The dress I was planning to wear today fit a week ago, and is a little tight today. I think three days of delicious cooking and three days of sitting in comfy chairs talking about writing may be having an effect. Maybe I should stop heaping my plate with seconds, or at least go for a walk in between crit sessions. 🙂 Pictured below — gnocchi in a mushroom-onion cream sauce with blue cheese.

In other news, the worskshop continues delightful and productive.


Bird and Flower

This house we’re visiting has a plethora of bird feeders, and for the last two hours, I’ve been sitting and working on a shaded porch, watching the birds go nuts, listening to their songs. I can’t name them all, but there are blue one and bright yellow ones and red-headed ones along with lots of browns and grey and blacks. It’s just so vibrant and full of life. Our back deck is too sunny to be comfortable sitting on for long (and hard to see the computer screen), but our front porch is a great place to work; I think I want to figure out where I can tuck a stand into the front yard, one that I can hang with multiple different bird feeders.
Also, we have a pergola over the back deck, but the roses I planted are very very slow to climb it, and I think may not have been the best choice. Maybe I should move the wisteria over there? What would you recommend for fast-growing, shade-providing? Kevin had suggested hops, and I’m not a fan of yellow generally, but I do think the flowers are pretty, so I’m considering that seriously now.


There is an extremely affectionate cat here. If I could guarantee that a cat we got would be quite this prone to curling up in laps and being petted, I would be very tempted to get a cat again. Kevin thinks Ellie might not take well to one, though. Hmm….


Words Words, day 2

Heading into day 2 of critiquing at the novel workshop. The food continues excellent (it matters, people — it’s hard to work well on a sad stomach), the company smart and convivial. I’m resisting the urge to dive into revisions of the novel — I have taken copious notes re: their responses to the first 50 pages, but it’ll be on Sunday that I get crit on the full novel, so I should wait for that, at least.
Tonight, I’m going to send out the manuscript as it stands to those people who have been beta-reading for me so far, in case any of them have time to read and send comments by 8/7 — I’m hoping to start revising on 8/8, when I’ll have two weeks before the semester starts. If you’d like to read in the next week and give me feedback, PM me your e-mail; your name will be immortalized in the acknowledgements, should the book actually make it to print. 🙂

Wyrd Words, day 2

So far today, I’ve had my first-50-pages critiqued by the group (they mostly really liked it, yay!, though there’s a few things I can do to hopefully make it even better), critiqued Eric’s first-50, gone for a walk, and stuffed myself with Valya‘s tamales. So full. Kind of want to nap, but we’ll be starting another round of critiques shortly, so I’d better go make tea instead. Luckily, they have PG Tips on hand. 🙂


Word Words, day 1

At the Wyrd Words novel workshop, and it’s going swimmingly. I arrived last night at this splendid house, to find Valya Dudycz Lupescu and Stephen Segalhad everything all ready for us. I was joining workshoppers Sam J. Miller, K Tempest Bradford, Scott Woods, Craig L. Gidney, and Eric San Juan. On arrival, Valya served us a delicious chili, followed by birthday cake for me (so sweet!) and cheesecake. We just spent time getting to know each other last night, preparatory to four days of intensive workshopping. That’s the room I’m sleeping in; very comfy and lovely.

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We only had forty-five minutes to visit the Georgia O’Keefe museum in Santa Fe, and we almost didn’t go, but I’m really glad we did. It was just enough time to see it all, even reading the text that gave context (I do read fast, which helps), and I really didn’t know much about her work beyond the famous flowers. Totally inspiring to have it all in context, seeing how her work changed over the decades, and as she moved from place to place and travelled. So many of the works were incredibly stunning. I would gladly go back.
Here are a few of my favorites: Train at Night in Desert (1916) Red Landscape (1916/1917), Starlight Night (1917), Evening Star No. II (1917), Series I White & Blue Flower Shapes (1919), Pond in the Woods (1922), Machu Picchu I (1957), Green and White (1957/1958), Untitled (City Night) (1970s).
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Ten Thousand Waves

In Santa Fe, we stayed in a fabulous Japanese-styled retreat in the hills that George recommended. There are several small guest houses, which I LOVED, and I would gladly have stayed there for weeks and weeks. So serene. The one we picked, Sailor Moon, was slightly unusual, since it had an anime theme — most of the others are more sedate. If someone offers you a birthday trip to Ten Thousand Waves, I recommend you take them up on it. 🙂

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This is a terribly fuzzy photo, but I wanted to note that it was super-fun watching the Shatner documentary, _Chaos on the Bridge_, about the making of the first three years of Next Gen, which were apparently super-dysfunctional. It’s a neat little film; if you’re a Trekkie, I recommend seeking it out.  Melinda M. Snodgrass introduced the show, and I have to say, it added something special to have her sitting behind us and making snarky comments disagreeing with many of the people in the documentary. I had NO IDEA.

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