Saturday, May 31, 2008

Come live with me, and be my love, And we will some new pleasures prove, Of golden sands, and crystal brooks, With silken lines, and silver hooks.

(John Donne)

I’d tell you what I did last night, but then I’d have to kill you. Let’s just say I needed a gut-bomb this morning, we had too much fun, but we got a lot of issues sorted out.

Relationships are odd things. We cultivate relationships and talk about how important they are, but we have no ideas (or too many ideas) on how to have healthy relationships. We lie to one another and withhold things. But what about honesty? And sharing our thoughts and feelings with someone as they occur to us, to work through them together? (Am I being too progressive?) I mean, who says we can’t have a variety of relationships to meet all of our physical, mental, and spiritual needs? And who says that instead of soul mates we can’t have soul friends? Isn’t that the role that certain animals play in our lives? They meet a need, in a different way than humans do, and you can care about so many different animals, but that doesn’t mean you love another one less. They meet different needs, the same as different friends do.

I like having friends, especially guy friends. I like hanging out and learning what they do, trucks and tractors as opposed to clothes and shopping. Of course, I know a lot of cool girls too. But most girls don’t farm and work like a guy. I enjoy the camaraderie that comes with hanging out with other agriculturalists. I enjoy that organic understanding.

My grandmother said something quite profound the other day. We were talking about relationships and she said that when you no longer put your heart into it, then you might as well give it up. That wisdom seems to follow into the camaraderie I talked about before too. If you don’t care about the same things, maybe its time to reexamine.

My dad says that people come in and out of your life for a reason. And you have to learn to be aware of them and what they have to teach you. In the last year, I’ve learned a lot about who I am and where I want to go in life and the types of people I want to surround myself with. I just hope that I can bring as much pleasure to the people who put up with me as they bring to me.

Sorry for being so doomy today. I’ll try to be better tomorrow. And to my drinking buddy (if reading the blog) xoxo ~Ax

Friday, May 30, 2008

Single women have a dreadful propensity for being poor. Which is one very strong argument in favor of matrimony. (Jane Austen)

It’s raining.

Just the sound of rain drops falling outside makes my toes curl with ecstasy. We needed rain so badly, but I do feel bad for some of the neighbors who cut hay the other day. But the garden and our alfalfa needed moisture badly.

Speaking of my garden, I’ve got little, baby plants! Little, baby pea plants and little lettuces. They are all so cute! I can’t believe I haven’t killed anything yet. I’m not exactly known for my green thumb, after all. I can kill a cactus as soon as look at it. I’m pretty good with grass though and dandelions. Those I can grow like there’s no tomorrow.

Didn’t get any pages yesterday. Barely even a writing prompt. The trip to Toledo and back just wiped me out. Five hours on the freeway will do that I guess. Just makes me really glad I don’t live around a big city and have to drive in that shit everyday. I know there are a lot of advantages to living around larger cities, but I grew up in northern Michigan. Traffic up there meant an Amish buggy and an oncoming car. Ann Arbor freeways are insane to me.

So we got Gram to Toledo fine and she’s all geeked to spend time with my little cousins, who I guess aren’t so little anymore. It’s like my Dad says, you can always gauge time better by other people’s kids and it makes you realize how old you’re getting. On one little cousin was born shortly after my grandpa died and it doesn’t seem like that long ago, but the kid’s in grade school now. It just doesn’t seem right. Oh well. What can ya do?

Well, the rain’s stopped (sadly) so I’m gonna go and try to find something to do, even if it’s wrong.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Great acts are made up of small deeds. (Lao Tzu)

A slooooowwww start for me this morning. Too many beers with the guys last night. And no one around to make me eat. (I’m starting to sound like Taylor.) But it was a good time. Got the lawn mowed and some valuable info about firearms from the guys (Dad and Bruce).

So yeah.

I’m leaving here in a few hours to take Gram to Toledo to meet my uncle. She and my cousin have their birthdays within days of each other, so they’re going to celebrate them this weekend. It’ll do Gram good to get away for a few days.

Just a heads-up: I’m putting together an e-newsletter that will be available to members-only at the group page. If anyone has anything in particular they’d like to see in the ‘letter (or title ideas!) please respond to this post and let me know! I don’t promise to use your ideas, but I do promise to consider it.

