Saturday, August 24, 2019

It's there somewhere

I don't really believe in writer's block. I mean, it happens, those awful times when the words in my head won't come out my fingers and onto the page, but the way I've always dealt with it is to just write anything.

It may not be what I want; it may make no sense in the end; but I can edit words. I can't fix a blank page.

I've just encountered one of those write anything sections in my Great Depression book. I finished the first draft at the end of June, and after taking a few weeks off to let it sit, I started in on revisions. So far, so good, until the 75% mark, where I apparently left myself such a shit storm of "fix it later" that I'm going to have to take another week to figure out how to fix it.

As far as the graphic goes, this really is what it feels like sometimes. The idea is so clear, but the distance from the idea to the finished story is a maze not of my own design.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

How it started

I wrote my first stories on a typewriter like this. Or, rather, I typed my first stories. I wrote plenty before that, but my handwriting has never been all that good, so when I discovered typing, it was the way to go.

My dad was a Philadelphia firefighter, but like most of them, he also had a part-time job (both because such an important job didn't pay enough, and because he wanted to keep me in sufficient toys; I was an only child). His part-time job was a shared maintenance gig at a local college - he and two of his friends split the job between them; the college didn't care who did what, so long as the hours were covered.

He brought home random interesting things that were going to be thrown away, and one day he hauled in this ancient, black Olivetti typewriter, the kind that was completely open on top and had black and white enamel keys.

It was very similar to this one which I trashpicked a few years ago, my old one having disappeared during a later childhood move (thanks, Mom). This typewriter lives in a corner of the room that serves as our library/my office, otherwise known as the house's original dining room.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Garden bounty

You can't afford to look away in August.

Thursday, August 15, 2019


Cats. Walking on books for centuries.
I may not mention it here often, but I'm grateful for this blog, and for all of you who are still out there reading it after all these years.

I would be grateful to the blog, even without readers, because the one thing it has always done is keep me writing. Even when I'm writing nothing else, the blog has been there, keeping me limber.

Once upon a time, before my life was so full, I wrote all the time. Every day after work, or before bed, or in the morning. Whenever an idea struck me.

Then I got older, got busier, got married, got a lot more things to do that I didn't even always want to do, and writing for me drifted away for a while.

But the blog, which I started because I wanted to keep up with my far-flung sewing friends, remained. And I remained faithful to it, in somewhat sporadic fashion, and when the urge to write came back to me, at least I still remembered how to word.

Because of this blog.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Accidental outing

Every other Sunday, Mario and I go to New Jersey to visit his mom. She lives about an hour and a half away. Some days the ride is endless, and others, not so bad. When I'm working on a story, looking at all those trees is actually restful and my mind can drift, and make things up.

Today when we left, it was such a beautiful day, with a bright blue sky and a nice breeze, we meant to come home, but turned in the other direction and drove 35 miles to the shore. We weren't dressed for the beach, but we took our shoes off, walked along the shore and got our feet wet, had a nice early seafood dinner, and then joined the exodus home at 5:30.

It only took 2 hours to get back, and it was totally worth it. I feel like my brain has been washed out with sea water.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Annie sends greetings

Annie is still ticking along, enormous tumor notwithstanding.

I didn't think she would still be with us at this point of the summer. The heat has taken it out of her a bit, but then again, she's 18, and there's a good chance that would happen anyway. (My old vet did say old age might carry her off before the cancer got her, and he may be right in the end).

We were thinking about a trip this fall, but we're holding off. I'd feel terrible if something happened while we were gone, not only for Annie, but our pet sitting neighbor as well. No one signs up for that.

Monday, August 5, 2019

One more thing off the list

So I needed an author photo - for Facebook, for Twitter, for the publisher and all the promo stuff we'll be doing (in addition to my actual BOOK, y'all).

I hate my picture taken. I'm self-conscious about my teeth, and my glasses reflect, and I've got circles under my eyes and and and...

My friend Dianne is a pretty good photographer (she was the only friend who was allowed to take pictures at our wedding, because I didn't want to spend the day flinching at cameras), so I asked her last week if she'd take a few pictures. She agreed, but she's away this week, so...

Here you have a writer in her bathroom with a smartphone.

I took about 60 pictures, got 4-5 that I actually didn't dislike, and then futzed with them in my photo editing software. I didn't do much, really - I am what I am, so I didn't do anything to my actual face beyond smoothing out the lines in my neck and a few uneven patches in my skin. The rest is 55 year old me, happy that I'm going to be published, happy that one more item on the to-do list is checked off, happy that I don't have to wait a week for photos that I probably wouldn't like any better, and at least when it was just me, the phone and my new shower curtain, I could mutter all I wanted about bad angles and just how many colors is my hair right now?

Anyway, that's done. Exhale.