“Sayid is staring at me,” my husband says. A LOST calendar hangs in our kitchen, and the character of Sayid is ‘Mr. June.’ It’s one of those photos where the eyes follow you wherever you go and it creeps my husband out. February was fun: LOST returned for season number 4 and the character of Sawyer was the calendar model. Yum.

Being forced to wait another eight months for the LOST saga to continue makes me sigh ... heavily. After the Writer’s Strike, LOST’s season was cut short -- and for a myriad of reasons I can neither understand nor explain, new episodes will not air until January 2009.

Now there is a threatened Actor’s Strike which could delay all fall programming. (Of course you can’t really count LOST as fall programming when they don’t return until after New Year’s, but who’s talking semantics?) Where will the madness end? I support those who are not being compensated for an honest day’s work, and in the case of the writers, it was not fair for the networks to profit from online advertising while the writers who created the programming got short-changed. Last time I checked, however, actors were some of the highest paid people in the land. Can anyone justify why they are holding out for more money?

Speaking of the writers, LOST is very well-crafted, and unlike its predecessors (offbeat shows like Twin Peaks and The X-Files), it goes back and ties up loose ends. Well, so far, anyway. There are so many loose ends at this point, however, that I’m beginning to wonder if those eight-month lags between seasons are purposefully implemented to give us time to forget that all the i’s are not dotted and t’s are not crossed. Remember when TV was a relaxing escape? There’s not much relaxing about this show. I don’t mean to complain -- seriously, I love, love, love LOST. With a story is this intricate, you get pretty invested in the overlapping plotline- and character-development. And with so much crap on TV (Celebracadabra, I’m talking to you), that’s a hard nugget to let go of. LOST is the one stimulating hour of television per week where I don’t have kids, bills, or deadlines looming. And for that hour, it’s all about the island.

I wouldn’t care if the network decided to air LOST at 4am every other Sunday -- I would still watch (or, rather, my TiVo would). They killed Boone, and I stayed. They killed Charlie, and I stayed. They kept Kate, and still I stayed. Those of us who have tuned-in from the beginning have too much invested in this wild story to pack it in now.

The best part about LOST? For me, the answer varies. But in season 4, it was standout Yunjin Kim as Sun. If you didn’t cry when she went to Jin’s grave, man you’re made of stone. Oh, and I’d be slapped if I didn’t mention the long-awaited reunion of Desmond & Penny.

There are two seasons left … 34 total hours of programming … and if someone doesn’t tell me why that foot statue on the island has only four toes, there’s going to be hell to pay! But no matter how long we have to wait, no matter how much we bemoan the fact that there always seem to be more questions than answers, we have to go back! Yes, LOSTies, you heard me right. You don’t think the writers came up with that mantra by accident, do you?

"A cliche is only something well said in the first place." -Bill Granger
Freelance writers: your world is an up and down mixed bag of responses from pubs nationwide. There will be rejection, but as I’ve been told many, many times, “Don’t take it personally.” If you are producing quality work, have queried regularly, and followed all publication submission guidelines, your time WILL come. But editors, please do writers the courtesy of at least being upfront about things. I once queried an editor who was not interested in my story idea. He sent me a very nice email saying something to the effect of, “Thank you … not at this time … but please query again.”

And so for months, I continued to send story ideas his way. When one really great idea came across my desk, I immediately queried this editor, certain in my heart and soul that this story could not be turned down. His reply? “Thank you for the offer. Unfortunately, we don't have it in our budget to pay freelancers. That said, I'd welcome anything you'd like to submit but am unable to reimburse you for it.”

It was an unexpected speed bump. That’s the kind of information that should have been put forth upfront. And unfortunately, it’s not in my budget (or anyone else’s I know) to work for free.

But I didn’t take it personally. I pitched the same story idea to an online publication and they were thrilled. Being in the right place at the right time really does have its benefits. And in this business, perseverance is everything.

"Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else." -Gloria Steinem
While visiting my son’s school one lazy afternoon in late May, I met the Principal in the hallway. It was a particularly hot day, and the man’s face was very red. His hair looked wet –- I couldn’t be sure if that was from perspiration or an overzealous glob of hair gel. He promptly pulled me aside and said, “Do you know what your son has done?”

These are words you never want to hear from an authority figure.

I knew what he was talking about, though, and it wasn’t bad news. The NC Writing Assessment is given to all 4th, 7th, and 10th grade students and is a make-or-break score for going on to the next grade level. The test is similar to an EOG (end-of-grade) exam, but administered in March because each test must be hand-scored.

Educators don’t give old fashioned A’s and B’s anymore. When report cards come home, they’ve got newly defined achievement levels:
4 - superior (performance considered above grade level);
3 - mastery (performance considered at grade level);
2 - inconsistent mastery (performance considered below grade level); and
1 - insufficient mastery (considered failing).

The Principal was taking the opportunity to congratulate us as my kiddo did very well –- making the highest score in the school and the only Level 4.

I’ve always been proud of my kids, but being a writer, this moment was especially gratifying. Now if I could only get my oldest to turn off the video games long enough to hear me say that ...

To blog, or not to blog: that is the question. Will this be a good fit for the rest of my site? Will I have the time to commit to quality entries? And do people really want to know what I think? After evaluating the pros and cons, I decided that blogging would be an excellent creative outlet for thoughts that really have nowhere else to go. Mini essays, if you will. I could ramble to myself -- or keep a diary, I guess -- but putting words into print keeps them organized and accountable. And there is certainly professional benefit to keeping my writing skills sharp. I take inspiration from other bloggers who make it look so easy!

Feel free to chime in with your comments, but remember that this is a forum that will live online forever, so please be courteous of all thoughts and opinions.

Enjoy. Contribute. Or just lurk. I look forward to hearing from many of you and hope that all readers are able to find something of merit or satisfaction. So here we go.