My friend spotted a large bird in a tree off in the distance as we walked around the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge last month. Was it a hawk? Too big. What was it?
We slowly and quietly moved closer to the tree. This not-great quality photo was taken from quite a ways away.
August 20, 2021
My friend thought maybe a Golden Eagle, which seemed like a very good guess. We very carefully moved a bit farther on the trail until we were on the other side of the tree.
Hello there, regal raptor with the sharp beak and talons! Thank you for allowing us to gawk.
When I returned home and got the photos up on my computer screen, Zippy suggested it wasn’t a Golden Eagle, but a juvenile Bald Eagle. After a little more research, we decided he was correct.
I recently wrote a work-for-hire book about birds around the world and was limited to 100 birds. I didn’t include the Bald Eagle in the Birds of Prey section because I figured kids were already pretty familiar with them. Apparently, the editor felt differently because when my author copies arrived, there was a Bald Eagle on the cover. I checked inside and discovered the Black-thighed Falconet, which weighs 1.23 ounces and is one of the smallest birds of prey in the world, had been replaced by the mighty Bald Eagle. I admit to being disappointed by that switch.
However, I was not at all disappointed by this Bald Eagle sighting. Also? My friend could not have spotted a sparrow-sized falconet from that distance. Amateur birders such as ourselves definitely benefit when the sightings weigh in at close to 14 pounds of pure fierceness.
I recently accepted a work-for-hire assignment with a low word count and remembered all over again how those word counts can be a blessing and a curse. Yesterday, it felt like the latter as I struggled to figure out how to say what needed to be said without going over the chapter word limit. Today I didn’t even have the enthusiasm to open the project and instead opted to do some much needed spring cleaning. (Who am I?!) When I finished mopping, I took a shower.
As is often the case with knotty writing issues, something about standing under the water allowed me to see the path forward. I now know exactly how to handle that info in a way that does not violate the word count limit. Tomorrow I shall resume work.
It’s gray and gloomy out my window, as it’s been for much of the past several days. But I just finished writing for the day and am treating myself to these cheery tulips which warm my soul. They can almost pass for a row of little, petaled suns.
May 11, 2021
Here’s hoping for blue skies tomorrow, even if only for a few minutes. Until then, I have my sunshine-y tulips.
Oy. I’ve been working all afternoon, trying to finish the edits on my work-for-hire project. I’m this close to being done and wanted the satisfaction of waking tomorrow morning to a clean slate (aka, time to pursue my own project). Alas, it’s not to be.
Instead, I’m admitting it’s time to call it for the day. I’m off to wash my face and have a cold beer. Tomorrow is another day and COMPLETION WILL BE MINE.
I just finished drafting the bulk of my work-for-hire project and am feeling a bit like Emma looks: noodly-tired and in need of a nap. But mostly, I’m thrilled to have reached this point in the project! Definitely something to be thankful for on this Thursday.
Here’s hoping you’ve also experienced some good stuff today!
May 25, 2015
The work day’s over?
I’m free to step away from the computer?
Free to do some yoga and then have a beer?
Free to switch off my brain and just BE?
(And in case you need permission,
please feel free to do the same!)
Wild bouquet for me
reward for making day’s goal
purple soothes my soul.
I’ve been working on my bird-book project and decided to take a break to post here. As I searched my photos for a Northern Flicker (the bird I’ll be profiling next), I happened upon this photo. I like it very much.
Cypress Point Park, Florida. January 12, 2019.
However, I don’t know what kind of bird it is. It reminds me of an oystercatcher, but I don’t think it is (due to the white eye ring). So, if you can identify this bird, please enlighten me. (Believe me, I’m feeling like an imposter right now. Darn you, shorebirds!)
Marcel thinking deep and dreamy thoughts for this Caturday.
May your thoughts be equally deep and dreamy this weekend.
As for me, I just hit my work-for-hire writing goals for today and am clocking out!
See you out in the clouds!
Turkey Vulture in Cave Creek Canyon. 5.15.19. Photo by Zippy.
Ever have one of those days when it feels as if vultures are circling? Yeah, me too.
I’ve been at my standing desk all afternoon and I think I’d best get moving so I’m not mistaken for carrion.
Centennial Cone Park hike. July 10, 2019.
I hope you will go out and let stories happen to you, and that you will work them, water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom,
till you yourself burst into bloom.
