solitary wee bushtit
flockmates await her
solitary wee bushtit
flockmates await her
The final harvest
a patty pan squash tableau
next stop the stew pot
final colorful hurrah
splendor in last gasp
Only 16 days to finish these revisions before I send the middle grade manuscript to my critique group. It was a bold move, requesting that critique slot when I’d only revised slightly less the half the manuscript, but I needed an incentive. And because I’ve been making solid progress, the last few days I’ve congratulated myself for imposing a deadline.
Today, though, I feel tiny in the face of all the work that remains. Onward I fly.
One pup one adult
one chill the other bonkers
Perched on its food source
a seed on head, one in bill
Okay, I’m being a big dramatic. But something’s gotta give here in Day 4 (or is it Day 5?) of working on the same damned chapter. I’m stuck.
Each time I think I’ve sorted things and gotten some momentum, I come to another screeching halt. It’s part brain, part exhausted-by-reality, part lack of confidence, and part what’s-the-freaking-point.
Maybe I’ve jinxed myself by repeatedly expressing my gratitude for being able to create during these incredibly difficult days. Earlier this week, I did just that, sharing with a non-writer friend how grateful I was to be able to immerse myself in my project. I told her many creatives aren’t functioning as they’d like these days.
And now I’m not, either. Instead, I’m stuck between the rock and a hard place. Send lawyers, guns, and money.
My friend spotted a large bird in a tree off in the distance as we walked around the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge last month. Was it a hawk? Too big. What was it?
We slowly and quietly moved closer to the tree. This not-great quality photo was taken from quite a ways away.
My friend thought maybe a Golden Eagle, which seemed like a very good guess. We very carefully moved a bit farther on the trail until we were on the other side of the tree.
Hello there, regal raptor with the sharp beak and talons! Thank you for allowing us to gawk.
When I returned home and got the photos up on my computer screen, Zippy suggested it wasn’t a Golden Eagle, but a juvenile Bald Eagle. After a little more research, we decided he was correct.
I recently wrote a work-for-hire book about birds around the world and was limited to 100 birds. I didn’t include the Bald Eagle in the Birds of Prey section because I figured kids were already pretty familiar with them. Apparently, the editor felt differently because when my author copies arrived, there was a Bald Eagle on the cover. I checked inside and discovered the Black-thighed Falconet, which weighs 1.23 ounces and is one of the smallest birds of prey in the world, had been replaced by the mighty Bald Eagle. I admit to being disappointed by that switch.
However, I was not at all disappointed by this Bald Eagle sighting. Also? My friend could not have spotted a sparrow-sized falconet from that distance. Amateur birders such as ourselves definitely benefit when the sightings weigh in at close to 14 pounds of pure fierceness.
Fifty shades of green
one no hassle parking space
This Rocky Mountain Bee Plant feels like a symbol of where I’m at with the revisions of my middle grade novel. Some aspects of the story have fully bloomed and won’t change much as I continue revising.
Other aspects are still revealing themselves to me. Slowly unfurling their blossoms to become beautiful, integral, and incredibly obvious how-did-I-not-already-know-that components of the whole.
It’s an exciting and gratifying place to be in the process.
I was working on revisions in bed this morning when Marcel decided to check out the happenings. In true feline form, he chose to curl up on the very document I’d just set next to me.
As gently as possible, I removed it from beneath his vast bulk. Not to be dissuaded from his mission of chaos, Marcel began noisily licking the plastic bag containing my highlighters and post-its. I was less gentle in that removal.
A few minutes later, I relocated to the patio. Marcel is an indoor-only cat.
P.S. While they didn’t directly obscure my materials, a couple hummingbirds got into multiple dust-ups as I worked outside, distracting me with their darting aggression.
It’s pretty obvious that I deserve a medal for getting any work done today.
against aerial gliding
or good policy?
Sweet housing project
best to let them bee
I get where Patti Smith is coming from in this quote: “In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth.” And I think when I originally drafted my work-in-progress, I did approach my art with abandon.
But today, as I continue to revise, I’m feeling a bit stealthy as I sow bits and pieces of backstory throughout the first 50 pages of this middle grade novel. I need the reader to know certain things, but I don’t want the reader aware of my presence. I very much do NOT want those bits and pieces to scream
WARNING: HEAVY-HANDED AUTHOR ON THE LOOSE!
Instead, I’m trying my best to adopt this squirrel’s attitude.
No sudden moves. Only careful and deliberate revisions that I hope won’t call attention to my presence.
(Note: Patti’s quote resonates with me so much I previously used it here.)
Bees, blooms, and butterflies.
I’m posting this photo as my reward for all I’ve accomplished today:
Yes, I’m one of those people who derive great satisfaction from checklists. And they’re especially important to me on days in which I feel very close to the edge.
Well done, Tracy.
I feel a bit like this today as I work to fully realize one of the main characters in my work-in-progress:
I know who the character is and what he’s about. And yet, two drafts in, he’s still a bit of a mystery. Most of his petals have unfurled, displaying his basic essence, but others remain closed to me. But just as this geranium flower eventually bloomed in full, so shall my character. And like Marcel, I’ll be there. Ready and waiting to absorb all that’s revealed.
rock sculpture and trail marker
[Update on Please don’t be dead . . . my laptop isn’t zombie-infested ! When I called to verify the computer doc was open for business, he asked a couple questions, then diagnosed and prescribed treatment over the phone . All is well!]
In other good news: after letting my manuscript sit for 10 days, this afternoon I read it in one sitting and am very pleased with the draft. My work-in-progress has good bones AND most of the flesh on those bones is also good. There’s still much work to be done, but the middle-grade story is definitely much closer to my vision.
How did I know it was time to read and get back to work? When I shut off the light to go to sleep last night and then moments later, turned on the light again in order to jot a revision note to myself. Up until then I hadn’t thought about my novel at all.
But I’m now back in the thick of things and it feels quite nice.
Poor little yarrow
a victim of aggression
two fates now entwined
As mentioned here (and here and here), I set a goal to finish another draft of my middle grade novel by June 30th. Today is that day and I’m pleased to report I just placed an order to have the manuscript printed and bound!
To be clear, this is NOT a photo of me. I don’t have mad hops, not even on my best days, and right now I’m too tuckered to leap anywhere except possibly onto the couch. Rest assured, though, my inner Tracy is currently jumping for joy.
Hooray for setting and meeting personal goals!
At this point, I’m not sure which is more difficult: a flat-out sprint on a narrow wire suspended many feet above the ground
or successfully and seamlessly including all desired character and plot elements in this draft I’m committed to finishing by June 30.
The pressure comes from knowing I’m going to print and bind this draft and that it’ll be much easier to work on it if all elements are already included. The thing is, I’m probably being too ambitious because there’s SO MUCH going on with this subject matter that I’m trying to include. But at this point, I’m inserting stuff as placeholders with the knowledge that some (most?) will get cut farther along in the process.
Anyway, that power line challenge looks pretty appealing right now.
Music to my ears
drink drink your tea, drink your tea