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This past weekend was marvelous! Rachael flew in, Donkey and Lisa came by and Husband’s twin was here, too. The weather was perfect. There was a half game of gonzo croquet, several hands of cutthroat bridge, rich food and many carbonated beverages. Husband and I have a new favorite beer, Berkshire Brewing Company’s Coffee House Porter. We don’t often agree on beer, but this one rated a 9 from both of us.

8.22.2015(Thanks for the picture, Rachael!)

But of course, a good time often comes at a cost…

Here it is, two weeks later and I’m still revising L&C. I’m starting to hate this book. That isn’t the only thing that remains undone. *Sigh* I love the problems, I have–I really do, but this week seems especially full of them.

Last night was the last District Facilities Review Committee meeting. I’m sad to report that after it goes to the Board of Education, the new gym will most likely be put up for a vote ON DECEMBER 15th! On top of that underhandedness, the interim Superintendent will be gone by January so none of the fallout will hit her on the way out. Yes, I knew all politics is local and it’s all crap, but this is a bump up of at least two hundred dollars a year–with a steady 2% + increase every year for a declining student base–if this passes and with the voting machine Duwe has in place, it feels like a done deal.

I hate her–and her husband rubs me the wrong way, too. Putting it in a bubble and sending it away.

Other than that, I’m so behind on my reading for Literary Orphans it isn’t even funny and in a few days, the submission to portal for r.kv.r.y. opens. I’m not ready. I’ll be visiting Burlington Books in Perry tomorrow before I go to a viewing for my Uncle Erv. I was transcribing an essay I wrote in longhand in my notebook about him when he passed. Strange.

The consultation gig has at least two more rounds of emails to go through and this morning I woke to find edit requests on a story I thought I’d finished, but that’s minor. I’m sure there’s other things I’m forgetting at the moment.

I’m pulling out my “to-do” book, making a list, and getting to work. It will satisfy me to no end to cross off “write and post blog.”

One thing done well. Check.

(These are my Creekside Reflections. Your experiences may vary.)

Last night, I stretched out on the ground and watched the sky for half an hour or so and saw at least ten falling stars–one with a trail that remained for a second or two, and I was grateful. It was supposed to be the peak of the Swift-Tuttle meteoroids and uncharacteristically, we had a new moon and there were no clouds so I could actually see them. I thought about people who are no longer on the earth and some that still are, the beauty of the stars themselves, and distant planets.

It was nice to think of things that didn’t involve characters.

I’ve been engaged in the rewrite of L&C. Once inside Gail’s “head” I’ve found it hard to get out. I need to get through this revision and on to Lettie’s POV in the new book. I only managed five pages in the new book over the last month, so I sent the first 20 of the revision to the novel critique group this month.

“Prudence,” a story I wrote is long-listed on MASH stories and you can vote on it–and the other 46 stories there.

Literary Orphans got a fantastic shout out as being listed as one of the top 20 places for flash fiction (We’re No. 8! We’re No. 8!) Plus another one in Ploughshares. Scott gave me the go ahead to contact Karen Stefano about doing an interview, so I’m ecstatic about that. Over at r.kv.r.y. I spotted Andrew Stancek’s story long-listed on the Raymond Carver Story Contest and Joan Hanna’s poetry book The Miracle of Mercury is available for pre-order from Finishing Line Press. Go Joan! I love and appreciate working with such talented people.

Over the weekend, Husband and I attended a graduation party. He played croquet; I played volleyball. We had a great time at the Tuttle’s. It was great to see Jim and Julie, Mitzi and Paul, and Eric and Denise again. When we first got there, Jim introduced me as an award-winning author. I looked at him and he said, “Try and deny it.” It’s kind of cool that I couldn’t. The Gover Prize win was too fresh.

Husband and I are back on a District School Facilities Review Committee. The first meeting was last night. Oh, how I have not missed a few of those people, but it was great to see Joan and Linda again. There was a cute exchange with the Interim Superintendent where we were impressed with the other–she that I could write and me that she taught math.

This is a close-up of one of the frogs in my frog pond. He’s very loud.

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I guess that’s it, like I said, I’ve been in Gail’s head. I’m over the halfway mark, so wish me luck in getting it done this weekend.

Thanks for checking in!

(These are my Creekside Reflections. Your experiences may vary.)

Since last you read, amazing things have happened in my life:

Awesome Niece Rachael announced she is going to visit us in August.

Nancy Leone stopped by and we had a lovely morning together discussing writing.

