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Showing posts from June, 2018

Logging Hours at the Writing Desk

It's time for another punny excuse for reduced productivity in the summertime! Last summer, I was stuck "in the construction zone." At the start of this summer, my writing hours have been interrupted by--literal--logging hours right outside the window.


Above, my daughter is watching a crew from the power company take down a very large, old silver maple tree that has grown up through the power lines.

Meanwhile, I received the July issue of Real Simple magazine in the mail, and it gave me the following tip for backyard bonfires:
Contact a nearby tree-removal company to get stumps to use as stools.
Wow, my backyard has so much extra hipster seating in it now. We're gonna have to have everyone over for s'mores and meat and potatoes wrapped up in balls of aluminum foil. It will be just like Girl Scout camp, except everyone is invited and we can go inside to use the toilet.

Last year's construction chaos resulted in a super nice, new sidewalk and road, and this y…

The Kid Is Alright!

Nux Gallica has completed first grade with the highest possible scores in everything on her report card plus special notes from her teachers praising her kindness and helpfulness in the classroom and out on the playground. I am so proud of my little caterpillar!


She also joined the main dojo of the world's highest-ranked sensei of original Okinawan karate and passed her first kyu test!


I cannot take all the credit for my daughter's accomplishments, but I can claim that, as her primary caregiver since birth, I have not messed her up too bad.

Let the aforementioned results stand as evidence that my go-with-the-flow style of parenting, characterized by mindful and heartfelt slacking, has not been a problem for my daughter. To read more about that, see this post from a few years ago: 10 Parenting "Musts" That I Skipped.

I may not have a lot of material successes to brag about, but I'm happy with how this most important of roles in my life is going.

A World Without Daddy Issues

Can you imagine a world without daddy issues? No dictators. No orange trash presidents. No family separations as terrorism against asylum seekers. No police brutality. No intimate partner violence. No child abuse.

Can you imagine a world full of excellent father figures who care nothing for gender conformity or forced obedience? Who love their children and actually show it? Who protect their children from the same kinds of traumas they have experienced, rather than replicating those traumas?

Can you imagine a world in which all fatherless children are surrounded by healthy male role models and mentors in their lives? A world in which men hold each other accountable and women love themselves?

I can, because I live in that world. Not on TV. Not in the news. Not when I travel. Not when I visit the church I grew up in or the schools I went to. I mean in the everyday life I inhabit now, as an adult with the freedom to choose what to pass on to the next generation. My husband is a suburban …

Geeking Out for Greek

Ermagerd it's a Gerk teshberk!!!

My latest preciousssssss research text, The Letters of Psellos: Cultural Networks and Historical Realities, has arrived! The editors and contributors seem to be passionately confused, emphatically giddy, and desperately impatient for the world to more deeply understand the personal correspondence of Michael Psellos. God bless the geeks for Greek. I think it's going to be worth the $140 that everyone thinks I was crazy to pay for a textbook when I am not in school for credit. But I have an 11th century thriller to write, and that's more fun than a degree, so there.

Although editor Marc Lauxtermann has worked hard to create this resource for English readers, he implores us in his preface to, "for heaven's sake, learn Greek."

But I will not. At least, not yet. First of all, that would take a long time, and my novel is already taking long enough. Second, it is my God-given right as an American to remain ignorant of non-English la…

Hey June, Don't Make It Bad

Last June, I set a goal to finish Matka Danu Miklagarth by fall. Then a brutal summer happened. I held it together well enough, but obviously I did not finish the book. I'm entering this June with the same writing goal and a better plan: to accept the things I cannot change and to stay cool about honoring my three priorities: family, work, and writing.

Last summer was an absolute cluster migraine of hellacious weather, a ladyproblem recurrence, people starting fights and threatening children near me at both work and home, and the epic destruction and reconstruction of my street in a months-long project that shook the foundation of my house all day every day. It's no wonder I didn't make a lot of progress on my novel.

I'm a bit shell-shocked from last summer, to be honest, and I've been wincing at the approach of this June. As it turns out, I've already had reasons to brace myself. This year's short spring ended with another health issue that, like last ye…