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Me, being me

I’ve been reading a lot of books. Some have been recently released and others I’d heard about but never got around to reading. Vox, by Christina Dalcher, The Glitch, by Elisabeth Cohen, Trout Fishing in America, by Richard Brautigan, Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff, and currently, There There, by Tommy Orange. What I’m finding is that checking books out of the Erie County Library helps get them read. Who knew deadlines work? Well, I did in regards to zines and contests, but I haven’t been paying attention to writing deadlines lately. I’ve also been doing editing for people I know which is adding another insight into what works in writing and what doesn’t.

The last few write-ins at Spot Coffee have gone into a new book. I’ve been able to sit there and write over a thousand words at a time toward it. It feels too easy, so I’m not trusting it – or working on it otherwise.

I do feel this is more of a “filling up” time in my writing life, and I’m fine with that. The two pieces I’ve finished writing have been speeches. One I’ll deliver at the next board meeting. The other is below…and here’s where it gets tricky. I’d like to keep the few friends I have, so stop reading now if the topic of abortion is something you’ve made up your mind about. I won’t change your opinion, you won’t change mine, so thanks for stopping by for the read!

 

Here’s a picture of a deer gathering out my kitchen window.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(I’m serious. That’s all the creekside reflections I have for you today.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Honestly, there’s a bit of male bashing, too. Go on. Stop reading.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Here’s a heron walking in the creek. Isn’t that neat? Last chance! Bye, bye.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fine. I’m not playing nice anymore.

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Me, being me, needed a break from blogging. Besides the usual allotment of year-end form rejections, a lot of interactions have troubled me. Some hurtful things were said during a family visit – not the first time this individual was insensitive – but upsetting accusations and backhanded “compliments” nonetheless. The library in its infinite wisdom – after the idiot John verbally attacked yet another woman – decided that instead of dismissing the abusive man, two people needed to be on a shift instead of just one. And then there’s boys I went to high school with on Facebook and strangers writing to the Buffalo News. So yeah, I’m a little sick of opinionated men right now. Here is a response to an alleged “Reverend” in Randolph that appeared in yesterday’s paper, which I plan to send in to the oped page later today. If you feel the same way, you have my permission to share it:

Men without an M.D. behind their name claim to know exactly when “life” begins and how abortions work. Men who are no one’s husband always seem happy to publicly opine about when and where and how someone else’s family should be constituted. A lot of misinformation pulsates from Facebook memes including – and I wish I were kidding – a religious leader convinced that aborted fetuses are being turned into food additives. Perhaps clapping at the passage of the abortion rights bill wasn’t appropriate, what you wouldn’t have done, but let’s not forget the goose and the gander. While I appreciate the fact that unrelated males think they have my best interest at heart when they dictate how my body functions, I’m becoming more and more interested in seeing their choices legislated and curbed. Oh, the horror – how they might feel upon wearing the other shoe, unable to ejaculate under penalty of law. Of course that’s not the same thing! I don’t have the equipment to know what that feels like. Nor do they know how a dead, deformed, or diseased fetus feels inside their womb with threat of prison time if they dare to remove it.

If you consider the above passage harsh, please look up the assault rate on pregnant women.

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Still around…

I am thrilled and honored that Barren Magazine has published “The Shots Fired, The Shots Called” in their gorgeous 5th issue and OMG! Cathy Ulrich tweeted about it while I was off-line in my funk. Remington Review published “Anniversary Plans” on page 5 and I’m thrilled with the outcome. I’ve liked that story a long time and it found the best home. Thank you to everyone at Barren Magazine and Remington Review for believing in my pieces and publishing them.

Yesterday, I had a lovely chat with Nina Fosati about stamina, direction, and purpose in regards to writing. I told her it’s the first time since I don’t remember when “a book” or a “goal” wasn’t foremost on my mind and how this made me feel…adrift.

Personally, I find it to be a sucky feeling and hope it turns into something freeing or worthwhile. Maybe it’s the weather. Or the anniversary of my mother’s death. Or some other “thing” causing this ennui, but I hope it resolves soon. In the meantime, I’m reading, tidying, cleaning, and trying to figure out the next step.

Regardless, I am grateful you stopped by for a bit. Thank you for the read and may your day be stunning!

Cheers!

