What about Lemonade – Life in a Northern Town #4

Earlier this week I drafted a blog post “And Lemons” which was slated to be the fourth installment in my little “Life in a Northern Town” sequence. It’s still applicable, in many ways, except for the one major way, the reason that made me write that post to begin with.

Sometimes you need to put something down in words, and that was largely what I was doing with the post I wrote. When I drafted it on Wednesday, I didn’t know that Thursday would change things. Are you ready for some emotional whiplash? Because that’s been my life this week.


I may have mentioned before that I’m looking for a new job. (If I haven’t, let me mention it now: I’m looking for a new job.) This is for professional growth reasons and some personal reasons. I’m not being forced out, I get along with my coworkers, and I enjoy my job, which are all good things because it’s looking like it might take a while to find a new job. Continue reading

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How Do Even You Edit, Anyway?

I’m a writer.

I write things.

I don’t really edit things.

This, I think–well, I know–is an issue. You see, I know editing is an integral part of the writing process. You don’t just write something and shove it out into the world, all inconsistent narratorial voice and excessive commas. I mean, you can. I can. I have, but in terms of the big picture, in terms of making writing a productive part of my life, in terms of seeking publication, yeah–not such a good idea. Continue reading

February 2019 Reads

While most everything else in life slows down in the winter, my reading does not. At the beginning of the year I set my Goodreads challenge to 50. I did this last year, too, and ended up raising it at least once that year. Considering it’s the beginning of March and I’m “14 books ahead of schedule,” I’ll probably need to raise my goal this year, too.

In the future I may combine the Monthly Reads post with the Mini-Reviews post. The good thing is it makes sense to do that–get it all together. The bad thing is that means I would have one less post a month planned, and I don’t know what I would do to fill in that space. Suggestions?

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Persistent Chill – Life in a Northern Town #3

It’s officially mid-winter up north. By which, of course, I mean that it’s been above freezing once since the 17th (and isn’t supposed to get up there again until next week) and that we’ve had snowfall it seems like more days than not. On several roads around town, the often used but not major ones, there are berms that have grown in the median from the plowing. Near the intersections, they can reach three to four feet high. Occasionally it’s windy out.

In other words, absolutely lovely.

I’m only being partly facetious. There is something glorious about such deep cold that cars hesitate to start (and sometimes don’t start at all) and a blanket of snow that looks straight up fake like the stuff in corny Christmas movies, all fluff and sparkle.

This is the type of cold that settles into buildings and bodies. You go to sleep cold; the floors are cold; the walls are cold; and it takes a long time for anything to warm up, even after the temperatures have risen. It’s a persistent chill that leads to general sluggishness. How fitting, then, that, as the cold persists outside, it also persists in my life.

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Discovery Writing and Other Reflections

As a writer I think it’s fair to say that there are some aspects of writing that I’m good at and others I’m not as good at. Everyone who writes is like this–in fact, everyone who lives is like this. No one is good at everything, and thank goodness for that. How strange it would be to be good at everything. Nice at first, I would think, but, like those movies where people get their wishes, I think you’d realize you didn’t want it after all.

(This is also my mindset when making a character for Dungeons & Dragons. I like characters who are bad at certain things. It’s more fun to play a really intelligent wizard who doesn’t notice jack all than it is to play someone who is good at everything. At least for me.) Continue reading

Mini Book Reviews, January 2019

As promised, I am here to deliver reviews of three books that I read or finished reading last month. I’ve tried to pick a range of books from what I read, and any help picking the books to review in the future is welcome–I’m glad to share my thoughts on what I read, and it’s better to do so sooner rather than later, lest I forget why I enjoyed the book to the degree that I did.

Since this is the first ‘Mini Book Reviews’ post, I’ll give a little outline of what the reviews will probably look like. (I’m a formula person, in case you didn’t know.) I will share the title, author, and my rating for the book. The reviews will each be about a paragraph. I cant guarantee I’ll summarize the book because there may not be space in a paragraph to summarize and review, depending on the book. I will share my impressions, what I enjoyed, what I didn’t, etc. Like one does in book reviews, right?

