Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Year of (Almost) Daily Writing

Today I’m joining a blog hop with a few friends from My 500 Words. Nearly a year ago to the day, I saw Jeff Goins’ call to join his challenge to write 500 words every day for 31 days.

Well, someone has to watch me, so I signed up.

The accountability mattered. Whether I shared my daily words with the group or posted only my word count or just popped in to cheer others on and share a laugh or three, I wrote every day.

Come February, most of us decided to stay, and the challenge was on to write every day of 2014.

From location to writing levels, we are a diverse and friendly and seriously supportive group. We have members everywhere.

We have some excellent writers, and it still sometimes blows me away that they even acknowledge me, let alone the gentle kicks in the butt I get when they know I need them.

We have watched others start their first blog or get an article published for the first time or finish their umpteenth novel, and we celebrate everything.

We have shared the hard stuff, too. Some members divorced this year, some lost loved ones, others suffered serious health issues. When down in the weeds, this group rallies together and tries to pull you out.

Most of you know I spent the month of September on the Oregon coast. One plan was to work on the novel I’d started in June. Never in a million did I think I’d ever want to write a novel. Look what these people did to me!

While chatting online one evening, Tonia and Roslynn decided to join me on the coast for a long weekend. Then we invited Laura, who lives near Portland. I was excited and also hoped I wouldn't run my introverted self into the forest and hide until time for them to leave.

Shortly after Laura decided to make the trip, I received an email from Pat, the editor of Not Your Mother's Book on Working for a Living (we had biz, ya'll!). Turned out she hits the coastal towns often. She agreed to join our meet up.

These stranger-friends arrived and rather than wanting to run into the forest, it felt like a reunion with long-separated friends. Tonia put the guilt on us if anyone wanted to go out before writing. She taught me better discipline. We wrote, we shared our writing with each other and critiqued for one another. We walked and talked and ate and laughed a lot.

Laura Hile and Pat Nelson

Tonia Hurst and Pat Nelson

We didn’t realize until departure time that only Tonia and Ros had met before this weekend.  That’s how easy it was.

We were no longer stranger-friends. None of us.

Tonia Hurst and Roslynn Pryor

Did I write every single day of 2014? No. I missed some days. Did I write anything that might change the world? Nope. I wrote some pretty good stuff and I wrote some stuff I should just burn. But I wrote. I wrote a lot. And I met good people that I never would have crossed paths with if I hadn't joined the challenge.

To the entire group, and especially the members who encouraged me to keep at it, may you find just the right words in 2015.

Write on.

Here are a few friends who took up the challenge a year ago. Check out their blogs and spread the love!

LinzĂ© Brandon at Butterfly on a Broomstick
Vanessa Wright at Humouring the dark
Stella Myers at Stella’s Starshine
Amy Bovaird‪ at Amy’s Adventures
Crystal Thieringer at Muse and Meander
‪Roslyn Prior at Pushing the Bruise
Becky Williams Waters at A Novel Creation
Laura Hile at For the Love of Storytelling
Tonia Hurst at The Vast and Inscrutable Imponderabilities of Life

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Shopping: Just Stay Home

I went out in public today, which frankly, is always a bad idea.

First stop was the drive-up ATM at my bank. There was one car ahead of me. I watched as the driver swiped her card, then turned it over and swiped it again, then pushed random buttons, then swiped her card again, then stared at her card as if the answer to all life’s mysteries would soon be revealed to her, and apparently when they were revealed, they said, “Look at the picture, and insert your card accordingly.”

Finally she left, and about forty seconds later I had my cash and headed to the drugstore. When I parked, I noticed that same car was next to me (after all, I’d had a good long time to stare at the plate). I hoped to God she was not in front of me in line here too.

As always, I went for one item and saw a couple of things on sale so I grabbed them, too. At the checkout I did not see the ATM failure, but a man trying to return something, who had to wait for someone who knew how to do some things to appear and take over his transaction. He kindly offered to step aside and let me have a go with the new clerk.

I handed said clerk my magic store card and my coupon for coffee, that I’d ripped off of the box of coffee pods I still had at home, and said that the giant six-pack of tissues should have a one-dollar-off-at-register coupon.

He scanned the coffee coupon, held it next to the new box of pods, and said the coupon didn’t work for that item. He studied the coupon and the box, then the box and the coupon, as people behind me started to get pissed.

He then suggested that the coupon probably hadn’t worked because he didn’t ring up the coffee.
He rang up the pods, at $3.00 more than the sale price before the coupon, and then deducted the dollar.

I was ready to punch him and leave with my overpriced goods when the woman behind me heaved a sigh. I turned to find the ATM failure impatiently waiting for me to finish.

So I told the clerk the coffee rang up wrong, and he then had to figure out how to correct that while rummaging through a coupon book for the Kleenex deal.

I finally escaped, although I was still robbed of one dollar.

Back in the car, I sent my daughter a text, saying I had the urge to stab people. As I put the car in reverse, ATM woman did the same, and made a quick exit. Like she was now in a hurry.

Next I went to the other drug store. I carried my stuff to the counter, and the only clerk there said, “I’ll be right with you,” as she took off into the aisles.

I did not want to punch or stab her, probably due to her advanced age. So when she returned I checked out and headed to Wendy’s, my last stop.

There, I was handed my drink with no straw, and waited. And waited. Like they had to send someone to the beach to dig some more sand for the chili or something. Finally they shoved a bag out the window. Parched from wanting to hurt others (a shrink once asked me if I have thoughts of hurting myself – um, no, that would be a little nutty) I dug through the bag for the straw. Still no straw.
I repeated Hello Hello Hellooooo, until someone stuck a head out to see what I wanted. She then poked a straw at me, no Sorry or Have a Great Day or You might want to check the rest of that shit ‘cause there may be a cheesy bacon potato with not a drop of butter or sour cream in there instead of sandy chili.

The holidays are fast approaching, and I can’t deal. I’ll be shopping from home, alone.

It’s safer that way.