pilates

Strange days & happenings…

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I know I’m late with this post. It’s been weird. I started writing this Thursday afternoon:

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Today I had lunch at Julie’s with the SGI Superintendent. She is such a good person – and smart. It was a lovely time and I hope we do end up working on her book. It will be phenomenal when she has some time and it all comes together.

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Yesterday was a “regular” meet up at SPoT Coffee in Orchard Park to write with Gina. It’s been a long time and I was excited to find I could still sit down and write – that, too, has been iffy. The last time I posted, my brother-in-law was still alive. My, how things change. At the service, M and R wore their father’s shirts. I’m sure I’m not the only one who caught their breath – with the hat, the son resembles his father.

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Last Thursday, the cat was acting strange. Mary and Gina – my real life angels – picked me up and we went to Three Girls Café for bunch and catch up. It was so good to spend time with them and try to get back to a semblance of normalcy. I refused to check on the cat – figuring if she was dead, she wouldn’t be reviving, but she was on my mind. I came home, braced myself, and found she was alive. And since then she’s been improving which is miraculous since she’s 19-years-old now. That night, I went to the Comfort Zone for Hamburg Writers’ Group. That, too, was a taste of normalcy. I came home, let the dog out and he tangled with a skunk. Such a roller-coaster of a day.

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And while real life was raucous, the career side has been going along swimmingly. Nina Fosati did a brilliant edit on a story I wrote and I sent it out to higher tier publications. She’s working through a piece I enjoy and – knock on wood – she’ll find the way into it match the tone she wants for it and then it will get published and nominated for prizes. I do think it’s that good.

I received my contributor copy of Bacopa. “Pirouette” is on page 6.

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Furtive Dalliance was released with “Sounds So Familiar,” and after YEARS of submitting, I finally cracked the top ten of On The Premises in the “near death” call for submissions. Weirdly, it was sent at the last minute and I didn’t think it had a chance. It’s a story that Jim Tuttle liked in an early draft. Fingers crossed – but honestly, I’ll be thrilled with the critique.

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The furniture was moved into the “winter mode” and I’ve brought in a few pieces of wood to dry out. Saturday, I start the fall hours at the library with my 10-noon shift. Sunday is Gina’s book release event that I’m so excited to attend. So, apologies for the lateness ~ it’s just the way things have been going as events have prevented sameness and ruts to continue here, creekside, where I haven’t been doing enough reflecting or Pilates…but there has been a lot of love and for that I am grateful.

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Thanks for stopping by and the read!

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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…

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.

No joke, I’m posting early.

I thought the flowers had bloomed, but they were just teasing.

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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…

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Wrapped up in reading while waiting for the thaw

The long, cold weather resulted in the water under the driveway’s bridge freezing. Solid. We had a bit of a warm up and the snow started to melt. Guess where the water in the ditch went? Yes, right into the lawn and the driveway. *Sigh* When Husband came home last night, we shoveled slush and made a pathway for the water to flow toward the ditch on the other side of the bridge. This morning it was iced over, but the flooding seems to be staunched for the time being.

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In general, I’m not a fan of driving in winter. Luckily, I have nowhere to go…except to my chair to read. And read I have. In the past month, I’ve read Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, Sylvia Cassedy’s Behind the Attic Wall, Jodi Picoult’s Leaving Time, Tea Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife, and Allison Pearson’s I Don’t Know How She Goes It.

I also read Ryan Boudinot’s essay, “Things I Can Say About MFA Writing Programs Now That I No Longer Teach in One.” I don’t understand the uproar the piece caused. Not all writers are created equally. Why is that shocking for someone to say that?

The new piece (and I really need to come up with a working title for that thing) had me scared to continue writing it, so I set it down. I’ve worked on a few things, but next week, I’ll have sent half of “Campus Crimes” to the writer’s group and I know from the last book, the end flies by. I have been going to bed with the thought that I’ll dream of which one of the two rough first drafts I have to work on.

What I’ve consistently dreamed of is being naked, but not self-conscious about it and in mostly empty rooms where different men show up. XO man one night, the guy in Australia another night, my brother-in-law the night before that. Right, so as I was telling someone about this (the desire for the dreams to guide me and the nakedness, etc.) it dawns on me that maybe the message is to work on this new book that scares me. I’m not sure I’m ready.

