NaNoWriMo

Apologies for the absence.

Here’s a few reasons for it:

  1. It’s NaNoWriMo. I’m about 5k words into a new project and it’s day 5, meaning I’m significantly behind.
  2. Struggled to finish last project in time for NaNo. I didn’t finish the conclusion on purpose because I clearly finished the outline in a huff of disgust for being the 3rd draft of THE OUTLINE and having taken 5 months to complete said outline. The conclusion was a mess and, since I deviated from the outline, it was an even bigger mess. Editing will be a joy.
  3. Fatigue.
  4. Guilt over not working on current projects.
  5. Working
  6. Social life getting in the way. I’ve regretted leaving the house…………gaah.

I have plans for two articles I want to write on here, but they will have to wait until I see the big 5-0 in my Scrivener word count.

Truth be told, I’ve been looking forward to writing this story for months. I just had to finish the vegetables that was my WIP to get to this dessert. Now that I’m working on it, I find the exact same urges to put it off, to pause, to wait until my mind feels “ready” to write. Oddly enough, having plans later in the day and the resulting time crunch actually motivate me to write more instead of days where I have every daylight and night hour to write.

I hate that.

Ok, now that I’ve procrastinated by writing here, it’s time to do the writing I’m supposed to be doing.

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Last Pumpkin from Lombardi’s

We called it “The Pumpkin Patch.”

Halloween was my favorite holiday as a kid. Christmas had an air of melancholy that struck a too-sensitive chord even in my childish heart. Easter was fun, but didn’t particularly stand out.

Halloween was the night we roamed the streets at night for candy–and it was allowed.

I loved the cool of fall. The darkness of it. The wildness of it.

As I grew older, I started loving autumn for other reasons: the respite from the oppressive Southwestern heat, the gray that matched the melancholy that hung on you like a shawl rather than a jab to the heart, the sweet kiss of crisp air on your face, the warm, sweet foods that comforted you. The solemn, lovely, dignified dying of spring born growth.

The Pumpkin Patch, Lombardi Ranch its true name, always kept the festive harvest spirit. It celebrated life born in spring, that labored in growth through summer, and burst forth in all its glory at the height of October. It had mazes in sunflower and corn fields, scarecrow contests with creations hewn by local hands both adorable and morbid to stand along the same path and be admired. The petting zoos brought an opportunity for city and suburban dwellers to lay their hands on creatures they may only see once or twice a year, so distant from agriculture despite living off its bounty year round. Photo opportunities too. The giant jack o’ lantern. It’s probably older than I am.

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The jack o’ lantern of Lombardi.

Not every memory was a cheerful one.

I loved Winnie the Pooh. I had a tendency to copy a lot of what I saw on television when I was a little thing; one part of the show that left an impression on me was how Rabbit grew his own vegetables. It inspired me to grow a green thumb when I was barely old enough to read the seed packets. I managed to grow a few things (what the gardeners didn’t destroy) but one plant stuck out in my memory.

One year, I planted a sunflower in our front yard that grew to be a giant. Now, this might not seem very impressive, but it didn’t take long for a sunflower to outgrow me at that time. It looked like any other sunflower, with yellow petals and a stalk that rose like a skyscraper over the shrubs. According to family accounts, I was quite proud of my sunflower.

One day an adult relative tore it out.

I don’t remember how much this affected me, but my mother does. She told me the story years later. We went to the pumpkin patch soon after the loss of the sunflower. Of course, they had their annual crop of behemoths with faces wider than dinner plates, towering over the adults. The moment I lay eyes on them, I was inconsolable. Kids aren’t always known for crying tears that matter, maybe mine didn’t, but it seems I was in mourning. Something I cultured was gone. Here stood others that still lived and beamed at me from above, but not my flower.

What you create can be gone in an instant through no action or say of your own. You are a being in the universe and you are small.

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The prison that once held my little brother Lord knows how many years ago. He served just long enough to get a few snapshots.

Once I found a caterpillar outside and raised it to adulthood. It became a moth. It was white with black dots. The adults looked at it and suspected it was an invasive species, but that didn’t change the way I viewed it. It was fed by my hand and grew under my protection. It’s life and existence had value because it was alive and here and mine. It wasn’t my first either. My first was yellow with black dots. It too grew to adulthood and we released it to live a natural life in what was probably not its native surroundings.

This second moth stood out, mostly because of its life after it hatched from the chrysalis. The thing was either still recovering from emergence or its sheltered upbringing left an impression on its little moth brain. It seemed a bit apprehensive about taking flight. I don’t remember my first being the same way, but it took so long to fledge it caught my attention and even the attention of my family. My mother, siblings, and I tried to coax it several times to take to the wing but it would not fly.

I was patient.

Later in the day, the moth and I went into the back yard, just the two of us. I held out my hand from the railing overlooking the hilltop of neighbor’s yard.

From there, it took flight. Out of my reach. Into life.

Once it flew into the trees I could no longer see it. I went inside, climbed the stairs up to my room and cried. My baby was grown and gone.

The moth’s story didn’t end there.

