I have a new book of short stories out. They are mostly urban fantasy with a bit of humor.
I slept in a little today because I haven’t been sleeping very well the past few nights. I woke up to a question from my younger cousin who was having trouble with her math homework. She reached out to me online for assistance and while she included a picture of the problem I could not make heads or tails of it.
Math is not my forte. Part of it is because I am somewhat dyslexic, especially with numbers, but did not find out until I was in college. So all the math teachers before college, though they explained things well, never got the information to click in my brain. I did what they told me but still came up with the wrong answers, so at the time I assumed I was doing the problem wrong. It turns out that I was more likely doing the wrong problem. It makes a difference if you are dealing with 35 as opposed to 53.
Still, I wanted to help my cousin so I, in turn, reached out to a writer friend who also happens to be a math teacher. He explained the question in a way that made sense even to me. I passed the explanation over to my cousin who was then happily able to complete her homework now that she knew what it wanted her to do.
Finally, I sat down with my coffee and brought up my current work in progress, only to click open a new document instead. The whole confusion over the math problem gave me an idea. I thought to jot it down for my own amusement and revisit it later.
Two thousand words later here I am, still in my watermelon dotted PJs trying to figure out what happened. I now have a new magical world where proficiencies are denoted by color and there seems to be some type of political catastrophy boiling up in another country. My brain feels like mush. I don’t know if I should keep plugging away at this thing or go back to what I planned on doing today. I think I am going to take a break before deciding.
I am awake. Well, I am faking it to the best of my ability. I’ve had coffee but it really hasn’t kicked in yet. Today is December 23, which means two days until Christmas. I don’t feel ready. Just like being awake, I am doing Christmas to the best of my ability but I’ve got that nagging feeling that I’ve forgotten something important and I won’t remember until it is too late.
This year is a lean year. There are more handmade gifts under the tree than usual. I don’t see that as a problem though. It took more time and effort to crochet a hat or scarf than it would have to pick out an item online. I’ve also spent more quiet moments just thinking of the people I care about.
I think my main issue is this sense of worry that keeps lingering in the background of my mind. My muscles are tense and won’t relax. Maybe I have been watching the news too much. The government shut down has me concerned because I know too many people that either work for or are dependant on money they receive from social security. It isn’t hurting those who actually make the rules. It hurts those that live check to check. Maybe everything will be okay by the first or third of the month, but I worry about the theoretical elderly person that spent a little extra this month because it is Christmas and planned on paying their electric bill just a little late.
I know this should be a happy and uplifting post because it is so close to the holiday but these things have been spinning around in the back of my mind and it does me good to let them out. Everyone has been sick in my family so my normal schedule has been completely wrecked, which also accounts for my unease. So far only my sister and I have escaped the flu, and I still managed to catch a sinus infection. Everyone is on the mend now.
My poor brother even came over with some friends yesterday to fix the massive leaks coming from every faucet in the house. It seems the water company must have turned up the water pressure. They had to crawl under the house to put in a new regulator valve (I think that is what they called it) and take apart the bathtub spout to put in something else. I am down to a trickle still escaping from the kitchen sink but I will take it over the tub full of hot water I was losing every six hours or so.
My brother coughed the entire time but didn’t complain. He should have been in bed with Netflix instead of crawling under my house. The two men who came with him to look things over and help should have been at home with their families instead of helping me, a stranger. I am thankful for all of them. The help they gave was the best Christmas present I could have received. I don’t think they even understand how much of a blessing their kindness was to me. I hope that they receive it back tenfold.
….So that is where my mind is at right now. How about you? Is there something you are currently spinning your mental wheels on? Sometimes it helps just to put things down in words, it doesn’t have to be here but the comment section is open if you just need to lay down a worry or two. You can share good things as well.
Life is weird. Life is also busy. It is now November. I have two sick kids who are on the mend and I really just want to take a nap right now. I slept well last night, aside from strange dreams, but I feel like I need an extra thirty-minute nap or something to reach fully recharged. I think these days that is a permanent feeling. I am always a nap away from not being tired but I never actually get the nap.
November is National Novel Writing Month. Three days ago NanoWriMo kicked off and thousands of people out there are furiously writing away at what will hopefully be a 50,000 word novel by the end of the month. My friend Lori is giving it a shot. I have competed against time and life to write that 50,000-word novel in a month before too. I am considering doing it again. Only this time I think I will give myself a break. I mean I did just finish a book. Not quite a 50,000-word novel, but a book none the less.
I think I will write a book of short stories. There are hundreds of writing prompts floating around out there so I can just pick one or two a day and write a bunch of short fictional narrations that will eventually add up to the necessary word count. That is the tentative plan. I also have another book idea but I have so many writing irons in the fire I really don’t want to chase after another long project right now.
