Joy & Pain

Sunshine & Rain 

(^^^ Since they tell you how long it’ll take to read anything online now, well, it’ll take you as long to read this post as it takes Maze to quiet-storm through a purple Prince haze here ^^^)

It’s Valentine’s Day and I’m in love, but the commercialization of holidays means I don’t go giddy over most of them. Halloween is my favorite celebration, by far. Making costumes by hand is my squeeeee. Asked what profession other than my own would I like to attempt, I respond, “Costume designer.”*

Ecologically and economically the fashion industry is seriously flawed, but every once in a while I spend an hour drooling over utterly impossible to afford and/or wear duds. Ages ago, when I got married in Paris, I strutted into a Chloé store (which I believe was then located on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré), pretending I was shopping for my “post-ceremony/dancing dress.” I tried on four dresses—each, at that time, cost over €3000.

RIDONK… but never since that day in that dressing room has a single article of clothing felt so made for me, so silky, so BUTTER!!! It was an unforgettable experience and the current me can’t believe the past me had the snooty wherewithal to lie to Parisian shopwomen without cracking: “I’d like to put this one on hold. I’m going to try a few other places down the street. Tootaloo!”

 

 

Silk frocks. Paris. I digress. I’m talking about love and holidays. No, I’m talking about love and loss. Today, Valentine’s Day, was the designated birthday of my beloved dog George, who I had to … every time I get to these words I pause … put down … say goodbye to … euthanize … the week before Christmas. After adopting him from the shelter eight years ago, I gave him his own Facebook page, and because I can’t remember the password, I’ve never taken it down. Today, he came up in my feed. George would have been twelve or thirteen today—with adoptee mutts, you often don’t know.

George’s profile photo shows him smiling and running through water. He is young, muscular, and so alive in this shot. A friend’s dog also came up as having a birthday today. This friend messaged me last month when I was at a writer’s residency in Wyoming, walking miles and miles with ranch dogs while holding George’s dog tag in my hand. This friend said his dog was gone—recently let go of, bid adieu—as well.

January 2018 was my month to wail over dogs. Here we go into the Year of the Dog now, and I’ve made no real resolutions. But it seems a good thing has decided to present. To insist. To hold me accountable to my best self. 

 

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I’m not talking about the love of my life—not the human love of my life that is. He showed up in 2016. I’m talking about time. Time to write for me, myself, and I. Time to write, which I’ve struggled to find or commit to for the past two years, as my business of writing for other people and working through their words with them has kept me busy.

I spent the month of January at a residency in Wyoming I’d been to six years ago. Just one of the dogs I ran with then was still alive. We found each other, wandering under the sun, on Day Three.

By Day Three, I still hadn’t written one new word. I’d been reading, filling my head still with others’ distillations of worlds (Solnit’s Savage Dreams, to be precise). Even though of course when you apply for a residency you submit a writing sample and a statement laying out what you plan to work if invited, packing for Wyoming, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to write. If I could write.

My brain felt as flatlined as where I was landing.

 

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Most residency staff tell you that if you end up doing nothing but completely relax, or read, or walk—if you sing to the stars at night or flip from being a writer to a mad scientist … it’s okay. Reflective of the creative process itself, time at these places is meant to be unrestricted, open to whatever happens, exploratory, and non-demanding (there is never a requirement to turn in 5 billion words/photos/musical scores/dance moves/paintings/carvings at the end of your stay.). But still, it felt crucial to me that I come up with something in Wyoming, and something new to be exact.

The novel I’ve been seeking representation for, well for forever, well, while in Wyoming my dream agent (yes, I’ve had a few dream agents, but this one had specifically Tweeted about what she wanted and it was LIT.RA.LLY my novel to a T), said, “Close, but no cigar.”

 

 

 

I had no intention, truth be told, of revising this novel again while in Wyoming. I love my book. I love the place in my heart it comes from (childhood summers spent at my grandmother’s house), but my book is simply breaking my heart now. On arriving in Wyoming, I was at the brink of deciding whether or not I am a true writer. “Self,” I was saying. “Face it. You are an editor—you are highly skilled at bringing other people’s stories to the world. This is your gift, your fate, your give-up-your-novel reality.”

I even screamed from artists’ camp the day Dream Agent turned me down, “I came here a writer. BUT I AM NOT A WRITER!!!!!!!”