All right, well I’ve been staring at this page for the last few minutes and can’t think of anything else that’s interesting right now. So I’m gonna wrap this up. Have a great day.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

New group page

Make sure you loyal blog readers check out and join my new groups page here:

Respect Thy Elders (even when they shit in your car)

I should enter “caretaker for the elderly” under my job description. Aside from the cows, horses, sheep, and dogs, we have a subgroup of the elderly here at Barclay Farms.

The first is Max, a (best we can figure) 17-year-old Rottweiler-lab-chow mix who is plagued by arthritis, acute hearing loss, and the occasional seizure. He’s also terrified of thunderstorms and sudden movements (mostly because he can’t move out of the way quickly and has had too many people drop things on him). He responds very well to hand-signals, when he chooses to pay attention to you, and he salivates prodigiously for pizza (his favorite thing). Lately, he’s been loosing control of his sphincter (namely because, we figure, he can’t feel it). So it’s very dangerous to walk around our living room and kitchen barefoot and in the dark. Luckily the pellets are still relatively hard.

Then there’s Iris. Her rear end is still in as good a working order as her front, albeit she moves with the creaks and groans of a barn falling down. Slowly. The (again, approximately) 25-year-old Belgian/Appaloosa cross mare, is completely blind in one eye and just sees shadows with the other. Her hearing is great and she still bumps her way happily around the farm, even more happily when the old girl comes into heat and the proud-cut gelding, Argo, gets a chance to think he’s really something (although there’s not much he can do when she’s “winking” at him.)

Next, my old cow, Essential, has been much better of late since we got her feet trimmed. Her back feet grow like elf-shoes (at least the ones in the old Santa Clause movies) and her back bows around weird, paying the price for her bad wheels. She’s the kind of cow who knows what she wants and how to get it. Most my herd goes back to either Essential or her half-sister, Party Girl, who is (sadly) no longer with us. She may be the last cow to the feed trough, but the other cows and calves know they’re access is denied when she finally shows up!

And last on our list of old things to take care of (without starting on the haying equipment) is my wonderful and beautiful grandmother. 85-years-old and not even crazy yet. She may think she needs to paint the flagpole and bury the old buildings, but, hey, I better watch it, because one day I’m going to come up with even better ideas yet!

So let’s hear to for the glories of old age and a round of applause for their caretakers, who just shake their heads and love them anyway. And whoops, I got more pellets to clean up.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind.


It’s a good day at Barclay Farms today. Dad’s hard at work on putting the wood burner to bed for the year and I got edits on Taylor going my way. YEY! After days of moaning over the next section, it really wasn’t that bad. I moved operations to the kitchen and copped a positive attitude and viola! Editing block is broken.

Victor Hugo is killing me. He keeps going off on these tangents about architecture and other things of little interest. They took out the best sections for the Disney version of The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, I tell you what.

I reread some Patricia Briggs novels this weekend, Dragon Bones and Dragon Blood. I just needed to get out of my own work for awhile, I think, so she and Stanley Coren’s Why Does My Dog Act That Way? helped me enormously. I finished a book of “150 poems you need to know” and started the Bhagavad Gita, Stephen Mitchell’s translation. So far, it’s pretty cool. Eastern religions and ideas have started seeping into my Western education, oh my! Ideas of yoga and the Tao. I also started Horses and the Mystical Path, so it’s all geared toward the second book and Taylor’s exploration of what it means to be what she is.

Well, speaking of Taylor, I've had my snack break (peanut butter sammy and milk) and I'd better get back to her before she takes off again for parts unknown. I think she took Memorial Day and went to the beach or some shit. :)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Loving is not just looking at each other, it's looking in the same direction. --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Sooooo true. And I'm figuring that out the older I get and the more I farm. (Long story.)

I took the weekend off without really meaning to. But, since the last week went so up and down, I figured it wouldn’t hurt anything. Besides, I got to grease equipment with Dad and mortar a window. I mean, how fun is that? We would have put up cross-members on the fence, but Dad got called away on a job. He could be doing the fence by himself or still drinking beer with the guys for all I know. Just wish I had some guys to drink beer with. (Sigh.)

