It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade. ~ Charles Dickens
Exactly so, Mr. Dickens. Which is why I’m sitting in a patch of sunshine next to this geranium that’s reaching for the warm light.
March 29, 2021
The wind can’t touch us here.
There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion. ~ Francis Bacon
Marcel of the seemingly enormous head and tiny body, Nov 15, 2020
Backyard garden. August 12, 2020
When we try to pick out anything by itself,
we find it hitched to everything else in the universe. ~ John Muir
Common Grackle. Grand Island, NE. June 2, 2020
As an artist I come to sing,
but as a citizen, I will always speak for peace,
and no one can silence me in this. ~ Paul Robeson
Uncompahgre National Forest, July 30, 2019.
When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty. ~ John Muir
Bee and Fern Bush, August 4, 2020
The bee collects honey from flowers in such a way as to do the least damage or destruction to them, and he leaves them whole, undamaged and fresh, just as he found them. ~ Saint Francis de Sales
It’s 2:30 of the p.m. in Colorado and while I have opened my Scrivener document, I haven’t done any writing. But hey, I didn’t even get that far yesterday. I’ve been in recovery and thinking mode as I sort through the wreckage of my incomplete first draft, and guilt-feelings sent me to BrainyQuote in search of insights regarding procrastination. I thought I’d find some tsk-tsk kind of quote that would be like a slap upside the head, something to “shame” me into getting back to work.
Instead, I found these two quotes from psychologist and author, Adam Grant:
Procrastinating is a vice when it comes to productivity, but it can be a virtue for creativity.
Procrastination gives you time to consider divergent ideas, to think in nonlinear ways, to make unexpected leaps.
And while this may sound self-serving, I have experienced a couple out-of-left-field realizations about my story. Which is all to say, I’m gonna let go of the guilt and shame, post this, and then explore those realizations more thoroughly.
I’d written just under 40,000 words of my latest middle-grade novel when it hit me: it’s not working. As in, not working as written. The story’s premise is solid (I believe), but the way I was telling the story was not working.
Yesterday I went all the way back to chapter two and tried again. The good news is that approach feels stronger. More sustainable. The bad news? Adopting that approach will mean scrapping a whole lot of those 40k words. Yikes. How could I get it so wrong?
Welp, as author Thomas Mann noted: A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.
I’m feeling a bit discouraged. But like this House Finch outside my window today, I need to accept that I bobbled the initial landing.
And just keep on writing so that
I regain my footing in the story. It’s all I can do.
I’ve got strong feelings about ALL SORTS OF STUFF right now and felt a rant rising inside me. But as I tried to pin down exactly what I wanted to convey, I paused and reconsidered. Maybe what I really wanted to do was post about the writing life: the process, my progress, the angst and insecurities, etc. I’ve written many such posts over the years and appreciate that documentation which reminds me I’ve been here before and survived. Breathe, Tracy.
Which is how I began searching through Douglas Adams quotes, knowing he wasn’t an angsty guy but would provide me with the tone needed today. And here’s what resonated with me:
My absolute favourite piece of information is the fact that young sloths are so inept that they frequently grab their own arms and legs instead of tree limbs, and fall out of trees. ~ Douglas Adams
Why does this resonate? One: it cracked me up. Two: I can relate to those young sloths because Three: as I near the end of this first draft, I vacillate between an overwhelming sense of ineptness and glimmers of “hot damn, this might actually not suck too much!”
And at the risk of sounding like a sloth-shamer: I haven’t yet fallen out of the tree.
American Robin. January 21, 2020.
A wind has blown the rain away and blown the sky away and all the leaves away, and the trees stand. I think, I too, have known autumn too long. ~ e.e. cummings
Bockman Campground, State Forest State Park. June 12, 2019
A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease. ~ John Muir
As anyone who has ever been around a cat for any length of time well knows, cats have enormous patience with the limitations of the human kind. ~ Cleveland Amory
Loki on November 20, 2020
And we’re really stretching their feline patience these days. Come on, human kind. We’ve got to do much, much better.
American Goldfinch out my window, October 1, 2019.
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
This goldfinch seems to embrace that philosophy, as do I.
Everything is produced by the workers, and the minute they try to get something by their unions they meet all the opposition that can be mustered by those who now get what they produce. ~ Harry Bridges
The Senate is currently conducting a farcical SCOTUS confirmation hearing (during a pandemic, while several Senators are COVID-positive) for a woman who will do the bidding of the powerful elite: crush the working class. The Republicans are seeing the culmination of their decades-long plan to stack the courts with anti-worker judges who will forever change the face of this country. The Dem party pretends to resist but they are equally comfortable with this outcome because they aren’t either jobless or working 2-3 jobs to scrape by, nor are the Dem elites starving, facing eviction, saddled with astronomical medical debt, or living in frontline communities as the climate crisis worsens. This latest SCOTUS judge will consolidate their wealth and power. All’s well.
It’s way past time we rise up.
Mourning Dove. September 19, 2020
Mother Earth needs us to keep our covenant. We will [. . .] commit to our descendants to work hard to protect this land and water for them. Whether you have feet, wings, fins, or roots, we are all in it together. ~ Winona LaDuke
Before the military coup in Chile, we had the idea that military coups happen in Banana Republics, somewhere in Central America. It would never happen in Chile. Chile was such a solid democracy. And when it happened, it had brutal characteristics. ~ Isabel Allende
We’re so confused now, focused on “is he/isn’t he” which gives them time and room to maneuver. They wouldn’t even need the military because there’s an army of white supremacists on standby.
I realize this makes me sound like a conspiracy theorist, a paranoid crackpot. But this isn’t a solid democracy, not by a long shot.
Mourning dove. August 29, 2019
We must combine the toughness of the serpent with the softness of the dove, a tough mind and a tender heart.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
September 12, 2020
Maybe not the best day in the year, but I did turn things around today. Lost my patience this morning after vacuum became unplugged several times, screaming and swearing loudly enough for the neighbors to hear. Promptly put vacuum away and sat down to read a book and drink coffee. Then set my sights on other tasks.
Pleased to report I ended up accomplishing much and smiling often(ish).
August 15, 2020
What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on? ~ Henry David Thoreau
Zippy took this photo last month and while today’s air quality isn’t nearly so orange, I’m not spending any time outside. The local air quality index reads “Unhealthy for sensitive groups.” I’ll go out on a limb and say I think this translates to “the air is unhealthy for everyone and everything.”
Exceptionalism?! All over the United States, people are hiding indoors to escape the ravages of the climate crisis. And our elected officials don’t care, so it’ll only get worse.
House Finch. September 3, 2019
Like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free
~ Leonard Cohen
Mallards in Clearwater, FL. May 4, 2019.
If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands. ~ Douglas Adams
ETA: Used this quote a little over a year ago. Oops. Knew I liked it.
Grand Island, NE. June 2, 2020.
I listened, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.
~ William Wordsworth
Grand Island, NE. June 2, 2020.
This is an Eurasian Collared-Dove.
The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery. ~ Anais Nin
Where’s the head? Are those wing or tail feathers? Did a tornado just blow through?
Common Grackle. Grand Island, NE. June 2, 2020.
Birds are the most accomplished aeronauts the world has ever seen. They fly high and low, at great speed, and very slowly. And always with extraordinary precision and control. ~ David Attenborough