Majestic Monday (Yes, I Said Majestic!)

I know, half of you think I’m crazy, and half of you can tell I’m retired. Maybe I’m both. Depends on the day. I read something this morning I absolutely fell in love with. It’s talking a study regarding the most productive decade of a human life. I don’t care if it’s true or not, so I didn’t fact check. Why not? It just makes me feel so darned good, so inspired!

According to this study, the most productive age is 60-70. The second most productive stage is 70-80. Third is 50-60. the average age of Nobel Prize winners is 62. I’m thrilled to know all of this, especially since writing not require a huge amount of physical strength or prowess like running marathons would. I do believe I’ve grown much more as a person in the past ten years. I have a lot more to do in the next ten too. The sky is the limit! Please don’t tell me it’s not true; I’d like to make it true for me.

I had a little nap yesterday and read a fabulous little book called “All Things In Time,” by Sue Buyer. It’s a novella (10K to 40K words) recalling the now 90+ year old’s experiences working as one of few women in the newsroom of a large-circulation of a metropolitan newspaper. I find the story fascinating, as this was an era with fewer than 10% female employees, including secretaries. How the world has changed! Yesterday was a perfect day to read the 115 page book. The last sentence on the back cover blurb was “The novella will also appeal to anyone looking to curl up in a nice chair with a good read on a rainy day.” We had 3 1/2 inches of rain yesterday.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Before I realized there was no way I could afford to go to college, I dreamed of working as a reporter for our Omaha World Herald. My dad worked there for 37 years as a Pressman and later in management of the Pressroom. So sure, I was interested in the story. Little did I realize I’d actually start writing in my late 60s. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

It keeps me engaged with others who like the same thing. I’m certain it took me this long to finally have the confidence it would take to listen to constructive criticism. Sure, I may be devastated when I get bad reviews, and I’ll ask you all to remind me a review is simply the reviewer’s opinion. There is no accounting for taste. I can tell you I read 50 Shades of Gray. My opinion? It was the worst writing I’ve ever read. Yes, I read all three volumes. I believe the only reason it was a best seller was it crossed a bunch of lines, and it became a thing for the Starbuck’s crowd of young moms. Sure, I learned a few things I didn’t know before, but you know what? I think if you have to resort to all that in the bedroom – or bondage room – you’re not doing it right! There’s nothing more fulfilling than an adult sexual relationship with someone you love deeply and can trust.

My generation was the “free love hippie” group. By the time I was divorced in the early 80s, things became absolutely crazy. Then HIV/AIDS entered the scene. I cannot imagine what it’s like now. From the weird bunch of two first named people (Larry Mike, Carl deCamera and more) who send me FB Messages on my Author Page, I shudder to think of of internet dating. I have too many creative projects to fill my time (writing, learning to paint and draw, embroidery, sewing, quilting, reading) that I could be busy 24/7 the rest of my life. After having the Babe during this part of my life, I could never be loved like this again. Now and forever, I’m very contented.

As I go rearrange some stuff and vacuum before I dig more into building a plan for November’s NaNoWriMo, I’m hoping to step outside and enjoy the crisp, fresh air and colors that make fall worth waiting for. Luckily, the rain yesterday didn’t make the leaves fall too soon. Still time to enjoy! Go getcha some, too! Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you tomorrow. Be safe out there.

Serene Saturday

Like any work, change of habit, or recovery from addictions, getting ready to do the work isn’t actually doing the work. Authors joke when they talk (or write!) about writing, they need to know that doesn’t get words on the page. It doesn’t get the right words down on the page. Or words that make sense in the story or scene. NaNoWriMo talks about that all the time. I suppose I should have started prepping earlier. Having COVID the last couple weeks didn’t allow that to happen.

Now that I feel human again, I will start reading some things other writers have shared and review my outline/guide/notes from last year when I was working with Sam Tyler, Book Coach. Plotting tasks to calendar follows next week, and the story should rise from all the notes, intentions, bright ideas, and otherwise faulty thinking. Getting words on the page is the goal. No editing. That will be hard! I constantly edit while writing. Always. The biggest mistake I make typing is the dyslexic twist on things – my brain and fingers are out of sync, and words get the letters mixed up. Or the whole sentence is out of sync. That will be a true test.

