For the past twelve days I read a whole bunch (The Hazel Wood; The Secret Life of Anna Blanc; Storyworthy; The Truth About Twinkie Pie; Boys and Girls Together; The Infinite Pieces of Us;), did some de-cluttering, scrapbooked photos, watched college basketball and Netflix, exercised, and did ZERO writing.
The no-writing started out easy because I was pretty worn out from my NaNoWriMo draft and in serious need of a break from that kind of thinking. Then I began to notice an increase in grumpy feelings and overall anxiety, and realized it was probably writing withdrawal. But I still wasn’t ready to get back to it. I had a gut feeling I’d view any new writing as crap and any older project as crap, and sure enough, I read 20 pages of a YA I’d set aside in June and thought “This is irredeemable garbage.” So I went back to reading other people’s words and cleaning out drawers.
Last night I realized I was ready to write again. Somehow, I knew it was safe to go back to the pages and I’m pleased to report I was absolutely correct. I just finished reading the entirety of the aforementioned YA. I took copious notes and am excited about the project that is NOT irredeemable garbage. It’s a manuscript in need of revision and I just happen to love me some revision.
Back in the saddle again, baby.
December is a tough month for me because of the short days and colder temperatures. I try hard to get outside every day, but when it’s below freezing I stay inside. Today was sunny and warmer than the rest of this week so I took Emma for a run. We were both exceedingly happy to be outside and moving. The shady parts of the streets were a bit chilly, but whenever the sun hit me it felt warm and wonderful. I’m definitely more upbeat as a result of our outing.
Post-run selfie as the sun slips behind the hill.
Unfortunately, the sun’s already setting behind the foothills and we’ll soon be in shadows. But my dose of sunshine, exercise, and Emma’s happy face will get me through another short December day.
Yesterday was so damned cold I didn’t go outside. By evening, I was anxious and grumpy. Today it’s still very cold, but I just went for a fast 22-minute walk with Zippy and Emma in the sunshine. I feel exhilarated! And as soon as I post this, I’m going to turn up the music and get going on the Massive Photo Scrapbooking Project.
Because as Michael Franti says: Music is sunshine. Like sunshine, music is a powerful force that can instantly and almost chemically change your entire mood. Music gives us new energy and a stronger sense of purpose.
I’m gonna double down on the mood enhancement. Sunshine + Music. I refuse to let December’s cold and short days grind the life out of me.
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. ~ John Muir
Today’s yoga view
now must loosen my muscles
with guidance of rocks.
As the nervousness and anxiety mounts regarding the outcome of tomorrow’s votes, I turn to my default emotional-health tool: nature.
This deer showed up in our front yard just over a year ago and today I’m grateful for its grace, beauty, and calming demeanor.
Breathe, Tracy. Breathe . . .
This photo was taken last February, but I’m posting it today as a reminder. Because dogs get it. They totally grasp the importance of taking the time to just be. Sure, there are squirrels to chase along the fence, scents to decipher, and holes to dig, but there’s also sunshine, light breezes, and listening to birds.
I’m going to follow Roscoe and Emma’s lead, and grab a little time today to just be.
Right now I’m hiding away, parked in front of my computer as I get organized for NaNo. For the umpteenth time, I’m so grateful for the fictional worlds I can disappear in when the real world provides example after example of ignorance, cruelty, and fear-based behavior.
My work-in-progress isn’t a smash-the-capitalist-patriarchy story. However, it will be (I hope) funny and provide glimpses of shared humanity. This manuscript is me fighting back with my humor and heart.
As the Dalai Lama said: Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.
Without them humanity cannot survive.
Some days are so hard that I’m tempted to give up and assume the fetal position. Over the last couple days a young relative was diagnosed with a health condition and then a neighborhood family suffered a heartbreaking tragedy. I’ve felt overwhelmed and weepy. But I’ve also experienced joy as I hugged my son, watched a magpie take flight, and listened to my snoring dogs as they snuggle together in their bed. I’ve made progress on my new writing project and shared laughter with my visiting brother-in-law. I didn’t give up and curl into a ball.
Life is a series of sunshine and shit-storms, and as long as I remember to think of it that way, the better I cope. The key (for me, anyway) is tapping into the light amidst the dark. Finding the balance. I was reminded of that as I struggled to balance the light and dark in this photo of Marcel.
The result is nowhere near perfect, but then again, neither is life.
