Author: karenbalch

The Blur Called June

The Blur Called June

14 July 2018

Just before July 4, I received a text from a dear friend. She told me to stop slacking, having men chase me around and get back to my blog. After looking at my blog history, I understood what she was saying. June was a blur, which explains why I missed the remainder of the month blogging. Although I did spend some time working on novel, so not all was lost.

My birthday was weird this year. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have something planned for the annual (week-long) celebration.  This year I woke up early to go to the gym, met friends early afternoon for lunch, had dinner with another friend, drinks out with a bunch of single friends, and had an absolute ball hanging out with a group of First Responders from the Bay area (CA). Since Friday mornings are quiet in my office, my assistant and I walked to the student building to get coffee there. I ran into the CA crew again. “It’s the birthday girl!” “Karen!” “We missed you at the bar last night.” Sorry guys, I was busy-it was a night I had planned to stay in and not drink. And so on went the conversations. Between hand shakes and casual side hugs, I wished them a safe trip home once their training was done for the morning.

I am going to stop here to say my birthday week was interesting and there will be a few chapters in my creative nonfiction work…on schedule to begin writing this fall.

That was a Friday. I had to make a run across campus to drop off some paperwork. As I was leaving the office I was in, I opened the door and BAM! walking in my direction was my ex-husband. Even more so, had I stepped out of the office, I would have run right into him; the steps he was taking up were in my line of traffic. I knew he saw me. He looks like hell; he hasn’t taken care of himself at all. I immediately closed the door, stepping back into the office. I prefer not to put myself in situations where a conversation might spark with this man. I waited a few more seconds, that felt like 20 minutes, before I walked back to my office, dropping f-bombs in a text to a friend and my cousin. After that unexpected encounter I was reminded I did not need any validation; my assistant had witnessed the friendly exchanges with the CA crew. A point was made.

It must be a record to avoid an ex when you both live in a very small town. I avoided any close contact with him for seven months! I do a very good job at hiding in a small town. Very good. It also took me six months to open my new home up to mutual and new friends.

I am not the same person I was two years ago. I’m not even the same person I was a year ago. 250 pounds of weight had fallen off my shoulders; 68 off my frame and a ton of muscle added. To say I can bench press my dog is an understatement. My golf game also needs a revamp.

I have two homes: here in New Mexico where my life is, and in New York where my family still lives.

I spent that weekend packing for a trip back to New York for my niece’s high school graduation. I come from a large family. I am the oldest of my siblings. They all have children; my sister now included in that category. My stepchildren used to be part of that chaos, but those days are long gone (and they’re in their early to mid-20’s now. No, I have not heard from them. The oldest wears his heart on his sleeve and struggled with details that won’t be discussed here). In my immediate family alone, there are 17 of us. 17!!!  18, if I count my aunt (mother’s youngest sister) whom we are all very close to.

I love every minute spent with 18 of us…and a reason I enjoyed a few glasses of wine in first class on my way back to NM after my trip ended.

Toss in my cousins we’re close to, and we are the ones you will find sitting around the bonfire telling stories all night long because we all grew up together. Kristin, my near twin, is my partner in crime. We have never let distance keep us away. I’ve been to NH consistently the past three years, and it’s not stopping. She’s now begging me to move there, but I dealt with the snow and storms for more than half of my life. It’s refreshing to not have to worry about white knuckle driving in the winter, and I am truly spoiled by the sun and nice weather in the Southwest. I’ve seen more sun here than I have while living in NY.

In addition to my niece’s graduation, there was a family reunion, surprise 90th birthday party for my great aunt, and a post-party bonfire…although the bonfire was merely an extension of the day’s partying.

Seven days when I generally survive four, but I had a voucher and had to work within my budget and times with the airline to maximize the voucher. With family. A chance to see some friends; I would need another four days to see other friends whom I haven’t seen in ages. Six days with my adorable 9 month old nephew, brother-in-law, and sister.

