Gray Mare’s Summer of Writing!

This is the first official day of Gray Mare’s Summer of Writing! 

I thought I’d just show a couple of the tools I’ll be using to keep myself on track.

The Daily Check List

Not everything has to be done every day.  And The Husband is off on Sundays and Mondays, so that’s my new weekend.

Sit Ups/Yoga/Arms and Walking are in my plan for every morning.  Naturally, when I take off work, the temps go nearly triple digit!  First thing in the morning should work, though.

Writing will definitely be every day.  Looking forward to huge blocks of time where I sit and convince myself to put words on the page.  I’ve been reading a lot about resistance lately (Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art deals pretty much exclusively with resistance and even Julia Cameron mentions it in The Artist’s Way), not that I haven’t been dealing with it all my life, but now I have some tools to outsmart it.

Editing will be a top priority on the novelette as soon as I finish the novella I’m working on now.  I have another two or three chapters of the Christmas romance, then I can put that aside and get some distance from it while I start the editing process for the story of my teenage take on my parent’s marriage.

Reading—well, that shouldn’t be too hard, considering I have To Be Read piles, plural!

Cleaning should maybe have been Decluttering.  We have way too much stuff and there will be days I’ll devote to Marie Kondo’ing this house.

Old Writing—I have some short stories on paper only that I need to type into the computer and save to a flash drive.  I also want to put them on my website, just to get them out there. 

Journal—I’ve always journaled but never consistently.  Somewhere in early 2020, someone online suggested that journaling would be very important, both to record the times we were living in and help us get through those times without losing our minds.  Still not uber consistent, I have managed to journal more than at any other time in my life and I want to continue that.  I was also just reading my copy of The Artist’s Way, that I’ve had forever and never cracked open until now…  One of the tools that Cameron suggests is writing at least three pages every morning of just stream of consciousness stuff to get the craziness in our heads out of our systems so we can concentrate better the rest of the day.   Especially needed with recent developments!!

Blog Posts need to happen Monday and Thursday, with a new, occasional entry about important books in my life.

Part of my time off needs to be about my health, so Calories and Steps will help there.  During the lockdown, I lost almost 40 pounds, 8 of which I’ve gained back since The Mom passed away.  Time to start paying more attention to food consumption and exercise.

And here are some books that I’ll be using for editing and working on my next writing project, the first installment of a mystery series.

So, tell me what you’re doing this summer in the comments!

Things I Like Thursday – Write Before Christmas

I wanted to see this movie on the recommendation of Racquel Henry, the owner of Writer’s Atelier, a group I belong to.  But I couldn’t find it streaming anywhere, so I ended up buying it.  Good decision!

As you’d expect of a Hallmark Christmas romance, it’s light and fun and full of romantic miscues but also has its share of orphans, loneliness and an adorable dog looking for his furrever home.  Here’s the story-Jessica, newly single again, takes Christmas cards intended for the guy who just broke up with her and sends them to five people with notes telling them how they have influenced her life for the better:

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Anniversary 42

Since the pandemic put the kibosh on travel, our anniversaries have been extremely low key.  In the Before Time, we at least took a weekend away and the five-year anniversaries were usually a little more special-the train from Williams, AZ to the Grand Canyon, a night at East Brother Light in San Rafael Bay.  We’d been planning our dream trip to Paris and Normandy for our 40th in 2020.  You know that ended up a non-starter…

Keeping it low key again this year, we’re off to Simi, CA, to take in the Secrets of WWII exhibit at the Reagan Library and spend a couple of nights in a favorite hotel.  With gas prices over $6 and Covid once again on the rise, we plan to stay close to the hotel, walking when we can, and keep as much to ourselves as possible while wearing masks at the Library.  But despite those travel drawbacks, we’ll have a good time learnin’ and relaxin’.

I thought I’d share some of our wedding pictures on the blog today, even though it’s a day early.  It was a bittersweet journey through the photo’s this year, since we won’t be getting an anniversary card from The Mom.  Also missing my grandparents, especially my grandfather, who walked me down the aisle.



Enjoy these photos from our Big Day.

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Things I Like Thursday – Leap of Faith

I’m not really into sculpture particularly but there was something about Thomas Blackshear’s Leap of Faith that struck me the first time I saw it in Virginia’s Gift Shop at Knott’s Berry Farm years ago.  I kept coming back to it, fascinated with both the detail of the piece itself and the effect it had on me.

The figure is balancing on his toes and it is literally the moment before he raises his wings and leaps into the unknown.  What a terrifying thrill!  And what a thrilling inspiration! 

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Leaps of Faith

You know I’m a signs and woo woo kind of girl, right? 

I’ve been working from home the past two years and three months, after four years of a long, stressful Southern California commute.  I decided that my sign to quit this job would be the call back to the office.  Since I’m over 65, I was considered an exception when the call back came earlier this year for most everyone else.  I thought I ‘d be safe until the pandemic is eventually downgraded.  So, I was a little surprised when I was told my accommodation is no longer being honored and I needed to come back at least two days a week.  True to my own word, I put in a month’s notice last week.

Me in 2004 with Thomas Blackshear’s Leap of Faith sculpture.  I’ve kept this picture in my wallet all this time!
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Things I Like Thursdays – My Writing Bracelet

I keep this on my lap desk when I’m writing.

I bought the purple “A writer is a world TRAPPED in a person” bracelet from an artist on Etsy somewhere around the beginning of the lockdown, when I’d decided to pick up an old half-finished story and work on it again.  Since then, I finished another story and now I’m two or three scenes away from completing a novella.

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Lessons in Grief – Part 3

Fulfilling Final Wishes

At the hospital the night before The Mom passed away, she asked that she be buried with a particular ring that she’d left in her apartment.  Two years before that, she’d asked that a postcard I sent her from a visit The Husband and I made to NASA also be buried with her but when I asked her that night where it was, she didn’t have any recollection of it.  She was pretty out of it by then.

When we got to her apartment, The Husband found the ring, a circle of calla lilies entwined with the word Jesus, on her nightstand.  I stored it in a small box in my purse for the trip to the funeral home.

The day after she passed, as I started the sad task of cleaning out her apartment, I came across this magnet on her fridge:

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Things I Like Thursday – Under The Desk News

There isn’t much to like today, after the mass shooting in Texas on Tuesday, with all its attendant finger pointing and political BS.  Some days, just making it through one day and into the next is just so fucking hard.  Some days, all our hopes and dreams seem so insignificant and impossible to care about.

But I digress.

Or do I?

I recently discovered an Instagram account called Under the Desk News.  I probably came to it from Alexandra Billings’ account. 

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