kernels on the branch
monster rhododendron blooms
like fuchsia popcorn
kernels on the branch
monster rhododendron blooms
like fuchsia popcorn
You would think that publishing a book (let alone, a novel; let alone, your FIRST NOVEL) would have you immediately shouting it out to the rooftops.
Especially when you’re a bit of an introvert. And busy with Life and its assorted bummers and delights. And slightly forgetful (didn’t I already tell everyone?).
So here it is: Spring Comes Twice. A novel about a guy* who just wants to bring his dead fiancée back to life. But he never imagines the Chaos That Shall Ensue.
This one was a lot of fun to write, and at the same time really nerve-wracking.
For National Novel Writing Month last year, I challenged myself to write a novel completely “into the dark”—no outling or dreaming ahead of the start date (i.e. November 1), and only using a title** and a first line prompt to get going.
When I started writing it, I had no idea what the story was about, where it was heading, or what was up with the talking dog***. No. Freaking. Idea. So I kept writing to find out for myself.
And boy, this was a story I never could have imagined writing. Which in hindsight seems a little silly, since a lot of it is stuff I love: Astoria, bacon, German luxury cars, Asian mythology, and tiki. The other stuff that pops up? Hell if I know.
For a look behind the writing curtain on this book, take a look at the posts I wrote during 2018 Nanowrimo.
For a sense of the “Relics of a Future Past” series, sign up for the newsletter (over there on the right side) and I will send you**** a free short story set in that universe. It’s a time travel tale with WWII, romance, and tacos*****.
*Well, a tech billionaire, to be precise.
**A shout out to my amazing husband for the title.
***SPOILER ALERT: There is a talking dog. He’s awesome.
****In the next month. Because, you know. Life.
*****Who doesn’t love tacos?
sunny clear blue skies
I sit in my writing room
the standing lamps lit
-to be fair, it was overcast earlier
It was a long time in coming this season, but my camellia has finally produced a bloom. Well, there were exactly two blooms (when there should have been a gazillion), but I’ll take it.
<doing a happy flower dance>
Finally, finally, finally! Memories of a Future Past, the first story in my “Relics of a Future Past” series is out NOW.
I am so excited about this story, for a number of reasons:
What do I love about it? There is time travel, romance, dogs, sailboats, coffee, and a ton of Indiana Jones references. It’s sweet and twisted and heartful (that’s a word, right?).
You can get a taste of the “Relics of a Future Past” series with a free short story when you sign up for the newsletter (over there on the right side). I’m just finishing up the story (WWII, time travel, romance, and tacos!), so it shouldn’t be long now…
Recently I started watching new-to-me movies (having seen all the Marvel movies, some of them multiple times*), and, having been not entirely interested in many** movie releases of the past few years, thought I might try some Academy Award winning/nominated films. Because, hey. They should be good movies.
A few were outstanding, and a few were the disappointments.*** That said, I’m glad I saw them, and don’t feel like I wasted my time.
So with no further ado, here are my Haiku Movie Reviews****.
Mad Max: Fury Road
biker grandmas and
Tom Hardy in the desert
couldn’t save this film*****
but shocking lack of context
The Hurt Locker
it was intense, yes
fine acting, Falcon, Hawkeye
but lacked a story^^
Zero Dark Thirty
dark, gritty, intense
doesn’t spoonfeed the viewer
and very well done^^^
The Darkest Hour
Gary Oldman, wow
two hours about a choice
totally worth it^^^^
Victoria and Albert
Dame Judi Dench rules,
gets friendly with a Muslim—
tender and heartfelt^^^^^
a screwball premise
silly ’80’s fun^*
What films have you seen lately that impressed you? Which films are you looking forward to seeing? I’m looking for recommendations, so post your thoughts in the comments.
*Captain America and Doctor Strange, I’m talking to you.
**Is it any wonder that TV, in its many-varied splendor, is doing so well?
***I don’t think they were all accolade-worthy. Perhaps the Oscars™ are not the best baseline for quality.
****I initially wrote them as “One-Sentence Reviews,” but some of the sentences became so long and unwieldy that I thought haiku might be a more suitable form.
