Archive | January 2017

On the Mend

I’m getting over a particularly nasty cold. Last Wednesday, I felt the first scratch in my throat and instantly loaded up on all the vitamins, juice, etc I could handle. Weak and tired, I managed to plug through until Sunday morning, when it seemed the worst was over and I might be feeling more like myself by the end of the day.

Um, no.

I started sneezing around noon. In rhythm, it seemed like every 14 minutes the sneezes came. Heavy, powerful, back wrenching sneezes. At one juncture, I let loose 8 in a row, followed by a set of six. The runny nose accompanied the sneezing, followed by watery eyes, a massive headache, pain in my back.

Sleep was almost impossible, as the sneezing continued into the night and next morning. Finally, Monday evening I was able to settle down and get some rest. Tuesday, the headache and dizziness returned. Luckily, this morning is much better, and I think I may finally be on the mend.

Things I am tired of-

Ibuprofen

Cold medicines

Airborne tablets

Sore nostrils

Sore eyes

Tissues

That flat, metallic taste in the back of my throat

Things I am grateful for-

A wonderful spouse who takes care of me

Warm blankets and a warm place to sleep

sleep itself

Old war movies

Hot beverages

Good books to read

 

Happy Wednesday.

 

 

Three Down

I’ve been doing quite well with my arbitrary goal of reading *more* than last year.

I am not the fastest reader on the planet, but I have been able to finish three books this month and am well into a 4th. If I am able to maintain this pace, that should triple my number from 2016.

It is all so very exciting.

I made a bold pick for book #1, choosing a novel from Catherine O’Flynn. Her first book, What was Lost, was sensational (and a little bit spooky). Her second effort, The News Where You Are, was not as groovy. I struggled to finish it, almost quitting on two or three occasions. I was betting on the hit or miss being a cycle in her writing, and I was correct.

Mr. Lynch’s Holiday was a great work of literary fiction about a recently widowed Irishman who lives in England deciding to take a vacation to reconnect with his son, who has found himself in Spain, residing in a sea-side community gone bust with a bunch of other ex-pats. Secrets are shared and revealed. Lives are altered. An all around good read.

The second book I attacked was The Secret Speech, by Tom Rob Smith. Number 2 in the Child 44 trilogy, this story unfolds around events surrounding a speech given by Nikita Khrushchev just after the death of Stalin through the Hungarian uprising of 1956. The crimes of the Stalinist regime are exposed and the members of the secret police become targets of vengeful criminals. Caught up in this chaos is Leo Demidov, former MGB officer, his wife and recently adopted daughters. As the secrets of Leo’s past are exposed, he will fight to preserve the lives of his family at any cost. I love the historical elements in this series, and the political intrigue, betrayal the tangible fear of Soviet era Russia drive the stories. A fun, fast read.

Third, I finished a mystery novel called Woman with Birthmark, By Hakan Nesser. Inspector Van Veeteren is back on the case, trying to solve a series of confusing and brutal murders. Each victim is shot twice in the chest and twice below the belt. The connections-each of these men served in a military training course together decades ago and each victim received phone calls where the caller would play an obscure pop song from the 1960’s. With several chapters written from the killer’s perspective, the real reason for the crimes is pretty easy to figure out, but the book is a fun read. I enjoy these sorts of crime novels, because the killer is rarely some monstrous uncontrollable evil, but someone realistic and understandable. Not every murderer is Jack the Ripper and not every mystery novel needs to be about the crime of the decade.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been reading. What are you reading this month? Anything exciting that I should check out?

 

 

January 11

One day closer to warmer weather.

Another successful day, moving me closer to accomplishing several personal goals.

Shaking off the rust of too many months of inaction.

Approaching the beginning of a writing project with anxiety and excitement.

There is still much to do, but oh so many things to be grateful for.

Onward and upward.

How are you?

 

 

IWSG-January

The kids are back in school. Sheryl’s too short vacation is over and she has returned to the office. The house has resumed its usual daytime stillness, settling back into routine.

Welcome to winter.

Oh, and welcome to the first Wednesday of the month, which is of course when the members of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group gather to share our writing adventures, successes and failures. Check us out here-http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

Every writer is an insecure one, so join in the fun.

InsecureWritersSupportGroupBadge-300x295

I am roughly four weeks away from learning the fate of my poetry chapbook. The fine folks at http://www.blacklawrence.com/ are at this moment, selecting the finalists, which hopefully includes my work. I entered fairly early in the window, so the wait has been/felt extra long. I’d like to pretend there were days I didn’t worry, or wonder. Less time has been spent stressing about it all than in October (the sleepless nights I’ll never get back), and I’ve swallowed the nervousness that kept me from even looking at the poems (certain there would be a million typos, misspelled words). Still, I am more than ready for this process to come to a conclusion. I feel confident about the work, and if for some reason, I am not a finalist, I will be alright.

Really.

But dammit, I so want to win.

When I was sending out query letters for my first novel, I fully expected the rejection. I never felt I’d created a solid letter, and if I wasn’t sure about what I was submitting, it was unlikely any agent reading it would feel any differently.

In this contest (unless they are being completely dishonest about the process), it is a blind reading, and no one on the committee has any clue who wrote what until after the decisions have been made. My ability to write about my work is not being evaluated, but rather the writing itself. I’ve always thought that if I could get someone at some press somewhere to actually read my work, that would be all it took.

What if I’m completely wrong?

I know, I know, rejection is rarely about the person (right?), but that doesn’t make this any less frightening. And maybe rejecting me would actually be less disheartening than rejecting what I’ve created.

Four more weeks…

Maybe I need some company in my misery. Do any of you have some heartbreaking rejection stories you’d like to share?