I don’t believe in writer’s block. I think the words are always there. I think they are hijacked sometimes because we procrastinate, we make excuses, we place blame on others. I know I do those things. Reasons are legitimate. Excuses are not. Illness is legitimate. Surfing Facebook is not. And we all do it. Just call it by it’s name. You’ll be more responsible to yourself.

For instance, I can clean the bathroom til the cows come home. Dusting? Not so much. I put the furniture polish spray can and dust rag on the TV stand and tell myself, “I’ll do it after I sit down a little while.” I believe my own lies, and procrastinate. In November, I vow to check myself on that bad habit. The house can be cleaner if I do my job. Period. Ouch. Truth hurts sometimes.

Doing this and reporting on it every day makes me accountable not only to myself, but to all of you. So what, you may wonder. No one will follow me if I don’t do as I say, if I am not true to my word. End of writing career. Or at least it will stall getting out of the gate. Not good. I’ve got three years invested already; and as the Babe says, “It’s too much to just quit.” Yes it is. I’m so glad my energy returned, it’s easier to think of writing when energy is available. I’m getting excited about it all.

Did you weigh in on my question yesterday? Doing another NaNoWriMo Drawing this year? Two years ago, you could comment on my daily blog and have one entry per day in my drawing for $50. Would you like to participate this year should I have another one? Let me know what you think. There may be a limit as to how many times during the month you can enter. I’ll have to think about that next week, too. In 2019, my friend Pat Riedmann was the winner.

I saw something this morning referring to the longer you live, the more friends you lose to death. True, and it’s just how life works. The past five years, we have had many, many friends, FB Friends, lifelong friends, and family pass away. All I can do it remember them with love. I wore a pair of earrings today which were a gift from a best friend in 1988, the year she died. She was in her early 40s and died from lung cancer. Five months later, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer and died, too. It was a terrible year for sure. I smiled at the memory of my friend, and thanked her again for such a beautiful pair of earrings. They are lovely!

Pay no attention to the grimace on my face! It was supposed to be a smile. Sort of.

I hope you have a wonderful afternoon today. I hope you have time with a loved one, if you’d like. Enjoy the sun or the rain, whichever is happening. I’m going to have a session reading here in a minute. Hope to see you tomorrow, and it means a lot to me that you stopped by today.

Veteran’s Day 2020

Thank you to every Veteran for your service for this great country of ours. This year of 2020 has presented a lot of problems for her, yet, each of you love your country more than your own lives. I admire that undying love of country. It never goes away from what I’ve observed. Many restaurants will let Veterans eat for free today, others will offer discounts.

A free meal pales compared to the debt we to these brave men and women. Just think of it. From the trenches of “The Great War,” to the Battlefields of World War II, the tundra of Korea in winter, the jungles of Vietnam, and the vast deserts of the Gulf War (Operation Desert Shield), The Iraq War (Operation Desert Fox), and the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan, there are still many, many men and women who take the oath to protect America. I’m proud to know many veterans and am related to many more.

I hope our country and each of us are worthy of the commitment made by these brave men and women of our armed services. Yes, there are a lot of wrongs in America, and there is so much more that is right. A lot of the rifts begin and end with failure to communicate. A great deal of emphasis on perceived wrongs, rather than actual wrongs. Yes, slavery was horrible. Segregation was horrible. Discrimination based on ethnicity, religion, sex, orientation, you name it, it’s wrong. We must be mindful of what we have done to correct our wrongs. Those changes accomplished before us are relevant and of value. It’s taken a long time to get this far, which is a shame. It’s a good place to begin.

We need to right many wrongs; we are not perfect. No country is. I believe the United States of America is as close as we may get. We have for a couple of centuries governed by the will of the people. We have elections in which everyone is now equal to cast a vote for whoever they wish. We elect congressional representatives and senators to use our system of checks and balances. They crafted it with freedom, liberty, and justice for all.

