Word of the Year!

I’m working on my Susannah Conway packet from the previous year and going through days 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 on the way to selecting a word for the year; I’m jotting notes on paper and on the computer and diligently thinking deep thoughts. Then I happen to look down at my netbook and see my latest Nanowrimo sticker, which reads “time to write.” It is, isn’t it. It’s time. Time to make time to write. Write now, right now.

My forever-issue is that I’m terrible with consistency. I can do big colorful bursts of new happy fun fun pizzazz, but my habit always runs out and I’m left in a field of wildflowers wondering when and where it was I went off the tracks. So I go into a stream of consciousness jotting jag, flipping through the best “motivational quotes” Google images can throw at me. Trying to get to the core of what it is I want to do with my year, how I want to focus my energy:

Repeat. Try again. Restart. Begin again. Keep going. Keep on keepin’ on. Be brave. Reach for the stars. “Make it so.” Persist. Persevere. Stay the course. Hold fast. Be stubborn. Hang tough (you are strong enough). KEEP ON. “Stay on target!” Keep on striving. STRIVE. Fail better. “Pain is a doorway.” Failure is a doorway? “Good things happen when you go for it.” Do it, just do it. (Yesterday you said today.) In for a penny, in for a pound. Give it your all. “Find what you love and let it kill you.” Work hard. Percolate! Commit to the page. Do the work. GRIND.

And that’s the word that resonates like a gong, and I feel YES in response to this discovery. I want to work hard. I want to keep going when the going gets tough. I want to cut the crap (of excuses why I’m not writing; of excess words from my writing). I want to put my shoulder to the wheel, nose to the grindstone, and make something more focused, more honed, as a result.



verb (used with object), ground or (rare) grind·ed; grind·ing.
  1. to wear, smooth, or sharpen by abrasion or friction; whet.
verb (used without object), ground or (rare) grind·ed; grind·ing.
  1. to be polished or sharpened by friction.
  2. Informalto work or study laboriously (often followed by away).
  3. Digital Technology(in a video game) to perform a monotonous task repeatedly in order to advance a character to a higher level or rank. 

related words for grind

reduce; task, routine, groove


Word of the Year?

I’ve been thinking about what I want to select for my word or phrase of the year for 2019. I like phrases because they have enough association in the stream of language to have accumulated some fun visuals, which can be encouraging. Below are the honorable mentions and runner-ups. (Runners-up?)

Pay Attention



Make Things Happen



Work In Progress



Cut The Crap



December 2018

December has arrived. How did your Nanowrimo go? How many books did you read this year? How did your word of the year go? Have you thought about what to select for your next one? The last month of the year is all about reflection, summary, arranging the narrative in a way that makes sense. And thinking about goals for the year to come. What do you want to accomplish in 2019? How did your goals for 2018 go, what were your roadblocks, what were things that worked well?

I didn’t win Nano this year, and I have mixed feelings about it. I’m glad for the writing I accomplished and disappointed in myself that I didn’t work harder to meet my goal. I’ve completed 25 books as of now and may finish a few more because I can sometimes listen to audiobooks at work. I think despite all the ups and downs inherent in a year, my word (phrase) of the year “get up and go” went pretty well. I’ve been thinking about selections for the upcoming but I’m not quite ready to share.

My writing has been through good and bad patches. Journalling seems to be what I’m drawn to most naturally so I’ve tried to accomodate that natural instinct. I’ve met with my awesome writing group countless times to great effect, and attended several write-ins that were great for productivity as well as morale. I kept teaching writing classes and feel good about that. My reading has been slow this year, as intended, to give myself a break from the previous year’s supersonic speeds.

Exercise comes and goes. I get into a great groove and then it falls apart, and I don’t realize until long after I’ve stopped. Then at some point I start again. I’m not sure how to fix this. My cleaning is at an all-time high for the year, following my family’s visit for Thanksgiving, and my laundry is at an all-time low. I’m certain I’ve increased the number of rainbows in The House of Rainbows. I hope your year has treated you kindly, and you have accomplishments you can feel good about.

Much Love,

books read

Emotional Pain Words

Howdy y’all! As Nanowrimo creeps ever closer, what are you doing to stretch those writerly brain muscles? I happened to be in a therapy session when my super awesome therapy lady showed me the following list. The purpose is to help people express what they’re feeling or what they’re afraid of, but we both agreed that it would also be a great list for writers working on character feelings! The followed material was not compiled by me but the photocopy had no attribution. Hope this helps a stumped writer get somewhere new!

fave pencil point right
All my fault
Always wrong
fave pencil point left
Blamedfave pencil point rightCan’t do anything right
Can’t trust anyone
Conspired against
Cut offfave pencil point leftDeceived
Desires were rejected
Didn’t belong
Didn’t measure up
Dominatedfave pencil point rightEmbarrassed
Exposedfave pencil point leftFailure
Frustratedfave pencil point rightGood for nothing
Guiltyfave pencil point leftHated
Hate myself
Hystericalfave pencil point rightImpure
Insensitive to my needs
Invalidatedfave pencil point leftLeft out
Lied to
Lostfave pencil point rightMade fun of
Molestedfave pencil point leftNeglected
No good
Not being affirmed
Not cared for
Not cherished
Not deserving to live
Not listened to
Not measure up
Not valuedfave pencil point rightOpinions not valued
Out of control
Overwhelmedfave pencil point leftPathetic
Pressure to perform
Publicly shamedfave pencil point rightRejected
Ruinedfave pencil point leftSad
Suicidalfave pencil point rightTaken advantage of
Torn apart
Trashfave pencil point leftUgly
Unable to communicate
Uncared for
Unfairly judged
Unfairly treated
Usedfave pencil point rightViolated
Vulnerablefave pencil point leftWasted
Woundedfave pencil point right

SRC 2017!

