Thoughts

A Blogiversary For A Neglected Blog

1cupcakeToday is the second anniversary of the day I started my blog. It was supposed to be a site where I would share YA books that I love, talk about how my writing is going and generally spill info about myself. Well, if you have been following me for any amount of time you will know that my computer died back in the winter. That kept my access to the internet dodge-y and I rarely went out of my way to find a way to post anything.

In the spring I took a second job. It is a delightful part-time number that lets me work with kids. I love this new position. If I was wealthy, I would do it for nothing. In the summer it became full out “hands on.” So after I got used to doing the work, it multiplied. That and I still needed to do my full-time job in our family business.

Needless to say. I got busy and neglectful. I am sorry.

I want to get back into the swing of things with the blog. Please don’t give up on me.

Take Care,

Leanne

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Being Torn

I’m torn. I’m torn about a number of things.

I’m torn about my status as a writer. I get this way from time to time.

calendar-on-waterDecember seems to be a throw away month for me in the area of my writing. The past two years I was treading water from my experience with NaNoWriMo and didn’t have the will or the strength to pull myself up on a lifeboat to write. In a way January has turned into a recovery from December. Just like the past two Decembers, I did not write a thing worth keeping in either January. But I wasn’t drowning. It was more like I was floating around on my back enjoying the quiet of the water around my ears and just how prune-y my fingers could get.

Now it is February and I will have a guilty conscience if I don’t put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). February is the swift kick in the rear that flings me into the new year. January is nothing.

I’m also torn about some news.

Yesterday I heard that a sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee will be published this summer. When I first read that my heart leaped into my throat. That one book single-handedly introduced me to a world outside of my own and one, as a small town Southern female, I knew so well it was like looking in a mirror. It is THE book of all books I hold up as my favorite (yes, even above Pride & Prejudice).

For a long time I have known that the public life was not something Harper Lee enjoyed. She did not write that book to become famous or to have people like me pour over the story in an obsessive way. It was too much for her. I also remember her saying she wouldn’t publish anything else. So, the report that a new book was coming from her camp surprised me.

Now I am wondering if, as a woman in her eighties, is it really her wish to have this book put out for the world to see. A great part of me doubts it. As much as I WANT to read it, I wonder if I should.

Are you torn about anything today? How is your writing or other goals for this year going? Are YOU going to read the new Harper Lee book?


This post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) blog hop where writers work to support and encourage each other on the first Wednesday of each month. You can click the image or link above to find more musings from other writers.InsecureWritersSupportGroup

The group was founded and is led by our captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh and his merry co-hosts. This month they are: Gwen Gardner, Dolorah, Sarah Foster, and M. Pax!

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My Computer Went Down, Down, Down In A Burning Ring Of Fire

computer-on-fireWell…not exactly. It did crash though.

A few weeks ago a strange message came up on the screen that said one of the files on my computer was corrupt. That program didn’t seem to be effected, but I decided to re-boot the machine anyway. Then it turned out my entire drive was showing up corrupt. In other words, it wouldn’t start again.

And the thing is, I am uber careful about sites I visit or emails I open. Norton Anti-virus and I are on a first name basis. How or why my computer died is a mystery.

So we’ve been trying to salvage anything we can from the hard drive. Luckily I have already been backing up my books onto jump-drives. Now I just need to back up the jump drives. The thing that KILLS me is that for more than a year I have been filing away emails from writing blogs that I knew would help my writing. Those are all gone. So are all the bookmarks for websites and graphics I created for this site.

It just hurts so much.

I wanted to let you know why I was missing from the blog. This is coming to you from a borrowed computer. Technically I could have posted on my phone, but I can’t stand typing in more than the 140 characters a post for Twitter allows on that thing. A full-blown blog entry would exhaust me.

I have been reading an unusually large amount in the absence of my typing ability. So, look for some book recommendations in the next little bit.

