Camp NaNo

Brief, rushed, short. You know, a normal cold and rainy Thursday afternoon sort of post

First, if you have a story with the  theme of “Blink,” and it is under 3000 words, please send it to r.kv.r.y.  I want to read it.

I start this post knowing I have to leave in a few minutes. I have a meeting with a potential candidate for the school board. Yes, I had been kicking around the idea of running myself, but the more I talked to people and read about the work that it entails, I didn’t see me fitting in the slot – at least not this year. So, the next best thing is supporting people who would be good at such things.

~~~

I’m back. The cherry stuffed French toast at Three Girl’s Café was wonderful, as well as our waitress Michelle, and the conversation.

tulips

I had a lovely birthday. Husband bought me these tulips that looked much better on Sunday. We went out for lunch and had a great time. If you were one of the many darling people who wished me a happy birthday, know that I appreciated that very much and I was delighted to have heard from you. I mean that.

I’ve been at a lot of meetings recently. On Monday, I was at Donna Hoke’s house where it was a thrill to see Gary Earl Ross again. I also saw Joy, a member of Playback, a troupe my mother-in-law founded. That meeting was informative and Donna’s commitment to playwrights is deep, caring and impressive. She’s hosting these meetings for six months as an experiment to see how it goes. Hopefully, I’ll work up my courage to send a play to the group by then.

Tuesday was SGI’s Board of Education meeting. I have far too many things to say about that, but I’ll not bore you with details – unless you call and ask.

From Mary Jo Hodge’s invitation, I have hooked up with Hamburg Writer’s Group. They meet in the Comfort Zone, which is a building my husband knows intimately since he’s worked there multiple times. We meet in the back room and they’re a lovely bunch.

Even though I had great intentions, I’m behind in my word count for Camp NaNo, so that’s where I’ll be, in my library, working on that thing, even though I just got out of data usage jail and would prefer to scroll and search for niggling little details, “new book” needs attention. All right, after I finish The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Burrows. The recommendation was from Gina Detwiler. She has a new book out with Priscilla Shirer called The Prince Warriors. Yeah Gina!

Thanks for the read. Thanks for stopping by this page! Thank you for being you!

 

 

 

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

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Performance anxiety even though I won’t be on stage

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.

4.16tulip

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.

4.16swing

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.

No joke, I’m posting early.

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

Muggy Summer Doldrums

7.3.2014b

While I’m ahead–word count wise–in Camp NaNo, I feel a little off. I haven’t hit a groove yet, but remember I’ve had a hard time before. No matter, it’s only day two as I start this post.

How have you been?

Are you watching Big Brother? We get poor reception here in the summer, so I end up watching it because it’s new and I can. There are worse vices to have, correct? This one is starting a gender war which is interesting to watch. It amazes me how easily men form bonds on this show.

Strangest dream last night…during part of it I was aware I was in my bed and my (dead) mother grabbed my left foot and said either “I (or it) hurt(s)” OR “Dakar,” neither makes sense. Then the rest of the dream went on with regular dream occurrences.

Anyway, the whole marriage thing hit a bump with Husband’s new supervisor. I saw it coming…I was plied with gifts that I knew had strings attached and now that they are being pulled, it kind of ticks me off…

Yeah. So that’s life, isn’t it?

The family life is matching the career life and it makes me sad that those two things are going downhill. I’ve gotten smacked with several rejections at the same time friendships have strengthened and gathered steam. I’m grateful there is good with the bad even if the bad is more pressing at the moment.

Regardless, all I can do is take a picture of something beautiful or wonderful in the universe and attach it to this blog post and send it out to the world and move on.

Right?

 

7.3.2014c{My beautiful baby Sycamore}

7.3.2014A{The bug-free place where I sometimes write}

Thanks for stopping by!

(These are just my creek side reflections. Your experience may vary, as well as your mileage.)

Flashes, Novels, and Hope

I’m looking forward to my first official reading. I know, it’s a month away, but I’m excited. It’s a good time in my life for flashes. I’ll be reading “Wildflower Wishes” at the West Falls-Colden library; I was just awarded second prize in the Mary Kennedy Eastham Flash Fiction Competition, part of the Soul Making Keats Literary Competition, an outreach of the National League of American PEN Women, and “I’m Calling Him Skippy” will be up at Matter Press any day now.

If good things come in threes, let’s hope the next good news is about my books because I’ve been having a tough time sitting down to work on my latest. I wrote the first draft for Camp NaNo last spring and let it sit. Now that I’m in the novel critique group, I’ve been going through it twenty pages at a time and that’s been fine, but the last two days, I haven’t made any progress. It’s frustrating. I have until the twentieth, but I’d been hoping I’d be done by now so that I could work on other things.

