Apr 30 2012:I thought this was my 2000th post but it wasn't.
In case you’re wondering why I haven’t posted recently, the last time I posted to my LiveJournal blog, “Scribblings”, I noticed a stat at the top of the page saying that I had posted 1999 times so far--since Nov 2007. Naturally, in order to commemorate the upcoming milestone, I felt that my 2000th post should be a thing of beauty and a joy forever. Naturally, that brought on writer’s block. See here I am, over a week later, having given the matter much thought and deciding, “Hey! Forget the joy and beauty! Let’s wing it!”
At the end of this entry, you can always go back to my first two LJ blogs, dated Nov 19th and 20th.—if you feel like you really need more to read. (Giggle!) They recount the very early growing pains of “Seabird” in detail.
For the guts of this entry I’ve decided to reminisce on some of the things that have happened in my life between Nov 19 2007 and today, Feb 26 2011.
First, summarizing Nov 2007, “Seabird” technically came out and I technically went on my two conference “book tour”—except that none of that really happened.
I was on my way by train to PhilCon, the first of the two conferences, when I stopped for the first time in my preparations to flip through a copy of the book. Typos were everywhere. Evidently, the wrong file—a pre-correction file—of the manuscript had been used in production. Fortunately for all concerned, my publisher produces books by POD (print-on-demand), meaning that there wasn’t a warehouse full of “Seabirds” chock full of errors somewhere down in Georgia.
The bottom line, was that I was unable to flog my first book during those two carefully planned weeks, because I would have had to give away or sell really messed copies of the book. As soon as I had a chance, I called Dave at Gryphonwood and told him what happened He saw to it that no books—besides the ten copies with me—had slipped through. None had. In January 2008, he tried again, and Seabird became available via Amazon and B&N.
I did not get back into the conference circuit again, until this past year, when I attended PhilCon 2010 had both “Seabird” and “Earthbow” to promote. My most significant contact during the conference was Jay C Wile, the author of many scientific texts for home schooling purposes. We met at a “Speculative Fiction vs Religious Belief” panel. He was a panelist. I was in the audience. Neither of us could figure out why there –had- to be a versus in that title. He is currently reading “Earthbow” volume 2 and says he likes it so far. Yippee!
Between November 2007 and some time in 2009, I went from riding on Delaware’s Dart buses –and screaming about the service regularly on this blog--to finally being declared sufficiently disabled that I now qualify for DAST (De Assisted Service Transportation?). Paratransit buses. I fuss about the new system but rarely do it in the blog. Somewhere in all of the LJ blog entries is a multi-part description of my last trip to Newark DE by regular Dart bus, including all the walking and exploring I did in search for a cup of coffee. Great day, if exhausting! It will almost certainly never happen again.
Back to writing for a moment. Between Nov 2007 and Aug 2010, I revised and partially rewrote the early 1980’s manuscript of “Earthbow”, in preparation for its fall publication. Since then, I have spent my writing time first deciphering old scanned-in typewritten pages of “The Gryphon & the Basilisk” (aka The Behemoth, aka The Book That Intends to Eat Delaware), or transcribing additional pages of the manuscript from longhand. (I began writing G&B in the early-mid-80’s.)
I have continued to be a member of the writing group “Written Remains”, a local group where we spend much of our time reading each others’ work and critiquing it. In the last year (?)—Joanne Reinbold, correct me if I’m wrong—Written Remains has morphed into The Written Remains Writers Guild. I wish I knew the stats, but I believe we’ve doubled in size since 2007. Amongst other changes, we are attempting to support individual members and the group as professional authors in the Delaware region. We are arranging to have periodical public readings in libraries and other venues throughout the state beginning as soon as April.
Which brings me to my other Guild membership. Thanks to Frank Creed’s invitation, I became a member of The Lost Genre Guild in the early spring of 2008—not long after “Seabird” finally hit Amazon, for real. I have the distinct memory of an early email conversation in which we were discussing life on the moon and what parts of it would probably vary little from life on earth. A hysterical sub-thread suggested substitutes for Christmas Trees in the moon colonies. Now I may be totally wrong but I think Terri Main may have instigated the original thread. Frank, Grace, Caprice, any idea how many members we had back in early 2008?
I began attending St Philips Lutheran Church in August 2009 and became a member in spring 2010, I believe. Brandon, if you see this, please correct me if I’m wrong. I’ve made a number of friends (especially Brandon) at my new church and—when not dealing with broken ankles—I attend Bible Study there regularly. (I went to my previous church from May 2000 into early 2009, and never thought it a good fit. However, I have never been one for changing jobs or churches easily.)
