Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New Beginnings

See this? These are my seedlings. Don't worry, I'm not buying into a dystopian, end-of-civilization scenario, I just like having fresh veggies every summer. I don't plant enough to can for the winter (ha ha, like I have the time??), just enough for delicious eating for as long as it lasts. I will have cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, red peppers, cayenne peppers, zucchini, chives, thyme, oregano, cilantro, lettuce, and basil.

Every year I'm excited to start my little garden, even though some years have been a total failure. It's like that for everything from writing to raising kids. Although some novels have ended in the 'probably never work on again' file, I'm not going to give up so easily on my kids.

No matter what you're working at, striving for, taking a chance on, there may be many 'new' beginnings (each year, each effort is new), so good luck, and I hope your 'harvest' is bountiful. Now go get your fingers into the dirt!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Clean Out Time!

Tomorrow is the first day of spring! (Waits for applause, cheers and whoops of joy to subside...)

Okay, that's the good news.

Now for the bad.

It's time to clean out.

No, I don't mean the sock drawer, although if you can't close it all the way, and you have tons of socks with holes in them, well then it is past time.

I'm talking about that one area of your life/space that has been harboring lethal dustbunnies. (Like under my couch in the basement, along with a few spider bodies.)  For me, it's a constant battle to keep my desktop clear. Partly because my desk is a cute little library table- not meant for much more than a pretty picture frame, a fancy pen and a book; it's not meant for a laptop with external drive, white board, appointment book, mouse & pad, and papers. TONS of papers. Hazards of the trade are little Post-It notes, pens, folders, and magazines that quickly pile up.

While I have a wonderful sized home office and you can be jealous of my space, with three large windows, lots of closet space and four beautiful bookcases, there's a catch. It's my office.

Except...for the winter coats and family office supplies, photos, and memorabilia I have to store in the closets, plus the daybed I have to keep in there for when family comes to stay over, and excess books that don't fit in the bookshelves or the library downstairs. (ok, you can hate me a little.)

That means cleaning out the excess. It's hard to do now since I have Sirenz Back In Fashion swag in boxes and bags, Sirenz signed copies going out to the Romantic Times convention in Chicago next week, books I picked up at PLA that I'd like to read (if I weren't busy on other novels, my crit group stuff, booking signings, and yes, taking care of a family, doing church and volunteer work, and eyeing my meditation garden as the temps climb.).

But too much STUFF clutters up not only my space, decreasing productivity, but my brain; I keep looking at the piles, fretting what I should do with the stuff, debating when I should get rid of the stuff, and figuring out who wants the stuff. It's taking me away from my writing and important things (and the laundry. Although not high on my priority list in life unless it's mine, I must keep the peace and ahead of the deadly pile.)

So what am I going to do? In between loads of laundry (ugh!) and cleaning the bathrooms- all FOUR of them- (double ugh with ick, gross and disgusting thrown in), I'm tackling one thing at a time. Pay this bill, file the paperwork. Make that phone call. Gather up those books to donate. Schedule appointments. Make a list of writer tasks to do. (And stay away from the chocolate swag.)

So, as Adele pines in the background, I'll slowly clean out, clear up, and get down to what's important.

Happy cleaning!


Monday, March 12, 2012

A Thousand Words


You can add the other 995.


Monday, March 5, 2012

"You Don't Spit Into The Wind..."

That's a line from an old Jim Croce song. (Luckily my kids know of it, so I'm not revealing too much about how old I am.) It means there are some things you just don't do, although my take on its interpretation is that you don't do it not because it's taboo, but because it's a waste of your time and will only come back to bite you in some form.

Today I'm giving a writing/editing presentation at William Paterson University. My friend, Dawn Bodrogi, a professor there, asked me to speak to the students. I love an audience to talk about writing, so of course I jumped and squealed like a little girl. My presentation is done, I have swag to give out, some books to sign, and all I have to do is get dressed and wait till it's showtime.

But one thing keeps niggling the back of my mind: suppose it's just spitting into the wind, no one's going to listen past the first few minutes, they'll tune me out? All my words, so carefully chosen to enlighten and entertain, falling on ears closed tighter than a clam out of water? I can just see the eye rolls, the dramatic sighs, the grumbles, the I-know-this-already looks.

I get it from my kids when I try to work with them on their papers.

"Why are you telling me this again?"
"Because obviously you didn't learn it the previous 4,678 times I explained it to you."


"How many times are you going to tell me this?"
"Until it penetrates past all video game knowledge blocking your brain matter."


"I don't need to write, I'm going to be a computer programmer and that's different."(A personal favorite whine of mine)
"EVERYONE needs to write- a college essay, a business presentation, a construction estimate, a doctor's report. EVERYONE. That means YOU too."

It's frustrating, but I keep doing it, hoping one day, like a stubborn washing machine that you have to kick a few times to get it to work, my lecture/rants/discussions/presentations will hit them like a brick and they will GET IT.

So, my little cupcakes, suck it up, because that's the only way to shut me up.

Have a nice day!