The Neutral Zone

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I’m in one of those in-between moods today, not up, not down, not particularly ebullient (that’s a great word, isn’t it? Even if you don’t know it, you can figure it out, the way that b-u sound bubbles out of the middle like energetic champagne), not particularly morose.

Today I just…am.

Even keel. Coffee and computer. Onward and…outward?

Sometimes I think this is an ideal mood for writing, not having much of a mood. There’s no tone to match in the work, the tone finds itself.

Although I’m on editing. The messy bits of editing.

More on that tomorrow.

And when editing, it usually becomes the thing that spreads to fill the size of the container. But so many projects lined up hopefully in my hard drive, waiting for their tiny spark of life.

Shh. Don’t tell them that some day they, too, will be edited.

So I’m off to conquer worlds of my own making, in various stages of construction. Hmm.

Maybe that’s just a hint of ebullience.

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.

Watching the Wheel: Summer

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Claude Monet [Public domain], Haystacks in the Late Summer, via Wikimedia Commons

Here I am, firmly wedged into a Tuesday morning, my cup of coffee still just a little too hot to drink. Which is a shame.

I need the coffee.

It’s a sunshiny August day, no hint of clouds, not too warm, as though the weather knows the store shelves are full of notebooks with glinting spiral spines, cellophane-wrapped pencils all lined up straight and planner after planner in every size for every plan, little to large. Late summer.

In my mind, the year is a wheel. It’s probably something I saw as a child when learning the months of the year, and somehow it burrowed its way into my permanent vision of the calendar. Here we are, the front of the Ferris wheel, past the apex and on the way down to the winter months with ice and gray skies.

But round and round it goes, and we’ll be back. Assuming the planet’s still here, of course.

Which is less of a given than it used to be.

But there’s time for a little more summer before the leaves give in to their fading, before steps crunch and the crispness turns to cold. Still more summer.

For a little while longer.

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.

 

Blogging from Prompts Day 1: What Have You…

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Happy Monday, friends! It arrives no matter how we feel about it, so we might as well greet it nicely, and maybe it will be nice to us.

Maybe.

So this week I’m going to blog from random writing prompts, because, well, why not? Today I’ve used this website and here’s the prompt:

“What have you stolen?”

Hmm.

This is a tough prompt for me, as I am one of those painfully, painfully honest people who goes back if I get too much change. The other day, I parked on a Chicago street with metered parking. Here, instead of a meter per spot, we have pay boxes. Well, a woman was leaving and she offered me her printed receipt so I would get free time.

And I didn’t take it.

It felt….weird.

Once, though, when I was a child, I went to the hardware store with my Dad, one of those locally-owned ones with dead-end corners and fascinating bits in bins. I needed a combination lock for school or something, so I picked one up and carried it around, looking at everything.

Well, my Dad didn’t find what he needed, and out we went. And then I realized I was still holding the lock. I’d completely forgotten it was in my hand.

That’s right. I was a thief.

I panicked. I told my Dad. I wondered how I could recover from this moral turpitude, though at that stage I doubt I knew the phrase moral turpitude, but I got the idea.

He told me to put it back.

Embarrassed and feeling every inch the criminal I was, I slunk in and put it down, and slunk back out again.

Crime spree complete.

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.

 

Even the lemurs know it’s Friday

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Well, one way or another, we’ve made it to Friday. It’s been a rough-and-tumble week, the kind with relentless stresses coming at us in battalion waves.

I miss the days when we didn’t have to worry about things we never even thought to worry about. Alas.

Here we are, on the other side of the stretch. We still have healthcare — for now — but the cracks in our democracy have widened to chasms that let the darkness through.

Hmm.

I’ve had a bit of a productivity experiment this week, and I’ve kept to my goals, mostly. Today may be questionable, but I’ll do my best.

All we can do is our best.

But I have discovered that even when the proverbial political wolf (as opposed to this metaphorical and literal Wolf) is at the door, you can can ignore his knocking if you close twitter.

And set a timer.

Lesson of the week?: Timers, people. Timers.

Oh, and contacting members of Congress really works.

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.

There is Magic in Your Phone

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So much deliberate, calculated cruelty coming from our own government right now. I don’t know about you, friends, but I’m finding it oppressive.

Very oppressive.

And yet I’ve managed to stick to my writing schedule this week. Which isn’t exactly easy, given where my mind is, but I’ve persevered using my old standby trick.

My timer.

No matter what is going on, when you set that timer, you’ve got to put your shoulder into whatever task needs attention. The timer creates a window; the timer is a demarcation. The timer says “this is what I’m doing now.”

And I’ll tell you something interesting.

Even when it’s been difficult this week to drag my head away from blatant bigotry against our fellow Americans, away from the question of what will happen to the millions upon millions — including me — served by the ACA, once that timer starts, I’m in the multicolored world of my imagination.

Escape.

I know we’re tired. I know it’s tough to have the same argument for months on end, to feel as though you’re talking to heartless stone walls.

But.

We can hone our priorities. And we can get things done.

Including the big things.

Now set your timers and call your Senators and Representative. It’s faster than you think.

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.

Productivity. Probably.

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Healthcare still isn’t safe. Please call your members of Congress — start with your Senators, and then your Representative — to stop the repeal of the ACA. You might save a life.

Seriously.

So yes, right, productivity. Hard to be productive when you’re thinking about a future where you can’t get health insurance, but while the Senate throws itself at various forms of the tax-cut bill euphemistically called healthcare, hoping for just one to stick like a limp, poisonous strand of spaghetti, the planet still turns.

Yep.

We all have other things to do, except, of course, the Senate, who could keep doing this until we are gone and the earth is gone and the people who want the tax cuts are gone. See how easy it is to be sidetracked?

My go-to is the to-do. List, that is. Something about crossing things off, one by one, that I find satisfying. But I always have that one task.

You know that task.

It’s the minor thing, that one little thing, that keeps getting carried from day-to-day. It’s never important; the important things get priority.

But it stares at you And the more it stares at you, the bigger it gets. The more difficult it looks. The longer you feel it’s going to take.

Well, I did mine this morning. All told, it probably took under 10 minutes. Now I dare you to do yours.

Right after you call your Senator.

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.

From the Inside of a Storm

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Seascape with Storm Coming on, J. M. W. Turner [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It’s a dark and stormy day, the light softly tinged green. The kind of day that has a phone pinging with weather warnings.

Flash flood, if you’re curious.

The traffic shushes wetly along, a constant hush of white noise, and every now and then the sky rumbles grumpily, punctuating with a flash of stark white light.

I know how it feels.

It’s the kind of day to sit hunkered down over the computer, the romanticism of writing merging with reality for one of those rare, rare moments. It’s the kind of day where a second cup of coffee isn’t a thought but an action, one that happens almost as though through sheer will of the cup.

It’s the kind of day for imagination, for cozy daytime darkness, for conjuring worlds far more colorful than the soggy gray one outside my window.

It’s the kind of day to vanish inside and let the the outside go just for now.

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.