Tea and Toast: Stories at Breakfast

Writing prompts have never appealed to me for a couple of reasons. There is the Rule of Obstinacy that guides most of my life. Suggest something to me? You’re not the boss of me. Join a group, a trend, a club? To paraphrase Groucho Marx, I wouldn’t want to be a member of any club that would take me. Recommend something to me? What are your supporting sources? I need to do the research.

canstockphoto17725260The second reason that writing prompts don’t appeal, is that I cannot eat a simple breakfast without my mind falling over itself with ideas and thoughts. I so often start conversations with people, “I was just thinking about…”, which is to say, I spend a lot of time inside my head. I get up at 4am every morning, so that I can sit in solitude and silence for a few hours. I read or write, eat breakfast or have some weird-ass epiphany.

This morning was no different. I woke up at 3:42am with a cat sitting on my chest, purring its sycophantic feed-me purr. I had a post ready to put up on this blog, but I didn’t like where I ended it, so it stays in the draft pile. I wonder if I’ll post anything at all. No worries, time for breakfast.

The first order of any day is to put on the kettle. We have a lovely ceramic electric kettle. Tea has been a part of my life since I was born. It was the cure-all for whatever ails thee and the only proper way to begin, well, anything. Nothing happened until the tea was made. Visitors could not talk, Christmas presents could not be opened, phone calls could not commence.

My family came to the United States from England in 1953 on the last White Star liner built, the MV Georgic. They arrived rumpled and tired at Ellis Island, and made their way to Savannah, Georgia. They lived there for a year with a disagreeable relative before taking a train to San Francisco. Eventually, my mother, reluctant father, and I moved to the midwest, where I have lived most of my life. This is all to say, that much of what was British was left in a trail all over the country, with the exception of tea and accents and a certain reticence about…everything.

The tea is not a fancy one. In my cupboard, there is almond, chai, green, white, jasmine and a lot of made up flavored teas. I’ve tried them all, but my regular cup is black pekoe with sugar and soy milk. The soy milk is a nod to my newly acquired veganism, but I expect with all the soy I’ve been consuming, that I’ll be growing a third breast any day now. Moo.

The mention of veganism is an awkward segue to the other part of my breakfast, toast. I baked the bread yesterday, after making vegan adaptations to the recipe. I use the oven, don’t have a dough mixer and the recipe has no weird ingredients. This means I’ll be finding flour in the kitchen for weeks to come. It takes 3-4 hours to make this bread, which allows several hours of proofing the dough, pounding it down again and letting it rise. And if you can’t see the analogy to writing in that, there’s no helping you.

canstockphoto18405495I once worked in a bakery at a grocery store. I’d arrive at 5am, mix dough for doughnuts and plop those little rings into the fryer. I didn’t last in that job long. I was still wearing the Hi My Name is Michelle. I’m New, but I’m Exceptional nametag when I quit. I now have a lifelong doughnut and nametag revulsion. The doughnut’s history is disputed, but it is thought that olykoeks, meaning oily cakes, were brought over by the Dutch settlers. I went to Amsterdam once and got food poisoning (not from doughnuts), but no pot. It was a disappointing trip. Except for the tulips. They were pretty.

canstockphoto6826957Which reminds me that I have to get some fencing up around the still dormant flower beds. The rabbits go to town on the tulips, spitefully biting off full blooms mid-stem and leaving them on the ground. They don’t even like to eat them, the little nobs. Still, every year, I plant in excess to make sure that after all the animals get done with our open buffet, we get a damned salad out of it. This year, our full ecosystem is in swing. The rabbits, mice, voles and chipmunks have brought in owls, hawks and last year, a red fox. Population control is cruel, but innate.

Well, breakfast is done. Now I have to do some offline laundry. Which reminds me of a story…

Look at what this artist did with a simple idea. Have a lovely Sunday!

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Parting with Pretension: Writing What You Write

canstockphoto5194069I’ve been stuck for months trying to rewrite my first novel. As a skilled organizational artisan, I’ve created the storyboard,  character sketches, and timelines. I’ve scheduled writing time, forced myself to write every day and each time I sit down and write, it feels torturous and miserable, every chapter a chop shop of hijacked words.

I’ve spent too much time lately reading books by lauded authors, writers who have been hailed as literary greats – writers who other writers spend their lives imitating. My own writing became more and more strangled, as I leveled world class academic criticism at it. Everything was shit and sitting down to create more of it became a moribund exercise in self-flagellation.

