I shared on fellow writer Stephanie Morrill’s blog a few weeks ago about adding humor to your books. Basically, I encouraged writers to use experiences from their everyday life to inspire humorous situations in their stories. I decided to take some of my own advice today, and write down some funny/awkward/witty things that I saw and experienced this week. Whether or not anyone else will find them funny, I’m not really sure, but I definitely had a good laugh!
- My nine-year-old sister and I were walking to the car from church the other night. A flock of geese flew over us, and I pointed them out to her and said, “Look, Ruth! Geese always fly in a V-formation. Did you know that?” She just wrinkled her nose and tossed her head like the too-cool-for-words kid that she is. “Please,” she told me, “They aren’t flying in a V. They’re flying in a square root sign.” Obviously. Don’t know how I didn’t see that…
- A man at our church was planning on singing a solo on Sunday morning. He is a very serious, manly-man, so we all sat there in silence, waiting for him to begin. But then, just as he was opening his mouth to sing, a high-pitched female operatic voice came pouring out of the speakers. Turns out the sound booth had accidentally played the cd version of the song. Everyone burst out laughing while he mouthed the words for a good five seconds before the female singer finally was cut off. It was the funniest thing to ever happen in a Sunday morning service, as long as I can remember.
- I stumbled across this list of annoying things to do in an elevator. It really spoke to me, because #1: I hate awkward silences in elevators; 2# I hate awkward conversations in elevators; and #3: Numbers 4 and 9 on this list both sound like things I would do in moments of extreme awkwardness.
- I can’t count the number of times, this week alone, someone has walked up to me and said, “Hi!” and I responded with “Good!” I mean, it may not be the most humiliating thing ever, but seriously, how awkward is that???
- I got distracted while driving the other night and didn’t make the right turn at a light. Instead, I drove forward into intense darkness, down a long and winding road that I did not know. No one in my family offered any supporting or encouraging words, but instead shared with me their usual comments of: “Ohmygoshwe’regoingtodiiiiiiieeeee!” and “Mom, do you really think Rachel should be allowed to drive us anymore???” When I finally found a road to turn the car around, I ended up nearly over steering into the wrong lane of traffic, all the while blinding my fellow drivers with my bright lights. We survived in the end, but everyone else took the rest of the car ride to squeal about how their lives flashed before their eyes. And how I am never driving by myself alone in the dark. Ever.
- My dad sent me this video, which is probably the only reason I am even publishing this post. Because I am now convinced that my calling in life is to share with everyone in the world how totally cute and adorable this old couple is. Elderly men shaking their hips is probably the most hilarious thing ever.
What happened to you this week?
My dad was actually grinning ear to ear on the way out of the restaurant tonight, despite how he may look in the picture. He put his arm around my mom and said, “I think this is the first time we’ve had one of our kids take us out to supper.” And right then, it hit me how completely honored and thankful I am. To be in this position. All I could do was send up a prayer of thanks for everything God has given me. It feels wonderful to treat my family to a celebratory dinner, after everything they’ve done for me up to this point. After all the sacrifices they’ve made for me. Every phone call, email, prayer, encouraging word, or advice they’ve given me. It’s been a long, crazy year but it felt good to just relax, eat some maple-glazed salmon, and celebrate what God has done in our lives. What an amazing night.
P.S. No, I do not usually carry around copies of my book when I go to restaurants. I am not that creepy. Just so you know.
P.P.S. I should also add to my House Full of Women post that going out to eat is a big deal because everyone argues over whether to dress casual or dressy. As you can see, tonight we decided on a “smart casual”, meaning nice shirts and jewelry with simple pants or jeans. Complicated, right?
So today my beloved blog and I are celebrating our one-year anniversary! I know, I know–aren’t we a cute couple? To be honest, it surprised me how quickly this year went by. Post after boring post, and you guys are still reading. I really can’t tell you how happy that makes me.
