The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Monday, November 30, 2015

Give Thanks

       Well, Thanksgiving is over. The turkey was not stuffed, but I was. The holiday is over... done... fini and even though I was fortunate to have five days off in a row, that string of leisure time is over... tomorrow, it's back to work.

        Everyone is thankful for their family (the family members who are not crazy and unmedicated). Everybody is thankful for their friends (again, the ones who have a semi-consistent grip on sanity and/or they've found the right combination of drugs). Everyone is thankful for their health, their home, the life they've carved out.

        I thought I would try to think of some of the things that I'm thankful for--the type of things that don't usually get mentioned...

* Ginger beer only comes in regular-sized bottles.
      This ginger-flavored soda (similar to root beer, but quite distinctively different) comes in a 12.7 oz. bottles. If they came in 2-liter versions, I'd be swigging on it all day long. (And if it DOES come in jumbo-sized bottles, please do NOT tell me.)

     Sometimes, size does matter...

* Erica Jong has a brand-new book out.

      Her Fear of Flying came out many decades ago. I've only read 50 or so pages of Fear of Dying, so it's too early to proclaim my love or indifference. However, so far I'm enjoying it.

* I haven't managed to screw up my flash drive yet.

  This looks just like the one that has my WIP on it (just shy of 80,000 words so far) except the cap of mine has a part of it broken off. There have been some moments of panic. Like the time I thought it had gone through the washing machine. The time that I thought it was lost--really lost. The other (several) times I thought it was lost. I'm very careful to make sure it's safe to eject before I yank it out (I learned that the hard way a long time ago) and I know I'm a dinosaur for even using a flash drive these days. (Yeah, I know I should put it on the horizon or the cloud or the atmosphere or whatever it's called. But hey! You! Get offa my cloud.) But that's what I am--a lumbering, almost-extinct creature with arms that are often too short and ineffectual.

Probably soon (after another near-catastrophe) I'll make it into a google doc so it's always safe... no matter what kind of crazy mess I create. But not today.

That's all I got right now. Three is pathetic--barely even warrants the title "list"--but that's it for now. Which means you can add to the list. Leave a comment. Tell me what you're thankful for--other than the traditional Norman Rockwell answers, that is...


Friday, November 27, 2015

The Dread of the Dead

is when you're dead,
and no one cares.

No one mourns.
No one glances back.
No one wears black.
No one cries--not even a bit.
No one gives a shit
that you're gone.

That you've passed through life,
and brought no laughter,
made no one more strong,
done nothing but wrong...

That is dread.

No friends, 
no family,
no photos to speak of the you
that once was--

to vanish without making
even a temporary ripple...

that's dread. 

This was written right off the cuff, and it shows. However, I was intrigued by Mama Zen's poem, followed the link, and Shazam! It led back to Shay and her poetry prompt. Perhaps my wretched mess will prod someone else to try it... and soar.

Last night my family spent most of the evening debating over the existence of God/a soul, the meaning of life and other serious and somber topics, so Mama Zen's poem was an easy segue into this POS poem...

Thursday, November 19, 2015

It's in My Head

         On Tuesday I met with my rather new writing critique group. You know, the one that meets in a private writing room at a bar/grill... The group that eats fried chicken and taco salads (me) and drinks buckets of beer (not me). The group that fascinates the bar regulars and makes them curious-er and 
curious-er (me wonders why).

         One of the writers shared a western short story they had written. As we talked about the strengths and weaknesses of the piece, they spoke of some tidbits about the major characters... tidbits that were not evident in the story.

It's in your head... but it's not down on paper. 

        It made me think of the thick skin we have to have as writers. When our writing is sucky, we have to be able to hear and listen to constructive criticism. When our writing friends' writing is sucky, we have to be brave enough to tell them.

       What was a time when you had to say something difficult (or had to listen to something difficult) as a writer?

        And if you're in the St. Louis/St. Charles area this evening, stop by the Spencer Road Library (427 Spencer Road). From 6-8, there will be 105 authors and illustrators in attendance. Blog friends of mine, like Donna Volkenannt, Pat Wahler, Robin Tidwell, Marcia Gaye and others will be there. It's a fun evening every year.  

        And Sioux-on-a-Stick will be there (if I can dig her up). She's not as wild as COAS, but she does pull the occasional prank.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Friends... and France

      On Thursday (11/19), there will 100 local authors gathering together at the Spencer Road library. This fun event will run from 6-8 in the evening, and there will even be refreshments. (Yum!)

      Some of my writing friends and acquaintances will be there. Donna Volkenannt. Pat Wahler. Doyle Suit. Robin Tidwell. Marcia Gaye. Sheree Nielsen.

      This is not my first year going, and even though I don't sell many books, it's the connections that I enjoy... the camaraderie we share... the encouragement that's thrown my way--that's why I keep coming back to this event. It's writing friends--all over the world--who ensure that I keep writing.

       Which makes me think of my friends and family in France. The France I know is far from Paris, far from any big city. And yet, still, I am saddened.

      This is the France I know...

My sister, daughter and granddaughter... hiking
surrounded by the Pyrenees

I've never been to Paris (except the airport). All I know of France is beach towns, tiny villages, and a few largish cities (Pau, Bordeaux and Toulouse).

However, I've always found France to be a country full of people who are passionate in their conversations and their appreciation of life. Their priorities aren't all askew. They protect their past as they continue to move forward.

To see their country attacked... It's reason for all of us to stop and hug and reach out and think. 



Thursday, November 12, 2015

I Won't Never Be Wearin' No Meat Dress... But I'm Still Ga-Ga

       I just got news this week that my sister--far away in France--is going to be a grandmother. Her oldest daughter is due in May.

This is the four of us girls, on a hike under the shadow of the Pyrenees,
on our trip there this past July.

My granddaughter is now 9. Although I was pleased when I heard the news from my daughter that she was pregnant, I had no idea how ga-ga I would go over being a grammy.

For that little girl I would commit a felony. For that little girl, I am writing a novel to chronicle something that she experienced. For that little girl, I paint my toe nails and try to wear shoes other-than-Crocs on an occasional basis. (As far as the shoes, I cannot say I'm always successful...)

What experience has happened to you that brought about unexpected results? A ga-ga grammy wants to know... 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Embrace the Messy

This is one of my favorite photos of Radar. It captures him in his favorite state. Just finished from running in the mud and the rain, he's messy... and completely content.

        Writing is messy as well. Sometimes you leave a trail of muck behind after writing and revising. And what's left on the page is golden. Sometimes you think you're in a groove but in reality, you've mucked things up royally.

        What things do you like to do that are messy?