Tag Archives: Books

Habitat Over Habit

HABITAT
I felt I needed to express “Habitat Over Habit” not just in writing, but visually too. I created this sculpture from a book that was already falling apart, “Magical Child” by Joseph Chilton Pearce, plastic, trash, wires, old digital materials, and ferns and sticks from outside our door.

Habitat Over Habit

Disease is an equalizer—it does not discriminate. Now Mother Earth has a captive audience, the world over. WOW!

Disperse           across           the           earth          and           feel          her          pulse.

Now we may finally choose Mother Earth over the economy… not just for three weeks, but entirely and for the good of humanity!

Now we may open ourselves to the actual possibility of EARTH REGENERATION. Now we may all SHIFT—all of the earth’s children, today and forever.

This global pause is an opportunity to reflect, repent, and ask forgiveness from our one true creator: Mother Earth! The form from which all life springs. Her ecosystem is so delicately dependent on a multitude of species, on clean, non-toxic reservoirs and waters, and on the trees that give all life breath! Make no mistake, Mother Earth is asking for our attention with this pandemic.

Now we may take the right type of non-action, a permission slip which has never before been granted. We have less air and ground traffic. We have disease everywhere but the Arctic. We have the collapse of distant goods. We are called to sit, face to face, with our loved ones in our homes. We are called to sit, face to face, with our habitat: a living breathing thing. Make no mistake.

How compelling that the safe place to be now is in the open-air, mountains, or sea! Make no mistake.

Now we may open ourselves fully to the concept of habitat over habit. We may REGENERATE, my people. We may SHIFT now, in this moment, today and forever.

Now we may think of the children. Now we may listen to them. Now we may protect them from things they do not even know are coming, by acting intelligently, responsibly, and humanely. By cutting our ties with non-renewable resources and maddening consumption. (See: toilet paper!)

Now is the time for scientists, not politicians, for empaths, not conquerors, for mothers, not tyrants, for native wisdom, not industry.

This is a window of opportunity that Mother Earth giving us. Brilliant, really, as if Mother Earth has a mind all her own…an intelligence beyond our knowing.

Now we may reset this maddening pace of life and habit of consumption.

What is more important than our elders, our earth, and our children? What?

Everything is connected, we can see that now. So let us connect with our micro-tribes: our neighbors, roommates, and families, and figure this thing out. Let us back up our lifestyle-changes with policy-changes, locally, state and nation-wide, and globally.

“You are but a drop of rain
clinging to the edge of the sumac leaf
by the grace of that same surface tension
that tethers you to your work and gives you traction.”
– Nina Gaby

Make no mistake, she’s warning us: lighten, lighten, lighten the impact.

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We can’t buy our way out of this one, so let’s stop trying.

Where energy goes, attention flows: shut down Costco and support local economy. It won’t collapse in times like this!

Support local farmers, if you are fortunate enough to have them in your region.

Support your local soap-maker.

Wipe your ass with cloth. It’s really very simple.

Think about things like light pollution, and how it impacts species. Think about the interconnectedness of all things. Research what type of non-action or change-of-action would be beneficial in your unique ecosystem, whether you’re an urbanite or a ruralite. There’s hope for everyone, everywhere.

Let us choose Mother Earth over Father Economy.

This is the global SHIFT we’ve long been needing to restore our habitat. It can be done. Environmentalists and scientists know the action and that must be taken. If the Coronavirus response can be coordinated between nations, couldn’t saving the earth be, too?

WOW!

Shut. It. Down.

Rebuild with wisdom from our native and aboriginal elders, who understood interdependence and acted accordingly. Rebuild with our leaders in environmental science.

Let us choose habitat over our habits, today and for good. Now we may act wisely for the greater good of humanity, in the name of Mother Earth.

How, I beg, will we answer her calling?

I Survived My First Camp Out with NaNoWriMo

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Bar graph provided by NaNoWriMo. When you click on the line it tells you how many words were written that day. Notice the spike near the end.

Proof of what a procrastinator I am. Or not. Notice how the bar graph spikes once I learn that can rewrite 10,000 words in a day, instead of just 1-2,000. Plus, pressure. Plus, full days off. Plus, momentum and flow. Plus, I didn’t think I’d be saying it, but I did it!

Sure. Writing a book is hard. Writing a book is hard whether it’s over the course of 2 and a half years or the course of one month. Over the course of a lifetime or a weekend. What’s difficult about it isn’t the number of words. I’d bet there could be a compelling masterpiece that was only 50 pages long. What’s truly difficult about it is the emotional terrain one covers.

I suppose I can only speak for memoirists in these regards; only no, I am certain writing horror stories is draining in it’s own way. All the closing of the blinds, the paranoia, the bumps in the night. When you are writing you are in that place–you are in childhood or jail or both.

