Sunday, February 28, 2010

Spring is A-Comin'...I Promise

     Ben and I drove today, over toward Neosho and out into Oklahoma and I watched closely for hints of green in the brush and trees along the roadsides. At first I thought it was still hopeless but sure enough, here and there I did find just a faint tint . Not much but enough for a promise. I'll take it. And yesterday, while admiring my crocus, my sister mentioned a neighbor plucking a sprig of forsythia that suddenly appeared on the south side of her porch.
     Next will be the weeping willows. They always begin swaying their long yellowing tendrils in the breezes. Then you really know. Spring is coming. I promise.
     I love watching for old barns and homes that are falling down. True, you don't see too many any more. As I grow older so do they and, like myself, they won't last forever. But when I see them, I return momentarily to childhood and the houses and barns of that time. There's just something about the architecture of the years of my growing up that makes me nostalgic.
     When I was small we moved many times. Each spot was a rental as we didn't have much money and cost was the major factor. The only house and land I ever really felt was home was a very big old country home with lovely old woodwork, transoms above the interior doors, wonderful closets and a room of my very own...with a lock. On the property was a big barn, in which one could play,a garden, some outbuildings, trees to climb and lilac bushes under which I could read for hours. There was also a smokehouse and an outhouse, necessary at the time.
     I loved the place with a passion. We lived there for several years and I cried when we left. I still feel a tearing at my heart when I think of it. Once I wrote a poem about it. Sometime, if I can find a copy, I'll post it here. Right now, I doubt if I could even locate it. It seems as far away as the house and barn and they disappeared many years ago. All that is left is scrub brush and trees. The land has grown wild again. But each time I drive by the spot my heart aches for what is gone.
     I believe that's what I'm looking at when I watch for the old barns and falling-down houses. Not necessarily the structures, but the memories. The feeling that someone should take care of the property before it crumbles into dust. People lived there. People loved there. Children lay under the lilac bushes and swung from the ropes in the barn.
     We waited for the crocus and the forsythia to bloom and for the springtime to come.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

How Far Can Spring Be?

     Felt rotten for two days and keep hitting the bed for extra sleep. I think I'm coming down with something but it won't develop into anything except the need to sleep and sleep and sleep. Keeps me from doing a lot of things I should do.
    One bright spot is the sunshine that has broken out through the cold. We've not had any more snow or rain for several days and the sun is so nice and warm. Our bedroom faces the south and the windows look out on trees and brush and flowering things, when things are actually flowering. Well, guess what? Yesterday, the golden crocuses were flowering. Yes, truly. Blooming as if spring really was here. Oh, it was wonderful. I sat on the edge of the bed and savored the beauty.
     All around the jonquils are budding up and more crocuses and snowdrops are sticking their leaves above the ground and preparing to bloom too. It didn't make me improve healthwise, but it sure made me happier.
     Let's hope the weather continues to improve, the cold goes away and the spring flowers begin showing in backyards everywhere across the nation. Our spirits will rise again.
     And my body may start to feel better also.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Moving Along

Good results from the weekend conference. I feel better about my career again...for the time being, anyway. This morning I sent off, via e-mail naturally, the ms that has been haunting me lately because I've waited so long to decide what to do with it. The history of our business and our life is not exactly of national interest and so I've waited, trying to think of the best approach and have decided on High Hill Press which is up near St. Louis. It is owned by a friend of mine and I know she and her husband do good work as I've seen other examples of their books and know their authors are well satisfied.

Now I must begin making lists of advertising possibilities and places I will want to contact for setting up signings when the book is completely finished. There is a lot to the business end of this writing urge, more than most authors such as myself enjoy dwelling on. We would prefer sitting in front of the computer screen day after day, doing nothing but putting lovely words on a white background and admiring how they look. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. At least with this one, I do know my market.

However, today the mundane takes over now that I've taken care of the first step of the business. I have to wait and see what I need to do next from my end for the sake of the book. So I'll shut down and head for the kitchen table where waits THE TAXES!

