Super Bloom

We traveled recently to the east coast to witness my dad getting remarried. I’m so extremely happy for him and his new bride, a lovely woman I’ve known since I was a child, which made it all the more easier to fold her seamlessly into the family. I read Mary Oliver’s Don’t Hesitate during their service and even got to sign the marriage certificate as a witness and it was good fun.

California has been experiencing a super bloom due to all the rain we got earlier this year and while that sounds beautiful and colorful and fun, what it really means is that everyone’s allergies are trying to kill them violently. So when I stepped off the plane and felt a little stuffy, I was like yes, this makes sense.

Woke up very stuffy Wednesday, went to work and by the end of the day felt like perhaps I was dying. I left an hour early, worried I’d picked up covid on the plane (we were part of the .05% of people wearing a mask on the flights) and I didn’t want to pass it to my coworkers or expose anyone.

What I picked up, I guess, was just a cold. I was miserable on Thursday and felt better but still not good yesterday, and today I feel a little stuffy but way, way better. I tested three days in a row for Covid and they were all negative, so that’s good. But I hate colds. They are so, so miserable and I gotta say, I was not that brave about it. I also feel guilty that I went on vacation, worked part of one day and then called out twice and now am getting a five day weekend because of it. I swear I’m not gaming the system, I swear!

It is nice to be home, though. Before we went east, I planted pumpkin seeds in the yard and not only have they sprouted, but they’re growing fast. I like to go out in the mornings and look at them like no one has ever grown something before. I am the first and the best. I’m just being silly, because I know how easy it is to grow pumpkins. Last year, one grew because I tossed an old pumpkin in the yard to rot, and it was exactly no effort. This year, I am determined to overrun my yard with pumpkins and become the true bog witch that I am.

I also have round two of edits to do. The next book should be out in the very beginning of 2024. I am not at liberty to reveal the title yet, but I will say it has a number in the title. I am really excited to be at this stage of things. The bulk of the work is behind me. It’s the kind of nit-picky editing now where you have a spiraling crisis about a comma or realize you don’t understand grammar and you actually never have, and further more, you never will. But you also get to think about the cover and the marketing and that part is fun.

Honestly, being a writer is as much about having the wherewithal to complete the publishing process as it is about writing well. Writing well helps, DON’T GET ME WRONG, but if you have endurance, follow through, and thick skin, you too could publish a book someday.

this love is glowing in the dark

I started writing when I was a pre-teen and never stopped. I remember I visited a friend once during the summer in middle school and she was annoyed that I spent so much time scribbling into my notebook. It was like there were so many words inside me and they had to spill out into somewhere. I still have a plastic tub full of the notebooks and journals I used to keep as a teenager. Full of fanfiction from my favorite shows, original stories, and just regular journal entries.

By the time I got a computer in my bedroom, I wrote fiction there and my personal journals became scrapbooks. I glued down anything that had any meaning or would jolt my memory of an event. Concert ticket stubs, movie ticket stubs, wrappers and receipts from coffee shops, promotional items from my many trips to local book stores. When I went abroad, I would glue down train tickets and press flowers and sketch vistas.

At some point, even that faded. I kept a livejournal instead. It was easier than lugging around journals so full that they didn’t even close anymore.

Even though the places that I wrote changed, I’ve never stopped writing.

I can tell you that the stories I wrote were not great. When I was writing Harry Potter fanfiction at 19, they were overwrought and melodramatic and full of the most predictable of tropes, but people still liked them because when you’re obsessed with something, even bad stories can be good stories.

The stuff I was writing at 25 when I was in grad school was certainly better, but even that I look back on now and think, oh I would change this and I would delete that and I would never say such a thing now. But people liked it because I was writing for the love of it and when you love something that much, the love always shines through the obvious plots and incorrect comma placement.

I still like a lot of the things I’ve written in my thirties. I was 36 when I signed on with a publisher who liked one of my stories well enough that they wanted it to become a book and 37 when that book came out but even a story with thousands of hits and hundreds of kudos and comments was imperfect and needed work. I know I will like things about my second book better than my first. That’s just how writing goes.

There’s no perfect timeline. There’s no age where things are ~supposed~ to happen. I’ve never written toward a goal other than finishing the story and maybe posting it somewhere. If you publish a book at 25, that’s amazing but I assure you in ten years, you’ll have evolved and you’ll look back at it and cringe a little, no matter how much people liked it.

It’s also never too late. You can start writing now. You can publish a book at fifty or sixty-eight or seventy-two. Anytime is a good time if you’re writing for the love of it. Your people will find you. Some people might not like it, but some people will. I still get comments on that Harry Potter fanfiction and every time I click on that notification, I prepare myself for the worst but it’s always praise. Somehow, they still love it, imperfect as it is. Somehow, the love still shines through.

oh it looks like daniel, must be the clouds in my eyes

I saw online somewhere a post that said, “You should chase your dreams, but sometimes your dreams chase you.” And that’s what editing this book feels like. Love to write, but boy those deadlines start looming like maybe they’re holding a knife.

It’s not really so bad, actually, but as intentionally as I set aside time to work on book stuff, real life rears its ugly head and derails my plans. This last week, my little dog Daniel hurt his leg and has been all out of sorts. With dogs, it’s hard to know exactly what’s wrong. Our two dogs are schnoodles, siblings from the same litter. Daniel was the runt so he gets sick more often than his sister. He gets ear infections like a hobby and often deals with bouts of pancreatitis.

This time, I think it’s just getting old. They’re ten now, eleven in the fall. We have a tall bed that they like to jump on and off and I think the down is getting harder for them both. And before you all come at me with pitchforks and torches, we DO have doggy stairs, it’s just that they’re too stubborn/scared/dumb to use them. I’ve seen the girl dog, Sophie, use them a couple times when her back hurts, but Daniel prefers the current method of me carrying him everywhere. For a while, he was so pained that he wouldn’t even let us pick him up, so we were literally carrying him around on his bed or a pillow, like he was the king. Which he is.

He’s on a whole pharmacy of doggy meds but he is showing improvement. He lets me pick him up now, and today he met me at the door which means he got off the sofa by himself. Big steps for a little guy! And last night, he shook the whole family by jumping up onto the bed on his own. Did he regret it? Yes. But that definitely shows he’s feeling more himself.

I was so worried the first couple days that I stayed home with him for three days straight and worked myself into a flare from lack of sleep and general anxiety. My best wishes to all of you who have human children, but it’s hard to imagine loving anything as much as I love these dogs, which is how you know I’m a TRUE millennial.

Anyway, here’s a picture of them from a Tahoe trip:

Hug your pets for me. Tell them I said hey.

And now, the weather

Mostly I talk about myself and writing and whatever here, but I’m a librarian and you gotta see these cute pics from our Stuffed Animal Sleepover program:

Okay, great thanks for your time byyyyye!!

The Process

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