Whole lotta nuthin’ goin’ on

Geez. Apparently I haven’t had anything to say in recent months and some of you are about to demand proof of life. This tends to happen when there’s either too much or not enough happening in my life. Oddly, this time, it’s both. I’m not sure how to explain that. Not sure it would matter to anyone if I could.

Yes, I’ve been writing. In a distracted-by-interruptions sort of way. Like tonight (Friday), for instance. My daughter is on her way from Boston to the Cape for a long weekend, as her husband is doing a two-week stint there to finish up his residency. My son and his wife are out of town for a wedding. So I figure this is a good time to get some writing done. Right?

Then I get a text:

DD: On the ferry on way to the Cape.
Me: Great! Have fun!
DD: Well, IT got a little wet in my backpack walking to the wharf. Sorry ☹
[I’m not sure what she’s talking about, but I reply . . . ]
Me: Uh oh
DD: It’s just around the edges of the first 100 pages
DD: Gives it character? I hate messing up books

OK, typing this out is too time-consuming. Here, have some screen shots:

And we go on like that with silly word-play for a while. As you do. And then a little bit later, she sends this:

Why yes, I DO use up my annual quota of exclamation marks in text messages. And now I’ve got that creepy song about the Edmund Fitzgerald stuck in my head. Not helpful, brain.

Obviously, some of these distractions are unavoidable. I’m never going to ignore my kids when they text or call me. (She texted a few minutes later to say they were docking, in case you were worried.)

In related news, and speaking of distractions, after seven years of living in other states, my daughter and her husband are finally moving back to THIS state. I am absolutely thrilled and can’t wait for them to get here. In two weeks! *GASP* How did time fly so quickly? It seems like just last week instead of last summer that this decision became official.

Anyway, they’re coming home and then, two days later, as an interlude before starting new jobs . . . they’re leaving Jenny the dog here with her BFF, The White Ninja (and me), and going on an epic three-week road trip. To Points Unknown. Or so they say.

Given their history, I assume they know exactly where they’re going and that it involves proximity to BEARS, and they decided not to tell me their plans so I won’t worry. Please. Like that’s going to stop me.

Provided they survive close encounters of the BEAR kind, upon their return they’ll be living with me until they find a house to either rent or buy. This wasn’t their original plan, but the housing market here is insane. To say it’s a “seller’s market” is a vast understatement, especially in the area they want to live. It might take a while to find something.

This will be interesting. In a good way! Probably. I hope.

So I’ve been preparing for long-term houseguests. Little things like cleaning out the fridge and freezer and pantry, throwing away things that are expired or unidentifiable or inexplicable, so no one dies of food poisoning. Or shame.

I’m also clearing out some closet/cupboard space so they have room to put stuff that isn’t going into storage. When my daughter was here for a quick weekend visit toward the end of April, I convinced her to help me clear off a shelf in the under-stair closet since it held a few things of hers.

Although mostly it was my detritus, like this, which I thought some of you might find amusing:

Yes, that’s a bottle of Crème de Menthe. See the little Georgia liquor tax stamp? I’m not even going to tell you how long ago it was that I lived in Georgia. Suffice it to say, it’s so old it turned blue.

And then there was this little gem that I didn’t even know was IN that closet, shoved way in the back.

Not only do I not know how old it is or where it came from (I’ve never been to Puerto Vallarta), I have no explanation for why no one ever drank it. Too late now.

This is what happens when you have too much room for storage. Things just expand to fill all the available space and then “out of sight, out of mind” takes over until you need that space for something else. Or until you’re in the mood, as I have been lately, to purge all the “crap” from your life and simplify.

What else has been going on . . . Oh, my son-in-law was here for a long weekend in early May for job-related doings, and I made two big pans of lasagna (Ed Giobbi’s recipe, which is a ton of work but so worth it). Doesn’t it look good? It was.


My daughter was not happy to miss out and wanted her husband to bring some back on the plane. Yeah, right. I sent her the recipe.

Oh, here’s another distraction, even as I write this: My Bossy Older Sister just texted to tell me her son, who lives in NYC, was texting her about the free ebola on the subway.

Me: WHAT?!

