IN BETWEEN

An image from dried Iris leaves, part of a series I did while in grad school at UCLA.

I wanted to post a piece of my art from the past to illustrate my “in between” state that I am currently in: the center egg, about to give birth, nestled in the colorful foliage, being nurtured and protected.

This is how I feel after coming home from my last conference, well for that matter, all of the conferences I have attended in the last three years.  I am nurtured by all the generous writing professionals I am privileged to spend time with, by their advice and their encouragement.  Thanks to all of you.

I am protected by nature and nurtured by my husband and my animals in this wonderful place I call home.  This little piece of land in Leaf River, Illinois.  This beauty that I am lucky to wake up to each morning.

I am in between because of all the changes that are taking place and will take place as a result of my experience at the conferences, and for that matter, with any of the wonderful members of the writing community that I can now say I am a part of.  My life is rich and full.

This is kinda strange for me to be writing this, because yesterday, I hit a wall.  The ultimate fear.  That my work will never be done.  Never be good enough–at least for me.  I went to sleep and woke up realizing that it was okay.  I’ll send it off anyway, and continue to work, to make it better.

I read a blog today about a writer waiting for an agent to respond, the torture, the development of patience, or else madness.  I get this.  I used to be this way in my younger days.  But now, with 62 years of experience, years I am proud to have survived, I think it is different for me.  I actually sent off some pages to an editor months ago, and then promptly forgot that I had, too busy editing, over and over again, starting another book, a YA.  But now, I need to get organized because I will see that agent again next week at a conference in Evanston.  I need to take care of business.

That is the struggle being in this create profession.  We need to be creative, but it is also a profession.  We need to take care of business.  Achieving balance is the challenge.  Especially when I feel like a school kid, learning all kinds of new skills, Twitter, Gravatar, Scrivener.  I know I should be doing links to all of these for anyone who might be reading this blog, but that will have to wait for another post.  I need to get back to finishing the edit to my first 100 pages, well to the entire manuscript for that matter.  It is begging to be sent off, to start its own life out in the world of readers.  It is time.

I’ll work on balance some more tomorrow.

The storm has passed, the rain has ended.

It has been raining, for more than a day, a nice, steady rain, soft and gentle, a healing rain after a long period of stress, weeks and weeks of drought, with strong dry winds and baking heat. The back of the heat has been broken with an almost shocking coolness, like a death after a long illness.

A peaceful night comes.

The suffering has ended. Transformation has come. The earth has come back to life–greener than green.

The hay in the field cut early from the wet, warm March begins to grow again.  The trees, already fully leafed-out, have their bounce back; lost is the fragile brittleness that the stress of the heat had created. The baby vegetables that had slumped from the harsh winds are perked back up, ready to sprout the fruit and flowers for the coming harvest to sustain me as I heal.

Sunny smiles

For I have been injured too, by the death of my 13 year old Golden Retriever, Sunny.  He was a good dog.  Always happy to greet a newcomer.  Bouncing with joy for any treat.  Eager to be at my side.  I will miss him.

Happy Dog

And Jazzy too, who we lost last year, long before her time.  She had been only seven and horribly sick for over a year when we finally ended her suffering.

Sunny seemed to suffer for only a day, a holiday when our vet was out of town.  So I stayed by his side to offer what comfort I could.

Both gone now.

Max is lonely now.  He’s cousin of Jazzy’s who we rescued last year to help Sunny and me through our grief.   No longer playful, Max huddles at my feet where ever I go in the house, struggling to please me in any way, his dark brown eyes sad.

Lonely now.

I hope to stay near him as much as I can because, for the first time in almost thirty years, we will be a one-dog family.  Max can still chase the cats about the house, but they cannot fill the hole that Sunny’s loss has created.

Goodbye old friend.

So we will mourn for a time and see if we can make due.  Times are hard and traveling is on the horizon.  Maybe next year we’ll think about getting another dog.  Not now.  Not yet.

I love you too.

 

 

Internet Overwhelm

Broken by Takahiro Kimura

I’ve been struggling with technology…for weeks.  Right now I’m in major overwhelm.  I get up in the morning, boggled with where to start, and then I read a timely blog from JANE FRIEDMAN asking why.   http://janefriedman.com/  Why are people of my generation so overwhelmed?  So here goes.

I’m 62, more techie than some my age, but still lacking in skills I need daily.  The problem is, I prefer to spend most of my time being creative (writing and art) rather than “learning the tools” to facilitate that creativity.

It’s also true with communications.  I love a good conversation.  However, having one on line can be difficult.  So many new skills and knowledge sets are required.  Unlike tools of my craft, technology keeps changing, getting more diverse, and more complicated (like viruses that are even attacking Mac’s.  OMG!).

I’ve had a blog for over a year, but after spending the weeks to design it and execute my design, I was worn out.  Regular Posts is a hurdle I’ve yet to conquer.  I returned to writing to take a break–which  adversely affects my newly acquired tech skills because when I don’t use the programs regularly, I forget how to.

To make it worse, when I do take the time away from writing to add to my knowledge base of Word Press, Facebook or Twitter, I find the “How To” manuals, blog instructions and videos incomplete, inadequate, or too complicated to understand.  In other words, it’s not well written.

I can stub my toe on a little thing, something I can’t figure out about a particular program or app, and it diverts me for hours and sometimes days, trying to find an answer–often to no avail.

The other problem is that there is just too much of everything on the internet–especially opinions.  I went to a Mac support group last night to get some help with GTD apps (I had to look it up to see that “getting things done” was exactly the help I needed) such as Evernote.

Everyone seemed to be eager to help, but in the end, I was just more confused.  They each had different recommendations, which leaves me with a “new” long list of apps to research to see if it will work for my needs.  I thought I had done that, but many of them pointed out problems and bad experiences with what I thought was a good choice.

After putting in hours researching and trying to learn the app with little to no success,  I’m back to square one.  To make it worse, I now mistrust my own judgement on “anything techie.”  And, messing with all this technology, I’m not writing.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love technology.

I wrote most of my book on the Ipad, using the Cloud to transfer it to my computer (and back and forth many times) for editing.  When it comes to research, Google is the best present I ever got!  Answers to all my silly questions with the touch of a few keys.  But can we trust the answers we get to the important questions?  I think we first must test it out for ourselves.  Again, everything takes time.  And that is the most precious commodity.

 

Despite the best intentions, technology created to make our lives simpler is at the same time making it more complicated. Dealing with the immense amount of new information poured into our daily lives is backing us against the wall.  How do we cope?

There is no simple answer–except maybe patience–giving it more time.  Not giving up.  And asking for help.

So, Jane, in response to your question, I give you one back.  Can you suggest an effective note-taking app for writers?

Also, is there an online community of tech help for writers (one where occasional answers can be answered for free?  And classes specifically for writer’s needs when we’re ready for more?

I know there are a million out there.  You’re the guru of giving writers information in bite (byte?) size bits so we can absorb it and integrate it into our lives.  If anyone can answer my question, you can.