We learned this morning that our beloved elementary school will be closed after this academic year because of budget shortfalls. The Diva is heartbroked and I'm not feeling so great myself. So today's exercise is about loss. Write about a physical object that you have lost. Not a person or a concept like innocence - focus on a tangible item. Why did it hurt to lose it? What did its loss mean? How did you move past it? What did you learn?
* While this may be obvious to those of us with depression, it's nice of the Times to notice.
* For my husband and all of his Roadie friends. (Not at all safe for work.) (No, really. It's a Hard R.)
* Bertrand Russel's Ten Commandments of Teaching.
* Stolen from Neil Gaiman's twitter: Behind every great writer...
Sorry about the absence. It's been crazy busy here.
First, there's the end of term/finals foofaw, which is always more crushing in the spring. But I'm more or less done now, which is so wonderful I can't even put it into words - but if I could, rainbows and unicorns and pie would certainly be involved.
If you closed your eyes, it was just like listening to her podcast. But, you know, better.
(Also, Webs is am-az-ing. I might have made a few purchases. More later)
Three, and possibly the biggest deal, meet Lucy:
Or, as she has become known, Lady Lucy Waddlesworth. Here's she's doing her best Princess Di.
Lucy is a corgi of the fluffy variety. Yes, I did tell Maddy that we would only have three fluffy pets in the house at one time - but we realized that we were entering prime kid/dog years and needed to bend the rule a bit. And, so, Lucy.
We're working through the standard puppy issues -- but by a large majority, most bodily functions have been outside the house rather than in it. I'm calling that a win.*
She was raised up to this point with other dogs, kids and cats. She's been pretty good with all three so far. And our cats are just avoiding her for now, other than the occasional exploratory sniff while she's in her crate. We'll see how it goes.
Right now, she's curled up on a towel in my office and fast asleep. We'll see how that goes, too.
Regardless, she seems to be fitting in:
* Any general dog advice you have would be welcome....
"Women liked to say, when they were old enough to be done with the business of being women they could finally be persons. In their old age, women were expected to make a lot of noise, be disapproved, be fearless."
-- Molly Gloss, The Dazzle of Day, which is a truly poetic and profound and profane work. I am a better person for having read it, even if I'm not sure that I got all of it.
I have no workout for you today, for reasons that I'll explain. If you're jonesing, however, check out past workouts and give one a go.
Today, I am doing something completely indulgent and completely terrifying. I've been working on what I hope will be a novel but have been stuck at 30,000 words for a few weeks because life has been, well, life.
For non-fiction, I can write while all sorts of heck are breaking loose around me, not limited to the occupants next door to my old Metro Pulse office having what sounded like acrobatic adult activities* on a regular basis. But fiction is different because it's not comfortable for me. Quiet is required, as well as the complete absence of things that seem marginally more fun, like laundry or cleaning closets.
Last night, I drove to Northampton to see Brenda Dayne speak.** Today I have holed up in a cheap hotel room in order to spend the day diving back into this book and mapping out the rest of it. I think there might be something good in there. I'm terrified that I'm wrong.
Regardless, it must be done. I've spent the last two decades wanting to write the great American space opera, however, and now is the time to get serious about it.
There's a Dunkin Donuts across the parking lot should emergency coffee (and donuts) be required. I have the next six/eight/ten hours of nothing more interesting to do. With the book or on it.
* I still can't erase this from my brain, even now, a dozen years on.
** She was great - more later.
* On the importance of zippers and quality.
* Finally, the conspiracy is revealed.
* A hidden truth of parenting.
* 10 things Anne Lamott taught this woman about writing. Also applicable to life.
* Man, I love Jack Neely, because he comes up with sentences like this: Suttree is a literary colonoscopy, an unblinking investigation of Knoxville’s nether regions.
* Your breasts are trying to kill you.
* New Ben Folds Five!
We do almost nothing most weekends, except for the weekends when everything happens. Which would have been this past weekend.
First, there was a horse show for the Diva:
She's the pink blob. I picked this picture largely because you can see that the hills are finally starting to green up.
Every event is better when you have an appropriate hair accessory.
The Boy spent the bulk of the show doing this:
I am told this because I only caught the tail end (heh) of the horse show because I was off running.
That t-shirt, which contains our family motto, may become my standard racing shirt. For this race, I did indeed suck less and shaved two minutes off of my time. Which makes me question the accuracy of the timing devices but I'll take it. I'm still very slow, mind you, but am a little less slow, which is a total win.
I also ran into another runner at the finish line who mentioned that she reads the blog and complimented the shawl*. Which was great fun and humbling** - and I did my best to not sweat all over her.
The Boy wanted a picture with me, too, before the race.***
So there he is.
The day ended with for me with a shift at the Toad, my local bookstore where I work a couple of hours each week because it makes me happy to hang out with the books.
I was made doubly happy by a visit from Liz, who also gifted me with a delighfully squooshy skein of her handpainted yarn.
'Twas a very good weekend, indeed.
* I also may have mentioned that I think I'll raffle it off somehow. More on that later.
** I'm always humbled because I still remain astounded that anyone to whom I'm not related would read the blog. I mean, I'm thrilled that people do (thanks!) yet always surprised.
*** Speaking of, I have no idea how I wound up with bib number 1. I suspect it has more to do with my anal retentiveness about returning forms than anything else. Because I totally was not number 1.
"To be a freelance writer is to embrace, well, freedom. Freedom can be a great, wonderful thing when work is plentiful and pay-rates are high or a horrifying drudge when editors won't email you back, the mail's late and the rent or mortgage is due.
"Freelancing embodies many virtues we've come to admire from a distance, such as self-reliance and rugged individualism. On the flip side, those same virtues can easily congeal into stupefied lethargy and powerlessness."
I seem to have finished the shawl.
The pattern was La La's Simple Shawl (Rav link) done with three skeins of Noro Yuzen in the evocatively named Color #4, Lot B. I had to do that thing that knitters do toward the end of the last skein, where you guess how many more rows and a bind-off you can get out of what's left. I cut it close:
Victory is mine.
It's been busy around here, as it usually is at the end of the term. The Featureless Saint has been doing back-to-back shows, I'm dealing with a variety of group projects, the Boy gnawed through his lip and the Diva has a cold. My response? Spinning.*
I may have some other fiber on deck, too:
Speaking of spacey-wacey-timey-wimey things, there was a rare alignment of bodies the other day:
(you might have to click on the picture in order to see all three planetary spheres. McGregor may have his own gravity by now.)
* also running. But I have no pictures of that, unless it would be a picture of my incredibly muscular thighs. The whippet-thin runner physique is just not going to be expressed by my solid peasant genes. Still, I'm who you want to hang out with during a famine because I won't have to eat much. So there's that.**
** Oh - and I'm running a 5K on Saturday. More on that later.