RSS Feed

Even still

I’m not sure you ever totally get over it.  You become accustomed to it.  You accept it.  You may become content with it.  But perhaps you never truly get over it.

When my friends were pregnant, I wished I could experience that.  The feel of life inside me was something I would never know.  When my friends had infants, I longed for sweet baby cuddles.  The 2:00 a.m. feeding was something I would never experience.  When my friends had toddlers, I wanted to laugh at the funny ways a little one pronounced words, or experience the happiness of watching them figure out the world.  And I did, sometimes, with their children.  But it was always from afar.


As time passed, the pain certainly lessened.  There would be days, then weeks, then entire months when I didn’t really think about it.  We worked on our house, got dogs, then rabbits.  I found a job I love.  We moved out to the country and got chickens, a tractor, and the sweetest cat in the world.  I started graduate school.  We designed a house plan and began working toward building.


My friends have pre-teens and teenagers now.  There are athletic events to attend, homework to help with, dreams to watch unfold.  I’ll never be a soccer mom.   I’ll never go on a college visit.

Our niece and her husband have a two-year-old daughter.  Our nephew and his wife are expecting a boy in the spring.  It is sweet to watch them experience these things, but as always, I watch from afar.

My life is good.  It is full.  It is blessed.

But there is a small emptiness, even still.

Twenty thousand

I had planned to spend the summer writing.  Writing and playing and enjoying the outdoors.  And I did some of that, but I also worked.  I was on hiring committees for two positions at my school, plus I agreed to develop a new teacher induction program.  (The first was volunteer, the second was paid… or at least it’s supposed to be.  I’ve not received any money for it yet.)

Anyway, all that really ate into my summer.  And I didn’t blog, didn’t work on my novel, didn’t spend time every day writing the way I’d planned and hoped to do.

Then, suddenly, the summer was gone.  School began.

And school was crazy.  There are many reasons — not the least of which is that I didn’t have a mental break from it all summer long — but the point is that I did not start the year well.  My awesome assistant principal had to talk me off the proverbial ledge more than once.

But now, the air is crisp with Octoberness.  The leaves are just beginning to think about changing colors.  Walnuts litter the ground, the chickens are going to bed early and sleeping late in the mornings, and Fall Break is here.

A few weeks ago, I was wailing to the husband about something.  The paperwork I had to do, or the essays I needed to grade, or how stressed out some of my students were making me.  And he said, “You’ve got to get away from here for Fall Break.”

So this Friday after school, I hopped into my packed car and made the drive to my parents’ house.  I promised myself that I would spend time writing.  I’d mostly work on my novel, but if there was time, I’d blog, start a short story that is in my head, and work on a one-sheet (kind of like a flyer about myself and my writing) that I’ll take to the writing conference I will be attending later this month.

I’m happy to say that my novel is now over 20,000 words long.

It’s still a bit disorganized (I didn’t write it in chronological order, but rather just as scenes came to me), and there are parts missing still, but wow.  Twenty thousand words.  That’s exciting to me.

While a long three months slipped away between the last time I really worked on my writing to now, I am hopeful that I’ll be able to keep working steadily from now on.  Sure, life happens, but writing makes life better.

Novel Update 5/26/16

Posted on

Thirty-one pages.

Questions about the plot.  The plot of the short story I started with seems to be taking a backseat to what I intended to be a subplot.  Perhaps the subplot should become the main plot.  Or maybe I should spend more time working on the main plot so it takes precedence again.

I was recently worried that my main character did not change, but I figured out what she needs to learn.  I was also concerned that she was too perfect — that I didn’t put in any unlikable qualities, which is unrealistic — but I think that I found her flaw (which is also the thing she needs to change.)  I would like to come up with at least one more flaw, I think, but I’m not sure what that will be.

I’ve written a lot of scenes, but they are not yet flowing together as a story.  I am hoping to get on the right track with that this summer.

School’s Out!

Posted on

The weather’s hot, the grass is growing, and teachers around the city are beginning to relax.

Yesterday was my last day of school for the year.  Hooray!  I have approximately 10 weeks to sleep late, go to the bathroom any time I want/need (without waiting for passing periods), eat when I’m hungry (rather than only at 12 noon), and do those things I’ve been putting off.

