West Falls-Colden Library

My intentions are paving the way to hell…

After a long break from scheduled blog posts, it didn’t occur to me that I’d post late, but here it is, Friday afternoon and I’m just now starting to write this.

And as I write, I’m enjoying the weather from inside the “cabana,” where I can’t see the frog pond, but I hear the activity. This is the view:

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Monarchs are flitting about as well as the deer fly and bees. The cotton woods are busily trying to copulate, their seed dances about and falls to coat everything with a soft haze of down.

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This is the first day I’ve had to truly enjoy the yard. I’ve spent most of the time away mowing, weeding, gardening, and watering the new trees – generally with Kobe nearby, smelling everything and generally being a happy and good dog. This weekend we’ll be getting 5 cords of wood, so I’m glad I have a few minutes to sit and relax. Kobe is underneath the swing, patient and observant.

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Monday, I made a careless mistake/had an accident and went to the doctor’s office instead of the ER. Suffice it to say, I learned a lesson and will be far more diligent with the wood splitter in the future. Nothing broke, but my index finger on my left hand was squashed enough that I’m certain the nail will fall off. It is disgusting to look at – I shan’t share the image.

Prior to that bit of fun, I read Colson Whitehead’s “The Underground Railroad” which was quite good. It took me longer to finish than I anticipated so I have to return “The Female Persuasion” tonight and sign up for it again. Had I not read last night, I would have been FINE not finishing it, but the main character just left Faith’s house after the weekend stay and I just found out why she had a million messages on her phone when she was out of range. Oi! Sad news!

Writing wise, the biggest thing is the acceptance by Bacopa Literary Review for a flash called “Pirouette.” As I understand it, I’ll be paid for it which is always lovely. I wish I had money to pay all the writers “I” publish at r.kv.r.y. and Literary Orphans, but, alas, I don’t and that sucks, but I love the work that is accepted and try to show it on Facebook and Twitter.

I’ve made it to several “write-ins” with Gina at Spot Coffee and even squeezed in a few hours at home so I have some new work to hone and submit. I’m rather fond of a piece called “The Eaves;” I aimed high with that one. Oh, and the Bellevue Literary Review sent a personal rejection with both praise and suggestions for my “Southern story.” I’m batting it around, sprucing it up, letting it sit, tackling it again.

Tomorrow is my last shift at the library before the summer break. Tonight is another meeting of the Hamburg Writers’ Group where I’ll get a chance to see Nina and the others. I plan on reading a flash tonight that I’m submitting for a contest. I’d had the premise for the story and the first few lines for years but could never get it to go. Sometimes a prompt is the prompt you need to finish something.

 The mail is here, so I’ll gather my things and get ready to post thing. I’ll see some of you soon and I can’t wait! Everyone else, I’ll be back here in two weeks – more or less. That’s my intention anyways…

 Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

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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.

 

Words. Oh so many words . . .

I’m day two into NaNoWriMo and day four into the fabulous Kathy Fish Fast Flash workshop. So, I’m writing. A lot. On top of this, there is the reading I’m doing. There are 14 participants in the workshop, so each day there are those to read on top of my normal reading, work reading at r.kv.r.y. and Literary Orphans, and because I just don’t get enough, I’m a reader for Best of the Net this year. My group was assigned 46 stories to read. I’m up to 14 and there are two I like. It’s an interesting process to read so much, in so many styles on so many subjects.

Before NaNo began, Husband and I went out to dinner at Julie’s and then we went to the antique shop that Jody owns. I ended up with earrings – now I need to earn them.

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Local Authors Live at the West Falls-Colden Library went incredibly well.

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Again, many thanks to Mary Jo Hodge, Mary Akers, Kim Chinquee, Jeff Schober, Gina Detwiler, Deb Madar and Barbara Early for their stellar work.

Okay, I’m off to immerse and ignore the rising creek.

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Thanks for stopping by!

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

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.

Fall and Other Elitist First World Writer Problems

r.kv.r.y. is open for submissions and I have my Saturday shift at the library back. The weather has been perfect for sitting out on the patio so I can listen to the creek while I have coffee with my breakfast and read the paper. The leaves are just beginning to change color. I love the fall.

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I was lucky enough to interview Karen Stefano about her short story collection, The Secret Games of Words, a book I recommend highly. It will be up at The Tavern Lantern on the 28th.

Otherwise, I’m dealing up with a bunch of ups and downs. My cat had at least ten seizures one night. It was terrifying and there was nothing I could do but try to keep her safe. I really thought I was going to lose her.

So that angst went up against the joy brought to me by my incredible son and fantastic daughter-in-law. They had a healthy baby girl. Her name is a combination of middle names–mine and Connie’s. Isn’t that sweet? So is the baby.