~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes
I’ve mentioned before that I’m usually a one-project-at-a-time kinda writer. It seems my brain and creative juices struggle when I switch focus. BUT. I think it’s a good skill to cultivate, juggling projects, so I bought myself a brand new notebook for a brand new middle-grade novel idea I’d like to noodle on while working on my work-for-hire nonfiction project. If you hear the sound of shrieking gears, that’ll be my brain right before I burst into bloom.
Some days are like that
dead tired and out of focus
now it’s time for sleep.
Today I’m thankful for the passion and energy of the young people in the Sunrise Movement. Last night, largely due to Sunrise’s heroic efforts, CNN held a 7-hour, in-depth conversation about the climate crisis and what needs to be done in order to avert the worst of it. Seven hours, people!
I tried to remember that today as I researched my work-for-hire bird project. Because, while I was thrilled to be eyeballs-deep in bird information, I was also disheartened over and over again to discover that many of those amazing, new-to-me birds’ existences are threatened due to human actions. Our species has made so many mistakes and we continue to make them with blatant disregard for the planet.
BUT. Last night was proof it’s possible to shift the conversation and for that, I am exceedingly grateful. All hail the Sunrise Movement!
Northern Cardinal (female). Columbus, OH. August 23, 2019
I’m so damned happy happy happy right now! I just accepted a work-for-hire assignment centered on birds. I get to research and write about birds!
It’s going to be SO MUCH FUN. Not to mention, I’ll learn a lot which can only make me a better birder.
It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?
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.
Today I salute my friend Laura who talked me off an editorial ledge. After I sent some angry, frustrated texts, she called and listened to my rant. Then wise Laura offered some very good suggestions for moving forward and I will be implementing her ideas when I get back to work. Which won’t be until Monday.
Because right now it’s the weekend and I refuse to spend any more time and energy on this project.
I just hit SEND on my work-for-hire project! Not only that, but I turned it in ahead of schedule. The manuscript and bibliography weren’t due until tomorrow, people. Am I awesome or what?!
And in case you’re wondering about the significance of this happy little robot, the book is about Artificial Intelligence. Not exactly in my wheelhouse.*
Okay, I’m off to celebrate with some Robot Dance moves . . .
*understatement of the year
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!
As I get ready to put in time on the work-for-hire project, I turn to my writing muse for inspiration.
Carry me forward, Marcel! Please. There will be happy ear scratches in your future. Promise.
As mentioned before, I’m feeling huge regret about a work-for-hire project I accepted. But I’m trying to make the whole thing more palatable by giving myself strict guidelines for how I work on the book. Each day this week I’ve worked for three hours. No more, no less. Yesterday was a particularly difficult session and by the time Zippy came home and asked how it was going, I burst into tears. Later in the evening I asked Zebu if he’d grab hold of my hand and twist it in such a way as to make it impossible for me to type any more and therefore get me out of the assignment.
I know, I know. Fortunately, Zebu was thinking more clearly and refused to injure me.
Better news: today’s work session went surprisingly well. I kept my head down and put in my three hours. I accomplished a lot and can see the end in sight. I will prevail.
Image from Makamuki0 at Pixabay.
The End is still a ways off, but if I squint real hard I see it shining in the distance. And for that I’m exceedingly grateful.
Happy first day of spring! It’s a beautiful day in the Denver metro area, but I was inside for most of it as I struggled with my work-for-hire project. Late this afternoon I stepped away from my computer and went outside to run around the neighborhood multiple times. First loop was with my short-legged doggo who is sometimes more an anchor than a running partner. So I dropped her off at the house and went out again.
Post-runn photo by Zippy
I’m feeling so much better now. Running for the win!
Today as I do research for the work-for-hire book assignment I’ve accepted, I’m trying to keep this quote in mind:
Regret of neglected opportunity is the worst hell that a living soul can inhabit.
~ Rafael Sabatini
I hope ol’ Rafael was right, because I’m currently experiencing some hefty regret over taking this assignment. There’s a slight comfort in thinking the alternative may have resulted in an even worse hell.
Let’s say you were contacted to write a 48-page children’s non-fiction book in a series about World Leaders. You may or may not be interested in taking on the project when you see how low the work-for-hire payment is, but there’s a possibility you’d at least consider it.
Okay, now what if that 48-page children’s non-fiction book in a series about World Leaders was specifically about the current White House occupant?
Is there any dollar amount that would get you to YES?