Gleaning

I seem to finally be collecting a routine around me. Get up, fill the coffee pot and water the keiki orchids while I’m there. Look out the kitchen window at the balcony, and if the basil is wilting, fill the watering can to water the balcony garden. Or this morning, since we’ve had so much rain, just grab my laptop and coffee cup and head out to enjoy the relative cool of the morning. On a weekday, I leave before it’s fully light, so I can’t take advantage of the fresh air – last night it was 101 and I’m not acclimated well enough yet to want to sit out in that. Put my feet up on the other chair where my husband ought to be sitting, and start talking to myself via typing.

This week on the web, ran across a few things I thought I’d share with you folks. First was the podcast (and now also on Youtube) that Larry Correia is doing with a friend on writing and the writing business. The man is savvy, kind, and generous. I highly suggest you pick this one up and give it a listen, or at the very least a supportive subscribe. I was able to find WriterDojo on my podcast app of choice, as it’s out there on all the platforms now. The first episode has some audio issues, but I’m told they fixed that by ep 2, and that there are 14 episodes already in the can, coming out weekly on Wednesdays.

I’d seen Passive Voice pick up Jane Friedman‘s blog posts several times recently, and find them insightful and useful. I will second his hearty recommendation of her blog, and have added it to my regular reading. On a slightly-related note, I also read an art blog, Muddy Colors, which never fails to humble any pretensions I have to being an artist, but also has really useful stuff. Some of this can apply to authors as well, like this article on transitioning to fully remote working.

Then this story popped up for me today, and if ever there was a tale that deserved to be immortalized in fiction, only no one would believe it was really true…. Oklahoma Mother of 11 Rescues Afghanistan’s All-Girl Robotics Team. There is more tragedy happening in that region than we will ever know, and it doesn’t bear thinking about, only as a writer I know we all do. But this? This is one of those things that gives me hope for humanity. Go read this woman’s bio, and what she did – and is doing. There were more than ten on the team, so she’s still trying for more than those ten. As a friend commented on the article’s share, ‘mother of 11? Mother of more, now!’ Sometimes it’s not about having to go out on the pointy end. Sometimes it’s just about showing up, advocating, being a voice for those who are out of range. Sometimes it really is about a phone call, persisting in face of certain failure. About taking risks, not of death, but of failing or losing money and time, and all because you cannot live with yourself if you don’t at least try.

Puts my life in perspective. Not that I’ve failed – I have, many times. Nor that I have ever done anything heroic – I have not. But I do keep trying. If I can’t write, I can make art. I’ve been doing a fair amount of graphic design work recently: book covers, logos, and just my personal art journey. The art journey has been art every day, with a few rare exceptions where I missed a day, for a few years now. I just need to start adding the words back into that daily routine. But in the meantime, the design works helps pay the bills and when I can get another book out, that will start replenishing the retirement funds. My books are my retirement plan, but I think I’ve talked about that before.

header: my perspective from my seat on the balcony. It’s not as bad as it could be, yes?

The Mandevilla is happy and blooming, and so is the Vinca. The herbs that survived the drowning and heat are taking off, like my basil.

9 comments

  1. *grins* Wanna know a secret? You don’t get to judge whether or not you’ve never done something heroic. People who make that call for themselves usually get it wrong. No, that’s up to other people to judge, and the answer is usually completely surprising.

    Just ask anyone who blinks and looks at you funny and says “I was just doing my job.” No matter what medal they’re wearing (or not wearing, having shoved it in a drawer because they didn’t “win” it, somebody decided they should get it.)

    1. Like the nice older gent (meaning in his late 80s) who recently joined my Sunday School class who . . . happens to have the Silver Star, two Bronze stars, and a number of other things on his mini-ribbon rack (Korea, Vietnam). And who was chatting with a different gent, who has a Bronze Star, and who “just organized trucks to move stuff a little better when the guys out front needed it. Nothing really special.”

      1. Yep. If you asked them and they felt like talking, they’d have Distinct Opinions on who should have gotten ’em instead!

        I actually learned this lesson when someone sat me down and pointed out that to me, flying a pre-WWII airplane four thousand miles from Alaska to Tennessee on a bare-bones budget, a handheld radio whos batteries couldn’t last as long as the flight legs, scrounged camping gear from the clearance rack at REI (couldn’t afford hotels even when there were any), and boxes of mac n’ cheese was the only option I could afford to keep the airplane and relocate it. But to a lot of other people, it was An Amazing Adventure Of A Lifetime.

        Me, I just embraced the suck, rolled with it, and was very grateful to a number of wonderful people along the way. I wasn’t An Adventurer. I wasn’t Doing Great Things. I was worrying my husband, but he trusted I’d be conservative enough to keep his favourite woman alive. But I don’t get a say in how other people view my actions, just like I don’t get a say on how they like or don’t like my stories.

    2. The fanfiction writer Vathara does a lot of footnotes, and one of them went into a book about the profiles of people who did massively heroic things, saved tons of people.

      It was never “I am going to be heroic,” it was “I can do this thing-” even when it was something simple like happening to leave very edible scraps in such a manner that the people who were totally not hiding in the woods had something to eat. Or just blinking and looking confused when asked about new faces in the area. Or agreeing that the birth certificate of 45 years ago, with the ink not yet dry, was genuine.

  2. The thing I love about that story is it’s a bleepin’ Harvard graduate going “Gosh, I’m so worried about those girls that I worked with at the big robotics convention…. I wish there was something I could do…. think, think, do I know anybody– wait! My old roommate said that she was getting stationed in the middle east, didn’t she? Diplomatic something-”

    I highly suggest folks read the story, but after she contacted her friend who turned out to be in Qatar, the friend wrote up a “help these girls” proposal and organized the paperwork for that side, and the mom went and contacted her Senator, who helped on the in-country stuff.

  3. Many of these stories will take time to get out because they want to keep as much as possible secret until it’s no longer possible to use whatever.

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