Pluto: too tiny to clear away obstacles? (& Repair for the Day)

At one time Pluto, though the smallest in the solar system and the farthest away (as far as we knew), was a Planet, a regular old planet and a part of the Nine Planets we all grew up reciting in school using a mnemonic, such as: My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas (for more, plutoclick on this site: Mnemonic Devices Memory Tools ). But one fine day Pluto was flung out of its A Part of the Whole planet status in our galaxy, left to drift there in the cold and dark.  Oh people rooted for it and that made Pluto feel hope, but it was still alone out there. Perhaps because scientists felt so sorry for Pluto in all its lonely isolation, they upgraded it to a Dwarf Planet. A consolation prize that didn’t lessen the sting so much as make Pluto feel its pride surging up but its feeling of belonging surging down.

Tpluto_color_beforeclosestapproach.jpg.CROP.original-originalhough Pluto’s status in the galaxy changed, Pluto had not changed other than the natural changes that occur with any living thing—and one could say that planets are not living things if there is no life there, but that’s a subject for another day. Pluto was doing as it always did, so far away in its own little world. Pluto is so difficult to explore and know about, since it’s so far away, that it is often misunderstood—and even so, it relays its heart on its pale face (and you can see and read about that heart on Nasa’s Site), sending messages of please love me! I am worthy! While at the same time keeping its distance away from all the others. A strange contradiction.

A Dwarf Planet is called this because it is so little it cannot clear other objects out of its path. Oh, my friends, how we do relate to that. In our One Status, tucked inside our spaceship, we see obstacles of every size and though we may feel mighty, we can’t seem to clear the way—and we see the other planets big and important doing what we struggle with and that only make us feel smaller and lonelier. We begin to feel this ineptness creep up on us. That inept feeling erodes and causes us to flounder. It’s all too much!, we wail. And, it is. No platitudes from well-meaning friends and family helps. Yes, they mean well when they say the supportive things they say out of their own helpless way of helping you. But it means nothing when you are struggling to clear the way through the galaxy’s bombardment.

One day on earth is 24 hours. But on Pluto? One day is the equivalent of 6 and ½ days. Time drags on slowly and methodically, though at the end of it, how much was accomplished? It feels as if we squandered that six and one-half days. We pass by Earth and see all the busy people accomplishing in one day what it takes us almost a week to do—because it’s all on us. Because no one has our back. Things pile up. Housework, food shopping, bill paying, dog care, work. And repairs to the ship (see below!). We’re pocked by the obstacles smacking us senseless and we cannot clear the way because we are so tiny.

It’s very cold on Pluto. 375 to 400 degrees below zero cold. It’s icy. Cold, dark, icy. Who would love
Ice Walk at Killian Knob + Video Whale Back Rock & VK's Sagathat? It is only icy because it is so far away from everything and everyone else. Isolation. But yet, there is that big heart. There is that grit. There is that tenacity despite its smallness.  There is that, I am Here! I am HERE! You will not discount me! Goddammit! You will see me! You will respect me!

On Pluto, you can eat whatever you want and hop on those scales and laugh your ass off. Pass the ice cream! Pass the cookies! More chips and dip please! Because 100 pounds on Earth is only about 7 pounds on Pluto. So, my lovelies, the nights you are alone watching rerun marathons of Grey’s Anatomy with all that love and kissing and sex and people interacting and hope and loss and the 630320whole messiness of life and death, you, One You, are eating an ice-cream bar with enough calories to run a couple marathons around the perimeter of Pluto. And if you have not tried Magnums, and I mean the ice cream you sillies you, then travel in your spaceship over to Earth to the nearest store and find them. But know that they will taunt you from the freezer—call out to you, entice you. And you will answer because you crave the enticement, the taunting. You must save them for a special treat because once you return to Earth from Pluto, the weight difference will astound and amaze, and my friends, we must stay healthy! Magnuming ourselves into bad health isn’t the answer either. haw!

So how do you navigate your One-ness world? How do you clear objects out of your path even if Ring around the universe, pocket full of planetsyou are told you cannot or you tell yourself that you cannot, or reality is you in reality cannot? You rise out of bed. You make your bed. You wash your face. You comb your hair. You turn on the coffee pot. You eat breakfast. You put one foot in front of the other and you Do. You try not to look at the other planets who hang in the air with all their importance. You show your heart and hope that one day that heart will be a beacon for Something More. But until then? Until then you try and you try and you try some more. And in the failings come success. Even small successes are accomplishments that will make you feel empowered. All by yourself.

That is what Pluto does. That is what Lonely Woman does (mostly). That is what we who are One in the galaxy must do.