(The lovely rockstar program assistant bore witness. The hills knocked my words back and forth in echo. “That is absolutely untrue, Chris,” Rockstar said. “Go take it out on the mountains.”)

I had my running gear on, and oh, I took so much out on those mountains I can hardly believe they still stand.

Truth is: I still stand. I am a writer, always have been, always will be. Back to Day Three, the day I found the one dog still alive from the time I’d been there last. That day, the dam burst. After a long walk and burying some of my grief in said doggy’s neck fluff, fueled too by a few non-dog memories of where I was in 2012—geographically and mentally—I began to write.

I did still have my own new words. Within a week, I completed the first draft of a new essay and started on a second. By week two, an outline for a book started its colorful crawl across my cork board. Week three, the card table set up behind my desk was catching the overflow.

 

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Returning to the Pacific Northwest after a month under blinding sun, I collapsed though. The rush of working on my own material set against the thud of returning to a house empty of my faithful yellow George, was jarring. A few days, I could barely get out of bed, and I did not have the flu (ok, I had a cold). But still, it was grey and I was depressed.

Projects awaited. I got to them and gave them my all, because I always do. I’m taking on two more long-term blog/article writing gigs that I’m excited about—both have to do with water and so, of course, the environment.

My new writing—my collection of essays I have planned—is environmental. It’s to be about old rocks and aging, old dogs and athleticism, beauty and the raw red ribs of a freshly killed buck in the wild (here, kitty kitty mountain lion). It’s to be about control of land, emotions, Native Americans, death, and women.

Turns out I’ve got plenty to say.

Turns out too, I’m turning right around now to head to another writing residency. One resident needing to cancel last minute means I, having been waitlisted, get to take his or her place. This residency is in south central Oregon, near another terrain I walked decades back.

In general, I am not a sappy person, but I do feel like someone or something has their full loving eyes cast over me. My grandmom or my dog (and cat), or some weird alien force is gifting me. To be able to take time for oneself, to do nothing but spill out the rusty painful bits and tinker and polish and rebuild, oh yeaaahhh, 2018 will be good. It is good. It is.

 * BeholdThe Pivot Questionnaire,” Bernard Pivot, Bouillon de Culture, slightly altered by James Lipton, Inside the Actors Studio)

My Year of the Dog Valentine’s Day Answers

1. What is your favorite word? glow
2. What is your least favorite word? goodbye
3. What turns you on? laughing
4. What turns you off? sexism
5. What sound or noise do you love? silence
6. What sound or noise do you hate? the current US president’s voice
7. What is your favorite curse word? mofo
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? see above, but I’d like to BE Jane Goodall
9. What profession would you not like to do? snake charmer
10.If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? “It’s all dancing, dogs, doughnuts, and quiet storms from here on out!”

 

And finally, because everything sounds more romantic in French and it IS Valentine’s Day, here’s Bernard Pivot with Umberto Eco.

 

 

 

 

 

Waiting, Not Just for the Birds

I woke up this morning, went into the kitchen to boil water for coffee, then came back bedside to open the window shade (I have a custom-designed platform bed that runs right up to and under a great big window that looks out into shockingly green woods).

Leaning forward a bit, I saw that the bird feeder was practically empty. I also saw a little guy, what I think was a Song Sparrow, perched there as if he were sleeping. “If he’s not sleeping,” I thought, “he’s the bravest bird ever. He knows I’m here, and doesn’t give a damn.”

I watched him for a minute … my cat joined me. Nope, this little bird was going nowhere. My cat and I sat a few minutes more. I heard the water boiling on the stove. The bird moved his head around and preened some, but he did not budge. I raised my phone to take video, and still, he sat, not a care in the world.

Had he hit the window? Was he stunned? Was he dying? (I know, first, I’m clearly no bird expert and second, the dark side of my mind leaps pretty quick to “Is he dying?”)

Ah! No! Phew! He poked his head in the near-empty feeder and grabbed a munchie. Cool! For the first time ever, I watched a bird from just a few inches away open a sunflower seed, spit out the shell, and nom-nom away at the juicy seed meat inside. This fellah was not dying, he was hungry and patient. I returned to my kitchen, poured water over grinds, then went outside, lowered my birdfeeder, and filled it to the brim with glossy black seeds. (Only when I pulled the feeder down did that bird fly away.)

“Tough guy,” I said. “You’ll be back.”