And six days of bullshit. People bitching about other people. People bitching in general. People bitching about me and at me. Three days in I had reached a saturation point once again. My sister took a moment to talk to me at one point. She got it. She was in target range, too. I told her I understood why my ex-husband would leave the room when things became more intense and the complaining increased. I also told her, “I did not come home to deal with this. I’ve been dealing with bullshit for 15 months, and this does not entice me to come home again. Not for a while.” She talked me down from the emotional rung of the ladder. It’s also the last time I will be in NY without a car. We both agreed that we might plan to stay at a hotel the next time. It’s an added cost, but some things are worth it.

I didn’t like my sister growing up. There’s five years between us, but we, like all my siblings, have grown to be the best of friends as adults. It’s a shame our father never got to see us like this, and our mother got to spend ten years watching us grow closer. We certainly aren’t the perfect family, but after nearly losing my second brother from a 20 foot fall out of a tree early December, our bonds have tightened. Not even the best diamond cutter can break this bond. We count our blessings every single day. Being home to see my brother, still recovering, made some other things in my life so much less important while placing a few other items on a high priority list. Family photos being one priority.

My aunt went through our grandmother’s photo album when we all gathered at her house for dinner the night before my sister and I were scheduled to leave. She began to dissect the album, creating four piles of pictures for us to take home.

I am the keeper of the family albums from the very first one through 1987. My sister has the albums from 1988 to whatever our mother kept current. With the age of digital technology, the point to keep photos in albums is almost moot. I learned my brother didn’t have any photos from his childhood. The time for change is now. Plus, I don’t want to move 8-10 boxes of photo albums again, so one of my priorities is to begin to distribute childhood photos to my siblings and digitize all of them while I’m at it. The glue on those old magnetic albums can eat away at the photo, especially the writing on the back if not carefully peeled away. I also have new photo albums to put the pictures into and send them off to my siblings. It helps me with my downsizing project and gives them memories.

The Syracuse International airport is a mess while under major renovations. My aunt dropped me off late Monday afternoon (my 7th day in NY had come to an end), and after a long hug, she told me, “Don’t talk to strangers.”

Hah! “You do know who I am, right?” I said to her, laughing as I moved towards the doors inside.

I didn’t speak to many other passengers on the flight home. I was tired. I had suffered a minor sports injury before leaving for NY, so between that and sleeping on a pull-out couch all week, my body ached; I slept the longer leg of my trip. It took nearly two weeks to work the ache out of the muscles and be comfortable in my own bed again.

I also returned home knowing Duke’s time has shortened.

June went by in a blur: more writing was done with The Downfall, my birthday, travel to NY, then July appeared.

I love my family. Being home puts me back in the heart of my roots. The foundation from which my life began to build and grow. I am blessed to be part of such a large, close-knit family. Being home also gave me a chance to slow down (as much as a NYer can), unplug (since my cell signal doesn’t work very well), and appreciate the time given to surround myself, and be surrounded, by loved ones. I was the one who chose to move away from the daily drama 17 years ago, and thankful I can return to this home, complete with a different kind of a chaos that is quieter. The older we grow, we learn the order of our priorities change.

And in the middle of all of this, long before I went home for a short bit, Kiki (protagonist in The Downfall) and her siblings realized something similar. How they continue to grow as a (smaller than mine) family is written into the story. A story that is very close to being finished; my July priority, which means time out with friends, and meeting new people, has dwindled significantly. I can’t let the distractions pull me away. A writer can’t afford to see two hours turn into six if writing isn’t involved. It’s all about time management, and I have scheduled writing time back into my calendar again to help me with this novel goal.




8 July 2018

This has been a full, and rather exhausting, week for me. Most of my focus was on Duke as his time with me dwindles. I am still trying to play catch up on sleep and getting my body to adjust to a real bed, after spending a week in New York. We also had July 4 in the middle of the week.

The holiday was different: quiet and low key. It was kind of nice. What wasn’t nice was that my allergies didn’t cooperate and I spent most of the day sleeping.

I spent my waking hours thinking about what independence means.

I’ve spent July 4 watching fireworks from Mount Rushmore and from the Mall in Washington, D.C. Haven’t made it to Boston for the 4th, and I am thinking I will add it to my list.

