Posted in Writing

A View From Here

Peaches lie all over the ground, tossed down yellow,
too early, by this morning’s storm. Bahia grass shushes the singing birds,
heads held high despite the damp. Melancholy swims up
and over me and clings as snug as the humidity.

The old neighbor appears, their new fence recently painted,
which clashes with their pile of old slate landscaping stones,
ivy springing eternally around everything in sight.

More peaches fall
and hit the rotting stump of the once towering
loblolly pine. Only one of the original five still guards the threshold separating
their wet grass from mine, but he’s not lonely. The gray squirrels
still swing from his branches and little finches nest in his crevices.

The Tuesday sound of lawn care services
blowing leaves from yard to yard interrupts
the hum of traffic as it crushes past too fast
on its way to the college down the road.
The harsh machine noise echoes through the trees
And sends our animal friends scurrying.

I yearn for neighbor’s past who cared
for the yards themselves, sweating
in the sunlight while joking about my use
of yellow fabric shears while I knelt weeding at the curb.

Their azaleas that smelled so heavenly
the day we moved in, now lost to occupants
who replaced them with easily maintained gravel,
which smells of guano from the bats.
Next I imagine they’ll try to replace the bats, to the delight
of the ever present mosquitos.

I smell damp earth and the light, sweet smell of the peaches.
A sociable squirrel we’ve named Randy
chitters at me through the screen,
daring me to keep him from his fruity treasure. A cardinal
stops to argue with him and he runs elsewhere
like always.

A copy of this poem also appears here, as part of a padlet of coursework from a writing class I’m taking.

Posted in Around the House, Computers and Internet, Writing

Rough Week

I had that one really great writing day last week and then it all dried up. When I say “dried up,” I don’t mean that no words came to mind…not exactly. I was just too cranky to find the words and let them out.

It started with a migraine that wouldn’t go away. I woke up migraine free this morning after 7 days of migraine. It was not one of those all-encompassing-bad migraines, but one of those where your head hurts and you feel dizzy and things look weird and nothing seems right.

Then I joined a reading group for next year where you try to read a book a week all year, only you fit the books into categories that someone else makes up. It sounded fun, but led me down the deep dark path of “what did I read this year?” I only had like 20 books in GoodReads and surely I’d read more than that, right? Turned out I had 38 books in my “Currently Reading” list that I’d never gotten around to finishing. So I’m making my way through the ends of those now. I do the audio book of “Becoming” when I’m in the car waiting for kids, a fun kids book “5 Children and It” (from the Top 100 Fantasy Books list that came out not too long ago) in the morning when my brain isn’t awake yet, and “Thinking Fast and Slow” when I have more brain.

Then my sister told me that my dad caught Covid. Seriously? He goes nowhere and sees no one. He doesn’t even feel bad from it. He went to the doctor for something else and they tested him for it any way. So now he’s super perky because he’s on good drugs. This did not make me feel better about life, though, because now our carefully laid out Thanksgiving plans are not going to happen. We were kind of all depending on having a few lazy days somewhere that wasn’t this house for the first time in seven months. It made the crankiness worse. And a cranky Lisa is not a writing Lisa.

A few days into this “no writing” phenomena, I just decided I hated everything and I was done writing forever. I cleared off my desk, took down a bunch of art, and decided to work on some other projects. One of those was clearing out my hard drive. So I spent a solid day combining all my photo files, deleting the randomness out, and making those nice. Then I spent a day sorting out my documents folder into places where things actually went. That led to me shoving all my poetry into a Scrivener document, like I’d always planned. Which led me to looking for poems that I couldn’t find, but knew I’d written. Which led me to tidying up my writing from the TPL writer’s group and putting it all into the right Scrivener files.

Which sneakily led me back into real, actual writing again because I kept finding things that just needed a little tweaking here or there to fit into place in their own main storylines. So I’d tidy this bit up over here, and change the time of this piece right there, and bam: a whole new scene just appeared. MAGIC!

Posted in Computers and Internet, My Own Personal Weirdness, Organizing, Writing

NaNoWriMo 2020

Another year, another NaNoWriMo. I prepped all October to finish up the rewrite for last year’s Nano novel (Caro’s Quest) but then there’s been this other story this last week (Lady Air Pirates steampunk thing) that I cannot get out of my head, so I changed courses this morning and started on that instead. I’m in a mood, what can I say?

I’ve written 1711 words so far on the weird steampunk thing. It’s really weird, man. I had to stop for lunch (frozen cheese pizza for the third time this week – Greg’s trying to get it out of his system before he goes back to in person school tomorrow), but I feel like there’s more story in me and I’ve already done all the other personal life stuff I needed to today, so I think I’m going to write some more while my brain is still good.