Wish me luck and hope it doesn't take too long.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Writing Life Again

I actually managed to sit myself down today and edit one short story and create another (non-fiction) one. I looked up a conference in the autumn and decided I've got to enter some of the contests at least, even if I don't have a new novel in the works so I polished up Dealing With Dad, a humorous 3000 word thing and then went to work on a (so far) untitled essay about growing up in the Ozarks. It will take some work on it before it is finished but I'll let it rest and go on to the next one pretty soon.

I've been going to and reading Lisa Scottoline's blog. She is very witty and I am enjoying her column a lot. I got hooked on her books and she has just published a nf of the columns. I had read it and was intrigued so looked it up. Her books are really good. She is a lawyer and uses all her knowledge to write these wonderful thrillers.

In some ways I'm getting sick of the thrillers...not particularly an author...but it seems as if the subject should run its course one of these day. Its the only thing on the library shelves now. That and sensual stuff and I'm really sick of those. There are just so many ways to have sex and no matter how many hints you give the end result is the same. Now I'm beginning to look at murder in the same jaded way. For heaven's sake, lets try another subject or two!

Of course, am I looking for a subject to write about at the moment? Nah. Just being critical. One of these days though. I expect to come up with a real dilly and when I do...I'll work and work and work and then won't be able to sell it. Ha.

Anyway, at the moment I'm being a little bit productive. I can go to my meeting feeling like a REAL WRITER again...for five minutes anyway!


Friday, February 12, 2010

Does Depression Ever Disappear?

It's odd how year after year, when things seem on the surface to go smoothly, that beneath it all there is a lingering sense of gloom that one can never seem to escape. I've always prided myself in being an upbeat cheerful person and take pains to put on a happy face to others but I think perhaps it has been a protective shell that I must have developed rather early in life. Maybe I wanted to simply hide my really really private thoughts from the world. I'm good about sharing all sorts of things with others: in fact sometimes a confidant may feel overwhelmed with my insights. Nevertheless, I've found that I still go to a great deal of trouble to make sure that some things are never touched on. Ergo: depression.

The question is, then: How do I let go of my own depression if I cannot even identify the reasons to myself? I've fought with the dilemna for years now and am no closer to the answer than when I first began. I've had a wonderful life, great family and childhood background, loving parents, an understanding sweet husband and children and grandchildren who love me, even pets who've doted on me as long as I fed them regularly. What more can I do?

Most people who know me have no idea that I've been on anti-drepressant medications for years or have gotten a glimpse of the devils that haunt me at times. I keep waiting and waiting for the relief to come along that I feel I've earned by this time but it eludes me as a shadow that dances before the sun.

Maybe it is the highs and lows that a person experiences that calls out the creative processes. I can only hope.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Catching My Breath

All I've done for the past two days is run, run run. The snow has pretty well disappeared, thank goodness, and today the temperatures have come up nicely. Yesterday, though, was terrible. The car showed an even 26 degrees but I can't even begin to guess what the wind chill was. It was simply terrible. I had intended to go off to the city to do some needed catching up but I can't manage that kind of weather so we'll have to do without for a spell yet, I guess.

When you have three grandsons aged 13, 14 and 15 that you help haul around you are kept busy busy busy and with one mom sick and the single father of two of them trying to work I'm called on quite a bit these days so my excuse to get out of writing a lot is at least legitimate most of the time. If I did have a half hour to think I couldn't organize anything worthwhile.

I did make reservations to go to the next OWL conference though and discuss a ms with one of my friends so maybe I'll dig myself out of this hole before the month is over. I dug in and managed to solve the formatting problem that was driving me nuts and now I feel as if I can do just about anything. I ordered a REAL BOOK with WRITTEN OUT INSTRUCTIONS for the new computer program so I'm confident I'll be able to conquer the whole thing soon. I can manage anything if it is on a sheet of paper in front of me but for some reason I cannot hop back and forth on the screen of a computer with any satisfaction.

It is obvious that this blog is going to be hit and miss but I intend to really try and keep it going...even if I don't have a single follower. It is easier than journaling and I do enjoy getting a few words down on the screen.
Maybe I'll actually come up with something worthwhile one of these days.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Wasted half and hour going over other people's blogs. It seems as if it is only younger writers, proud parents and crafters who take time to write on them, at least on Blogspot. Maybe I'm looking at the wrong location. Also, I'm so dumb (?) I can't figure out how to invite friends in my e-mail address books to go to my site and follow it and I can't seem to download the bookshelf thing I looked up either. Jeez, I waste so much time doing junk.

