Revision meets Finch tableau

This photo seems fitting today as I continue revising my middle-grade novel based on a critique partner’s (CP) comments.

House Finches + Goldfinch. May 23, 2020.

Her insights are helping me ground each character in key scenes. This CP excels at noting the many moving pieces in my story, reminding me to take into account each character’s perspective. Revision is a dream when I’m equipped with such a good map. Much gratitude to Marcia.

(Another CP is reading the same version Marcia received and I’m beaming thoughts to the universe that his feedback aligns with hers because otherwise, yikes. What will I do with a whole new map? Breathe, Tracy. Breathe.)

One happy dog

I just hit SEND on the 44,000-word middle-grade manuscript I’ve been revising. I sent it to two readers who haven’t seen it before which means fresh eyes/fresh insights. Woot! Hitting SEND also means this project is no longer my concern (temporarily, but still!) and that I’m free to be and do as I please for the next week or so.

Right now, I’m feeling like this doggo that walked past my house this morning.

Unknown happy dog. June 28, 2020.

Woof!

Sunday Confessional: Underwhelmed edition

I didn’t leave my house today, not even for my daily walk around the neighborhood. In fact, I didn’t get exercise of any kind, unless I include snuggling with my cats and dog.

I did, however, sit in front of my computer most of the day, revising the final chapter of my novel. I’m not thrilled with the results.

Young scrub jay.  June 21, 2020.

I did also photograph a young scrub jay as it preened its wet feathers. In fact, I took about 50 photos of that scrub jay and this one is probably the best. (I can’t say for sure as I tired of looking at/deleting them and somewhat randomly selected this one).

Am I satisfied with this Sunday?
Does it matter at this point?
It is what it is and was what it was.

On developing curiosity

April 17, 2020.

It’s only Monday and I’m feeling anxious about various family members and all I want to do is hunker down with tasty snacks and forget about the rest of the week and everything that comes with it. Alas, life doesn’t work that way. Even this squirrel, who appears so content in the photo, was moments later focused on my intrusion. None of us are allowed to just be. Or, are we?

“There is a common misunderstanding among all the human beings who have ever been born on earth that the best way to live is to try to avoid pain and just try to get comfortable. You see this even in insects and animals and birds. All of us are the same. A much more interesting, kind and joyful approach to life is to begin to develop our curiosity, not caring whether the object of our curiosity is bitter or sweet. To lead a life that goes beyond pettiness and prejudice and always wanting to make sure that everything turns out on our own terms, to lead a more passionate, full, and delightful life than that, we must realize that we can endure a lot of pain and pleasure for the sake of finding out who we are and what this world is, how we tick and how our world ticks, how the whole thing just is. If we are committed to comfort at any cost, as soon as we come up against the least edge of pain, we’re going to run; we’ll never know what’s beyond that particular barrier or wall or fearful thing.”
― Pema Chödrön

Pop a quarantine wheelie

Glanced out my kitchen window and saw this guy using his quarantine time to acquire (or maybe, improve upon) a skill. It was great fun watching him.

     

I never popped a wheelie, but did grow up riding a hand-me-down bike with pedal brakes (which involved rotating the pedals in reverse), and by the time it’d passed through three older siblings and gotten to me, the brake action was practically non-existent. Riding downhill was always an “exhilarating” experience.

While this guy did wobble a few times in the cul-de-sac, he never laid it out flat the way I did with my bike once when stomping on the “brakes” as I went around a sand-covered curve at the bottom of our hill. I can still feel the burn of that road rash.

Fortunately,  no gravel in this daredevil’s knees and palms.

Out my window

I can vouch for my Stay-At-Home household in Colorado: we are NOT amused by this snowstorm and the accompanying cold temperatures.

We need sunshine. We need warmth. We need dry streets and trails.

Waaaaaah.

Meet my neighbor

Yes, it’s snowing again in Colorado. At this point in the year, I’d prefer the sunshine and warmer temperatures we’ve had the past week or so, but this storm has it perks. Exhibit A: looking out my window at Rainbow.

Rainbow Dash (so-named in honor of My Little Pony)

As I write this, she’s still out there, content to let the snow accumulate on her beautiful, thick fur.

Anxious times call for natural beauty

Red Maple budding out, March 10, 2020.

Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy that we can scarcely mark their progress.   ~ Charles Dickens

I didn’t realize this maple was budding out until I was standing next to it, and I swear it didn’t look like this yesterday. Gentle and easy changes, indeed.

Chipping away

Bushtit , March 11, 2019.

As I work chapter-by-chapter to revise my manuscript, my task feels similar to that of this Bushtit. We both take aim and then chip away at what’s there. The difference is, this feathered friend gets a tasty treat for her troubles while my satisfaction comes from page count.

Maybe I should print out a page or two, and see how they taste . . .

Understated beauty

Mourning Dove. February 14, 2020

A mourning dove’s beauty is an understated one: the colors of its feathers ranging through various shades of gray and drab violet, often with a striking splash of turquoise around the eyes.                                ~ Jonathan Miles

HA! As I looked through my photos and came upon this dove, I thought the same thing. Apparently, this Jonathan fellow and I think alike.

I believe

American Robin. February 14, 2020.

You have to believe in happiness,
Or happiness never comes …
Ah, that’s the reason a bird can sing –
On his darkest day he believes in Spring.
~  Douglas Malloch

Enjoy!

February 5, 2018.

You must not know too much, or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers and water-craft; a certain free margin, and even vagueness — perhaps
ignorance, credulity — helps your enjoyment of these things.                                          ~ Walt Whitman

Winter wonderment

Two days ago it was 70+ degrees here in Colorado and I went out for a run in a t-shirt. Yesterday, the temperatures dropped to about 25 degrees. Today? About 11 degrees and the snow keeps falling. I’m trying to focus on the cozy aspects of being “trapped” inside. Tea, books, space heater. More tea.

I’m also keeping an eye on the feeders.

Northern Flicker. February 4, 2020.

S[he] who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter.    ~ John Burroughs

 

All its glory

Outside my window it’s cold, wet, and gray. So right now I’m focusing on bright memories, such as a hike last July with my pal, Laura. It was a beautiful day at Centennial Cone Park and the wildflowers were out in all their glory. Here’s one:

Centennial Cone Park. July 10, 2019.

(Confession: I just spent 15 minutes trying to identify this alien-like flower with it’s two budding tentacles, and still have no idea what I’m looking at. But I guess all that matters is the cheery yellow perked me right up. Take that, January drear!)

Thank you, stranger. And welcome to Earth.

Heart with song

December 16, 2019

The very idea of a bird is a symbol and a suggestion to the poet. A bird seems to be at the top of the scale, so vehement and intense is his life, large-brained, large-lunged, hot, ecstatic, his frame charged with buoyancy and his heart with song.
~ John Burroughs

Blurred masterpiece

I went in search of a quotation, thinking I’d find one about how days can truly feel as if they passed in a blur. Instead, I found something much better. A quote that makes me laugh:

Western Scrub Jay. Dec 8, 2017

Photography is painting with light! The blurs, the spots, those are errors! But the errors are part of it, they give it poetry and turn it into painting. And for that you need as bad a camera as possible! If you want to be famous, you have to do whatever you’re doing worse than anyone else in the whole world. ~ Miroslav Tichy

 

I’m pretty sure I achieved that last line. Well, except for the fame part.