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Showing posts from August, 2017

"To Please the Moon": Fall-ing into a Healthy Routine

The magic of autumn has seized the countryside; now that the sun isn't ripening anything it shines for the sake of the golden age; for the sake of Eden; to please the moon for all I know. ― Elizabeth Coatsworth, Personal Geography: Almost an Autobiography
Oh, is it still August? Well, I can't help myself. Autumn is my favorite season. This isn't just because I have a hard time with summer. This year, I'm feeling extra relieved and hopeful about the transition to fall, for two reasons.

One is that children from families who struggle to provide safe care during school breaks, and families coping with domestic violence, have a much harder time in the summer. School provides safe space for much of the day and connects the children with counseling and intervention professionals. So I breathe a huge sigh of relief when school begins, not just for the usual reasons that all parents do (I feel you, Mom who has booked a spa day on the first day of school!), but because I have …

Dancing with the Storm

This week, it feels like the world is consumed by fire and floods. There are the literal ones. And all over America, hate crimes are on the rise. To illustrate the doom, here is an article posted by a conservative news outlet acknowledging the unprecedented spike in hate crimes this year--and also wrongfully placing blame upon the nonviolent Black Lives Matter movement for inspiring white supremacists to join hate groups and commit acts of violence. It ends by asserting that there is no hope, and domestic terrorism is the new normal for America. [Edit: Here is a way more interesting story about an interview with that guy with the flamethrower.]

Oh, and that's not all.

I'm not just seeing this hatred in the news. It's here, in my own backyard. A local LGBTQ activist's house was set on fire last week, killing her pets. I've heard reports of Nazi propaganda flyers going up in nearby neighborhoods, with razor blades taped to the back for people who reach out to tear t…

It Rubs the Lotion On Its Skin... Despacito

We writers love to talk about the soundtracks we listen to as we write. Romance writers listen to love songs. Writers of fantasy or real medieval times listen to (Try it, it's awesome.) While I wrote The Grove of Thorismud, I listened to that, plus a whole lot of Rammstein mixed with Dead Can Dance, Anonymous 4's 1000: A Mass for the End of Time, and The Tea Party (a gamer-dork Canadian rock band that plays Led Zeppelin riffs on Middle Eastern instruments and has refused to sell the domain name to the American political movement, even for a cool million--rock on, old dudes).

For my new work in progress, Matka Danu Miklagarth, I mostly listen to nothing but early-morning nature sounds from the open window next to my writing desk. (Ahh, so nice.) When I do put on music to drown out construction noise or whatever, I use things like the Vikings TV show soundtrack or something else that nods to the different ethnic backgrounds of the characters I'm w…

Corny Musings on Work/Life Balance

All writers have to learn the art of life balance, especially writers who are not ready to quit their day jobs, and especially-especially writers with young families. Let me tell you how it is, as the mom who finished a book when my daughter went to kindergarten (just like I always said I would) and who gardens with decorative vegetables (having given up on my home design Pinterest board and also my goals of growing organic produce that can actually feed my family).

Pictured below is our decorative corn plant. A local farmer has explained to us that it cannot grow actual corn due to its lack of fertilization partners, but it is reaching for the stars nevertheless. Cornspiration!

Also pictured: my beloved electric car, which can go no more than 70 miles round-trip on the best of days; a street sign that symbolizes how sometimes you have to slow down or stop and wait--so deep, man; my recycling and garbage bins with a utility company that uses the garbage stink gas to create electricity…