Category Archives: writing

Sunny Saturday

A walk around the lake with the guys. Down jacket on, but still nice air.

Notably absent: all the runners training for the Boston Marathon. Normally this time of year, they’d be everywhere. This year’s race will be in October.

Midday found me quilting and watching a show about Flannery O’Connor on American Masters. I knew she was a staunch Catholic and southern but I had no idea how ill she was with lupus.

I hear my neighbors chatting out back. I’ve been through quite a few chapters today and have to get back outside. It’s a little daunting, the page count.

Here’s how K and I do yard clean up: I rake leaves and whatnot into piles and he picks them up.

I close with two Paris Collage Collective Week 12 compositions that didn’t make it into my Instagram feed.

Avoidance and chores

Have other bloggers noticed that if you let a few too many days go by, it can be hard to step back in? Right now, I’m procrastinating.

I should be putting my recently printed manuscript into a binder for ease of editing. Instead, I vacuumed. To finish properly, I had to pull a big jam out of the tubing using forceps. Found a bic pen lodged in there (– perhaps a symbol about getting down to business today?) Then I knocked over a Christmas cactus and had to clean that up.

I rearranged papers under the desk to make room for my soothing noise maker, because leaf blowing season is upon us again. “I must be ready!” she said.

Then there was a little candle lighting (my brother hasn’t been feeling well; D lives in Boulder — AND IS OKAY — but shops at that grocery store).

Then, because it’s lovely today, I opened a bunch of windows and got a couple of fans going and in the process kept losing the cup of coffee which any writer can tell you is an essential element of GETTING ONE’s ASS BACK IN THE CHAIR. One screen got stuck. Par for the course.

It occurs to me that if one had a practice of praying for all the victims of gunfire in this country, and their families, there’d be little time for anything else.

It also occurs to me that keeping a catalogue of the sickening and vast difference in how Black and white bodies are treated by cops could be a full time job.

On that note, I’ll leave you with yesterday’s historical tidbit (think: a trump-corrupted CDC playing down the Covid numbers).

And now, off to work!

A Wednesday in March

More light in the kitchen late afternoons. I arranged my sister’s blue bottle collection on the sill to invite that vibration and to mark my sister’s passing.* This week marked two years gone. I’ve had a lot to say about that, but for now, not here.

This lovely heart came from Hazel after Noreen’s death. She was grieving too. I looked at the stitching up close today and appreciated once again, the craft, the care. My sister and I found this Virgin at a second hand store in Salem that we enjoyed frequenting. She mounted it on wood and added eye hooks. The ceramic pentacle had been hers as well.

Editing going full throttle right now. Or at least, as full throttle as I do anything anymore. Needed a solid nap this afternoon after being awake til three am.

When I couldn’t sleep last night, I came downstairs and read a Booker Prize winning novel set in Glasgow: Shuggie Bain. Alcoholic mother, despicable father, unbearable poverty. I’m compelled to finish but it is unrelentingly grim.

Almost done reading Eliza’s letters post-1744. Those describing her husband’s death are full of anguish, full of praise for Charles’s virtue and character. They had fourteen years together. Good years. Malaria did him in.

* also prompted by chakra/color exploration on sparklinglotusink, Acey’s blog.

Adding light, revising novel

I’m adding light and shadow to appliqued hawk. Made her head lighter and used white poly for beak to make it pop. A scrap of fabric practically fell out of the basket and felt like a minor show of Providence.

Jude had the idea over on Instagram to darken some of the ripples around the hawk’s head. Since I like the way it adds a sense of motion, I may continue around the body as long as I have that color thread. It’ll look good flowing off the wings.

Had some gross polyester swirled with black in that basket, too. Added to tail and wings for more contrast. Light. Maybe you can see a difference with earlier incarnation, maybe not (below).

It’s nice to have company.

In the meantime, I finally talked to my paid manuscript consultant yesterday. Round three coming up. I know I’ve said this before but it bears repeating, perhaps even shouting off the rooftops: SHE LOVES MY BOOK.

I think people forget how solitary a process writing is.

House names should not be italicized. If I’m gonna talk about the elder Middletons toward the end, they need to be introduced earlier. Still sags here and there — needs tightening. Not so many descriptions of clouds, perhaps. Maybe not so much about Melody’s first owner. Explain what head rights are and how to memorialize land in Author’s Note, which starts like this:

When I began this novel, Trayvon Martin was alive and as I finished the second edit, George Floyd was dead.

The suggestion that I add an epilogue (say in 1758 after Eliza and Charles Pinckney return from a five year stay in England), will take a little more thought. That’s fourteen years after my original end. Lots of years I haven’t thought about all that much.

A six year time frame (1738 to 1744) allowed a laser-like focus. Etiquette in 1720? I don’t care! Rice markets in 1750? Also don’t care. Now I need to care. I’ll start with Eliza’s letters.

A walk with temps in the 40’s was cause for celebration this week. Daffodils shoving aside leaf debris. Snow shrugging off the curbs. It won’t be long now ’til the miracle of hyacinths.

In the meantime I am trying to answer the question (Acey’s): how do you hold your heart? Or maybe just asking it. Softly.

The collage challenge with Paris Collage Collective continues. This week: Shirley Chisholm.

More to come. I want to cut up seed catalogues and wreathe her head with flowers. In the collage above, the headstone of Harriett Jacobs served as reference to the long history of oppression, Jacobs being another Black woman who overcame so much.

Squeeze the balloon

Writing with others three mornings a week definitely lessens my need or impulse to show up here. I have to figure that out. For today: a completely disjointed post.

I’m ready for it to be warmer. It’ll be easier to wait for the “EVERYONE ELSE” category of vaccination then. I’m hoping.

If you can find Maddow’s final segment from last night, do. I’d share the clip but couldn’t find it — maybe next week? It was about the impossible becoming possible. A Catholic story, a tale of heroism and altruism. It was a real antidote to the epic assholery being reported about the GOP. That party… Gawd.

My paid manuscript consultant has finally taken up my book again. I’m trying not to think too hard about how loooonnnng next steps take. In the meantime, work set in Colorado is “coming through.”

Lawrence Durrell once said he didn’t know if he had a novel or not until he’d written over fifty pages. Well, I have much more than fifty pages already and I still don’t know. I swore I’d work from an outline if there was a next novel but that doesn’t appear to be an oath I’m keeping.

Reading about the bomb factory in Rocky Flats is research. Hair-raising.

It’s Saturday. I’m gonna eat breakfast today! Have a great weekend.