Just think–you guys have seen me through:
- A messed up Christmas
- A realization of my biggest dream
- The death of a wonderful aunt
- My brief infatuation with men named “Antonio“
- A crazy night where I seriously almost died
- My sixteenth birthday!
- A disaster-free trip to IHOP
- My initial reactions to my book’s trailer, reviews, and printed copy
All that plus numerous photos, thoughts, jokes, and moments that I got to share with you! It’s been an amazingly fun year, and I pray that God makes the next one just as great!
[Image via weheartit]
I was thinking this morning that it’s been a while since I put any of my photos on this blog. It’s not that I don’t still take tons of pictures, it’s just that lately I’ve been more preocuppied with my book than anything else. But I thought I’d take a breather from talking about that for today, and share some fun photos instead.
I hung out with some of my favorite friends the other day, Hailey and Ellery from InsideOut (which is a fantastic blog for young women). It was really funny, actually, because I brought over a huge trunk of my clothes and we got all dressed up. But we took so long gushing over the clothes that by the time we made it outside, we only had half an hour or so left before the sun went down. Oops! I took most of these, but any of the photos where I am pictured (I’m wearing a yellow shirt and sailboat skirt) were taken by Hailey or Ellery.
Anyway, I thought you might just enjoy seeing these. Yes, I am a real person and I do exist outside of a computer.
I had an “Aha!” moment in church this morning. Our pastor was preaching from the book of 1 Thessalonians, explaining to us the importance of church unity and growth. One of the verses he read was 5:14, which says “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.” He explained that the Greek word for “fainthearted” can literally be translated into “small-souled.” That’s not what we’re supposed to be like. As Christians, we shouldn’t be weak or afraid or timid. Instead we should be the opposite of that. We are called to be bold. To be “large-souled” Christians.
What does it mean to be large-souled? It means trusting God even when we can’t see the outcome of things sometimes. It means taking leaps of faith and accomplishing great things for the glory of God. It doesn’t mean that you will never have fears or obstacles, but if you have a large soul you will be able to overcome those obstacles despite your reservations.
The missionary William Carey once said, “Attempt great things for God; Expect great things from God”. If we step out of our comfort zones and do those things that seem so out of reach in an attempt to bring glory to God, He will pick us up and help us accomplish them. God rewards those who trust in Him.
I can’t use myself as a living example for any of this. It’s not like I’m never scared or reserved. I am, all the time. I hate changes, I am bothered by intrusions in my happy life, and I’m annoyed when God brings me something unexpected and unwanted. But I’m trying. I want to learn to be someone who has a large soul, and is willing to do things I never thought I would have been comfortable doing, all for the glory of Christ. It’s my new prayer this week that God will bring me opportunities to practice great faith and large-soulness.
I’m sharing this with you because I hope that the idea of being a large-souled Christian is as inspiring and encouraging to you as it is to me. We should all be trying harder to look beyond our own little bubbles and take in the bigger scope of things. What is God doing outside of you? What is He accomplishing that you never thought you were good enough to be a part of? All I can say is, maybe He does want you to be a part of it. All He’s waiting for is for you to take the initiative to trust Him and let go of all your reservations. To have a large soul and a bigger purpose for life then you ever might have before. I hope we can all learn to be large-souled Christians.
[Photo via deviantart]
Got two whole boxes full of my book in the mail yesterday. It was so much fun to try to lift the two ten-pound boxes and haul them into the kitchen. Everyone in the family got their own copy, and I even took some out to give to close friends. The looks on everyone’s faces when they saw the book… Well, it was priceless.
So last night I curled up in bed and actually read Interrupted. Flipped the pages and held the spine with my own two hands. I devoured every sentence like I’d never read it before in my life. It was the weirdest feeling ever, to read a book I spent so much time writing. I can’t really think of how to describe what it’s like. I think it was a lot like re-reading a good book for the millionth time. By then, the novelty has worn off, and you pick up every little awkward detail and mistake. But, in the end, it was still good enough that you can close it when you’re finished and feel satisfied.
