I’m trying to add layers of text to my nonfiction picture book and am feeling a bit overwhelmed by the gap between my vision for this project and the reality of what it looks like thus far. In my mind, this project is pure AWESOME. However, the manuscript currently feels more like a collection of fits and starts.
So I’m posting this magic mushroom as a reminder of how intricate details come together to create a whole. One gorgeous layer at a time.
Limpkin. Kapok Park, May 6, 2019.
Can’t trust that day.
However, it does feel good knowing what day of the week it is, even if it’s the dreaded Monday, after being disoriented for much of last week when every day felt like a weekend day.
It’s good to know where I stand. Hello, Monday. Let’s do this.
It’s been raining here, off and on, since yesterday afternoon. Part of me has had enough of this dreary, wet weather. But another part of me loves all the lush green, so I’m trying to adopt the Beatles’ attitude: Rain, I don’t mind. Shine, the weather’s fine.
Emma and I haven’t gone out today, though. She doesn’t like water in her ears and I’m not in the mood for the cold damp. Instead, we’re enjoying the cozy indoors.
Rain, we don’t mind. As long as we’re warm and dry.
Or better yet, chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate to keep me going on these edits of my work-for-hire project. As Warren Zevon noted, the shit has most definitely hit the fan.
I started my day at one of my favorite places on the planet, Kapok Park. I wandered around with my camera and came upon this sign that reminded me of Zebu. I’d taken a photo of him next to that same sign when he and I visited the park a year ago.
So when I saw the sign today, I missed my son and decided to take a quick pic to send in a text. I stepped closer to the sign and focused on framing the shot. Suddenly I felt a burning, stinging sensation in my left ankle. I looked down and noticed ants crawling on me. Lots of angry, biting ants.
I’d somehow neglected to see their enormous anthill-home and stepped in it with my big shoe.
The good news is I had a lovely visit to Kapok Park where I managed to avoid molesting the alligators. The bad news is I caused considerable distress to an ant colony.
You put your right foot out
You put your right foot in
And you shake it all about.
You do the hokey pokey
And turn yourself around
That’s what it’s all about!
While I’m finishing up my work-for-hire project (hooray!!!), Zippy is out on the patio harvesting our worm compost. Each time I fed them over the past couple months I’d remark “I need to harvest this stuff. The bin’s getting full.” Well, I never got around to that harvest.
Today’s the day! Zippy wants/needs compost for the seeds he’s about to plant in his vegetable garden so he’s out there utilizing the pile method. Worms are light-sensitive so migrate down in the piles which makes it easier to separate them from the compost.
But it’s still a labor-intensive process and I’m grateful Zippy has tackled the project. However, I’m feeling a bit left out. Solution? As I work on my manuscript I take breaks to go down and say hello to my worm friends. Here’s a mess o’ worms that were hanging out inside an avocado peel:
And here’s an adult and a younger worm that patiently allowed me to hold them for a moment before I headed back to my writing project:
All hail King Harvest!
I’m at the Tampa airport, headed back to Colorado. Yesterday I went to Kapok Park in late afternoon and took so many photos my camera card reached capacity and wouldn’t let me take anymore. That’s what you call satiation!
Here’s a dapper jay I enountered:
It was a typically wonderful time at Kapok Park and I’m looking forward to going through the many photos I took to see what other gems await me.
I’m packing for a visit with my mother in Florida and as I placed my sandals in the suitcase, I noticed something. The soles are stilly sandy from my January trip.
I started to brush off the sand and then stopped. Those granules belong in Florida, not Colorado. They have a job to do. Sand castles, for example.
Good news, grains of sand. You’ll be home again soon.
I’m getting ready to head out to one of my senator’s offices to urge his support for a Green New Deal. I had a conversation with one of his D.C. staffers yesterday when I called (again) to ask that he co-sponsor the Green New Deal. I was told Senator Bennet doesn’t support it because he wants legislation that’s bi-partisan so that whatever is passed won’t be subject to political winds depending on who is in power.
Classic establishment Dem thinking. Water down the policy in hopes the soulless ghouls across the aisle will approve. This senator also thinks he might run for president. *insert hysterical laughter* If Senator Bennet thinks he’ll get anywhere without the support of the young people out there fighting for their futures, he’s incredibly out of touch. Which is what I told that staffer.
Here are my signs for this afternoon’s meeting:
I don’t have high hopes for Senator Bennet who voted to approve the Keystone Pipeline and said at the time he thought Keystone should be part of a bigger solution to climate change. (?!) BUT, I can’t not make the effort when so much is at stake.
Please, even if you’ve already done so, put in calls today to your two senators and one representative to ask them to co-sponsor the resolution for a Green New Deal. We’ve gotta go bold before it’s too late.
I woke this morning to snow that fell for hours before abruptly stopping when the sun came out. Zippy was out shoveling and came in to let me know we had a visitor in the yard. By the time I got to the window, the doe was strolling up the street past the spot where a huge pickup had slid sideways earlier in the day. (You can see the exposed groundcover where the truck went up over the sidewalk).
Hooves are superior to Michelins.
Yesterday I got zero writing done on my work-in-progress. I was enraged and exhausted by news and events. Late last night I fell asleep wondering whether, in the face of relentless misogyny and violence against women, my idea for a middle-grade novel narrated by a boy was what I should pursue. Maybe, I thought, I should abandon that story and instead write a burn-it-all-down book filled with pitchfork-wielding girls.
