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Oh, God Bless Me

This is one of my favorite Quotes from the movie The Blind Side. The story of Michael Oher, a big Black improvised teenager who no one seemed to want until the Touhy’s, a rich White family in Memphis Tenn, took him in and made him part of their family. Sandra Bullock plays Leigh Anne Touhy and Tim McGraw plays her husband Sean Sr. Michael is played wonderfully by Quinton Aaron. If you have not seen it – do!

Well Leigh Anne is used to getting her way and does not let anything get in her way (a good thing for Michael). In one scene, Michael has tried out for the football team, but doesn’t quite get the concept of blocking people from getting to the quarterback. During practice Sean, Sr. tells the football coach “Look, Burt. He’s never even played before. ” The football coach replies “Yeah, and he won’t this fall if he doesn’t improve a lot before then.” Then Leigh Anne (Sandra Bullock) says as the coach walks off ” Who died and made him Bear Bryant?” (NOTE: legendary head coach of Alabama for 25 years for those that have never heard of him – a sort of semi-god in the South) Then she continues saying “Unbelievable!” and stomps off after the coach to show him, in not a too gentle way, how to work with Michael.  Sean, Sr. (Tim McGraw) just stares up at the heavens, smiles, and says “Oh, God bless me.”

He loves his wife more than anything, but he knows her and knows that she is persistent, she is passionate, and that the best he can do is hold on for the ride. The request for a blessing captures all this for me.

pant…pant, slobber

I wiped the saliva off my arm and stared into the droopy eyes of Glover, my Muse’s dog. “Hey Grover” I scratch him behind the big floppy ears (which is not easy since he is fictional). “Where is your Mistress?”

“I don’t like that word.” A husky female voice announces her presence.

Speak of the devil. I don’t mean that literally…well not totally. “What’s wrong with it.”

She ran her hand down Grover’s back and scratched right above his tail — his head lifted and wiggled his butt. “Mistress reminds me of someone’s hooker.”

“I didn’t mean it that way. I was thinking of a woman who had authority or control over something.” I surely did not mean what she thought.

Her response drips with sarcasm “Yeah I hear you.” She looked over my shoulder at this Post.  “Are you getting off track again?” Her nose wrinkled. “This is supposed to be about your Writing Courses or our Book.”

“It is.” Or at least it was until I was interrupted. “I was starting off with an analogy.”

“What are you analogizing?”

I had to look that up real quick because it didn’t sound like a real word. It is.

“Actually it was about you.” I smiled as I knew anything about her would automatically peak her interest.

“How so?” I was right.

I turned back to the desk and tapped the yellow legal pad sitting there. “Remember when we went on vacation?”

“Duh!” She has such a way with words. “I didn’t write anything for a week. I was starting to twitch. I don’t like NOT writing.”

I picked up the yellow pad and flipped through some of the pages. “We didn’t write anything,” I am not sure why I have to constantly remind her that it is WE and not just her, “but we did do something that really made a difference. Even while on vacation we did something…not writing…but something that will make a significant difference in our novel.”

She didn’t talk, but just stared at me like I had finally lost it.

“All I wanted to do was complain about not writing and you forced me to make a list of all the scenes we knew we still had to write to complete Book One of the series. You said Just because we couldn’t write, it didn’t mean that we couldn’t think. Then we broke them up by storyline — remember how I was surprised that there are actually something like five storylines at one point in the book.”

“Yeah that was funny when you counted them a second time.” Her laughed resonated off the walls. “I thought you were having problems with numbers higher than four.”

“Very funny,” not really. “When we did that you suggested we line them up and compare them. By taking each storyline separately we were able to see where we might need additional chapters. And what really blew me away was when you had me link the bubbles together creating a time-line for each storyline. And finally drawing more lines to represent where the different storylines intersected again and how the time-lines in each storyline lined up with the others.” I followed the lines with my fingers on the paper. “It showed us where some more chapters are needed.”  I held up one of the five pages.

Her eyes closed as she sighed, “So?”

“After we finished there was something familiar about it, but I couldn’t figure out what. I stared at the pages for a long time and finally it came to me.” I tapped the page again and she opened her eyes. “It reminds me of a Workflow Diagram. I use to use these all the time on work projects. Rather than looking at one giant project; which was pretty overwhelming, I would break it down into smaller pieces that I could wrap my mind around it.” I grinned thinking of an old tale about the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, though eating an elephant doesn’t sound very appetizing (ever see a baby elephant). “I even used bubbles to represent each task in the segment and then drew lines connecting the bubbles in an organized sequence.” I pushed the paper towards her. “This is the same thing except we are talking about chapters and storylines instead of tasks and project components.”

“Wow!” She grabbed the paper  and stared at it intently. Then handed it back to me with a smug look. “Woopie for us. But what does that have to do with this post?”

“If left on my own I wouldn’t be any further along then I was before my family and I went on vacation.” I leaned back in my chair. “But you pushed and wouldn’t let me just sit in my own pity. You kept coming up with things until we actually made progress. And not just progress, but a big break thru that I think will help us a lot to get to the end of the First Draft.”

She smiled at that but still had a curious look on her face, “I still don’t get the analogy though.”

I leaned back a little more and put my hands behind my head. “You are my Leigh Anne Touhy. At least in terms of writing. All I can do is say Oh, God Bless Me and hold on for the wild ride to the end of the First Draft.”

We both smiled then she added. “And don’t forget it. This is the easy part. Wait until we get into Revision.” Her smile widened and mine faded.

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