Pulling the plug, a December tradition

Once again, the Christmas chaos calms down and a piece of my heart dies with it…but first, let’s explore the highlights of the past few weeks…

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I know, this may not be a great thing for you, but look at the back:

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Ink! From the Paris Review! I also got a nod of encouragement that I could take my writing to a whole new level and get published in the Reader’s Digest if I wrote differently, so I’ve got that going for me…

The Playwright’s Potluck dinner party at Donna Hoke’s house was amazing. I met Gary Earl Ross’s wife, Tammy, as well as other writers, directors, and actors. I reconnected with some people from previous parties or workshops and had a great time. Husband and I caught up with Stepson and DIL over dinner at J. P. Fitzgerald’s and exchanged presents before they left to return to Texas. Within two days of their departure, my son flew up from a different part of Texas to Indiana. We agreed to meet about mid-way on a Wednesday. The timing worked and in Cleveland, we had lunch with a great friend named Michael who turned us on to an amazing market. We wandered around in there while waiting for my son and his family to arrive. Husband and I had appetizers with my son, DIL, and both grandkids at Great Lakes Brewery.

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While exercising off our meals, we stumbled across a glass operation with a resident chicken.

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We got a tree – which isn’t that unusual, but we went with a living pine tree for decorating. We – and by we, I mean Husband – put up multiple strands of light.

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All month, I’ve been receiving cards and notes from all over and I love each one. Thank you to all who sent us holiday wishes!

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Nephew from Portland, Niece from Boston, and her husband arrived to spend the holidays with us.

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During their visit, we went to the Eternal Flame. A logjam prevented me from going to the end because I’d brought the dog with us. He later thought he’d scored a rug, but it was a beautiful, 8 years in the making, gift from Niece to her brother.

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We drove to Leicester to see my sister and another niece. I was able to make it to a writing session/gift exchange with Gina and Mary. I doled out bags of candy to the workers at The Comfort Zone and my other writers’ group. I stopped by and visited with Nina Fosati. So basically, I’ve seen pretty much all the people and I’m grateful for those interactions because today is a rough one. Like I said, I’m losing a part of my heart today…

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She’s been in decline, but now – 4:30pm, actually – we’ll be driving her down the road for an appointment where we say our goodbyes.  I know, not the greatest way to end the year, but what are you going to do – other than wish you a Happy New Year. I’m ecstatic to be leaving this one behind.

Thank you for stopping by and for the read.

A Thursday in December

It’s only the 6th of December and I’ve already attended two Christmas parties. I’m not complaining, I just saying…I’m having a lovely time. Last Saturday, Husband and I attended the KiRST Construction Annual Family Bowling Christmas Party at Legion Lanes. We played against Nancy and Harry and it was fun. I hadn’t bowled since last year’s party and it showed.

The mail recently has been delightful. Out of nowhere, I received Shot Girls from Kim Chinquee!

I can’t wait to dive in to this collection and my copies of the Coffin Bell Anthology arrived. It’s just stunning. Tamara Grisanti and her team at Coffin Bell did a fabulous job and I’m honored to have a story included in it. Thank you Tamara!  And as an interesting “small world” coincidence, William R. Soldan has a story in there. I was his 700th Twitter follower, and because of that, he wrote a poem for me here: One More While the Wind Blows

Monday night had me visiting the Eden Library for the first time. It’s a lovely space. I was there for Christina M. Abt’s reading. She spoke about her book, Beauty & Grace  as well as how Mary Jo Hodge had not only inspired the book, but was the reason the book got finished at all.

Tuesday was more fun at the School Board Meeting. This time, it was surreal at the end where a fog seemed to have descended and no one knew what was going on. #electedpeopleatwork

Wednesday was the Bertrand Chaffee Hospital Woman’s Association Holiday Dinner and Auction. The dinner was delightful as well as the company.

And today…is #PitMad. To all that see my tweet, retweet it only – unless you’re an agent. If you’re an agent, please heart it! I am grateful to this competition – it helps me focus on the PR aspect of my book…and my next one. I do love how the more I interact with other writers, editors and agents, the more I understand the business side of publishing.