I am still working on Caro’s Quest, though. I have thirty days of re-writes planned out, so I’ll do those and use this new story as a bargaining chip. As in, “do your rewrites, Lisa, and then you can write the crazy lady air pirate story after.”

I’ve made myself a crazy excel spreadsheet of all my projects and am going to track and see how many words I write a month overall. (A kid came through just now and wanted to know how many projects that is and I’ve counted four fantasy novels, one mystery, one memoir, all the short fiction I do during my writing group times, and this blog.) I’ve been curious about what that number would like for a while now. Maybe I’ll share that with y’all later. 🙂

What are y’all working on this month? Doesn’t have to be writing. What’s your passion project? Tell me about it in the comments.

Posted in health, The Past Comes Back to Haunt Me, Writing

BYOB Delays

My posts for BYOB have not turned out to be daily. I have been having health issues again, the same brain and blood issues that I had last year and the year before and the year before. It always seems to get worse this time of year. You would think I would be used to it by now, but I am not.

So, I am up to day three now with my posts and today is the thirteenth. I don’t imagine that I will catch up, but I did have a phenomenally productive day yesterday with writing, so there is still hope.

My whole publication over at Medium.com can be found here: https://medium.com/life-according-to-lisa.

Posted in Computers and Internet, My Own Personal Weirdness, The Past Comes Back to Haunt Me, Writing

BYOB

I am taking an online writing class called BYOB – Blog Your Own Book. It’s thirty-one days of blogging with a goal to use the posts to make an e-book at the end of the month. I’ve decided to blog my own adoption story from start to finish, with a few meanderings here and there to talk about Adoptee Rights, the psychology behind healing the emotional wounds of adoption, websites that help people search, and other adoption related topics. I plan to send copies of the resulting e-book to my family members when it is complete.

I am telling the story from just my point of view, I am leaving out possibly salacious bits of information that might upset anyone involved, and I am not posting the given names of those who are featured in my story. Everyone named will be given a pseudonym to protect their anonymity.

I’ve chosen to post my pieces on Medium because there is the possibility of getting paid for my posts there. If this series works out, I will write more stories on Medium about other topics.

Here is the link to the first piece: https://medium.com/life-according-to-lisa/my-quick-and-dirty-adoption-story-e44ecc9a79db

Posted in Around the House, My Own Personal Weirdness, Organizing, Writing

Organizing all the things

Over the weekend, my family cleaned out our garage. All four of us at once. Usually it’s just me and one kid or the other, dragging things out and throwing them in the trash. It takes all day, sometimes two. This time I put my foot down and made everyone work together at once. Two hours later we were nearly done. Two dumpsters were filled with trash, the van was filled with donations, and more donate-ables were put out at the curb for people to take. Later that afternoon, I pulled some memory boxes inside, one by one, and dug through them. More papers were added to the recycle bin, old bills were shredded, and folders were made and labeled with dates and kid names. I knocked out 3 of the 7 that were left before the end of the day.

While I was going through all that paper, I found 6 new poems, notes on two novels that I’d never seen before (one which tied up a plot hole I’ve been edging around for months), and a rough draft of a short story I cannot remember writing (but it’s in my handwriting). And all that doesn’t include the four notebooks I found that I hadn’t had a chance to dig through yet.

This afternoon, I typed all that into the computer. Between the random sheafs and the notebooks, I ended up with 14 poems across the last decade. While I was putting those in order, I discovered 22 other poems that had been mis-foldered at some point in the past. Since I was on a roll, I went through all the rest of the notebooks in the bedroom and checked for poetry. Found 5 more pages of one novel, written longhand, and three pages of notes on another one.

After all that nonsense, I opened up my old yWriter files from the current novels and translated a bunch of character/location/item templates into Scrivener, then updated my three current Scrivener novel Outliner Columns/Keywords/Custom Meta-data so they all had matching information to work with.

(I also went to the doctor and shopped at three stores today. I’ve been hyper-productive.)

Posted in Books, My Own Personal Weirdness, What I Love, Writing

Holiday Weekend, now back to writing

My dad came up to spend the July 4th weekend with us. He arrived Friday and we thought he was going home on Sunday, but he extended it to Monday to make some much needed repair calls for his house up here and now he’s extended it one more day to meet the termite people in person. All of which to say that I haven’t gotten any writing done since last Thursday.