As you can see I barely reached my goal today. I ended at 50, 817 words but three days ago I was way down at 27,000. I cannot explain it but: magic. And those other things I mentioned above and the fact that, yeah, I’m not a quitter. I am not bragging but when things matter to me, they matter to me. If they matter enough to me they will happen. Years ago, I am unsure if I would have accomplished this. Not out of lack of talent or drive but out of FEAR. This time, FEAR almost stopped me dead in my tracks too. Save the fact that I have learned that FEAR has a bigger bark than bite. Little by little, bit by bit, bird by bird–that’s how I navigated the first 28 days of NaNoWriMo. Then I panicked, was provided the luxury of two days off of work, and busted the shit out.

It may sound difficult but I basically kicked it into high gear seeing that I wasn’t going to make my deadline on time at the rate that I was going.

Wanting to be a WINNER I rolled up my sleeves and dug in deeper. This determination, paired with the grace of my story loosening its grip on my heart (the material was highly emotional in the first part of my memoir, then lessened as I got closer to my 50,000 word goal) gave me the boost I needed to reach my goal today.

Fact: my memoir is a lot longer than 50,000 words, so my work is not over.

Fact: because of NaNoWriMo, I have a kick-ass third draft of my memoir (well, almost).

Thanks, NaNoWriMo.

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NaNoWriMo 17

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NaNoWriMo.

At first, all the letters just ran together, they didn’t make sense. I fumbled on the pronunciation when speaking with my grandmother on the phone. “Anyway,” I told her. “It’s a good thing. The idea is you write a novel in a month.”

I was at Target, talking on my cellphone while browsing the “school supplies” section. I absentmindedly placed a white wire wastebasket in the cart. It was a good deal. $5. Then I took it out–nobody as broke as me needs to be spending money on something as trashy as a wastebasket. But I could just picture crumpling a piece of writing paper into a ball, tossing it into the cute wire wastebasket. Real “writerly”. But I already had a system for recycling paper–a medium-sized Priority box at the foot of my oak dresser. The paper goes in there, uncrumpled, and becomes firestarter. Quick. Easy. Cheap. Not glamorous but not frivolous either.

NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. Nah – noh – rye – moh.

I’d never set big writing goals for November, though I had heard of NaNoWriMo. My novel (my memoir) was written first over many, many years of recounting and recording painful and joyous events from childhood–scene by scene. Then in 2016 I spent one full summer preparing the manuscript for submission to a Portland editor (getting it into chapters). I got the manuscript there within the deadline, but it became apparent that the manuscript still needed a LOT of work! Especially the ending.

I took a few days off-the-grid in January 2017 to work on it. It felt like my coffee had barely cooled before I already had to pack up and go. I didn’t get a lot done. I had barely “tapped into the mindset” before I was thrust back into reality: moving, since my partner bought a home, starting a farm and small business, taking care of myself, working and earning money, and um, using Social Media. You know, RL stuff.

I guess NaNoWriMo kind of takes all of those excuses and RL factors and throws them to the wind. Like a 48-hour film contest or something. You get a lot done in a small (ish) amount of time. In essence: you fucking hustle. Boundaries are set. Word counts are recorded and, importantly, we writers are all in this together. Social Media outlets like Instagram unite NaNoWriMo participants unlike any other previous club. Local libraries support the cause by hosting weekly groups for local writers participating in NaNoWriMo.

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At Target I settled on one large Sketch Pad. Sleek with a black cover, wide blank white pages that opened nicely and stayed down on their own. Some journals are made for looks with cheap paper or kitschy covers. Not this one. I put two in the basket, but at $8.99 a pop, I put one back.

I started really thinking about NaNoWriMo: would I start a new novel? I have a fresh idea rolling around in my head. Do you have to be just starting out with your book? In a lot of ways I am. I have “only” been working on my book for a decade. Some people spend twice that. I can’t see the end in sight: I should probably work on this one then. Wouldn’t you say it has the most potential? Hell, if I am about to write a book in a month it better be the one I’ve been writing for the past 10 years.

Step One: Google NaNoWriMo, again. See that local literary group Wordcrafters is hosting a free event at the Springfield Downtown Public Library Saturday’s through November 1-3 p.m. Record in weekly planner. Write with finest print.

Step Two: Email Wordcrafters to confirm event and “network.” Also this helps make the dream more likely to become reality. Establish accountability, in essence.

Step Three: Pace excitedly a bit. Make coffee and decide today I will “prepare my life for NaNoWriMo”. Pick up a few items around the house, because the dog chewed them up and has strewn them about–mostly gnawed on pieces of kindling. Add wood to the fire. Sip coffee. Plot inside mind. Decide I will sweep,  then clean my office. First, I eat a banana.

