Can a Magic 8 Ball help you write? Signs point to yes.

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I bought a Magic 8 Ball. For divination? (“You may rely on it.”) For nostalgia? (“Ask again later.”)

Something in me suspects it could be used as a writing-prompt tool (“Reply hazy try again”) but I haven’t quite figured out how. Which makes that actual answer I just got out of the ball a little on-the-nose (“As I see it, yes.” I swear I’m not making these up).

When you’re feeling stuck and not at all creative, don’t pass up opportunities for inspiration that might be staring directly at you. Like a Magic 8 Ball from Target that seems to be on a streak today (“My sources say no”).

Even a sarcastic Magic 8 Ball.

Writing is, at its heart, about making someone you don’t know understand you or understand a world as you see it. Sometimes, though, you don’t really feel that in touch with your perspective yourself. And that’s when it’s OK, or actually good, to get silly. Take a Magic 8 Ball at its word (“Ask again later.” I told you it was sarcastic).

Will this Magic 8 Ball help me finish the novel I’m currently writing? (“You may rely on it.” Sarcastic AND over-confident, just what I like in a plastic fortune-telling toy.) Well, my response to that is who knows.

But I’ll tell you this. It did help me write a blog post (“It is certain.” Slow your float there, buddy), and for that alone, it’s worth the cost of the dubious blue liquid inside.

When in doubt, play. (“Signs point to yes.”)

See? The Magic 8 Ball agrees.

Check out my recaps of the hit new show “All My Traitors.” Recap of episode 2, “Lock Him Up” is available 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.

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On a Tuesday that feels like a Monday

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By Mark Dumont (Flickr: Alpaca) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Snow outside, and right now there’s a strange mix of glowing sun and flat gray clouds. I wonder if it’s going to snow again.

I’ve been slow to the blog today, slow after a night packed full of dreams that disintegrated as soon as I opened my eyes.Where I’ve been I couldn’t say, but it’s left a veil of groggy in its wake. Not sleepy, but the kind of groggy where you feel like you’ve left something unfinished, something you must get back to, but you’ve forgotten the task.

And here we are. I definitely need a cup of tea.

Ah, and there’s the snow. Now outside has a veil of groggy too.

Check out my recaps of the hit new show “All My Traitors.” Recap of episode 2, “Lock Him Up” is available 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.

 

Squelches

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Positive: it’s warmer than it’s been in ages. Not so positive: it’s misty and rainy and at 41 degrees, not a pleasant combination for outside.

Remember what I said about temperamental weather?

So yeah.

I made an experimental sort-of peppermint mocha, with a bit of cocoa mix, coffee (natch!) and a candy cane. I can’t decide if it’s a success or a terrible disaster that will make cleaning the mug a problem. That kind of a day.

An in-between day.

It’s definitely a day for curling up an escaping into imaginary worlds, with this one remaining so relentless dreary. Lately it’s either 3 degrees and clear as crystal ice, or above freezing but with a rain that makes it feel like it’s not.

The world kind of feels that way too.

There is so much we can’t control. Like the weather. It will be what it will be, and it doesn’t care whether we like it.

Maybe there’s a lesson in that.

So we take our days as they come, the bright, the gray, the misty, the soggy. The extremely soggy. I can just imagine the squelch of the recently-revealed brown grass today.

You know what? Why don’t we delight in the squelches, and splash in our puddles and accept that today, the air is wet. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

(Yes, hypothetical reader, it is more rain, but why ruin a perfectly good metaphor?!)

Check out my recaps of the hit new show “All My Traitors.” Recap of episode 2, “Lock Him Up” is available 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.

 

 

Maybe there’s enough Birnam Wood to go around

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If you missed yesterday’s post, there are two fun writing challenges awaiting you! And now on to today.

Today, a day of warmer temps and a foggy glaze over the world. Sometimes the weather can be far too on the nose. Stop trying so hard, weather. Just be yourself.