Zippy and I passed this sculpture on the sidewalk as we walked around the neighborhood with Emma yesterday morning. It’s now 7:15 on Sunday night and I can say with absolute certainty that spotting this cheery little fella was the highlight of a very difficult weekend.
I hope it also brings you a smile.
This day has worn out its welcome so I’m gonna make like this squirrel and exit stage right. Tomorrow is nothing but pure potential. Who knows? I might even wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
This morning started with a run followed by delicious coffee and rice cakes smeared with peanut butter as I began working on revisions. Everything was clicking and life was good.
Looking back on it, I wish I’d bottled how I felt then because the day quickly took a number of turns for the worse and now I’m kinda worn out from it all. I’ve tried and tried, but I can’t conjure up those good feelings. Damn you, life’s curves and slick surfaces!
Ah well, tomorrow means a fresh start.
Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.
~ Will Rogers
Just knowing you don’t have the answers is a recipe for humility, openness, acceptance, forgiveness, and an eagerness to learn – and those are all good things.
~ Dick Van Dyke
Popping online quickly to express my gratitude for the natural world. Today’s image is the Elk Range as seen from Crested Butte, Colorado.
It’s a spectacular planet, wouldn’t you say?
I was at my front window doing quad stretches this morning when I realized I wasn’t alone. One of the many neighborhood bunnies was hunkered down in the vinca, showing an utter lack of concern for my presence.
Goal for today: no matter what arises I’ll try to maintain a chill bunny vibe.
Twitter can be a scary and depressing place to hang out and I don’t spend much time there these days. Too much bad news and bad humanity on display. However, there are some shining lights on that platform and one of those is the WeRateDogs account (@dogs_rates). According to Wikipedia: the WeRateDogs account was started in 2015 by college student Matt Nelson.
Here’s a recent sample: @dog_rates
This is Dusky. She’s not the hero we deserve, but she’s the one we need right now. 13/10 would trust with my life
Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.
~ Ken Kesey via ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST
Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.
~ Frank Lloyd Wright
As I hooped this morning, a bunny came into view. The furry beauty remained in that same spot, calmly chewing and staring into space, despite the fact that I spun and twirled nearby. And then Marcel, sensing something outside, jumped up in the window. The bunny casually glanced toward where the big white cat stared longingly, and immediately returned to her bunny business.
I’d like to emulate that self-confidence during this coming week. Me and the bunny, not overly concerned with matters outside our personal spheres.
Yesterday was cold, gray, and icy here in the Rocky Mountain foothills. Today was sunny and warm enough to run in shorts. The last few days have been emotionally draining for a variety of reasons, and I felt that fatigue and heaviness as I ran.
However, each step felt like a gift, my cadence matching my internal chant:
I am strong and getting stronger. I am strong and getting stronger. I AM STRONG AND GETTING STRONGER.
Sing it, believe it. Live it.
There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.
~ Albert Schweitzer
I took this photo in October 2015 and never looked at it closely (I recommend clicking on the image for full efffect). After deciding to highlight it here today, I went in search of a fitting quotation.
The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place:
from the sky,
from the earth,
from a scrap of paper,
from a passing shape,
from a spider’s web.
~ Pablo Picasso
That quote feels particularly apt because today has been emotion-filled. SO.MANY.FEELINGS. coming at me from every direction. It was like being surrounded by a sticky web trapping every single one of them.
It’s cool, though. I’d much rather feel it all than be numb to it all.
I’ve said this before and I’m gonna say it again: I’m very grateful for my creative life.
For the past few days, I’ve immersed myself in a work-in-progress project I’d had to put on hold for much of December while working on another, and yesterday told Zippy I’d fallen in love with the manuscript all over again. I’m grateful to love the work I do.
Today my gratitude is more specifically about the refuge my fiction provides. Admittedly, it’s not an impenetrable fortress. Earlier, I had to make a shaking-mad phone call to my House Rep’s office after learning about his pro-NSA surveillance vote and I just hopped onto Twitter in time to read about Agent Orange’s racist and hateful remarks about people from Haiti, Africa, and Latin America. The very act of writing that out has me so agitated, I’m now chewing at my cuticles. Clearly, the people and places in my head don’t keep the ugly at bay 24/7.
I do have an outlet when the current reality feels too horrible to contemplate. And I hope that’s true for everyone, whether it’s watching goat videos or smelling sweet puppy breath or welding sculptures or hiking or drumming or blowing raspberries on a baby’s chubby tummy or resting in a pool of sunshine or . . .
Please, do whatever it takes.