… & then…

           Once again, it’s been far too long since I’ve posted anything here. Not because I haven’t been writing, not the case at all, in fact I’ve been doing more writing in the past few weeks than I did for the month or two prior! But, the writing is just of a different sort, genre, topic… what am I trying to say…. alright it’s “professional” writing- all proper like. I’ve started 2 blogs for work, one being a basic “Insurance for Dummies, or Insurance 101” if you will (Insurance Made Simple(r)), and the other being for work as well, but focused on some of the amazing craft breweries here in the Northwest that also happen to be clients at work (What’s Hopp’ening)! If I haven’t forced you to check either of them out already, you should do so – they’re definitely different than the writing (read: venting) I do here, in my “voice” but works that I’m proud of all the same…

           I’ve also been spending a fair amount of time on my attempt at a historical fiction novel. After much struggling with myself, and Agnes (my inner editor – for more on her check out my earlier blogs) over whether to completely steal the life of an actual person and by doing so have to adjust my entire ficticious world to fit with what is real – or to simply steal a few of his real life tidbits and apply them to a character all my own, in that world of my own creation.

This  has been one of the sticking points that has (sadly) left me completely unproductive for long periods of time… simply sitting at the laptop arguing with myself in my head on what I can & can’t do. It wasn’t until just a few days ago that I had the realization that this is MY story, MY book, MY project, and I can do whatever the hell I want to with it! So, it’s been decided (Agnes be damned) – I’m writing “A Historical Fiction Novel; Loosely based on true events”…*whew* – you have NO idea what a paradigm shifting relief it’s been to have that decided & realized. I feel like I’ve reached the top of my first big mountain peak, am enjoying the view, the moment or two of tranquility and success, and looking out ahead of me at the remainder of the mountain range lying in my path.

And thus I move forward, onto the next comfortable valley before once again facing a challenging peak.

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.” Henry David Thoreau

Hitting ReSet…


I can’t remember the last time I was able to take a full hour & escape to the park by myself. Today, I was able to do just that, and those 60 minutes were utter bliss. Somehow the stars & planets aligned perfectly, and I found myself without excuse.

It’s early July and the weather is finally showing signs of summer, 73 degrees, sunshine and a cloudless blue sky. At first I assumed the park must be closed, and the staff had simply forgotten to close the front gate across the long gravel driveway entrance. The parking lot, usually filled with cars, was bare. The fields and picnic tables, usually bustling with children, families, picnics, and animals, were silent. As though the park was mine alone. The silence and space mine for the taking. Choosing my picnic table wisely, close enough to the looming red barn to eavesdrop on its feathered inhabitants but just out of reach of its massive shadow.

Closing my eyes for just a moment, I realized that I’d taken the empty parking lot for granted, I wasn’t alone after all, the park was overflowing with it’s residents and their own daily conversations.  The rustle of the wind through the leaves of the foliage, the incessant clucking of the hens, so like an elderly Jewish woman, anxiously pushing her own life lessons onto anyone who’ll listen, always busy and moving about. The proud crow of the rooster, a college athlete long past his prime but still insistent on announcing his presence for all to hear. The eager duck, testing the water in his small pool, so like a naive child, instructed to use just his toe but unable to control his excitement, running full speed into the water instead; splashing any adults standing near for his protection.

I wonder why I’ve neglected this amazing place for so long. Allowing myself to become so absorbed and overwhelmed with the rush of everyday life that I’ve nearly forgotten the sensation of just being. Sitting still and inviting nature to exist around me, not needing to be in control, but instead relinquishing myself to something greater than I am, than I can ever hope to become. Appreciating the little things. The birds, the sun, the grass, the breeze…

Almost akin to hitting the reset button on one of the many pieces of technology managing my day-to-day life. Seeking out and finding that small button, the one hidden within a crevice in the man made plastic box, using an unwound paperclip to sneakily press and grant myself & the machine 30 seconds of reprieve before returning to whatever menial yet urgent task lies at hand.