This year I participated in The Common’s Weekly Writes Workshop. I doodled a few pieces, hoping for an amazing fiction piece to emerge. What happened? A few essays. I tend to shy away from those because I go too deep. Anyways, I worked on the strongest one and asked the amazingly talented Nina Fosati to look it over. She came back with great suggestions – many of which I agree with – and I submitted it. Now I wait, as I do…

And for a final bit of good news —– I tend not to dwell on or talk about the insane amount of rejections I receive — I’m happy to say The Remington Review got back to me recently to say they accepted “Anniversary Plans.” Look for it soon! I’m signing the contract today!

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Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

Weeks Late, Full of Thanks, How ’bout You?

What I find lovely – yet frustrating – is the cycles of writing. I resent it when I need to write but I edit. Editing will take over when I’ve accumulated new books. Curled up in my chair, I’ll be happily reading when writing calls. Even now, I feel a tug…

Someone on Twitter made a joke about a reading retreat and I honestly think that should be a thing. I have Gina’s draft and Jim’s in my queue, but then this lovely volume arrived in my mailbox:

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The two prose poems I’ve read so far are intricate and interesting. I can’t wait to finish reading the rest. Randall Brown is an amazing writer and so is Alex Pruteanu. His latest book is on its way, as is Tamara Grisanti’s Coffin Bell Anthology. Plus, I received my contributor copy of Montana Mouthful – and it came with stickers! (Thank you Jasmine Lamb!)

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Domesticity doesn’t overtake me that often but when it does….yikes! Thanksgiving had me push a boundary – I don’t know why – but I made real crust for a pecan pie – which turned out fabulously. I also roasted a turkey breast. Yeah, I know, it’s not that impressive, but still, I thought it was picture worthy a week ago…

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It’s hard to believe Saturday will be the first of December. I’m proud to say I have a story up at (mac)ro(mic) which touches upon late spring flowers and I just reviewed the galleys of my story in Solidago’s Initiation Issue about a late summer exchange between an Aunt and her niece. That’s another thing I love/hate about writing – how the stories are written, accepted, appear out of season sometimes, but the timing always feels right.

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Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

Edit the old or NaNo?

That’s the question of the day. I’m prepared to NaNoWriMo in the sense that the house is decluttered and clean, BUT my husband, whom I assume doesn’t pay attention, said last night that I don’t need to. He said my writing has been going well, so did I really want the stress? So now, I’m conflicted and doubting myself…just like every other day of the year.

And my writing has been doing well. I attribute a lot of that to Nina Fosati. She points out things I don’t see and it has drastically improved my writing. (Thank you Nina!) Recently, a story I wrote from a prompt by Meg Pokrass won second prize in the Montana Mouthful contest. I’m sheepish about publishing that on my Facebook page though. I’m fearful someone who has read my work in the past will read it and assume it’s about them and it isn’t. Yes, I love my ego problems. Aren’t they nutty?

It’s raining again and there’s the threat of flooding. I really hate this fear over something I have no control over. I’m trying to focus on the good, like the workshop I’ll be attending on Saturday, the fact that Ben got his repairs done quickly and he passed inspection (Mike, at Star Service – thank you SO much!!!) and that the leaves of the sweet gum are turning color.

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I’m leaning toward editing…Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

After the flash flood

My friend remarked that, “Man, your personal life is shit, but your career is going fabulously.” And so it goes, I guess. There was a horrible flash flood here on a October 7th – Saturday night. I hadn’t finished cleaning the garden shed from the mud wasp invasion and now I have to rinse silt into a saturated yard. The frog’s pond was muddied up and disturbed. They were not amused.

This past weekend, Husband traveled down to Pennsylvania to help Niece from Boston with the estate sale. They returned here afterwards and there were flowers, chili, and talk.

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Ben is doing better though he’ll be back in the shop for struts and rear brakes. Soon he’ll need to get his snow tires on, but I’ve been able to make the Wednesday write-ins and the Friday night Hamburg Writers’ Group meetings, so I’m grateful for that.

I’m also so pleased the On the Premises chose my story – one that had been rejected 42 times – as the second place winner. You can read it here: My Song for Majabin. When I was informed I cracked the top ten, I assumed it was a mistake – and at best I’d get a critique. Shooting low and being wrong is quite nice.

There has been a frost and so ends the outside flowers. As a nice end to the season, the moon flowers finally bloomed.

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Thanks for stopping by and for the read!