The long, cold weather resulted in the water under the driveway’s bridge freezing. Solid. We had a bit of a warm up and the snow started to melt. Guess where the water in the ditch went? Yes, right into the lawn and the driveway. *Sigh* When Husband came home last night, we shoveled slush and made a pathway for the water to flow toward the ditch on the other side of the bridge. This morning it was iced over, but the flooding seems to be staunched for the time being.
In general, I’m not a fan of driving in winter. Luckily, I have nowhere to go…except to my chair to read. And read I have. In the past month, I’ve read Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, Sylvia Cassedy’s Behind the Attic Wall, Jodi Picoult’s Leaving Time, Tea Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife, and Allison Pearson’s I Don’t Know How She Goes It.
I also read Ryan Boudinot’s essay, “Things I Can Say About MFA Writing Programs Now That I No Longer Teach in One.” I don’t understand the uproar the piece caused. Not all writers are created equally. Why is that shocking for someone to say that?
The new piece (and I really need to come up with a working title for that thing) had me scared to continue writing it, so I set it down. I’ve worked on a few things, but next week, I’ll have sent half of “Campus Crimes” to the writer’s group and I know from the last book, the end flies by. I have been going to bed with the thought that I’ll dream of which one of the two rough first drafts I have to work on.
What I’ve consistently dreamed of is being naked, but not self-conscious about it and in mostly empty rooms where different men show up. XO man one night, the guy in Australia another night, my brother-in-law the night before that. Right, so as I was telling someone about this (the desire for the dreams to guide me and the nakedness, etc.) it dawns on me that maybe the message is to work on this new book that scares me. I’m not sure I’m ready.
I mean, I really should finish Chuck Palahniuk’s Haunted first…and Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted. Plus, I need to keep an eye on the lawn drainage situation. Also, I want to add some Yoga to my morning Pilates routine. Where is that DVD? Finding it could take a while. And the kitchen pantry needs a good sorting…
Yeah, I know, that all sounds like I’ll be procrastinating, but I’ve already broken out the colored index cards and tape. Looks like I’m going to plotting “Dreaming Lettie.” Kidding! I’ll be too busy thinking of a working title for the new piece, which will probably continue to tear me open. That’s why I set it aside.
Thanks for stopping by to read my Creekside—and ditch on the other side—Reflections!
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Allison Pearson, Behind the Attic Wall, bridges, Campus Crimes, Cheryl Strayed, Chuck Palahniuk, ditch, Dreaming Lettie, driveway, Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine, Haunted, I Don't Know How She Goes It, ice, Jodi Picoult, Leaving Time, New piece, pantry, pilates, procrastinating, Ryan Boudinot, Sylvia Cassedy, Tea Obreht, thaw, The Tiger's Wife, Things I Can Say About MFA Writing Programs Now That I No Longer Teach in One, Wild, working title, yoga | Leave a Comment »
Yes, it’s true. On Saturday, we went in to Mark Adamchick’s office and he estimated our refund (NY State and Federal) would be equal to the County Tax bill which we received on Monday. Gotta love the timing.
The cold and snow have been unrelenting. I’m pet-sitting for a neighbor. Had I known what the weather was going to be like, I would have rethought my answer. I still would have done it, but I would have thought longer before agreeing to do it.
The day before Valentine’s Day, wonderful things happened. I received the postcard XO Man sent from Tierra del Fuego (props if you get the Letterman reference), there was a letter from a dear friend, and to top it off, Husband stopped to buy me a rose. He didn’t have to–I’d gotten mini-carnations two weeks before and we’d gone out to lunch last week since we didn’t want to deal with the hassle of dining out on VD.
My husband is awesome.
The writing lately, not so much. Oh sure, I had another piece accepted (Thank you Tim Sevenhuysen) and it went live today at 50 Word Stories. Otherwise, I’ve been spending a lot of time on rewriting some short stories and rewriting old stories feels like I’m not moving forward. I did squeak out a new flash for a contest. I started several one night, let them alone for a few days then picked the strongest and polished it to fit a contest’s requirements. Last weekend when I was at the library, I did make a leap forward with “The Little Woman,” a story I conceived of in November 2012, but again, it’s an old story.
I suppose the answer is to plunge back into “the new piece.” I still don’t know what it’s going to be–size wise–but I’m still smitten with it. Unless I decide to submit a bunch of stories…or maybe poems. I could polish a few essays I’m close to liking enough to send out, but maybe I should scour agent listings and send out more queries…
What I really want to do is buy seeds and plant them.
Thanks for stopping by!