Step Four: Start a blog post to share rare enthusiastic rush of inspiration. Write because it is what I do and cannot be contained. (Also: then worry that said writing is getting in the way of “real” writing.)

Step Five: Get an email from Wordcrafters: No need to register. See you on Saturday! Decide it is time to sweep the floor.

Step Six: Music. Coffee. Radio. Broom. Paper. Office supplies. Could leap like a leprechaun today “feeling like a writer.” It is my first day alone in over a week and my last day off before going back to work. I am amazed every time I get a rush of fresh energy and doubly amazed at all that can be accomplished, reset, and improved over the span of one “Sunday”.

Step 7: More coffee. I’m taking advantage of this whole cool-weather thing.

Step 8: Dust desk with damp, then dry, cloth. Shuffle things around until they look feng-shui’d, American-girl style.

Step 9: Face, with a deep optimistic breath, the “memoir section” of my office. Note at least 11 unrelated items encroaching on the scene: local newspapers, greeting cards, and “watercolor pens”. Weed out unrelated materials. Dust again. Lightly finger manuscript for good luck. Smile at the fortune of having an office.

Step 10: Register for NaNoWriMo on NaNoWriMo.org. Complete profile, book title & description, and select a writing “region”. Select Eugene/Lane County, Oregon for my Home Region and San Francisco/Bay Area and Portland, Oregon for my other regions. Review this article written by a more experience NaNoWriMo’er to insure that I know what I am doing. Set aside 4 blank notebooks, The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr, a decent ball point pen, a chipped empty vase from Mexico, vessel up; and sit back in my fuzzy slippers, grateful for the permission and support of writers from all over the world who are joining together in their own living rooms and offices to make magic and make words, sentences and waves.

For more information on NaNoWriMo, just Google it. If you want to support my cause, kindly ignore me for the next 31 days. Sending Corn Nuts or Jelly Belly’s is okay too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love Blues Balance

Twelve cups of coffee later and I have (finally!) completed my book of poems Love Blues Balance. A project I have been compiling for weeks now has a cover and 108 pages of material. Just awaiting approval from Createspace and then I will a) order a copy for myself and b) order copies to distribute. A special thanks to friend and photographer Kirsten Lara Valenzuela who provided the lovely cover image you see here.

Can’t wait for distribution! Stay tuned!  ❤

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Blog (Flop) Hop Simple Instructions & Questionnaire

-3-Step Instructions-

 

1. Copy and paste the following Blog Hop Blogger Questionnaire into a post
(Post Friday or within one week)

2. In the post, invite your readers and fellow bloggers join the Blog Hop to promote their work by completing the questionnaire in a post of their own

3. Add your own flair to the post–images, links, etc. Have fun with it!

 

 
-Blog Hop Blogger Questionnaire

 

1: What is the working title of your book?

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

3: What genre does your book come under?

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

 

Stay tuned for my Blog Hop Blogger Questionnaire which will debut on Friday!

Blog Hop!

I’m participating in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop–it’s a way to connect writers and readers and raise awareness about newly released or upcoming books or e-books. Lennon Sundance, who is basically the most bold, daring blogger I know invited me to join–so thank you Lennon! I’m pumped.

I have one week to locate 5 other participants and to complete a fun questionnaire (it’s already done! That’s how fun it is!) focusing on a work of my choice. In this case I will promote my e-book Poems by a Horny Small-Town Gal. As far as locating folks for the Blog Hop goes–I was wondering, would you be interested in participating in the Blog Hop? Oh come on, don’t be shy! Just answer ‘yes’ or ‘sure’ or ‘oh what the hell’ in the comment space and I will email you further instructions 🙂

Making it in Changing Times Conference Notes

I made my way up to Portland (soon I won’t have to travel so far, yay!) on January 26th for a writers conference, Making it in Changing Times.

Lidia Yuknavitch was the keynote speaker and the event was organized by Jessica Morrell author of Writing Out The Storm, a book Lidia held close to her chest and kept on her bedstand during the FIRST days, weeks, and months of her writing career. She credits the book for motivating her to write. Jessica Morrell is to Lidia what Natalie Goldberg is to me.

The event was SPECTACULAR. I was high the entire time. On writing, folks, on writing. During the session I thought of you guys: my blogging community. My writing tribe. My stranger-angels.

I took notes of course, with the intent of sharing them on my blog. With you. Because you are where I am–scratching and clawing your way into the writing world. Some of you are further along than others. For some of you this information will be premature, for others it will be old news. But I hope for at least one of you, it is just perfect useful.

Over the next few days, I will post 4 conference “notes”:

1. “An Editor’s Wishlist” by Jessica Morrell
2. “Kick Start Your Writing in 2013” by Polly Campell
3. “The Worth of Risk” by Lidia Yuknavitch
4. “Signs You’re Telling Not Showing” by Jessica Morrell

Do you know these authors? What books, conferences, and authors have inspired you? Please share your thoughts, we’re all in this together. I’ve never heard of an artist being “over inspired”, have you? For me, I can’t get enough inspiration. But like love, the timing has to be just right…if you don’t get anything from these notes right off–come back. It’s good stuff.