After working through yet another book that had collected dust in the halls of literary greatness, I sat in silence. This anger that kept erupting inside of me was the result of my own inferiority – this need I could not name. I wanted something that I could not have, that I could not want and still continue to write. I didn’t want to be called a hack. I imagined reviews that mentioned my simplistic prose and unsophisticated ramblings. I didn’t want to be unmasked for the pop storyteller that I truly am. I did not want to be naked in my ignorance, in my lack of creative invention, in my sheer earnestness.

canstockphoto20549017I’ve always believed that in order to be better at anything, I needed to look towards those who are the best in their fields. I needed to read material above my intellect, wrangle with prose until I understood what the author was trying to say, slog through story lines that were miserable and depressing. It finally hit me, I don’t enjoy the books that I’ve been reading. I don’t want to write miserable navel-gazing buckets of guts. I don’t want someone to get to the end of my novel and realize that they need a drink, a rope and a chair. I don’t want someone to read my novel and say “What the hell? I just read 600 pages and nothing happened.”

I wanted so desperately to be something I am not and the words, which I poured out onto the pages were these disappointing, rather stupid children. Why would I expect to write that which I found little joy in reading? Why would I want to imitate authors who I found pedantic and arrogant, writing post-modern, avante garde, experimental bullshit that was more irritating than enlightening. I understand subjectivity, but I was in denial that I am the masses. I am a sheep. I am a pedestrian proletariat with a touch of vulgarity and a smidge of mediocrity. I am all the things that people get called when they just don’t get it.

canstockphoto12772484I like to look at paintings of landscapes, not melting vaginas in the desert. I like music that I can sing to and orchestral pieces that are harmonic. I like a damned good story in language that flows. It doesn’t need to sweat me or make me travel through every minutiae of a character’s day. I don’t need to re-read passages ten times trying to figure out who the hell the dialogue is attributed to and why it’s suddenly daylight.

This is a particular cruelty of self-awareness. You know what you don’t know. You know what you can’t do. You know what you aren’t. Perhaps it was my working class upbringing that has made me so ridiculously sensitive about being perceived as anything less than brilliant. Which is odd, as I have never been described as brilliant. Maybe it’s that I decided to make a deliberate run at this writing thing. Maybe it’s because I’m scared to death that this thing I thought I would always be was a delusion and I’m going to fail so big that it will break me.

This is an epiphany of sorts. We all carry preconceived notions, prejudices and beliefs and as a friend of mine has reminded me “Just because we think it, doesn’t mean it’s true.” Truth has become a priority in my life. And like a true navel-gazer, truth must start with being honest with myself. And letting go of the idea of best and perfection and greatness. Those things were likely never within my reach.

I am a writer. I have stories to tell. I hope that someday, someone will read and enjoy them. The end.

Write your story. Screw literary punditry.

 P.S. Some of the great writers seem like real wankers.

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Inarticulate Hyperbole: Yes, Internet, It’s Too Soon

canstockphoto6161461I’m a fairly peaceful person, but I often write about punching people out, delivering roundhouse kicks and ramming my vehicle into other vehicles. It’s mostly in humor, but every once in a while I step back and think about the language of violence and whether it adds to the actual nature of violence in our society. I also swear a lot, which sometimes I think is funny. But again, I question if, on occasion, I use it humorously to replace actually being humorous.

This is all to say, that I spend a lot of time thinking about what I’m writing and I make choices. Sometimes I stick with the funny, even if I’m very much against violence, don’t believe in calling people swear words and try very hard in real life not to hit other cars. If someone calls me on it, I accept the consequences for making a deliberate choice.

So often these days, I run across articles or posts or comments on posts where it is apparent that the writer is not thinking, but rather blurting. So I write this post for those people, who may or may not ever read it. I have to believe that they are just being spontaneous and not deliberately obtuse, because that’s one too many humans not thinking.

Grammar Nazi

I don’t know if the casual use of Nazi began with Seinfeld soup Nazi episode or with our truly dubious politicians, whose mouths run on platitudes and sound bytes. I was reading a blogger’s About page which said something to the effect, if your a grammar nazi, go away. And I did. Not because I participated in the Third Reich’s devastating destruction of millions of people. I did because if you’re bragging about being inarticulate and using unoriginal hyperbole, it is unlikely I will enjoy reading anything on that particular blog. Thanks for the warning.

