The Pitfalls and Promises of Self-Help

I’m a self-help scavenger. Over the course of a lifetime, I’ve read hundreds of self-help books. Like many people, I started life off on uneven footing and always had the sense that I had to make up for something that I was lacking – something that was preventing me from being the confident, self-actualized, happy person I thought I should be. It’s taken decades to understand how to make self-help advice useful and how to discard that which is not. There is a wide variety of books out there, one for every… Read More

Anxiety Raccoons

I’ve been eating a lot of anxiety lately. Family members are in hospice. A friend is having some troubles. My child is getting ready for a big audition. The news says that the people in charge would like me to sit down and shut up and do what I’m told, and that compassion and empathy are character flaws in weak, elitist snowflakes like me. Anxiety, like guilt, is one of those garbage emotions if not quickly followed by action. Sometimes that action is a mental one, like carrying your fears to the… Read More

The Limits of Knowing

This post is about suicide and mental health issues. I was listening to the live stream of Roxane Gay speaking in New York last night at the PEN World Voices Festival. She said “When you write and gain attention for it, it can be really overwhelming because everyone thinks they know you when they do not.” She writes about very personal issues¬† – of her sexual assault, her body issues, her feminism. Even with some intimate issues subjected to the public eye, she is a private person. She said that what she… Read More

Building an Imposter’s Life

My intention has been, over the last few years, to build a writer’s life. I had to figure out what it meant to me, beyond all the myths I’d built up in my mind.¬† It is important to establish from the outset that I will never feel like what I’ve always imagined a writer to be. It occurred to me that how I feel about what it means to be a writer or not is completely irrelevant to what I do as a writer. The drill sergeant within says Write, dumbass. But… Read More

Good-Bye, First Novel

The beginning and ends of my nights are spent in a semi-conscious dream state where I solve major issues like where my daughter’s spring jacket is and what I’m going to plant in the garden. I have to admit to being slightly bitter about the domestic nature of my mental wanderings. Sometimes, though, I solve a major problem – the kind of problem that had me on the fence for five plus years and had kept me awake for many nights. It started quite ignominiously right here on this blog, during my… Read More

Lions, Lambs, and Fools

March was a wonderful, terrible kind of month, which means more writing material than I could put in one post. While I’m glad to be back, taking the month of March off from blogging was a good plan. I’ve refilled my mental reservoir, wrangled with some writing demons, and have reoriented to continue my mission. On the Domestic Front I am celebrating 18 years of wedded bliss today. We’ve survived each other’s foibles and families and now we’re just watching each other deteriorate. But we’re still laughing and that’s not nothing. In… Read More

A Writing Retreat in The Green Study

The Green Study will return on April 1, 2018. I’ve made some progress over the last couple of months on both my novel and some essay writing, and I’ve reached that point where I need to do a final push to meet internal and external deadlines. I’ll leave you with some thoughts before I head into Michelle’s Writing Month (MeWriMo). On Vulnerability and Writing When I wrote about book reviews earlier this month, I began to think about the nature of being a writer in today’s world. If I’m deep into writing,… Read More

Rays of Light on a Dismal January Day

It’s a gray day here at The Green Study and on such a day, in the middle of a Minnesota winter, one has to scrabble a bit to lift spirits. I’m going to share with you a few things that are lifting mine. Fellow Bloggers Sometimes you are really, really funny. Thank you. Here’s a few posts that have given the gift of a good laugh: “31 brand new animal species discovered by amateur naturalists” by Guy Bergstrom at the Red Pen of Doom “If my nose is running, my thoughts are… Read More

An Unfiltered Crank in the Study

I’m struggling with everything right now and when I’m struggling, I can get a little grumpy. I’m still working the microresolutions from the last couple of months, putting in time every day on the novel, and trying to make better choices despite the winter discontent creeping in. But occasionally, I need to poke a few vent holes and let the steam escape. ***** When I hear people be passionate about whatever they’re passionate about, I wonder what is wrong with me. Why don’t I have fiery rhetoric? Why is everything I say… Read More

So You Want to Start a Resolution…(Part 2)

This is the second part of a three-part post. You can read the first here. I am in the giddy, excited stage of discovering something new that most people already know, but I’m a slow learner. If my friends and family hear the word microresolutions one more time (“It’s not even a real word!”), they will likely be making some of their own that involve earplugs and duct tape. Inspired by a lot of reading and a desperate need to make some changes, I made two small resolutions four weeks ago. As… Read More