147. On Writing 50,000 Words in November



It was an up and down affair. Have you ever heard the folktale/joke routine That’s good, That’s bad? Mostly it’s the joke that goes, “Oh, that’s good. No, that’s bad because… Oh, that’s bad. No, that’s good because…

Yes. That’s the way my November went.

  • It was good when my characters did things that were totally surprising that I hadn’t planned. It’s true. It happens.
  • It was bad when that character led me to a wall and I had no idea where to go next.
  • It was good to leap over that wall and jump into unknown territory.
  • It was bad when a character just flowed from the keyboard to the screen, and I had no idea who he was. It’s true. It happens.
  • It was good when suddenly I had an aha moment, and that character joined the rest of the crew just like it had always been planned.
  • It was bad when I got to the middle and seemed to be slogging around and around in the Slough of Despond.
  • It was good when that terrible ‘stuck-in-the-middle’ disappeared and the words began to flow across the screen as fast as I could type them.
  • It was bad when I wrote a phrase that made me cringe in despair.
  • It was good when I wrote something that made me laugh out loud.
  • It was bad when I re-read the beginning and wondered what I was trying to get across…
  • It was good when I took that  crappy narrative beginning and tried to turn it into poetry —  And. It. Worked.
  • It was bad when I felt as if I was totally wasting my time — What am I doing writing this stupid novel that’s lousy, too detailed, and no one’s going to read it, and I’ve spent all my spare time — and time that wasn’t spare — on the dumb thing.
  • It was good when I reread one of my chapters and thought “ooh, I like that.”
  • It was bad when Mr. H.C. would say, “Don’t worry, I don’t need to eat tonight.” :-)
  • It was good when Mr. H.C. said, “If this is something that you need to do, then do it.”

I started with 7 chapters written, which I did not use in my word count. The few days before Nov. 1, instead of writing another chapter, I wrote an outline. This was genius, if I do say so myself. I also did a vague timeline, which was less helpful, but I still did refer to it and adapt it as I wrote.

So, I won’t bore you with more words. I’ve got to get back to my novel, because IT STILL ISN’T FINISHED.

I don’t know how or when or if I’ll finish, but I do know this: I’m 52,962 words ahead of where I was on November 1.

And it feels good.

Oh, that’s good.

No, that’s  bad, because I’m still not done.

Oh, that’s bad.

No it’s good, because — I did it!

Oh, that’s good.

Yes, it is…


Now if you’ll excuse me, I have laundry to do…

141. A Rant: How Can Color Go Out-of-Style?

Editor’s Note: The writer has never in her adult life claimed to be in style or cared about being in style. Yet, like everyone who has eyes and ears, the writer is affected by what she sees, so in that case, we are all affected by what is in style, whether we want to be (or care) or not. 

This post has been swirling around in my head and on my computer for months. It’s been edited and re-edited. Mostly it just irritates me that there are Colors of the Year. Indeed, how can a color go in and out of style?

ColorWheelJewel tones? lush emerald, dark ruby red, and midnight blue. Beautiful always, yes?

Nature tones? pine green, autumn rust, walnut brown? Beautiful always, yes?

Brights? sunny yellow, lime green, sky blue? Beautiful always, yes?

Designers and style companies tell us that the number one way to sell your house faster is to get rid of those “out-of-style” paint colors and “do fresh.” Shabbiness and fading aside, I’d just like to point out that the colors we’re being told to paint over now, are the colors we were told to paint then.

Earlier this year (when we still had a house on the real estate market) Zillow sent me an article called Top 5 Home Design Trends of 2015. I don’t know why I read it; curiosity, I guess. But it just irritated me greatly. (Judging from the comments, this was true for many people…) So in case, you care about such things, midnight blue is in, coral and other Bright Colors are out — according to this particular designer. I’m not sure how she could proclaim that coral is out, but she did. Perhaps it is now called Melon?

A few years ago I remember reading that the new bright colors reflected the happy, positive mood of consumers. I guess we’re not happy any longer… (I’m very glad that Midnight Blue is back in, though. I painted a dining room wall that color in 1982; I loved it then, and I still love that color now.)

About fifteen years ago my daughter wanted a mint green formal for the senior prom. We went to every JoAnn Fabric store in Western PA (and there are a lot!) until finally some nice clerk at the fabric counter took pity on me. No, she told us. You can’t get that color this year. It just isn’t being made. You can get this pretty celery green, instead?

This is just one of the RGB charts available from My Practical Skills, a design student's dream site.

This is just one of the RGB color charts available from My Practical Skills, a design student’s dream site. Can you pick the shades that are in style?

Yes, we can’t have everything all the time, but for ten years I looked for deep forest green accessories to go with a rug — pillows, curtains, fabric, bedspread — anything!

Nothing — that’s what I found. So if a color is not “in” just wait ten years until your rug wears out…

Yes, there are way more important issues in the world, but isn’t this symptomatic of our Western culture of materialism? Planned obsolescence — if the color is out-of-style then we’re likely to replace it, aren’t we? That deep, dark green that is the color of pine trees? Out? Outre? Not available? Because a bunch of industry leaders in a board room got together and decreed it, so they can sell more stuff in a different “updated” shade of green?

In my humble opinion :-) color should not be associated with in style or out-of-style. If you want to call my shirt or my couch or my lamp out of fashion, fine. But leave color out of it.

I found the tablecloth below– unopened in its original package — in an antique store last fall. I loved the colors, and they go in my dining room perfectly. I know that the tablecloth is probably out, but I. Don’t. Care. It’s perfect, and I smile every time I put it on the table. Isn’t that what color is about?

And the color on my dining room wall?

Yep, I still love that deep forest green of pine trees. Only now it’s back in. Just don’t call it Forest Green.

120. A Little House-Keeping

Never had much use for house keeping,
Slut’s wool gathers under the bed.
Cat hair fluffs and floats in corners;
I’d rather read and write instead.

Or wander off into the forest,
finding crumbs along the trail,
Capturing light, watching chipmunks,
Listening to leaves tell their tale…


There isn’t much house-keeping happening at the cottage these days.

It’s a time of waiting;
a time of gathering in;
a time of accepting the darkness and lighting a candle.

So this month my blog posts will change a bit.
I’m joining up with PhotoBlogging 101.

I’m going to try to improve my camera skills
by posting a photo every day,
and my written posts will come on the weekends.
For anyone who bothers to keep track of how things are done around here,
the photo posts will not be numbered.
And they will showcase the overall theme of gratitude.

Because I’m thankful.
For it all.
Even the darkness.
Gratitude is greater than sorrow.
Gratitude grasps the hope of tomorrow.

fall through the window