Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Introducing: The Newest Bryants

Friends and followers might remember that we lost our boy-o, O'Neill, back in February. He'd been part of our family for twelve years before cancer got her claws into him, and we were broken-hearted to lose him. 

Since then, we've been talking about when we might feel ready to open our hearts to a dog again. The kid-still-at-home was all for adopting a new dog immediately and funneling grief into love for a new dog, Sweetman needed longer to heal, and I was somewhere in the middle. 

But we finally agreed that July was good timing, since the kid and I will be mostly at home for several more weeks yet (until school starts) and can devote time to training and acclimating our newest family members. 

So, let me introduce you to Pumpkin and Ghost!

In the car for the ride to our new home!

These boys are about three and one half years old, both rescued from the same home, where an elderly woman had become overwhelmed by the work of caring for too many dogs. Before CARA (Carolina Animal Rescue and Adoption) came into their lives, they had never seen a vet. They had also never been house trained, leash trained, or learned to respond to names. 

O'Neill had also been a rescue dog, found wandering in the woods with his brother. We sometimes wondered if it might have been better if we had also adopted his brother when we took him in, so he would have had his brother when we couldn't be with him, so we decided to look for a pair of dogs to adopt together this time, if possible. 

Neither Sweetman nor I have ever had a small dog. These guys are both Jack Russell Terrier mixes (mixed with what? I dunno . . . other dogs?). Ghost is around 17 pounds, and Pumpkin around 20, which means the two of them together is still less poundage of dog than O'Neill had been. It's a different ballgame, having small dogs and having two dogs. But I think I'm going to love playing. 

They are quite playful and surprisingly comfortable with people overall, given their lack of previous socialization. They like women better than men so far, but I know Sweetman will win them over to full trust. They are also cuddly little guys, and it's definitely handy that I can just pick them up if I need to (without needing to visit the chiropractor afterwards). 

So, there they are: the two additions to our family. Wish us luck!


Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Flung Back Into the Universe

Wow! That was fast. I mean, after nearly eighteen months of hardly going anywhere and seeing only the people in my bubble, you'd think I'd be ready for some travel, some parties and gatherings, etc. But I feel like Wile E. Coyote just after the giant rubberband has snapped, realizing that I've got no control over my speed and trajectory: 

I know, I know. I'm in charge of me and I can say no, but it's not that easy to do. Can I really say no to all my family when they want to see the hubby and me and our kiddos in person at long last? Can I really turn down chances to get back out there at live-in-person author events building some momentum for my life's dream of living off my writing? 

I can . . . but I probably won't. 

That won't stop me from whining a little bit though. I was out of pocket 11 days in June and I'll be out another 9 in July by the end of things. Thankfully, the July stuff is a little more spread out and I'll get 13 days in a row of being close to home between things. 

The tricky bit for me is that I WANT to see all the people and take all the opportunities, but I also rely on time at home during these non-school months to make some serious progress on my writing goals during days with fewer commitments than school-year days. 

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I'm also finding that I'm seriously out of practice. I've always need a bit of introvert recovery time after a big get-together, but my recovery period is longer now, like my social muscles have atrophied. I had barely recovered from my mother's birthday party when it was time to hit the road again to welcome a new baby into my husband's family. 

Thank G-d for coffee. At least my drug of choice is legal. 

As always, I'm seeking balance, because the truth is that I want it ALL but there are only so many hours in each day and only so much Samantha to go around. 

So how are you guys managing the world opening back up? Is it a relief or a new kind of stress for you? 

I'd love to hear about how you're doing in the comments! 

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Never Going to Give It Up!


Welcome to the first Wednesday of the month. You know what that means! It's time to let our insecurities hang out. Yep, it's the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog hop. If you're a writer at any stage of career, I highly recommend this blog hop as a way to connect with other writers for support, sympathy, ideas, and networking.

If you're a reader, it's a great way to peek behind the curtain of a writing life.

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

July 7 question - What would make you quit writing?

The awesome co-hosts for the July 7 posting of the IWSG are Pat Garcia, Victoria Marie Lees, and Louise – Fundy Blue! Be sure to check out what they have to say, and visit other writers in the blog hop!

About the only thing that could make me quit writing would be loss of cognitive function. Meaning, I would quit writing if I found I actually could no longer do the mental and physical work of it. It's too important to me to ever just let go entirely. Sometimes I feel like I'm incapable of understanding the world around me except by processing it in writing. It's how I see. 

Now, quitting publishing, on the other hand…that's a different kettle of fish. Publishing is not nearly as fulfilling or fun as writing. It's time consuming, whether you're working with traditional publishers or taking on all the work yourself as an indie writer. It can drag you up and down emotional roller coasters and leave you feeling bruised and sick. 

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But I persist. Writing itself is the most important part for me, but I also want an audience for my work. I wouldn't be content to leave all my words unshared. So publishing is part of the writing life for me, even when it is less than fun or takes an ugly turn. 

I'm a stubborn sort, so I wouldn't give it up easily. I'm not going to be that person who rage quits over a bad review or publishing politics or anything like that. I read threads all the time about someone who just chucks the whole thing when things go badly and I can't imagine making that decision. I'd just seek another way. 

My professional writing life has been pretty short. I've only been at it for six years. But in those few years, I've had a range of experiences with publishing from the affirming and joyful to the disheartening and upsetting. I had a publisher fold on me, I've collected quite a little pile of rejections, I've had bad reviews. I've also been recognized with an award, received money for my creations, and made some great friends who really understand this part of me. 

So, I expect to always be a writer and to always seek publication for my work. The good outweighs the bad. I'll remain the Rick Astley of the writing world, refusing to give it up.