writing

Bits of Spring with a Cartoon Sheepdog Impression at the End

There’s a meme floating around that gives a rundown on “spring” and how it takes several stabs before it actually arrives. Creekside, we’re at the spring where the snowdrops appear.

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They are a welcome sign. I’ve also spotted tulips and hyacinths emerging.

Later today I’ll be transplanting the roma and cherry tomato seedlings to pots so yes, for me, spring is here, and so far it’s fabulous. Happy birthday to XO Man because it’s his birthday. Mine is coming up soon and I’ve already gotten a gift, Mr. Fishy fish!

Isn’t he adorable? Mary Akers made him and I’m using him as a tea bag holder. She gave him to me (Gina got one, too) yesterday at SPoT Coffee on Transit. There, I started a new story. On the way home, Ben’s check engine light came on – right in front of Goodyear. They plugged in the scanner and it was an oxygen sensor so I drove to the Hamburg Library. I returned “The Friend” by Sigrid Nunez. Great book, but a bit harsh toward memoirists of trauma, I thought. I picked up the books that I had requested: Coetzee’s, “Disgrace,” Brautigan’s “The Abortion,” and Saroyan’s “Boys and Girls Together.” I’ve been waiting on “The Abortion” for months and the copy I received also has “Revenge of the Lawn” and “So the Wind Won’t Blow It all Away” in it. After I read the others, I might take up the extras. “Disgrace” was referenced in the Nunez book. I read “Boys and Girls Together” yesterday. It has been touted by Jim Miner in the Hamburg Writers’ Group for a long time. Now I need to find out what why. I’m on the fence about finishing Cathleen Schine’s “They May Not Mean To, But They Do.” She had the biggest blurb for the Nunez book, and I adored “The Love Letter” but I’m on page 83 of this novel and can’t figure out why agents and editors thought it was important to publish. Maybe I’ll change my mind if I finish it. Maybe it’s not coming to me at the right time…

On the 17th, Husband was being loud with the kitchen renovation which pushed me to get dressed and drive to Rust Belt Books. I wish I had left sooner so I would have had more time to browse, it’s an enchanting space. There, I saw Kim Chinquee read from her latest, “Wetsuit” and Joey Nicoletti read from “Thundersnow.” Afterwards, some of us went to the Gypsy Parlor for dinner and drinks. (Tonic for me – it is Lent after all.)

I met Nina Fosati at the Comfort Zone on Wednesday the 20th.   We had a lovely meal then drove to Kleinhans Music Hall to see Min Jin Lee.

She was funny and bright and the question and answer question section with Barbara Cole was a delight.

The story I’ve been writing for the SMOLDR contest is finished. I cannot thank Nina Fosati enough for her help. Her insight and sharp eye were paramount in getting the piece as good as it is. I also want to thank Mary Akers for spotting the tense shift in the third section, James Wood for his “action verbs,” everyone in the Hamburg Writers’ Group who has listened, commented, and suggested tweaks, and Gina Detwiler who read the final version yesterday and said it was, “So Good,” funny, sweet and clever. Let’s hope the judges think so, too – knock on wood.

So those are the highlights from the past two weeks. I’m off to do Pilates, transplant seeds and write. If the weather holds, I’ll probably take the dog out again for an extended walk. Notice his resemblance to the sheepdog from the Road Runner cartoon.

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Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

 

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February Creeping Away

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I had every intention of posting last week – even started writing about how I assured Husband he needn’t buy me roses on Valentine’s Day, but he did anyways, and they were lovely – except I got called into work at the hospital gift shop (there was a code!) and a) I mucked up my hip and b) caught a non-severe stomach bug. Volunteering is not for the weak. The upshot is that I have more to write about.

My “read voraciously” urge has been slowing – I finished “The Inbetween Days” by Eva Woods and enjoyed it immensely but I’m just not getting into Kate Moretti’s “In Her Bones” so I’ll be returning it, unread past the first few chapters. It’s just as well, I’ll be evaluating a friend’s manuscript soon and determining if I want to take on the task of editing it. I was going to pick it up yesterday, but the roads were awful.

The awful weather – specifically those wild winds – delayed the return of my neighbor so I took care of these two charges for an extra two days.

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The Albright Knox offered free admission last week so Husband and I went up on Sunday. I returned alone on Tuesday with the camera.

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There’s a lot to be said for spending time with art. Those two days filled me with a peace. And I needed all the peace I could find with a torn up kitchen.

We went from this – notice the spaciousness under the sink.

To having a dishwasher installed. It is so quiet! And I’m learning things from it like “don’t put aluminum in here.” It’s quite wonderful and the kitchen is still torn apart and my mixing bowls and baking dishes are still in the mudroom, but this bit is a lovely improvement.

I have been slow to return to writing, but I plugged away on a short story and “finished” it. I sent it to the amazing Nina Fosati who pointed out the obvious – it isn’t “there” yet and I’m an idiot for not bothering to Google Monopoly properties before adding them to a story. Fie! I wonder if writing ever gets easier…

Kitchen Renovation Supervisor

Kitchen Renovation Supervisor

Thank you for stopping by and for the read!