SRCYou guys you guys you guys!!! For locals in the Little Rock (or Perryville or Wrightsville) area, Summer Reading Club 2017 is going on RIGHT NOW from end of May to end of July. Rock! You get badges for books you read, reviews you write, events you attend! This is too awesome not to take advantage of.

This is the Central Arkansas Library System main page

This is the Summer Reading Club main page

This is the pdf version of the paper booklet you can pick up for free at the library, which gives an itinerary of all the events going on, by branch

and This is BeanStack where you log all your stuff for badges and such!
Look at how gorgeous and adorable these graphics are! SO MANY BRIGHT COLORS


Academic year in review, backwards

My buddy Ellie di Julio sometimes does this thing where she lists the ton of cool stuff she’s been up to lately. Since June is the last month in my academic calendar, I thought it’d be fun to flip back and review the year at a glance…

June 2017
Vampire game
Kushiel munch, made new frands
Kushiel pool party
Laman Scribble
Chris’s work picnic
Werewolf game
Sticky’z & Museum of Discovery
Three paydays this month, yaaay!

May 2017
Writing group
Memphis in May Bealle St Music Festival
Missed out on the Laman Scribble because
Doug gave me a kickass Mother’s Day with flowers and sweets
Jack finishes the school year <3
Replaced our leaking hot water heater (which was from ’92, sheesh) and
Replaced our malfunctioning A/C compressor (so expense, very ow)

April 2017
Writing group
Chris bday!
Laman Scribble
Argenta Farmer’s Market <3
Science March
Right to Write Litfest @ Mosaic Templars
Book Talks Litfest @ Lvl 4

March 2017
I turned 35
Writing group
Co-taught writing class with Karen Hayes!
(Missed the Scribble)
Annual Pen Show
Massage & chiro appts to fix my back, ow
Taught more writing classes

February 2017
Thompson Branch book shifting
Kushiel party
Writing group
Laman Scribble
Jack to friend’s bday @ D&B
Werewolf game

January 2017
Laman Scribble
Writing group

December 2016
Doug’s work xmas party
Laman Scribble
Vision Board & Scrapbooking
Hair appt
Our NYE party

November 2016
Visit to KCMO
Trevor Noah
Staff Day
All Day Write-a-Thon @Moore’s

October 2016
Melanie Martinez
Pride <3
Christopher moves to LR!!!
taught a writing class

September 2016
taught a writing class
went to FL for funeral
South on Main

August 2016
Oxford American

July 2016
Littles Tea Party

Ash by Malinda Lo

Ash by Malinda Lo

This book was really good, really fast, and surprisingly all-ages appropriate! (I just figured there’d be a sex scene somewhere in there, but no!) The great thing about reading a re-telling (like Cinder, Ash was a re-telling of the Cinderella story) is seeing how the individual author breathes new life into an old story. The pillar character of the cruel stepmother is present, of course, but she doesn’t come across as empty tribute. The character was painted realistically, and the reader believes this is a person who enjoys petty cruelties and taking out her anger on others. Instead of a fairy godmother, Lo’s cinderella has a fairy prince, and they aren’t just passing acquaintances. For much of the book Sidhean is Ash’s only friend. Another realistic aspect of the story Lo gives us is the pain Ash experiences at losing both her parents, particularly her mother. When Ash mourns at her grave, on more than one occasion, we feel her pain with her.

But perhaps most striking about this version of the story is how Lo has cast our heroine’s love interest not as the prince of the kingdom, but as the king’s huntress. So here we have two young women attracted to one another as the central love story, and it’s so refreshing! This is one of the most essential reasons we retell old tales — to make them accessible and relatable to new audiences. Unlike a book might be if targeted toward adults, this novel isn’t focused on sexual tension or desire; all of the nuance here is the nervousness of first love, wondering “what is this feeling?,” blushing and turning away, being unsure of what to say in that other person’s presence. You’re going to fall in love with Ash, Kaisa, and Sidhean, and you’ll be left craving more of them when you finish this short volume.

The quiet afternoon opened up between them like a woman stretching her limbs.

[If you love re-tellings of old tales and want something a little more adult, check out Tanith Lee‘s White as Snow. It’s fantastic, too.]

Reading Challenges
Here we go for reading challenge updates:

Hashtags for the challenges that had them:

Thanks for sticking with me and see you next time!