Neurotic Fan Part II–Am I Invisible?

I shuffle upstairs in my long black kimono, the show starting soon.

I go to the bathroom to piss out my beer and stand in line, nobody talking to me and me talking to nobody. I think of what a little city Eugene is. People say it’s a real friendly city. I’m not entirely convinced. I remember bathrooms down on the border of Mexico and how they came practically stocked with cocaine and how that really brought the women together, really opened up the lines of communication, har har.

Eugene needs more drugs, for sure. Women here care about health and spirituality and jogging. Fucking. Jogging.

I emerge from the bathroom stall and am the only person left. Good. I wash my hands and check myself out in the mirror, remembering the young girl who didn’t check my ID. Bitch.

Then I hear a stall door open and close. And though I didn’t know it yet– I hear the sigh of Chelsea Cain’s pre-show nervousness or boredom, I don’t know, but it was a sigh…a famous-author-sigh and Famous. Authors. Are. People. Too.

“Oh. Hi!”

I perk right up as Chelsea Cain emerges in her pink lipstick, short nighty and fuzzy bunny slippers.

“Hi!” She smiles her bright, gorgeous smile.

“I like your nightgown. Very vintage.” I smile back. Again.

“Oh, thank you.”

“Well, have fun!” I wave while leaving the bathroom.

I look for Lidia but she’s hiding (she does that) and I think, gosh, I hope Chelsea knows I know who she is. All I did was talk about her clothes. I could’ve mentioned her books.

But the truth is, I hadn’t yet read her. But I liked her–just for being her–she was perky and charismatic, I knew that. A week later I would read her memoir Dharma Girl, which wasn’t a struggle, not at all, it was very well-written and introspective but lacking a little spice and danger.

Reading Dharma Girl after reading The Chronology of Water reminded me of when I replaced methamphetamine with cocaine (we’re talking daily use here). So mellow it was hardly even potent. But it’s all relative–if I did cocaine now I’d be swimming the clouds. Back-strokes n’ shit.

I’m sure, no I’m certain Chelsea Cain’s murder mystery shit is potent as hell.

So I look for Lidia and she’s still nowhere to be found. I get in line for a stuffed animal and I’m the only one there and there’s an empty box behind the deserted foldy-table.

Oh well.

I join the fifty-thousand fucking horny college kids with their iPhones and now their huge cheetah and lion stuffed animals that they’re literally making hump eachother.

I sit on the floor cross-legged with my faint close-lipped smile that says I’m approachable and someone elbows me in the mouth and a round girl in front of me scootches back to make room for her friend, a sexy blonde in a black kimono and they snap a picture together and they’re so close I could lick the backs of their heads. I shift uncomfortably and think Am I invisible? Like, really. No, seriously..am I invisible?

Neurotic Fan Part I

I missed out on the free stuffed animal cause I wanted a beer and the line for beer was zilch and the line for a free stuffed animal was around the block and down the hall.

I was disappointed.

I thought I was part of a bite-size group of people and after the show we’d all sit around in someone’s cramped apartment drinking straight whiskey and maybe doing a little coke.

I thought I’d get to talk up my book and maybe Chuck Palahniuk and Lidia would ask me to join their writers’ group.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve got no experience–all that matters is you’ve passion, and you do, I can see it in you they’d say as I’d shoot back the whiskey hollering Fuck yeah I do! sticking out my tongue and shaking my head back and forth. We’d all cheer and laugh. There aren’t enough writers out there, Chuck would tell me.

I thought I’d be the only girl in a black kimono and that Lidia might point me out to the audience, telling everyone what a good writer I was and some hot guy would spot me and think I was super sexy. Then he’d approach me and we’d fall in love and we’d both be writers and we’d make writer love.

It didn’t matter that I was already in love, and with a writer. Things could always get better.

You already know how this ends: in near full disappointment.

After standing in line with fifty-billion fucking college kids watching them text and say Like and grab eachother’s asses we filed inside where I slipped away to the WOW Hall’s basement bar missing my chance at a free stuffed animal (free to the first 100 people).

It was so quiet down there the bartender had her back to me and was on her knees stocking the cooler. I cleared my throat, ordered a Sierra Nevada, and sat in the corner and read Dora.

I knew Lidia was upstairs signing books for all the, like, college kids and I tried to summon her downstairs with my mind. Cause down in the dark basement bar was where Lidia should be. And, you know if it were twenty years ago it’s where she woulda been. But it wasn’t twenty years ago.

That was a long time ago.