If anyone out there wants to hop on board the National Novel Writing Month train, I have provided links to the website. It is fun and challenging, especially if you have never done it before. I am just giving it a shot for fun. I know I can write a novel in a month if I need to so I am not as worried about if I can. I am just writing to support my friend in her endeavors as she runs the race and to enjoy writing just for writing’s sake. Who knows, maybe I can churn out something useful by the end.
I am not feeling too well today. It isn’t anything serious, just a savage allergy attack, but it has me keeping my asthma inhaler close and a hot cup of tea closer. My eyes are itchy and it is hard to breathe. Poor Molly, my dog, has had to stay outside in the backyard today because I can’t take the extra allergy irritant.
I’m not sure if I mentioned it before but we recently discovered that I am allergic to my dog. She is a mostly outside dog anyway so it isn’t too much of a problem. I let her in if it looks like rain or if it is too hot outside, of course. She has plenty of shade and dry places to stay but she really doesn’t like water and her fur is so thick I worry if she stays out too long when it is hot. So despite me being allergic, she can often be found snoring in the floor behind my computer chair as I write. I just have an extra cup of tea and make sure I take my allergy meds. Today is just extra bad. I know it is supposed to rain tomorrow so she will probably be inside most of the day and it is just best to limit my exposure while I can.
Hopefully, Molly will be well behaved tomorrow because she will be home alone for a few hours. There is a fall festival at a nearby Native American site that we are planning on checking out. The web page says it will be going on rain or shine. Today would have been a better day to go weather wise but tomorrow is better schedule wise for all who are making the trip. I am sure my mom will check in on her too.
I’m writing this on a Tuesday morning before getting ready for work. I have a new coffee mug that states “Mornings are for Coffee and contemplation”. It is actually from the Netflix show Stranger Things, but I have wanted one ever since I saw a character drinking from it. Not because of the show but because I liked the mug. I like the show too of course, though I haven’t seen the second season yet. I am waiting to watch it with my eldest child and teenagers rarely have time for moms.
Anyway, I am rambling about the wrong thing. What I wanted to ramble about is the tree in my neighbor’s yard. The reason I like my new mug is that it reminds me to set aside time just to be, to sip a cup of coffee or tea and look around the world instead of just rushing through it. I am trying to be better at doing that.
So, I was sitting in my favorite chair with a hot cup of coffee and my front door wide open. The only light was from the door and the windows because I wasn’t quite ready for artificial light yet. I heard the cicadas singing and there was a light breeze rustling the flag still attached to my porch from the 4th of July. I had the passing thought that these five minutes of my morning sound like the beginning of some sort of patriotic commercial or political ad campaign. Then I notice the gentle trembling of green leaves.
My across the street neighbor has a huge tree in her front yard that squirrels delight in. The wind this morning just teased its boughs while it was bathed in early sunlight. I waxed poetically inside my head about how pleasant the morning was and how nice it was to watch the oak tree across the street, and then promptly tripped over my own thoughts. Was the tree across the street an oak? Maybe it’s a maple?
I got up from my chair and moved to the door with my coffee so I could squint at the foliage, trying to make out a single leaf. The wind picked up just enough to toss a couple of yellowing small ones from a top branch. They twisted and danced as they fell to the ground, making it impossible for me to tell what they looked like. My morning contemplation has been filled with: “Is it a maple or an oak?”
I am pretty sure the tree is a oak. Maples around here aren’t usually so big. If it is a maple tree it is very old. I could just walk across the street and look but that feels too much like giving in.
Today I sat down to look over a poem I wrote earlier in the week. I have sent it to a few good first readers to get different viewpoints. I have spent way more time on this one poem than I ever planned on, but then I never really planned to write it either. A line just sort of popped into my head one day, so I wrote it down and the rest followed. That’s usually how poetry works for me. Often that is the way stories work too.
I am pretty much one of those people who write by the seat of their pants. I rarely plan anything out. I think it is more fun that way, even if it is a bit chaotic. However, if I am writing non-fiction, then I do plan things more carefully. I have the ability to plot things out, I just don’t usually do it because it seems to make getting the words down harder for me. I tend to daydream quite a bit as well.
The idea that I don’t plot things out drives a few of my writer friends crazy. They always plot. I know others that never do. I mean, there is always a vague idea where the story is going. Usually.
I do have eight pages of a work in progress that just kind of popped in my head like poetry normally does. That one I have no idea where it is going. It probably won’t turn out to be anything good enough to share with the rest of the world, but it is fun to write so I am keeping up with it as sort of a writing exercise.
Anyway, my rambling point is that I have spent a lot of time working on a poem. I like this one and I want to get it right but it isn’t quite there yet. I am not sure where “there” is but I am working hard on finding it.