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"Steh auf" for the Friday the 13th Harvest Moon!

Tonight, the lunar fall begins! Behold the Harvest Moon on the night of Friday the 13th, which hasn't happened since the year 2000 and won't happen again for another 30 years! I'm so excited because fall is my favorite season. Summer is generally when my anxiety peaks, and I question my whole life and my existence and whether I am an idiot for spending so much time writing books that might turn out to be incredibly silly and ridiculous.

And now the Harvest Moon finally comes, and with it a marvelous reminder that some of my favorite kinds of art and media are silly and ridiculous. Lindemann has released their latest video, for "Steh auf," which feels like a direct message to me from the universe to quit mainlining the Weltschmerz, stand up, recommit to my 2019 resolution to Be Bestial, and get my own silly and ridiculous work completed.

Like, I have no idea what's going on with this small stage / looney bin / Mongol invasion, but I like it. This resonates wit…
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Hoarding the Jewels, Burning the Words

I'm more than halfway through my edit of Hollow Charm! The working title of my book refers to a sort of necklace, and there are a lot of necklaces in the story. I have cut over 5,000 words from the last draft but left in all the necklaces.

Why? I don't know. Honestly, I'm not sure if they symbolize something or what. This book is weird. It's one of those things I've created without trying to analyze it too much as I go. I like it that way, wild and instinctive. There's a lot of flow in it. And jewelry. There's gold jewelry and amber jewelry, but the most important jewelry in the story is made of garbage and human hair.

In real life, sometimes I like to wear piles of random necklaces. I like to mix valuable materials with apparent junk in a way that tells an interesting story.

I like things (and people too) that are beautiful in unexpected ways.

That's what I hope Hollow Charm will be when I'm done burning off all the stupid adjectives and vestigial …

The Tiny Tweens

Girls really do grow up faster than they used to! My baby has just started third grade. Here she is looking like a tiny tween. Some of the girls in her class are bigger, taller, and older looking than she is. This is the new reality of girls in elementary school.

My daughter has given away nearly all of her toys and set up a neat and tidy homework desk stocked with notebooks and pens. She's more interested in Minecraft than My Little Pony now, but she still prefers to run around and play with other kids outside than to sit with a device.

Sometimes people ask me if I'm sad that my child is growing up so quickly. So far, not really. She was a very cute baby, but every year older is easier and more fun for me! We haven't yet hit peak enjoy-it-while-it-lasts.

She gets herself ready for the day. She can help with more chores. She sleeps in until about 7:00 a.m. (It used to be 5:00.) She still wants me to read to her at bedtime, but now it's horror chapter books rather than…

20% Cooler

This summer, my little filly gave away the last of her My Little Pony toys to other kids. She hasn't watched the show since Season 4, but it was fun while her obsession lasted. Now I hear that the series is coming to an end the same summer my daughter has come into her latest superpower: riding a bicycle with confidence!


Now we can go on family bike rides! Last week, we rolled past the elementary school and the church next door with the bell tower that marks every half hour. We entered the park with the big pond full of herons and ducks and geese and fish and coasted through a loud, happy, fragrant family barbecue under the pavilion. We followed the paved trail into the woods behind the park, the trail that goes on for two miles through shady trees and wildflower meadows, turning into boardwalk bridges in a couple of places to cross over creeks that cut through dramatic ravines. We passed kids on skateboards and scooters, elderly people walking with friends, people in wheelchairs,…

Inspirational Motes

Today, I'm having an editing party! Whoop whoop! I've invited a talented and hardworking friend over so we can sit around and stare at our laptops while our kids tear through my house and harass my cat (who had her second birthday party this week--felicitations, Gretchen the cat!). It's nice to have company once in a while along the journey of a lonely and tedious task such as a novel revision. Or working out at the gym. Or whatever you're into.

Completing a long-term creative project like an epic historical novel also requires a steady diet of inspirations, so I like to build fine media content and transcendent experiences into various moments in my daily routines--horror and thriller novels at bedtime, for instance, and progressive jazz electronica while mowing the lawn. This week, I'd like to share a few more of my favorite things.

First is the weekly web series UNHhhh, which is the closest possible simulation of conversations that my husband and I used to have …

Sometimes Progress Sounds Like This

Chapters 2 and 3 are tidied up and cut down. So is my large backyard.


Meanwhile, one of my husband's friends died, not very unexpectedly, but not at a very old age either--the same day that Toni Morrison died. Converging ripples of loss.

Life goes on in the yard, and I have to work at every opportunity to keep it from taking over.

Death keeps happening, and I'm trying to use sadness and grief and fear of mortality to fertilize my creativity and push me to get it done. Flying Lotus used this kind of fuel to create his transcendent jazz fusion album YOU'RE DEAD. It sure isn't a recipe for guaranteed success, but then, nothing is.

So next I need to walk the perimeter of the whole property, trimming shrubs and trees here and there--not too much, not enough to spoil the wild and rustic nature of this place--and before August ends, I'll be ready for late-summer bonfires and one last beta read.

Oops, I Dropped My Baggage

I've been carrying a lot of baggage lately to spare other people's feelings and keep the peace within family, friends, creative work, and activist circles. This week, I tried to pick up one last little thing as a favor for a friend and ended up dropping the whole load all over the place.

Tears, insomnia, swearing, ranting to innocent bystanders, and furious anxiety baking ensued. (My therapy cookies did turn out great, though.) I had days of heartburn and a whole night of lost sleep. My poor husband was so exhausted from taking care of me that he had to call in to work.

This is not normal for me.

I'm used to being the adult in the room. I'm the voice of reason. I'm the one who diffuses the tension with a well-placed compliment, thank-you, or joke. I'm the giver. I'm the responsible one. I'm the one who always offers to--

Okay, so it's obvious how I ended up in this situation.

I'm a sucker. I am too nice. People use my face as a stepladder and t…