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This is not a children’s book

This is not a children’s book
Does a virus have a moral?
Does an epidemic have a happy ending?
Does it end at all?
Do we learn our lesson?
Are the ICU wards illustrated in pastel watercolors?
Can we put the book down and read something else?

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The soul is

The soul is
The broken egg that pulls itself together again
No matter how much yolk has been spilled
It finds its way into the shell
eventually

 

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Choose Health

Shortly before my departure from my church last year, I asked for counsel from a good friend about this decision. She suggested I make a sign that said “choose health,” put it somewhere I’d see it frequently, and follow its advice. In that context, it meant prioritizing my mental health over the demands of a toxic congregation.

Now, as I’m practicing social distancing — working from home, living with just my cat, going out only as needed — “choose health” has a very different meaning.

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Prying It Loose: On Writing Poetry Again

Like many teenagers, I wrote poetry in high school. I cobbled together a journal from spare ruled notebook paper and a used binder, hand-sewing and gluing the spine. The pages were deckled (not intentionally) by my inability to cut straight. I filled this upcycled journal with confessions, story snippets, and poems.

I wrote far more fiction than poetry in the years between, but I indulged on occasion. I used to post Wednesday poems on this blog some years back. I’d mess around with metaphor and meter in my stories, but not to great effect. (Rhyme was always hard for me.)

Since my writing block last year, I’ve struggled to find ways to put words to screen. I practically reinvented my writing process twice, but that didn’t seem to fix things. Even blog posts have been difficult and sporadic, though to be fair my topics have been difficult, deeply personal, and met with a great deal of hostility.

Earlier this month, unsure of what day exactly, I started writing poetry again. The first poem was excruciating to write, like turning a rusty nut off a threaded bolt, but the threads caught and subsequent poems have been easier.

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Does Unitarian Universalism Have A Future?

Short answer: not as it exists right now.

Long answer:

It’s no secret I left my UU church last year. While my specific grievances are personal and partly confidential, I can speak to an overall trend that I’ve witnessed in other UU churches.

Mainstream denominations are in big trouble, and Unitarian Universalism is no exception.

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Embracing Boredom: Why I’m Ditching Streaming Video in January

Though I no longer do New Year’s resolutions (too ambitious, too inflexible, you’ve heard this already), I’ve decided to do some month-long commitments. Among my commitments this year: abstaining from most streaming video, i.e. Netflix, Disney+, etc.

I have several good reasons for this.

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NaNoWriMo Post-Mortem

Yeah, about that…

I knew I wouldn’t be hitting 50,000 words this month. I wasn’t expecting to fall short by 49K, though!

There were two primary issues: one of which is just luck of the draw, and the other is more significant:

1) Changing priorities meant losing my focus. Some family drama, professional uncertainty, and other (undisclosed) personal issues kept me from giving Field of Shards the attention it needed.

2) I over-planned.

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Course Corrections

I may have been a little too ambitious with last month’s plans.

For a variety of reasons, I’m back on Facebook earlier than expected. I’ll remain off Twitter (much more of an issue with me personally) until the end of the month.

As it turns out, people expect you to be on social media to keep in touch. I tried to be proactive in reaching out to friends, but that skill has really atrophied, and unsurprisingly I felt isolated.

I’m also ending my plant-based diet transition. I thought a gradual transition would help with fatigue, but uh, it really didn’t. I’m going to look at other ways of reducing my carbon footprint, but yeah, this one’s out of the picture.

As it turns out, I have other, more urgent priorities. NaNoWriMo, of course, is this month’s primary objective. There’s also something I’m planning for next year that I’m not ready to discuss yet, but I need to be clear-headed and confident.

More NaNoWriMo updates to come.

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NaNoWriMo 2019, Day 4

Total words written: 1,034.

It’s, uh, not a great start, but it is a start, nonetheless.

I haven’t scheduled my time well this week. I was socializing all Friday evening, then was out all of Saturday. I had some time Sunday morning, but didn’t take advantage of it. I’ve been getting words in here and there.

Hopefully I can gain some momentum this week, as I have nothing planned for the next few days. The challenges this year are different than last — this time around, it’s a matter of maintaining emotional engagement rather than time management. At least, that’s what I thought until I actually started writing this year.

Onward.

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NaNoWriMo 2019 Prep: Loose Ends

I’m wrapping up my revisions to the existing draft of Field of Shards. Other than some scene rewrites in the first chapter, it’s been smooth sailing.

I noticed a very Hemingway-esque trick at the bottom of my manuscript: leaving a sentence unfinished as a prompt to continue writing. I recall doing that a bit last year, sometimes out of exhaustion, having finished my writing quota and not wanting to keep going. It sorta works — there’s a compulsion to finish the sentence, sure, but afterwards is harder when you’re drowning in the tar pit of writer’s block.

I have a few other character bits to add before I start writing anew on Friday: better descriptions, a few names to add, and an entirely new bit character to fill a gap caused by my one big character change from the existing manuscript. Nothing that would stop me from starting, but good to take care of while I can.

As for official NaNoWriMo meetups this year? I’m not sure. I need to see what my schedule is like, and I’d rather not drive across the bay to St. Pete or Clearwater on a weekday afternoon. More than likely, I’ll just keep in touch online.