I have also been in Philadelphia on the same day when the Declaration of Independence was read to the public in (July 8,1776). The park rangers dressed up in colonial costumes, re-enacting characters from America and Britain. The banter between the citizens and those whose loyalty remained with the England throne was entertaining.

I have walked the Freedom Trail ln Boston numerous times as a child and as an adult.

I was born and raised in a state, one of the original 13 colonies, and NY is just as rich in history as Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. My ancestors came over to America through Ellis Island.

We are part of different heritages, cultures, beliefs, and so much more. We all come from somewhere. It’s one of the best parts of being a U.S. citizen. I have been all over Europe, in parts of Asia and the Middle East to appreciate what it means to be an American while appreciating the culture of any place I visit.

More importantly, independence meant true freedom for me in 2018. I became a free individual on March 1; I no longer had to communicate with my ex-husband. I was out of the house, he had the key, and I officially moved on. Even after the divorce was finalized, I had to report any major repairs while still living In the house, and his narcissistic behaviors kept me from saving money for five extra months.

I’ve heard he’s no longer with the Norwegian whore, and has moved on to another woman; his next supply and her problem. He can’t stop. He hasn’t had time to digest everything he did. However, narcissists won’t ever take responsibility; they’ll blame someone else, and I was blamed for so many things throughout the 16 years we were together and 14 years of marriage.

The best part now is I don’t care. I don’t have to care because it is not in my best interest, isn’t healthy for me, and is not part of my self-care program. I went no contact for a reason.

I have the freedom to beamcome more of a person I’ve always been, and have been having fun in the re-discovery phase. I was never in the re-creation because there were moments in my marriage where I took some of my independence to claim “Karen days,” just so I could have time to myself since I was expected to raise his children.

I don’t have to coordinate schedules and vacations. I don’t have to listen to being told no, I can’t do something…which is one reason why I’m taking myself to Disneyland Paris this year since I get to be in Europe for a meeting.

I am free to follow the path of Plan A. However, there have been moments when I realized I am living in a state where everything moves at a pace slower than a snail; something that always drove this NY’er nuts, and I’ve had to devise a Plan B. Plan B takes me off the path. The next Plan B includes doing some things I discovered during grad school that I didn’t want to do the rest of my life, but have to do something to gain financial freedom; something my lawyer told me I would have, but we both never saw the additional motions that had to be filed for five extra months…and fees that weren’t paid back.

As I continue to job hunt, I am free to go where I want to, but limited because the extra stress of moving Duke again would kill him. As I job hunt, I remain stuck in a system that has been unfair (the pay insulting) for a while and people have taken advantage of my skills. As this grew more apparent, I began to say no often and really stand up for myself. I should not have to work a second job. I should not have to sacrifice my writing time, but it’s where I’m at. I now steal every moment I can to write while remaining focused on Duke. I have stopped all medications for pup: they won’t do him any good, and I can no longer afford them. I have accepted I’ve done all I can for him and have given him a good life. There are days I feel guilty thinking about the near future when he isn’t with me and the extra freedom I’ll have. I’ve had pets for 13 years and have always been the caregiver. A little break will be nice.

That metaphorical roller coaster still exists. And while I’m still on it, I am at the gym five days a week now. Duke’s walking time has significantly diminished, so I resort to my exercise dvd’s at home when I’m not at the gym.

At the end of the day I am thankful for my freedoms: as an American and as an individual. I am being derailed from Plan A once again, but there always seems to be a reason and I remind myself to be patient despite the obstacles and frustrations.

Best of all, I have the freedom to continue writing, and this bacme huge writing weekend for me. I am taking the time for myself to do what I want and because I can. I am rich in this kind of independence and, roller coaster or not, have not regretted the decisions I made to get here today. I have the right to happiness and deserve the best of everything. No matter which plan I’m on, this remains my mantra.


Finding Purpose

Finding Purpose

10 June 2018

This past week was an emotionally heavy week for so many: those who have lost loved ones, those who spoke about losing loved ones, and those who felt the impact of another loss of life…all related to suicide.