KZDachau1945This phrase is problematic for me in a couple of ways. First, having read a significant amount of well-documented Holocaust stories, having visited Dachau and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, I find turning a perpetrator into a quip to be appalling.

There are a lot of phrases and words that have entered popular vernacular which are echoes of the torture and misery inflicted on  and by humans in the past. There’s a lot of distance from the events or the practices. One would have to do research to find that information. But references to the horrors of World War II, dropped into casual discourse because you don’t want to learn how to spell or punctuate or use correct tense is a problem. Do you know the history and do not care or are you imitating what everyone else says on the internet?

The second way in which this phrase irritates me is that having good grammar is treated as some sort of elitist skill. Treating good communication skills with contempt and derision speaks to a fad of anti-intellectualism that has swept across our culture and politics. I don’t freak out about typos (except my own). I do avoid reading media that is riddled with misspellings, lacks capitalization or punctuation, or leaves words in a dogpile instead of using paragraphs. Maybe e.e. cummings and Cormac McCarthy can pull it off, but I don’t read them, either. The whole point of grammar is to provide a unified system that can convey ideas to other humans. Maybe you’re writing for an extra-terrestrial crowd.

And honestly, if you know your grammar skills are shit, stop bragging about it and use the many resources available on and off line to start learning some basic rules. I’m still challenged by the many rules and continue to try and improve. In progress is forgivable. Giving up and calling the other passersby grammar Nazis only speaks to belligerence and inadequacy.

Drinking the kool aid

Troolie_cottages_in_Jonestown

Attribution: Jonestown Institute

In 1978, when I was 11 years old, we watched, with rapt attention, the coverage following the murder of Congressman Leo Ryan in Guyana. As the story unfolded, we learned about Jim Jones and the 909 people who apparently committed suicide on his command by ingesting a flavored drink laced with potassium cyanide. Hence the phrase “drinking the kool aid”, which I’ve seen repeatedly in articles, referenced in TV show dialogues and in tiresome comment forums. It has become a way of slapping down people who disagree, by suggesting that they’re not thinking for themselves. Ironic, since the use of this phrase indicates that as well.

The story behind that phrase is much more horrifying. The mass suicide was really a murder-suicide as many victims, especially infants and those who protested, received involuntary injections. Over the winter, I read A Thousand Lives by Julia Scheeres, who did an outstanding job of showing how ordinary people ended up on a path to their own destruction – a path that held more promise and hope than anything they’d experienced in their lives. They wanted what we all want – decent jobs, community, connections, a sense of purpose. Many of the people were marginalized in society – blacks, ex-criminals, the elderly, the young, struggling families. They died because they had hope.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

It’s quite possible I’m a humorless git who takes things too seriously. I just don’t find mass murder and suicide that quip-worthy. There are still survivors of these events alive and well on this planet – people who lost entire families to these hellish events, people who still wake up in a sweat, thinking of last words and moments and facial expressions. Maybe it’s too soon to memetically mock them.

A Few Resources:

Night by Elie Wiesel

A Concise History of the Third Reich (Weimar and Now: German Cultural Criticism) by Wolfgang Benz

Voices of the Holocaust

Telling Their Stories: Oral History Archives Project

A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Jonestown by Julia Scheeres

Q&A: A Jonestown Survivor Remembers

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The Best Revenge: Leaping Buildings in a Single Bound

canstockphoto19248113Sometimes I imagine staring levelly at her and saying slowly, deliberately, with great enunciation, “You are a complete asshole” and then I’d walk away. It would be like a scene from Douglas Adam’s Life, the Universe and Everything when an alien, bitter about his lot as an immortal, has decided to insult the universe – one living creature at a time. He lands on a planet, confirms the creature’s identity on his clipboard, makes eye contact, says “You are a jerk” and then flies away.

In reality, my antagonist would likely look at me, mouth agape, lip quivering. Maybe she’d start to cry. Then I’d backpedal with some excuse about having a bad day and that she’s not really an asshole, but she just did an asshole-ish thing. Or maybe she’d find a few choice words of her own to describe my loathsome character. And before you know it, we’re both blubbering and falling over ourselves apologizing. She’d still be an asshole and I’d still mean it, but now we’d have to hug or something.

canstockphoto0484969There’s a skill in letting things go, in not ruminating and feeding the anger monster within, and in my case, it’s learned, not intuitive. My knee-jerk thoughts, when getting steamrolled by a domineering personality, usually involve foul language and some choice visuals of a mean straight punch, followed by a finishing cross. My brain tends to leave out the bit about being middle-aged and the likelihood of fracturing my fingers, but what’s the point of having a fantasy that puts you in the emergency room?