It’s been way too windy here the last few weeks. Like crazy-windy. Its beating the hell out of the tomato and pepper plants we got in the garden last night. The garden’s doing well other than that, though, so that’s an improvement. I mean, I haven’t killed anything yet and we’ve had seeds in a week and plants in for, oh, twenty hours.

That was the blog I wrote before Dad called and we went horseback riding. He rode his bay horse, Argo, the gassiest horse on earth, which is a change. Usually he takes Rio, his sorrel. I took my white colt (still a colt at six years old, the kind of personality that will always be a colt), which is a change from my usual paint gelding, Sonny. So Argo and the white colt were an interesting combination, since Argo’s the queen bi-atch and the colt is… well, the colt.

Wow. This “Two-and-a-half-Men” is making me really hungry.


So Dad’s home again tomorrow and hopefully we can get another ride in and some more work around the farm. I’d like to catch up on my writing and finish cleaning the living room. Ya know, when they say spring cleaning, you shouldn’t leave the cleaning all year until spring. It gets really dusty. (Joke.)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Pages and heelers

A slow start to a long weekend. I got the garden watered and the cattle moved, but the old dog is still stuck in my car (see: refuses to get out) and I have no ideas for pages today. I know I should just sit down and start typing, but it helps to have a vague scene in my head that wants out before I start. If that fails, I do some writing exercises and line-edits until something pops up. Sometimes something does and sometimes I end up scrubbing the grout in desperation. Honestly, it feels like Taylor just wants to be left alone some days and can’t be bothered with little ol’ me. Must be the days she’s working on tractors, hell if I know.

Zip has been a little insecure the last few days. He’s a good dog, but once in awhile he’s more touchy-feely than usual, though we are a pretty touchy-feely “couple.” My theory with Australian cattle dogs is that the owner has to be as devoted to the dog as the dog is to the owner. I know I sound like a crazy dog owner, but herding/drover dogs, I think, are generally closer with their owners than other, more sociable breeds.

Sorry about that diatribe, I’ve been reading about dog behavior this morning. It makes me reflect on Zip and my relationship. Although I love Australian heelers, I wouldn’t recommend the breed for just anyone. They are a difficult breed for some people since they are so active and stubborn and can be nippy if not trained and socialized correctly. They are a very busy dog, to say the least, and do well with people with active lifestyles. For instance, Zip and I walk for thirty minutes to an hour most days of the week and he plays ball in the evenings with us sometimes for over an hour. And he still has energy to burn, which he burns pacing through the house and stalking the raccoons that live in our trees outside. So, like I said, I love my dog and we get along gloriously, but the breed is not for everyone.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tired and Sick

I had such an odd, off day today that I nearly forgot to do the blog entry. Joe and I went out for drinks after supper last night (after he locked his keys in his car and we had to drive back to his house for his spare set). So the day started off good, but after I walked fence and got back to the house, I started feeling really bad. I didn’t feel like working, even though I had a great scene between Tay and Ana in my head, so I curled up in Dad’s lay-z-boy with Zip and a Robin of Sherwood novel and slept. If I hadn’t felt so strung out and just out of it, I would have given myself a serious upbraiding. But, I got up later (much, much later) and wrote a few drafts of a query letter, three pages of Taylor (tentatively book 3), and started changing my paper edits to Word. Hopefully I can get more done tomorrow. I feel really lazy.

I finished “The Harlequin” this morning. Great read. And our house-guest, Bruce, gave me a copy of “Seven Centuries of Verse” that he got for a dollar at the local book swap place. So I got some poems to keep me out of trouble for awhile.

I do have one, final observation for the evening. I fall asleep reading quite often. And that is always really odd, ‘cause I start dreaming where the book left off and it gets mixed up with other stuff I’ve been doing or reading lately. So today Robin Hood and Anita Blake were in Sherwood forest hunting vampires and fixing tractors. I think I need to get out more. Any one to second that? :-)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ponies and Pages

One garden and a hundred pages later and I can finally take a minute to actually write something. I try for pages everyday, but yesterday I really got in the groove for editing Taylor one more time and did the whole damn thing over the course of the day. I had an epiphany (complete with light bulbs blinking and angels singing) about the editing process. Before, I’ve always had it in my head that “this is what I’m trying to do and this is what I will make this text do, so help me, if I have to beat my head to a bloody pulp against this damn brick wall I keep banging into!”

