Listening for Hoofbeats

Standard

Alexander Hamilton by Alonzo Chappel [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I’ve got a roiling case of the blahs today. It’s rainy and gray and we’ve had one major disaster after another, and I am starting to realize the cavalry isn’t coming. Any Cavalry.

Of course, that’s the point, that’s the idea of the targeting that Putin’s been doing across social media platforms, getting into the psyche of all, whether stoking the fires of hatred, of misogyny, of suspicion, of despair.

If anyone knows despair, it’s Russia. Ever read any Russian literature?

I rest my case.

So what can we prescribe to help us get through what is becoming the roughest of rough patches, what might extend to a global rough patch akin to sand paper? Well, my Russian literature joke kinda did it for me, I have to admit.

My needs aren’t great.

We will have gray. We will have blah that slides into something else, something darker. If we didn’t, under the current circumstances, we would be something less than human.

But.

It’s humor, even the slightest glimmer of humor that can see us through this, give us the strength until we don our armor and realize the one and only truth:

We are the cavalry.

For more on my thoughts about Charlottesville and rising bigotry, please read An Open Letter to My Friends of Color.

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!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

 

 

Advertisements

For the Love of Coffee

Standard

So I got a new coffeemaker. I’d had a Keurig for many years but used it with much guilt. Yes, those little cups are convenient, but at what cost?

At what cost??

So when I spotted a Cuisinart single-cup grind-and-brew coffeemaker at Costco, I thought I had found nirvana. Freshly ground coffee, one cup at a time?

Sign me up!

Only, well, our relationship so far has proven rocky. Very, very rocky. I can’t seem to get the proportions right; I can’t seem to get all the parts in all the right places; I can’t seem to wring out the perfect cup of coffee.

But I’m determined.

I feel a little bit like a woman convinced she’s met The One desperately trying to make it work. It’s just a misunderstanding. We’ll figure it out.

Won’t we, new coffeemaker?

It shrugged. I’ll take that as a yes.

For more on my thoughts about Charlottesville and rising bigotry, please read An Open Letter to My Friends of Color.

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!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

 

Evidence of Tulips

Standard

IMG_6209So I woke up this morning to another round of snow on the ground. We’d had a thaw, though a colder one than they promised, and then last night, on my way home, I caught the glint of snowflakes in the headlights of a cab.

So much for the warm up.

If there’s snow again, you ask, what’s with the tulips? Well, hypothetical reader, thank you for asking. You always know the perfect question to keep the conversation rolling.

I took this photo at the Chicago Botanic Garden, which, interestingly, is not actually located in Chicago, but in a north suburb. It was last year, and though it was still very chilly — there’s a wind that cuts through the garden on cool day that can ruddy your cheeks and redden your ears — there were the tulips. It didn’t matter what the weather wanted, the tulips decided it was time, and there they were, a whole field of them.

Last winter was much worse than this one. It was colder and snowier and grayer and leached the heat from everywhere until you couldn’t be sure how to be warm.

But it ended.

These flowers are proof that you might not see change while it is happening, you might not sense it. It might not feel like much or as though it’s measurably better than what came before. It can be slow, and plodding, and have to fight the cold as though battling to the end.

But still it comes. The tulips were not deterred, their heads bending as the wind blew across the pond. They didn’t have to feel the spring to know it was spring.

If that could happen after last winter, it will happen again.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Weathering the Idea Monsoon

Standard

We’ve all been to the writing desert, haven’t we? That vast, empty place where there isn’t an idea for miles in any direction, where it feels as though inspiration will never come again. That place isn’t fun.

But what about when the idea monsoon season starts? It sounds like an embarrassment of riches, right? From nothing to a flood of ideas rushing through your head.

Except that can be tricky. I’ve written about how you can’t rely on inspiration as a writer, but it does strike, and when it does, you should grab your surfboard and ride the wave. Only sometimes, the wave breaks off into a hundred different directions.

Yes, I realize I’ve taken that metaphor as far it will take me. Much like the wave of inspiration.

Often when we feel that spark, it’s not just a single spark. Your brain is in creativity mode, and it is firing on all cylinders. The hard part is picking one thing on which to focus while there are shiny new twinklies all around you.

Write them down. The idea will wait for you if you put it down on paper or note it on your computer. Give yourself as much detail as you have, and make sure it’s there for you when you can move on to it.

If I gave in every time a new project beckoned, I’d never finish any. In fact, it’s almost as though it’s a defense mechanism, a distraction when I’m getting close to the end.

Once in a while, I let the siren song call me away, especially when it’s already feeling solid to me, whole. When it crosses the boundary of simple inspiration to something more concrete. But otherwise I try to put that energy into what needs finishing, and I save my flood waters for an utterly unrainy day.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 

Ideas Are the Yeast of Writing

Standard

I keep a collection of my ideas on my computer. It seems that, no matter what on this planet I have to worry me, the risk of running out of concepts for fiction isn’t among my issues.

It’s not just my computer. It’s notepads and notebooks, my phone, anything that’s handy when the inspiration strikes. I scribble a line, or two lines, and there it is to be used later. Once in a while, when I’m stuck, I browse through to see if I can marry two concepts together; there have been times when I realized, with a bang, that disparate things were meant to go together all the time.

There’s probably not enough time on earth for me to see all of those ideas through to fruition. They’re not all whole, anyway. Some are fragments, details, bits of character, crumbs of situations.

Ideas are not the problem. It would be great if that was all that was needed, a quick concept, and the whole thing rises like bread dough in a warm oven. Wipe your hands on your apron, and it’s fresh slices in a few hours.

Of course, bread doesn’t work that way, it takes more than just yeast. Writing doesn’t work that way, either. Thinking of something, that’s easy. It’s building it out of nothing more than letters, that’s where it gets tricky.

Need a little mystery in your life? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed, or sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Creativity Can Come From Anywhere

Standard

I came across a video this morning that I simply have to share. Creativity is a strange thing, it strikes you, sometimes, from nowhere, demanding to be recognized. And other times, it’s difficult to find, like trying to squeeze water from a dry sponge.

But in those times, it may help to try to find the creative, the beautiful, the inspired, in something that doesn’t seem to be, well, any of those things. What you come up with may, in fact, be stunning.

That’s what artist Mary Doodles does, and the results are delightful.

Here’s the video. Enjoy.

 

Try  Her Cousin Much Removed, or sign up for my spamless newsletter.

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

A Universe of Inspiration and Not a Drop to Think

Standard

I’m having one of those blogging days. You bloggers know what I mean, we all have them from time to time.

Though we have an entire universe at our fingertips, perhaps several universes or even an infinite number of them, we just have nothing to say about them. Think about that. Billions upon billions upon billions of stars, and even more billions of planets, and not a hint of inspiration.

Seems crazy, right?

Even here on our own planet, Earth, things are chugging along or not chugging along, people are taking up a whole day of their lives, and here I sit unable to form a whole thought about any of it.

I blame the weather.

Not because it’s particularly good or particularly bad, but because the weather seems to be a perfectly innocuous thing to blame for anything and everything. Just ask the airlines.

So no deep insight from me today. No shallow insight, for that matter. And I will pay attention to the world around me and hope it inspires me tomorrow.

Try  Her Cousin Much Removed, or sign up for my spamless newsletter.

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