Repair for the day: If your garbage disposal in the spaceship quits working, don’t immediately start wondering how you will replace it. Instead, grab a flashlight and dive under that sink and look for the Reset Button. Yes, if you did not know, there is a reset button on your garbage disposal. I found it, and it worked, so I didn’t need to do anything else. Before you go resetting, you’ll need to make sure there is nothing stuck in the disposal causing it not to work. Please do not go sticking your hand in there until you not only turn it off, but find the plug to unplug it! I once chewed up an entire glass in the disposal and had to unplug it so I could dig out millions of shards of glass. But I did it! And I did it this time, too, by not letting panic take over: Where will I find the money to replace this? Who can I trust to install it? OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG! (More on those thoughts another time). I simply hit Reset.

There are other troubleshooting ways to fix your disposal on your own. It will give you a feeling of power to be able to fix what goes wrong in your spaceship, without having to travel to one of the Big Important Planets to find someone, or pay someone, to help you. Again, please make sure that if you are sticking your hand down in that dark nasty abyss, you turn off the disposal and unplug it. Two videos to help you: Short One with only Music & Visuals & Longer One with Voice Instruction.

Next week, I will have a give-away. If you did not receive anything from me last week and you should have received the Kindle Copy because you “won” it, then please contact me.

Introduction to the Galaxy

imagesThe Milky Way Galaxy. Home. It’s not very big, as galaxies go. Though, progress intrudes as it often does—the Milky Way is moving towards the Andromeda Galaxy at seventy miles per second, and what was One will become a bigger messier Two that becomes a strange unknown One. Much as we humans do—we hurtle towards one another knowing the collision will be beautiful and fiery, and end in our spiritual or romantic or sexual (or all three) deaths. Perhaps before that happens, the sun will have already swollen to a red giant and, well, we won’t survive that either. We have no choice in the matter—death comes, so we must do the living, hurtling towards what we think will make our lives more exciting, bigger, better, sexier. Often, if we are careless, hurtling towards hurt—hurt(ling).

Oh but do not fret, for the aforementioned collision is millions of years away. Or, as in the case of Human Endeavors, it has already occurred and there is quite the mess to clean up and the resurrecting of Life not as it became known, but as it will become. Advice will be given freely: Think Positive! There are people who have it much worse! You can do it! It’s not so bad is it? Buck up and stop whining!

084Looking out of the spaceship window, there is a vastness of sky interspersed with Stuff. Though one would think traveling into space would be a silent and black existence, it is not. It only seems that way for the Lonely Woman when eyes turn too far inward; but yet, even then, the brain is as the galaxy is—full of gas, dust, black hole, planets, moons, and stars, never still, ever-changing. In the midst of it all, one cannot see to think clearly with the dust and gas so thick, yet there are wonders there, beauties, discoveries. There is also the Hidden inside the black hole that one does not want to be too close to. Why, you may ask?

The massive black hole is a greedy dark mouth that devours all the beauty and wonder and light. But yet, you wonder, inside the blackness, where no one can see, the wonders and beauty are still there, are they not? Still, you know the danger of Black Hole. No one really understands it, and that makes it bigger and badder. It is ravenous, dark, moving, surreal, dangerous, scary. Even before you enter the Event Horizon and are sucked in, you are drawn to it, drawn to it, drawn to it, drawn to that strange awful blackness.

In this galaxy, there are over 200 billion stars, maybe up to 400 billion, and that makes up only part of the home of the Earth home. Back on earth, there are about 7.5 billion people—the world could possibly support 9 or 10 billion. (Go to this World Population Calculator and see how the number changes yet stays the same as it calculates births and deaths.) And yet, for the Lonely Woman, there is One. And the inside of the spaceship has a silence so loud it bangs upon the eardrums a tune that says: Alone Alone Alone Alone Alone Alone Alone, to the tune of the heartbeat. Turn your head this way and that, and find the spot that turns off the sound, brief respite you’ll cover up with alcohol, silly inane tv shows, work, or long walks in the atrium side of your ship.

The thing about being alone is people are afraid of the vastness of it, or ashamed of it, or think that it means they are somehow Not Quite Right. But often, the Lonely choose it. Because they must. One must learn to be alone before one can learn to be, well, not alone. So while it is a choice, it also has its challenges.

