Gratitude in the Quiet Corners

I was super happy to be done with work Sunday night, and was pretty darn happy to be going to my local NaNoWriMo writers’ group. The group meets each week at a Denny’s, doing writing sprints, gabbing in between, asking for random brainstorming suggestions and eating.

Anyway I was glad to be there and I even managed to do some writing.

I had asked a poet friend if she’d throw an eyeball on something I’d written. It was a bunch different from my normal topic and although I liked it, I wasn’t sure what someone who wasn’t me would take away from it. She said yes and while I was sprinting away happily, in came the response. It was part reaction, part editing suggestion and it was GREAT! I will keep working on it and see what happens. Thanks alpha reader!

It had been a long week and I left earlier than the rest. I got in my car and turned on the radio and there it was: The Boston Symphony playing – yes! – Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony. One of my favorites! And it was just an outstanding performance. Amazing. And it completely filled my ride home and a few minutes in my driveway. I didn’t hear the name of the conductor, only that he was 88. [at the time apparently. This looks to be an encore from the BSO’s 2015-16 season, led by Herbert Blomstedt.] Let me tell you – that was one of the fastest and most riotous 7ths on record. I believe this is the program I heard; the 7th starts around 1:12:00.

There was also a moment in the sprinting where I was trying to figure out where something would happen and I was looking at a series of photos that included this at Calanais, Outer Hebrides:

which I thought was pretty cool. Threw the link into the planning folder for future trips. Then I went back to writing. A few minutes later and I went to look up where a bit of story had happened and found it had included a trip to, yup, the stones at Calanais… Thank you past self!

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Tuesday This and That and the Other and Words

Today was my day off and I’m sure I could have found a lot of useful things to do, but oh well. I got some coffee and then I found a place to sit and sat and wrote for a long time. I piled up a lot of words. I was pooped at the end but I got a lot of story told.

Then I came home, and having gotten a new postcard, I sat down to add it to my little pile of postcards and to put a tick by the senders name. I’m not all weepy about getting or not getting cards but it’s always nice to get one and being that I check off my own cards as I send them out I just do the same for the incoming cards. Anyway here are the cards in the pile at the moment:

Monday at work, while waiting for someone to show up for a class, my coworker handed me an iPad Pro and said here, draw something. So I did.

This was the sky I saw tonight.

And finally (see what happens when you spend too much time stringing words together?) awhile ago I bought two of these fine Palamino Blackwing pencil sharpeners. They’re designed to put a looooong point on the working bit of the pencil. The bit that’s known as “the lead”. The second one I bought the nice young woman at the art supply store told me, very excitedly, about how the inside held two more blades. Now I don’t really know where I’d easily get more blades but I’ll worry about that when the time comes and I have to start replacing blades.

However, when emptying the trimmings of my fine pencils (I sharpened all my drawing pencils from HB to 6B the other night) tonight I noticed this message inside. I don’t think it wants me to stop sharpening my pencils… but now I might have to do a little more research.

Sunday Off

I had breakfast and then drove home the long way through Chatham, enjoying the sun even if it was in the teens. Felt warmer. Stopped for gas at the Stewarts in Chatham and cleaned my windshields and put the end of the wiper fluid in the car hoping it might warm up the front nozzles (and it did). I did a little (emphasis on little) vacuuming with my cute little yellow vacuum cleaner. The cats didn’t think too much of that, even though it’s much quieter than my old vacuum.

When the cats returned to their perches (purr-ches?) I admired Harry’s ability to spring back from vacuum-induced-panic.

I did a little painting:

And now I’m writing. All in all a good day off!

What to read? What to read?

Mom and I like to order from Dover Books now and again. Often she’ll want coloring books, bookmarks and such and I’ll look through the catalogue and fill in the order with things to give us free shipping or use of a coupon etc. It’s a happy joining of purposes.

This time I ordered two books I hadn’t spotted before and now, well friends I hardly know where to begin I am so enamored of both!

The first to jump into my cart was the book by John Pike on watercolor. My home palette is by John Pike and I knew he was a Woodstock NY painter. This is a reprint of the 1974 edition of his book, originally published in 1966. Here’s an illustration of the palette, still in production and still a favorite of many.

Fortunately, we needed a little more for this order and I found another book I’d not seen before, The Welsh Fairy Book by W. Jenkyn Thomas, a 2001 reprint of the original 1907 edition. There are a few familiar tales and one that revealed one of those happy coincidences – I’ve named a family in my NaNoWriMo story Gadarn which is just perfect for them.

Guess I’ll just have to read both at once!

Back to Work

There’s always a little pause after NaNoWriMo during which the desire to keep writing (even not at that pace) is overwhelmed by fatigue and the rushing stress that is December and the holidays. Some of that fatigue was also being sick which turned out to be a stealth sinus infection.

But now – a brand new year!

In the past few days I’ve done some writing and some painting so we’re on track for a good year. So far the temperatures are definitely not conducive to anything like plein air work but I’m going to try and convince myself that car-sketching is a thing.

First I sat down and did four small quickies.

Yesterday I treated myself to a “Paint-along” with my via-Patreon-tutor, Alan Owen. These often don’t go as planned because as he’s filming he gets to turn off the camera and let things dry. I often miss the skip and keep painting and then have to either go back later or figure out how to fix what’s going on. Still a good learn. To me, his trees don’t look like my trees. Around here most of the trees are bare and so the tree line is a brown/grey with a lot of pines mixed in. (Sorry for the iffy screenshot but it is enough to show the trees. Also many brit trees have their trunks covered in thick vines, which he also shows here.)

Here’s the photo I took while it was all still a bit damp.

And then another when quite dry.

Day 29, NaNoWriMo – What’s That I Hear?

Yes folks it was the NaNoWriMo crew applauding and cheering on my superpowers of writing and telling me I’m their hero because:

I’m ripping open my winner shirt as we speak. I like all of them although my particular favorite is the venn diagram: 50000 words, 30 days, 0 excuses. Words to live by folks. Words to live by.

Anyway, I was just part way through the part that almost crushed me with it’s abyss-ness earlier in the month. I ended up blipping over it and hurtling towards the big wedding. The abyss looks smaller but needs more fill and there’s still one wedding to go before everyone starts their happily ever after.

In the meantime I promised myself some wine and some sleep.

PS the anticipation tonight while I tried to beat the clock at the library was intense!

Maggie and NaNoWriMo Day 28

No not Rod Stewart’s Maggie May but an even older one, set to a new tune. If you like, here’s a live version with an explanation at the beginning.

Not too many more words to go… at least not to win NaNoWriMo but more to the story… ain’t that the story of my life.

PS Went to urgent care yesterday where the nurse and nurse practitioner both made me realize how lucky I am to be as healthy as I am. Which was good but I still felt terrible with this cold/throat/head thing. I got sent home with orders to do more forceful symptomatic relief and to call if no improvement by Thursday. Glad I went even though I might have been the one napping in the waiting room LOL.