Well, I’ve spent the last several hours analyzing and fleshing out the beginning outline for my boy-based work-in-progress and have decided it’s a GO. Not only am I moving ahead with this story, I’m kinda excited about the plot lines. My main character won’t be fighting the power structure, but he is a decent human being.
In today’s climate that’s worth a lot.
♫ Welcome to the working week
Oh, I know it don’t thrill you, I hope it don’t kill you
Welcome to the working week ♬
You gotta do it till you’re through it, so you better get to it
Today I wander the wilderness of my manuscript, hoping I’m (finally) headed in the right direction with these revisions. Remembering to acknowledge the process and enjoy the journey as best I can.
This could’ve been a truly awesome photo. Imagine a large white cat stretched out on the backside of the hanging shirts, staring through the multi-colored plastic hangers with yellow-green eyes. Imagine a self-satisfied expression on that white cat’s face as you struggled to understand how he got there. Imagine being frozen in place as he stared you down.
By the time I snapped out of my Marcel-induced reverie and returned with my camera, this was all I got. In fact, this subpar photo was staged. Marcel had already extricated himself from the hangers and jumped down before I could get a shot so Zippy picked him up and put him back on the dresser. (Confession: I was hoping he’d jam Marcel back through the hangers, but apparently my mate and I have different cat-wrangling sensibilities.)
Loki, true to form, remained chill throughout the activities.
Every time I pass by my dresser and see Marcel in his new favorite place,
the cat-aquarium, a Beatles song comes to mind:
I’m looking through you,
where did you go
I thought I knew you,
what did I know
Yeah we all shine on,
like the moon,
and the stars,
and the sun.
~ John Lennon
Marcel is the four-legged member of the family voted Most Likely to Open a Closet, Drawer, or Food Canister. Which is why it was particularly dumb for me to leave only a sliding screen door between him and the great outdoors before I left today for a lunch date. To make matters worse, it wasn’t until a couple hours after my return that I noticed the screen door open about six inches.
Zippy and I began dashing about in a panic, calling Marcel’s name. Zippy checked under furniture and in closets as I ran around the front and back yards looking under bushes. I ran across the street (which hosts a fair amount of traffic) to ask the neighbors if they’d seen him. They hadn’t, but promised they’d let me know if they did. I started to wonder how I’d ever break it to Zebu that Marcel was gone.
I was making another round of the back yard when I heard something. I stopped and listened. I heard it again and followed the sound. There was Marcel, curled up in a corner of the neighbor’s yard, crying and frozen in fear. Zippy climbed over the fence and brought him home.
The good news is that Marcel’s already gotten over the trauma from his big adventure. Just a few moments ago, he was messing with the latch on the food canister.
Update: And right after I posted this, he opened the closet in my writing room and climbed into a box filled with bubble wrap.
Yesterday I (finally) came to the realization that a couple two or three much-loved scenes in my manuscript serve no real purpose. Try as I might, I couldn’t justify them. And after attempting to salvage little bits here and there, I (finally) came to another realization: pruning shears weren’t the tool for the job.
The first cut is the deepest, baby, I know.
Today as I work on my novel, I am thinking ahead, hoping ahead, to the day when a reader reaches for my story. Last May, I photographed this man perusing a “Book Exchange” in Stockholm and am posting it as a motivator. I aim to create the most compelling, reader-enticing story I can write, dammit.
Yesterday, I wrote about my gratitude for the snowstorm.
Today, after trying to walk Emma who seemed so determined to make me fall on the ice that I was forced to abort the effort after only three minutes, I’m over it.
Right now, the view out my window looks like Fifty Shades of Dead. Everywhere I look, it’s nothing but dry-drab-brown. So I’m going to indulge in a little fantasy . .
Take that, reality!
Bunny, blooms, and throbbing green to the rescue.
It’s been dry and windy, and this morning I noticed finches hopping around in the nearly-empty bird bath. As I filled the watering can I use to replenish the bath, I noticed other finches perched on the dogs’ water bowl that sits on the deck.
The birds were thirsty.
Soon after I went back inside, birds arrived. These finches (House and Gold), juncos, chickadees, doves, flickers, and magpies all came to drink at the community pool. In fact, so many birds came to visit throughout the day that I just cleaned and refilled the bath again.
Lucky me. And I mean that.
When you have seen one ant, one bird, one tree, you have not seen them all.
~ E. O. Wilson
Last night while on my birthday adventure in Manitou Springs, Zippy and I discovered an old arcade with Skee Ball machines. I love me some Skee Ball. We each played two games (25 cents per game!), and rolled the nine balls. My first game, I only scored 130 points out of a possible 450. But the second game . . .
330 points, yo.
She’s a Skee Ball wizard
There has got to be a twist
A Skee Ball wizard
She’s got such a supple wrist.
How do you think she does it? I don’t know!
What makes her so good?
I’ve decided that my perfectly-respectable-but-not-at-all-astounding score is a sign of good things to come. It’s a Skee Ball Omen.
(Note: That ball on top of the net is from another, less-wizardly Skee Baller.)
Yes, I own it on vinyl. (And yes, I forgot that selfies flip the images).
Remember, if you want to end war and stuff, you got to sing loud.