Earth is noisy, and Lonely Woman recoils, retreats to the safety of the ship. Yet in space, it is not as silent as one would imagine. Though sound is not as it is on Earth. Sound in space is eerie—it is the sound of loneliness, beautiful but frightening—it is a sound that both entices and repels. You want to listen, yet you want to run away from it. (Visit this website called “Can You Actually” that has YouTube videos of the sounds of planets, including Earth.)

download (1)Turning from the window, thoughts turn to the basics: how to navigate a busy galaxy when it is but you at the helm of your spaceship? And that is what this journey will be. Effectively, or sometimes ineffectively, navigating the galaxy as One, which includes that of Home Earth. What will you eat for One? How will you repair the spaceship as One? Where are safe places to go, as One? What to do when no one has your back but you? What if you are sick? What if . . . what if . . . what if? How to . . . how to . . . how to? Why, how, when, where? Thus, yes, the name: The Lonely Woman’s Guide to the Galaxy.

I hope to help. Or at least commiserate when I cannot help. And, perhaps you out there will offer your own solutions and ideas for how you navigate the Galaxy—not just as one, but as one of the billions of shining stars out there in this Milky Way Galaxy.

And today, to speed us off on our journey, as promised, I have a give-away. While I won’t always do it this way, and it will not always be a book from me, or a book by someone else, for I would grow bored with that, I do not want to seem as if I’m ‘trolling for comments,’ which I am not; so, that written, today, since it’s the first day of our journey, I will offer a Kindle copy of one of my books to the first three commenters (your choice of books, and to do with as you will – give away or keep). If you comment and do not wish for a copy, it won’t hurt my feelings, just say so. Lonely Woman does not get her panties in a twist about such.

I hope you will join in. How ironic that this blog could very well be the loneliest of places, as well? Ha! I can navigate around that, too. Yes.

 

 

 

 

 

3 Kickarse Blogs with Links to Their Kickarse Articles: Writers Enjoy!

Amy Sue Nathan’s Women’s Fiction Writers: no heroes. no zombies. no high heels. well, maybe high heels.

Writers, Stop Apologizing For Not Being Published

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Kristen Lamb’s Blog: WANA-We Are Not Alone

What Are the REAL Odds of Success? Extreme Ownership & the Best-Selling Author

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Writer Unboxed: about the craft and business of fiction

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Autumn is here–time for chili: a quick and easy recipe

Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

I used to dislike the coming of fall. It meant the end to summer; I like the warmth and ease and lush green of summer. But something magical has happened to me and I now look forward to autumn, and even the coming winter. Part of that “something magical” is how for a year I was away from my cove, living in Texas where the contrast of seasons isn’t as apparent–I missed what I was away from so acutely that every tiny molecule of this mountain cove delights and amazes me –I am imagediscovering it all over again; I only thought I appreciated it before. And, well, she says with a blush, feeling loved and being in love everything changes and swells up and becomes mystical and magical and new (thank you, Dale).

my colorful driveway

my colorful driveway

With the coming cooler weather, chilly mornings and evenings, with the changing leaves, with the sights and sounds (is there no more wonderful sound of autumn than that of leaves beneath one’s feet?) and feel of fall, my mind turns to soups and stews and chili. The other night, I prepared a chili that was so simple but so tasty, I will share it here. Of course, everyone should put their own ‘twist’ on chili–I like to play with food: the seasonings, the way I prepare it.

Now, even though this may look long, it’s super easy. I’m a novelist so I tend to run off at the mouth even when writing recipes *laughing!*

MMMM tasty!

MMMM tasty!

Easy Autumn Chili (this is enough chili for two people for a few nights)

Ingredients:

About a pound or so of beef “stew meat” — we bought these small lean “chunks” of beef. You can also “vegetarian” this by not adding meat and substituting more veggies and/or “fake meat crumbles” (I have done this and it’s good).

1 can of stewed tomatoes (or if you have fresh made, use it!)

1 can of tomato sauce (or freshly made if you have it)

(I had a little bit of Rotel tomatoes in the freezer that I also added)

1 onion chopped rough (I like chunky chili!)

1 green bellpepper  chopped rough

4-5 small “baby bellpeppers” in orange, yellow, red (we buy them in a bag – they are small and very tasty!) also chopped rough

minced or chopped garlic

Spices: chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and I also added 2 spices I have in my cabinet: ancho chili pepper and chipotle chili pepper, but use these two spices sparingly especially if you add the Rotel tomatoes. I also have some garlic powder that I sprinkled even though I used minced garlic. As well, I poured in about a half cup of Dale’s beer.

I also added a can of black beans since I had that in my pantry: I like very few beans in my chili and sometimes don’t add them at all – pintos in chili are really good, too, by the way.

Whatever oil you like to cook with – just a little.

Whatever “toppings” and “sides” you like: we like sour cream, or cheddar cheese, or both, for toppings. Crackers or tortilla chips are good–or cornbread, for sides.