Anthony Bourdain was a shock after hearing about Kate Spade. We, as “regular” people, aren’t in the limelight all the time, but celebrities or not we all keep our personal lives quiet. Even the most successful can be struggling and those close to them might not fully understand; especially if mental health problems aren’t discussed.

The struggle is real.

This is my pre-birthday weekend and I felt like I had tumbled to the bottom Friday night. Unlike last year when the only thing I could do was curl up into a ball and let the feelings wash over me, I knew I didn’t have to suffer alone in the dark. I knew I had friends I could count on. I only needed to ask, and that is something I am not afraid of doing.  A friend came over stayed with me until 6am, letting me talk, reminding me I am a beautiful person and an amazing woman.  Every woman needs a gay best friend and this person is just that. My two best friends checked in with me Saturday. My response, “I have coffee and picking myself back up to tackle the day. It all starts with writing to get the muddle out of my head.”

I still struggle. I am still dealing with anxiety and depression, and I continue to see my therapist twice a month. And I talk about my mental health. I have to. I have to do it for me. It’s okay to be selfish when it comes to taking care of yourself. After all, if you can’t take care of yourself, it will be hard to take care of another person. It’s really easy to forget something so basic, so simple, when we’re caught up in the daily grind of life and relationships. I know I lost a big part of myself in a marriage. It’s been a lot of fun rediscovering because that lost part of me is who I have always been since I was young.

We shouldn’t be turning our heads the other way. We shouldn’t be keeping things bottled up to a point where tragedy occurs. Suicide is not a solution. It’s a quick fix for the victim and years of pain and hurt for the living left behind. And I’m not talking about this from my own personal struggles. I’ve lost friends, a high school sweetheart, and some family members to suicide. It affects us all.

This is the point in my blog when I begin to talk about writing, as I begin to weave life around the discussion. The Downfall is coming to a conclusion after a minor setback with my pup over Memorial Day weekend. I’ve been stupidly busy with my job that I haven’t been able to work (writing) as much as I need to. Not being able to write every day also messes with my head. Writing is my therapy. I write because it’s something I have been doing most of my life. My stories have messages that are important and I want to share. There is power in storytelling.

I listen to Sirius Octane just about everywhere: in my car, at work, home and occasionally on my phone. The dj’s are really cool, but Kayla Riley is my favorite. I was driving to Albuquerque the other morning, a day or so after we learned about Kate Spade’s death, when she was on air. Papa Roach’s “Born for Greatness” finished playing and she began her commentary, “We all have a purpose in life. We just need to find that purpose.”

With time and space for reflection, as I heal and move forward, I discovered one of my purposes in life is bringing people together. I do a really good job with this.

My other purpose has always been to hope my writing makes an impact in at least one person’s life. I know that my poem, “Youth Lost,” in Mountains, Rivers and Heavens, has done this because I watched the ripples in the water wash up to my feet.

I hope to see another impact from The Downfall, Seeing in the Dark¸ and my other unfinished novels (Women in the Library, Strength).

The more I write, the better I feel. And I don’t limit myself. I’m still writing poetry, writing on this blog, helping Duke-pup with his blog; still scribbling on note pads, sticky notes, sheets of random paper, and on my phone when ideas strike me. In fact, the light came on last week when I think I finally found the right words for pitching The Downfall. What did I do? I read it to a small group of friends I had at my house on a Sunday afternoon. It worked. I’ve been trying to test-pitch it to anyone who asks me about the book and they are more interested in my spec-fic novel (Seeing in the Dark); both are equally powerful. However, the pitch made it the ears of interested men and women. My job is nearly done.

The muddle, as I call it, is a mud puddle of fog swirling in my mind that makes it hard to do anything. It’s not quite gone, so I am going to keep moving, get out to exercise and get back to The Downfall. There are several reasons this book need to be competed, but this is not the time or place.

If the weather is decent where you live, get outside, take a deep breath and smile knowing we all have a purpose in life. We’re not just here on this Earth and in time to simply live. There is more, and even raising a family is a huge purpose. Our purpose can be very small or big. We are in control of ourselves. Nobody else has that kind of power over us, even if they think they do. If we love and take care of ourselves, we’ll be a better person for those in our lives.