When you see a veteran today, thank them for their service. We are such a fortunate nation. We owe them all our effort towards making this a nation worth defending as they do and always have done. Think about it. Be Kind. Be Patient. Be Forgiving. Be Courteous. Be all you can be to be worthy of each soldier’s sacrifice.

Our VFW Post 2503 in Omaha, Nebraska is having a spaghetti dinner today. Veterans are free, all other dinners are $8. A couple of Afghanistan vets contacted us this week, wondering if we could have a trailer sit on our property this week for a clothing and food drive. They were kind enough to let us ask for coats, hats, boots, and other warm clothes for the Moving Veterans Forward organization. The winter items will help our homeless veterans a great deal. The guys are taking the food, etc. to a local homeless shelter.

These vets are blood brothers, who are ending 2020 on a wonderful note, helping other veterans. The spirit is so contagious; I hope we work with them and their enthusiasm for a long time. These guys are definitely worth another soldier’s sacrifice. What else can we do to make sure we are, too? Thank you for reading. God Bless all of you. And especially, may God Bless America.

Monday Morning, Beautiful Day

As I’m listening to Steven Van Sant and the (also a member of the E Street Band!) Disciples of Soul, I’m feeling pepped up. It could be the coffee, but I just feel energized and good. That’s a glorious thing on a Monday when the week and our souls are still fresh from the weekend. The Babe finished carpet cleaning with his new gadget. It looks great, and the dogs are glad we’re moving the furniture back where it rightfully belongs. They don’t like disruptions in their world.

This CD has it all. Party Mambo reminds me of our beautiful daughter-in-law, Monica. She is Puerto Rican and really has the beat going on. She taught Blake to salsa dance. I wish we had a dancing family, my people didn’t do that. Except for wedding receptions. We weren’t Polish, but all weddings had Polka music, and at a certain point in the night, they attempted the Flying Dutchman. Chaos ensued. The more alcohol consumed, the more chaos. It always looked liked people had such fun.

Photo by Elly Fairytale on Pexels.com

If you’ve been a reader for a year, you may remember I entered NaNoWriMo last year. At first I thought I would not enter this year, but I decided why not? I’m writing anyway. Some very prolific writers from the Nebraska Writers Guild are journaling about the pandemic, and about the political climate. I might do some of that, and I want to do something meaningful to me. Last year’s project finished at over 50K words, and I was glad. It requires editing, and I had a couple people read it. It was pretty raw in its writing. It needs polish and perhaps a different point of view. The proposal is good; the execution needs work.

While I ponder this, I think I need to take some notes, they just may spark some ideas. Any written, typed, and scribbled words “count.” You don’t want to vomit words all over the page. You want some purpose, some intent behind them. I’ll be looking for people to BETA read for me. I’m still pretty green on what that entails some folks saw my criteria last year and complained they “weren’t being paid to edit,” and I excused them from volunteering. Note to self: Clarify EVERY task needing people’s input for. Beta read, Edit, Copy Edit, etc.

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If you’re an author, you probably love words. You love putting them together to create scenes in your head. If you have too many words, you may defeat your own purpose. I’ve done this. Put way too much detailed description where I think it’s necessary, only to find out it’s unnecessary. It’s something you learn. The work I’ve done with Sam has been so worth it. If you might work with a book coach, try it for a month or two. I’ve learned so much more than I thought possible. New things, Baby steps, you’ll get there nicely.

One year ago, I foolishly thought I could just publish what I had. I thought I was “done.” Nothing could have been further from the truth. I worked like a Pantster. A Pantster wings it. No outline, no character development on paper, no scene construction, no checking anything over. Just do it, like Nike says.

I am now planning what to say, write, and do next. This is working much better. I am focusing on exactly what belongs in every scene and on every page. Nothing else. It has reduced some stress I was feeling. Self-induced, really. Not that it won’t happen again. Humans are hard to break bad habits, you know. And writers are probably worse!

Have a beautiful day and thank you for reading. I appreciate it. We’ll see you tomorrow, right here again. Don’t forget to vote, deliver your ballot properly to a ballot collection box. I do not care who your candidate is, just vote. It will make a difference. Every vote counts. Be Safe. Be Courteous. Be Kind. Be Patriotic.

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