#AToZChallenge: Village

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By Vera & Jean-Christophe from Europe (Vicuña) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

A wise, much-maligned woman once reminded us that “It takes a village.” Not only is that true with children — the original context — but much of life itself. And as writers, we need to find our villages.

Some are annual, like this challenge, where we discover new friends and find old friends alike, each of us supporting one another in the daunting task of blogging 6 days a week whether or not we have something to say. Some villages collect over time, those kindred spirits you come across who share your view on the work of writing.

The latest village making me warm and fuzzy is the one that emerged organically yesterday, the one I’ve dubbed #MAYkingItWork (uh huh),  a rag-tag bunch of us, all confessing to moldering unfinished work, all committing to pick something abandoned to work on in May.

Have something you’ve abandoned and want to give it another try? Feel free to join us. Everyone’s welcome in this village.

In this modern age, we’re no longer limited by geographical boundaries and distance. Our villages can include anyone from anywhere. Our A to Z village spans the globe, over and over and over again.

Take that, xenophobia.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

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#AtoZChallenge: Unfinished

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Uakari male; en [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Ally from The Spectacled Bean got me thinking about unfinished things with one of her recent comments. About getting started but not getting further.

About all those beginnings stored somewhere in this computer far away from hopes of endings.

Maybe some of them aren’t meant to be finished. Maybe some are just stubs of ideas and nothing more. Or maybe that’s just a pseudo-poetic way to justify moving on to the next shiny object.

Hmm.

So here is my pledge. When I finish the short story I’m currently writing (it has somewhere it needs to be!) I’m taking one of those unfinished pieces and completing it. Who’s with me? Hands up!

We can do this!

Probably.

UPDATE: Looks like a bunch of people are in for what we’re going to call #MAYkingItWork! Yes. I’m really calling it that. Yes, I totally insist.

 

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter!

 

#AtoZChallenge: Rashness

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By Paxson Woelber (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Though some might think R is one of the easier letters of the alphabet, I was having little trouble today settling on a word. Really popped to mind, as it often does, but I wasn’t feeling it.

Really? Eh.

So I used my thesaurus trick, and here we are. Rashness. A quality I don’t possess.

If you ever read those Choose Your Own Adventure books, I was the type to take every branch, go down each alley, to be sure I knew where they all led. Sadly, life doesn’t work that way, but I’d be much happier if it did.

Faced with a restaurant menu, down to two items, I want the Choose Your Own Adventure option, so I’d know. But you have to take a risk. In that case, a very tiny risk, but still, a risk.

Of course “rashness” can imply impetuousness, a decision hastily — and not necessarily well — made. And therein lies my problem. The constant avoidance of all things rash can mean the constant avoidance of all things chance.

You can’t know which dish was better on the menu, unless you order both (HMM). You can be so informed about a decision, you can take every single available piece of information about a decision, and analyze until the time for the decision has passed.

Sometimes being rash isn’t about being thoughtless, or about being careless. Sometimes being rash is about grabbing an opportunity, finding an opportunity, before it has gone.

You may not always like what the waiter brings you, but at least you took the risk.

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter!

#AtoZChallenge: Quest

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Quetzal, a Central American bird, By Joseph C Boone (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Last night, while flossing my teeth and taking out the trash — not necessarily in that order, or at the same time, which I now realize it sorta sounds like — I ran a list of Q words through my mind, hoping I’d spark inspiration for this post. The words went by:

Quest, queen, quell, quench, quest, quit, quagmire, quip, queue, quest….

Notice a pattern? Me too. Somehow the mental transmission got stuck in quest gear. Quest.

We just don’t get enough quests these days, unless we’re characters in a fantasy story, in which case do people actually eat dragon and what’s a unicorn go for these days?

But I digress.

There’s a reason the story of the quest endures; it ignites something in us. That deep, quiet place inside us yearning for adventure; for tests of moral fortitude; for exotic lands and exotic sights.

For some, the idea of the quest leads them to far-flung corners of the Earth, or perhaps even beyond. Others find every quest they ever need nestled between the covers of books, be they electronic or analog.

But we wouldn’t be human if, while searching for Q words, quest didn’t pop up time and again.

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter!

 

#AtoZChallenge: Procrastination

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Panda at Chiang Mai zoo taken by user:KayEss {{gfdl}}

If you are the one person who doesn’t do it, who has a task, sits down, completes the task with nary a dreamy glance out of the window, please, please tell me how. Right here, in the comments, break it down for me, in detail, what it feels like, what your mind does, when it’s a straight shot from A to Z.

Case in point: as I was writing this, I decided I wanted to open the blinds more fully, which then alerted me to the streaky gray of my window. Was it inside? Outside? Obviously that’s a question that couldn’t be answered after finishing this post, so I got a cleaning cloth and checked.

Inside.

Huh. Making it streakier, I needed to dry as I cleaned. Great. Oh I need the stepladder to get the top of the window. Hang on, hang on, blog post. It can be cleaned after the blog post.

And here we are.

Here’s the thing. It’s not that I don’t get things done. They happen. Sometimes I think the diversions are just my brain taking the time to work things out without my input.

But there must be a clean, minimalist beauty to knowing something must be done, and without hesitation, doing it. Deadlines get me there; it’s one the reasons my timer trick — setting the timer and getting on with it — is so effective for me.

But on the other hand, sometimes you just need a clean window.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter!

#AtoZChallenge: Memory

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I know, I know, giraffe doesn’t start with M. Can’t resist today, though. Like many of you, I suspect, I was watching a giraffe with her brand-new baby (I missed the birth, but so it goes) when suddenly I remembered: I’m supposed to write a blog post today. Right. Yes.

Which got me thinking about that elusive thing called “memory.”

(Ponder that for a second, I’ll be right back, just need to look at that baby giraffe again. And see if s/he is standing yet. Baby giraffes are precocious.)

Almost. Not quite. OK, back to memory. It loses things we need; it clutches things we really don’t, like that one time that thing happened, and it was so embarrassing and you’d like to forget it but it loves to pop back into the old thinker right when you’re trying to go to sleep.

My own memory has always been a bit of a murky mess in some ways; relentlessly detailed in others. I don’t always remember people I’ve known; I have a friend who reminds me of things I’ve long forgotten, marked and inventoried. We joke she’s my historian.

(Why yes, I did just pop over to see the new giraffe again. Admit it. You did too.)

It’s strange that something lasting can be so ephemeral; so real yet unreal at the same time. It forms our basis as we learn from our mistakes and successes. It haunts us. It bathes us in remembered warmth.

(Nearly made it that time! April is standing between us and the camera. A couple inches to the right, April. We’re making memories here.)

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter!

#AtoZChallenge: Lax

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Gotta admit it. I’ve been lax in my blog visits the last two days, and I really couldn’t tell you why. It’s my favorite part of the challenge, reading what people come up with, discovering new blogs, sometimes seeing new places or admiring the skills of others.

I’d like to blame it on the new format this year but it’s not that. It’s just as easy to go through the links on the A to Z site, or find posts on twitter, or find others through comments on posts. The blogs are everywhere.

Could it just be that I’m having a streak of another L word?

Laziness?

I admit I am preoccupied with the goings-on of the world, with tensions high and an utterly unpredictable person in the White House, someone who’s proven his readiness to use violent, powerful weapons at a whim. And when I need to be writing, I am like this sometimes, staring at a block instead of working my way around it.

So if I’ve neglected you recently, I apologize, believe me, every unclicked click is cannonballing itself onto my pile of guilt. But there is an upside to  it all.

Lax is an l-word.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter!