Friday, September 23, 2016

I Say a Little Prayer for You

I'm getting some amazing exposure therapy at work for my phobia of creepy-crawly things! Our new
church is large and beautiful with an aura of peace throughout--and occasional plagues of tiny beasts.

Just before the wedding of an entomologist, our walls and ceilings (and rooms, all over the floor) filled with itty bitty crickets. They were sorta cute and made a hypnotic sound through the hallways and empty rooms. After a few days, the crickets disappeared as suddenly as they had arrived.

We have our occasional hairy spiders and monstrous centipedes, which I still don't like, but somehow they startle me less in a big, calm space.

And we've been visited by other predators with more reverent attitudes, like this beauty of a praying mantis on (the outside of) a plastic-sheet-covered window. I like to think she's sanctifying the site of the under-construction Memorial Garden (where the ashes of our dead will be interred).

I'm expanding my appreciation of the natural world, I guess. Which is probably good for the writer of a novel about a little, archaic nation whose economy depends upon the lives of insects--bees in particular.

Which, now that I think about it, probably hasn't changed all that much. God is in the details.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Harvest Time

Nux Gallica back when kindergarten was a vague notion
Ooh, I'm feeling it!

I'm writing a book about a grove of spiked apples that ripen at this time of year.

Today was my self-imposed deadline for having this draft finished.

It's not, but I've done a big rewrite and beefed up this manuscript to 105,000 words!

Now I just need to write the very juiciest parts to finish it up, and then both literally in the story and metaphorically, regarding the book draft itself: It's harvest time.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Every New Age Is My Favorite

I am a happy mama! This week has been bittersweet perfection, like when you crave baking chocolate real hard and shove it in your face and it tastes like dirt but drenches your soul in serotonin.

Last weekend, some friends and I celebrated the short and bittersweet life of a friend whose favorite t-shirt said "I WOULD CUDDLE YOU SO HARD," and that pretty much sums it up.

It was like a magical reunion of sorts, because he had so many friends. Though I had only met him as an adult, he happened to have known a bunch of my childhood friends. One of my oldest buddies flew in from Arizona, met my daughter for the first time, and taught her how to fly a kite.

Definitely watch this one in full-screen to see the faraway cuteness.

And she's a constant reminder that life goes on. I enjoy being her mother more every year of her life. Sure, I have those moments when I realize she's lost her baby knuckle dimples, but any sadness I have now is wrapped in warm, cuddly joy and excitement and pride and contentment that I get to help this child grow up bigger, stronger, smarter, and kinder every day.

Somehow, I have raised a child who loves going off to school and riding the bus home. (Her fantastic school surely has something to do with that, too!) This has made my writing life a lot easier, as it gives me more than an hour each weekday between work and bus arrival. (Plus early mornings when I wake up before the sun! Woohoo!) I've sent off 85,000 words of my manuscript to my beta readers, and I'm hurtling toward the finish line.

On top of that, I am also enjoying my house more--and that does my emotional health so much good! One reason is that my daughter has suddenly made school bus and neighborhood friends, some of whom came to our house on Labor Day and picked up all the Legos in the basement so they could throw a surprise party for a toy dinosaur. (Am I dreaming?) While I did the dishes, mostly uninterrupted, I got to listen to--instead of the usual whines of "I'm bored"--the stampeding of joyous feet through my house, the giggles and squeals of three little girls, and shouts of "Your house is so much fun!" (All of a sudden the toy and art clutter everywhere makes me feel generous and fun, rather than crabby about the mess!) And then there were heart-melting Anne of Green Gables-type comments, like, "I've seen you before and always wanted to be your friend!" 

This morning, no kidding, I awoke from a dream about flying through the sky on the back of a gold, red, and green dragon and went to the window to find a gorgeous view of fog rolling down the hillside and a family of deer leaping through the mist.

Basically I am finding so much joy in my life right now that I'm almost--almost--not terrified of what happens once I finish my manuscript.

I have about one week until my self-selected deadline for finishing this draft. My book has taken some dark and edgy turns that I really like--this one feels so much harder and sharper-cut than my last version. I hope next week goes as smoothly as this one did!