COVID-19: Day 19: Another Acceptance

Today was a long day.  Every minute seemed an hour and the work I was doing was just not engaging my brain.  I checked my personal email and discovered that I had been accepted to read for the Writing Conference of Northern Appalachia’s Facebook Live readings.

I’ll be reading The Plum on April 27th at 8 p.m.  Details to follow.

I’m excited and nervous.  This reading is via Facebook and a laptop camera.  I’m sure to have 17 chins and look like death warmed over.  I don’t video well.  Not in the least.

But I’m honored to be a part of this.  It certainly livened up my day.

I’ve now found a home for all my orphan writings that I think needed one.   It is time to write something new.  I’m finding that hard.  I have the attention span of a gnat.   I keep reading various articles in the vein of What To Do With Yourself While Quarantining.  Most stress not to expect too much of yourself.  Most of us grieving in some fashion and there’s a period of adjustment that we need to go through.

However, I’m desperate to find equilibrium.  I’m getting there.  My daily schedule helps.  Talking to friends and family helps.  And blogging helps.  Thanks for reading.  OH!  And please comment.  I love comments!


COVID-19: Day 15

In the days to come, I fully expect to lose my internet connection. It happens now and again, and Lord knows it’s a stressed system right now.   I will, probably, at that time be a tad difficult to live with.   Fortunately, I live alone.

Just think about it for a bit.  How would you cope with being quarantined at home, without Facebook, Netflix, online games, email, Zoom, etc?  We are staying in touch with one another while keeping our distance.  Imagine how lonely it would be without this technology.  The same technology we often complain about as making us less human.  I, for one, am a fan and have always been since I first played around with a 1200 baud modem.

My sleep has been disturbed for some time now, but it’s gotten worse in the past few weeks.  I’m waking every two to three hours and getting up.   So, at 3 a.m., I found an email from an online magazine I had submitted a short story to.  It’s the best rejection I’ve ever received.  My head is swollen and the hit of confidence it gave me cannot be underestimated.  I have been on a high all day long.  Here’s a snippet:

It’s clear from the opening quote and the following paragraph that you have taken a great deal of time to master your craft.  You read like you’ve been doing this for decades.  Your writing is simple, yet interesting, visual, and compelling.  In short, it’s exactly the writing style we love.

Yes, that’s from a rejection!  Ain’t it sweet!

So, at 3 a.m., I got a hit of communication via a technology that I adopted early during a lonely hour that made my day — maybe my month  Every writer wants to “master your craft.”  Woo Hoo.  See?  I’m still giddy

An aside:  if you want to read the rejected story.  It’s here.  I had actually withdrawn the piece from the Rejection People because someone else accepted it, but apparently, the email writer didn’t get that email.  The people who accepted it?  Their email was two sentences — essentially thank you and we’re going to run it.

I adopted the internet as my playground in 1989.  I had a job without much to do and a USENET connection.  This was before sound, color, video or even images save for the occasional ASCII drawing.  USENET was a playground.  There was a discussion group for anything and everything a person could possibly be interested in.  I hung out in the parenting, cooking, Tom Robbins and gardening groups.  This was back when there were so few people on the internet that you recognized email addresses (everyone’s identifier) and names.  “Oh, yeah!  That’s Mike from rec.gardening!  Nice guy.  Grows roses.”

The internet has been so good to me.  You won’t hear me badmouth it or social media.  I think it’s what you make it.  Facebook and writing are my two hobbies.  I’m good at them.  I plan on enjoying them especially during this COVID-19 shelter-in-place.

So, drop me a line,  Keep in touch, y’all.



COVID-19: Day 13: Turn the TV off and do something creative

dining roomSo, I’m working from home and I’m being pretty productive, I might add.  BUT I’ve gotten into the bad habit of keeping the TV on in the background.  This is odd behavior for me.  I don’t watch television and because I don’t watch it, I only get local channels.  So, I’m pretty much stuck with the local NBC affiliate because it comes in the clearest.

I was up at 4:00 today.  I turned on the news at 4:30 and it went on and on until the end of the Today Show at 11.  This is not good for me.  Nope.  Not good.