Some time later, probably a few months. I was playing in the back yard when I saw a moth crawling on one of my toys. It was white, with black spots, some of the fluff worn off from age. It let me pick it up without fear.

I knew.

I brought it inside and we spent time together. Old times.

My baby came back to say hello, thank you, and goodbye.

After a brief reunion, I returned it to the world it now claimed as home and it flew away. It didn’t come back again. It had other places to fly, ones it could not return from. And that was ok.

*Note. The reminiscence piqued my curiosity and I did a little research on my moth. I suspect it was a female salt marsh moth. It’s native to our region, so not invasive after all. Whew.*

By Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren (# 8131 – Estigmene acrea – Salt Marsh Moth) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Growth never stops. Neither does change.

A few years ago, our region experienced a drought so severe that the ranch couldn’t grow enough produce to put on the event. It took a break. And did so the next year. The owner is elderly and his family is tired too.

Rumor has it that Lombari’s is closing for good.

It was open this weekend. Only this weekend. Just a small section of the property. No scarecrows, no corn or sunflowers, no mazes, no petting zoos. Just a small patch of pumpkins, the jack o’ lantern photo-op, and a view of the grounds where childhood happened. The places my grandparents walked with us; grandpa is gone, grandma is here, but I am all too aware of the brevity of life.

I’m going to be 30 years old in a few months. It sounds strange, or maybe it doesn’t, but I feel this birthday creeping up on me like a rolling wave ready to rearrange the shoreline.

I won’t go into every detail, but next year promises some big changes in terms of life circumstances and lifestyle in general. And that’s just the things I’m expecting. Life has a way of bringing the unexpected.

I won’t lie, change frightens me. I feel the hand of God whenever actual change does happen because I rarely instigate it and, more often than not, it’s dropped onto my lap or forced upon me. This upcoming one is mix of both. I have an opportunity, but grasping it will take effort and decision-making on my part.

And I’m scared.

When I parted Lombardi’s today, I left with a little squat pumpkin, the kind child me would have picked, a commemorative bag and pencil, and sat in my car and sobbed. My childhood is dying. I’m a 29 year old woman and I don’t feel even remotely like an adult. My 20s are a marvelous straddling of two worlds. One is both chaotic and stagnant, rarely truly happy, but familiar. The other is the unknown, filled with prospects and threats.

It could mean flying away to live a full life the way God intended, or being pulled from the roots to wilt in a garbage can. I trust God, I know I have to fly someday. His hand is not one that leaves you.

But I’m still scared.

My little white moth had valid reasons to be afraid to leave my hand. It was embarking on a world filled with hungry mouths eager to snap it up, wind, rain, heat, an uncertain food supply, and strange humans with hands less gentle than the one it clung to, but it still opened its wings to adventure. To purpose. To life.

Maybe one could learn lessons from that brave little moth.

I’ll try to remember.

And I’ll remember the days at Lombardi, ones that were sunny but cool, where we could smell the hay and feel the hollow thump on our palms as we selected our pumpkins. I’ll remember the roots, but spread the wings.

End of the Day Deflate

Dear God help me, I just finished the 2k words. It was actually 2,002, but who’s counting? Me. I’m counting. It’s done. I’m going to keep nursing this glass of cheap pinot noir and leave the WIP alone. I’ve been a spastic mess all day– probably from the choco/latte combo but I’d be a mess anyway.

I need help.

I don’t want help. I just need to do something productive and not crumble in a seizing mass.

Ten days left. Hopefully less so I can make something that resembles plans for NaNoWriMo. Sometimes your brain just says “no more” even though you don’t want to stop. I literally have no energy for anything else besides writing, procrastinating, and thinking about how I should be writing. I love this path, but this is its nature, and that has to be ok.

I have plans for two posts I want to make here but I don’t have the energy or mental acuity to create either one, at least I don’t think so. This is just going to be a stupid ramble.

This can’t be boring though. There are few sins in writing, or many, but one you cannot deny is it’s a sin to be boring.

I need to exercise. That’s the problem. Byebye screen. Byebye.

Writer Food

All right. So I’ve got my coffee and my triple chocolate bunt cake at my side, ready for another probably-too-caffinated day of writing. Yesterday was only mildly productive by my pre-established standards. I wrote two blog posts, including one that I set on a schedule to be posted this morning, and about 1.5k words in my manuscript.

Why is that so little to me?

Because I want to be finished with that WIP by NaNo season and I’m still at a crawl. I chalk it up to the like, full day, I need to recover after a shift for some reason. I hate that it takes me so long to readjust. It’s not healthy. Almost as not healthy as my brunch.

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Disgusting and delicious.

I had five scrambled eggs plus spicy toppings for breakfast and a pre-breakfast workout so that should even me out somewhat on the “healthy lifestyle” scale. Ok, in all seriousness, I’ve cut back on the amount of coffee in the homemade latte so that should reduce the overcaffeination that helped bring about yesterday’s Bernie gush.

The goal today is 2k words in the WIP. This was just a warmup and a big hug to you, my dear readers. You raise my self-esteem by your existence alone. Keep existing. Not just for my sake, but for other writers in need of a mind to transmit their thoughts to, eyes to pass over the same symbols birthed from chocolate-covered fingertips and coffee, another heart who understands on some level the thoughts and feelings where such words were conceived.