And very important: add your tastebuds! You must taste as you cook. It’s like when I first began writing–I thought that if I were a Real Writer, whatever came out of my pea-head should be perfect  the very first draft and I shouldn’t have to fiddle with it (edit it or rewrite it)–Oh Dear Lawd! That’s crazy talk! Of course writers have to edit and re-write–I edit and re-write til the cows come home! Many many drafts! I “taste” my writing to make sure it is delicious. Do that with your food – layer flavors and taste along the way, y’all.

To Prepare:

Put a little oil in a large saucepan and turn up the heat until when a piece of meat is added, it immediately sizzles – you want to sear the meat very quickly – don’t worry about cooking it through because it will cook when you are simmering the chili. I added a little salt to this and nothing else, yet.

It’s up to you whether you sear a little at a time or all the meat at once, but note that if you sear it all at once, the  juices of the meat will stop the searing process and it may start to “steam” instead – so, if this happens, just turn up the heat and cook out the juices to keep that sear. When the meat is quickly seared, remove it from the saucepan (be careful! it’s hot!), and place the meat aside.

Turn down the heat so you can start sautéing your veggies: onion and bellpeppers. Don’t add the garlic yet, for garlic will turn bitter if over-cooked.  As the onions and bellpeppers cooked, I added some seasonings a little at a time: I like to “layer” flavors. First a little salt, cook a while, then I added just a little of the chili powder and cumin, and some pepper. You’ll be adding more seasonings, so just add a little of whatever seasonings you will be using. I also added just a few pinches of garlic powder (not garlic salt). When your veggies are fairly tender (onions will start to look translucent), add your chopped or minced garlic. Cook and stir this just a few minutes.

Time to add the tomato products (you may need to add a little water later). And the beans (and beer) if you are using them. Just pour them all in. Turn the heat to simmer. Add back the meat to the tomato/veggie mixture. Now start adding in the seasonings. Dale and I like a lot of chili powder, and as well a lot of cumin–decide how you like yours by TASTING! As I said above, tasting as you cook is important. I put a big palmful of chili powder, plus a little more. I put at least a half of palmful of cumin. Just a few pinches of the ancho and chipotle. I didn’t need to add salt since I salted the meat and the veggies.

After you have added everything you want to add, cover the chili, make sure the heat is on low, and simmer that bad boy for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  When done, add whatever toppings, if any, you like, and enjoy!

I hope I didn’t forget anything, but that’s the beauty of cooking: make it your own! Unlike baking, where it has to be more exact, we can experiment and have fun with preparing food.

Let me know how yours turned out and what you do differently!

(I hope you will drop by my Kat Magendie’s Amazon page and if you haven’t read one of my books, perhaps think about it whilst they are on sale at Amazon. I appreciate all of the support my readers have given me! Thank you!)

There comes a time in an author’s life when she considers whether she wants to do this anymore

writer's blodkaAt some strangeling point in an author’s career, she begins to be weary of her thoughts, and of the worries and stresses, and of the fears.  Of the whole self-indulgence of it all. The whining and boohoo’ing and self-doubting. The loneliness and sacrifice. The highs and lows and the lows-highs-lows-lower lows-high-low and the roller coaster that was once so much fun begins to jerk you around and toss you into the air and pulls your stomach out through your mouth—Blorf.

The author begins to avoid the writing. Sneakily so. She’s crafty. Cunning. There is no lacking of excuses. Why, that’s the easiest thing in the universe, an excuse. You breathe explanations into your nose and down your throat and then vomit them back up—they don’t taste so bad once you get used to the sweet rotten of them.

People say to you, “I hear you’re working on a new book!” And they are so sincerely excited that you say (and you mean it at the time; you do!), “Yes! I’m working on something new.” And you are—sort of kind of. You are sort of kind of going into the word document and sort of kind of pulling it up and sort of kind of staring at it and then sort of kind of pecking away at it and sort of kind of considering how you just don’t want to do this anymore.

Maybe there will be a free-fall feeling. You’ll stand on the precipice, open out your arms, and just Let Go. The air will rush against your face. You won’t notice how the ground is growing larger and more menacing—the air feels so good! The freedom! The exhilaration that you’ve jumped right off the cliff and left everything behind you.  “I was pushed!” you say, when people look at you strange—why, there you are flat and bloody where you and the ground met most undeliciously.

028You stare at the bookcase, and there they are! Your books. You wrote them. They were published, and people read them—still do. They aren’t mocking you there but you turn your head away. Because it hurts to look at them, as if your published books are the morning sun and you are still sleepy and in the dark.

“Sometimes it just hurts too much,” a well-known author you admire once said to you. You didn’t understand that at all. You said, “Oh. Well.” And then you went back to work, smug with smugnitude. You think to contact that author and say, “Hey, remember that time you said that? Guess what! Me, too!” But you do not.

Why, it’s all about letting everyone think you are writing fully and happily, and the money is pouring in, and you are on the verge of greatness and successfulness and awesomeness and authorial queendomness! It’s about big smiles and posting pictures on Facebook with zippity do dah day quotes on them about writing. You are living the dream! You author you! You chuck yourself on the chin—aw now you!

You once looked forward to your royalty checks. How fat they seemed to you! How healthy and plump! You signed the back of them and skipped off to the bank, pride and love and luck filling your marrow. As time went on, you began to cringe, just a little, when you’d see the envelope from your publishers in the mailbox. You tell yourself that some authors would give up the fifth toenail on their left foot and then offer up the toe as well just to make any money at all. Still, you can’t stop the flutters in your stomach when you know the check will be arriving any day.

DSC09985“Money doesn’t measure our worth as a writer,” you say, and you mean it. You really do. Still. You begin to worry about money. Who doesn’t? But somehow money received for writing books becomes entangled in how you feel about yourself and your talent and gifts and love of this profession. It makes the love tainted. You hate that. A lot.

All you wanted to do was to write. That’s all. All you wanted to do is to write. And write. And write and write and write write write write. “Please let me write,” you say to the only one stopping you—well, you, of course.

You don’t want to, but you wonder how much money other authors are making. You wonder how they feel when their royalty checks come to the mailbox. You wonder if one day yours won’t come anymore at all and you can’t breathe for ten whole seconds, plus five. It’s madness.

So, one fine day that has really been about three hundred and two fine days, you consider giving it all up. You will always have your books that were published. You don’t have anything to prove at all. You can pretend for as long as you can, and then one day no one will ask anymore. No one will think about you and your books. You will be forgotten by most. Your books will end up at garage sales, dusty with faded covers and torn pages. Or deep inside e-readers in a file marked “Old shit from authors no one remembers” that is rarely opened.

You can take up art or cooking. You can pick up your camera and see where its lens takes you.

There comes a time in every writer’s life when she will consider giving up the writing.

What magic sprung from the works of those before us, and how can we create our own magic? How can we cast a spell upon our readers?

A day will pass. Two. Fifty. One-hundred. Three hundred twenty days will pass. It feels as if a ghost is following you, but when you turn around, it disappears behind a dreamlike tree that only you can climb, only you can see. The apparition follows you every second, every minute, every hour, every day, week, month.

It winks at you—it knows the joke is all on you. It knows you better than you know you.

It knows. When you are ready again.

You will write again.

When you are ready again. You will write again.

When you are ready again; you will write again.

You will write again.

The returning . . . the Cove at Killian Knob

misc dale and kat etc 147So, my friends. I have been gone from here a while. Other things and people and places grabbed hold of me, of my attention, of my time. But it has all been for the most wonderful beautiful of reasons: I have returned to my Cove at Killian Knob. Home. I am Home. I came back almost a year to the day I drove away from my Cove–thinking I may never be able to return. But my Cove was not about to let me go. My mountains knew I’d return. The creek shouts out to me–Welcome Home, Wild Wolf Woman Kathryn.

misc dale and kat etc 223I had to pinch myself every day for the first few weeks, and then, now a little over a month since my return, I at last do not fear I will awaken from some gorgeously warm dream. It is real. It is tangible. As real as my Crow cawing outside my window–he, Big Boy, tells me all the secrets to the cove; all the things I missed while I was gone from here. Each morning, and evening, I toss over the rail to the ground below some tidbits for him to eat, whistle for him, and there he comes, sailing on stretched wing, oily black and handsome. He now will, as he used to do, sit on the branch of the Tulip Poplar and watch me as I sit on the porch drinking my coffee, or maybe later my wine–at first, he did not trust that I would be here to stay and he was shy. Now? Now he knows. Just as other critters know I am here to stay: the coon, the squirrel, the bird, the rabbit, the turkey–all of them. Even the ones who hide and watch: the bobcat, the coyote, the bear, the deer.

misc dale and kat etc 170As always before, I turn my head slightly to the left and what fills my eyes is wild beauty. I glance down at my hands as they type upon my old trusty laptop, turn my head back slightly to the left, then gaze around my writing room, my library, my study, where someone special turned it into a warm and beautiful sanctuary with which to write and read and dream. I am filling my little log house back up with my Things–yes the knickknacks and doo-dads and furry throws and rugs and lamps that golden glow the rooms, but also bone and rock and bark and stump and twig and feather. It is as if I am in some mystical movie where the character steps from one realm of noise and confusion and crowds and discombobulation into an enchanted world: she closes the door behind her and doesn’t look back, for that near-year she spent away from her Cove was only an enterlude, only a miniscule slice of a luscious pie–she ate a tiny bite of that miniscule slice of pie and it did not taste of anything at all–now, here, the rest of the pie coats her tongue, slides down her throat with a slight tang and burn, and fills her belly–she is satiated now. That is how it is. And more.

misc dale and kat etc 094I did not come alone. Who knew? Who knew what life takes from us and gives to us. Even when we do not want it. Even when we fight with claws sharpened by what we think is best for us, never knowing that we do not always know what is best for us. Sometimes people come back into your life after many many years and you think, “Why, where have you been all these years?” and they say, “I was going to ask you the same thing.” And then you both laugh at the absurdity of it all. At the luck and timing of it all. At the luscious luscious wonder of it all. And there curled beside you is a little bitty dog. All your proclamations of “Never again! Never! I cannot bear to take into my life another sweet creature and have it die. No! NO!” and the little dog curled warm beside you huffs in his sleep, and if awakened would look up at you with his wonky teeth and you would Know. You’d just Know that he knows what he has done with you and to you and for you. And what his man has done to you and with you and for you. What both of these Living Beings have pulled you kicking and screaming into what you never ever believed in; what you scoffed at; what you considered ellusive and illusive and never ever for you.

We often proclaim not to believe in the very things we most want.

Love is the greatest of things. Love is your granndaughter. Love is your son. Love is your family. Love is your friends. Love is what comes into your life when you do not want it or need it or expect it. Love sneaks up and smacks you upside your head and then laughs at the amazed fearing wonderment that makes you slack-jawed with surprise. It is not to be ignored. Who knew? Who knew?

misc dale and kat etc 066So I sit here, my good friends–those of you still here; those of you who have always been here; those of you who drop by; those of you who wonder by accident or fate if you believe in those things and I do not and I do; those of you who read everything I write and I am amazed by you–I sit here and I am humbled by everything. Everything. EVERYTHING. I am humbled and grateful and beside myself.

I am not lonely anymore.

I am not an island.

I am writing again.

I am here. I am Home. I am back to my little log house at Killian Knob in Western North Carolina Smoky Mountains.

Life is a circle that we either complete or we do not. Or we go round and round it faster and faster until we are so dizzy we do not See anymore. What do you want? How do you want to travel your circle? Ends meeting and then begin again.

(well, look below at the previous post they link to – it was when I had to leave here — ha! what a coincidence)

Round and Round we go: stop for just a moment, y’all

The magical world of readingI do a lot of listening to (or reading about) writers—both published writers and as yet unpublished writers.

And what I hear is a lot of “what if” and “if only” and “If I could just” and “So and So is doing this and that’s what I want” and “Why can’t I?,” and so on and so forth and blah diddity do dah day. I’m not immune to it, but I am growing ever more Aware of it. Circuitous thinking, round and round it goes, endless. Our desires are always a step ahead of our needs; round that curved corner we can’t see from where we are . . . and we must see . . . we must . . . must’nt we?

Funny thing is, we don’t remember when we were Wishing for that something from before because when we reached that goal, we were already circling to find the next Thing, and that for which we wished for prior has already been left behind and forgotten, discarded.

Don’t get me wrong here, having goals and wanting success is not a bad thing. What I am talking about is our discontent or dissatisfaction with what is happening right now, that thing that we had wanted to achieve so very much, before we actually achieved it.

So, round and round we go trying to grab the next thing, when in reality, we are stepping over all our successes, great and small, along the way. Oops! I just stepped over the goal of starting my project/finishing my project! Oops! I just stepped over my goal of finding an agent/having my work published/getting paid for writing/querying agents-small presses-lit mags/having someone I respect love my work or encourage me. Oops! I just stepped over my goal of my work being published. Oops, I just stepped over my goal of (fill in blanks). And as you circle, you pass people who are running to catch up and pass you as you run to catch up and pass someone else.

I remember a quote by Michael M. Hughes when he was a guest on an author friend’s blog (helluo librorum), and this thought of his bolded in my head: “If you have even halting, tentative success, realize how lucky you are.”

So, whatever the case may be where you are, take a moment to breathe in and out, and NOTICE just where you are Right Now, and then, take just a glance backwards to remember how excited you were when This Happened—that first glow, that first happy realization that you met your goal before you left it behind and began the round and round and round.