Take Care and Stay Warm,

Leanne

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Vow Of Silence

I didn’t mean for it to happen. My goal is to touch base at least once a week. But all of a sudden, I looked up and it’s been 18 days since I’ve written a post. That’s a new record.

Of course December is a hectic month for me (and everyone else in the world). Our business goes into overdrive this time of year plus I’m still recovering from the whirlwind of NaNoWriMo. When I put my novel to rest I said I wasn’t going to work on it again until January. Nonetheless, I never thought I was abandoning the blog until it just happened.

But I’ve missed it. I’ve missed the interaction with you folks. I’ve missed spilling my guts. I’ve missed writing.

I’m a creative person. All my life I’ve drawn and painted and sculpted. I can come up with crafts for any occasion. I’m even a decent singer. All of these things I do fairly well, but I don’t have a need to do them. I don’t wake up from sleep with an idea about a painting I must create. I don’t fantasize about traveling around the world singing on the stage.

My creative need is writing stories. This I know.

But, since I am letting my story and my brain rest (right), I have been playing at other outlets. Reading has been filling my evenings (Leigh Badugo’s Grisha Trilogy is delightful…look for a written recommendation in the weeks to come). I’m also knitting a jester’s hat, making jewelry and trying out new recipes.

I’m going to finish working on these things (some of them are Christmas gifts), but then I know I’m breaking my vow of silence. A month is too long to go without writing. Besides, I have it from a reliable source that Santa is putting Scrivener in my computer stocking. That alone is exciting enough that I know I can’t keep my words quiet any longer.

Its-WInter

Happy Winter Solstice and any holiday that you celebrate this month.

Take Care,

Leanne

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IWSG and Now That NaNoWriMo is No More

InsecureWritersSupportGroupThis post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) blog hop where writers work to support and encourage each other on the first Wednesday of each month. You can click the image or link above to find more musings from other writers.

The group was founded and is led by our captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh and his  comrades in arms. This month they are: Heather Gardner, T. Drecker from Kidbits, Eva E. Solar at Lilicasplace, and Patsy Collins!


After the October I had, November and NaNoWriMo should have been easy as falling over.

Well, I fell over plenty and it wasn’t easy.

I started the novel-writing challenge six days late. First stumble. Then my usual wake up at 4:30 am to write was not happening. Most mornings I hit snooze until 7:30 and wondered where all my time went. Major trip ups. There were even a couple of days I didn’t write a single word. Picture full-blown face plant.

I considered calling it quits. My story could wait until the New Year to be muddled through. It was going to be okay. So, I stopped being hard on myself.

Somewhere in the midst of all those days I was introduced to the wonderful idea of sprinting. In just 15 short minutes I could accomplish what I wasn’t getting done in an hour. Little quarter-hour blocks of time became my best friend. I could write 500 words while waiting for water to boil. 500 more when my daughter showered. Another 500 as I waited on hold for a representative. Before I knew it, I had written my required 2,000+ words a day in the little times that I thought were wasted. Who needs to carve out huge chunks of time? Sprinting is the way to get through a first draft.

Oh, there were still days I accomplished nothing other than my regular life, but I knew I could get through it. My last big push was on Saturday, November 29. I sprinted and then I wrote in long blocks of time. My family was ignored and no dinner was  prepared. I am happy to say I finished the challenge on that evening.

Winner-2014-Web-Banner

Of course the story isn’t finished. 50K just got me past the murky middle. But I did what I wanted to do: Complete the NaNoWriMo Challenge. That was good enough for a November.

So, how did everyone else do this month? If you competed in NaNoWriMo did you accomplish what you wanted? I would love to hear how you did.

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Charlie Brown Expletives

RATS!

I started using that expletive back when I was teaching school. It’s fairly docile and it would come in handy for all manners of problems (like having something to yell when you slam your finger in a drawer). It also had the added benefit of not being a curse word, but I particularly liked it because it always reminded me of Charlie Brown.

peanuts_rats

Illustration by Charles Schulz

When I was a kid Sunday meant reading the comics. First Dad had to read the entire newspaper. Once he was done it was a free for all as my brothers, sisters and I raced to get a set of hands on those colorful pages.