And if you write, you definitely need to keep existing. And writing. A reader needs you. You need them.

Now we create.

Coffee, Chocolate, and Adorable Old Men

Ok, I need to stop.

I have to take a break for a moment to address something. A confession.

Bernie Sanders is just too adorable.

Now the confession:

I can barely handle looking at pictures of him, much less soundbites and video. It seizes my heart too much because he’s so freaking cute and it hurts. I don’t watch speeches and debates when my mind and soul feel spent because it’s just too much energy to endure how precious this little old man is.

Why does it hurt to see or hear something that is just too cute for you? I don’t understand it. It angers me. It’s frustrating how something can make you so happy you can’t touch it. It’s like fire. It warms you, but it BERRRNNS.

I don’t even think I’m a true socialist. I registered Republican when I was 18 and never looked back until the 2016 hellhole happened. Before that, I just accepted the narrative I was given from childhood and onward by my family and that was that. Then Trump came along and I was like…..hmmmmmmmmmmmmm……. This isn’t right.

It was like looking into a giant mirror that showed the biggest flaws of the party in glaring detail. It was ugly. It was scary. I had to face what it actually meant to be a leader, the kind of person I wanted to be my president. I couldn’t mindlessly check the red box anymore because what I was seeing in the primaries didn’t reflect what I wanted to see in the White House. It wasn’t how I wanted my country to be.

Bernie came along when I was doubting every structure I believed in. He didn’t seem so absorbed in the typical mudslinging, which is what drew me to him first. Then I started listening. I still didn’t agree with everything he said, but he wasn’t like the others. He was the only candidate who seemed honest and who actually talked about the issues real people were dealing with.

I stopped caring about parties. I started caring about compassion. I started wanting something greater in my leadership. I wanted a decent president who cared more about people than politics, someone I could look at and not wonder if they were a corporate sponsored sociopath. Bernie became a symbol of hope when the lights flicked on and I saw how messed up things were and just wanted a president who cared about us.

That being said, I don’t automatically subscribe to something just because Bernie Sanders believes in it; I do my own research before really backing a cause. Honestly, I think there are pros and cons to every human-made system and humanity is inherently evil and stupid so we’re going to screw it up eventually no matter what.

But before everything falls into bedlam, we have things to be thankful for. Things to make us happy.

My thing is a septuagenarian jewish man from Vermont with messy white hair and soooo much spunk.

 

I’ve seen him speak three times.

If I live long enough to be a septuagenarian and have grandchildren, I will tell them that I saw Bernie with my own eyes. I will tell them to seek out what they admire in life so that when the time comes for their bodies deteriorate, when they lay in a bed and all they have left is memory (if they’re lucky enough to have memories) they’ll know they made the best use of the youth and strength God gave them and that they got to see the moon and stars with their own eyes before they close them forever.

 

 

Also, caffeine is a hell of a drug.

Back from Hibernation

I’ve been absent due to work. Tired. I’m recovered. Also super high on caffeine.

Added a few more words to the manuscript already today but had to take a quick break, now I’m here. This blog is neglected. That’s wrong. I’m definitely high.

I need to be able to write even when I’m drained from work. Extroverts happen at my work. They are nice extroverts, but such creatures still require a great deal of energy to interact with, however, they’re paying me for my interaction so they are entitled to it.

Entering a fantastic period in my story which is good, especially since it’s close to the end. I need to finish this.

There are so many things happening in November that I’m a bit concerned for NaNoWriMo, but I might have to pick and choose my activities. There is no way I will allow myself to fail. I’m even considering using the actual website this year instead of doing it independently like I’ve done in the past. I met my 50k goal when that happened. It was nice to complete it in solitude. It’s going to be weird to actually share it with people, but then I can perhaps encourage others as well.

That’s what we writers really need to do: encourage one another.

And egads, I need to finish this and do more planning. I’m going to be pantsing way too much in November.

Soy and Solitude

The writing life improved following my last post. I added over 2k to my WIP and tonight is going to be a Writing Night. I have a Bolthouse Farms Vanilla Chai Tea by my side and a chocolate cookie in my tummy (poor impulse control again) and there’s Trader Joe’s dark chocolate under my bed in case of emergency. There’s also pho in my tummy to tango with that cookie so I’m a pretty happy camper.

I didn’t sleep last night so, after coming home from work, I went straight to bed and slept through much of the day. Hopefully I can get a nap in before morning because I’ll be out of the house for about 13 hours or so for work-related shenanigans.

I should say there is no drama in my life or mind right now, and that’s true. During my last waking period (I hesitate to call them days) I frequently encountered stories and videos on social media that saddened me; most of these have already washed through my mind and I don’t remember what they were, only that felt like being a rock on the beach battered by wave after wave. Some people in my life are going through dark times, so that was an undercurrent of concern and sorrow in general.

Also, pretty sure I’m PMSing.

Tonight will be a night of productivity no matter what’s going on in the world or within my brain and body. Content must be born and art must express.

Time to imbibe some chai and soy concoction.