Which, come to think of it, here, firmly nestled in the Midwest, a lake the size of a sea completely taking up the direction “east,” “yourself” for weather is pretty darn temperamental. So in that case, carry on.

I can see bluer patches of the white, though, high up in the sky. The fog will burn off.

Eventually.

I wish the same could be said of all fogs. All failures to grasp the obvious. All hidden plots. Which made me think of MacBeth and those tricky trees, marching straight toward MacBeth’s destiny.

Does Birnam Wood advance upon our power-hungry but ill-suited would-be ruler, complete with his very own male Lady MacBeth?

Only time and Grand Juries can tell. But sitting in a quiet mist where you can almost imagine three witches cackling over a bubbling cauldron, a person can’t help but hope.

Check out my recaps of the hit new show “All My Traitors.” Recap of episode 2, “Lock Him Up” is available 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.

Writing, Chilled.

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By photo taken by flickr user Jenni Jones (flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

I’m in that odd writing phase where I’m full of ideas but not full of words. Concepts, yes.

Translating those concepts to that blinking cursor — that writer’s nemesis — on the screen, not so much. Maybe it’s the icy landscape, snow falling in the frigid air, that has frozen the well.

Probably not. But when in doubt, blame the weather. Here in Chicago, there’s nearly always weather to blame.

It makes me wish Aunty Ida could intervene, and take the ideas, wholesale and complete, from my head to the page. Easy peasy.

But we writers know there are no shortcuts. Only fingers moving over a passive keyboard, imperfect word by imperfect word, growing and growing until there’s something we can hack into imperfect shape.

So when the words don’t come, we need to use lesser words. Maybe our future selves can set things straight. That’s why editing exists.

And off I go. I have ideas to sculpt into something else entirely.

Check out my recaps of the hit new show “All My Traitors.” Recap of episode 2, “Lock Him Up” is available 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.

And We’re Off

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This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years or less.

Happy New Year to all! And good riddance to that bad year, let’s take this new one and make it special. Make it redemptive.

Make it count.

I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions, they put too much pressure on you and they’re so rarely kept, they’re a recipe for failure. Or feeling like a failure. I took to making ones I know I can keep, like quitting smoking (I’m not a smoker). And I still don’t smoke!

The success is built right in.

But with things the way that they are, with democracy and fairness and all the things we think of as defining “American” hanging by the most slender of threads, silly resolutions that aren’t won’t do. So this year I resolve to do what I can to make sure we restore order, restore sanity and restore sovereignty to this country that we love. Well, you could be in an entirely different country, so maybe you don’t love it so much as like it as a friend, and that’s OK.

Please just keep the pointing and laughing to a minimum.

The beginning of January may only be a date on the calendar, one that’s so cold the condensation from buildings is falling to the ground like lead, but we have the power to make it mean something.

If we choose.

Health, safety, and success to all this year!

Check out my recaps of the hit new show “All My Traitors.” Recap of episode 2, “Lock Him Up” is available 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.

 

 

Time Goes and Goes and Goes

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The Siesta, Paul Gauguin [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Small changes can make a big difference. Sitting here, ostentatiously not blogging, I heard a faint noise and assumed it was yet more hammering or drilling from afar. But it was gentler than that. More of hum.

Oh right.

My new dishwasher. My old dishwasher clanked and screeched and whooshed with the “look-at-me” quality of someone trying to appear as though working as opposed to really doing the work. Now the new one, though far from one of the most quiet on the market, is, for me, so quiet I forget it’s running until the occasional hum. One of the background noises of the soundtrack of my life has changed.

For the better, of course, but it’s different.

It’s difficult not to think about change with the new year peeking around the corner. What to reach for in the coming clean slate; what to let go.

For now it’s all just contemplation set against the soft background of my new dishwasher.

Time goes and goes, and we’ve nothing that can contain it,nothing that can alter its course. So all we can do is ride the tide forward.

And relish that new “clean” light on the dishwasher.

Check out my recaps of the hit new show “All My Traitors.” Recap of episode 2, “Lock Him Up” is available 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.