Have a great Sunday afternoon, dear readers.


Fly Short Stories, Fly!

Fly Short Stories, Fly!

I am interrupting my regularly scheduled blog to briefly speak about the art of querying short stories.

I’ve been focused on fiction and poetry for so long, I am learning (today) that a cover letter for short stories is not as big of a beast as a query for short stories.

We really do learn something new every day!

As I conduct my research around the internet, I am trying to find homes for (6) of my short stories, of which one is sci-fi. I seem to break away from my traditional role in writing women’s fiction, but that’s okay because it means I am diversified.

Plus, I have a degree in scientific communication where all things writing were in and about the sciences, so my degree is a qualification for some of my writing. I won’t  discuss the influence and impact of engineering osmosis and once being married to a geophysicist for 14 years. I call it environment. But all of this knowledge contributed to my  sci-fi short story, “Manna,” that needs a home.

For anyone trying to break out into the sci-fi genre and needs a little help with writing a cover, letter, the author for the article (linked below) did a really good job breaking it down to simplify what to write.

via How to Write a Proper Short Story Cover Letter

Now back to the task at hand…more writing.

Have a great afternoon dear readers.



11-13 May 2018

Time sometimes feels like a black hole. It’s amazing how fast, yet how slow, we perceive time in our lives.

We let time dictate our daily routines from waking up in the morning to falling into bed at night, and everything in between. Time can be our ally and enemy all at the same time.

I’m sure many of you are familiar with Harold Ramis and Danny Rubin’s Ground Hog Day, where Bill Murray’s character keeps reliving February 2 over and over again. There are some days when we have that deja-vu kind of feeling, and I certainly felt like I had similar days early 2017, and it could easily be explained as time playing tricks on us.

I was in a very different place this time last year, but the real driving point is it’s been eight years since I lost my mother, and my siblings and family still feel the sting of such an unexpected loss. We are truly orphans, even in our adulthood. However, we don’t feel as alone because we have a super large family (both a blessing and a curse) and a large network of friends. We are surrounded by them and we keep them close.

Eight years seems like an awful long time; an eternity in fact. And we lost my mother Friday of Mother’s Day weekend, also the weekend of my father’s birthday (May 12). That was a horrendous 36-hour drive from New Mexico back to New York, making a 900-mile detour to pick up one of my mother’s sisters in Missouri because she didn’t have the money to really get home, and it was important to have her there. It was also the last major road trip I would take. It took everything out of me and challenging as I was placed in a walking boot, coming out of a minor surgery, only a few days before.

Time is also like a sinkhole. Ten years before losing my mother, I lost my father. Also, a sudden death. He’s been gone 18 years this November. It doesn’t seem possible.

It will be seven years in August since I lost my brother, and nothing puts more of a hole in the heart or a hole in the line of children as losing a sibling; the death of a child trumps any of this. My siblings and cousins I grew up with are truly my best friends. They are always answering right away. Unfortunately for me and my siblings, we are scared to answer the phone when there’s a call from any of us; we know it’s generally not good news. My poor sister-in-law felt this when she was calling in December about my brother’s 20 foot fall out of a tree. She thanked me for answering the phone. I had no intentions of ignoring the call, even though I knew something was wrong immediately.

After both of my parents’ deaths, some people would say, “This too shall pass,” or “It will get better.” I wish people wouldn’t say these things to someone experiencing a profound death, or even any type of death. The moment of grief does pass, somewhat, but more at a slow-motion kind of pace, but it doesn’t get better. I always call bullshit. This warrants repeating: it doesn’t get better; we simply learn how to deal with it, and the waves of emotions will always crash upon us during holidays, birthdays, other events, and memory triggers. My heart bled for my cousin who lost her brother in December just before the holidays. I understood her grief. I understood her singularity in the universe and all the questions she had. There are moments in life, and in time, where we have to walk it alone because we need to find a way to wrap our heads around life events.

This is where time can be kind to give us the space to do so.

Time can also surprise us: a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new beginning. For my moment in this time, I am shocked that I have been receiving gifts. They are small gifts, but one that warms the heart just the same.

