Category Archives: writing

Sun on a Sunday

Walked the dog. Did both crossword puzzles, more or less. And I’m back to editing after a hiatus — easier than going back to writing after a pause, but still a hurdle.

Fall routines in progress here. We put the hammock away. Brought the Christmas cacti inside. Started (the endless) raking.

It’s a meatloaf or chili kind of day, but I already cooked chicken thighs, so we’ll have them along with a bean salad featuring Rancho Gordo’s cassoulet bean.

I’ll admit to checking my phone EARLY today with a ghoulish anticipation. But, don’t get me wrong — I hope our president recovers. I really do. I live for the day when he is repudiated in a landslide election and then prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

I am at a little bit of a loss with my sewing.

Where we are — fall equinox

All the junk that goes with being human — the sweaty parts, the sour refusals, jealousies ocean-sized and petty, the worm of veins as aging wears out the body. We try, though, don’t we? We try to manage expectations, to overcome the vast array of annoyances, to face our fears as we watch the burning hellscape that is America.

To get up and fight.

It might be our turn to fall. If so, it won’t be from from hubris, but from a toxic blend of corrupt greed and epic stupidity. Plus Facebook. While Oleg Deripaska funds aluminum plants in Kentucky, a passel of white people in Pennsylvania storms Target yelling about their freedom not to wear masks.

Huh?

Outside, a pounding — perhaps a new deck for a neighbor? Maple leaves ruffle in the wind. They will crisp and yellow and before long, fall and litter the fence line. How do your hold your suffering? With what secret thoughts or unsustainable compromises? Winter, as has been said, is coming.

By the time the neighbor’s new deck is nailed together and stained and holding chairs and company, the election will be upon us. The massive efforts to steal it, already in motion. If only this… if only that… How to do enough?

How many things have you lost of late? What of them matter? Where does Hope dwell in your body?

I think Ruth Bader Ginsburg would want us to hold fast to Hope with a ferocity past all reason. Don’t you?

Collage made WHILE in labor

Prompt: write for five minutes about all the junk that goes with being human.

Sunrise 6:17

One of the things you can do when you’ve been awake since one and puttering about since three, is watch the sunrise.

Earlier: I bathed in moonlight. It’s a waning gibbous moon, but very bright. There were shadows.

In a show of solidarity, Finn followed me out and after sitting close and nudging my hand for scratches, curled up in my armpit. That’s the kind of moment dogs give you over and over, willingly and without reserve.

I was lying on the grass on my hard plastic bolster. It may or may not do anything corrective for my spine, that bolster, but every time I stretch my length on it, I groan with pleasure.

Back release under the moonlight. That’s about as radical as it gets these days!

Usually when I don’t sleep, I don’t have to be concerned about accomplishing much the following day. Today company is coming for a patio dinner.

I worry about these encounters, a little. I keep reading about people who “did everything right” and found themselves sick with Covid19 anyway. One such tale centered around an outdoor dinner, no other known possible exposure.

On the other hand, a psychologist friend seeded the idea this week that a kind of de-socialization is taking place. We’re forgetting how to interact with one another. So it seems important to do this. To visit and connect.

Earlier (but after moonlight): finished a memoir by Abigail Thomas. I’d already read the one where she talks about how her husband was mowed down on a NYC street and left with a traumatic brain injury. A Three Dog Life. Well worth the read.

What Comes Next and How to Like It features really great stuff about aging, friendship, relationships with kids and grandkids. Memory. Illness. She’s a dog person big time, so there’s that, too.

I recommended this book to a friend who’s writing a memoir in part because of how short and sweet many of Thomas’s chapters are — almost like diary entries, often no more than two paragraphs long. Somehow, it makes the business of constructing a memoir seem more doable.

Have to share with you a great new term picked up on Twitter: DOOM SCROLLING.*

No definition required, right?

I did that before I got out of bed. In case you’re inclined to suggest that I not expose myself to toxic terrifying national news while lying awake in the middle of the night — let me just say, I wasn’t gonna sleep anyway.

*Imani Gandi @AngryBlackLady

Check and check

Have I converted PeeDee to Pee Dee and PonPon Road to Pon Pon with a space? Did I switch all references to the Berber people to “Tuaregs” instead of Twuareg or Tuarog?

Have I made sure every “genteel” references refined society and not “gentiles” (oops)? Did I consistently spell lightning without an “e” in the middle and do I maybe have one too many thunderstorms?

Did I flesh out the “tag along slave” Phoebe enough for the reader to be able to see her?

Does the traumatized, silent Maggie speak early enough in the story for her late chapters to land?

Have I eliminated the second explanation of “free by courtesy”?

(if you’re curious, it’s a state of emancipation brought on by custom, not by papers like manumission papers or a will — often occurred in situations when an enslaved person was repeatedly promised that they’d be freed by will and then their owner failed to write or update their will. If that slave then acted as if they were free for long enough, they’d be considered “free by courtesy”). I probably don’t need to add that ANY version of freedom for a Black person in the 1740’s was tenuous and subject to the violent whims of white people.

Did I eliminate enough text in the middle for the pacing to work better?

Is there too much Eliza?

If my mustee character (half Pee Dee, half African), Indian Pete, is based on Prince, a man described in Archibald Rutledge’s memoir, will it be enough to add a citation in notes at the end?

From Home By The River: Prince had a “kinship with nature as unfeigned as it was intimate.” He was “untouched by any human school of philosophy … but deeply read in the oracles of God.” Prince once plowed a field with a half wild bull that other field workers would walk a quarter mile out of their way to avoid, earning Prince no end of admiration.

Have I fixed all the erroneous capital H’s that I managed to insert while fixing the naming of a ship, the Hound? (Hounds show up with surprising frequency).

My dear cousin Ginny printed out the manuscript for me! With almost all the inputs, too. It will be very different to give it a read through on paper.

Thank you Ginny!

Today I woke with this thought: if we hold onto the House and flip the Senate (and trump wins), we would be able to impeach AND convict him. Given all the totalitarian strategies being employed by trump and Barr to steal the election, maybe this is the thing to focus on?

Hazel ship plus historic ship plus — sigh — Chadwick Bozeman. May he sail free.

Pin by Liz, my father’s Army picture, and from Twelve Years a Slave, Chiwetel Eijofor.