I had a strange-but endearing-meeting with a person who will henceforth be referred to as “Trouble” about Matt’s presidential campaign.

The play by Donna Hoke I directed was performed by three amazing women (Shirley Reeves, Marilyn Heary and Jeanne May.)

My interview with Beth Gilstrap about her short story collection, ” I Am Barbarella” was accepted and went live on The Tavern with the support and care to detail that only Scott Waldyn and Mike Joyce can provide.

Kim Chinquee–the Queen of Flash–gave me, Gina, and Mary a tour of her awesome home before our novel critique group meeting.

The zinnias are blooming.   Displaying IMG_20150723_103133.jpg I WON THE GOVER PRIZE!

I know, nothing like burying the lead, is there? Anyways, I’m working on yet another revision of my book on the off chance the prize encourages an agent to contact me. Take care of each other until next time!

(These are my creek side reflections; your experiences may vary.)

I’m still catching up on the laundry from the family reunion in Essex over the fourth. I think it was Angela who summed it up best for all of us who aren’t blood related:

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“Champy,” the monster of Lake Champlain, was spotted and photographed.

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I tried to visit the library in Essex–which is right beside a creek, like mine is–but it had funky hours.

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We also toured Edward Cornell’s Art Farm.

Last night, as I was speeding down old 219 toward home after the “Donut Hole” rehearsal and a B.o.b. campaign meeting, three banging songs came on the radio–all in a row. “Love the Way You Lie” by Eminem and Rihanna, “Come With Me Now” by the Kongos, and “Personal Jesus” by Depeche Mode. Different channels, but still. Anyways, careening around those curves at dusk, volume up, I was in control–but going too fast. It flashed that this is the way my life is going right now and I couldn’t be more delighted.

I’m juggling a lot of things and if I blink, I’ll have added a new chainsaw to the rotation. If you ask if it’s too much, I’ll tell you I’m fine. I am. I know this will peter out or a crash will happen, but until then, I’m “alive” in a way I haven’t been in a while.

I have the 10 minute play by Donna Hoke I’m directing which is going well, but that’s over on Saturday. The campaign didn’t raise enough funds so the Iowa trip has been delayed. I’m preparing the second round of questions for Beth Gilstrap‘s interview for The Tavern about her book, I Am Barbarella. I participated in a writing “joust” and had a ton of fun with that. I’m cranking out new flash pieces since being invited into the “Hot Pants” office in Zoetrope, plus writing a new book in 20 page increments. The garden is weeded and if the rain stops, I’ll get the weedeater going.

Right, so I should be getting on with it. Maintaining swiftness and busyness is a temporary thing, but while it’s going on, I am enamored with that sense of power over my own life. Yes, I know that’s delusional, but it is a nice delusion to have.

 

(These are my creekside reflections. Your experiences may vary.)

With the addition of Kim Chinquee to our novel critique group, both Gina and I decided to submit new work instead of continuing with the books we had been working on. The next time pages are due, I’ll be busy with travel and appointments so I’ve been working on my pages. I have a good start on this new book and I know where it ends, but to get there is going to be interesting. Coming out of the flash workshop adds to my delight since I can take my time and explain things instead of compressing every nuance. Thank God!

 
The library’s summer hours began, so I’m out of there until September and yesterday was my last day mentoring. It worked out beautifully as I was able to attend the concert where Isabella and her friend Amy played. I am going to miss them—and being mistaken for a substitute teacher. Yes, the double loss of free Wi-Fi spots is going to suck, but I’m playing with the idea that the loss will make me concentrate on the new book and revising the last one. Hey, it’s possible.

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The water lily in my frog pond bloomed. Thank you, Christy! I see frogs on there all the time, so I’m thanking you on their behalf, too.

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Otherwise, the garden is doing well. Peas are growing and soon I’ll need to thin out the squash plants.

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Husband reworked the sides of the driveway bridge this weekend and we have a plan on how it will look when we’re done.

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Eck! I don’t want to get into the ineptitude—let me correct that by saying the continued ineptitude—of certain Erie County departments and car dealerships, so I won’t. I’ll try to resolve those issues before I vetch about them here, but really, I am angry that people are more interested in making excuses than solving problems. I mean, if it’s your job to fix things—fix them. How hard is that to understand?

 
Whatever.

 

By the by, I hope everyone will join me in a toast to XO Man and his new bride. Cheers to them. I was thrilled we were invited to the ceremony, sad we couldn’t make it, but so happy for them both. Mazel Tov!