Oh, turns out she meant free ebooks (thanks auto-correct) courtesy of the NYPL, celebrating the new free wi-fi on trains. Here’s a pic of the “book train” my nephew was on, which is pretty cool:

Are you starting to see why I haven’t posted for a while? There’s a lot going on but none of it is particularly interesting, let alone blog-worthy.

But I’m plugging along with the current story, in spite of having NO IDEA what I’m going to do with it once I’m done. I suspect that’s part of why it’s taking so long to finish. I’m dragging my feet — er, fingers? — and putting off that decision.

There’s so much uncertainty hovering over this particular project and it has me feeling all ambivalent and lacking momentum and at the same time completely stressed out.

One of my writer friends summed it up well a week or so ago in a group forum when she said she felt stuck because she couldn’t decide what to do with her story once she was done– whether to query agents or self-pub. In my mind I was all, “YES, EXACTLY.” But I didn’t say anything because I have no advice for her. It’s the kind of decision a writer has to make for herself. I know all the options, all the pros and cons of each, have read ALL the facts and opinions out there. And I can’t fucking make up my mind. Or rather, I make up my mind only to change it the next day, or the next hour, each time absolutely convinced I’ve finally made the best choice for this story. And then change my mind again.

I can’t adequately describe how frustrating this is. I’ve faced decisions in my life that were difficult, or that made me uncomfortable even when I knew what was for the best. I’ve honestly never encountered a decision like this where the sides are so evenly balanced that I don’t know what to do. Yeah, I’m a mess.

I know, I know. Cue the tiny first-world-problem violins. I need to just finish the story and THEN decide what to do. I’m trying. Actually, I’m very near to being done enough for delta readers.

And really, I need to hurry up and finish before my distractions manifest in physical form.

In two weeks.

I’m just glad they’re not arriving via ferry.



Filed under blogging, just for fun, parenting, writing

12 responses to “Whole lotta nuthin’ goin’ on

  1. I have trouble when I get close to the end of a story too. While I’m writing it, the story is mine, all mine, and nobody can judge it. Once it’s finished and sent out into the cold world, well, it doesn’t matter how tightly I bundle it up with a warm sweater and send it off with a nice lunch in a snazzy lunchbox. I can’t control its fate.
    Maybe you should save the tequila for McB’s next visit? Maybe not, though. I saved a margarita mix for years after the CB invasion and never used it. NMC doesn’t approve of margaritas. Or people coming to visit.
    Have you consulted TWN?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Y’know, I’m fine with sending a story out into the world. I’ve done that twice now and it no longer causes existential dread. Actually, I love that feeling, knowing other people are going to read it. All three of them. *sigh* I guess I’m having trouble deciding whether to make it walk to school or take the bus.

    Oh, TWN was all in favour of dumping the tequila in the trash (which I did, not being insane enough to poison myself). She’s only interested in kitty treats. And if she knew who was coming to see her in two weeks, she’d spend the entire time waiting by the back door, crying piteously. Like me. 😉


  3. Richard Maguire

    Hi KD. That lasagna does indeed look great; a work of art. But as I hate the taste of pasta, I’ve never eaten lasagna.

    Have you solved the dilemma yet of what to do with your story? You very kindly sent me some info to help deal with my own dilemma when the “No thank yous” from agents were beginning to accumulate. How often have we read about authors persisting in the face of endless rejection until finally they got lucky? But how many give up? That’s where I stand at the moment, on the brink of disillusionment with the whole fiction-writing business. I’ve completed just over 200 pages of the first draft of another novel…and gradually the thought that it’s a waste of time has been slowly setting in.

    I enjoy the process of writing, particularly rewriting. But spending months listening to my own voice inside my head, while struggling to make the story come even close to that first image that sparked the whole process, often seems a crazy way to spend time. Writing, if it’s going to be any way good at all, takes lots of hard work. I know that. And I know perfection will never be achieved. But then when the book and the endless revisions are done, facing the dilemma we’re talking about can be dispiriting.

    Time for some fresh air. I’m off now to do some real work. Clean out the hen house, refill the outdoor bath with fresh water for the goose, and feed the ducks.

    I wish you the best with your own writing.


  4. *GASP* Richard, I’ve never even heard of anyone hating the taste of pasta! I used gluten-free noodles, so I imagine you’d hate those even more.