So maybe you’ll see more blog posts from me.  Things have been happening on the homestead — animals born, others butchered, progress on the house-building, fruit ripening.  But I also have a lot to do this summer.  I agreed to develop an orientation program for new teachers at our school, and I need to write curriculum for the second year of my two-year honors class.  There are home chores — cleaning the chicken coop and the rabbit barn, putting a cover on the pool and taking down the fence, reorganizing the guest room closet.  I picked the first strawberries today, and there will be raspberries and blackberries ripening soon.  There are little green cherries and little green peaches on our trees.  Then the rest of the garden will start to be ready to harvest.

I want to write, knit, and draw up plans for a tree house / writing studio.

There is a lot of stuff to cram into 10 weeks.

I hope to make the most of the time.

A Question for Foghorn (a poem)

Posted on

Oh, dear rooster

Why must you

C   R   O   W

so insistently

so repeatedly

at 2:30 in the morning?


Posted on

Social media can thieve away my creativity. I know it does, but some days I don’t have the will power to fight against it. Because looking at Pinterest or checking Facebook is easy. Writing is hard. And if I don’t write, then I won’t write badly, see? It’s easier not to try.

Pathetic, I know. Especially since I’m trying to write a freaking novel.

But that’s the whole problem. I’m trying to write a freaking novel. It is the most challenging writing task I have ever faced. My senior honors thesis in college – the writing project I loathed to the essence of my cells by the time it was finished – was cake in comparison. Because then, I just had to have thoughts about what somebody else wrote.

But now, everything must come from me. The characters, their problems, their joys, their struggles, their triumphs – it all must come from my head and my heart.

That is really hard. It can exhaust me. I have already cried over these characters’ lives. I have lain awake at night thinking about them. And – I thought this was just a writers’ myth – I have been surprised by them. (How can you be surprised by something that comes from your own brain?)

But when my days are crammed with other responsibilities, and when the ideas no longer flow like water, then writing is hard. It is hard to make myself delve into these lives again, especially when I don’t know what else to do with them. When I look into their faces and they just stare blankly back at me. When I search their histories, their minds, their spirits, and come up with nothing. It’s frustrating and discouraging, and while it may not cause blisters on my hands or sweat down my back, it is difficult, demanding work.

But today, I’m logging out of Facebook. I’m shutting off Pinterest. Maybe I’ll write today, or maybe I’ll just let my brain rest and detoxify from social media. Perhaps what my mind requires on this misty, foggy spring afternoon is a nap under a cozy blanket or a walk through the woods.

And if you see me on Facebook today, nudge me in the right direction.

A Cold One

It’s five degrees outside, and my running partner is in Florida.  I stand at the door, looking at the thermometer, pondering.  The dogs need to go out, so I open the door and step outside.  It’s surprisingly lovely.  The sunshine is inviting and the birds twitter to me, saying it’s not really so cold.  I know they’re lying, but I resolve to do it anyway.

My running buddy texts me, saying, “Ran in shorts and a t-shirt but my thumbs were cold.”  I scowl and growl as I put on two pairs of pants, a running skirt, two pairs of socks, three shirts, a fleece, and plenty of gear to cover my hands and face.  Out the door I go.

The air is crisp and clear, and despite the cold, I inhale deeply.  The action of my muscles warms me.  The sun beams out of a cloudless blue, and as I reach the intersection that marks the halfway point, birds chirp from their hiding places, encouraging me onward.

No one else is outside on this cold morning.  Even the cars seem to hide in their garages.  If I had stayed in, though, I’d have missed seeing the family of ducks gliding through the frigid river, and hearing the downy woodpecker tattooing an irregular rhythm in the topmost branches of a hackberry tree.

The wind kicks up as if to tell me to quit dawdling, hurry home.  I oblige, picking up the pace for the last quarter mile and pulling my hat more securely over my ears.  Back home now, it’s tempting to stay out, so I relax for a few minutes in the lawn swing, wondering what the neighbors would say if they saw.  But nature calls in another way, so I breathe in the fresh air once more, and head back into the house.