I returned to the kitchen, pressed my coffee and poured it, then grabbed my camera and made my way back to the edge of my bed. I sat with a blanket over my legs and my camera at the ready.

Two other birds came immediately—a Chestnut-backed Chickadee and some gorgeous blue-black-headed lean-bodied silver-grey bird (told you I’m no expert).

Then the Song Sparrow (or Pine Siskin or finch of some kind, or, or, or???) returned and I got to filming him eating a sunflower seed. You can see here, it seems he’s injured or lost his left eye. Right?

 

I should have gotten to work thirty minutes earlier than I did this morning, but who can resist birds? I wanted to wait and see what this little guy’s story was. Gladly, it was just that he wanted breakfast and is the type of bird that doesn’t flinch when other birds or giant Earth-bound creatures come around. I’m glad I sat there, waiting.

Writers are used to waiting. Specifically, we wait after we have submitted our work to a literary journal, a magazine, a contest, or a jury for a writers’ residency. We wait when we send our nine bazillion query letters out for our first novels.

These past few months, I’ve been waiting on top of waiting. Two of my memoir clients have been sending their own rounds of query letters out into the big wide agent world, and I check in, eternally hopeful, confident, and empathetic. This week, I’m helping another client with agent research and a synopsis and query letter—and I know what lies ahead for her: The Waiting.

I warn her: The Waiting. I prop her up for this: The Waiting. She’s a wise woman (and now she’s a friend), and she hears me loud and clear. She’s a writer, but she hasn’t yet taken this leap, this leap into The Waiting.

The Waiting can be hell, and the only way to survive it is to talk about it with other writers.

What do you do while waiting for an acceptance or a rejection, an agent and a publisher? 9.97 out of 10 writers will tell you to start on your next project. Not only will this keep you from plucking your eyeballs out of their sockets, but say your dream agent calls—that agent will say, “I love your book, I want it. What else do you have and how soon can I have that too?” Because agents, now more than ever, want more than a one-hit wonder. They look to build a relationship with you. You are—your writing is—an investment. You can be as literary as they come or as genre as can be or strictly business, but you cannot be a one-trick pony.

I confessed in my last post though, that I have not been working on my next novel, nor on my next short story or flash fiction piece. I have starts of a new novel, on pages and in my head, but here I am, with no next project of my own underway. I’ve recently carved out some spare time too, and what have I done with it?

You see, this winter under the Olympic Rain Shadow has been unusually rainy and unusually shadowy. We are grey-drizzle-weary. Friends have been holed up like bears. “Are you serious, we haven’t seen you since when? THEN?” we all say. And “What have you been up to? Writing?” Because yes, Pacific Northwest winters naturally feed the writers’ soul. Or, so the rumor goes.

And so, the first sunny day we had in ages came Saturday, and I was conflicted. It’s challenging to plant ass-in-chair to write when the sun is shining, and although I was working on deadline, I had to walk the dogs.

The boys and I went gently into the warm day.

As we were making our way toward a familiar field, rather hurriedly because DEADLINE and SPARE TIME to be taken advantage of wisely (by starting on writing of next novel) we heard bald eagles. We’ve got many here, and there’s a nest I know where I hadn’t seen activity for months.

I looked to the sky. My eyes burned from the brightness.

I spotted one of the eagles perched high in a tree. He was sitting close to the nest I thought had been abandoned. I squinted at the nest—nothing. Too bad. But then I sat in the grass with my dogs beneath the tree with the eagle in it and said, “I’m waiting. I’m going to catch a quick vid for friends who may not see bald eagles on the regular. I’m on deadline, I should be writing, but I’m going to catch this eagle in flight today, or else!”

Thirty minutes went by. I was lying in the grass by then, and so were my dogs. The sun was penetrating our bones. Small planes were buzzing over the bay, in and out of the local airport. A wee cloud or two passed far overhead, as did another eagle and a vulture. I waited.

My dogs were panting. It was an honest-to-goodness warm day, the kind where thirty blissful minutes could easily turn into sixty. I counted down one more minute … fifty-eight, fifty-nine, sixty … and stood, and then I swear, the eagles started talking. I looked up, and lo and behold, out of that huge nest there came Mama eagle. She called to her mate, he called back and ruffled his feathers. Mama took off. Time for lunch and a stretch—I feel ya, sister! I watched her circle further and further out, then turned the camera back to Papa eagle, who had not moved yet from his all-seeing protective position. And then, in one short tight circle, he too took flight, moving right into the nest.

