Thursday, March 27, 2014



Gratitude/Happiness List (March 27)

I’ve gotten behind in posting my lists lately, but here are some of the things I’ve been grateful for/made happy by this week. This is a linkup with Laurel Regan’s Alphabet Salad blog.

Receiving printed copies of the The Quotable issue in which my story appears.



The renewed feeling that getting a haircut brings.

Meeting two friends for dinner at Cheesecake Factory.

Meeting another friend for lunch and walking to the restaurant, a little over two miles round trip, on a beautiful day.

Buying three new books.

Finishing another prayer shawl.

A concert by the RI Philharmonic Orchestra featuring one of my favorite works, Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique Symphony.

Our dog getting a clean bill of health from the vet.

That what I thought was a broken tooth was just a broken crown and replaceable.

Watching Providence College in the NCAA tournament playing a great game and not feeling too bad about their losing to North Carolina.

That we missed the big storm that buried Cape Cod and other parts of Massachusetts.



Monday, March 10, 2014

My Gratitude/Happiness List (March 10, 2014)

I am again linking up with Laurel Regan’s Gratitude List with my own Happiness/Gratitude List to share what I am grateful for and what made me happy during the past week:

 One of my older blog posts about my mother being featured in Woven Tale Press (many thanks to Sandra Tyler!)

 Fresh bread from our neighborhood bakery.

 Another “date night”  with my husband: dinner, seeing Nebraska, and having dessert out afterward.

 Being involved in the prayer shawl ministry at church.

 That a good friend’s husband, who had a stroke just before Christmas, is now again able to get out and take his morning walk for coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts.

 Having had a spurt of energy yesterday and cleaning my bathroom and kitchen floor!

 Reading the latest Writers Ask issue and feeling the itch to write again.

 That my husband is taking care of getting all our tax information together for the accountant.

 A nice quiet Sunday evening spent with my husband, having leftover vegetable stew (yum!) working on two crossword puzzles, reading the paper, and listening to the Billboard Top 100 from 1976 (not such a good year, though—remember “Disco Duck”?), with our dog curled up on the couch.

 Going to the next-to-last Brown University basketball home game.

 An unexpected Facebook conversation with a cousin beginning with his posting a great old song, “Darkness, Darkness” by the Youngbloods, touching on theology and philosophy, then to remembering our lost family members.

 Daylight Savings Time!

Monday, March 3, 2014

My Happiness/Gratitude List (March 3, 2014)

I am again linking up with Laurel Regan’s Gratitude List with my own Happiness/Gratitude List to share what I am grateful for and what made me happy during the past week:

The publication of my short story in TheQuotable .

My husband taking me out to dinner to celebrate my publication.

Receiving the DVDs I ordered: the first season of Dr. Kildare!

The sight of steam rising in the sunlight from my teacup.

 The sweet, earthy smell of a newly watered plant.

 Having written 13 blog posts in February.

 Having breakfast out on a weekday.

 My husband buying me flowers for no particular reason.

 Lectoring at church.

 A relaxing Sunday: a matinee of “Inside Llewyn Davis,” dinner, and watching the Oscars.

 Getting another skein of beautiful yarn so I can start the pattern I found to use it with!
(This color isn't true. The yarn is really much more red than this--not nearly this garish!)

Sunday, March 2, 2014


The Writer’s Roller Coaster


I’ve ridden the writer’s roller coaster over the past couple of weeks.


I was thrilled this week that my flash fiction “Breakage” was published in The Quotable literary magazine.


The week before I learned that another story I had entered in the Glimmer Train contest for new writers was not selected, either as a contest winner or for future publication.


As excited as I was about the first of these, I really wasn’t disappointed by the second.


Glimmer Train is my favorite literary magazine. Its quality is impeccable, and I’m always amazed at how good the writers featured in it are. So submitting my story here was chasing a dream, and I knew that. Even before I learned the results of the contest, I had followed the advice of two of my writing teachers and submitted the story to a second market, and I have a third and fourth in mind.


This, for me, is a huge step forward in my confidence.


I also thought about all the other writers who submitted—and there must have been thousands of entries. And how, in spite of all the likely disappointment, all of the effort to write and perfect a story for submission is not wasted.


I realize how lucky I am to be able to write at all, how lucky all of us who have some amount of talent—small or great—are to be able to create worlds out of words, to bring people to life, to get inside their heads and know them in ways we can’t know the real people in our lives.


I’ve been in love with writing since I was a child. All through high school it was what I wanted to be. But when I stepped into real life, I lost my confidence in my writing ability and set it aside. I didn’t pick it up again until the past decade or so, when I rediscovered my love for it.


I took several writing courses and made tentative steps forward. Yet I thought actual submission to actual publications was a reach for the sky. But I did impulsively enter a reader’s contest in Rosebud magazine, for which I wrote a poem using a line supplied by the editors. It was printed in the magazine: my first publication.


After that I took a leap and submitted a story I liked. When it was rejected, I was discouraged. I never tried to submit it anywhere else.


But I did keep trying. I kept taking courses. I finished a NaMoWriMo novel (which I am still trying to revise). And gradually I began to feel like a writer.


This week I achieved my third publication. And now I feel that I’ve earned a balanced perspective. I know that at my age, and without an MFA, I won’t be having a “career” as a writer. And that’s fine. What I do hope to do is keep on writing and learning, keep on trying to get better. If small publications do come along, I’ll be happy and grateful, but I won’t count on anything. And my overarching goal (far off as it may be) is to finish my novel. After that…don’t know. I may try for real publication or consider self-publication. In any event, I’ll be proud to have done it.


And I think the doing it is what really counts.

Image from MorgueFile