Important

A friend of mine sometimes gets philosophical on Facebook. We all have that friend, right? This morning she posted song lyrics about getting older, and later commented that the word “important” becomes more fluid.

Preach, sister.

I admit I’ve never been very interested in trends. If a particular fad appeals to me, I’ll play along, but mostly I roll my eyes. I sometimes silently judge people, but I’m working on not doing that.

I’ve never tried to keep up with the Joneses. In fact, sometimes I don’t even notice the Joneses. That makes me wonder if the Joneses notice that I’m not noticing, and if it’s making them want to keep up with me. I doubt it, though. My standards aren’t super high for most things.

This tendency to ignore trends has become stronger as I’ve gotten older. I used to worry about what other people thought. Now I mostly can’t care less. What people think of me personally is none of my concern. Of course, I still want everyone in the world to be fans of my writing. How else am I going to get rich? My writer side is the gushy middle in the hard exoskeleton, I’ll admit it.

Importance really does become more fluid. The things we care less about are swept away in the tide of the years. We can let go of old things, old hurts, old habits, old ideas, and we can realize that what we think is new and shiny was really there all along.

Halfway

half

 

Remember when you were 9? That last single digit, man. You spend the whole the year waiting for the Big 1-0! You count the day of your birth each month, and the half year is a stepping stone. You’re not just 9. You’re 9 1/2! Almost 10!

I still do half birthdays. (If you don’t know what number this is, I’m not saying. If you do know, you’ll hush your mouth and know I love you.) Sometimes, if I’m not too busy to notice the date, I’ll do quarterly birthdays, too. If nothing else, it gets my hubby to shake his head. It seems to be how I mark the passage of time. I get distracted with every day life and need to stop a few times a year to acknowledge the days that belong to me.

Of course, every day I wake up is a day that belongs to me. Every day should be celebrated, but that’s not how real life works. We have deadlines and car pools. Sometimes grief makes us ambivalent or hostile to joy. Worry steals our sleep. Lack of sleep undermines our creativity. The world passes in a blur of gray.

That’s why we need half birthdays, so we can stop for a minute, put on the blinking tiara that came with the Mother’s Day card from the favorite daughter. Mark the day. Add a punch of color. Count our blessings.

There’s No Place Like Home

I’m home. I had a day to rest before jumping into day job work. It’s been pretty much non-stop all week, and today I finally have a whole day off. I’m worn slam out. I love to travel and visit, but it’s exhausting so I’d be tired even if it weren’t for the day job.

Luckily, I’ve been around this block a few times. Rather than trying to get caught up on everything today, I took the morning to read, made a concerted effort to eat well and drink water, and played in the mud. The garden soil has been turned and weeded, and the pot of potatoes that didn’t have any drainage holes does now. Hopefully the sunshine will hang around for a few days and my potatoes won’t disintegrate in the mud. Besides writing, dirt and sunshine are my therapy of choice, followed closely by chocolate. I’d say coffee, too, but that’s medicinal at this point.

Now here’s a question for y’all: What do you do to decompress when life gets stressful?

Clean Slate

We are getting ready to have some landscaping done in our back yard. We want a big patio to hang out on. The plan is to have fires in the fire pit, drink scotch, and play bagpipe music for our neighbors. We’d rather like for them to come join us.

We had a friend in the business come and take a look at our space. While he was here, I asked him about our giant blue spruce. It was looking a little worse for the wear with dead branches at the top. He thought it needed to come down. Apparently, there’s a parasite in the area now that likes blue spruce, and it looked like ours had fallen victim.

Coincidentally (or not), our neighbor across the alley was having their blue spruce taken down. After our friend left, I dashed off to work, and Eric went over to talk to the workers. Turns out, they’d taken several trees down that day in our area.

When I got to work, I got a text saying the guys taking down our neighbor’s tree were going to take ours, too. We got a discount because they were already here. By the time I got home that night, they were long gone. The next morning there were very confused squirrels on our street. (They seem to have gotten over it.)

At first, the yard looked naked. The tree had dominated a lot of real estate, and now all that’s left is sawdust. Now that it’s been a few weeks I can see the possibility. It still makes me a little sad that it took less than two hours to erase a 50-year-old tree from the face of the earth, but our landscape friend has promised we will replace it with something deciduous to keep my office cool in the summer. In theory, at least.

Here is the photographic evidence. The snowy one was taken March 14, and the dandelion one is brand new of the same spot. Stay tuned for pics when we get the patio done.

The Warrior Reawakens

A little over a month ago, I wrote a post about telling the universe game on when it threw a monkey wrench into my carefully laid plans. Things have changed quite a bit since then. In fact, it’s a little mind boggling.

I fell off the wagon for a few days. April hasn’t been a great writing month so far. Transitioning from one day job to the other has taken a fair amount of time, and my word count totals dwindled little by little until I broke my streak when my kids were here Easter weekend. It was 65 days, if you’re keeping score at home.

It’s not that I’m broken up about it. Family is the best reason to take a day off, but I didn’t go back immediately. I let old habits kick in and let circumstances get in my way. Luckily, I recognized it much faster this time.

There is a possibility that life isn’t going to get easier this year. It might get harder. I realize there might be circumstances under which I won’t be able to write for a season, but the warrior is awake. The story wants to be birthed. I’m focused like I haven’t been before.

Game on. Again.

Moving right along

It’s been a little stressful the last couple of weeks. I’m changing day jobs, which is exciting, but it hasn’t been without challenges. There is training to do at the old job, although the crew is finally stable again. The new job is still developing and needs flexibility more than anything at this point. Since my personal motto is Sempre Gumby, I’m fine with that. With a little luck, in a couple weeks this will all be a thing of the past, and it’s fun to build it from the ground up. Plus it’s admin, close to home, comes with paid vacation, and I get to work with grown-ups!

The biggest downside of all of this is the impact it’s had on my writing. I’m very behind for the month and there isn’t a chance of catching up this week. Next week might be better. I suspect it’s going to be baby steps as I walk away from the old job and into the new.

I’d like to think this will be a blip, that I’ll be able to catch up and power through the first draft of the first book. Right now, it’s little drips here and there, like Chinese Water Torture. I’ve kept up the writing every day streak. Most days it’s only a couple hundred words. It’s hard to focus and figure out what comes next when I have all the other details begging for attention. Don’t even get me started on the size of my laundry pile. I’m going to have to pay attention to that just so I have something to wear to work next week.

Stay tuned for updates!

March Wrap Up

Wow, that month went fast. It’s been a ‘head down and gitter done’ kind of month. It wasn’t without disappointment, though. I realized yesterday if I pushed a little bit more, I could double my word count for the year. I tried. I stared at the screen, turned on some music, and pestered Walter The Muse, but there were no words. I finally saved everything I’d already done and walked away, planning to hit it again after dinner. It didn’t happen. I missed my goal by 895 words.

I’m actually not too broken up about it. It was a really good month despite the day job challenges. I continued my streak of writing every day, and put in nearly 57 hours. Total word count for the month was 27,443, bringing year to date to 55,781.

I also read quite a bit. Currently I’m reading “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield (I read it often and highly recommend it), and “The Story Equation” by Susan May Warren. I also read all of Susan May Warren’s Heiress Trilogy (“Heiress,” “Baroness,” and “Duchess”) again.

Based on my progress this month, I’m awfully glad I went to Deep Thinkers last month. It seems to be just what I needed to get things rolling. Here’s to April!