Happy Turkey Day

How lovely when a blog day falls on a holiday.  It’s like the free square in Bingo-easy topic.

What do you have to be thankful for this year?

Did you groan just then?  Are you having trouble feeling grateful?  You’re not alone.  A lot of us are angry or sad or upset…I think we’re all, at the very least, annoyed.  And yet, I am looking for the silver linings.

I have a major thing to be grateful for this year, and that is my chapbook that finally saw the light of day back in May.  I am also grateful for the health of my loved ones, as I’m sure we all are in this perilous time.   But really though…I lost my grandfather this year, and that was hard on my family.  And we have already cancelled Christmas for health reasons, which I assume is killing my grandma.  However, I have my grandma, still kicking at 89 years old.  And I have my father, a cancer survivor.  And my mother, a woman who was diagnosed with diabetes in 1963 and was essentially told she would not live as long as she has.  And my sister, still young and healthy, thank God. 

That is the most important thing.  I give no real regard to my own health, which is not so good.  I am thankful that today I woke up and did not vomit and have every intention of having Thanksgiving dinner with my bubble.  I even made a pecan pie.

And then there is my writing.  I am so so so thankful for the trajectory my writing is on right now.  First, the chapbook…then, acceptance of my mini-chap…then, the gig at Ember Chasm.  Now, the first two chapters to something really special.  I am riding high on words right now. 

And, finally, my husband. 

Today on my Timehop, a photo came up that I took ten years ago today.  It is of Mark, wearing a brown and white striped shirt and sitting in the dining room of my parent’s old house.  He is looking at me from the side, his head rested on his fist, and he smiling.  It is the first picture I took of him after we started dating again.  It is the only picture I had of him when he left that night, for a three-month detour in central New York that yielded no positive results.  He came home again in March, but that’s another story.

That night, we slept in the back of my truck.  He was already out of his apartment and needed to be at the train station at 4am.  While other people were out getting doorbuster savings, I was driving home from the station and crying.

That was a bad Thanksgiving.  But now…

Now, I get to see him every day. That’s certainly something to be thankful for.

And so, I am off to prepare to eat some turkey, because today is Turkey Day.  I like that bit and the gratefulness bit, but really…everything historical about this holiday is trash.  I mean, it’s no Columbus Day, but still…

Anyhoo, be happy…be grateful…be safe.

NaNoWriMo, 2020

I am still down a digit, but I persevere.  Typing remains difficult, but I can’t not do it.  I tried.  My brain overloaded and spilled out my fingertips anyway, all nine working ones.

After about twenty minutes of typing, my hand gets tired.  So, this will be short.  This will also be my second and last NaNo update.

It broke my little writer-heart when I broke my little writer-pinky, just a week into the month I had been looking forward to all year.  I had already spent the first week sick as a dog, and I was not pleased about the circumstances that led to a splint on my little finger for the remainder of the month.

I topped out around 5k words on NaNo, 45k short to win.  I knew I wouldn’t win as soon as my doctor looked at my finger and said “ouch.”  The dream died in that moment.

I was feeling very ambitious on October 31st.  I was raring to go, all my prep work done and my fingers itching to begin the typing process.  But sickness.  Then injury.  Then nothing for two weeks.  Two weeks where I could barely even click a mouse because it irritated my hand, let alone type.  Two weeks of no writing, in a time that was not the dreaded writer’s block.  The ideas were flowing, but where to put them?  Little dictated notes here and there, pecking things out on my phone with my thumbs.  Fleeting thoughts trapped, yet not expanded upon.

I am almost done with chapter 2 of my novel.  I started typing again the other night, and even as I write this I am a little mad I am using my strength on the blog today instead of the book.   I am WAY behind schedule…so I tore up the schedule.  Instead, I will hack away at this lump of rock until my sculpture appears, no matter how long it takes.

I’ll tell you a secret.

I love The Second Before, the little novel I wrote last year.  I don’t know if it will go anywhere though.  The outlook on my current WIP is different.  If I can write it, I can sell it.  I know that, deep down like I know anything.  This faith pushes me to work harder on it.  I already have put in more time than I did on TSB, and it’s much more epic than that little piece.  It will be good, should I manage to get it out of my head.

Anyway, NaNoWriMo 2020 was a wash, which isn’t that surprising given the course of the year thus far.  Maybe next year I will try again, if another idea presents itself, but it is much more likely I will just take my 2019 win and go, and write this novel that has been taking up space in my brain for so many years.  I think that will be 2021’s project, and it will take more than a month, but it will be so worth it in the end.

Gold Wallpaper

I have spent the last week teaching myself to type, sans pinky.  So, here we go.

The other day, I was talking to my cousin and she said that they were learning the short story The Yellow Wallpaper in AP English.  I commented that I loved that story; it was my favorite.  I recall sitting on the couch outside my school library, reading it one sunny and quiet afternoon.  I thought it a little peculiar that I recalled reading this in 11th or 12th grade, while she was reading it in AP.  But then, my school was different than others; tougher.  My C’s would have been B’s at the public school, at least.  When I got to college, I was downright BORED.  It’s not why I left, but it’s one of many reasons.

