garden

Writing & Seasons

Yesterday, I got nine unique pieces sent out in hopes of finding a home. I couldn’t find it in me to get out another one. This year has been one of the lowest “submitting” ones I’ve ever had. I know, there’s still a few months, but I’m okay with accepting different years meaning different things. This one was all about a novel I loved, but since the rewrite, I’m worried over it, and worry takes up time.

The steps leading to the backyard have never been “right” so the most recent project is correcting them. We found out the drainage pipe is damaged, so that snag has delayed progress, but there is a solution and if the weather holds, we might finish this weekend. (And if I remember, I’ll take pictures for the next post.)

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The garden is a disaster – too much rain in the spring, ravenous slugs, and lack of time. I’ve been out there working with the baseball adage of “next year!” in my heart. Not every year of gardening will be bountiful. I did get some nice jalapeños and green beans. I think I’ll have a carrot and parsnip – unless something below the surface has nibbled them away.

I’m not Jewish – that I know of – but this post is sounding like I’m at a new year, doesn’t it? And I’m okay with that. In fact, I think it makes more sense to consider a year right now than at the end of December. I still won’t make a resolution, though. Promising to change isn’t the same as changing.

I do believe in goals and write them out, work toward them, cross them off. There is a list of ten 5-year goals on my fridge and I’ve reached some of them. In fact, seven out of ten is not bad with two years left. The ones not reached? All writing related. Ah well…I suppose I ought to work on the last three so off I go to edit, polish, rewrite and write anew.

Oh! And as a reminder: Saturday, 21 October 2017 at 1:00 there is an author reading. Please join me at the West Falls-Colden Library to hear Kim Chinquee, Barbara Early, Mary Jo Hodge, Gina Detwiler, Mary Akers, Deb Madar and Jeff Schober.

Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

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(It finally bloomed!)

 

*These are all my creekside reflections. Your experience may vary.

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Lent is over, flowers are in bloom, and I’m writing again.

The problem with “not writing” is that when I do, I end up writing deeper than I intend. The blog post I started for today has – somehow – turned into a craft essay. If I remember, I’ll get back to it, but in the meantime: Congratulations Nina Fosati for your story in Breath & Shadow! Gina Detwiler , congratulations on finishing Antillia! You both ROCK! Thank you for inspiring me!

It’s warming up outside and lovely things are in bloom.

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The one raised bed has been plowed up. (Thank you, Husband!) If it’d stop raining, I can get the peas planted. Otherwise, I’m hoping to visit garden places soon and choose tomato and pepper plants. This is the first year I haven’t grown any from seed which I don’t feel bad about since there are first times for everything. I will plant squash, sunflowers, and other things by seed in May. So there you go, those are my garden plans of the year.

I’m eager to get the “cabana” back up and the swing inside. Writing out there last year was so fruitful; I can’t wait to recreate that magic. This Lent, I learned a few different things about myself and my writing. Allowing myself to not write was healthy in some respects, but now I feel “backed-up.” Like not drinking a whole beer the first time I have a drink after abstaining, I’ve grabbed a set of 5 words from Hot Pants (Thank you Kim Chinquee!) and tried my hand at 300 word flash this past week. It’s going well, though yesterday I ended up with a 981 story that needs to be expanding. Ah, the twists, turns, and so-called thrills of being a writer.

I hope you’re well. Thank you for stopping by and reading!

 

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

Possessed Lawnmowers, Explosions, and Break Downs.

The morning started with a strange noise. It didn’t go away and not being able to deduce where it was coming from, I got out of bed. I put coffee in the microwave and went out to get the paper only to find the strange noise coming from Husband’s riding lawnmower. I checked, the key was in the off position. I even pulled the key out. I called Husband. He told me it was trying to start itself and to press a button. It stopped making noise. By the time I returned with the paper, it had started again. I’ve been out there 4 times now, BUT I’ve since had my coffee so it’s a bit less disturbing to have possessed machinery in the yard.

 

That was the latest thing to go kerflunky. Last night, I turned on the grill and when it was hot, I started the chicken and went inside. I heard a “pop” and thought Husband was on the lawnmower and it backfired. No, he came in through the kitchen door to report the regulator on the grill had blown up. Apparently there were flames and everything. I’m glad I missed that and it didn’t happen when I was out there. The chicken went into the oven so dinner was able to be served eventually.

 

The worst thing–of course–is the Chevrolet Colorado broke down and had to go into the shop AGAIN!!!! This time because the fuel pump died. Yet another grand into that beast and it’s STILL not paid off. Of course it had been in for an oil change at the dealership just before the latest thing went wrong. On Twitter, Chevrolet was sad to hear about my “concerns.” They want me to send them the VIN. For what? A friggin’ coupon for an oil change? I am SO irritated.

 

Otherwise, this is where I’ve been and where I’ll be. The magic triangle of the screened in tent, the garden shed, and the garden. The fence – at least one side – is slated to go up this year. The gate went in this weekend.