The revenge fantasy can take on a wide range of forms, from telling off a coworker, to property destruction after a love gone wrong, to avenging bitter teenage years. Every time I think about those popular girls pointing and laughing about my hand-me-down shoes in 9th grade, it bubbles up inside of me. It doesn’t matter that it happened 30 odd years ago. It is burned in my memory, despite the fact that for those girls, high school was the height of their power.

canstockphoto17407787I went to my five year high school reunion. All the same groups of people were in clusters. Since leaving these people, I’d been all over the US and Europe, worked in military intelligence, lost my virginity a few times, learned a language or three – I mean, things had changed for me. But not at that reunion in the hotel ballroom – I still felt like the girl with the shitty shoes. Except now I could get legally and totally drunk, and not care. Which I did.

I’ve never returned to another reunion. If I did, it would be as an MMA Featherweight Champion who had just received the National Book Award (how does she pen such beautiful words right after giving someone a serious smackdown?). If you think this all reeks of insecurity, you’d be exactly right.

When I was younger, I existed in a state of powerlessness. When the dysfunction at home reached its most volatile and dangerous phase, my fantasies of running away morphed into vengeful, violent dreams. As I matured into my twenties, I began to have vigilante dreams, protecting and defending the powerless. I had gone from being my own avenger to being a superhero.

Life began to change in imperceptible ways. Fear stopped ruling the day. I began to make choices out of a belief that I could make things better, that I had some power. I stepped out of survival mode and started helping others more in real life. The insecurity and low self-esteem that had throttled me for years began to loosen its hold.

These days, it doesn’t take much for me to recognize when I’m feeling insecure. I am, at this very moment, as insecure as I’ve been in many years. It’s easier for me to feel small, unimportant and powerless. It’s easier to get angry when I feel like someone is trying to manipulate or control me. It’s easier to imagine giving in to my anger.

Maturity seems never to be able to hold off those moments when I’m vulnerable, when I feel less than. When I’m feeling okay, I am circumspect. Maybe they’re having a bad day. Maybe I push their buttons. Maybe we just shouldn’t be in the same room with each other. I can ruminate and try to untangle the strands of complicated human interaction, and be unflinching in acknowledging my own flaws.

When I’m not okay, say if I’m an unpaid writer with a lot of time that I can’t seem to structure productively, then I can go through an entire day seething about one little interaction. That was yesterday. I felt that rising need to do an I’ll show them and a that’s the last straw, perhaps with a side of fist fighting/ER visiting. I recognized the silliness of it all, even as I worked out scenes where I casually mentioned my Pulitzer and how I could barely move because of all the benching I’d been doing.

Power is, if anything, illusory. We all die. We all navigate and negotiate through a world that provides no guarantees. We have loved those who didn’t love us back, wanted things that weren’t attainable, felt at moments, small and powerless. It’s a big choice to make: churn in our revenge fantasies, do something constructive or laugh at our silliness. Sometimes, if you’re like me, it’s a journey through all three options. Every time this happens, though, I spend just a tad less time imagining unearned accolades and a little more time in bemused awareness of my own fallibility. My superpowers are growing. And I have cool shoes.canstockphoto3350894

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Fertile Ground

canstockphoto15476528It’s gardening time. Be prepared for wheelbarrows of garden metaphors, analogies and similes to seed this blog for the next couple of months. With a side of compost.

The claustrophobia of winter has begun to dissipate. It’s too early to plant seeds outside in Minnesota, but the strawberries are poking through and the buds on the lilac bushes have begun to form. I got hit smack dab in the face by a meaty bug, likely disoriented and newly emerged from the thawing ground. While trimming raspberry canes and Concord grape vines, I stopped frequently, standing motionless, a stupid grin on my face, dirt on my knees and an overwhelming sense of relief.