*Sigh*

I mean, I really should finish Chuck Palahniuk’s Haunted first…and Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted. Plus, I need to keep an eye on the lawn drainage situation. Also, I want to add some Yoga to my morning Pilates routine. Where is that DVD? Finding it could take a while. And the kitchen pantry needs a good sorting…

Yeah, I know, that all sounds like I’ll be procrastinating, but I’ve already broken out the colored index cards and tape. Looks like I’m going to plotting “Dreaming Lettie.” Kidding! I’ll be too busy thinking of a working title for the new piece, which will probably continue to tear me open. That’s why I set it aside.

Thanks for stopping by to read my Creekside—and ditch on the other side—Reflections!

Doing an Unstuck

I don’t have “spare” time, but I had a chance to use mine differently last week. On Tuesday, I sent the latest (and hopefully last) draft of L&C to my editor. What a process! I hope the kinks are out because I’m close to deleting the whole thing. Except for two–minor ones that we’ve fought over since the first version–my darlings are gone and some gorgeous characters were completely eliminated.

*Sigh*

Also on that Tuesday, Husband left for the island. Without him being home at a certain time allowed me to change what I was doing and when. I used the treadmill a lot more often and got in extra Pilates time. The weather was perfect so I concentrated on the outside realm of my existence–picking up tools, clearing branches, filling in holes.

I also allowed myself cheap adventures outside of my usual rut.

On Wednesday, I met a school chum at a bar for drinks. He had bragged on Facebook about a bonus, so he picked up the tab. It was strange, unusual, but oddly fun.

Thursday was my “fun day.” After I shoveled dirt in the morning, I went to see “A Most Wanted Man,” for two bucks and then checked out the used CD section at Super Savers. Back home, I made a meal I rarely get to have–asparagus with lemon, fettuccini Alfredo and broiled scallops. I also started working on tomato sauce so my kitchen was a culinary mess, but that’s the way it went. Friday, Husband called to say he’d be home on Saturday so I returned the house to what passes as normal.

I remain with this feeling of being a bit unstuck.

I’ve started a new book, but I need to stop, plot it out and then write it. There’s too much to keep track of, which is saying a lot. If L&C ever makes it out of my hard drive, you’ll see what I mean. In that one, I had a clear view of what strings were going through it and in three different ways, I pulled them together. This book, however has me flustered.

Perhaps I just need more time away from the last book. I sent pages from an earlier novel to the critique group to hear if they thought it was something worth reading. The meeting is here on Tuesday. Until then, I’m going to take a break, read, submit, work on perfecting my mercury glass technique and figure out what I’m supposed to have done, and work on the plot–plus go see J.T. and the Law at The Colden Arts Festival!

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*These are my piss-poor, cash-strapped, strangely over-exercised and toned creekside reflections. Your experiences may vary.

 

Thanks for checking in!

AWP on my Mind

I can hardly believe that A) I’m going to Boston for a week and B) I’ll be leaving soon. I made a list of places I wanted to submit before I left and when it got to be the tenth, I starred the most important places. My starred places are complete. There is one contest (Arizona Mystery Writers) that I still have time to enter, but I don’t want to stress over it. They changed contest directors and it was sweet to receive an email inviting me to enter but…eh. I have a piece started, but I don’t know if I’ll get it finished in time.

The NEA was the most important thing. I read the comments from people on Zoetrope. They said not to stress over it, just send your best writing. (And this year I did a bang-up job on my description!) I had intended to send two short stories and a novel excerpt. I re-read them and changed what I submitted. Fingers crossed that I get the thick envelope in November.

And the Valentine’s day story… Husband is not big on holidays, but he agreed that I’d get a rose on my birthday and on Valentine’s Day. This year, he ended up working with Norm the Annoying Ogre and forgot. He felt bad about this, but oh well. I left to go grocery shopping. When I returned, he had crafted this:

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A rose out of a wild rose bush stem and a sprig of rose hips, construction paper and poinsettia leaves. (Yeah, he is awesome.)

On Sunday, I got a bouquet of six real ones. I cut down three and put them here, in my office.

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Well, thanks for checking in. I’m off to do pilates. See you in March.

(*These are just my Creekside Reflections. Your experience may vary.)