 

I’m having a fun time reading an advanced copy of “I Am Barbarella” by Beth Gilstrap. I have the privilege of interviewing her soon for The Tavern. I swear I love my job.

 

That is not the only thing I’m reading of course, but that one I’ll be posting about in the future—and I was on her site today—she gave me ideas on how to spruce up mine.

 

So, I guess that’s it for this post. Some things have wound down, others are ramping up—life. I guess that’s how it goes.

Thanks for stopping by to read my Creekside reflections. I trust your experiences will vary.

Here it is, the fourth of June and the garden is finally planted. The screened in tent went up last night and I moved the swing in there this morning. The weather man said it was supposed to be sunny today, but that is not how the sky appears. It is the start of fun part of the year where I’m better off waking early to get outside to beat the muggy heat and the biting bugs. I am not a morning person. I’m not sure I’m an outside person either.

 
The author and my editor liked my review of Muscle Cars. I’ve been asked to conduct an interview with an author I’m unfamiliar with, so when I get a chance, I’ll be expanding my repertoire at The Tavern. Also, I may be revisiting a part of my life soon. I’ll know more on Tuesday, and I don’t want to jinx it, but it involves politics.

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Husband and I made it to our 15th anniversary. It fell on Sunday and he brought me The New York Times, Dunkin Donuts coffee, and these gorgeous flowers. They are holding up well. I guess we are, too—at least we haven’t killed each other yet. The day before our anniversary, there were a few iffy moments.

 
Condensed to Flash: World Classics is out and available at Amazon. I am honored and proud to have a story in there. It’s a gorgeous book with so many great stories by incredible writers. Many thanks to Mark Budman and everyone at Vestal Review Press.

 
Last week was brutal with rejections, so I’m hoping things turn around soon. I’ve got 5 new flash pieces from the workshop—well, one wasn’t directly from there, but the association is close. I’m going to run them by a few friends and then submit. I’ve slacked off with that part of the process recently, but it is difficult not to go outside and enjoy being able to do just that. This winter was unrelenting and I’m so glad it is over. We’ve had the daffodils, the irises are blooming and soon there will be peonies.

 
Thanks for stopping by!

 
(These are my Creekside Reflections; your experiences may vary.)

042903_1502[01]If you know my husband, you know he doesn’t text and his spelling skills are…special. Yesterday, he was in the elevator shaft, someone called his cell, he climbed out, chatted, set the phone down and climbed back in. A bit later, Ryan, the guy he’s been riding into Buffalo with, asked him if he just texted him. Husband said no. Ryan asked if he knew where his phone was. Husband grabbed for it and found it was gone. He looked where he set it down and it was there. Ryan cryptically told him, “Don’t leave your phone out where Don can get it.”

Okay, so Husband says he said something about it to Don and after some back and forth, Don told him he’d need to sort things out with Norm. At that point in the telling of the story, I’m like “What the feck! Give me that.” I opened Husband’s phone and Don had texted to Ryan, “Can I sit on your lap and steer the truck?” I read it and after laughing for several minutes was finally able to tell Husband what it said.

Don texted to Norm, “I miss you,” which wasn’t horrid, but Norm texted back “I know,” upon which Don added, “What are you wearing?” No response. (All the words in the texts were spelled correctly and there was punctuation. Dead giveaway that Husband had nothing to do with those texts!)

I told Husband he should tell Don that I found the texts and got upset and woke him up in the middle of the night to explain. Apparently, he did and Don didn’t believe him, so Husband just called and I had to listen to Don grovel and say he was sorry for his bad taste in jokes. The whole time, I wanted to laugh, but restrained myself until after we hung up. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. It is stupid, I know, but it’s also kind of nice that the jokester got joked.

***

My first “real” book review comes out tomorrow. I’ll link it here when it goes up and if I remember. There are just a few more days left in the Flash Fiction Workshop with Meg Pokrass. The story for the second prompt gave me trouble. It was too long and I was frustrated. I went back to it, finished it and wound up with 1340 words. From there, I trimmed. I cut. I eviscerated. At 995 words, I posted it and got good reviews. She thinks it may be “the one” to get me into Pank or Smokelong. Here’s to hoping. There are three more prompts, so after I post this, it’s back to work.

Otherwise, it’s been disappointing, this writing life. Several rejections arrived, I did not make the final cut for an anthology, but I did get an encouraging note from one place. I guess that is something.

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

*These are my Creekside Reflections. Your experiences may vary.

 

 

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