Kathy Fish

Tearing myself away from honing #amwriting

Kudos to the wondrous Kathy Fish for hosting the Fast Fiction Reunion on Zoetrope this weekend. I met some wildly talented writers and had a blast. Plus, I wrote two new flashes. Yeah! It hasn’t been that long since I finished a piece, but it feels that way. Now, if I could just make time to submit…

6.15.2017A

I’m in the middle of a minor kitchen project and when I say “I,” I mean Husband is doing the work and I’m coping with the displacement of things so of course this morning, Allison suggests coming round to drop off the “appreciation gift.” My life resembles a sit-com at times.

I’m honing “Near Eden, New York,” based on great suggestions from Nina, Mary, and Gina, plus my own thoughts after leaving it alone for a few months. My synopsis needs work, too. Being a writer is such fun, let me tell you. But I do take time to enjoy the roses.

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Literally. This is the sight that greets me on my way out the door.

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Sadly, the peonies are already waning.

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The bulbs that I can’t remember the names of are thriving in these days before the official start of summer. I hope you’re enjoying your time, no matter what you’re doing. As for me, I’ll be diving back into Tara and Pete’s story. It’s a lovely place to be.

Thanks for stopping by and the read!

 

 

(These are my creekside reflections. No sense getting worked up about them if they don’t agree with yours.)

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Nope, no NaNoWriMo this year.

This is the first time in years I haven’t committed to National Novel Writing month and it’s jarring. I’m far too involved with this book about Pete and Tara to drop it for something new. At roughly 43,000 words, I think it’s going to end up being 80,000. The midway was reached at 40,000, though I didn’t realize it at the time.

Otherwise, I’m typing this at the office. I’m off work, so don’t think I’m blogging on company time, or that I’m working for a company for that matter. Actually, you can think whatever thoughts you want. I’m just waiting for Husband to come pick me up. Then it’s fun times ahead with a trip to the post office then home to make dinner and catch up on laundry before posting this to wordpress.

office

That’s a picture of what it looks like from my work desk. Past the bench, there’s a table (Made by Husband) where the Bemer mat rests. The orange Post-it is where the metal brace is going to go so yours truly won’t have to stoop to press the controls. Yes, that’s my job, hooking up people and pressing buttons. Also, I serve water. If you try Bemer – and you should – drink water, it helps so much with the treatment.

I have two pieces that will be up shortly. I am so excited! One was a piece written during the Kathy Fish workshop and the other is a Pete and Tara story. Many, many thanks to the amazing Cristopher James at Jellyfish Review and Les Weil at The Flash Fiction Press. I don’t know which one of these acceptances makes me happier and I’m overwhelmingly grateful to have that as an issue in my life.

Speaking of gratitude, I sent the first pages of the Pete and Tara stories to Mary Akers (Congrats on the gorgeous edition of Bones of an Inland Sea) and Gina Detwiler for critique this month and they didn’t kill me for not finishing up with Dreaming Lettie. Again, it was a matter of being caught up with Pete and Tara and since I’m not writing it the way I usually write a novel, I feel I need to keep an eye on all the moving parts in here to make sure it turns out right before I go on to something else. I’m also polishing as I go, so hopefully, when I reach the end, I’ll be done. And that’s another thing that’s bothering me. I’ve always known the end before I begin a book and now, I’m working without that. It’s slightly terrifying. Such a lovely problem, too.

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The Best of 2016 came out! If you want a copy, email me and let me know. It was a great experience working with Nina Fosati and Nelson Locher on this edition of Hamburg Writers’ Group writing. It is a great group of people and I’m glad Mary Jo Hodge suggested I join and that Jim Miner allowed me entry.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

*These are my office reflections. Your experiences may vary.

Even if it isn’t fun, it will be memorable.

notblueThe large calendar continues to be useful. I even put the notation, “Blog!” on last and next Thursday’s squares. When I realized that meant writing one during Stepson’s wedding week, I switched that around and so you’re reading this now and not then – or last week.

Husband and I still have a lot to do to get ready for the guests that will be staying with us and normally I’d be outside mowing or weeding, but the humidity is brutal. It was bad yesterday, too, but I managed to get the rest of the wood in, Husband pulled out the old tractor to see if that transmission can be married to the one we’ve been using and I pushed the steps to the south lawn closer together. All of this with chipmunk scurrying underfoot, under leaves, under steps and in the trees. They are plentiful and brave this year.

I had an AMAZING run of acceptances recently. Christopher James took “It Only Hurts When I Smile” which came out of Kathy Fish’s workshop! It’s scheduled to appear in Jellyfish Review on 17 December. Kae Sable took “Something to Talk About” for Dime Show Review and it’s live. I felt unsure about “Birth Control” and put it up in Hot Pants in Zoetrope to workshop…and the incredible Kim Chinquee loved it as is and took it for New World Writing. It’s live HERE. And on Sunday, A. E. Phillips wrote to say she’s taking “An Alice is An Alice is an Alice” for both the print Fall Issue and the 2016 Year End Collection of The Donut Factory. Two weeks, 5 acceptances. Hell yeah!