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged 50 Word Stories, cold, county tax, David Letterman, essays, Husband, Mark Adamchick, mini-carnations, New piece, pet sitting, refund, rewriting, Rose, Snow, Tax, Tax guy, taxes, The Little Woman, Tierra del Fuego, Tim Sevenhuysen, Valentine's Day, writing, XO man |
Apparently, the top of a Thermos can go airborne. I heard something shatter and came downstairs. Husband was still in shock that it happened at all. After the top came off, the round rubber band part struck the purple and gold art deco figurine that Bob and Merv gave me years ago. I’m still trying to figure out the angles since the rubber part was found on the other side of the room by the refrigerator. Regardless, I’m grateful it was a thing that got hurt and not Husband–or the cat. Excitement like that–first thing in the morning–is not appreciated though.
Alex Pruteanu’s post on Facebook the other day offered me some relief. He made a comment that he needed to set aside a piece he was working on which made me feel better about setting aside my own. The latest “long work” was getting too close to opening every vein I own. Eventually, I know it will be a great story–and at this point it feels like it will end up being a novella–but not yet.
I have been writing though and had four pieces picked up, including “We Were Those Girls” which made it through the first round of The Gover Prize, so it will be published in Hopewell Publication’s The Best New Writing. I have a drabble called “Snowmancing” in Speculative Valentine Drabbles 2015 (Thank you Jorge Salgado-Reyes and Roy C. Booth!) On Saturday, “The Gnomes They’ve Known” will go live on Slink Chunk Issue 3 (Thank you Tegan Elizabeth!) and “If Only” (a retelling of an Indian folktale) will appear in the anthology Condensed to Flash: World Classics (Thank you Mark Budman!)
For those keeping score, of the last eight pieces I’ve written, four have been accepted and three are still under consideration.
Outside, it’s been snowy and cold, but a flock of four turkeys have been out and about, sometimes coming close to the house.
I cannot wait to get back to the garden, but it’s going to be a while. Stupid groundhog.
Well, these are my creek side reflections; your experiences may vary.
Thanks for stopping by!
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Alex Pruteanu, art deco, Best New Writing, Condensed to Flash: World Classics, Facebook, Gover Prize, Hopewell Publication’s The Best New Writing, Jorge Salgado-Reyes, Mark Budman, Roy C. Booth, Slink Chunk, Tegan Elizabeth, Thermos, Turkey, writing |
It’s the middle of January and I already have my NEA paperwork sent in as well as my packet for Bread Loaf. Had NYFA opened before 5:30 p.m. on Friday, I would also have had that paperwork filled out and sent in, but then life got in the way. Yesterday, I prepared and uploaded the files. All I have to do is hit “submit,” but I’m doubting everything and will go and futz with it after I post this.
Gina and Mary had gorgeous weather to come here on Tuesday. It is fantastic to sit and talk with other writers about writing and each others work. They are very kind about the novel I’m sending them. It was written so long ago and there is so much head hopping! I don’t know when I’ll get to revising it properly; this new piece won’t let me go. The funny thing was that Mary commented I needed to go deeper with my characters in Campus Crimes. I’m in so deep with this new piece I’m scaring myself.
It’s been bitterly cold, but there are many tracks: squirrel, rabbit, deer, and cat. This morning, several birds were singing when I went to the mailbox. The new piece takes place in winter so it’s easy to pick out details to add to the setting…which I should be working on, if you don’t mind.
Sorry this is short, but thank you for stopping by and checking in!
Oh, “Could of Have Been Us” comes out tomorrow (1/16/215) at Vine Leaves . If you get a chance, check it out. I think you’ll like it!
(*These are my creekside reflections. Your experiences should vary.)
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Bread Loaf, Campus Crimes, deer, details, Gina Miani, Mary Akers, NEA, new work, NYFA, rabbits, squirrels, talking, tracks, writing |
Can you believe it’s been 15 years since the Y2K scare?
Remember the excitement?
And then the let down when nothing happened.
This year marks a personally significant one; I will soon be the same age as my mom when she died. If it’s genetics, I guess my death is nigh, and if not I will probably end up working on a few messy, emotional essays about this topic. Some of those thoughts and ideas may end up in future blog posts. You have been warned.
Yesterday, I spent time in my office’s loft finishing up the organization of the things that were allowed to remain. I’m donating/dumping so much “stuff” that I’ve been holding onto for no good reason. It was just time for it to go–not so much because of the time of the year as much as being ticked off that I couldn’t easily get to the box I needed.
The correspondence stays.
I came across letters and cards with notes–I wasn’t able to read them all, but each was touching. And this morning I received an email from someone whom I encouraged, which brightened my day–and the beginning of this new year. (Thank you Sidney Thompson!)
No resolutions, no new me, just the same goals I’ve always had: continue to read, to write and improve with each piece.
Sadly, with the amount of reading for r.kv.r.y. and Literary Orphans, my time for novel length books feels diminished. Instead of dwelling on that, I’ve added a book a week to my calendar–whether I get to reviewing them or not is a different topic. Once I get through Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist again, I might have that sort of courage and determination. She writes honestly about everything; that is the truest form of freedom and bravery.
