Today I came across an article by Hugh Howey called, So You Want to be a Full-Time Writer. Yes, I thought to myself. Of course I do. So I read it.
Hugh has great advice for sticking with your writing, setting goals, making time, simplifying your life, and being better than everyone else. He also suggested that a good tool for success was blogging. I have a blog, I thought to myself. Myself and I, we chat a lot. If you scroll through my mindless ramblings from years gone by on this blog, you’ll probably stumble upon a few that announce the rededication of my blogging…and then days, weeks, and months go by with nothing.
Blogging is hard for me. That little nagging writer in the back of my mind says I’m wasting time and should be polishing my novel instead; there will be plenty of time later for blogging, when I’m counting the royalties from my movie deal. But then I wonder how other writers manage to crank out several novels a year AND post daily on their blog. The nagging writer tells me I don’t have anything of interest to say outside of a good story anyway. The things that go on in my imagination are much more interesting than my daily grind. I have virtually nothing to say. Three years into a novel and it still isn’t quite ready for beta readers (almost though!), and I have no real words of wisdom to share regarding the craft itself other than to regurgitate the advice of other writers like Hugh Howey. I’m not a scientist who can blog about my latest microorganism discovery, and I’m not even that good with technology and that’s what I get paid to do.
So I sat down at my computer this afternoon and forced my fingers to minimize the window of my current manuscript and open a blank project on Scrivener. I stared at it for several minutes, trying to come up with something fun and interesting to write about. Time passed along with my second cup of coffee and the page was still blank. That’s when it hit me. I will just write a blog about nothing. And so I did.
Sunday, October 13th, is my dad’s birthday. He lives in Panama and we’re in Texas, so sending gifts isn’t always easy or affordable. Those who know my dad have undoubtedly experienced his kind generosity in one way or another. My dad has done anything from helping resolve some technical/computer issue, to purchasing items for someone or some organization in need, to volunteering to teach English lessons, visiting the sick in the hospital, and much, much more.
Because it’s difficult to even know what gift to send my dad, much less attempt to get it there, the kids and I thought a great way to honor him on his birthday would be to act like him for a day. We didn’t do anything life-changing, didn’t donate a kidney or save a kitten from a burning building. But I hope that what we did do made a few people’s day a little brighter, and I hope they return the favor to someone else one day. The people we chose today were not needy, at least not in a way that we were aware of. They didn’t look hungry, or sick, or even as if they were poor or homeless. We chose to do something very small for five ordinary people and I tell you, we had an extraordinary time doing it.
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Last night as I was drying my hair, a small spider scurried across my bathroom counter. I wasn’t afraid of the spider, but when he decided to hide in my toothbrush holder my mind went into overdrive.
I dumped the little guy into the toilet and watched him swim for his life. He actually managed to climb halfway up the bowl before I flushed him. (I’m a twisted human being, what can I say?) Then I returned my focus to the toothbrush that was nearly infected by spider-carrying, flesh-eating germs. Even though the spider did not come near the bristles, I ran it under scalding hot water for several minutes just to be sure it was clean.
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Last night I watched two back-to-back episodes of Hoarders. I’m not sure why I did it. I think maybe because it was the last night that I could lay in bed late at night and watch TV before my husband comes home from his business trip. He doesn’t understand why I’m fascinated by that show and frankly, neither am I! Watching Hoarders is much like driving by the scene of a terrible car accident… you just have to look.
These poor people have obvious mental issues! Each episode features two stories, so all-in-all I was able to peek into the lives of four really messed-up families! I suppose every family has their nuts, and mine is no exception. But how messed up are these people that they allow themselves to sleep in a foot and a half of rabbit droppings, or let 3000 rats nibble on their clothes and pull out their hair for their nests?! Most of these individuals either live with a family member or live in a family member’s home and they just allow it to go on. I was so disturbed! And to think there are enough people in the world that live this way that they were able to make a recurring series out of it. (The opening credits state there are over 3 million hoarders in the USA.) Any young college student should seriously consider psychology for a profession, according to A&E there will be no shortage of job opportunities any time soon.
It was a restless sleep for me last night. Sharing your bed with cats, rats, and hundreds of dying, pecking chickens makes for one tired individual the next morning. Happily they will be replaced tonight with my hard-working, loving husband!
I suppose my kids should be grateful for Hoarders, though I hope they never watch it. This morning when I walked into my kitchen to find my teenager’s un-rinsed, dried crusty cereal bowl in the sink and then stepped in something sticky by the refrigerator, I simply shrugged my shoulders and thankfully started my day out scrubbing…with not a rat in sight!
My family and I are currently involved with a new organization called Austin Angels. We started in October and it has really changed the way we look at our community. In October we volunteered in a girl’s home in Central Austin. This home houses girls from the age of 10 through 19. We put on a Halloween party for them that was a huge success! The girls were all so grateful for the attention they got from their one-on-one volunteer. It was an amazing night full of games, prizes, dancing and laughter!
Currently we are working to collect enough blankets, gloves, socks, and hats to keep between 300 and 400 of Austin’s homeless community warm this winter. My family all went to Walmart together to purchase what we could, but we would love to collect more from you! If you have any of the above-mentioned items that you would like to donate, please let me know and I would be happy to come get them from you. Or better yet, come join us on Sunday, January 30th downtown and hand them out yourself along with a hot meal! What better way can you think of to spend an afternoon…by helping others! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or see the website http://www.austinangels.net/ for more information.
Young, bashful, energetic
Breezy, chasing, thrill.
Giggling, running, “You can’t catch me!”
Slowing so he will.
Singing birds, flying kites
Beauty from above.
Moments of a 4 year-old’s
First taste of puppy love.
Olivia is always full of good advice:
Olivia: Mom, sometimes people fall down.
Mom: That’s true, they do.
Olivia: Sometimes when people fall down they get blood.
Mom: Yes, that happens sometimes. We have to be careful don’t we.
Mom: Yes, baby?
Olivia: When someone gets blood, they shouldn’t jump up and down.
Mom: Because it will make their owie hurt?
Olivia: No, silly. Because it will drip blood all over the floor and then you have to clean it up.
Hey, it’s good to think ahead!