A Night on the Bus {& a Question on Voice}

I did something stupid last night.

As we drove through town (ironically, on our way to check out the local farmer’s market in search of good, whole foods) I saw a sign at Sonic, “Shakes half price after 8”.

I thought how long it had been since I’d indulged in a milkshake.

And how I would never feed my kids that fake, sugary poison. It would have to wait till they were asleep. But it would be inappropriate to leave them in the bus alone while we went off to town for to save money on milkshakes.

Even if they were sleeping like little enchiladas in their bunks. (I refuse to apologize for that confused metaphor because this post is being written at 4 in the morning).

On the other hand, no enchiladas would be harmed if my in-laws picked us up a shake on their way home from town, right?

I wisely chose vanilla over chocolate, as, sadly (more like grief-stricken and in deep mourning) I have realized I just can’t handle the caffeine in chocolate after mid-afternoon.

Foolishly, I sucked down my half of that enormous, sugary, fake concoction with momentary pleasure while sitting with my husband in the front seat of our suburban together in the dark. It was the only place one could safely enjoy a milk shake without disturbing the enchiladas or getting sucked on by mosquitoes.

I find it amazing now that I was even able to go to sleep after my indulgence. Must have been that whole being-a-mom-to-three-small-children-all-day=induced-exhaustion thing. But 4 hours later I was awake, sugar buzzed, and hungry. I have learned I can’t ignore these symptoms. I dutifully got myself a cheese stick though I hate eating in the middle of the night, and flipped on my light to read for a bit.

I finished my book (Jerry Jenkins, Writing for the Soul, good except he doesn’t recommend self publishing and I do) and tried to sleep again. Couldn’t. Visited the bus bathroom (ouch, my hips!), draped an apron over the stove light I use as a nightlight so it wouldn’t shine so brightly down the hallway, tucked in my baby (because it makes me feel good, not ‘cause he needed it), and tried again.

Still couldn’t sleep. I know not to fight these symptoms.

Finally, knowing I’d tried everything that was going to work if anything was going to work, I resorted my favorite indulgence (besides milkshakes and tucking in my baby): Pioneer Woman’s blog.

I love her. This post is not meant to be an ode to Pioneer Woman, but can I just say she rocks ‘cause she’s a stay-at-home mom who homeschools and writes and loves her husband and has become a celebrity because of those things? Oh, and she has the most hilarious writing voice that I unashamedly love to emulate.

And she’s the one website I seem to be able to read without getting terribly stimulated. Which is something I try to avoid in the middle of the night. Elsewhere online I’m inspired/tempted to write a killer blog post, write an amazing guest post, write another ebook, or finally become a twitter ninja. But with Ree, I just soak in her good humor and beautiful photography of every day life and convince myself for a little while that I don’t need to change the world.

I read 6 pages of Confessions on my husband’s phone, trying not to wake him with my laughter (and barely resisting waking him up so I could share the best parts with him), when I was finally ready to try sleep again.

Alas, I was still hungry.

I ate the last chocolate chip cookie dough bite (made with coconut flour, almond butter, and flax seed, and not enough chocolate to get a fix) and then, at last, I was ready for sleep.

Except my mind wanted to write this post. And I couldn’t convince myself I’d be this clever in the day time. Or have time to write in the day time.

This post didn’t even have a point! But it was so fun to write. To pretend I’m all clever like Pioneer Woman, and that I won’t pay for this lack of sleep all day tomorrow. I mean, today.

The birds have begun to sing. The air conditioning kicks on and off again. The clock ticks. My children and husband sleep. I’m jealous. And yet, I have written today. And I do so love to write.

Who is one of your favorite bloggers? Who’s writing voice do you most enjoy? Do you think it’s ok to copy someone’s writing style? Please say yes. I need validation. And, if you really want to make my day, tell me this sounded like my writing voice at its best? You are too sweet.

25 responses to “A Night on the Bus {& a Question on Voice}”

  1. Stephanie Avatar

    I laughed and laughed at this article. Yet so much truth I found in it for myself. You and I are more alike than I would ever have thought. I have been having so much trouble sleeping at night. I toss and turn. During the summer we have been enjoying ice cream after the kiddos go to bed. Now I am wondering if the sugar in the ice cream is what has been keeping me up at night? Never would have thought of it.Hmmm

    1. Trina Avatar

      oh yeah, I would definitely watch the sugar intake after dinner! LOL Especially if it is chocolate ice cream. That really affects me.
      And that is also why I believe in having ice cream for breakfast. (only sort of kidding)

  2. Ray Avatar

    Your blog post warmed my heart. I do hope that it is okay to copy somebodys writing style. I really like the way my mum writes. She doesnt write books or blogs or anything like that (altho i wish she would) but when she writes a letter or even fills in a form it is so well thought out and sinsere with a hint of light humour that I cannot help but want to read more. She is my inspiration when i write stories or poems.

    1. Trina Avatar

      Ray, I keep thinking of how painters learn the art–by copying the masters. That’s my validation right now. 🙂 Your mom’s writing voice sounds beautiful–you described it so well, too! You must have inherited some of her style, and I think that’s great. Do you blog? Where can we hear some of your voice?