I was glad I had waited.

The weather today? Once again, we have “broken clouds.”

It’s Spring, officially… date-wise and bird-wise… but still, we writers are waiting, hungry and patient, for the sun and affirmation.

For the hatchlings.

Note to Self: Write for Self

One of my long-time best friends in Portland has worked as a contractor for decades. He does incredible work—basement to attic, wiring to tiling to cabinetry, back decks and porches to French doors. Over the years, I’ve recommended him to everyone I know, and if I could afford it, I’d ask him to build me a sweet cottage from scratch—in France. (In fact—I did try to convince him to do this when I lived there in the late 90s/early 00s, but it never happened. We both just fantasized.)

Point is: I trust this friend’s work down to every nut, bolt, drain, and vent. He brings quality and style to everything he touches, and he builds and remodels responsibly—maintaining the integrity of older homes in Portland and tinkering with new trends in design. It goes without saying: He’s a green builder.

Now, I know there’s a joke about how contractors often let their own homes (and yards) fall into some state of disrepair. One year, friends of my contractor friend got together to mow, weed, and tidy up his yard. The house he lived in at the time was on a corner lot in a popular high-traffic neighborhood, and I guess his friends got tired of barbecuing in waist-high grass. That same year, his neighbors complained about the dumpster he had parked in front of his house for more time than is allowed (or tolerated). I don’t remember the details, but I do know the city came knocking at his refurbished front door and threatened to fine him.

I also know that every house he works on in the city turns out stunning—within months—while his home remained a work-in-progress for a very long time.

My friend is so busy because he is so good. And so what if the window in the bathroom off his kitchen might never get trimmed out.

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Why am I thinking about my friend, Chris, and his building history in Portland? Why, today, am I treating myself to a mental slide show of all the projects I visited him on—to pet his dog, to drink an after-work beer out of a cooler, to ooh and aah at a backsplash or how he tossed some schoolhouse-red paint into the concrete mix for that old backyard studio before pouring the floor and damn, wasn’t that smooth and pretty?

I’m thinking of Chris because I miss him, but also because this past year I’ve been the writer version of him, somehow. That is, I look at this blog on my professional website and see that the last time I posted was when softball season 2016 was in full swing, and here I am, having just attended my first practice of 2017.

Worse, my own fiction and poetry have been sitting on the bench since then.

Okay, I took a wonderful poetry workshop and had one poem published last year. An excerpt from my not-yet-agented novel, one that won a prize in 2014, made finalist status for another prize last October. But, I have been so busy writing and editing for other people—working on their basements, attics, nuts, bolts, drains, and weeds—that my own body of work is in shambles. If my literary friends knew I hadn’t written so much as the first sentence of a new short story in over a year, I know of at least one who would come to my front door and threaten to fine me.

The thing is, 2016 was a great year (well, no, not entirely, I had to put my cat of fourteen years down on November 4th and four days later, our nation elected a hateful clown) but, professionally speaking, 2016 marked the official start of me saying YES to the most amazing people and projects ever!

One of the clients I wrote a marketing book for asked me to stay on as his blog/newsletter ghostwriter, and an article I wrote for him got shared more than any other article on the website he was guest blogging for. Currently, I’m guiding two of my memoir clients through their query letters and synopses, and I’m working with my first autistic client and my first transgender client on developmental edits.

What I’ve learned this year is that I love editing almost as much as I love writing. I can see what’s missing, what needs to go, and how to pull the pieces together. I am not a cheerleader (grrrrl, please), but I do keep the fire lit and despair at bay. I can doctor books that would sink a person if published in their current state.

I’ve learned that when I work with memoir clients especially, they inevitably have those moments—at the outlining stage or midway through the project—where they feel their story isn’t worth telling: “This wouldn’t be/this won’t be interesting to anyone else,” they say.

And I say, “Your story is interesting, inspiring, and necessary. Let’s rock.”

So, what about my own stories? Why am I not cheerleading my own damn writer self? In addition to ghostwriting, editing, consulting, and book doctoring, where does the time I could be spending on my own writing go? What the hell am I doing?!