Deadlines are the way I work best, though. In the past few weeks, I submitted “Campus Crimes” to the Barbara Kingsolver PEN Bellwether Prize, an application for the Rona Jaffe Scholarship at Breadloaf, “File It Under Whatnots” to Disquiet’s International Play Competition, and NYFA packets for both the Nonfiction and Poetry categories. Yeah, I’ve been a little bit busy with those things, and on top of that, I’m taking baby steps toward finding an agent.

Getting used to the dog being gone is taking some time. I wrote Grandma about Tye’s last few days. It was hard, but I know she’d want to know that Tye didn’t suffer. She loved that dog so much–I think she would have been happy just to have Tye visit her; Husband and I were just extra. Regardless, I’ve walked in the house expecting Tye to be in front of the fire and she’s not. She’s been in a few dreams which is sort of comforting. I don’t know. She was a good girl.

Tye

Otherwise, I guess that’s what’s going on around here. And as always, these are my creek side reflections. Your experiences may vary.

Celebrating a Higher Tier Rejection from the Paris Review

Happy July 4th (even if that’s not a holiday for you.)

I’ve got to say you look incredible. Have you lost weight? Is that a new haircut? Whatever you did, you’re looking fine. As fine as I’ve been feeling recently…

The Paris Review sends out nominal slips of paper with rejection. I’ve gathered a few. I just got a different one. This one said they liked my work and would like to see more. Fantastic, right? Except now I’m wondering what to send.

I absolutely love and adore the problems I have.

If you’re following along, I am four days into Camp NaNo. The story I’m seeking advice on as a possibility to send to TPR was written in the first two days. Last month I subscribed to The Southeast Review’s prompts–a great (and cheap) amount of inspiration if you are thinking about doing it. End shot: I didn’t do every day’s prompt but I did do most. I wrote what I consider two solid stories. I sent them in as contender‘s for their best story written from the prompts. Rough contest–you had to have them sent in by the end of July 1st. The last prompt was interesting, but what I wrote for it, I couldn’t have revised in time to send–just saying it’s intense, but worth it if you look into it.

Anyway, I don’t expect to win, let alone be a finalist, but I feel really good for having written those stories. Like I said, I’m a few days into Camp NaNo and it is also intense, but this time I’m in a “cabin” and my fellow campers are an inspiration and I love the friendly competition.

There are slugs and weeds in my garden. I’ll be out there soon, combating those beasts, and it’s all good. I’m registered to go to a playwriting workshop. New form. New challenges. New hope.

I think I’m ready.

I do love writing. I probably have a crush on you if you must know. As if you’re reading this, I’m all shimmery from your attention, dear reader.

Thank you.

(These are just my overly  happy to be writing creekside reflections. Your experiences may vary.)

I’ll quit drinking and we’ll stop speaking.

Doesn’t that sound promising?

I’m just about ready to stop drinking for good AND demand everyone else do that too so we can all be on even ground when we interact.

And how were your past two weeks?

I’ve been practicing the “wear a smile, you’ll feel better” exercise and it does seem to be working. Really. Even with this seemingly unending pile of rejections and disappointments, I do feel a bit better. I swear.

By the end of today, the garden should be completely planted and weeded. We’re supposed to have decent weather this weekend and with any luck, the other bed should get tilled and then the clover can be planted. Yeah! My sister brought me two broccoli plants which are now in a big pot and they’ll go in the resting bed as soon as possible along with the peas. I’m hoping for a good second crop since I couldn’t get the first planting in this year.

Aside from the “smile even though your life is a crap heap” exercise, the biggest thing going on is that I have new goals. Mary Aker’s book launch is on 21 September at the Roycroft. I’ve already bought my ticket. That gives me a few months to get my act together. The library I volunteer at is going to summer hours so I’ll be able to achieve my Camp NaNo goals a little bit easier in July, and I’ve made it halfway through “Campus Crimes” with edits. Not too shabby.

So the next time we meet, I’ll be a few days into Camp NaNo. I wonder if I’d like going to camp so much if I’d ever gone to one as a kid. This go round, I’m planning on essays and short stories. If I manage the not drinking by then, in the evening hours I’ll be editing the hell out of the book I wrote for April’s Camp NaNo. Plans are such beautiful, encouraging, elusive things.

Oh, the title of this blog was culled from a poem I wrote twenty years ago. Part of it goes like this:

I’m a perfectionist
and if I do things badly
I don’t want to do them at all.

I never could get drunk right,
so I’ll quit drinking and
we’ll stop speaking.

No. I don’t want to explain the circumstances that brought about that poem into being or anything else that’s bothering me… So, go on with your awesome lives. Be pretty. Be smarter than I am. Pay attention. There may be a test you didn’t study for…

(*These are just my slightly nutty creekside reflections after two weeks of things going off in directions I wasn’t expecting. Why I ever think things will settle/calm down is beyond me. Your experiences may vary. I should hope so.)