This post delayed by missing cat, wayward file, and deer

 

In an understatement, let me begin by saying that Thursday was a perfectly terrible day. I got up early to mow the lawn and weed eat before the heat set in. I managed to get the roadside section done but when I took the lawnmower across the bridge to work on the large lawn, I noticed the back left wheel was poised at a 45 degree angle because the deck had broken apart. Good times.

Proceeding to the weed eating, the cordless worked well, but I stopped 2 feet from where the cord would reach – which I didn’t realize until I’d put the cordless away. I did finish both sides of the ditch but when I began the area around the garden, the string ran out.

Did I mention it was a rather warm day? I worked on weeding the patio then went in to work on new book. Wednesday, I’d had a bit of a breakthrough while at SPoT Coffee with Gina and Mary and was anxious to get back to it as I’d come up with a new beginning earlier this month. I saved the file. I hadn’t printed it out. I also hadn’t saved the file in A N Y of the spots where it should or could have gone. I checked, double checked, grew frustrated, panicked, annoyed and then went out to do the rose propagation experiment I’ve only wanted to try for 20 years. Filling the planter and dipping the stems in rooting hormone powder, I convinced myself I dreamt writing those two missing paragraphs. Sigh. I did finally find them, but by then the urge to write was superseded by the desire to read.

That lasted until sitting out on the swing; I looked up and noticed the EIGHT deep purple tulips in the far planter, which had started to open yesterday and should have been picture worthy today, were A L L   GONE. Even the red had disappeared. Bloody stupid greedy deer…I set about placing the fuchsia where the hummingbirds could find them since they are now back and I’m grateful.

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I then worked on cleaning up the pine tree debris until Husband came home. I put the cat on her leash and we were all outside enjoying the weather and catching up. For five minutes, we let cat wander. Dog went toward the creek, I got up to see where the cat had wandered off to…and she was gone. Completely. We looked, hunted, called, I declared her dead and we went to look over the lawn mower. Husband declared it sufficiently broken enough to get a new one. I checked under the car before driving away.

Oh how Wal-Mart was fun today – I’ll spare you the mind-numbing details – let’s just say the time between realizing I could take the display model and the employees confirming this was 40 minutes. Sigh. After that, I picked up an unfulfilling dinner from Top’s deli even though I could have made dinner at home had I not gone through the whole “I’ll check in the back” routine at Wal-Mart.

Anyways, when I returned home, I was sad to hear cat hadn’t been found yet and I worried more because hawks were circling overhead. While Husband got the new mower up and running, I thought about where cat had been known to go before. You cannot imagine how relieved I was to see the end of her leash. She’d holed up in a piece of…ductwork. I really don’t know what it’s called, but it’s black and round and Husband brought it home because he couldn’t stand that it was being thrown away.

Right, so, cat was found, dinner was eaten, not enough reading, writing, or lawn care occurred BUT – knock on pine – this day is over and Because Science is on and I realize yet again the cosmos have a thing to do and sometimes it’s doing us.

 

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Clichés are dumb, but they tend toward truth…

On Tuesday, I took Kobe to the vet and was there for less than an hour. When I returned home, I had two rejections – one for a contest and one for a fellowship. Being a writer is filled with all sorts of delightful occurrences like these…

*Sigh* I’ve been in a sad funk. Apparently, even if you care nothing about a person, it still bums you out when you’re told by them that Nazis should kill you. Who knew? The fight with Husband and the assault on my senses, which was snow flurries on April 30th, didn’t add any merriment to my life either.

Luckily, I have a great friend named Kellie, and during my downward spiral, I read her newsletter that was about dragons – of all things. Anyway, the message came across as you can either lie waste to everything you’ve built with fiery breathe – OR – you can polish and repair the minor nicks in your scales. I’m still not in a great mood, but I took down the firewood platform, cleaned the floors, and rotated the living room furniture today. As I write from this new spot, I feel better. Kobe is supportive of the move, having curled up to my right. (Of course, he walked away when I picked up the phone to snap a shot. I’ve never seen a more picture-shy dog in my life. The vet’s assistant can attest to this as she spent seven minutes trying to take a picture of him for his file but only has a fluffy blur of ¾ of his face)

So, I guess the take away is that life – especially the writing life – can be daunting, but there are people out there who can help it along. I’ve gone back and forth about whether or not I believe in signs (see a recent previous post about that) but here it is, May 3rd and the flowers are out,

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the frogs are lounging in the pond,

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and no Nazi’s are currently at the door ready to take me out.

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(As I’m preparing to post, I do want to say this minor shift in surroundings and thought has gone to remind me how lucky I am, and the amazing friends I have, so shouts outs to Nina, Gina, Mary, Jim & Julie, Betty, St. James, Dan, Wendy, I can go on for a very long time… Seriously! What was my funk about exactly?)

The GORGEOUS May/June issue of Ink in Thirds is out and one of my pieces is included with the likes of the amazing Timothy Gager, Tara Isabel Zambrano and Meg Tuite!

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Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

Cheers!