Something happened to my brain during the sixth month of a moody winter. I haven’t been writing much, as each session culminates in a screw it and me storming off to do housework. I am almost through one of James Joyce’s works, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. It’s taken me weeks to work through. Last night I took a break and looked up definitions of the many words that I could not garner from context. I’m pretty sure I’ll be brain-dumping arras, cerements, and woodbegirt, but am excited to keep inanition: the absence or loss of social, moral, or intellectual vitality or vigor. It’s the perfect word to describe my affliction in March.

This morning, on what will be the first of many trips to Home Depot, I hauled bags of dirt. It all starts with the dirt. It’s nothing special. There’s lots of dead stuff in it. It’s messy and just lays there, waiting, ready. But a blank patch of dirt to a gardener is an opportunity and perhaps, a compulsion. Your brain registers the conditions: wet or dry, sunny or shady, clay or sandy. It runs through the catalog of seed packets. What works? What doesn’t? Should it be an experiment? Or something that gets changed every year?

canstockphoto22961553It’s not too far a stretch to make this analogy work for just about anything. Writers often talk about that blank page as if it were something special. It’s just dirt. What we put into it is what makes the difference. So, this barren landscape, devoid of creativity, of ideas and of imagination is the place to start. Some ideas will never take hold, some will briefly raise their heads only to be wilted by a midday sun. Others, though, will put you on the path to meaning, substance and beauty.

canstockphoto5109847Beauty is such a subjective word. For all the reading and writing I did this winter, each round a pale imitation of the last, I was seeking beauty. Knowledge, depth, understanding – these are the aspects of beauty that resonate with me. But beauty in gardening is not just the end result. If that were all that gardening, and writing, were about, then I’d just buy flowers at the market or read other people’s books. It is in the labor of the thing. It is one’s part as a creator, one’s tangling with point of view and weeds. It is rough hands and raw thoughts. It is dirt under the fingernails and raging frustration of translating your story onto paper.

It’s wonderful – that dirt and that blank page. A garden or a story just waiting to be created.

canstockphoto23134509

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The Long and the Short of It

canstockphoto3510855Spring is blowing in and that means two things: we will be confused by what time it is for the next couple of weeks and everybody in the family has gotten haircuts. I realize that as a woman, hair is supposed to be my crowning glory. If I were the ruler of Half-AssedLandia where “otium in aeternum” (idleness forever) is emblazoned on the royal crest, this would be true.

My family with the best haircuts $11 with coupon can buy.

My family with the best haircuts that $11 with a coupon can buy.

When a friend suggested we get a family portrait, my husband wryly remarked that the caption would read “Remember that time we got deloused?” He was referring to the fact that we all had nearly identical short haircuts. The women in my family have beautiful, thick hair. Or at least most of us would if we liked to buy hair doo-dads, goop and real estate in front of the mirror. Instead, my daughter thinks personal hygiene is an affront to her humanity and I am not interested in any activity that involves looking at myself. Short haircuts rule the day.

Still, when I sent my mini-K.D. Lang off to school today, I worried. Life is starting to get a little meaner for my almost 11-year-old. She sits next to a girl on the bus who describes genitals in vivid detail. She gets told repeatedly that she’s in the wrong bathroom, because she looks like a boy.  She gets into arguments when teams are split into girls and boys in gym. And now, she decided to go with a haircut that even makes me do a second take. I am ashamed of the antiquated thoughts it triggers.

I’ve written before about gender issues in regards to raising a daughter who is way cooler than I ever was. My fears are mine and it’s a constant fight not to project them onto this entirely different, mint condition human. I read a lot online about the range of issues impacting gender and I’m late in the game. Raised with a binary gender narrative, I spent a lot of my life trying to fit. As a middle-aged woman, I’ve finally gotten to the point of not giving a shit. Except, apparently, when it comes to my daughter.

These moments crop up that knock me flat. A haircut. A choice of clothing. A misplaced pronoun. In my head, I have the thoughts of an elderly, misguided aunt. She’ll get made fun of. She had such beautiful hair. She’d look so much better in a pastel color now and then. It’s embarrassing. I’m a smart person, capable of imagining a world where the human experience is complex and rich, where sexuality and gender coexist along a massive continuum, where appearance seems to have little to do with who we are as people.

I work hard to be a fair and diplomatic person. Work being the key word. It doesn’t come naturally. I think a lot of shit out in the world is pretty damned weird and that people need to get a grip. I was raised with the specter of biblical judgment hanging over my head and conservative values. I wear matching clothes, use my turn signal, try to live under the radar. I don’t drink or smoke or park in handicapped parking. I am a dreadfully uninteresting human.