    I know what you mean about wondering whether it’s all a waste of time. But a few people claim to enjoy my stories, so I carry on. I’m leaning a bit more toward self-pub for this story, but can’t seem to decide for sure. I just don’t know if I have the patience necessary to find an agent and work with a publisher. It’s all so SLOW. And restrictive. Which would be fine, I guess, if that were the only option.

    Good luck with the fowl. Compared to the cat, I’ve been thinking that being solely in charge of a black lab again in July will be a lot of work. HAHA! I’ll have to remember to be relieved my daughter isn’t leaving me with chickens and ducks and geese.


  5. It’s been a while since I visited; my new job’s been keeping me busy and not-writing 😦
    but wow I love the way you express yourself, KD. I’d forgotten exactly how much.
    Can I be your fourth reader? And as for ‘delta readers’ – I laughed out loud over that one.
    Thanks for writing, KD. I love it 🙂


  6. Richard Maguire

    KD, it’s not just pasta I can’t eat. Rice is on the list. When I was very young, the first time my mother put spaghetti on the table I thought it was a bunch of worms and almost puked. To this day, I can’t eat it. Similarly, rice. I was convinced what she was giving me was a plate of dead insects.

    I think you’ve helped me to solve my dilemma. I haven’t finally decided, but I’m leaning towards self-publishing. As you mention, traditional publishing is slow. But what annoys me is that first I need the permission of a stranger to get the manuscript to a publisher. Of course even then,acceptance may not follow. Back when I was writing scripts and was starry-eyed, and had an agent (never made him much money writing radio drama) he loved a TV movie script I sent him, and he was sure he could sell it. He tried, but there were no takers.

    Do you do all the work involved in self-publishing yourself? Apart from designing a cover. Or maybe that’s another talent you have? Is it difficult to format a Word document for the Kindle? Do you hire someone to do it? I’m clueless with technology.

    Well, good luck to you, too, with the black lab. I love dogs, and cats. Fowl are easier to look after than dogs. Physical work required every day, yes. But once they’ve been fed and their environment is clean and safe, they are happy.


  7. Oh yes, please self publish! That way I’ll get to read it right away.
    (Yes, it’s all about me.)
    Seriously, I sold my poor little manuscript in August of last year. It won’t be published until January. Of, like, next year.

    And I didn’t mean to suggest Fear of Finishing Things (FFT) was your issue too. That’s another nice thing about self publishing this new story — you’ve got a couple already out there, so you’ve built up an audience who is waiting for your stuff. Eagerly waiting.

    Not patiently waiting, mind you, but eagerly.


  8. LOL! Evelyn, I’m not sure how many people are *eager* for more of my stories. Pretty sure most of them have given up on me finishing anything, ever again. But thank you. And honestly, there IS that element of FFT, always. But with this project, it comes in a distant second to the frustration of not knowing what to do with it once I’m done.


  9. Kae, I’ve missed your comments (and your enthusiasm)! I’m sorry your job has kept you so busy, but it does sound like you enjoy it. I hope you can find time for writing again soon.

    Yeah, “delta” readers is a nod to Delta Force more than it is to the numerical sequence. Well, it’s both. “Beta” readers just sound sort of wimpy to me. Like they’d tell you your work was brilliant, but they’d really be wondering what the hell you thought you were doing and perhaps even planning an intervention to help you comes to your senses about pursuing another line of work. I’d rather have delta readers. 🙂


  10. Richard that sounds rather traumatic. I have a similar visceral reaction to tapioca in pudding– they remind me of little eyeballs. Can’t eat them.

    Formatting a document for self-pub is MUCH easier than it used to be. There are even places now that will do it for you. I haven’t used them, but I’ve heard several writers recommend DraftToDigital.com. [OOOPS. Edit: it’s draft2digital.com] They will even upload your document to various distributors, but of course they take an additional percentage of proceeds. Vellum is another one, but I think it’s only for Mac users. It’s not that hard to do it yourself, you just need to read about it and be patient with the learning process.

    And no, I don’t have any talent for cover art. Or any kind of art. But again, these days there are a ton of people you can hire to do that as well. Thank god, or all my covers would have stick people on them.


  11. Richard Maguire

    Thanks for the additional info, KD. Appreciate it. Have a good 4th July.


  12. Good luck with it, Richard. And thanks. I’m hoping for a quiet evening with minimal trauma to the dog and cat, who truly dislike sudden loud explosive noises. ☹️