 

 

Me, being me (edited and redacted)

Me, being me, needed a break from blogging. Besides the usual allotment of year-end form rejections, a lot of interactions have troubled me. Some hurtful things were said during a family visit – not the first time this individual was insensitive – but upsetting accusations and backhanded “compliments” nonetheless. The library in its infinite wisdom – after the idiot John verbally attacked yet another woman – decided that instead of dismissing the abusive man, two people needed to be on a shift instead of just one. And then there’s boys I went to high school with on Facebook and strangers writing to the Buffalo News. So yeah, I’m a little sick of opinionated men right now.

I’ve been reading a lot of books. Some have been recently released and others I’d heard about but never got around to reading. Vox, by Christina Dalcher, The Glitch, by Elisabeth Cohen, Trout Fishing in America, by Richard Brautigan, Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff, and currently, There There, by Tommy Orange. What I’m finding is that checking books out of the Erie County Library helps get them read. Who knew deadlines work? Well, I did in regards to zines and contests, but I haven’t been paying attention to writing deadlines lately. I’ve also been doing editing for people I know which is adding another insight into what works in writing and what doesn’t.

The last few write-ins at Spot Coffee have gone into a new book. I’ve been able to sit there and write over a thousand words at a time toward it. It feels too easy, so I’m not trusting it – or working on it otherwise.

I do feel this is more of a “filling up” time in my writing life, and I’m fine with that. The two pieces I’ve finished writing have been speeches. One I’ll deliver at the next board meeting. That’s all the fun here.

Thanks for the read!

 

 

 

Still around…

I am thrilled and honored that Barren Magazine has published “The Shots Fired, The Shots Called” in their gorgeous 5th issue and OMG! Cathy Ulrich tweeted about it while I was off-line in my funk. Remington Review published “Anniversary Plans” on page 5 and I’m thrilled with the outcome. I’ve liked that story a long time and it found the best home. Thank you to everyone at Barren Magazine and Remington Review for believing in my pieces and publishing them.

Yesterday, I had a lovely chat with Nina Fosati about stamina, direction, and purpose in regards to writing. I told her it’s the first time since I don’t remember when “a book” or a “goal” wasn’t foremost on my mind and how this made me feel…adrift.

Personally, I find it to be a sucky feeling and hope it turns into something freeing or worthwhile. Maybe it’s the weather. Or the anniversary of my mother’s death. Or some other “thing” causing this ennui, but I hope it resolves soon. In the meantime, I’m reading, tidying, cleaning, and trying to figure out the next step.

Regardless, I am grateful you stopped by for a bit. Thank you for the read and may your day be stunning!

Cheers!

Weeks Late, Full of Thanks, How ’bout You?

What I find lovely – yet frustrating – is the cycles of writing. I resent it when I need to write but I edit. Editing will take over when I’ve accumulated new books. Curled up in my chair, I’ll be happily reading when writing calls. Even now, I feel a tug…

Someone on Twitter made a joke about a reading retreat and I honestly think that should be a thing. I have Gina’s draft and Jim’s in my queue, but then this lovely volume arrived in my mailbox:

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The two prose poems I’ve read so far are intricate and interesting. I can’t wait to finish reading the rest. Randall Brown is an amazing writer and so is Alex Pruteanu. His latest book is on its way, as is Tamara Grisanti’s Coffin Bell Anthology. Plus, I received my contributor copy of Montana Mouthful – and it came with stickers! (Thank you Jasmine Lamb!)

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Domesticity doesn’t overtake me that often but when it does….yikes! Thanksgiving had me push a boundary – I don’t know why – but I made real crust for a pecan pie – which turned out fabulously. I also roasted a turkey breast. Yeah, I know, it’s not that impressive, but still, I thought it was picture worthy a week ago…

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It’s hard to believe Saturday will be the first of December. I’m proud to say I have a story up at (mac)ro(mic) which touches upon late spring flowers and I just reviewed the galleys of my story in Solidago’s Initiation Issue about a late summer exchange between an Aunt and her niece. That’s another thing I love/hate about writing – how the stories are written, accepted, appear out of season sometimes, but the timing always feels right.

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Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

Edit the old or NaNo?

That’s the question of the day. I’m prepared to NaNoWriMo in the sense that the house is decluttered and clean, BUT my husband, whom I assume doesn’t pay attention, said last night that I don’t need to. He said my writing has been going well, so did I really want the stress? So now, I’m conflicted and doubting myself…just like every other day of the year.

And my writing has been doing well. I attribute a lot of that to Nina Fosati. She points out things I don’t see and it has drastically improved my writing. (Thank you Nina!) Recently, a story I wrote from a prompt by Meg Pokrass won second prize in the Montana Mouthful contest. I’m sheepish about publishing that on my Facebook page though. I’m fearful someone who has read my work in the past will read it and assume it’s about them and it isn’t. Yes, I love my ego problems. Aren’t they nutty?

It’s raining again and there’s the threat of flooding. I really hate this fear over something I have no control over. I’m trying to focus on the good, like the workshop I’ll be attending on Saturday, the fact that Ben got his repairs done quickly and he passed inspection (Mike, at Star Service – thank you SO much!!!) and that the leaves of the sweet gum are turning color.

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I’m leaning toward editing…Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

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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