  3. Rachel Avatar

    I know what you mean about most blogs keying you up… I just got caught up on yours and now am wide awake for the night… oops :). I love Pioneer Woman- she is SOO stinking hilarious. You just can’t learn to write funny, you are or you are not…. and she is so funny. I am not. Hope you enjoyed the milkshake! It is so worth it every once in awhile… 🙂

    1. Trina Avatar

      I guess my blog should come with a warning label “Do not consume before retiring” LOL I would love to write funny all the time, but find I can only do it late at night or after reading a humorous author. 🙂

  4. Stacey Avatar

    I have that book on my nightstand! I got it from the library but it’s next in line to be read. 🙂 And I enjoyed this. I’m still hyped up on caffeine enough that it doesnt’ bother me, which is good because I love it. 😉 I enjoy Pioneer Woman, but it’s more the idea of her than the reading of her blog. Is that weird? I get lost over there sometimes.

    I also think copying other people’s voices is imperative in learning your own. It’s like trying different fashions out until you hit on yours.

    1. Trina Avatar

      thanks for your thoughts, Stacey (and validation of my little jaunt :))

  5. Nancy Avatar

    Trina, have not visited before, dunno why… but your “voice” is sweet like that milkshake- made me want one, but definitely chocolate- and i ended feeling like we had a thoroughly wonderful conversation over that milkshake. There are nights in which I don’t sleep either and I write too. As to the voice question- I struggled with getting a true grasp on it, I knew there was writing in me and i took courses on creative writing in college, went to a couple of writing seminars and still no discernible voice that anyone could decide on. My life switched gears and to satisfy my craving for writing, to get the words out I journaled, through 3 pregnancies, nursing school, and life with a functionally insane mother. So now I’ve come to where I actually understand my voice, but if you asked me to describe it – hmm, I can’t (to borrow a line from “While you were Sleeping”). I love to read Lisa-JoBaker’s blog and several others; but having only recently come to the blogosphere, I am still discovering my way around.

    1. Trina Avatar

      Nancy, I’m so delighted you dropped in here, and generously contributed your thoughts on voice. I do think the most guaranteed path to voice is LOTS of practice, as you described. I’m a journaler, too 🙂 Thanks for visiting me and for your thoughts! (oh, and you would love Lisa Jo when you have time :))

  6. Kristina Avatar

    I adore the closing paragraph beginning with “the birds”
    Also, wowzas, “…not enough chocolate for a fix.” We sound like addicts. 🙂

    1. Trina Avatar

      um, we are.

  7. Natalie Avatar

    Hah, voice and style were two things I’ve never been able to pin down. My professors told me I had a good style in college, but I’m not sure what that style is exactly. At a guess I’d say inquisitive, possibly a bit academic, with a touch of wit and whimsy (I love a good metaphor), but that’s just a guess 😛

    Speaking of Sonic – yeah, not recommended. I think I ordered something there once and ever after avoided them. If you want to be indulgent may I suggest checking out the local bbq joints? Pulled pork, collard greens, black-eyed peas, brunswick stew, and banana pudding with a glass of sweet tea (ask them for half sweet/half not) are all classic Southern foods that you should really try once before heading back up North.

  8. Diane Avatar

    You are the cutest thing ever.. you do know that, right?

    (And I shared some thoughts on your FB thread:-})

  9. Jess Avatar

    I used to follow the Pioneer Woman, back before she was incredibly popular (maybe 4 or 5 years ago) but I dropped out of “contact”. Her blog started to feel more business like, than a personal blog. I still check it out every once in a while though.

    Voice I think is very important. It was one of the things we worked on quite a bit in my college courses.

    1. Trina Avatar

      courses where you learned about voice? I might be jealous right now. 😉

      1. Jess Avatar

        I majored in English {writing} in college and a lot of my composition classes focused on voice. 🙂

  10. Kristina Avatar

    Oh! I LOVE The Pioneer Woman! It is my FAVORITE site to visit. I enjoy every bit of it.If I could I would move right in with them.I have always wanted to live on a ranch!;)
    I am the same way if I have caffeine to late in the day. What a buzz I get and Hubby is never thrilled with my chatter that late at night! I mean he loves to talk with me,but not about wild and crazy things at mid-night!
    Hope that you have a great day. Think of you often!Sending hugs your way!!!!

    1. Trina Avatar

      Yeah! more PW fans 🙂
      Hugs back!

  11. Natasha Avatar

    Loved this, Trina.
    Will have to think about writing voices for a bit now… I’ve been so focused on establishing my own- I have not stopped to notice others nearly as much as I should!

    And! I have a whole theory about finding your voice. Perhaps I will write about it sometime. 🙂

    1. Trina Avatar

      You’d better, after that teaser! 😉

      1. Gretchen Louise Avatar

        Ditto that! Waiting for Natasha’s series on finding your voice. 🙂

        1. Trina Avatar

          kjpetrella said it was ok to copy cat to hone your voice, so I feel validated. 🙂 But I’m looking forward to Natasha’s insight, as well.

  12. carol barker Avatar
    carol barker

    I smiled and laughed all thru this…..totally enjoyed and totally understood it. Hope you can get thru this very hot day with so little sleep but mind you…..you made another mommy smile. love you Trina.

    1. Trina Avatar

      Thanks, Carol! Well, I got my blogging done for the day, so I’m hoping and planning on a nap in the air conditioning this afternoon!

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