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January 2019 Reads

I read a lot. I think I can say that, since I read an average of 100 books a year. (This is not a brag, this is a quantification.) I read a lot for a lot of reasons. It’s one of the things I do when I’m doing nothing else. I set aside time daily (when I get up and before I go to bed) to read. I read during my lunch break at work. Also, since I discovered audio books a couple years ago, I’ve been able to consume books at work while working which is, possibly, the greatest thing ever.

Last year I tried to do this–to blog about the books I read and to give reviews and recommendations, and, as you can see if you scroll through my blog, that didn’t really happen. I posted once in January about books and then posted maybe two book reviews total in the entirety of last year.

This is not a commitment to doing better. This is me saying that I keep track of the books I read, so why not post about them. I’m always interested in what other people are reading, so maybe someone will discover a book to read here. That would be great. I am a fan of recommending books. So, in these general monthly reads posts, I will list the books I read in the month, rate them, and try to give an idea of who might enjoy them. Continue reading

Opportunity – Life in a Northern Town #2

I have lived in my little northern town for two and a half years. I will be honest here, with all of you (and the Internet at large, I suppose), that I am beginning to feel the need to move on. In terms of my professional life, there isn’t much for me here, besides the position that I already have. And yet, looking down that path, the path of leaving, I cannot help but think about all of the things that do keep me here.

When I moved to my little town, I didn’t know anyone. The first people I met were my boss and the head of my department. For several months, I didn’t have any friends. I went to work, I came home and sat on my computer. On the weekends, sometimes I didn’t leave the apartment except to buy groceries, if that. Continue reading

Sometimes I Forget (NaNoWriMo 2018, #2)

The second week of NaNoWriMo is over and I am still running a couple thousand underneath the word count goal (but hey, at least I’m consistent). For the first several years when I did NaNoWriMo (this was over ten years ago), it felt like a personal failure when I couldn’t make word count. Now, well, I’m much more sanguine about the whole thing. As the title of this post suggests, sometimes I forget it’s NaNo–I’m just writing every day, and that’s great.

To me, NaNoWriMo is kind of like what writing is like normally. (Okay, it’s a little more intense, but not a lot more intense.) See, for me, when I’m being productive, writing is about goal setting. It’s about looking at a novel or a story and determining how much has to exist for the story to be complete. It’s about being productive when I can and giving myself grace when I can’t. Or, as is more often the case, when I procrastinate and forget and just don’t get it done (even though I could have).

This NaNo, I’m behind word count. In previous years, including just two years ago, when this happened, I often stopped. Two years I was behind word count consistently for the first seven days. I stopped writing on Day 8. I still think about that story sometimes. I find that I don’t mind being behind word count because I’m still generating. Since I’m writing short stories, I will cut something off, maybe before it needs to be cut off, because I’m not enjoying writing it and because it’s not coming easily. I then move on to something else that comes easier, instead of sticking where I’m not making progress. Continue reading

Just Fine So Far (NaNoWriMo 2018, #1)

It is November 11th at about 10:30 in the morning as I write this, which means the first week of NaNoWriMo has been over for a few days and I am just now thinking about writing about how it’s going.

The post title sort of sums it up. It’s going just fine. Not spectacular, not poorly, just fine. I am below word count, but I have written every day since the beginning of the month, which is more than I can say for most of the months leading up to this one.

For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is a challenge to write 50,000 words in one month. (More strictly, it’s to write 50,000 words of a new novel in the month of November.) I have been a NaNo Rebel since last year, being one of the many people who aim for the word count, but work on a project that is not a new novel.

Last year, I wrote a series of short stories, including micro and flash fiction. It was rewarding for me to be able to generate a large number of complete fictions within the span of a month, and, at the end of it, there were between 5 and 10 that I thought had good enough bones and enough promise that they were worth revising to submit to market. Continue reading