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A little chat about characters in August

I can’t imagine a worse job than being a neurologist stuck trying to study the brain of a writer. Even the prefrontal cortex of a reptile is complex. Writers create characters and those characters have needs, wants, and desires. Some become so real, they “come to life.”

August tends to be the month where I get a lot of writing done because I can sit alone in cabana without radio or internet and focus on a story. After one of those sessions, one of Mary Aker’s characters stopped by. Atlas was…unbalanced in the book. (No doubt you’re thinking I am as I tell you this.) He asked if I remembered a fight scene in her book. I did. He told me he had a problem with it. I nodded at him with the wary respect I lend to forest animals. He went away.

The next time I was out there and getting ready to leave, he showed up again and asked if I’d spoken to Mary. I told him I hadn’t had time and rushed away. Mary happened to text a breezy, hi-how-are-ya-I-miss-you. I told her I’d been thinking about her book.

Atlas reappeared and told me he thought a certain baby was his. I told him he was mistaken. The sperm was from – he cut me off. He claimed it was switched. Or mixed. There was a chance that it was his. I told Mary this. We had a zoom with Gina, and the subject was brought up. We all hashed out possible plot twists. What if a Gloria switched the sperm and told Atlas about it in a certain scene – trying to keep from rewriting down. It was a weird but good exchange. I was done with the matter. I went out, worked on my own story, and Atlas stayed away – satisfied, I suppose.

Gloria waited until I was cutting up fruit for dinner to make her appearance. She likes Atlas. She can’t have children, but sees nothing wrong with taking Sylvia’s baby away when it’s born. If there’s one successful pregnancy, there would be another. Sylvia could use the sperm of the specimen she really wanted. What was 9 months of delay?

I find it all rather Meta that these shifty characters Mary created had a way to pop into my head for a chat. Are all the abandoned characters out there waiting for us to notice them again? Would a neurologist be able to explain away the phenomena instead? These are the things that have been on my mind.

Otherwise, I’m rewriting a book which is frustrating because two characters that had little to do with each other in the original are about to fall into bed – or shoot each other. Either outcome challenges the rest of the plot. Sigh.

Husband had another happy 45th birthday.

The garden is producing many tomatoes.

The dog

Went to the groomer.

The rose bloomed.

Wild grapes were picked.

There was a nocturnal visitor at the hummingbird feeder.

Another section of the house is being painted.

And thus concludes this month’s blog post. You are wonderful and full of grace. Thank you for stopping by and for the read!

Vote for Joan Kelly on 17 May 2016 for SGI : A blog post

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Happy Cinco de Mayo and welcome to this post which is being written at a Chevy dealership while waiting for an oil change. One of the dealers is calling to wish people happy birthday and I’m wondering how I’d feel if they called me. If it was to say “Happy Birthday, you’ve won a free car/one month’s car payment/a free oil change, I’d probably like that a lot.

I’m here because one thing led to a minor renovation and since my novel writing group is coming on Tuesday, I really need things finished so Husband is at home painting instead of sitting here. Originally, the thought was that I wanted the space under the kitchen sink painted brilliant white so it would be easy to see things underneath. The next thought was that he wanted to buy a good paint sprayer to tackle that job.  That led to other things I’d like painted, which made him consider getting a fairly decent sprayer and after that, well I forgot the logic, but there was some and now all sorts of cleaners are hanging out on my kitchen counter instead of on the shelves above the washing machine closet because those are torn out and will be replaced once the painting is done.

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If you live in the Springville Griffith Institute area, I urge you to vote out the nonsense and vote for Joan Kelly. Joan is decent, hardworking, and listens to people. Of course you’ll need to vote in the atrium of the high school instead of the library because of “safety concerns.” Allison Duwe’s safety of being reelected is under threat due to her complete incompetence so she’s punishing the elderly in the area who thought her idea of a new gym was ridiculous and voted against it 1553 to 348 or something close to that. No one can accuse her of being a good sport, or a gracious loser, or even a decent person for that matter, and that is my opinion so settle down if you don’t agree. It’s my blog and I get to have my say—at least until next January it’s supposedly a free country with freedom of expression and freedom of the press guaranteed by the first amendment.

