mid-month check-in

Whew. I'm almost three weeks in to this year of being mostly home and I'm realizing lots of things:
 ::  Helpers are fun. Abby is digesting The Good Earth so I don't have to. Sunny is reading The Good Earth in book two, as well as 16 Magazine.

::  Juicing is not my thing. I miss cooking too much. I felt good when following a whole foods, plant-based diet and have gone back to it.

:: I want to write something for young readers that includes cooking.

:: Music *is* my thing. I'm enjoying the playlist that's coming together for book two.  I'm enjoying watching the piano "lessons" with Grandpa Jim and Abby.

::  While routines *are* my thing, schedules are not. Does that make sense?  I don't know what that means yet, just noticing. It's as if I set a schedule and immediately try to figure out how to circumvent it.

:: Last year I committed to more handwork. I'm doing that again this year. I like doing handwork in front of the television, always have, so now I'm watching (if you can call it that) while I knit, after many years' absence from teevee. Once Upon A Time and Downton Abbey. And Pan Am. I know, I know. And the Golden Globes, a tradition with me'n'Hannah. Aside: Mad Men returns March 25! We'll be planning a premiere dinner just as we did last season and the one before. Hmmm... actually, those two links should be swapped. Julia Child was two seasons ago, and the fun but ridiculous processed foods dinner was last season (1964).

:: I may talk less here about writing and more about finding balance. It was hard to find on the road, but it's an art to find at home, too.

:: I need to pull out my battered copy of  The Writer's Journey by Chris Vogler and use it to figure out the structure of this current novel. I have a timeline, but that's not the same as plot. How do I get Sunny from event to event, and what happens to her in between? Who are her mentors, who are her enemies, and what is the treasure she seeks? What does she want?

:: I know these things, but I need to know them on a more tangible level now, instead of that gut level I tend to write from. This is such a big story -- so many characters and so much happening. I get mixed up and then stalled. I haven't used The Writer's Journey since I plotted my first novel, Love, Ruby Lavender. It's time to take another look at that mythic structure for storytellers.

:: Structure and framework interests me so much right now. I look at these photos of Abby at the piano with her grandpa and I can practically see her mind putting together the if-then thinking that goes with structuring: How does this work? Oh, I see! I touch (bang) these keys and a sound comes out of this rectangular box!
:: I like being home. I stay inside for days at a time, working on the novel, creating routines, skittering around the schedule, stoking the fire, not wearing makeup or planning a trip. I don't know where my wireless remote is, the one I use for PowerPoint presentations. I do know where my knitting row-counter is, where the Thai curry paste is, and where my favorite leggings are.

::  I'm thinking about measuring success. What does that mean? Is it enough to have gone through the day with mindfulness and kindness? Is it enough to have love and sustenance and music and some well-chosen words as requisites for the day's journey? Sometimes I think so. This  year I want to slow down and think about just what success means, what a day needs, and what my heart is trying to tell me.

Abby has no intention of slowing down. Her world is all about discovery these days. Even at the piano, at some point, she's ready to move on and see what else is out there in the big world.
 :: I'm enjoying my own version of seeing what's next.


  1. Thank you for telling us about your process, joys, and struggles.
    My measure of success is to keep integrity and heart in the forefront, accept my gifts and shortcomings and live accordingly, make amends when I need to, and always continue to grow and have fun.
    Whenever book 2 is ready, I and your other fans will be eager to embrace her with loving arms and eyes.

  2. Annie, I love your measuring stick. Love you, too. Thanks for your ever-affirming and reassuring presence, Prez. xoxoxo Debbie

  3. Abby is adorable; I love how she is into everything. I also feel like going and grabbing my quilt since it's just about time to settle in to the new episode of Castle for the week.

  4. I hadn't been by to visit you in a little while and as I was thinking about my own novel I'm re-plotting, I remembered a book you suggested once, and it reminded me to stop by and see what you are up to. Up to your knees in Abby and writing and avoiding schedules it seems! I can relate. I never met a schedule I didn't twist a bit :) And now I'm off to discover this gem you've mentioned: THE WRITER'S JOURNEY. Will it solve my problems? xoxo

  5. Hey, Kristy! Me'n'schedules: oil and water. Probably has always been so. But routines! Now, routines I crave. I hope you love The Writer's Journey.. you know, books are so subjective. I can't get into Robert McKee's STORY, but I know friends who swear by that book. What I like about TWJ is its mythic structure, which is something I understand.

    You? Story problems? hee. Hope you are well and happy. I thought of you when I drove through Traveler's Rest late last year... xoxoxo


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