The Season Advances

Five batches of cookies today, and I think I’m almost done–with the baking, at any rate. Shopping is at maybe 50%. This has been a wildly productive week in all areas except writing, and even that has seen a bit of progress. It’s been to get back on balance after NaNo, catching up with the rest of the things I’ve got in hand. I’ve gotten a lot done at work, caught up on my volunteer projects, got back into Duolingo (again), and finished a couple of books I’ve had hanging around mostly-read. My manuscript is at least open at the spot I need to work on.

Two more weeks of work, and then I’ll be off through the end of the year–a rather dizzying prospect. Of course we have a lot of plans, but there are a few days sprinkled through in which we have nothing on the schedule. Including New Years Eve; I had been hoping to have a party this year, but it appears to not have been in the cards. Perhaps in 2020.

It is also of course a very reflective season we are entering. End of year, end of decade. I won’t be compiling any exhaustive lists of things done and undone, but I have my little accumulation of rituals to go through. I find myself warily excited about the year to come; many opportunities, many chances for things to go badly. Going forward with hope, kind of thing.

life, writing

NaNoWriMo Week 3

Not only was the last post late, I skipped a week after that and didn’t even realize it. This NaNoWriMo has gone relatively smoothly — 12,000 words to go with a week left for writing, so barring catastrophe there’s no reason to think I won’t finish. I took one day off, which burned up my early lead, but have been staying on target since then.


This past week was relatively quiet, which helped a lot, and while we do have Thanksgiving ahead, we’re not traveling, and I’m keeping the menu under control this year (recipes will be posted next week). I’m really looking forward to a few days at home!

What else is going on? I’m doing some knitting. Started making Christmas cookies to stash in the freezer, since the holidays are so close together this year. I’ve done a little bit of shopping. Still doing my morning pages and meditation. I’m 13 books behind schedule on Goodreads, so I don’t think that goal is going to happen unless I cheat; on the other hand, 33 books is pretty good for me in recent years, and I might finish a few more that I’m stuck partway through. One of the books I’m reading right now is about how to write an effective newsletter, so look for experiments in that area next year.

2019 has been weird and scary in a lot of ways, but on a personal level, it has been kind of amazing, and I want to make sure I take the things I’ve learned into 2020. I think that one reason I’m looking forward so much to time off at the end of the year; I very much want some time to reflect on all of this.

I hope the holidays treat you all well.

life, writing

Everything Shines

Not sure what I’m doing right these days, or if this is all just some transient biochemical blessing unconnected to my own efforts, but I feel so good about everything right now.

I am just about 1/3 of the way through revising what I’ve already got written of Fairy Hills. I feel excited and happy to be writing this book again, which is a welcome change from the past few months. I keep relearning the lesson, that if working on a story feels like dire travail, there is something out of alignment. Wordcount has not moved much (46,539), but I hope to get through the revisions quickly and back to new territory.

2019-09-29 15.22.00

Everything else is humming right along. I’ve been meditating, practicing French, doing my morning pages, paying attention to my water intake. I’m taking a few days off from running because my ankle was bothering me, but I’m going to give it a try tomorrow and see what happens. I re-read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series over the past week or so and found that it retains its charm after all of these years. Autumnal weather is finally here, so I am likely to shift back to knitting more. My daughter and I made macarons.

Title of the post is from this song by Mitch King, to which I have been listening rather a lot this week.


1,167 Miles

That’s my drive log for the past three days, during which I went back to the city in which I grew up in order to attend my grandfather’s funeral. I haven’t much to say about that just yet — I am very glad that I went, but the trip was draining, and I had very little down-time throughout.

On Wednesday after the funeral and family gathering were done, I drove out to Presque Isle to see the sunset. Took off my shoes, walked in the sand, watched an intrepid wind-surfer catching the last of the waves–it was very windy, and high water had closed most of the beaches.