*****It was a spectacle, but not much else. Can someone explain to me, in this dystopian world, where they get all the fuel for their vehicles? And what is with the flamethrower guitarist?
^Christopher Nolan’s cinematographer does nice work, but not enough to save this flimsy docudrama about the truly gripping rescue of the British and French WWII soldiers facing imminent annihilation by the Nazis. Shame on Nolan for providing no context for just how desperate and stunning this rescue was (just three—3!—sentences at the beginning of the movie, with NO mention of the sacrifice of British soldiers at Calais as a means of drawing off the Nazis, was pathetic), and shame on him for the odd time-structuring of the movie. And shame on Hans Zimmer for providing a soundtrack consisting almost entirely of pounding heartbeats (and minimal music). And again, Tom Hardy couldn’t save this film.
^^Glad I saw it, but damn. Another job I do. not. want. Bigelow can do action, though. And those Marvel actors? They really can act. Huh.
^^^Apparently my knowledge of recent history is sorely lacking. And to learn that Bin Laden was captured while they were filming the movie? Wow.
^^^^Phenomenal. Intelligent, nuanced. Has me itching to read more about Churchill.
^^^^^And now I have to see Mrs. Brown. And wash my handkerchief from crying at the end.
^*Just to see if you’re paying attention. I’d only seen bits of the movie when it was broadcast on TV, so it was interesting to see it in one complete showing. I <3 Tackleberry.
A little late in posting, but thought you might enjoy this taste of the crazy (for the Portland area) snow earlier this week.
We still have some snow on the ground, but just the barest hint.
Winter arrived at last!
I’ve been feeling twitchy lately—that angsty-I-can’t-sit-still feeling. Just when I start to tackle my To-Do list, darn if I don’t have to get a tea refill, or find the answer to an incredibly important question (“What is the difference between ‘copy that’ and ‘roger’?”*), or check email.
Hours later, I’m kicking myself because I didn’t get to the real things I needed, or worse wanted, to do.
You’d think it would be easy enough to just call a do-over and start again.
The guilt. The shame. The additional distractions.
So I tried something new, thanks to Tim Ferriss**:
So I did this exercise, figuring ‘what the heck’, and lo and behold! I realized I needed to change my focus, and dove into the task, and ZOMG I made progress. Legitimate progress. And it felt really good. Like, really supercalifragilistically good.
So if you’re anything like me***, give this a shot and see what you think.
<doing a little Snoopy dance>
*According to one source, “copy that” = an acknowledgement of the information; “roger” = an acknowledgement of the information AND affirmation that you are going to act accordingly on the information.
**Tim Ferriss talks about it in detail:
***Obsessive list maker. As in “I makes lists in my sleep”**** list maker.
****Meta comment: any Rent fans out there?
Today’s quote for those of us who get easily distracted*:
“Concentrate every minute like a Roman – like a man – on doing what’s in front of you with precise and genuine seriousness, tenderly, willingly, with justice. And on freeing yourself from all other distractions. Yes, you can – if you do everything as if it were the last thing you were doing in your life, and stop being aimless, stop letting your emotions override what your mind tells you, stop being hypocritical, self-centered, irritable. You see how few things you have to do to live a satisfying and reverent life? If you can manage this, that’s all even the gods can ask of you.”
– Marcus Aurelius**
This was the January 29 quote from The Daily Stoic, which I’m back to reading again, and which pairs quite nicely with Pema Chodron’s Comfortable with Uncertainty.
Even having read this before, this time around it really hit home.
*Is there anyone among us who doesn’t get easily distracted? Anyone? Bueller?
**I have to admit a crush on Marcus Aurelius. Any Roman emperor-military commander who has to make notes to himself about ‘yes it sucks, but get your ass out of bed’*** has my undying respect and love.
***[meta-comment] My loose Latin translation from his Meditations.
my yoga soundtrack:
TLC, Bare Naked Ladies
finally a deep breath
-on relaxing after an oddly adrenaline-fueled day