April madness

Since last I posted, I’ve introduced Kobe to Betty, Gina, Mary, and Bill. I’ve had two dresses fitted, a mani/pedi and my hair cut. I’ve rented a car, driven to New Hampshire for a wedding, returned, and then turned around to drive to PA to visit my sister. I’ve been out to dinner at J. P. Fitzgerald’s and Raphael’s. I’ve seen J. T. and the Law play at J.D.’s Brewpub. I’ve attended the Taste of the Southtown’s, a school board meeting, and the annual West Falls-Colden Library Book Sale. I saw Junot Diaz at Kleinhan’s with Nina Fosati as part of the Babel series and secured tickets for next year’s stellar line up. I’ve read Ready Player One by Ernest Clive, Lab Girl by Hope Jahren, and About a Boy by Nick Hornby and SO many short stories and flashes. I’ve hosted the novel critique group and gone to Spot Coffee for a write-in and now have two new micros and two flashes. I’m certain I’m forgetting other things that I’ve done and seen but tomorrow, I have a meeting about featuring the house in a magazine and will attend a meeting of the Hamburg Writers’ Group.

Dear reader, after this month, I can honestly say it’s been interesting…and an adventure.

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Say, what dog?

Well, I’ve gone and done it. I’ve reached a milestone birthday. Many thanks to the well-wishers, card senders, and gift givers! As I mentioned on Twitter, Husband FINALLY got me a card – by himself – and he did well. The one he chose had a giggly, red octopus inside holding wine glasses. I don’t think octopuses drink though…

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Slightly before that, we got a new (geriatric) dog. Welcome to our home, Kobe!

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And no, I’m not a woman who is going to knit sweaters for her animals, but when Kobe was rescued, he came with a skin condition and they had shaved him. (Naked dogs are just as attractive as naked cats – hence pet sweaters and vests until his hair comes back.)

The search for an agent continues. In the absence of one, I’ve been tossing out ideas to my writer friends about which book to pursue next. I keep circling back to Lettie – and changing everything I’ve written so far. I was jotting down notes while I was trying to go to bed Tuesday night and I’m taking that as a good sign. While I’d love to sit down and just start with the rewrite, I’m holding back because of Niece’s wedding in Lincoln, New Hampshire, and my upcoming trip to Duncannon, PA.

I just glanced over at my calendar and I’m exhausted. There are so many things to do this month, including the West Falls-Colden Library book sale on the 21st. It’s my turn to host the novel critique group on the 24th. There are multiple appointments and meetings, too. What I’m saying is that the second post this month might be delayed by a week as I sort out all the thoughts, feelings, happenings, and events. (Yes, I do have the best problems.)

Oh, Nina and I went to see Viet Thanh Nguyen at Kleinhans on the 23rd and on the 20th of April, we’re slated to see Junot Diaz. I have to say I’ve enjoyed this experience so much. Many thanks to Nina for suggesting we get season tickets, Just Buffalo Literary Center for creating the Babel series and Barbara Cole for her knowledge, warmth, and grace as moderator.

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Fierce winds took down a tree yesterday and it missed the lawn tractor, so I’m grateful for that. A few other limbs came down so the spring cleanup we were planning to do became a little more daunting. Ah, the life of a homeowner near a creek in western New York…there’s always something to do!

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(And look forward to!)

Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

 

 

 

*These are my Creekside Reflections; yours should vary.

 

There’s a cardinal banging on my window so it must be spring.

I don’t know why, but this year’s bird of mayhem is a cardinal and instead of just attacking the hallway windows upstairs, it’s decided my library windows are also things to batter. It makes waking up and traipsing off to do Pilates a bit disruptive. When the leaves come out, they generally lose interest in the perceived identical twin enemy, but until then, I have a “natural” early morning alarm clock that does not come with a snooze button. Joy, joy…

Another interview came out HERE. I saw the promo line and it was so appropriate – I’d forgotten I’d said it. Many, many thanks to the great, talented, and generous Tamara Grisanti and everyone at Coffin Bell.

The mad snowstorm I mentioned last time resulted in a lot of trees being damaged. Here are a few shots:

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It’s hard to show the extent of devastation to them, or my heart. I know, it sounds strange, but since I spend so much time here, trees do become like friends and any friend in pain hurts me…

Right, so, I rewrote my synopsis, reworked my query letter and sent it off to four more agents this week. I started my shifts at the Bertrand Chaffee Hospital’s Gift Shop. Behind in my submission goal, I’m off to bring those numbers up and try to end this excessive desire to clean and organize everything. My shoes have never been so orderly and that scares me a bit. My office looks like an efficient person works there. I joked with Nina Fosati at lunch on Monday that maybe I’m doing the opposite of “nesting” in preparation for New Book. I suppose anything is possible…

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Happy Easter, and don’t get fooled on the first of April. I’ll be older the next time I post, so birthday wishes will be happily accepted should you want to make this “milestone” truly great. Or not. Cheers!