So I turned it off and worked in my normal silence for the remainder of the workday.  Much nicer.

At 4, I had an online poetry workshop.  Oh, how it did my evil heart good.  We concentrated on the concept of home and identified a specific room in a specific place and went through the five senses of being in that room.   I have six pages of notes for a prose poem about my dining room.  I can’t wait to dig into it a little later tonight.

Right now, I have the news on.  I thought it important to tune into the national news.  It’s depressing.  Now I’m going to turn it off and do something creative.

Be good to yourself.


COVID-19: Day 7 or Only a Week?

Today they announced the virus was confirmed at the health department 20 miles west of me.  They also confirmed that the virus was found 40 miles to the east of me at a local medical facility.  Thus I have this song stuck in my head:

It’s kind of been a lousy day.  I went to the office where I was completely alone for a few hours.  Later, some of my co-workers sequestered themselves in their offices and we talked to one another from afar.  Eventually, we gathered in one office, keeping more than 6 feet between us, and talked.  I, for one, am craving human company.

I’m at loose ends and I really can’t articulate why.  I told my co-worker today that I will be okay once we’re in the throes of this thing.  It’s the waiting, I think, that’s unsettling me.  I roared through the stuff on my desk and discovered it was only 3:30.  With nary a thing to do, I left early.

I arrived home to puppies glad to see me.  They’re always glad to see me.  They’re glad to see me after I’ve left for 90 seconds to check the mailbox.

Speaking of which, I found a rejection email in my electronic mailbox.  I had been hopeful.  This one had submission guidelines that said they make most decisions within 15 days.  They had mine for 42 days.  (Counting?  Who’s counting?)

It’s Friday.  Normally, on a Friday, I would be gleeful about the idea of two whole days sequestered in my beloved barn, but these are not normal times.

The plan is to clean with a vengeance.  I have got to do something productive and quit eating.  Yes, I’m stress-eating.  Really bad.  Terrible.  Going-to-be-bigger-than-a-house-if-this-doesn’t-stop-soon-stress-eating.  (Phew!  Ran out of hyphens.)

So, it’s only been a week.  Doesn’t it feel like an eternity since last Friday when we were all joking about a full-moon and Friday the 13th in the same week?  LOL.  Good times.


Only a week.  Out of how many?

Honestly, I’ll be okay once we’re in the middle of this thing.  I’m good in a crisis.  Really.


Writing Retreat at Hindman Settlement School

This weekend I went to my first writing retreat ever.  I’m an addict now!   The retreat was held at the Hindman Settlement School in Hindman, Kentucky.  I met a fellow writing group member and a Facebook friend there.  I’m not adverse to walking into groups where I know no one but it was nice to have a friends in attendance.

If you write and if you have never been to a retreat, you owe it to yourself.  I am renewed, reinvigorated and re-examining my writing life.

I have a million reasons not to write.  It’s time for that to come to an end.  I enjoy it.  I possess some talent and it’s a crime that I’m not doing what I want to do for all sorts of nonsensical reasons.  So here I am.  Blogging.  Get used to it.

The retreat was led by Dana Wildsmith who can be found here.   We had read-arounds and group discussions followed by a one-on-one with Dana.  She worked with me on my one and only poem that I’ve written as an adult.  (That dreck one writes as a teenager doesn’t count.)

I wrote this poem at last year’s Allegheny Echoes.   Allegheny Echoes is a fabulous event focused on old-time music but also offering a writing track.  Kirk Judd led it and insisted I could write a poem.  And I did.  But I don’t have the tools to evaluate it, so Dana’s help with shaping and clarifying it was invaluable.

The retreat, for me, was the proverbial kick in the pants that I’ve needed for a long time.  Not only am I motivated to write, but I am motivated to garden.  These two things I’ve struggled with for the past several years.  I don’t know if it was part of the grieving process for me to not garden and to not write, or what, but I haven’t been.  Both activities are ones that caused my very soul to sing and I’ve been mystified as to why I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, do them.

The magnolia in the photo was taken at the Hindman Settlement School.  The grounds were nicely landscaped and I wandered around one afternoon with a camera, but didn’t take too many pictures.  I was busy writing.  As it should be.

I’m back!