Dreaming in Character

G.L. Jackson


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Hello, life and everything

Sunrise this morning was bright red under a perfectly flat line of clouds. If it hadn’t been 5-something in the morning, I would’ve taken a picture of it for you.

Oh, my poor neglected blog, I’ve missed you. I’m always of a mind to tell you that if I have nothing to say, it’s better not to try to force a post. Like so many other people I’ve been digging my way out from the dark days of winter. Here in northern California it’s been raining pretty much non-stop, so when the sun finally peeked out a few days ago I was reminded of the time I spent at the beach sand bars as a child. When the tide went out, hermit crabs would emerge from their shells. Timidly at first, because a wave could always come crashing back down on them, but eventually they’d get brave enough to peek out and stay out, and finally to start scuttling around.

That was the Bay area this week. It was like the aftermath of an apocalyptic event: the sun was finally out, and people stepped outside for the first time in a long time, shielding their eyes against the sudden onslaught of beauty pouring down on them.

rainy-street

But I spent a long time living in Oregon, and I know winter sunshine is more of a tease than a reality. We’re getting ready for another week or more of rain now, and I’m holding my breath along with the majority of the country in hoping that dam in Sacramento holds. In other news, okay, thank you for the much-needed water, skies, but you can stop for a while now.

As far as writing goes, I started a challenge to do a personal novel writing month this month. I decided to finish the novel I started during NaNoWriMo. Every day, the writing was a struggle. I hated all the words coming out. No, not all the words, just the way the story was unraveling, so I stepped back and took a break for a few days. I know this goes against the whole “don’t self-edit, don’t second-guess, just write every day” rule that usually works so well during NaNoWriMo, but I decided that in February I ought to play by my own rules.

I’m so glad I took the break, because the introspective navel-gazing made me realize I needed a reset. If I was going to tell this story, I needed a whole new book to tell it instead of tacking it on to the end of the November one. So I pulled up my big-girl panties and decided to scrap 3/4 of the 60,000 words I wrote in November, keep the other 1/4 as a standalone novella, and begin again. Now the writing is fun! Now I’m convinced I’m telling the right story the right way. What a relief. For a while there, I thought I’d forgotten how to enjoy writing.


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I’m no more patient than I used to be

…but I do have more experience waiting.

If you’re following along, you know it’s Pitch Wars time. You probably also know this is my favorite contest of all because as I mentioned in my last post, it’s nice. Being nice and behaving politely is a cornerstone of the contest, and I appreciate the hell out of that.

On August 3 — the one day I was home between two very different trips — I entered my manuscript in the contest. Decisions won’t be announced until August 25, so by my calendar I still have another two weeks to go before I find out if I’ll be working with a mentor. So what am I doing in the meantime? I thought you’d never ask.

Here’s where I talk about maintaining my sleek calm plush-velvet demeanor (also about why I love Pitch Wars, beyond “nice”). Continue reading


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Summer Solstice

Happy first day of summer, everyone. It’s a hot day here in the Bay area. I snapped this on my phone as I was passing through my yard on my way for an iced coffee. It looks like I’m not the only one who needed to keep hydrated today.

flash the snail

I like this photo because it makes my garden look like an exotic jungle. The snail went from the lip of the fountain to the side, and now 2 hours later it’s back on top, letting the water cascade over its shell.


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Waiter, there’s a goat in my soup.

Oh no, wait: there are goats in my yard.

goats goats goats

Every year, the park district contracts with a nearby goat farm to clear out the weeds and long grasses and other fire hazards. Today is goat day! They arrive in two batches on long-bed trucks and stay in the park until it’s grazed to the ground.

Because we live closest to the park, we also do a trade with the goat keepers. In exchange for the goats reducing the weeds and grasses in our back yard, we keep them supplied with water (and the shepherd with electricity for his trailer). It’s a win/win.

I happened to look out and saw these fine specimens trying to climb the tree to get to the fresh juicy leaves. Have at it, kids (ba-a-a-a-d pun).


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A Day Off

You’ve got to love California in January. Today I went to the beach, sat on the sand, in the sun, in jeans and a t-shirt, and watched the waves. The day was absolutely gorgeous, in the low 70s. I wish all of you could have been there. Maybe some of you were!

IMG_0089 2

“They” say we should never take pictures directly into the sun. I say nonsense. Yes, it throws off the color balance, but rules were made to be broken.


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+5 Karma

We live on the edge of an entrance to the East Bay Regional Park system. Our road is lovely and wide, with plenty of parking and a fairly mild set of hiking paths into and around the park. It’s quite popular with dog walkers. When we first moved in last year noticed lots of hikers struggling to share water out of bottles with their puppies. I thought it would be nice if we got the largest water bowl we could find and put it outside for the dogs.

I fill it just about every day, and it’s been pretty popular. I see lots of dogs making a beeline for it on their way out of the park, which makes me happy (being a cat owner means I don’t have dogs now, so I have to enjoy them vicariously). When I got the bowl I wrote “For thirsty park dogs” on it, so people would know we left it there intentionally.

The other day I got home and saw that there was something propped up behind the water bowl. On closer inspection, I realized what it was — a piece of cardboard, put there intentionally, with this message written on it:

THANK YOU!
SIGNED,
THIRSTY PARK DOGS STRUDLE, HOBBES, AND BUTTERS. 5/5/14.

The whole thing put such a smile on my face.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there. Go on and be lovely to one another!