Auntie Scrooge’s Unsolicited Advice for the Holidays

Now that the competitive shopping marathon has begun and social events designed to crush the soul are in full swing, I’ve grumbled my way through a mall, a holiday party or three, and the receipt of numerous greeting cards with pets and coordinated outfits, and sometimes pets in coordinated outfits. I’m in the mood for unsolicited advice-giving. You’re welcome – in advance of the overwhelming gratitude you will surely feel. Let’s get the respective holiday greetings out of the way. Merry Happy Holiday Christmas, Hanukkah,  Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, Ōmisoka (大晦日), Three Kings… Read More

Things I Learned While Away from My Computer

Blogging after a long break means my words feel as wobbly as a toddler learning how to walk. But here I am.   I’ve spent the last month reading voraciously, walking miles, getting sleep, reconnecting with friends and family, working out more regularly, and spending a lot of time staring off into space. It’s been good and necessary and I came away with a brain filled with thoughts and ideas and no sense of what to do with it all. Think Little I’ve always been a “This Old House” kind of goal… Read More

When You Only Have So Many Words and None of Them are Adequate

The Green Study is taking a break until December 1, 2017. Last year, I went to a lecture where journalist and novelist Anna Quindlen spoke about her writing practices and career. One of the things she said was that while she was working on a project, she limited how much time she spent answering emails and engaging others. “I only have so many words.” I’ve thought a lot about that phrase, wondering if there really is a limit to my creative reservoir. I’ve made a habit over the last five years of posting… Read More

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

I was listening to Tom Petty this morning, sad that he has passed away at a relatively young age. His music immediately pulls me back into the past, growing up as a teenager in Iowa. It reminds me of parties out in machine sheds in the middle of nowhere, of awful first dates, and coming of age when getting booze and pot and avoiding pregnancies were all that we worried about. It wasn’t a great age of innocence. We were still in the Cold War. Someone tried to assassinate the president. Terrorist… Read More

Getting Mocked by Alfred Adler

Over five years of blogging, and at least 50% of it has been whinging on about writing – doing it, not doing it, determined to do it, failing to do it. I’ve pitched to agents at a conference and not followed through.  I’ve been given the time, opportunity, and space to do it. I’ve set and promptly passed deadlines. I’ve made note cards, scribbled on white boards, discussed it ad nauseam with friends. I have skeletal novels and unfinished stories and poetry done badly. I have made myself feel physically ill, have… Read More

The Last Butterflies of Summer

I took an unintended hiatus when I realized that I had nothing to say. I go through periods like this, where writing words fail to comfort and when I’m so tired of my own story, my own patter, that I go dark. It becomes a time of frenetic activity, physical labor, compulsive reading, long walks where all I hear is my breathing and the sounds of furtive nature. It is a time to refill the reservoir, to get out of my own brain, to seek solace in the words of others, to… Read More

Empty Noise is the Gravedigger

I’ve been living a summer in quiet desperation. Fall is creeping in around the mornings. I smell it in the air and see the frantic scurry of squirrels hiding their winter stores of food. Usually, it brings with it a sweet melancholy that makes me more creative and introspective. This year seems different. I turn 50 shortly and it’s clouded my mind in all the expected ways. Ways that seem like stages of grief. I’m in the bargaining/rationalization phase. Initially, I mourned that there was less ahead of me than behind me…. Read More

Blogging in the Age of Twitter and Other Bits of Unsolicited Advice

Whenever a blog post gets any attention, I receive comments and emails from new bloggers asking for advice. This is all very flattering and for a few moments, I puff myself up to expound on guidelines about blogging. Except they’re only guidelines for me. What works for me, serves my purpose, meets my needs as a writer, reader and blogger, might be entirely different for you. This is the beauty and the challenge of blogging. We’re all just feeling our way through it. We’ve heard that blogging is dead for the last… Read More

A Brief Hiatus at The Green Study

The Green Study will return on June 15th, 2017. It’s down to the wire on getting my novel draft out to some amenable friends and family for reader input. Thanks to my skillful procrastination, this will be like writing my senior thesis in college, except that I won’t be running to someone’s office, reeking of all-night coffee, cigarettes and stale sweat, clutching a mangled stack of papers. Fortunately for my beta readers, I will only be repelling the postal carrier and she’s used to that. Until my return in a couple of… Read More

Committing to the Mistake and Writing in the Age of That Guy

The hunger divide between writing meaningful stories and writing what I am capable of feels like a gaping maw now. A novel draft I wrote in 2012 seems limp and unedifying. Great novels come out of periods of strife and war and social upheaval. My little domestic drama on paper seems out of step. I lay in bed last night rewriting my entire novel. It had power and endurance and spoke to the demographics and polarity in our nation – the great canyon between urban and rural, educated and uneducated. It could… Read More