Each success should be savored. Roll that thing in your mouth like a big piece of sweet candy –the good kind, not the kind nobody likes –and instead of crunching through it and swallowing it, let it slowly melt before you reach for the next piece.

And remember how there is always going to be someone behind you and someone in front of you and someone running over you or pushing you out of the way, someone who sets up circle-roadblocks in front of you—but if you stop the mad dash round and round and appreciate each experience, you will find some peace.

I know most (all?) every one of us will forget this advice and/or ignore it from time to time, repeatedly, but for right now, we have right now.

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Touty Plug of the day: SWEETIE. One of my most favorite books and character(s). It’s the favorite of many of my readers. A coming of age story. Suitable for younger readers, as well. I’m rather proud of this book. I’ll savor this accomplishment like a big ole piece of candy — chocolate!

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A little mountain town in the 1960s, a reclusive girl, an unlikely friendship. Melissa will come to understand that just because Sweetie feels no physical pain, does not mean she cannot be hurt  . . . 

Lyrical and poignant gothic southern storytelling. Sweetie is a wild girl, rough, almost feral, yet brave and endlessly honest. When Melissa, a shy, stuttering town girl, befriends Sweetie, the two enrich each other’s lonely lives. But there are some in the Appalachian community who regard Sweetie and her peculiar heritage as sinister…

For shy, stuttering Melissa, the wild mountain girl named Sweetie was a symbol of pride and strength. But to many in the Smoky Mountain town, Sweetie was an outcast . . . .

Writing out the Fear . . . .

(I wrote this a few years ago – I need to read it as if it was written by someone else and then listen – yes, Kathryn, listen to this writer/novelist who stomped over her fears; who didn’t let anything stop her from writing what she wanted to write. Who didn’t let depression, anxiety, anger, or anything else keep her from what she loves, and what she is, frankly, good at.)

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10398086_10152474576124176_3232207411175342070_nBefore I was published, whenever I’d read about an author who wrote a book and never wrote another one, I’d say, “If I had the chance, I sure wouldn’t be hesitating. I’d sure be writing to beat the band!” I simply couldn’t understand why a writer who had the chance to have his/her next book published would not jump on that chance with all the glee and energy and writing writer write they had, especially if that book was a success.

Until my own books were published. Then came the understanding of how fear plays such a part in this business.

writer's blodkaAn artist and I were in a conversation about not letting the negativity get in the way of creativity. I said to the artist how we have to have the dark and the light in our work, but we have to make sure the dark is not someone else’s shadow. Much of what you hear after you publish your book is Everyone Else’s Opinion—if you are not careful, you begin to listen to too many voices/opinions. Finding a way to separate the “should not listen to” versus the “this will help me in my journey” is a difficult one.

cropped-emailed-002.jpgAfter my first book, Tender Graces, was released, I woke up with anxiety so fierce that my stomach tied in a snarl of knots. Fear of what someone may say about my work. That I’d disappoint readers. Some of this faded as time went by, but only because I stomped over it—how else could I go back to work? But it came again with the release of the Secret Graces, and then with Sweetie, and onward with my other novels. Will people still love me and my characters? Did I do okay? Are my words reaching anyone? Will I be loved?

Just Do It

Just Do It

My friends, I understand why some writers do not write that second book. An author can become paralyzed with fear. That fear can permeate and penetrate and become so prevalent that creativity is stifled. Imagine writing a book and being compared to other writers—but—imagine writing a book and being compared to yourself! Harper Lee, Stephen King, Oscar Wilde, Gail Godwin, Ralph Ellison, Margaret Mitchell, Elizabeth Berg—all have one thing in common: they wrote a book. What they don’t have in common is some went on to write more and others never wrote another book, or at least one that we know about.

If I had not stomped over my fears, skirted around the dark that is someone else’s shadow, ignored my terror, more work would not have come to me and then to readers. Writers and artists and singers and dancers and actors—all those whose work is out for public consumption and review and deliberation—must find a way to stop the: “I have to be loved by everyone. My work must be adored by everyone. I am afraid of what will happen. I am afraid of success/failure/mediocrity.” And instead, we must do what we love and do it the best we can and do it with love and hope and strength and honesty.

DSC_0052-001Of course, we must also do it in a way that sells, don’t forget that. Art aside, love of books and reading and writing aside, it has to be deconstructed into the business side of things as well. Heart and Brain go hand in hand in this business. What a terrifyingly fascinatingly wonderful sucky horrid confusing business!

dsc04492Am I still worried about the books I write to be released into the hands of readers? Well, yes. But am I letting that stop me? No. Step out from that shadow and show yourself. Be brave and hearty in whatever you love to do. How will you know what you can create until the creating is accomplished?

