A cold day in May…

Despite the grey felt sky raining light, heavy, and again light but constant raindrops on the grey earth below, I had a lovely coffee date this morning. My friend is getting ready to go on a road trip with her sister — a road trip full of family, babies, and opportunities to make memories. I look forward to hearing about it when she gets back and we meet for coffee again. Whether that day is a rainy grey day again, or one full of sunshine and puffy white clouds, I’m sure our visit will be as lovely as today’s.

She has left and now I’m sitting at my favorite table, in the corner next to the electrical outlet (an important detail for my laptop’s energy needs). This table is perfect because my chair is in the corner and I’m not in anyone’s way. I can see everyone in the shop, if I choose, or I can look down at my computer and pretend I’m here all alone, thanks to headphones that aren’t even playing anything. They are an excellent “Do Not Disturb” sign, allowing me to hear the life swirling all around me, participating only if I choose.

I’m debating on what to work on. There really shouldn’t be a debate. I should be working on my novel. I should be reworking Kate and Sam’s first chapters so I can move forward. Originally a friend said, “Just keep going from where you are, and then go back and fix the first part later.” But I can’t do that. The messy mess that is the first 100 pages must be reworked because it affects the rhythm and flow of what comes next. My OCD tendencies (compulsions) won’t allow me to shift gears midstream.

It frustrates me so much — this need to go backwards before going forward. I suppose it’s important to resolve past issues before moving on, though. If your baggage is full of dirty laundry, it makes it difficult to pack clean for a new adventure.

Stick A Fork In Me…

I’m done.

I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. But I did. And that’s a relief.

Recently I started writing for a magazine that covers the communities throughout our county. They liked my first submission on the Alvin Historical Museum so well, they’ve asked me to do a continuing series on museums throughout the county. I was flattered, and honored, to say the least. But somehow time crept up on me and the article I planned on having finished a few days ago JUST. WOULDN’T. COME.

I started getting a little panicky last night when I’d rewritten the opening paragraph six times and still wasn’t all that happy with it. I pounded away at the keyboard for a bit more and then decided I would finish it today. After all — the article and photos were due on May 15, and last I checked, that doesn’t end until midnight, which is still more than an hour from now.

We went to church and then went out for lunch with some friends. When I got home, I sat down to see what I could do. And I checked my email. And Instagram. Because there’s a new baby in the family, don’t you know? And then I took a brief peek at Facebook… because there’s a new baby in the family, don’t you know???

I finally got back on it around 5:30 pm. And had to look at the photos I’d taken to refresh my memory on what I hadn’t yet covered in the three paragraphs I wrote yesterday. You’d think I was a sixth grader doing everything I could to avoid my homework. BUT I finally got back in the groove and finished up around 9:30 pm

As painful as it was at the beginning, I’m pretty pleased with the end. I sent it to one of my writing buddies and she gave me a comforting “thumbs up,” so I think I’m in good shape. I’ll have to see what revisions the editor makes or wants me to make. It’s in the correct word count range, though, and I have some good photos to go along with it.

I have a couple of client appointments tomorrow afternoon, and I have a morning coffee date with an old friend (that would be a friend I’ve known a long time, not that either one of us is old…) I am looking forward to that, because it’s been too long since we’ve had a good visit.

I think I’m going to call it a night. When the magazine comes out, if my story is picked up, I’ll be sure to post information here. It’s so weird. Getting paid to write. I’ve been writing online for YEARS for free. The thought that someone finds my words worthy of cold, hard cash is still mind boggling. And grin worthy. Cheshire cat grin worthy.

cheshire cat
Only the insane equate pain with success.

Of course, he was spot on with that quote. Because writing is painful, slow and painful work. And yet, the success is oh, so sweet.


I have a midnight deadline for an article I am writing for the magazine I’ve begun freelancing for.

My thoughts are scattered and I can’t seem to find another 300 or so words to meet the word count for this particular feature. I know they are in there. I wrote the beginning four or five times before I finally found the right beginning. I’m quite pleased with it now, so I know the rest of the article is bouncing around inside my noggin.

I just have to find it and get the words down.

Enslaved by Technology

I am so sick of technology. I am sick of the things that are supposed to make our lives easier causing immeasurable stress when they don’t work properly. I’m sick of poor customer service from those who are supposed to help alleviate the stress. I am sick of having someone in Calcutta tell me “everything looks fine, your wi-fi is operating as it should” even though it’s NOT.

AT&T, I’m talking to you. We have had increasingly poor internet service for several months now. After several calls to Calcutta, a service tech was dispatched to our house a couple of months ago. He decided it was our modem. Of course, AT&T has changed their policy – now you lease the modem from them. There’s been very little change in the quality of service and to add insult to injury, they are making more money off our dissatisfaction.

Last evening and into the early morning hours, I wasted hours on pages that wouldn’t load, chat windows that kept shutting down, and bluetooth connections that wouldn’t last. (Granted, the bluetooth connection issue probably has nothing to do with AT&T, but I have to mention it in order to convey my utter and complete tech misery.)

I have an article to write that is due Sunday and I’m in such a foul humor because my technology is being difficult, and technology is required to get the job done. I actually wrote this blog post on a piece of paper with a pen last night after I shut my computer down so I wouldn’t throw it across the room. I can’t do that with my article.

I guess I’d better suck it up and see if I can get something done.

A Busy Day

It’s the early hours of the morning and I should be in bed. I don’t know why I’ve had such a difficult time going to bed lately. It’s as if my mind gets revved up right about the time I should be going to sleep. Well, tonight it’s going to have to get revved down because in a few hours my day is going to get cranking and not stop for quite a few hours.

I promised a shutter client that I would come put some temporary shades in her windows to provide some privacy until her shutters come in. After that, I’ve got to go meet with a client who ordered blinds from me a year or so ago. We didn’t do anything on his french doors, and he’d like to look at cellular shade options.

