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Summer Blues

I don't usually struggle with mental health, but summer can be hard for me.

Some of my saddest memories are bathed in harsh, unforgiving sunshine:

the For Sale sign in the front lawn of my childhood best friend's house

walking for miles through fireflies in the middle of a sleepless night

feeling nothing on a roller coaster, numb all the way through, after my closest high school friend had betrayed me

breathless under a Roman sunset at the start of half a year's unspeakable loneliness

leaning on a neon pink umbrella stroller with my baby on a hot street corner, feeling like a criminal for bringing a child to life who will die

I am starting to think this is not a coincidence. I keep hearing about a phenomenon of "reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder" that disrupts some people's circadian rhythms and mood regulation when light and heat are at their peak.

Also, there's the manic disruption of routine for anyone who is in school, has a child in school, or works acc…
Recent posts

Pure Mornings for the DIY Elite

My best time to write is first thing in the morning--when it's just me, a chorus of early birds, and a caffè latte. The early morning hours are a magical time sacred to both hard manual laborers, like dairy farmers and my husband who loads airplanes before dawn, and "creative class" elites such as Fortune 500 CEOs and little old me.

I've read plenty of scientific evidence to back up my intuition that I write most productively when I am freshly rested and still emerging from dreamspace.

Editing draws upon different mental skills that sharpen later in the day, but that initial flow of ideas and motivation comes strongest before the dawn. 

This year, the beginning of my summer coincides with the creation of a new novel, so I am committing to a firm schedule of writing for one to two hours just after I wake up, depending on whether I need to go in to work that day. I'll try to get the whole first draft done before fall, when I'll split my time between writing new m…

Becky and Brad with the Bad Hair

"Does this haircut make me look fashy?" It's a question men have been forced to consider ever since the election of Ronald McBlumpkin, when a cohort of dough-faced keyboard warriors co-opted the Victorian-high-'n tight-with-ponytail sported by diverse men from ancient Pecheneg warriors to soccer stars to Ryan Macklemore. That was around the time my husband--we'll call him Brad just for this post--sawed off his man bun with a pair of kitchen scissors.

Fashiony is okay.

Faggy is more than okay.

Fashy, no.

Brad doesn't care about proving his hetero-masculinity or originality to anyone. These are not personal hangups of his. But his father and grandmother were refugees from a Nazi labor camp, so... the rise of fashy hair has finally produced a hairstyle association gross enough to call for a new cut.

Meanwhile, I have discovered, to my dismay, that pretty much any neat and tidy style for women with Indo-European hair textures, like easy and summery milkmaid braids…

Summertime Scrawl 2017

On Saturday, July 22, I will help host this year's Summertime Scrawl at the beautifully renovated historic school building where I work! The Scrawl is:

A day set aside for you and your novel. A day of intense writing and fun... There will be snacks, pop, a sandwich spread for lunch, prizes, and camaraderie. Also, hand massages for those word warriors who stay with us until the end. 
I'd like to add: Free parking, air conditioning, plentiful and accessible restrooms that won't judge your gender, and a Wi-Fi password that I can either share with you, or guard from you with my life, upon request.

How do you get in on this productivity power-up?

You can't! Ha!

This is a strictly members-only event. The guest list includes members of the Capital City Writers Association and the Mid-Michigan Romance Writers of America.

However, if you are a mid-Michigander who wanted to join us and gain access to free events and classes all year, plus online community support and discounted…

Lick the Blood from the Sword

Thanks to my husband, I have learned that roasted man flesh smells like hot dogs.


Du reichst so gut.

I'm reliving the Made in Germany tourandthe excitement of waiting for a Rammstein package in the mail.

Today is the expected delivery date of our copy of Rammstein: Paris

I don't expect this one to have as much trouble getting through U.S. Customs as the last package. Tee hee!

All the growly bass, all the slo-mo flame broiling of man meat, all the sweat and blood and fire retardant and carcinogenic soot and sloppy guyliner slippy sliding into craggy face wrinkles and jaggedy flesh wounds, ALL IN MY BASEMENT!

Komm auf mein Schloss!

Get yours ordered now, if you dare.

Crawl Like Ivy Up My Spine

Chris Cornell ended his life in Detroit Wednesday night, close to where I live. Farewell to another voice of my youth.

Here he is performing just last year in Michigan.

At times like this, it's easy to fall back on "Black Days" and all the other lyrics and quotes that seem to portend the suicide of the artist. It's easy to grieve that way. And I suppose it isn't wrong either. Our demigods of grunge were able to vocalize human pain so poignantly because they called out from a deep pit of mental illness and addiction. These weren't people who ever enjoyed the expectations of bright futures or lingering happy ever afters.

Yes, this loss is tragic and heartbreaking, and the inevitability of it feels hopeless. But there's another way to look at suicide after 50 by an artist working through intense, lifelong suffering. I guess it's a life expectancy half-fulfilled vs. half-achieved philosophy. With some struggles, every day of survival is a triumph. In some…

Underwriting My Writing Space

Noveling is a long game, so I've taken this whole week off to work on refinancing my house! This place is, after all, my favorite place to write.

Apparently, the "odd" qualities that Justin and I sought in a home have become hot on the market, and some things that weren't perfect about our location have improved over the past 10 years. This has resulted in the equity fairy coming by and leaving a low mortgage interest rate under our pillows while we slept. We are therefore trying to take advantage of this exciting opportunity to reduce the duration of our loan, which will pay off big for us around the time our daughter graduates high school.

We've learned to appreciate long-term investments.

Just a week ago, we celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary. We reflected, with affection and humor, upon the ways in which we are still the same and the ways in which we have evolved since the early days of our relationship. This long-term commitment thing has turned out …