In 2006, my mother sent money for me to buy a rose bush after a major surgery; one that finalized surgeries of a thousand knives. Rose is my birth flower, and the only flower I am not allergic to. I went to a nursery in Albuquerque and the rose bush was planted by my then-husband. The bush flourished, and I know I’ve included pictures of the “gifts,” as I call the flowers, in previous blog postings. The delicate flowers appear at the perfect moments: Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, my birthday, and in August (the month of my parents’ anniversary, formerly my anniversary month, and the month my brother was killed).

When I had to leave the home I’ve lived in for over 16 years ─the home that stole my inheritance to turn it into a really nice place to live, and one that eventually sucked the life out of me─I refused to leave the rose bush behind. I contacted a specialist at the nursery who gave me very specific details regarding uprooting and transplanting the bush. He told me several times, “The plant will go into shock.”

My neighbor helped me, at the last hour, with the uprooting and gave me a large clay pot, with a drain tray on wheels, to keep it in until I become more established to rebury into the ground. The same week as my patio opening, that began with hosting a dinner, I woke up to find two small roses. They blossomed despite the stress of the bush. This weekend, I am gifted with two more flowers. Right on time. They’re small, but I don’t care.

Time will dictate the size and range of robust fragrance from the roses, but I am patient.

Time also slowed down to give me a chance to “soak it all in,” as Southern New Hampshire University’s (SNHU) President, Paul LeBlanc, told my graduating class last year. I have two degrees from New Mexico Tech, and proud to say I’m a Techie, but my dream degree, that I fought and worked so hard to achieve even through a divorce while thesis writing, is from SNHU. I am a proud Penmen! What’s even better is my cousin, also known as my twin, lives 20 minutes away from campus, and I am looking forward to returning to participate in Homecoming.

Time and a calendar dictated this was graduation weekend.

I chose to ignore time after my work responsibilities were done on Friday. I spent the rest of the evening attending alumni and department receptions, then celebrating a friend’s journey to her M.S. degree. During the final evening socialization, I grabbed her and two other friends to toast my parents.

I, along with the petroleum faculty (in town), attended graduation. I don’t know of another department whose admin shows up for support…yet, is the only admin who gets ZERO recognition on Administrative Professionals Day. I grabbed a water for my friend (celebrating her degreee the night before) and stood listening/watching NMT Commencement unfold for another year. At two points I caught the face of a stranger I know as an adulterer and positioned myself to be out of his view during and after the ceremony. I wonder how many other faces judge the way I do or judge the offender as a complete asshole because he’s a narcissist: has no idea what he’s done, the damage and hurt he’s caused, and how many bridges he continues to burn.

After NMT graduation, I went to the gym to get in a hardcore 40-minute focused workout before going home to shut myself in, and away from the world the remainder of the weekend that became another roller coaster for me. BUT, I did make sure Duke got his walk before 10pm, and we had a great walk exploring different paths taken. Sunday was far too windy and vicious for allergies to survive a walk that would include grass, trees and weeds.

Time wears many hats and comes at us in different visions and appearances. Just like the silence we often need to open our ears to hear, we need to keep our eyes open to feel.

Happy Mother’s Day to my readers who are also mothers! Mothers provide a secret foundation to any child they bring into this challenging world, and they should be commended (and spoiled) often.

Congratulations to the Class of 2018 for any of my readers graduating, and those at New Mexico Tech and SNHU. It takes a tremendous amount of grit and perseverance. You’ve worked ridiculously hard to get here. My advice to you: take time off and enjoy life, even if it’s only for a couple of weeks.

Photos: April and May roses.

Feeling the Silence

Feeling the Silence

26-28 April 2018

These days, I close my eyes when the lights are off, and listen to my breathing and heart beat.  Darkness void of music, text messages beeping, and other distractions. Then I tune my ears to hear Duke’s breathing. It doesn’t matter if it’s day or night when I listen because it’s a reminder that I’m still alive and survived another day. And to hear puppy dog’s breathing is a wave of relief, and I am thankful he is with me for a little longer. He isn’t in any pain, but the tumor continues to grow silently in his nasal cavity, pushing into the right side.