Anyway, I asked Sahar when she read it.  She’s was an English major, so y’know…she had to have read it.  Except she did not know what I was talking about.  Ok…well, I’ll ask some friends from high school.  Two, from my English level, recall no such thing.  One from the Honors level, again, did not read it.  Now, I alone of my friends took Creative Writing in high school, so it must’ve been that class, right?

At this point it’s been over two days that I have been thinking about this story that I THOUGHT was required reading for everybody.  I figured I would go to the source.  I messaged my high school English teacher, Ms. Maloney.

Everybody has those teachers that make an impact on you in one way or another, and Ms. Maloney is one of those.  She took a chance on me.  See, my grades when I was a Junior suffered terribly because I came down with a whopping case of diabetes.  So, when it came time to chose Senior electives, I didn’t really qualify for the class she taught that I wanted to be in.  Fortunately, that year I had somehow, amidst the chaos, also written and directed a one-act play, and I used this “extracurricular” in hopes she would see that Creative Writing and Drama (the electives I was after) were important to me.  Anyway, at the end of the day, she gave me a shot.  My grades never fully recovered, but I learned so much in that class and got to pursue my two passions, and I am forever grateful.  So surely, I must’ve read it in her class.

NOPE.

She told me there was a teacher that taught it, but wasn’t sure which.  By now it is day three and I am consumed.  Did I check it out of the library?  Did I read ahead in a textbook?  Did I borrow from a friend?  All likely, I suppose. 

I suppose this mystery will never be solved.

So now, I sit in my office and stare at my wallpaper.  It has always reminded me of this story, with all its golden twists and turns and blooms.  I have no idea when I read this story.  Just an image in my head of myself, sitting on a sofa in a long hallway with a stained-glass window at the end, wearing a white blouse and a gray skirt, and reading a story that captivated me.  I don’t know who told me to read it.  I’m certainly glad that they did,

I did it!  I wrote a blog with nine fingers!!  ::runs off to ice hand::

Parking Lots

Today, I sit in a parking lot. Today, I hope that the scrambled eggs I just ate stay down. Today, I use talk to text and type with my thumbs.

My finger doesn’t hurt so bad. Which is a nice change of pace. However, I am sitting in thie parking lot of Sister’s Hospital because I am waiting to get a test done for my stomach. I have had this test before. What you do is you eat scrambled eggs that are radioactive. And then, they take pictures of my stomach every hour on the hour for 4 hours. This shows them how the scrambled eggs travel through my system.

Again, I have done this twice, and I don’t really see why have to do it a 3rd time, but insurance, man…insurance. Just jumping the hoops.

So I’m sitting in my car, because I don’t wanna wear a mask for the next 4 hours, and because the chairs they have in there are particularly uncomfortable. But mostly just because I’m trying to get this test done so I can get a surgery done so I can stop being sick.

This update of course, means very little because I don’t have a lot to say right now and I can’t type at all. Oh well, maybe Thursday.

Broken Finger

Hello. This is me, talking into my phone. Already there are 2 mistakes I will have to edit. This is why talk to text does not work for a writer.

I have broken my right pinky fingertip. I have a splint on for the next 3 weeks, so this makes writing, specifically typing, nearly impossible. This is of course absolutely devastating to me.

Yesterday, when I was at the doctor, he asked me if I needed a note for work. I laughed. I wish it were that simple.

So I do not know when I will blog again. I do not know when my pinky will be healed enough to hit the enter key. I do know that the book is on hold, which both disappoints me, but also gives me more time to prep. I also know that I will hit the ground running as soon as possible.

In the meantime, I am working on promoting my chapbook. So if you enjoy poetry about healthcare in America, please visit brigidhannon.com.

OK. Now I have to go back and edit this mess that talk to text thinks I said. Happy Thursday.

NaNoWriMo20, Week 1.

Hows it going?! Pitiful!!

I have been sick all week, so I managed about 3k or so on Monday, and that’s it.

I am very close to giving up. I just don’t see myself winning if this keeps up. I was supposed to have a test today, the first step on my road to recovery for my gastroparesis, but had to cancel because, well…gastroparesis. I have nine kinds of writing work to do, but am drowning in stomach problems.

Hopefully, I will be able to pick myself up and start over in all aspects tomorrow. For today, I’m just going to lie on the sofa and watch TV, ok?

Ok.

VOTE.

Didja vote yet?

I did.

New York state had early voting for the first time, so me and thousands of others took advantage of it.  Mark and I went on Thursday, and there was virtually no line.  I cast my ballot and was out the door in ten minutes.  I even got a sticker.  See how fun voting can be?

Anyway, tomorrow is my Christmas.  I am extremely worried but also extremely hopeful, so they kind of cancel each other out at the moment.

Tonight, I will make my map.  I have kept a map since I started voting, for every presidential election.  It’s simply a black and while print-out of the USA, the kind teachers would use for school projects.  I label the states and their number of electoral votes.  Then, as states are called, I color them in blue or red and do the electoral math, the only math I enjoy.