On my turn I would read all my favorites. There was Cathy, Beetle Bailey, Hagar The Horrible, For Better Or Worse and even Family Circus. Much later I fell deeply in love with Calvin and Hobbes, but when I was a kid my absolute favorite comic strip was Peanuts.

Its-The-Great-Pumpkin Charlie Brown

I always LOVED the witch mask, but wondered why everyone just wore a sheet as a costume. Illustration by Charles Schulz

“I got a rock” – Charlie Brown

 

It was probably the animated holiday shows on TV that caused me to love this comic as much as I did. Every year my family watched Charlie Brown pick out the spindly little Christmas tree. We saw him try to make a Thanksgiving feast out of popcorn and toast. We waited for the Great Pumpkin right along with Linus and Sally. Peanuts was a part of my childhood. I just didn’t realize it was a tradition that helped shape how I express myself.

I bring all this up because the other day I noted that one of my sisters, who happens to be a teacher, also uses a Charlie Brown Expletive. When she’s frustrated or close to anger her term of choice is GOOD GRIEF! She’s said it for so long I’ve never even thought about how it relates to the comic strip. It seems our shared childhood was equally influenced by Charles Schultz.

charlie brown_good grief

Illustration by Charles Schulz

You are, indeed, a good man Charlie Brown.

 

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Today Is The First Day It Really LOOKED Like Fall

Until this morning, I haven’t noticed any tell-tale signs announcing autumn. There is the early chill coaxing me to stay under the covers a bit longer and a few pumpkins by the neighborhood doorways. Other than those suggestions,  I would claim it’s still September.

On the drive to work this morning I saw a tree whose foliage stood out amongst the bright green surrounding it.

The tree was yellow.

van_gogh_mulberry_tree

The Mulberry Tree by Van Gogh

Sunshine made the branches look like they were on fire; a glowing crown swaying in the breeze.

A few of the golden leaves rained down in light flutters.

It was glorious.

I can finally say, “Welcome Fall!

 

…until it’s time to rake.

 

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Did We Skip Summer This Year?

Okay. So now that it’s officially autumn I have to ask, what happened to summer?

When I taught school it was always so clear cut. In the south, school was over in May and classes started back up in August. Here in the north, we ran until the end of June and didn’t return until after Labor Day. That in between time where everyone hung out at the town pool and caught fireflies and stayed up way to late was SUMMER.

Now in the REAL world (aka known as owning our own business) it’s not so obvious. I homeschool my daughter, so we don’t really wind down any time. Summer pretty much just starts on the ACTUAL beginning date. We say, “Oh, it’s summer,” wear shorts and flip flops and curse the heat.

Did-I-miss-summerI did wear my share of shorts over the last few months and today is the first day I’m out of my sandals, but I did a lot less cursing the heat this year than usual.

I mean, normally here in the northeast we have blazing hot months where I have to walk around with my arms extended to avoid any excess body heat. This year I remember wearing a hoodie in July. Yes! In July.

There was a major run on heat in the middle of August, but that was it. For some reason I feel cheated. Where is all this global warming they keep promising us (just kidding)?

I guess I’ll just have to curse something else…hmm, when does winter start?

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Made Up Words

Today marks the one year anniversary of the day that I first posted on this blog. When I decided to celebrate this little milestone, I thought I should use the correct terminology. Originally I was going to go with calling today my blog’s birthday, but that didn’t seem right. Birthday implies that something was born. While I did ‘labor’ over the different posts (some more than others), the blog most certainly didn’t experience a birth.

Searching the internet, I stumbled upon the term blogiversary. I have to give it up to the veteran bloggers who came before me because that word pretty much sums it up. I’m glad that I’m so new to this business that making up that word didn’t fall on my shoulders.

1cupcakeIt did get me thinking though. What’s with all the made up words flying around?