Then I have the t.v. on across the room and can't decide if I want to watch the Super Bowl or not. Usually I only watch the Cowboys or the Longhorns but I'll admit that I'm rather fond of the Saints. After all, New Orleans went through so much they deserve to win on that alone, I think. So I may give in after all. Ben had to go out and work today and try and beat the (potential) snow storm so he can sit in the house tomorrow if it does come so I'm alone in here and must manage to avoid housework at all costs. And when I came into the living room to begin with, the t.v. was tuned to an old movie...don't remember the title...but it had Ethel Barrymore, Angela Lansbury and some others and I ended up watching up half of it because it was intriguing and fun. Another waste. No wonder I never do any serious writing any more. I used to have a rule of absolutely no television and no reading between two and five p.m. but somehow it went out the window.

Here comes my darling. More later.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Computers Can't Solve Everything, Can They?

I'm just too old for birthdays, I believe. They wear me out. By the time I got all the phone calls fielded and e-mails answered and Facebook contacts checked out, coffee consumed with visiting family and friends and cake consumed (lots...chocolate with fluffy white frosting, yum, yum) I was too tired to walk. Unfortunately, we still had a double basketball game to attend. At least it was in town. But I staggered home and fell into bed afterward. Goosedown never felt any better, even to Mama Goose, I'll bet.

Spent all morning installing a new version of Word. My original one bit the dust at just the wrong moment last fall, four days prior to my surgery on the first knee. I was all ready to send off some manuscripts and it really messed things up as they were done in Word Perfect and needed converting before being sent. Needless to say, they are still waiting for attention. I am not computer-oriented in the least and am at a loss with the new set-up. If they only put instructions in BOOKS, as once were done, I could follow instructions! Blast it, I can't follow anything on-screen. I read it and go back to another screen and immediately forget what the next step was. Grr.

My most immediate problem is with a manuscript that I had already messed up with Word Perfect. Somehow I managed to have part of it in a Master Document and part in individual chapters. I think I got that straightened out somewhere in between transitions but failed to realize that some of the later chapters had no headings. Now I can't figure out with this brand-new Word screen how I'm supposed to completely remove all the headings and start over again. I'm terrified to mess with the new program without some kind of written reference to help me. I'll end up with a bigger problem than I have already. So...Monday, in between everything else, I'm going to have to try and run down someone to give me some advice.

If you see me coming in your direction, please don't run for cover. This is a real emergency.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Late...As Usual

Late is my middle name. At my age, I've mostly given up on New Year's Resolutions. In fact, I hardly notice New Year coming and going. It takes all I have to get through Christmas these days. But I have a birthday coming up tomorrow and suddenly I feel like I'm really running out of time.
Because I had knee replacement exactly three months ago I've had a really good reason to put off writing anything and, believe me, that's exactly what I've done...nothing. I usually find any excuse in the world to get out of exerting myself and now I have to wade through the piles and find out where I left off.

Actually I left off with three completed (to MY satisfaction) ms and a Word program that bit the dust three days before my surgery, wouldn't you know? So I jumped in and ordered the new one but I did have the good sense to not install it until this morning. It's up and running now so I just have to teach myself the basics of the new set-up (urk) but at least I can once again convert from my Word Perfect originals. And I think I have a possible market for at least one of the ms. I'll let you know at a later date.

Back to my Birthday Resolution. Since I'm now down to about three decades (yeek...well, maybe more if I'm really lucky) I figure I'm going to have to increase my efforts. Right now is a good time because I still have a knee to go in the spring. So...a blog is one way. Reading a couple of sites for inspiration is another and I'm making a list of them right now and am intending to do so each day. Also get back to a little bit of actual composing. HOWEVER...I do have to finish income tax (UGH) for my husband's business, so that messes me up a little. But I will belly up to the bar and get to it a little at a time.

Got a two-day OWL meeting to hit on the third weekend in February and I'm chomping at the bit. I need to get back in the swing of things. Wish me luck.