  • Wasting too much time on Facebook
  • Falling in love
  • Learning to make the bomb pie crusts
  • Playing pétanque—I participated in two tournaments in 2016, winning a bronze medal in my first, just two days after learning how to play—BRAG!
  • Keeping a bullet journal (which is supposed to help me better manage my time, but is basically an excuse to buy fun stickers and pretty Washi tape—why?!?!)
  • Finally watching Parks and Rec (Leslie Knope is my soul sister, energetically and neurotically.)
  • Re-watching GoT S1-6 with the man I’ve fallen in love with, who had only watched a few episodes sporadically
  • Being taste tester for all the delicious meals above mentioned man makes
  • Exercising away said delicious meals
  • Caring for my animals
  • Taking well-deserved too-short trips to beautiful places

Yes, folks, this is your brain on life

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and this is my brain on a zillion different writing projects in various stages of development.

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But hey, I’ve got a big brain and I’ve stated before that the “OMGhelpI’mSObusy” mantra bores me. Step away from yourselves, ye who are freaking out on being so busy, in order to sit with yourselves.

Commit. And…

as the kick-ass writer Melissa Febos suggests, think about what you want to be known and remembered for!

When I work with clients, their book is often not their #1 Priority—which is part of the reason they hire me. It is my job to make other people’s books my priority. And I love my job—I know how to manage it. I don’t need to cut back on the work I’m doing for others, but on the excuses I’m making to myself. I do have the time for my own creative work—I just have to make better use of it and practice what I preach.

In the cabinet next to my writing desk, I stash heaps of notebooks filled with random thoughts. Okay, some of these thoughts I cannot decipher because my penmanship is terrible and sometimes I just don’t understand what I meant when I scribbled witch lady living in basement has a party, or have the chipotle conversation. But, browsing these old notebooks on a Saturday afternoon is not a waste of time. There’s gold in them thar hills, and it is mine to mine.

A book or a story, like a home, is a space people can live in. I hope, whether you consider yourself a competent builder with words or not, you take the time to tend to your abode and invite others inside, to share your lived or imagined experiences.

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Got Revelation?(Ceci n’est pas une GoT post.)

A local client of mine, another baseball aficionado and HSP (highly sensitive person) who came to cheer on my softball team last night, brought with him to our last editing meeting a copy of Good Prose, by Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd. He wanted to read portions of it aloud to me. Who doesn’t love to be read aloud to over a milkshake?

After our meeting, we walked straight over to the bookstore and I ordered my copy. I’m about to dive into a full five weeks of final revisions (I mean it this time, this is IT!) on my novel, Outta Here!, after having received some “just right” insight two weeks ago. Funny how you can go through years of workshopping a piece or a manuscript, how other agents you’ve queried can suggest smart things to you, but then one day, one agent says one thing… and it fully clicks.

I hope this bit from Good Prose will be just what the doctor ordered for someone somewhere today:

“It is a misleading truism that drama comes form conflict. Conflict in stories is generally understood as an external contest between good guys and bad guys. But to say that Hamlet depicts the conflict between a prince and usurper king is (obviously) to oversimplify that rich, mysterious drama, indeed to misunderstand it completely. The most important conflict often happens within a character, or within the narrator. The story begins with an inscrutable character and ends with a person the author and reader understand better than before, a series of events that yields, however quietly, a dramatic truth. One might call this kind of story a narrative of revelation.

… Revelation, someone’s learning something, is what transforms event into story. Without revelation, a story of high excitement leaves us asking, “Is that all?”

… For a story to have a chance to live, it is essential only that there be something important at stake, a problem that confronts the characters or confronts the reader in trying to understand them. The unfolding of the problem and its resolution are the real payoff. A car chase is not required.”

Here’s to everyone working on those car chase-less no-murdering stories this week. Here’s to you and yours learning something.

*And hell, here’s to anyone working on a story as character-rich as the most violent show I’ve ever been able to tolerate (see HSP, Item #6, scary/violent things).

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Goodness

Last spring, a married pair of ghostwriting clients flew me down to their place in Palm Springs. Can I tell you how much a Pacific Northwest dweller needs that blinding dry desert sunlight in April? This much:

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We’d completed the planning phase for each of their books, and decided to do the bulk of our interviews in person. At first, I hesitated: Staying with my clients, in their home? What if we discover over our first lunch that we’re light years apart politically? What if they catch sight of my ginormous tattoo and think tattooed people can’t write books about leadership? What if what if what if?

