Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Thoughts From a Dentist's Chair

by Julie Coulter Bellon

My face is numb.

I was at the dentist this morning getting a crown, which is the reason why my face is numb and I feel like I’m talking with a thick floppy tongue. As the dentist was using the horrible tool that sounds like a hacksaw grinding into my brain, I tried to think of something else besides what was going on inside my mouth. It wasn’t easy.

I thought of the edits I’m making to my newly accepted manuscript. There were a couple of bits that needed to be changed, and I had some ideas for changing them.

I thought of my new manuscript that I’ve been working on and an idea came to me for an opening scene that might work better than the one I have. But that would mean cutting the current opening out entirely, which is hard to do, but probably necessary. I will just make a castoffs file to console myself that someday I might use that scene again. (I have large castoffs files for each of my novels. I just can’t bring myself to delete them and I haven’t actually ever used them, but for some reason they make me feel better about the cutting. Weird, I know.)

I thought about the books we’ve been reading in our family book club. We finished all three of the Fablehaven series and are anxiously awaiting the fourth book that is due out this month. But while we waited, we started the Lightning Thief series by Rick Riordan. They are really fun books that have real-life mixed with a little fantasy and peppered with a lot of funny snark. I have thoroughly enjoyed the books as an adult. I actually took the second book in the series, “The Sea of Monsters,” with me to the dentist this morning in case I had time to read. I was at the good part and really wanted to finish. I am planning on starting the third book tonight and I can’t wait to see what happens to Percy Jackson and his little band of half-bloods trying to save the world. I heard the first book is being made into a movie and I think it will be action-packed for sure. I also noticed the author has an adult series and I’m going to check that out since I’ve liked his YA novels so much.

I thought about how impressed my ten year old son was with J. Scott Savage’s school presentation and his use of magic tricks. He got his Farworld book signed by Mr. Savage and is already diving into it. (It’s next on our family book club list.) I thought about how I wished I knew magic tricks that would mesmerize and impress children. Sadly, I’m just a boring old mom most of the time.

I also wondered if the anesthesia they’d shot into my mouth with a needle big enough to anesthetize a horse would affect my nursing baby---like perhaps make her really sleepy or something. But the dentist said it wouldn’t. Rats.

So here I am with my half-numb face and mostly numb tongue and no trauma-reducing nap in sight. Maybe if I try to read out loud to my baby in this state, she’ll laugh herself to sleep. It’s worth a shot.

(Aren’t I punny?)


At 3/05/2009 3:39 PM, Blogger Marsha Ward said...

Julie, our cut or cast-off files do give us writers the solace that our baby words aren't gone or murdered forever--whether we ever use them again or not.

At 3/05/2009 3:46 PM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Marsha, I hadn't thought about it like that, but it does sum it up nicely. The baby words are always there, just in case, and it IS a solace. :)


At 3/05/2009 3:51 PM, Blogger Pistolmom said...

At 3/05/2009 3:57 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Castoff files are a great idea. It makes it easier to cut out big chunks of words if you know you can always retrieve them if you need them back.

It takes forever for my face to get un-numb after a dentist visit.

At 3/05/2009 4:46 PM, Blogger Karlene said...

I was at the dentist today too and my face is still numb. I was trying to drink some hot cocoa and dribbled most of it down my chin. :(

Cast off files are wonderful.

At 3/05/2009 6:31 PM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Karlene I feel ya and Stephanie I hate the numb face feeling. I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one that keeps cast off files! :)


At 3/06/2009 3:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And I have a dentist appointment next week--and I know she's going to say a crown because she told me last time... EEEEK

I don't use castoffs and I hate myself regularly for not. In fact I have completely thrown away a couple of paper manuscripts with LARGE sections of cast off material--full conclusions with four or five chapters--and then realize I want to use that ending for my next manuscript. Arrgh.
I will learn from you.

And I will start now to think of things to think about at the dentist.

Marlene Austin

At 3/06/2009 2:49 PM, Blogger Melanie J said...

We're reading the Rick Riordan books as a family right now, too, and I must say we love them!

And it makes me feel better to know you have a cast off file. I do the same thing knowing I'll probably never use them, but sticking them in a file feels so much better than pressing delete.

At 3/06/2009 4:25 PM, Blogger Heather Justesen said...

I always keep a cuts file, it makes it so much easier to cut scenes that just aren't working. I actually have gone back and retrieved scenes once or twice that I could twist a different way than expected, so you never know. And even if you don't it sure does feel better to move them to a new file than to delete them from existence.

And that reminds me--I need to reschedule my dentist appointment!

At 3/09/2009 8:53 PM, Blogger hi, it's me! melissa c said...

Very cute post! You sound a lot like me! I do not like dentists nor do I trust them completely. I was used and abused by mine list year and I still feel the pain.

Anyway, I have a file where I keep all me deleted scenes too. It DOES make you feel better to keep them. I wonder why?

At 3/20/2009 3:30 AM, Anonymous Mexican Dentist said...


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At 10/15/2009 3:12 AM, Blogger garydrew01 said...

Very great! From dentistry, the converting of ideas is very nice. But it is difficult to find a Crown and Bridge Specialist that's why I really appreciate your patience and bravery.

At 1/10/2010 9:49 AM, Anonymous children dentist said...

People develop ideas is the strangest places. Being at the dentist, you are not doing anything and it gives you time out of your busy schedule to think about things.

At 11/01/2012 3:27 AM, Anonymous children dentist said...

Is always good idea to maintain a good dental habits because Poor dental habits exhibited in early childhood often continue into adulthood, with potential to affect speech, nutrition, economic productivity, and even the overall quality of life.

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