Still, my brain is like this ungainly toddler reaching for every new idea and concept, hungrily taking in ideas that contradict the ideas that it took in yesterday. My old brain says “wow, that haircut really makes her look like a boy”. The elderly aunt shakes her cane and makes some remark about how boys won’t like her. My new brain says “Holy shit, look how much bigger the world is getting – all these ideas, all of these artificial boundaries evaporating – this is an exciting time to be alive.”

And it is. We humans keep trying to trap ourselves with labels and ideas about how things should look and be and yet, the human spirit continues to defy categorization. There are a lot of ugly things happening in the world right now. There is suffering and torment and inequality and loads of shame. And we’re seeing horrific backlash, as boundaries are challenged. But it all starts in our heads, with our imagination – I can imagine a world where people fully realize their potential, a potential that relies on our differences as much as our commonalities.

It’s Monday, I started writing about haircuts and ended up in a chorus of “We are the World”. I might need to cut back on the coffee.

Wishing you a week of discovery and imagination!

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Living “As If”

The Green Study will return to posting on March 8th, 2015.

Thank you to the new readers and commenters who arrived at The Green Study through the Freshly Pressed post Time Travel on Facebook. Sit back, lower your expectations and let’s get to know each other. Or not. I’m not good at small talk. Maybe I should just get back to writing. 

canstockphoto1697101It might have been the two rice and bean burritos that I ate for breakfast. Or the Netflix bender that lasted a couple of hours, watching “The IT Crowd” – a show I’ve been through at least twice already. Maybe it was the fact that I woke up thinking “I’ll never do anything exciting in my life again” or that I wondered if I was dying because everything ached.

Whatever it was, I was ready to throw in the towel yesterday, prepared to sink into a miserable pool of gluttony and self-pity. But I’ve been here before. I know the ending. I’d be filled with recrimination which would fuel several days of deprivation, punishing exercise and a regimented schedule that usually included some pious volunteering, structured writing times and no burritos.

Over thcanstockphoto10115026e weekend, I’d resolved to do some winnowing of my book collection, which was starting to overflow in unstable stacks about the study. I ran across Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt. I’d purchased it in 2012 to get some support during National Novel Writing Month. It still had that new book smell. I flopped in my chair and started flipping through it. At the beginning, the author lists secrets to writing a book in a month.

The first secret was to Work “As If”. In summary, when writing, you should take notes of things that need to be changed, but write from that point forward as if those changes had already been done. This keeps you moving forward without getting hung up on the editing. If your character’s name was supposed to be Luigi and you called him Bob, you wrote him as Luigi from that point forward.

I’ll likely implement that idea while working on my book, but it occurred to me that this might be a technique that would work in other areas. What if I went about the rest of my day as if I were productive and energetic? What if I went about my day as if I’d eaten a nutritious breakfast, spent a couple of hours writing, doing yoga,  and getting things done. What if, from that point on, I functioned as if I hadn’t been a sloth?

So, I went to the gym, editing out the doomsayers of feeling good – guilt and self-loathing. I was a tad slothful, but moving. Then I came home, wrote for a couple of hours, cleaned the house, made dinner, did some reading. My deep and erudite thought was “Now THAT is how you pull your day out of the crapper.”

canstockphoto1323495Today I’m going to live as if I’m a writer who needs to get this novel done. That being said, I’m going to do what I often do after a post gets a lot of traffic and I’ve had loads of interaction with humans. I’m taking a break for the next couple of weeks from blogging. It’s an introvert thing. I’ll be back when US Daylight Savings Time screws us out of an hour in the midwest.

Thanks again to the generous readers and commenters. Welcome to the new subscribed readers. It’s lovely to meet you and I look forward to more conversation!

Until I return, I’ve put together a list of posts that I enjoyed writing and that will give you a pretty good idea if you want to keep following along or run away as fast as your fingers will type you:

The Green Study: Have We Met?

Will the Real Blogger Please Step Forward?

Love is Not Smothering…with a Pillow

Snipe Hunting for Writers

Boundaries and the Huggy Sunshine People

From Chicken to Merely Insufferable

She Knows Nothing…But She Should Know Something

Don’t Forget Me When I’m Gone

Being Just Right

Kicking Your Mom

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