Joyful tidings

I am overflowing with joy right now after finishing the latest round of revisions on my middle grade novel. One full day ahead of my self-imposed deadline!

July 15, 2021

I love this book. But for the next little while (two weeks, at the absolute minimum), I’m not going to think about those characters and their problems at all. I’m gonna soak up some of the life that takes place away from my standing desk and refill my well. Starting with our first camping trip of the season later this week. Woot!

Joyful tidings, indeed.

P.S. Did you know that a flock of magpies is called a “tiding”? Me, neither. So how cool is it that this morning’s oracle card drawing from my feathered messengers deck was . . . MAGPIE!

Lending my voice

These are incredibly hard days on the planet and I’m overwhelmed. But as I revised my middle grade novel this morning, I felt a renewed sense of purpose because this story matters. It’s about community, friendship, mass incarceration, and taking one step forward on the long road to abolition.

This story matters and my voice matters. I cannot crawl into a hole and give up.

March 13, 2022. (Photo by Zippy)

I am on this earth to shine my light and lend my voice to the fight for a better world. This post is a reminder for when I begin to falter again. 💓

Twofer Tuesday: feline edition

When the brothers began a joint grooming session this morning, their synchronized licking (back legs held high) made for a great photo, and I hurried to grab the camera. But by the time I returned, the session had come to an end.

Loki & Marcel. March 22, 2022

They’ve been napping there for hours (surprise-surprise) and the entire time, Marcel has kept watch over my project notebook. When I gently removed it from beneath his sleeping body just now, the pages were warm. I choose to interpret that as a positive review for my latest middle grade novel.

Fun with Poppy

This photo was selected in honor of a manuscript I haven’t thought about in a few years — POPPY VALENTINE  LUCKS OUT — because when I remembered it yesterday,  my first thought was “that book was so much fun to write!” Poppy, her little sister Fiona, and some cremation ashes. Because I wholeheartedly loved that book and believed in it so fully, I drafted a companion novel (which was also a blast to write).

I’m proud that in addition to creating those characters and their hijinks, it was a joyful experience. And because I’m making a concerted effort to celebrate my creative achievements, I  selected this photo to accompany today’s tribute to those literary efforts.

A garden bloom on May 16, 2020

Then I examined the image more closely and had a completely off-topic/bonus thought:  this photo reminds me of Gladys Knight & the Pips! Look at the choreography of how those buds are leaning in and swaying behind the blooming Gladys. If I squint my eyes, I can practically see the three buds execute a synchronized spin as Gladys belts out “Midnight Train to Georgia.”

Just me, my quirky brain, and Poppy having a little more fun.

Thankful Thursday: glimpses of joy

Life’s hard on a personal and global level these days, and I’m trying hard to find the joy.

  • Here are this morning’s writing session partners (Emma in the front row while Marcel sits in solidarity behind the laptop). The three of us made good progress in our middle-grade novel revisions (and we now have over 100 revised pages).

  • A much-needed zoom therapy session with Sara, who I now refer to as Saratonin (thanks to another client who bestowed the nickname).
  • Twenty minutes in the sunshine after the therapy session, in which I bundled up and stood on the south-face deck as I breathed in cold, clean air, listened to twittering birds, and felt immense gratitude for the natural world.

Snow-laden Mountain Mahogony.    February 24, 2022

Golden Yarrow. 2.24.22

O Monday where art thou?

Here it is nearly 5:30 of the p.m., sun gone for the day as temperatures drop and daylight slips away. I’ll admit, this is my least favorite time of winter days because of the increased risk of gloomy feelings that often involve beating myself up. As in, “you squandered those precious hours and what do you have to show for yourself now that it’s cold, dark, and dreary?”

Not playing those reindeer games today.

Bouquet from BB. February 2, 2022

Right now I’m basking in the glow of my accomplishments: Coffee and Wordle. Exercise.  Smoothing out trouble spots in my middle-grade novel, revising chapter 8, and falling in love with the manuscript all over again. A thoughtful phone conversation with Zebu. Laughter. Laundry. Email plus research for climate action meeting later this week. Finishing the excellent We Are All Birds of Uganda by Hafsa Zayyan. Healthy eating. Sharing snuggles with dog and cats (with special shout-out to Loki for lying down next to me while I did foam roller stretching).

It is true I respond best to blue skies and sunshine glinting off snow. But on this Monday evening, I’m content.

Apropos

This image of our Christmas Cactus (aka Schlumbergera) is sharp in places and soft in others because the camera’s focus wasn’t evenly distributed. In other words, a perfect image for today.

November 17, 2021

Why? Because:

  1. I’m experiencing ptsd-related issues in which my eyes struggle to process detail**, which means this mixture of sharp and soft feels familiar and
  2. while rereading my critique partners’ notes during today’s session of revision work on my latest middle grade novel, their comments revealed that while some parts of my story were in sharp, undeniable detail, other components were so soft around the edges those readers were unable to interpret intent.

This lovely bloom is a reminder that I need to keep working on my focus.

**for which I’m doing daily vision therapy to bring my eyes back into balance

Still shining her light

Today is the selection meeting for the Writing Roosters Scholarship for the Michelle Begley Mentor Program. Michelle was a dear friend and critique partner who created an amazing mentor program for the Rocky Mountain kidlit community. When she tragically died in a car accident, our critique group established a scholarship fund in her name. Each year, we get together (zoom again…sigh), along with Michelle’s mother and two sisters, to discuss applications and select a mentee to receive the $500 scholarship.

This year, we have ten applicants! I’m still writing notes for our meeting that begins in less than an hour, but wanted to document this event.

July 3, 2021

The sunflower is nearly as beautiful as Michelle whose light still shines on through her legacy to our writing community.