So today, I’ve got some time and my brain says “nope.” I am not letting that deter me. For my birthday in April, I got several of those books in the writing thesaurus series and I have not managed to look at a single one until this morning. So I looked up my notes about the scene I was supposed to be writing – “Edward & Minerva talk in hotel room after meeting Sharon. E’s POV, also show how he is more like Stephen/Walt in tenderness towards wife, but how that is a magically manipulated response.”

So then I looked up these key words: “adoration” “apprehension” (both from the “Emotion Thesaurus“) “hotel room” (from the Urban Settings Thesaurus) “manipulative” (from the “Negative Trait Thesaurus

Then I made notes about each key words and dumped those into my scene document et voila! Half the scene is already done. The part I consider the hard part, usually. Now to add dialogue.

Was it quick? Not really. But it’s a scene started rather than the two sentence outline I previously had. 🙂

Posted in Around the House, My Own Personal Weirdness, Organizing, Writing

New Writing Planner

I always intend to blog more than I end up doing. I type up my morning pages and then think “I’ll add to these and make a blog post.” And then I end up dumping the info into a post and don’t edit it or hit publish until a couple weeks or month or so later, when I do several at once. I do that with a lot of things. I think “I’m going to do x,y, or z” and then don’t plan well around that thing, so not as much gets accomplished and then I feel bad about it. I decided to get better about planning writing things.

On Sunday I got out my new HP Classic Planner, the Welcome to the Book Club one. It’s super fun and has lots of book themes dividers and pages. I got the accompanying planner stickers, too. What I failed to notice in my buying spree was that this is a horizontal layout, not vertical, and I converted to a vertical process for regular life stuff several years ago. I had no idea how I was going to use this one. I had initially decided I was going to chuck July through December and start it in January. I’d have a plan by then, right? But on Sunday a beautiful plan came into my mind and I had to try it.

So here is my new writing planner for July.

Rainbow themed calendar pages from the HP Classic sized planner. Calendar Month is July 2020

I have only included writing goals, writing related events, and the odd regular-life event that impedes my normal writing time slots. Blue ink is for writing, purple for revision, green for events (like writer’s guild meetings, library writing class, other writing-related classes, conventions, etc.) and pink for impending due dates.

Weekly view looks like this:

I’m using the left side for planned scenes to write and # words needed for that day, the middle for word sprint counts, and the right side for events that might impede the schedule. The bottom right provides a place for overall word count for my main project, things I love this week, and what writing related guidebook I’m reading this week.

I started using it on Monday and it’s working out pretty well so far. (these photos are from Sunday when I first started filling it out) I like being able to just get up andstart on work I already know needs doing. I plan on updating it weekly on Sunday like I do my regular life planner and meal plan. 🙂

Posted in Organizing, Writing

MPTA notes

I mapped out all the new scenes I need for Chapters 1-8. That took a while and one change I made affected several other scenes, so there’s new things to add into already written ones as well. It’s all good and I think it will make for a better story and some better flow.

I need my brain to cooperate and actually push out the words and scenes now. I’m having a bad hand month, it seems, so my typing is more erratic lately than it had been. I really have to concentrate to hit the right keys and that frustrates me.  Tomorrow I will start back to the actual writing.

Posted in Organizing, Writing

MPTA notes, Day 53

All my notes on this story that live in the computer are labeled with a number that corresponds to the book “90 Day Novel” because that’s the method I was using when I started this particular novel. I have other notes, of course, in longhand in a notebook from days when I was out and about in meetings or riding in the van on the way somewhere or otherwise trapped away from the computer – those are not numbered by day. So the system is…flawed. Ah well. Today was “Day 53” in the computer and here are the notes:

“I haven’t done any character building for this novel, outside of Sharon and Minerva, because that’s what the 90 day Novel focuses on – the hero and the antagonist. Today I am working on details for the main character’s daughter Katie.

From Katie’s POV:

  • One thing you still need to know about me is…
    • Beginning: I’m the middle child. Sometimes I feel left out. Nell is the oldest girl and she is nearly perfect. Jake is the only boy. I’m just in the middle and it frequently sucks.
    • Middle: I’m so jazzed about being the center of attention now. Mom is really paying attention to me. I’m special for once and it’s great. I’m mean, it’s still not how I dreamed it would be, but still better than how it was.
    • End: I don’t want this gift. It’s too hard. I have to make too many choices now. How does anyone live like this? Mom was so excited for me, but Grand-Deb wasn’t.  And Grandmother Minerva is just scary in so many ways.
  • The lie I continually tell myself is…
    • That it doesn’t matter that no one pays attention to me. That it’s my superpower: Unnoticeable Katie.”

And then a huge amount of research on Middle Child Syndrome in case that comes into play. I’m not sure it will.