Otherwise, the miniature rose bush that Husband got me for my birthday is about to bloom again, the world out my Creekside window is going green and the peas are planted. I got another 20 pages written for a book, I’m working on two essays that may combine into one long one and I just got an ARC of “Hoopity Time Machines” by Christopher DeWan which I’ll be reviewing for The Tavern Lantern portion of Literary Orphans. I also have two pieces by Nina Fosati from the Hamburg Writers Group, a paper by Nancy’s niece, and the novel pages for my novel critique group to either read or reread and leave comments on and…yeah, I could go on about other reading and writing, but I brought “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr with me so I’m off to read that and will post this when I get home.

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Thank you so much for stopping by and reading!

(*These are my Creekside Reflections. Your experiences might 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.)

Quirky Times, but at least the Wall is Painted

Hi! The wall got prepped and primed and painted. It is wonderful. The color changes from gray to blue to purple. I love it!

These pics do nothing to show you, but here you go. Thank you Donkey! (The painter.)

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I’m in a happy/sad sort of place. I’m going to Chautauqua on Sunday for a writer’s conference. Husband is going to start working ten hour days soon. I’ll be in charge of mowing the lawn while he’s working. I think I’ll be sad a lot when that starts. I’ve started working out to a Jillian Michael’s DVD and wondering why, considering the state of the Earth. For f-’s sake. Who gives a crap about Benghazi, or the IRS or Jolie’s breasts when collectively we should be demanding better treatment of the planet.

I don’t know how to do it. Husband and I own one vehicle. We recycle. Plant flowers for bees and butterflies. We volunteer. I know, it’s not enough and it makes me throw up a little bit in my mouth every time I think about it. What do we do to get better, be better, help another person out a little bit more than we are trying? I just don’t know.

It’s probably just a personality trait—I have this wonderful wall now. I must not deserve it so I make myself feel bad about everything else…but the weather throughout the world scares me.

Last week, the radio was off for gobs of time. Now it’s back on and I hate not having power to save the fish that are floating in Lake Erie or the flocking West Nile virus infected birds. F*ck.

So, I suppose I’ll do what I can. Give a thumb up to work I like for r.kv.r.y., plant more flowering vines for bees, breath. Go on with a bit of courage. Hope people I know I love them for being them.

 

(*These are just some of my sad creekside reflections. Your outlook on life may vary.)

Big Projects, Little Pretty Flowers

I usually don’t talk about works in progress, especially the big ones. The genesis of the latest is what perplexes me and drives me forward. I’d been on the fence about joining Camp NaNo when I got a snotty letter from another writer who was pissed that I didn’t answer his questions about my “process” in the manner he was accustomed to being answered or something. I don’t know. In the midst of his bitch, he gave me an insight which I pondered. He said: To my eye, some of your best writing has been in your letters, talking about your past and your personal life. Discuss.

He went on to suggest that I write a book in the first person with the main character having adventures similar to the ones I’ve described to him. Thing is, I’m doing that and it’s taking me to some fearsome places.*Sigh* Christ. I’d rather kiss people with purple splotches and stop writing, but this story is intriguing the hell out of me. I know–I think–how it will end, but the ride is so fun so far I don‘t want it to end. I’m not used to that. When I’ve written novels before, I knew the end and wanted to get there already, but this time, not so much…

I missed taking photos of the first flowers, but I took these to prove I leave the house and think of things other than writing:cro

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Warm, but cool, contemplative, intense but not over powering was what I wanted for the color of the living room wall. I’ve searched, swatched, sampled and waited. I think I found “the” color. Here are a few shots of the bookshelf being denuded of books, my minions, the hell of the hell I’m going to be going through while the books are packed up and windows are changed out and the painters arrive and, well, isn’t that what life is all about? Constant change. I’m nervous about this. What if it’s the wrong color? I’ll be stuck with it for years! So I may not like it. I’ll just keep going on, like I do with submitting. I lose contests and get rejected, but still, I go on. So far

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I don’t have pictures of them, but I have a new “amuse me” shoes. With a carpenter for a husband, it’s not safe to walk around in this house without shoes. Therefore I now have these special sneakers that I can match my outfit to by trading out the side colors. I’ve never felt more nerdy/pathetic/coordinated/smart in my life. See you next month when I’m hoping the mayhem in the living room has settled down.

(*These are just my creekside reflections. Your experiences may vary.)