(I did enter the bizarro world where the rejection from Apogee was welcomed. All that winning was starting to freak me out.)

Both “Birth Control” and “Something to Talk About” are very new and from the stack of flashes involving the characters Pete and Tara.  I thought the piece I wrote on Tuesday where Tara meets Pete’s mother for scones (with clotted cream – Thanks Mary Akers!) didn’t work and I was disappointed in myself. I went back yesterday and found it isn’t bad at all.

I was discouraged that only one sunflower came up this year – I planted two rows – but look at the multi-headed one that came up!

sunflower

Saturday, I’m back to my piece of heaven — volunteering at the West Falls-Colden Community Library. I won’t be there as often this season as I’ll be working some Saturdays. (Yes, Virginia, I did get a job.) And I’m glad I put that in the book, because I nearly forgot! So much is going on in the next two weeks from Husband doing things he’s never done before – including getting his hair and beard tended to by a hairdresser – to hosting a group of writers hours (I hope I have hours to prepare!) after our houseguests leave.

So, barring that it’s too much and does kill me, I’ll be back in two weeks to tell you all about with pictures of Husband in a tuxedo!

Thanks for stopping by!

*These are my Creekside Reflections; your experiences may vary.

So Much! And grateful for it all!

This morning, between the spats of rain, I’ve seen a swallowtail butterfly flitting around the flowers. Yesterday, I spotted a newly hatched monarch and I was so grateful that Husband made an effort to mow around the milkweed.

I’ll often stop washing dishes when the hummingbirds come to the feeder on the window outside the kitchen, but Tuesday, it was empty and I washed and filled it. I still had my hand on it – standing right there so it wasn’t like I was trying to camouflage myself – and a hummingbird came to feed. I don’t know if it was extremely hungry or incredibly trusting, but it was a thrill to be so close and feel the wind from its wings. I have this lovely friend who sends out a newsletter about nature, animals, and spiritual concerns. Because of her, I’ve been more attuned to nature recently and noticing strange things like that occurring more often, probably only because I am paying attention.  (Thank you Kellie!)

Recently, I used my gift card to Barnes and Noble to purchase one of those calendar organizers, you know, the ones that look impossibly thick with pages to plan your week and list goals and you wonder why anyone would ever need one that size. Let me tell you, I didn’t realize it, but I have needed one for a very long time. I’ve only had it for a few weeks and I’m already amazed at how easy this has made my life. So, Stepson, if you’re reading this, thank you for the Christmas present.

Yesterday was Husband’s birthday and even though it was a milestone, he didn’t want a fuss, so he didn’t get one, but he did get a card, a pan of brownies instead of a cake, and a case of his favorite beer.

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I posted a similar pic on Facebook and was delighted at the number of likes and birthday wishes it generated. Also, I know it’s small minded and petty, but I do wish people wouldn’t use his first name on Facebook, because, well, I’m not sure he wants to be associated with the likes of me via social media.

And Husband’s birthday is not the only close family member’s birthday this month. There are at least seven, plus two friends that are like family, and there’s a baby shower to attend and an ex-in-law’s anniversary to celebrate, so yes Hallmark, I am keeping you afloat…not that I expect a big company such as yourself to send me a thank you card.

Besides sending out tons of greeting cards, I’ve also been weeding the garden, mowing the trails, weed-eating the labyrinth, reading, making and drinking gallons of sun tea, cooking, cleaning, stressing out over Stepson’s impending wedding and the guests we’re putting up and the accompanying dinner menus, who’s getting where and when, attending Board of Education meetings, Hamburg Writers Group Meetings, looking forward to the novel critique meeting, being thrilled for friends with book releases (Congrats Gina Detwiler, Jeff Schober, Mary Akers, Claudia Cortese), enjoying the results of the Bemer treatments, being excited to start as a Bemer tech tonight, submitting two things a day because I was down to something stupid like only four things out plus fretting over the pink hibiscus and goji plants that I bought at the East Aurora farmer’s market last week which haven’t gotten planted yet, but man do the bees love them both.

 

8.16.2016

If I was reading this, I’d think that was all I was doing, but actually, I’ve been doing a lot of writing. These two characters, Pete and Tara, will not leave me alone. I’m taking old and new word lists from Hot Pants and even though I can’t find a story with the words, “Boogieman, ankle, Dumbo, kiwi and tax,” they do, and make it all about them. I decided to make them have sex so they’d have what they wanted and leave me alone. Was that good enough for them? No, they were right back at it yesterday and used a Kathy Fish Workshop Reunion prompt to get there. I read that piece, “Sweet Spot,” to Husband and his response was “I didn’t know you had it in you,” which made me not want to associate with him on social media.

Oh, and we have new art!

art

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

*These are my Creekside Reflections; your experiences may vary.

Of Islands and Such

First off, let me just say the Kathy Fish Fast Fiction Workshop is a lot of fun. It’s almost over and I have several new pieces fleshed out – some I couldn’t quite get right in time to post, so I have “extra” which feels great. I also got some insight into characters I want to use in a book – though in the notes for that piece, Kathy suggested it could be a screenplay…and that I should write screenplays if I don’t already. I mentioned to her that from what I read, screenplays were even harder to sell than novels.