Anyway, I’ve got more non-book related stuff planned for this week, so just hold on! I know you’re probably getting tired of hearing about Interrupted, but it’s like nearing the end-zone after a long, hard game. (Although, what do I know about sports analogies? I mean, seriously)
P.S. Found this giveaway for my book online today. Not sure if it’s still open, but it’s worth a shot for those of you who want a free copy!
Well, it seems the death of Whitney Houston is going to overshadow my book debut. Life can be tragic sometimes. But that’s not what I wanted to talk about. Actually, I wanted to tell you about a funny experience at our local Barnes and Noble yesterday. I found out that the new Publisher’s Weekly magazine featuring a profile on me had come out, and I really wanted a printed copy. I couldn’t find one, so I asked the store manager for help. Long story short, she heard the whole story of my book, the interview, and the fact that B&N changed my cover from grey to blue three times. From me, from my mom, and from my dad. By the time my dad showed up and said, “Hey, did you hear that Barnes and Noble actually changed the cover from–” she only held her hand up and said, “We got it, Dad. We got it.” It was pretty funny. Can you tell I have proud parents?
Anyway, I did get my publicist to send me what they printed via email:
Rachel Coker: Teen Author
The loss of a loved one is difficult to cope with at any age, but at 13, Rachel Coker channeled her grief and landed a publisher at the same time.
Coker, now a homeschooled 11th-grader, started writing Interrupted: Life Beyond Words (Zondervan, Mar.) three years ago. The story, set in the late 1930s and 1940s, focuses on Alcyone “Allie” Everly, who is sent to live in Maine after her mother dies from cancer. Coker lost her uncle to a brain tumor, and she says the story came from her conversations with God about why people die. “What I realized is that death is something that young people face,” Coker tells PW from Virginia, where she lives with her parents and two sisters. “I realized it could make us bitter, but it could also make us stronger. Even though that bad thing happens, [Allie] can learn to love again.”
The publication of her book when she was just 15 also inspired an international peer group of young writers who comment on her personal blog and on what she writes as a guest blogger for sites like Go Teen Writers.
“I think the most frequent comment I hear from e-mails or in comments on my blog is, ‘I didn’t know this was possible. I always thought some day in the future, one day when I was older, I would be a writer. Now that I know it’s possible, there’s a chance for me, too,’ ” Coker says. “That’s my favorite thing to hear.”
She didn’t think she would get published as a teenager, either. “I thought it was silly and insane when I sent out my query letter. I prayed, ‘God, I know this is probably impossible, but I’m going to try anyway.’ Now that it’s all finished, knowing that other people are willing to go out there and take a chance is good for me.”
Coker has already written her next book, a novel set in the 1960s, which will also be published by Zondervan. She is nevertheless looking forward to what could be a successful writing career. Meanwhile, she also teaches piano.
“I’m really open to whatever God has in store for me,” she says. “I’m 16 years old, I don’t have the answers, I don’t know what’s going to happen. But I want to be happy and I want to bless other people. I want to not just make a living but also to live a God-filled, hope-filled life.” —J. Victoria Sanders
Pretty sweet, huh? I can’t wait to get my hands on a printed copy. This is the sort of thing that just might be passed down to my grandchildren.
1. “With God as my witness, I’ll never go hungry again!” – Gone With the Wind
I say when I’m absolutely starving and, despite all the food in the house, there is nothing to eat. Under such circumstances, I grit my teeth, grasp a handful of cheerios, goldfish, or whatever is available, and stand up on a kitchen chair reciting this line. I just leave the whole “If I have to lie and cheat and steal and kill” part that comes before it. I feel like that’s taking it a little too far.
2. “You’re like my soul sister!” – Confessions of a Shopaholic
Is it terrible that I’ve seen this movie? I think so. I should probably never mention it again. But, seriously, this quote is perfect for any situation when it feels like someone has totally just read your mind. You watch Pirates of the Caribbean with the subtitles on, too? You’re like my soul sister!