Well ain’t that some shit, Kathryn Magendie: kicking the ass of my fears.

ipod photos 082I done been here, and I done been there, and I done this and I done that and I done the other. I done thangs I never done before. I done thangs I haven’t in a long long time.

I been where I’ve never been, and where I’ve seldom been, and where I’ve left, and where I’ve said I’d never go, or never return to.

This here woman done seen thangs that made her speechless with wonder. Made her stop right there and say, “Well . . . oh my god.”

This here woman done done thangs that opened her up and turned her inside out bursting kaleidoscopic super-nova–KaBOOM! Ka-POW! Ka-BAM!

And I ate things I said I’d never again eat. I broke many “food rules;” like, never eat pork: I ate bacon and damned if it wasn’t tasty; I ate peaches with the skin on them and the juice ran down my arm and I licked it away; and my rule of never ever ever EVER eat in the middle of the night: welp, I ate cheesecake in bed with my bare hands (no utensils available–who cares!) at 2:30 PM in a hotel and it was GOOD! And I ate turtle pie at 2:30 AM in bed at someone’s house (something about 2:30, huh?) but that time I had a fork, and it was GOOD! And the world kept turning, turning, turning.

Nothing bad came of my rebellion against Self Denial–

So many things on the Kathryn’s List Of Things I denied myself over the years as I tried to control my world: POOF! I devoured those rules–I ate up those rules for breakfast lunch and dinner. I gluttoned myself on Rule Breaking. I stopped trying to control all the wild and strength and excitement and wonder and curiosity that I’d kept hidden from myself and the world. Hello, World–nice to meet you–how you like me now?

ipod photos 093I considered things I’d never considered. I reconsidered things I’d never reconsidered. I walked where my shoes had never been and tossed off my shoes and felt unfamiliar ground beneath my feet. I stomped in puddles. The ground didn’t open up and swallow me.

I drank too much a couple of times and lived to tell the tales though they shall remain secret. I became angry enough to break something that wasn’t even mine, at least twice–and that felt AWESOME! Though contriteness followed the breaking it still felt awesome.

Sleep was lost–lots of sleep was lost, but I didn’t care because it was on-purpose lost sleep.

Oh but I kissed without restraint.

And I laughed–a lot. I cried, but not where anyone could see; well, maybe someone did see but they understood the whys of it all.

The new novel was opened and I gazed at my words and I wrote many more words and I created new characters and I knew that I’d always do this even if, or though, I will not, or may not, ever make any really good solid money at it. I will write the words and the words will empty from me and then I will fill up again. Empty. Fill. Empty. Fill. Empty. Fill.–a metaphor of the rest of my life – fill fill fill empty fill fill fill empty FILL FILL FILL FILL FILL! OMG FILL ME UP, LIFE!

ipod photos 081Give me more life. Give me more love. Give me more people. Give me more food. Give me more new experiences. Give me more family. Give me more friends. Give me more lover. Give me more more more of the universe one two three blast-off!

There were the days that blazed brilliant. And there were the days that I drug my ass around in a daze.

There were old friends and new friends. There were people, and more people, and more people–and I did not hide (much).

For the last few months, I lived one hundred years of my life full out for nothing–full out for everything–full.

All the years I was the aging Rapunzel locked in her tower (where she’d locked herself by the way), I finally stepped out into the world and blinked and then ran towards everything I’d ever been afraid of–and some of it I am still afraid of but I’m kicking the ass of my fears. Kicking the ass of my fears. Kicking the goddammed ass of my fears.

Kicking the ass of my fears, y’all.

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Tuesday Morning Coffee: getting your groove on or back or sideways or however a groove works – haw!

When Angie’s nekkid husband comes in (but we didn’t get to see him – lawd!) and Ann says she flaps around her house like a bird – well dang — and I receive texts that Ann interprets as inappropriate (because they usually are – teehee). But we do manage to stay on topic, a little anyway.

And yes, I have neglected my blog and for that I offer up only discombobulated grunts. One day my life will fall back into place, but won’t that be boring? haw! My life, right now, is all about exploration and discovery and wild rides and meeting new people and seeing new (and old) places and experiencing things I’ve never experienced because I’ve been afraid or busy or made excuses or was hiding — now, well, WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE HAAWWWWWWWWWWW! watch out, Kat (or watch out, World – maybe I should say!). All many of these experiences will go into my new novel. Yeah. WHUPOW!