happy ending for the dogs, but that didn’t help. Nor did the actual happy ending: I sobbed through that, too.

I cry at everything in real life, too. I saw a mean sign a few days ago, and I came home and cried. I was depressed for three days. I felt like running home to a mommy and saying, “He hurt my feelings!”

I have the emotional strength of a five year old. *sigh*

*Addendum: He just called! He’s already to Anchorage; he’ll be here at 11:45 am, Friday morning!

What’s going on with you?

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Written by Natasha Fondren in: Full-Time Writing,My Adventures | Tags: , , ,

The Problem Is…

…most of what’s on my mind, I don’t want to blog about yet. So blog thoughts just aren’t coming. These snippet posts seem to be all I can do, lately.

Writing Fast

I’m a little envious of people who both write full-time AND take a year to write a book. Wow. Just think of all the research you could do, and how leisurely you could write! You could feel proud and on track for having written 400 words a day, AND take 65 days off a year! (Or use 65 days for brainstorming or research, etc.)

Or maybe I’m just upset that my novel for “real name” is going slow as freakin’ molasses. And I’m writing it amidst pounding out words for pseudonym.

Honestly, I’m just sick of the pressure to always write faster. But what can you do? Gotta pay the bills. And really, I’m not real fond of that pressure, either. They’re close to the same thing.

Learning Spanish

I’m learning Spanish. It’s hard, as I’ve never worked with a Romance language before (just the barest of Italian). I’ve been dreaming in Spanish, which is encouraging. One of the things I’m using to learn is LiveMocha, which is great. It’s a bit like Rosetta Stone, except it’s online and free.

It’s like learning a language on Facebook, because once you submit an exercise, three or four people will write and tell you that you suck and need to try again. (Okay, not really that bad, LOL!)

What’s funny is that I grade TOEFL tests now and then, since I speak English. And WOW. I’d heard they were… ridiculous, but they really are. The last one I graded was on the study of etymology throughout history, written in unreadable college textbook style. (And NOT the applicable kind of etymology. Just long terms that I’ve NEVER used in my ENTIRE life, used in thick and sludgy prose I had to read three times.)

Real useful. *eye roll*

I’m also using Fluenz and a wonderful book called Listen ‘n’ Learn Spanish with Your Favorite Movies. The last one is definitely my favorite, and my Netflix account is getting a good workout, too. :-) I also dabble with the free courses written by the Foreign Services Institute. Useful, but “hard” learning.

My goal is to be conversing at Intermediate level by the end of February.

Contact Form

Lastly, I’m getting a lot of blank contact forms. Could a couple of you contact me, just so I can see whether spammers are blanking me, or if my contact form isn’t working? Thanks so much!

So what’s up in your world? Any blog ideas for me, LOL?

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Written by Natasha Fondren in: Full-Time Writing,Musings | Tags: , ,

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