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The garden is winding down and I’ve brought most of the houseplants back inside. I received a rejection–an inky, flattering rejection from The Minnesota Review that asked me to send them something else. Sure, it’s great, but frustrating. It’s the second story they’ve liked–but not enough… I love my problems. I really do.

Otherwise, I’m debating on the next book. I started sending “Dreaming Lettie” to the group, but got caught up on an information dump I have yet to work out. The beginning of “Life & Crimes” served as a placeholder for which pages I sent, but now I’m in a real bind.

I started a sequel to “L&C” a few years ago, but it went dark, fast and I didn’t want to write it then. Now, a lot of ideas are popping up to carry it through. The problem is that I don’t want to spend time on it if “L&C” gets no love. I don’t know. I have a few weeks before pages are due again. It’s a nice day. I may spend it out in the screened in tent on the swing far from the maddening strum of the phone that lets me know when email has arrived.

 

 

 

*These are my angst-ridden creekside reflections. Your experiences should vary.

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.

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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.

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Husband finished the prototype swing seat. There are a few tweaks we’re considering and then he’ll make it out of cedar.

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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.

It’s Not Cabin Fever Exactly… It’s More Like Cabin Anxiety

This past Monday, I attended the novel critique group meeting at Gina’s. I’ve never worked this way, handing over twenty–now up to 25 pages–at a time. As I’m revising “The Life and…” I’m realizing I really have to slow down the pace. The recent installment included an added scene I thought I’d get slammed on, but they seemed to enjoy it–Mary said it felt like I’d nailed the voice. I’m glad of this, as I felt I had lost it and that’s why I had to take it back a few pages so events I’d glided through in the rough draft could be strengthened. I think the end result will be tighter, but I’m only a quarter of the way there. I know, I said I’d send out agent queries for Ellie’s Elephants, and I did get two out after the ambiguous “this doesn’t sound like a form rejection, but I don’t know how to respond either” response from Sobel. Meeting new people is hard enough. Needing to introduce myself and say, “Please, like what I write, too”…that makes me anxious.

So, I had enough “when I” and put brush to canvas. It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever made, and I’m nowhere close to finishing it, put it’s a start. It felt good to mix colors and paint. The longer I was painting, the more that came back to me–including the fact that you can’t finish a painting in one sitting. Well, the one guy could, but I’m not him nor do I have my own show on PBS.

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Speaking of that realm…WBFO, my local NPR station is doing an extra pledge week. OMG, enough. Here’s the thing, I love their work, the coverage, etc. However, they are on there telling me if I don’t pledge, my favorite shows will disappear. How many years and how much money have proved that to be a lie? Everything was great until Mark Scott retired. The resulting crapola version of a program lineup disgusts me. Why this station pays for programs that are great but plays them when no one listens and plays boring shows when people are tuned in is just stupid. There was a time when pledge week ended early. The reason for that was simple. They had there shit together; now it’s not worth it. If you also tell me how I have to pay to keep the programs I want to stay on the air, I will recite the ones they dropped when I sent them a few bucks and when I say I, I mean Husband. Whoever is in charge of programming is clueless, or trying his best to kill off this station and the rapid decline in listenablity has me thinking it’s the latter. WBFO, please, hear this and fix it. The person in charge of programming needs to go.

Otherwise, I’m excitedly looking forward to the 15th when I get to do my first official reading. It will be at the West Falls-Colden Library where I volunteer, so I’ll have the home field advantage. I find it a bit strange that they have a signup sheet for it. I mean, that makes sense if it’s a card making class, but a reading? Gary Earl Ross will be there as well as Susan Solomon, George Morse, and Lou Rera. We will be reading from Queen City Flash at 1:00-3:00 on Saturday 15th if you’re up for it. Jeff Schober did a reading there on the 1st while I was working. It was good to see him again. Boneshaker is a follow up to Broken and Profane and he’s working on two more in the series. 

Anyway, I’ve had a few “close calls” on acceptances. I was told one piece made it to the final round of cuts. They only take four stories per issue, so I guess I made their top five or top eight, which is nice, but I then sent that piece to another venue where it didn’t make it past the first cut. *Sigh.* I also got INK!!!! from The Sun. They held it for 8 months, so I’m considering that something. I sent that story to two places yesterday. I don’t know what it is. It’s gotten so many “almosts” but that just makes it more frustrating that it hasn’t found a home yet. I know, I’ve heard the stories yet those don’t make the personal rejections any less disappointing.

So, enough of this ranting about the problems I have because I love them all, including the fact that there’s more snow and I can’t wait to go for a walk in the woods, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Ah well…

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