3. “It should take you four seconds to walk from here to that door. I’ll give you two.” – Breakfast at Tiffany’s
An obvious winner for whenever you want to get someone to leave. And you also don’t mind them getting really mad at you. Because that quote is a lot harsher than just saying, “Weeeell, it’s getting late and I have a lot of things to do tomorrow.” Hint hint.
4. “I spent it with my uncle in Alaska hunting wolverines!” – Napoleon Dynamite
Another embarrassing movie, but an absolutely perfect comeback if anyone asks you how you spent summer vacation and you don’t have anything better to say than, “Oh, I went to the pool and, you know, did… stuff.”
5. “Oh, wait! I forgot to give you a hug!” – Elf
Perfect for freaking out people. Probably most effective when you’re getting off an elevator and want to disturb that random woman who stood in silence next to you for the last three and a half minutes. What? It’s not like you’ll ever see her again. Hopefully.
6. “What excellent boiled potatoes.” – Pride and Prejudice (2005)
I just like to say this whenever we have boiled potatoes. No other reason.
7. “Never let go. Promise me, and never let go of that promise.” – Titanic
Every time I give something to a member of my family, I clasp their hand and whisper, “Never let go. Never.” Then, depending on the family member, she’ll either roll her eyes and say, “Wow. Lame, Rachel,” or reenact the final minutes of the sinking of that great ship.
8. “We are worms! Worthless worms!” – Hercules
Okay, so you probably would have to see Hercules to appreciate how funny this quote is. Have you seen it, when the creepy little monster things turn into worms? My sister Hannah and I can do a dead-on impersonation, groveling to our mom when we mess up. Usually we wind up rolling around in laughter at how ridiculous we are. Yeah, it’s pretty strange.
9. “A red sun rises. Blood has been spilt this night.” – Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
You gotta love how dramatic the people in LOTR are. If I saw a red sky in the morning, I would probably just think, “Oh, how pretty. Now I have something nice to look at while mindlessly stalking orcs.” Instead they have to be all morbid and depressing. Now I can’t look at a red sunrise without thinking of this line!
10. “Iocane powder! I’d bet my life on it!” – The Princess Bride
Obviously there’d have to be a Princess Bride quote on it. I seriously use every single quote from that movie, but this one especially. There’s just something so funny about hearing someone ask, “What on earth is this?” and jumping up with a loud, “It’s iocane powder! I’d bet my life on it!” The great thing is that everyone gets it. Well, everyone except the poor, deprived people who never saw this great movie. Shame on them.
[Photo by Tim Walker]
[NOTE: No sooner did I post this when, wow, twenty minutes later my copy finally came in the mail. Irony! I'll write more tomorrow. ]
Sorry I haven’t posted anything in a few days. I’ve been waiting for my copies of Interrupted to come in the mail so I can share them with you all! My editor emailed me yesterday and said she got her copy, so now I’m even more anxious for mine to come! It’s the weirdest feeling ever. If I were to liken it to something, I think it would be a lot like being pregnant. Once you’ve waited for months and months, and you know it could come at any time, every day feels like an eternity! I just want my baby to get here already!
I did get some exciting news from Zondervan yesterday, though. In addition to getting a contract for my second book, they’ve also offered to send me to Philadelphia for a book signing next month! There’s a big national library convention going on there, and Harper Collins will have a big booth at the exhibit hall. That’s where I’m going to be, signing books and meeting people. I am beyond excited, obviously. And is it normal that the first thing to cross my mind was: What on earth am I going to wear? (My sister helped me solve that problem within ten minutes, though. Yes, we have problems)
So, that’s what’s going on in my life right now. Publisher’s Weekly feature due next week. New contract to arrive in the mail any time. And, oh yeah, I’m flying out to Philly next month for a book signing. It’s all cool.
[I'm definitely dancing around and squealing right now]
P.S. Anyone notice they changed the cover of my book from grey to a bright blue? What do you think? I personally think it’s gorgeous!