Button Sunday

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Snoopy Saturday!

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Photo Friday, No. 436

Current Photo Friday theme: Leaves


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Things I’ve Learned By Moving No. 3

As part of the great purge of paperwork, I’ve found things I didn’t know I had but am so glad I kept. This photo shows two letters from friends. Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I took on the task of writing epic, glitzy novels–I’m sure there were two, I think I finished the third one–that followed a group of people through a few decades. It doesn’t matter to me that those novels will never be published because 1. I was writing way outside my knowledge base, as I knew then and know now, and 2. They were insanely long and therefore unpublishable. (In fact, I tried to split the first one into two novels, and they were still unpublishable and also I didn’t like them so much anymore.)

What does matter is that writing them helped me learn to pace, plot, develop characters, and possibly how NOT to write dialogue. =) And more importantly, they weren’t just beginnings. They were finished, and proofed, and revised and rewritten. If you think it’s near-impossible to start writing something, clearly you’ve never tried to finish writing something.

What also matters is that I conquered years of self-doubt and negative voices (my own as well as those belonging to others) and found the courage to let someone who wasn’t Tom or Lynne read them. Lynne had been instrumental in helping me develop those characters and storylines, and Tom was someone who didn’t read anything like these books but was willing to read mine. To step outside the safety of these two readers was terrifying–and that isn’t an exaggeration. The day I gave the first manuscript to Amy to read, she wasn’t even home yet before I left a message on her machine (remember answering machines?): “I changed my mind. PLEASE don’t read it!” Only she didn’t go home, she went to her boyfriend’s house, I think, and had already begun reading it before she had a chance to hear the message.

Another friend, someone I met through Lynne, also named Lynn, loved to read and wanted to read my manuscripts. Since I’d already taken the plunge with Amy, I gave Lynn a copy, too.

In the end, they both enjoyed that first novel. I’d remembered that their comments were kind and encouraging, and as I was going through old papers and found these letters they wrote, I was grateful once more for their time and thoughtfulness.

I tell writers all the time that it’s vital to develop a thick hide. If you let every criticism, naysayer, and negative review get to you, you’ll poison your will to write. Likewise, if you share your writing with only your friends or people who won’t challenge you, you’re denying yourself a chance to grow as a writer.

But it’s likely you’ll never share anything you’ve created if someone along the way doesn’t tell you to go for it. Doesn’t say, “I like this!” Doesn’t fan that little flicker into a flame of passionate commitment to create. I still love for a reader to say, “I like this!”–and I remember each person who was willing to say it and who told me I was a writer long before I felt I had the right to call myself one.

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Slumber Party

How many dogs do you see?

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Button Sunday

Ha. Just realized this is Button Sunday number 420. Seems appropriate.

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Snoopy Saturday!

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Photo Friday, No. 435

Current Photo Friday theme: Gray

Towson, 2014

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Button Sunday

No matter where you live, there are always dogs and cats who need homes. Rescued pets are awesome. You know who agrees?

Toota and Chap, siblings who not only received their freedom rides from BARC today from Tom and me, but will be staying with us until they travel to Colorado. They’ve already had baths, dinner, and a good snooze with their new friends Margot, Guinness, and Anime.

I challenge all my Houston friends to foster for RPM by filling out an application here. Dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, in every size and age and breed you can imagine. They have rescuers, fosters, and adopters just waiting for them to arrive in Colorado so they can find forever homes. But they can’t get there if we can’t get them out of BARC first. Some foster commitments are for as little as two days. Most are between one to three weeks. Occasionally for medical cases, the commitment can be longer. But you decide what you’re able to do, and RPM provides what you need to take care of your foster.

RPM’s fantastic fosters constantly inspire me with the compassion and care they show toward the dogs and cats in our program. It’s just that so many more are needed so we can continue to make a difference–the way we already have to more than 5000 dogs and cats!

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Snoopy Saturday!

Apparently one of mine is unpacking boxes, especially if I have to dust, wash, or otherwise clean what I’ve unpacked. So I’ve had to bargain with myself. If I get X unpacked (X being kitchen boxes or clothes or bathroom stuff or THE NEVER-ENDING OFFICE CRAP), I can unpack more books, the only things I really want to unpack.

So far, it’s working, and the shelves are finally beginning to fill up.

(Penny supervises.)

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