I know I’ve come a long way since last year. The silence felt last year was like a deafening crash; powerful with a haunting echo, taking me back to a time I was in Portage, Alaska, watching a piece of a glacier calve. Phone calls, texts, messages and emails ceased while still in a marriage because someone was behaving like a 2 year old, throwing a fit for not getting everything they wanted or their own way (it was a one-way street marriage, and I was not on the receiving end).

There was the silence of friends during the last six months of grad school, but their silence was more of a supporting silence, knowing I struggled with a life turned upside down and inside out. Their fantastic support is what got me through life as I had to really grind my heels in to finish and write a thesis.

The dead, white noise that infiltrated the house Duke and I dwelled in after a forcing someone to exit (to maintain my sanity) was the next struggle. I filled it with music that spread throughout and kept Duke company while I was away. Music has always been a part of my life: I write to music, I read to music; it’s hard not to dance and sing to music; I fall asleep and wake up to music. It’s always on in my new home, in the car, at work, and it’s with me on the patio.

There is a type of silence that we embrace as writers; it’s the silence of being alone with just a keyboard and a screen. Writing is a lonely process, but I wouldn’t have it any other way because this is what I want. This is my full-time job; I work to pay the bills.

It’s interesting how life-altering events change our perceptions. Some of the silences lately in my life provoked these thoughts. I’ve also learned how to use silence as a positive light that helps to purge anything negative. People come and go from our lives for a reason. The paths we travel, those placed in front of us, even if we have to muddle or trudge through rough terrain, becomes our own.

My next transition is sort of stalled as a silent cancer takes time off of Duke’s life. I cannot move during this period because I fear the stress will be far too much and accelerate the inevitable. I use the silence to spend as much time as I can with him. Everyone loves Duke and he has become my most ambitious project. His story has begun, and I’m almost ready to share it with the world.

Meanwhile, the silences of these past two weeks has driven me to finish my November novel. From the energy harnessed to the motivation to get it done propels me to close what’s left of a book from a former life. This also means it’s time to switch gears and get back to storytelling.


Lost-Time for Patio Writing

Lost-Time for Patio Writing

22 April 2018

I’m not completely lost. Some days I do wonder. And on those days it feels like I’m wading, carefully stepping to avoid sinking deep down in the mud or dropping into a hole.  It’s not treading because that was part of last year.

I trust the timing and the path I’m supposed to be on…mostly. My impatience shines through on days I feel like it’s time to have more, do more, be more.

It’s hard to have conversations with people who seem more scattered than I am, and I try to hide so many things with walls up. I hide my heart, locked in steel vault so that nothing can hurt it; it’s already breaking from the days and months that are ticking with my dog. I remember the pain when I had to put my Bassett Hound down. Devastating.  The circle of life.

Rock bottom line is I think I’m more lost in my thoughts. Writing. Definitely losing myself in writing again, and it feels good. The story ideas just keep coming, and I keep writing them down.

So, the patio is now open for writing! After an exhausting month of work, that continues to eat at my soul, I was able to get 12 hours of intermittent sleep. It wasn’t a full 12 because Duke woke me up, but that’s all part of being a pet owner. We do what we have to for our pets because they are our family, and he is the one constant I come home to every day. It’s hard to resist a grin and tail wag after walking inside.

I am questioning some of the paths that are coming up soon, and I always think of Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken;” my favorite poem. My motivation extends beyond my own wants, needs, and goals; I am inspired by writers who have found themselves in situations and rise. It’s all about the timing, but until it arrives the element of feeling lost remains.

It’s a sunny Sunday morning and the wind isn’t roaring for once. However, it’s still early and they tend to arrive in the afternoons. I have my very first dinner party in my new home this week, and excited with the simple menu that includes a couple of bottles of fine wine that’s been cellared for a while. Good wine should be shared.

I am going to take advantage of the grand opening of my new patio and get down to work for several hours before I meet a friend at the movies. There is more writing to be done, more stories to be told, and stories entering the revision stage so that they can be shared with the world someday.