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Look, a frog!

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The new bulbs bloomed!

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And in writing related news, I’ve been working on something and it’s over 5,000 words long so far. I don’t know what to call it yet, so I’m letting it progress at its own pace. I have a review to finish writing, a 300 word profile to write because Literary Orphans is celebrating its 25th Issue with a special staff page, and lord knows what else. Anyway, I should figure that out and get to it as soon as I crank up the computer and post this.

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

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

I don’t “do” Saint Patrick’s Day, but I wish you well with your celebration.

I was ill. It wasn’t pretty and if I hadn’t been doing Pilates regularly, I wonder if I wouldn’t have ended up in the emergency department. Hell, last Friday, if I’d been able to get to the phone I would have called Nancy to take me. I think everything is fine now, but it took a lot more out of me than I would have expected.

The writhing in pain on the bathroom floor unable to find a comfortable position was actually the highlight of my week. My heart broke twice with agent rejections and I know, I know, I KNOW it’s a love match and I’m supposed to be grateful I didn’t end up with someone who doesn’t love my work, but right now, I don’t feel like anyone ever will…and as I say that, I need to remind myself that a story of mine made it to the final round of Best Small Fictions.

Trust me, that high didn’t come close balancing out those lows.

Another bright spot is that “Closer to Whole” is up at Pure Slush in the Suits Issue. I am thrilled to have my flash in the same issue at Susan Tepper, Gay Degani, Cezarija Abartis, and many more amazing writers. Many, many thanks to Matt Potter for including my piece.

Last night, Nancy and I went to see “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.” Tina Fey did a great job. There were a lot of interesting characters and I’ll be buying it when it comes out on DVD so Husband can see it.

It’s hard to believe the weather is as nice as it’s been, but here’s proof:

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The “normal” crocuses didn’t come up this year – or they did and I missed them thinking it was too early. I haven’t seen any growth where I planted tulips in the fall, but the hyacinth is pushing through in a ring around the flowering pear tree. Husband and I went up the hill on Saturday; the paths were clear.

After posting this, I plan on starting some tomato and pepper seeds. Maybe this year the garden fence will go up…and maybe I’ll find an agent…though giving up is a possibility, too.

I told you being ill took a lot out of me.

Anyways, thanks for stopping by for a read and if you’re my devoted fan in Brazil, thank you for checking in so often. I only post twice a month, in case you were wondering.

*These are my creek side reflections. Your experiences will vary.

I was solicited. Not the worst thing that’s ever happened…

So that was a bit of a tease. The publisher at Hypertrophic Press contacted me about Chris DiCicco new collection, “So My Mother, She Lives in the Clouds” and asked if I would be interested in reviewing the book or interviewing the author. I ran it by Brittany Warren, the Managing editor of The Literary Tavern. She said to go for it. I’m reading it now. It’s an interesting mix of stories.

I’m hoping to have it read and the interview conducted and turned in before Halloween, but I’m not going to kill myself trying to get it done. There is a wedding, a Bills game watching party, plus deadlines fast approaching. In an ideal world, I’d have clear slate for November, but that hasn’t happened yet and I’ve still “won” NaNoWriMo. Usually, I have some idea of what I want to write, but so far – aside from the title – I’m blank. After the tremendous amount of time I put into “Life and Crimes,” I think it’s to be expected.

I’ve done this enough to know that once I “see” the end, I’ll be able to get a rough draft down. It’s a tingly, full of dread and excitement phase now. Will I make it? Sadist (or insane writer that I am) I’m hoping to add more to “Dreaming Lettie” as well as writing 50,000 words toward “Considering the Alternative.” I’m covered for the 20 pages due for next month’s novel critique group meeting, plus I’ve got a few pages in my notebook for the December twenty (written during the boring parts of a Board of Education meeting) but otherwise, I’d hoped to be farther along. If we have pages due on December 1st, well, let’s just say I don’t see that happening…

Yes, I love the problems I have!

Nancy Leone, a woman I met in Bella Poynton’s playwriting workshop, has been reading the revised “Life and Crimes.” So far, so good. I had a lovely time with her yesterday over tea, apple crisp, brie, and grapes.

I finished the baby blanket and sent that off yesterday. The garden shed is cleaned up, the tool blades oiled, leaves raked and on the resting raised bed. I can’t say I’m “ready” for winter, but with all the garden tasks complete, I’ve been able to relax and enjoy the beauty of autumn. The Sweet Gum is changing color and it’s beautiful to see all of the colors it produces.

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And my copy of Best New Writing 2016 arrived yesterday. I have to admit that it’s nice to see “Gover Prize Winner” associated with my name. Many thanks to Christopher Klim, Brittany Fonte, and everyone at Hopewell Publications.

GPa

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Thanks for stopping by! Happy Halloween!

 

 

 

 

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

I was Vanderwalkered in a Schoolhouse

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.)

One thing done, twenty more added to my to do list.

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.)