There is snow on the ground and I followed a stray cat’s paw prints out to get the Buffalo News. I haven’t seen this cat, but I’ve known of its existence for months. Husband has another long weekend and I have a new story to work on. After a vivid dream that involved a lot of inappropriate kissing, I wrote down the details, and that somehow unlocked the plot to a long story/novella I wrote years ago that did not work. (It is from so long ago I may have to track down a 3.5 floppy disc reader.) Now, I see where several other bits fit together and I’m excited to see how well they will work together.
Anything to avoid writing messy essays and starting–in earnest–on the new novel.
So for now, I bid you adieu and send you wishes for a very good new year.
Thank you for stopping by!
(*These are my creekside reflections. Your experiences may vary.)
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Bad Feminist, bravery, Correspondence, freedom, goals, Literary Orphans, New Years, organizing, r.kv.r.y, r.kv.r.y. Quarterly Literary Journal, read, review, Roxane Gay, stuff, Y2K |
So, I went to Gina’s last night. I thought I’d be late–Husband had filled the gas tank this time, but I wasn’t on the road two miles when a stupid light came on about the tire pressure and the squall was limiting my sight and I wondered if I was going to get there at all. I did, and I don’t know, it’s always awkward for me to go anywhere anymore. I feel like an intrusion with all my thoughts and insecurities.
In my head, everyone is a thousand times more pulled together than I could ever be.
Anyway, we were all sitting around the dining room table talking and discussing our lives, then went into the nuances of our current works in progress then back to real life matters.
Does anyone else get how comforting it is that Mary admitted that she sat there and had a panicky bit of time when she was talking about my novel to me? She said she twitched, but I didn’t see it, but when she said that, I got it exactly. It’s how I feel when I think about writing a book review.
The thing is that no matter my thoughts on another person’s work, it’s only my opinion, and who am I to judge PLUS they have a book published. Whether or it’s by a big house, a small press, or even self-published, it’s out there. Someone had the testicular fortitude to print it. Isn’t that an automatic 5 star review? I enjoy reading, but the writing about what I’ve read, not so much, which is funny because I don’t feel people are attacking me when they comment on my work–they are just talking about the story I’m trying to tell.
Don’t mind me, I had another rejection this morning so the career self-esteem isn’t there. And I feel like quitting. Not the writing, just the agent queries, the short story/essay/poem submissions, etc. Which is bunk. My hopes haven’t been completely dashed. Yet.
I will be taking a break as it is for the weekend. If I wrap up this post and the holiday letter, I’m done for the weekend, which is good since a slew of people are slated to arrive, dine, sleep and be on their way. After, I’m looking at a quiet few weeks where I’ll be assessing Mary’s comment that I put too much plot and too many characters in my books. Luckily, I was feeling that way about the latest that I scribbled out during NaNo–about having too many characters anyway.
I feel a bunch of colored index cards are about to be taped to the glass door soon. I may want to start with one as it is so someone doesn’t run into the damned thing, though it is so funny when it happens–mostly because it hasn’t happened to me. Yet. It looks painful.
(These are my creekside reflections. Your experiences may vary.)
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged book reviews, Characters, colored index cards, Gina Miani, glass doors, Mary Akers, NaNo, Novel critiques, opinions, plots, rejections |
Often, I have a list of topics to cover before I start my blog. Not so with this one. What I have is increasingly annoying notices that I am close to using up all of my monthly “usage,” so no pictures this time. I blame Snovember and having to send Husband’s pictures to his friends and family. If you need pictures, you can look on my Facebook page at a building that crumbled under the weight of the snow. We didn’t get a lot of snow here and I’m grateful for that.
It’s #PitMad on Twitter today. That will drive me over my usage amount, but if I get a tweet favorited by an agent, I’m willing to believe it will be worth it. I did get a favorite from an acquisitions editor last time, but even as I sent the requested material, I knew in my heart it wasn’t going to work out. Sometimes, I hate my sixth sense.
Thanksgiving was dignified and respectful. I’m glad of that. My niece and nephew will be flying into Buffalo in a few weeks for a Christmas visit, so after neglecting the housework while I worked on my latest novel, I’m cleaning the house, kicking out the spiders, and debating if I need to hold onto everything I touch. I’ve put several sweaters and shirts in the donation pile and three cookbooks are on their way, too.
So that is the fun going on around here recently. I’m enjoying this “break” from the novel. When I go back to rewrite it, I know I now have a much better sense of the character’s motivations that I didn’t in the first draft. One thing I will always love about writing is how characters come alive, reveal themselves, and alter what you thought their plotline was going to be. It’s the best kind of magic.
(These are my creek side reflections. Your experiences should vary.)
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged #PitMad, agents, blog, Characters, cleaning, cookbooks, expunging, Facebook, magic, novels, pictures, plotlines, Snovember, Snow, Spiders, Thanksgiving, Twitter, usage notices, writing |