I will watch results at my mother’s house for a while, even though I sincerely doubt we will have a winner come Wednesday morning, but we shall see.

I’m keeping this blog post short for two reasons:  1. I was super sick yesterday and am still recovering, and 2. I have 4k words to pen today because I missed the start of NaNo.  I also have a bunch of submissions for the Halloween issue that I need to read.  AND I have to go to the flippin’ DMV today.

Anyway, go vote, preferably the Democratic ticket, as the Republicans are trying to set the world on fire for some reason.  Just…vote you conscience, ok?  That’s all I can ask.  Just go vote.

See you on the other side.

A Foot in a Door

Recently, I had some good news, but I was reluctant to share without getting my feet wet, first. 

A while back, I answered an ad on Submittable.  For the new reader, Submittable is a website most literary journals use to organize their submissions, so it is where I am often found sending stuff out.  Anyway, the ad was for a social media management intern.  They needed someone to run their socials.  I, with no job and a strong desire to break into publishing in any way necessary, thought I could handle such a thing and wrote them a letter.  I have no real writing resume, and no expertise as a social media manager, so I didn’t hold great hope, so when my application rolled to “in-progress,” I was surprised.

After a while, I got a reply, saying thanks but no thanks on the media manager position.  But then, the second line…would I be interested in being a reader?

Another internship-style position, but a better one, in my opinion.  More hands on.  More into the actual reading and writing and approval of what gets published.  Would I be interested?  Damn straight.

And so, for the past month or so, I have been a fiction and poetry reader for Ember Chasm Review.

I remember sending my first rejection.

I was sad.  It was good poetry.  It just didn’t fit the brand, so it had to be rejected.  And I, as newly crowned queen of the slush pile, had to do it.  I sent a little silent apology to the author.  I’ve received so many rejections, and honestly, I don’t care that much; I’m not the sort that keeps track.  But I know some people out there do, and every time I hit the rejection button, I feel a little sad for them.

Oh, but when I get to set something as “in-progress!”

When I get a well-written, interesting piece that matches the brand, that is exciting!  I cheer for the individual, and hope they make it through the next round, even though I know many do not.  Still, how wonderful it is, I know, to see your submission roll over to “in-progress.”  As I write this, I have several poems in this stage, and five mags looking at my short RBG piece…I know someone is going to want something. 

I know it.

Next up is a Halloween contest held by Button Eye Review, an imprint of Ember Chasm that focuses on horror and the like.  I will be judging it with one of the editors, and I am very excited as I love horror…it was the genre that made me fall in love with reading.

I was waiting to share this lovely news until I was on the website, which I should be in a couple days, but as I needed something to write about today and I have next week’s topics all planned out, I figured I would announce this cool development today.

I am so excited to be involved with this review.  They have awesome things planned, and the issues they have put out so far are great.  I invite you to check out their site HERE.

Now, off to finish some prep work.

3 days until NaNo.

Nothing

What shall I blog about today?

The obvious choice is the election, until I looked at my calendar and realized I will be blogging about that next Monday.  Then I thought about writing about writing, of course.  But I recently wrote about Preptober and my future poetry path.  So, I figured I could write more specifically about NaNo, but then looked at the calendar again and realized I’m starting my weekly updates on that next Thursday, anyway.

I scrolled Twitter for a while, hoping to find an interesting question or topic.  Unfortunately, today is a PitMad event.  This is a complicated thing to explain but the basis is that you pitch your book via tweet to editors and agents.  So, my feed is clogged up with book ideas…some are great, but there’s not a lot of varying topics.

I could write about my weekend.  On Saturday, I took L fishing, and it was the first time we really hung out one-on-one.  At first, he seemed bored, but once we found some fish hiding under the dock, he got into it.  On the way home I mentioned an action scene in my novel that I am planning, and having some trouble with.  We spent the next hour or so discussing weapons, stealth tactics, armor, etc.  It was good bonding time, and it thrills me whenever the kiddos take an interest in my work.

On Sunday I woke, sick.  Off to the ER.  I don’t remember much…it’s all foggy.  I know that the intake nurse said “Hey, I heard you are an author” and I said “Yes I am!” and then threw up.  I don’t know how she knew that.

Bernie picked me up after a few hours and was told to take me home but then I found out that my people were all at my mom’s house: parents, husband, Kev, Sharon, and L.  So, I demanded she take me there.  She bought me a smoothie from McDonalds that I drank while everyone else ate chili, and then drove me home.  I think I may have dozed off at the table.

Today I feel good.  Healthy and happy and doing fine.  Except for I don’t know what to write about.

They say when you are in such a predicament, that you should write about exactly the dilemma: that you are stuck, or wordless.  This was my attempt to do that.  I don’t know that anything really came of it.  I do know that after today I am booked up on blog topics for the next couple of weeks, so that’s a satisfying feeling.  This?  This is just filler.

And as always, Happy Monday.