Last Friday was my first day back at the Montessori school. This year I’m working as a literacy volunteer. I did 5 forty-five minute classes and then needed a 7 hour nap – which I didn’t get. Matt said he’d cut it down to 4 classes tomorrow. Something told me years ago I couldn’t cut it as a teacher; I’m glad I didn’t let myself get talked into working for a teaching certificate “just to have it.” I applaud and am in awe of teachers. You are AMAZING human beings doing incredibly difficult work. There is a “Teacher’s Day” in May. That’s not enough. There ought to be at least one “Teacher’s Day” a month.

The flash workshop has taken my focus away from submitting, though I did get a few things out. Submittable is a blessing and a curse. Being on the staff side, I know I can go to a submission and read it without tripping it to “in-progress.” Does that mean other editors are doing that, too? I have 18 submissions in my own queue; 10 are open. I have no idea what that even means anymore…

The ever-changing creek has given us an island.

Island

It’s been too cold to explore it and it may be gone by spring – though the daffodils are coming up – so maybe it is spring. With this ditzy weather, it’s hard to tell what season we’re experiencing. It was 20 degrees last night and supposed to be up in the 60’s next week. On Facebook, I saw that Gina’s husband is making maple syrup. I guess it’s time to pull out the seed starter kits and think about starting my tomato and pepper plants. It seems a little early, but with this weather, who knows. Maybe I’m starting them late for this year’s weather.

Thanks for stopping by ~ now go thank a teacher!

*These are my Creekside Reflections; yours should vary.

The Post Valentine’s Day Post

Greetings! I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day – and if not – realize it’s one day a year and it’s over now. On my Facebook Timeline, a “memory” from 3 years ago popped up. It was when Husband crafted a rose for me. I shared it and he ended up with mad props from a bunch of people. Does that count as my Valentine’s Day gift to him?

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I chose a white rose with gentle red markings on the tips while we were at Wegman’s. I was/am happy with that. On Sunday – the day – Husband bought me a miniature rose bush. He is such a sweetheart.

miniroses

Next week I start a Flash Fiction workshop with Kathy Fish. I am so excited! I’ve admired her work for a long time. I can’t find my copy of Wild Life, but will be hunting it down to reread before class. Yes, I am that suck up.

The class is coming at a great time; I haven’t been producing much. I’m not blocked. It feels more like taking a breather. I’ve had several ‘insights’ into the book that I wrote for National Novel Writing Month – generally arriving seven minutes after I curl into bed for the night. I’ve dutifully jotted them down knowing the rewrite will be happening soon enough. I don’t know when, but it’s part of my process and I’ve learned to trust it.

Speaking of trust…I feel sorry for anyone who ends up with Leslie Gibbins as a lawyer. She is why I’m late posting today. Things that should have been taken care of in 2007 remain incomplete. Now, with a real lawyer, we’re figuring this out and correcting her ineptitude. Seriously, there is a couple in town that I do not like and I wouldn’t even want them to choose her as a legal representative. The worst part being that we didn’t choose her; someone else did. I know, maybe Leslie’s fun to drink with, but it’s Lent and I gave that up. Maybe she’s improved with age – I don’t know, but today, I am upset (but not surprised) by her failure to do something simple. Not that she cares, but it’s costing us hundreds of dollars. If it weren’t a pointless and costly endeavor to try to sue a lawyer, we’d be tempted. This, of course, is just my opinion, from my dealings with her…a reflection if you like. Creekside and all that…

Cheers! Thanks for stopping by!

*These are my Creekside Reflections. Your experiences may vary (I should hope so!)

Short month; full calendar

In a recent letter to a friend, I came up with the idea of sending out a submission a day for a year. Thinking about it further, I decided on a more sensible goal of 31 submissions in 31 days – or one a day in January – and achieved it. My thought was that if I did that much, I could continue, and if not, that was fine, too. I mean, really, 366 in 366 is a lot to commit to, but I’ll probably pick another month and do that again – just not this month.

For a short month, there is a lot on my calendar. I met with Nancy yesterday to discuss life and writing. Monday, I’m auditioning for a role in 1 of 9 ten minute plays. Lent is fast approaching so soon there will be dinners out on Fridays for fish fries (and no dishes to wash!) On the 18th, the novel critique group is meeting once again after its brief winter hiatus and later this month I have the amazing good fortune to be taking an online course about Flash Fiction with the incredibly talented Kathy Fish.

One thing I will be submitting to is the 21st Dear Lucky Agent contest hosted by Chuck Sambuchino. This time, Elizabeth Winick Rubinstein from McIntosh & Otis is the judge. I’m sending the first page of “Ellie’s Elephants.” Wish me luck!

The news has been filled with the sad passings of people with enormous talent. Bowie will be read about forever and I want to give kudos to my cousin, Gregory Cason for being part of a tribute. He’s all bashful about it, but his name is on that byline and I’m proud of him. Hugs and high fives, Greg!!!

All right, I’m off to write, read, and make tomato sauce for dinner after our trip to the lawyer tonight. Thanks for stopping by!

2.4.2016

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