Starting a good two years ago, I began seeing a spiritual director, whom I’ll just call Mary. She lives in Newark, and I only get down to see her once a month (not counting broken ankle months). She has been a great help to me in matters of faith and Christian behavior. And, thanks to her, I learned about Contemplative Prayer—which largely involved shutting up us chattering AT God and instead listening with full focus and humility, for a change. Mary told me about Jesus House, nearby on Kirkwood Highway, which hosts a weekly Contemplative Prayer group. We pray, walk the labyrinth in meditation and watch films of Father Thomas Keating, as he describes CP and other aspects of the contemplative life. (I’ve missed these sessions since December, due to the ankle thing.)
Now I may very well be off by a year, but I believe that my Siamese cat Khiva (long ‘I’) and I welcomed a kitten named Vartha into our home close to the beginning of this blog. Vartha is a solid black part Maine Coon cat, and she was a bundle of energy and curiosity when she arrived here at 10 weeks old. Before her arrival, Khiva had finally gotten over her pathological terror of humans. But now, Khiva, pretty literally wanted to kill Vartha. (Well, she never meowed this in so many mews, but she got her point across.) It was a very good thing that I kept the two cats in different parts of the apartment for quite a long time at the beginning.
We almost lost Khiva when she swallowed a 3 foot long cord right after Christmas that year. I still thank everyone who rallied to pray when I blogged about the situation here. As it turned out, that too would pass. ;-P (It actually came out in two parts.)
Khiva and Vartha are best buds now. They frequently sleep together during the day, kind of curled around each other so they look like a Yin-Yan symbol. At night, Khiva mostly sleeps with me, while Vartha mostly raises a ruckus in the bedroom, trying to wake us up and pull down bedroom curtains.
What else? Well, there’s been all of the “fun” apartment hi-jinx since 2007. Like the pump breaking during a load of clothes and flooding my apartment. Of course, that flood doesn’t compare to the President’s Week snowstorm (back in 2002? 2003?) when I had a flood coming from my bathroom ceiling, and I could raise no one to come out and look at it. That time, I spent about 28 hours, emptying buckets and mopping up water every 20 minutes. But back to 2007 through to the present. I’ve also had the air conditioning off here for more than a week at a time during heat waves for a couple of summers. Always during heat waves. And two fire scares. One supposedly involved someone cooking hotdogs in/on a electronic hot dog cooker and falling asleep while they were cooking. (Huh?)
Over the course of the last couple of years, I’ve gotten to know Luther and Doris, and Vicky and Nicky (no really) and Max, whom I call Mr. Max, here in the apartment building. We are currently down to one big dog when I think we had 6 or 7 at our peak. The people with the two dogs and three cats moved out almost a year ago now.
And, naturally, I am still friends with my old University buddy, Demaris as well as Lorena and Judy from my previous church. Brandon, I mentioned—my newest best bud. Finally what would I do without KB, a former member of Written Remains, and my currently lifeline to food, meds and mail! KB, you’re the best!
Well, that’s pretty much it up to the present. Anyway, who ever reads this probably knows that I broke my ankle on Dec 9, and have virtually not been out of the apartment except for x-rays and to see the doctor since then. I am reaching the point where I can experiment with a shoe on that foot now and again. I’m also reaching the point where I’m going fairly stir crazy bonkers in here. Unfortunately, I still have a large obstacle to overcome. I can’t really resume going anywhere by Dast Paratransit, until I can get down the steps (and up) only holding on to one railing with my free hand on my cane. And then there’s the obstacle of the front door and outside steps, which only partially has a railing—and not where it’s most needed either. (If you didn’t know, I fell on those front steps in Dec, right where there’s no railing.) I would appreciate prayers and good thoughts coming to my aid as I get over the next challenge in my life. Thanks!
Thank you to all of my good friends and acquaintances, from WR, LGG, Jesus House, church, etc who have been my companions on the way, my spiritual guides and my writing buddies over the years. I so appreciate your friendship that I can't even begin to express it here. My prayers and best wishes are with you through the next three plus years and forever. :)
p.s. Many things have changed in my life since I wrote this post just a little over a year ago. For the most part, I'm glad I didn't know then what I know now.
random records of scattered thoughts
- From When I Started Here in 2007