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So last night I dreamt of even more things going wrong at Local Authors Live! It’s the reading at the West-Falls Colden Library that I’m hosting on 25 April. There were 50 people; I had no food. I borrowed pretzels from Eric Tertinek, then worried if they were all right because he had a half-eaten pan of Jell-O in his cupboard. A woman who wasn’t on the roster wanted to read first. I get her to understand there was a line up and so I go to introduce Stephen Eoannou, but I can’t pronounce the name of his book because his son wanted him to read from the different one. My print out with intros was lost not once, but twice. My mother was selling pop in a tent in the front, while in the back, a storm raged and an owl threatened to break the window. This set of dreamed problems is just as whacko as the other disaster dream I had the day before.

I’m exhausted and there’s still over a week before the reading.

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In other news, I went out for my birthday and well, so much for weight loss goals. The day after, Betty and Angela dropped by with wings and pizza and a gift certificate for the The Meat Shoppe. *Sigh.* I did get these lovely tulips from Angela. I have 9 flats of seedlings growing now. I’ll be getting a workout in the garden soon enough.

After this horribly long winter, the weather has warmed up and the crocuses are out.

4.16Stripe

Husband finished the prototype swing seat. There are a few tweaks we’re considering and then he’ll make it out of cedar.

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The Camp NaNo book has stalled out. That’s all I want to say about it. At the moment, I’m in a reflective mood wondering if I even want to write anymore. It is hard and scary. With exercise, I can look in the mirror and see that I’m making progress. With writing, well, I’m a better writer than when I tackled Campus Crimes, but other than that? Eh. If I go farther in the latest manuscript I’m not sure I can write through the scenes well enough.

Why yes, I do have lousy self-confidence. Thanks for stopping by and reading my Creekside Reflections. I trust your experiences will vary.

I thought the flowers had bloomed, but they were just teasing.

flowers

Greetings and thank you for popping in. You picked a good time since I’ve got an amusing story.

Today was the start of Camp NaNo. I was upstairs working somewhat diligently on the new book when the passive-aggressive semi-smart phone told me there was an email. I opened it and it said the short list for the Gover Prize was listed. I hit the link and I was on there. As if…

I signed on to the computer and went to the site. It was true.

I did not see that coming. Talk about being humbled–by that and the amazingly kind words I’ve received from people on Facebook. I am so grateful.

Needless to say, I’m behind on my NaNo word count. C’est la vie. With any luck I’ll be able to make it up tomorrow at school. I’ll have time while I’m haunting the second floor teacher’s lounge when I’m not hanging out with Isabella. That’s the name of the kid I’m mentoring. Yes, I mentor now, and if that sounds strange to you, trust me, it sounds even weirder to me.

That’s why I can’t post tomorrow–I’m catching a ride with the Social Studies teacher. On Friday, I definitely don’t want to post because it’s my birthday. I’ll have that morning to catch up on my word count and get in an hour or so of Pilates. That’s the other thing that’s going on that is great: I hit a mini weight loss goal, which makes me want to hit the next one. Apparently, after listening to the same advice for years, it is sinking in–that it’s easier to get things accomplished if you break it down. I trusted that process implicitly for NaNo, but for other things, I balked. Now I see the physical results and I’m convinced.

And there you have it, my creekside reflections brought to you early and with happy news. May your days be just as wonderful.

Seriously, thank you for stopping by today and here is proof that I won’t be the only one waiting for you to drop in again…

cat

So, I tend to be close-lipped on some things, a blabbermouth about others, right? I’m now confessing that we got rid of our landline–and our abusive relationship with AT&T–over a month ago. Of course, there’s still a little back and forth slapping going on with AT&T, but my blowup on Twitter did get me some satisfaction in that regard. Supposedly, the bill we shouldn’t have gotten in the first place–let alone with a late fee–has been taken care of, but I have a whole month to wait to see it in print.

Our semi-smart phone takes great pictures and since we got the case and touch screen stylus, I can type longer texts. The other good thing is that I can check my Gmail account without having to go upstairs, turn on the tower, and check a bunch of other pages like Duotrope, Twitter, and Facebook. The bad part is that now the semi-smart phone chirps whenever an email arrives. I’ve turned into a puppet for that sound. I tense up and feel the need to rush over and check what was sent. I’m learning–slowly–that most of my “mail” is actually Facebook group updates and not worthy of my immediate attention. Of course, as soon as I typed that, an actual important email did arrive…

I’m signed up for April’s Camp NaNoWriMo. Just before I fell asleep last night, I found the “key” that was missing from the-new-piece-that-I-still-don’t-have-a-name-for. Looking at it again this morning, I felt stupid for not seeing the answer before since it is so obvious. Regardless, I think I’ve got it and look forward to writing it soon.

3.18.2015B

Besides the melting snow, I have pansies and impatiens sprouting as well as deer coming too close to the house. My list of people I owe letters to has been reduced. I finished reading Chuck Palahniuk’s Haunted and Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted. I’m a quarter of the way through Thom Jones’ The Pugilist at Rest and half-way through Paulo Coelho’s Brida, which gets me closer to catching up to my goal of reading a book a week…but the idea of reviewing them, well, that has fallen to the wayside for now.

 

 

 

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3.18.2015C

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I truly love the problems I have.

Thank you for stopping by! One of you lucky readers should be on the lookout for a small care package that I sent out Tuesday as a random act of kindness. Will it be you? By the way, these are my creek side reflections; your experiences may vary.

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.

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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.

*Sigh*

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!

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.

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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.

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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…

*Sigh*

What I really want to do is buy seeds and plant them.

Thanks for stopping by!

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.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I cannot wait to get back to the garden, but it’s going to be a while. Stupid groundhog.

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Well, these are my creek side reflections; your experiences may vary.

Thanks for stopping by!

1.15.2015C

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.

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Sorry this is short, but thank you for stopping by and checking in!

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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!

 

Thank you!

(*These are my creekside reflections. Your experiences should vary.)

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