Sick Days

On Monday, Karen woke up with a dry mouth. Her eyeballs itched a little and her head felt tight. A check of her calendar reminded her that she had a pre-work meeting scheduled with her boss, she had to call the insurance company during lunch, and it was her turn to bring snack for her daughter’s soccer team. She took two Airborne, drank an extra bottle of water and crossed her fingers.Read More »

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Commitment

At the farm, we begin each circle by reviewing Don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements:

  1. Be impeccable with your word.
  2. Don’t take anything personally.
  3. Don’t make assumptions.
  4. Always do your best.

Often Sara asks the participants which agreement causes them to struggling the most. Agreements 1 and 4 are like breathing for me. If I am alive, I am practicing them. Agreements 2 and 3 have eluded me for 40 years now. Even now, after 2 years of intense effort, it takes all my concentration to even get close. Yesterday, as I contemplated the question of which is the most challenging, I finally decided that it’s the assumptions.Read More »

Lake’s Gift

Once upon a time, long before this moment, a small band of people lived together on the shores of a crystal clear lake. Lake loved her people. She let them drink of her waters and eat of her bountiful fishes. She used her great mass to protect them from the volatile moods of her brother, Weather.

In return, the people loved their Lake. They gave thanks for her generosity and in return they worked for her, keeping her waters fresh and clean. For many generations, Lake and the people took care of one another. For season after season, Lake sparkled like a mirror and gifted the people with the food and water they needed to survive.Read More »

Chaos and Perspective

Last night, as I stood in the horse pasture, I looked beyond the fence to the field of soybeans next door. I ran my eyes along the chaos of green under the wide, post-storm sky, and recognized its similarities to the vast disorganization of my thoughts. Just as the first flutterings of panic rose in my chest, I turned a little and found myself looking down a series of perfectly straight rows, each exactly the same distance from the next. Immediately, the panic subsided, replaced by the realization that what looks and feels like chaos right now will eventually fall into organized lines. I just have to keep turning it over and around in my mind until I hit the right perspective.

Blank Page Syndrome

The beginning of a new project is terrifying. I imagine there are creative people out there who love the start of something new, who revel in the potential of a blank canvas or an empty notebook.

I am not one of those people.

The vast expanse of an empty word document paralyzes me. I can (and have) sat staring at an empty page for great swaths of time, afraid to take the leap from imagination to reality.Read More »

Excerpts from my DFWCon 2018 Journaling

Saturday night:

“I accidentally pitched a story idea and the agent didn’t immediately tell me it was a terrible idea. In fact, she said something that made me realize I’ve been thinking about my story all wrong. I’ve been worrying about what parents and adults will think when what I should be thinking about is what teenagers will think. So suddenly the time I spent on [the story] doesn’t feel like a waste of time. It seems like something that could have a market if I ever actually wrote it.”Read More »

Repost: Beta Readers: Nana Lovesitall and the Rest of the Gang

I initially published this on May 24, 2016 on a blog I shared with some fellow writers, The Missing Comma Club.

One of my favorite things about being a writer is being part of a critique group. I love having a circle of people I can trust to set me straight when I’ve gone astray and pat me on the back on the rare occasion when it’s warranted.

As anyone who has participated in a critique group knows, you sometimes run into some interesting characters, and not all of them are equally beneficial to the writing process. Here are some of the characters I’ve come across (or have occasionally been … oops!) in the last few years and some thoughts on how to make the most of their feedback.Read More »