Thanks for stopping by and for the read! As always, these are my creekside reflections and your experiences should vary, yaddah, yadah…

February went out like a lamb, so…

The weather has been such fun! Yesterday, I was able to take a lovely walk out back. The snow was mostly gone; I traversed the labyrinth and collected a few polished pottery shards from the beach. Of course, it was muddy, but it was warm and smelled nice – very spring like. I started out with a light fleece jacket, but had it tied around my waist near the end. This morning was a bit cooler and I went into town. By the time I returned and was unloading groceries, the wet snow had begun.

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A few hours later, branches are falling and I’m nervous. Tree limbs are heavy with the snow.

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Oh, and the defunct telephone line was ripped right off the house. That was a delightful noise to figure out. Welcome to western New York’s winter, though some people consider this the first day of spring. Oi!

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Tuesday was a great day to drive and the novel critique group meeting was in Lockport. I don’t recall having carrot soup before, but it is wonderful – at least the way Mary made it. Gina’s section had me asking so many questions – when her book comes out, I’m sure you’ll be wondering the same things and you’ll have it easy because you can read the next pages whereas I have to wait until she writes them and then another month for the day we exchange files – THEN I’ll know what happens. Next month, I’ll be sending the final section of my book to them. It’s hard to believe that one will be over and I have to create (refine) new characters. These last ones were a joy to spend time with – well, most of the time. I still remember Mary’s comment on the first section, though the beginning is now revamped, she echoed the original beginning by saying she fell in love with Tara. That sentiment is still heady and it boosted my confidence in this manuscript.

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I’ve been reducing clutter and getting rid of things. My notebooks are sorted and I’ve made a major dent in the filing. I still want to gather the bits of “Near Eden, New York” and of the Letty stories and box them up. I’m done with both for the time being and I’m hoping that if they are out of my way, I can figure out what “new book” is about. So far, it’s not going the way I thought it would, but that’s fine.

In case you missed it, I did an interview. There’s a photo and everything. I have a request to do another one, which I haven’t finished yet. It’s odd to be on the other side of the questions. I’m still figuring out the managing editorship, but that, too, is okay. I attended a networking event that the Springville Chamber of Commerce hosted at Papa Jake’s. One of the stories told was about one of their guest speakers who encouraged people to say yes to an opportunity – even if you didn’t know how to do it because you’d figure it out. I did and now I am, though I’m not looking forward to sending rejections. If you get one from me, please know I found no pleasure in it at all.

I’m checking the mailbox because my copies of Ellipsis: Two should arrive any day now. I’ve seen posts on Twitter and can’t wait to dive in. I have plenty of other reading to keep me busy until then, but One was fantastic so I want to see what is in there. And I will continue to read and sort because I’ve sent out queries and checking Query Tracker every five seconds doesn’t speed things along any more than refreshing the Submittable page when I send out flash.

Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

 

 

*These mere creekside reflections are mine alone and in no way should alter your unique view of the shore.

 

The Day After the Day of Love

I’m disgusted. I could write about guns. Or mental health care. Or schools. I have written my misogynist representative. I’ve attended forums, school board meetings, bitched on Twitter. I hope this school shooting is the last one. There is no animal you can hunt with an AK47 and if you want to whine about how you think I want to take away your rights, save it. If you don’t believe children should be safe in schools, you don’t deserve to hold anything in your hands to protect you from the truth. As Kathy Fish so eloquently wrote in Jellyfish Review, it’s gotten to the point where children can be classified as targets. That’s wrong; end of discussion. We need sensible gun restrictions and the laws we already have enforced.

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In other news, Husband brought home a lovely bouquet on the 13th so I’d have an extra day to enjoy these beautiful blooms. (Translation: He was in Hamburg that day to run an unrelated errand and also wanted to avoid the last minute rush of other husbands on Valentine’s Day at the Hess Brothers Florist shop.)

I found out I was on the long list for the London Independent Story Prize and couldn’t say anything for a day. On the 8th, I went to JD’s Brew Pub to hear J.T. and the Law play, and to keep my mind off possibly losing. They have gotten better and it was great to hear J.T.’s brother sing a song called “Galileo” and Anna sang Maddie Larkin’s songs beautifully.

Last week’s meeting of the Hamburg Writers’ Group consisted of me, Patrick, and Michael. The conversation about craft and submitting was both interesting and inspiring. I read the piece that was long listed and Michael said he thought I’d win. I still had doubts. On Saturday, I went to the library for my shift. It was hard to concentrate on reading submissions because I kept refreshing the LISP page to find out who won. With Lent coming up, I wanted to go out to have a glass of wine with a meal before I couldn’t. Husband let me use his phone to check. Just as we were finishing our meal at Julie’s, the winners were announced. As anyone who was in the restaurant that afternoon can tell you, I won.

 

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So, today is the last day to submit to the American Short(er) Fiction contest and I’m preparing my entries. I’ve sent out some queries to agents and next week, I send pages to my darling, awesome novel critique group after the incredible Nina Fosati has gone over the book again. In this revision, she’s highlighted the parts she particularly likes. I’m now in love with the color turquoise and I’m seeing a lot of it, which I really need because “new book” is pure dreck at the moment.

Writing…not for the thin skinned or the impatient.

Thanks for stopping by and for the read. As always, these are merely my creekside reflections so I expect your experiences to vary.

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