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Image source: lumituomi.tumblr.com

Mornings, this couple and I sat outside in the clean-smelling shade, recording our conversations and watching hummingbirds and geckos flit by. We jotted notes in notebooks and on one of those big Post-it® easel pads.

We did not look like this:

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Also, somebody please send me a year’s supply of these:

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Anyway, this couple and I recorded more wild and brilliant leadership ideas outside around the fire pit, evenings, after our post-dinner walk. We talked about Ireland, Canada, and their daughter at Oxford.

On our final lunch together, at some large restaurant in some pale Palm Springs strip mall, we all got so red-faced and giggly, people probably thought our hibiscus-flavored lemonade was spiked. It wasn’t. We were just rolling happy on the creative exchange, and probably, on the strange relieved realization that after three days together in the same house, we didn’t want to say goodbye.

Oh, that vintage clothing shop! Next time!

Next time hasn’t happened yet. The woman I collaborated with travels more for her work than almost anyone I know. She gives seminars, bringing people together and improving their work lives and non-work lives. Her book is about to launch, and I very much doubt the Palm Springs vintage clothing store extravaganza is going to happen in 2016. But that’s okay. I don’t need more clothes. I’ve done my years of dressing for work (Paris, corporate ESL, I rocked the Max Mara pantsuits). I work from home now, so yes, of course: lounge pants. And yes, if and when I find the occasion for a LBD, I’ve got the never-worn D&G. (Yes, for those who know me IRL, still.not.worn.you.know.the.one.imtalkinbout.)

Boil it down, my fashion glory days aside: I gained a mentor out in the desert.

My mentor shared with me her insights on leadership—on leading and living with integrity, grace, and soul. She did this for the chapters of her book, but you know—something odd happens when you listen carefully—ideas rub off on you. Good vibes do too! You grow. You both do.

As my mentor’s book launch approaches, I know how nervous she is, despite the fact she’s as successful as it gets. This too, is part of my job: “Okay, so, your book’s coming out. Eh, it’s just your soul on the line. No biggie. Kidding. You can do this. WOOT!”

Last year, she was supporting me through something totally non-project related (“With grace, Christine. You got this.”), and this summer, I’m ready to be her spazziest geekiest fangirl in lounge pants. I will cartwheel and shoop and chicken dance for her, but of course, since I ghosted this project, I will do it all behind closed doors, shouting “YAAAASSS” into my pillow.

And what then? What next? What’s up? Another gift comes that proves how working with one fab person can alter the course of your work life. Summer ’16 hasn’t even officially started, and this wonderful email from a brand new client just came in:

“I can’t believe I found someone so easy to work with. I looked at about a dozen bios of editors/ghost writers. You were the only one I had a good feeling about. So glad to encounter your enthusiasm.”

This is a woman with an amazing story, and she’s trusting me with it. She found me not through word-of-mouth, but right here, on my website. I’ve just started editing her existing content, and our plan is to map out what’s missing (so, we’re doing a developmental and line edit, and then… collaboratively writing this autumn).

I love the challenge of putting the pieces of story puzzles together like this. I love too, realizing that thanks in part to my mentor’s leadership and friendship, this year I have managed to bring nothing but amazing people to my door. Sure, a couple bad fits have found me, but the more I say, “No thank you,” the more “HELL YES” comes my way.

I’m not one to 110% believe in “Ask and ye shall receive,” and I don’t believe that asking alone or woo-woo wishing and positive affirmation always brings you the gold. You’ve got to Back Your ASK Up© (I just made that up and copyrighted it, pretty good, huh?) with integrity, know how, and talent. The full you better show.

Let goodness prevail.

 

 

Over the “too busy” excuse, but dang, I am real busy

I used to be such a dedicated blogger (years back, different site entirely). I was teaching at Portland State University and Mt. Hood Community College (adjunct life, woot!) and earning my MFA.

I wrote and wrote and wrote–my short stories, the start of my novel, student materials, and blog posts about books, writers, animals, living abroad, language, Noble Rot, crushes, beer, boots…

Now, I am writing and writing and writing and editing and editing and editing words for others. It’s my business. J’adore each and every one of my current clients.

But I am too busy to blog. So, yes, this IS today’s post. What can I tell you?

It’s June in the Pacific Northwest. I am wearing socks. Here is a photo of my Schnoodle, Melvin. I call it Purple Rain.

Goodbye.

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