Blogiversary is pretty straight forward. It is what it implies, an anniversary of a blog. But, since it is so in our current lexicon I thought I would ask, are you aware that blog is a made up word? I type my posts in Microsoft (made up word) Word before transferring them to WordPress (yes, another made up word) and every single time the software draws the little red squiggly line under the word blog. The word is really an abbreviation for the term web-log. Imagine. Someone actually got winded from saying web-log and they had to drop the first syllable.

There are other made up words that are two thoughts being brought together like web and log. The folks on television have been trying to get us to embrace ‘edutainment’ for a long time now. I think it’s sort of like moms burying chopped spinach in the spaghetti sauce. We’re going to be fine having something that is good for us if we can enjoy it.

A newer one I’m hearing is ‘cramazing.” If something is so extremely wonderful that is makes your mind race you might think to say it is crazy amazing, but you don’t have to. Someone somewhere has done you the service of inventing the term cramazing for just that occasion.

Of course the list can go on and on, but I don’t think I will. I’ll just add that of the made up words I’ve used in this post, only edutainment does not have a red squiggly line under it in my Word document (well, I should mention that Microsoft is clean as well). To me that means that edutainment has actually become legit. Who knew?

I hope you found this blogiversary blog post cramazing and just a little bit edutaining!

Take care,

Leanne

P.S. To note the year long accomplishment, I’ve decided I will do a reblog-a-thon (yikes, another one) of some of my  favorite book recommendation posts from the past year. Look out for them during the next seven days. Enjoy and thanks to all of you who follow me and my web-log.

P.S.S.  I’m also on Twitter, Pinterest,  Google+, Tumblr, & through Email!

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The Fortune In My Cookie

I love fortune cookies. It’s the second time I’ve written about them on the blog.

It’s not so much the dust, dry cookie part I like. Usually I just smash the thing and move on to the crispy paper filling. YUM!

When I was in college, my friends and I would play the ever popular “In Bed” game. Maybe you’re familiar with it too. Everyone in the group takes turns reading their cookie out loud to the rest of the party. Then, at the end of the reading, you have to add the words “in bed.”

Here’s some examples: “You will go on a long journey…in bed.” “Every day brings new challenges…in bed.” “Your feet stink like the Ganges River…in bed.”

HA!

Now I tend to collect those little slips of paper from trips to a Chinese restaurant. They are hanging from my refrigerator and taped to the bathroom mirror. I have one or two stashed in my wallet. A few even are hiding beside me in the desk drawer.

I’m not a superstitious person by nature, but for some reason I feel like these little pieces of paper hold some grain of truth. It could be that it’s a bit of hope during trying times. Maybe I just want to believe in forces bigger than me. Or it could be that the sayings are so general they could apply to anyone. Whatever the reason, I’m glad they arrive with the check at the end of a good meal.

The other night I got the following fortune in my cookie:

Good writing is clear thinking made visible.

When I googled the quote from my cookie, I found out that it is attributed to Ambrose Bierce (1905). He was a newspaper satirist and short story writer who also fought in the Civil War. Like me, you may have read his amazing short story An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (If not, you should. At the very least, look up the Twilight Zone adaptation).

The idea that I just need to put my thoughts in a clear manner seems so simple. The problem is that my thoughts aren’t always clear. I have precise intentions when I set out writing, but the characters don’t always cooperate.

What I’m choosing to take away from this fortune is that I need to work on making my thoughts clear and then I will strive to make them visible.

One final thought: My husband got the following fortune:

Keep on Keeping on…in bed.

Hahahaha!

May all your thoughts be clearly visible,

Leanne


InsecureWritersSupportGroupThis post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) blog hop where writers work to support and encourage each other on the first Wednesday of each month.

This month the IWSG is being hosted by the founder Alex J. Cavanaugh  along with Laura at My Baffling BrainMark Koopmans, Shah Wharton, and Sheena-Kay Graham!

PLUS – Happy Third Anniversary of Posting to IWSG!

 

 

I’m also on Twitter, Pinterest,  Google+, Tumblr, & through Email!

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