When I finish that, I’ve got to meet with someone at 1:00 pm to conduct an interview for an article I’m writing for Image magazine. And then I’ve got to book it home to write the article, because the deadline for submission is May 15!

Saturday, I’m hoping to make it up to Alvin to put flowers on my mama’s grave, since we’ll be meeting my in-laws for Mothers Day lunch on Sunday. My sister and I are going to decorate Mama’s grave for the Fourth of July next month. Mama wouldn’t be happy with the current political state of the nation, but one thing’s for sure: she was always a patriotic American.

Re: The Uncomfortable Silence

For those of you faithful enough to stop by and see what’s happening here (even when it doesn’t seem much is happening here), you know that one half of my identity is that of “scribbler”.  In addition to capturing stories visually with my camera, I have talked here and there about doing the same with words.  I’ve started a time or two (or three) and then set Kate and Sam’s story aside because I was “too busy,” “not feeling the muse,” and any of a number of lame excuses for not pressing through on a story that really needs to be written.

I read a blog post yesterday that hit me square between the eyes.  The Uncomfortable Silence appeared over at SkipJack Publishing, and boy, did it make me uncomfortable.  But in a good way.  Pamela and Eric are passionate about the writing craft.  Passionate about not only seeing Pamela succeed in her writing endeavors, but seeing other writers enjoy the same success.

The thing about Pamela and Eric — it’s not enough that you are published, if your definition of “published” means you wrote a slapdash piece of crap printed on 5 x 8 paper glued between some poorly illustrated pieces of shiny card stock.   It’s not enough that you “feel” like you used your life’s blood rather than printer ink to write your book.  Being able to say you wrote a book should not only mean you put a lot of words on paper, but that people want to read those words.

And for people to want to read those words, you have to do the work.  You have to put in the time required to produce a quality story that is worthy of the time required for others to read it.  The Uncomfortable Silence is basically a “come to Jesus” piece for those of us who’ve been lazy in our writing craft.  Whether that means getting the darned thing down on paper to begin with (guiltily raising my hand here), to doing the hard work of making the darned thing worth the paper it’s printed on and more — you owe it to yourself and your readers to do the work.

Skip on over there and give the blog post a read.  Odds are you’ll feel a little uncomfortable, but odds are you’ll also learn something and be motivated to take your work to the next level.  I know I am.

Sempiternal Heart

My daughter has moved her blogging adventures to WordPress.  Not that I’m biased or anything, but I think you should check it out and leave her some comment love, because she’s a very talented writer with a lot of interesting things to say.  Here you go:  Sempiternal Heart


We’re already wrapping up the first month of the year.  How does it go by SO fast?  I’ve been thinking about what I’ve accomplished over the last 30 days, and it’s hard not to get discouraged.  Of course, there were some beyond-my-control things that happened, so I can’t take all the blame.  BUT I am responsible for what I can control.

I’m working on ideas to better manage time and get the things done that need to be done.  I know it sounds silly, and totally unrelated to my writing and my photography, but one of the things that drives me crazy here at the house is the perpetual herd of dog hair tumbleweeds that roll across our hardwood floors.  Doesn’t matter how much we vacuum, the herd is always there.  So I’ve come up with a schedule to help minimize the problem:  there are three of us and there are three dogs.  Rather than each of us brush a dog every single day of the week, we are each responsible for brushing all three dogs two days a week.  I’m on dog grooming duty Tuesdays and Fridays.  So at some point today, I’ll need to brush the 95 lb. golden retriever, the 15 lb. chorkie, and the 8 lb. chihuahua.  And I will feel accomplished when I can check it off my list.

If I can get a handle on silly things like that (and laundry!), I think I’ll be able to work on my novel with a clearer conscience and not feel guilty if I lock myself away for a couple of hours each day.  Some other things that must take a backseat to this goal of mine:  Facebook and the internet in general … I spend much too much time on Facebook checking to see what’s going on with my circle of friends.  I am somewhat proud that their numbers are less than 200, and quite a few of those are students from my photography class, but still.  It takes time.  It takes work to stay in touch with so many people on a daily basis.  The internet as a whole is distracting to me, too.  It’s like a huge library in which I can wander up and down the stacks, browsing for information, ideas, etc.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing (I rarely go to our local library looking for a specific book), but when I look up at the clock and I’ve lost three hours just browsing … well, there’s a problem.

When I set this blog up yesterday, I discovered another blog that I hope to include in my pared-down list of daily internet stops.  Susan Kiernan-Lewis is a writer who also blogs.  Granted, I’ve read a total of THREE of her blog posts and none of her books (yet), but the three blog posts I read were probably some of the most inspiring posts I’d read in recent times.  She discussed “The Scariest Thing You Will Do As a Writer“, “The Great Social Media Flim-Flam“, and “Life After Twitter“.  And I came away inspired.  Because ultimately, to paraphrase the Bard, the book’s the thing.  Enough of this being distracted by things that impede progress toward the goal.

I turned 48 years old on Friday.  Thirty-four years ago, I had a language arts/writing teacher who saw something in my writing and encouraged me to write.  For the remainder of my school career, until I graduated college in 1986, I wrote.  And then I got a job, a car, an apartment, and eventually a family.  All of which are good things, indeed.  But I forgot about the hope that teacher had for me and my gift.  Recently, probably in the last six months, that teacher happened to go to the chiropractor’s office where my sister works.  She asked about me and if I was still writing.  When my sister told her “no,” she sighed and said, “I always thought she was publishable.”

And so I’ve been inspired, by that teacher, by Susan Kiernan-Lewis, by my husband who believes in me.  It’s not too late.  I can do this.  And I will.