I need to do this more often, I tell myself this, just as I have every time before. When I’ve depleted my own reserve of relaxation and peace, and have stumbled back to my roots, to nature for a refreshing reset, a dose of quiet, and a reminder from Mother Nature that she hasn’t gone anywhere. She’s here waiting for me, if I’ll only make time to remember her.

Creative Constipation

       That horrible feeling of being completely blocked up, of absolutely nothing getting through no matter how hard your push, how much you try to relax. Sleep becomes a hobby because your entire body lacks enough energy or drive to do anything more. Ugh! I can’t be the only one struggling with this…right?!?

       It’s been weeks since the last time I’ve written something, anything, at all. So many days and weeks that together they almost compile an entire month! I have no excuses, no witty reasons why – only the dimming hope that at some point soon the roadblock will falter, crumble, and wash away.

I’m to the point where I still sit at my laptop each day, maintaining that if I intend to all myself a writer, I must at least attempt to play the part. And, each day, for 20 minutes, I sit… I’ve tried cookie cutter story starters, blog topic suggestions, mad libs, and re-reading through the chapters I’ve written earlier this year – all to absolutely no avail. So tonight I’m taking this first step, writing this meaningless post, in hopes that it garners a thought or sparkling insight from a kindred spirit that somehow chips away at the block. Or perhaps having pressed “publish” i’ll reawaken my inner editor from her overwhelming boredom, startling her into action…

*fingers crossed*

…and nothing…

Well, this is my last full day relaxing here in sunny southern cali and as if doing it’s part to help me prepare for the transition back home, to rainy western Washington, the clouds have made an appearance here in the valley. It’s still a gorgeous morning, and one that I’m hoping to use as a productive one, seeing as how I’ve done so little writing while I’ve been here. I embarked on this trip with lofty plans of an utterly carefree relaxing week, spending time accomplishing nothing of consequence with my best friend, catching up on some sleep, reading, and brainless television, od’ing on vitamin d, and of course going home with a full manuscript written, edited, and ready for publication – the words magically flying from my fingertips due to my amazing new surroundings.

I’ve accomplished everything, save the last. I’ve been sure to dedicate time each morning and evening to sit with my laptop, open a blank document, and wait… After too much impatient waiting, I’ve found myself opening the files of pieces that I’ve been working on for the past year and for whatever reason feel like there is just one or two small things missing before they’ll be complete. Sadly, I’ve yet to stumble over any of those missing pieces either, but I have reread them, a few times, and while disgusted with them at times, I’ve found that for the most part I have a great sense of pride over the pieces that I’ve created in the past year. It was after all just about a year ago now that I attended my first writers conference, in beautiful Coupeville, Washington – and whether it was the location, the like minded company, the intuitive leadership, or perhaps it was just the right time for my stories to be told – but I returned home with what would be a prize winning short essay for the Reader’s Digest Magazine, as well as solid starts for 4 other essays, and best of all, a newfound confidence in the power and validity of my own “voice.”

I suppose I was hoping for the same kind of magic on this trip. Believing that perhaps removing myself from the hum drum of my daily routine, the chores that are constantly beckoning, and the phone that seems to be always buzzing; that I might allow myself a moment to breath, and to purge another piece or two of those thoughts, memories, dreams, and fears that I’ve been carrying.  While I haven’t been writing, I have been reading and just finished re-reading Bag of Bones by the infallible Stephen King – a story that I suggest for anyone and everyone, whether you’re looking for an escape from reality, a good fright, or in my case, inspiration and reassurance that even an award winning novelist created by the master, experiences (and overcomes) writers block every now and again.

Alas, the day isn’t over yet, and either way, this has been an amazing vacation spent with a kindred spirit and I’ll be flying home tomorrow refreshed, and as ready as one can be to reenter the 9-5 life of a working stiff.

~ m