On the way home on Thursday, I stopped at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. The New York Thruway cuts straight through it. I’ve been past it dozens of times, usually in the winter. The meadows are flooded then for the use of migrating shorebirds, and there is a bleak beauty about the place. It looks very different in August than in December! I walked one of the trails, admired the monarch butterflies, listened to the wind in the aspen trees and cicadas singing the end of summer.

The month has been a total bust writing-wise, so I’m not going to post one of my usual charts. Hoping for a reset in September.


Summer Doldrums

It has been one of those weeks. After a very pleasant weekend, the week turned into an office stress-fest that left me too drained to do much of anything but knit, and not even very demanding knitting. I did finish my work friend’s going-away gift, and I made a quick cowl for myself with some of that glorious alpaca yarn I’ve had stashed away forever.

Other than that? I went to a town meeting about climate change, and I signed us up for a curbside composting service, so that’s exciting, at least to me. Went for a bike ride and have been doing a bit of running, so it’s not like I’m slothful right now. But there has been no writing, no reading, and very little quietude this week. I am frustrated by my own inability to form strong habits around things I (in theory) want to achieve.

And so we roll into the last month of summer. I don’t feel ready.

garden, life, reading, writing

Happy Readercon!

After a bit of dithering (surprise), I decided to go this year. And we got an extra day off at work, so I’m even going to the Friday daytime programming, which is a first. I’m a little nervous about going solo, but it’s all part of the “leave room for things in happen in” practice, and there is a lot of interesting stuff on the schedule.

The summer is passing quickly and without much drama. We did a lot of traveling last week, hence no update–I was tired! with three days in NH at a family Fourth of July, and two in CT visiting friends. I take a picture just like this every summer at the lake, because I am a creature of habit and like to get up early while everything is still.

2019-07-05 05.35.18

Fairy Hills just hit 40k words after a few weeks of steady progress. I am making deep changes to this part of the story, so this really is like a first draft all over again. Which is annoying, I confess, because that means that there will be yet another draft in the near future, and I would like to put this project to bed someday. I bought an app called Word Keeper, which is delightful if you enjoy looking at progress charts–sort of like the NaNoWriMo wordcount tracker made perpetual and a bit shinier.

Writing has been going well enough that I have tried off and on of late to turn off the laptop and read in the evening. I’ve read 24 books so far this year, which is frankly amazing (for me). I’ve been reading a lot of new-to-me nonfiction stuff: Thinking in Systems, Liminal Thinking, How to Change the World–you may be sensing a theme. In fiction I have been visiting old favorites. Tea with the Black Dragon is just as charming as I remember it being, as was Who’s Afraid of Beowulf?

In other news, the driveway garden is flourishing. Already considering ways to expand next year, since I haven’t managed to entirely kill anything so far this summer (the basil bolted while we were gone, and a few of the sunflowers aren’t going to make it, but everything else is hanging in there pretty well). I had no idea potato plants grew so big!

2019-06-30 11.49.03

And this was a longer update than I expected to write. Have a great weekend!

life, Uncategorized

Snipping a Digital String

Last week I posted on FB to let people there know that I will be shutting down my account next weekend. This decision has been roughly a year in the making, but the slow drip of news about the company’s terrible practices finally outweighed the convenience of the site.

What’s weird is that this feels so momentous. It’s not as if I’m going off-grid, achieving some state in which I can only be contacted by magic spell. I’m ceasing to use one particular web site out of the millions in existence. I still have a blog (several blogs), email, a phone, an address. I look forward to writing more letters. I look forward to having one fewer direct line from my mind to someone else’s hand, pulling at my attention.

I came of age in the 90s. I’m not an early adopter, but I’ve spent my entire adult life on the internet, much of it in digital communities going back to Usenet. Maybe I’m just getting old, but those felt different from what we have now. Even when I was using it more enthusiastically, I’ve never entirely gotten the hang of “social” media. I don’t like how I feel while I’m using these sites, and I don’t like what the companies are doing to anyone.