Well, needless to say, that may have not been the most effective strategy.

Instead, I put all that out of my head and approached the text from a reader’s perspective. See, I question things when I read and look for links and details and questions abound, like “what does he look like? What does she do?” and those questions usually are answered later on. So I tried to apply that logic to reading Taylor, instead of letting my “great master artist’s vision” get in my own way. I think it worked, to a point, and I only have one scene I need to add now. It’s a fight scene, not my favorite. I can do sex scenes all day, but violence… guess I just need to get over it. I’m just not a violent person and haven’t been in many violent situations. So it’s a stretch to write fight scenes.

There’s, of course, some details to check and recheck, but for the most part I have my first working manuscript. Start to finish I think it was about three months. And I wrote a lot of backstory and scenes that might make it into subsequent Taylor novels, but certainly not the first one.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same. --Emily Bronte

Got it going my way today. Already got most of my workout in, walking fences and biking, also got the lawn mowed at the farm and dishes going. If I get to the laundry and plant the garden, I’ll be on top of the world.

My new favorite song is “Johnny and June” by Heidi Newfield. Let’s just say it reminds me of someone (and its not just Zip for a change!)

Dad and I got a lot done yesterday. We got plants and seeds for the garden and got the space raked and prepped for planting. The wind got to us though, and we called on account of the wind making us nutty. The wind is still up today so I got blasted mowing. Also took a tree branch to the shoulder. That should leave a nice mark. It’s already pretty sore. But I brought enough grass and dirt in with my hair that I could have filled a window box. Oh well. I made Gram happy. Everyone else will have to wait a week.

Started The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo yesterday. Good so far. I’ve just started to wonder how the translations of French novels compare to the original. How much is lost in translation. I assume a lot, just because the romance languages are so… well, romantic. But I don’t intend to be able to read French anytime soon. I struggle with “una mas cervaza, por favor.” Two semesters of Spanish and that’s all I got and Dad taught me that beforehand! Oh well, can’t be good at everything.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

We all have a cradle-to-the-grave journey to make and, in between, what do you do? There's got to be something hereafter. Robert Duval

It’s my dad’s birthday today. In deference to my aunt and uncle’s math, he’s either 53 or my aunt’s younger brother who is now older than her. My cousins are still in their late twenties and I’m still nine. (I can pass for fourteen, not nine.) So happy birthday to Dad, even though I know he doesn’t read the blog.

On a completely different note, I wrote eight pages yesterday. Sweet bliss! Few things in life feel as good as words pouring effortlessly from your fingertips. And I’m not dried up today, just easing into a Saturday. I think that feels even better. I’ve been stuck editing the first book for so long that actually writing, making things up from nothing, flexes a different muscle. And the research, at this point, is enjoyable as well. I love animals, and since Taylor has so many animal guides, I get to do a lot of research on animals.

I’ve been reading The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte and just finished Laurell K. Hamilton’s Kiss of Shadows. Both are great books in their own way. I love how the Bronte sisters are working within this proper framework but their stories, especially Tenant and Wuthering Heights, are so improper. There’s premarital sex, spousal abuse, all these things that weren’t talked about. I love it. And LKH always makes me want to go and write.

Again, on another note, I made some kickass lamb chops last night, marinated in a sauvignon blanc with garlic and rosemary. Then I grilled them and served them up dill and onion bread, steamed broccoli, and grilled asparagus, deglazed with more wine. It kicked ass. Now I gotta think up something as kickass for Dad’s birthday dinners, tonight and on Sunday with Gram. (Heavy sigh.) Good thing I enjoy cooking. I’m not always good at it, but I love doing it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

If I was a guy...

It’s Friday and who doesn’t feel good about a Friday? I’d feel better if I knew if I was driving up north to ride colts tonight, but we can’t have everything. I got a lot of plotting done yesterday, not very much text, but a lot of what happens where, when, and why. For me, the how it happens is the text, so I’m trying to get to that this weekend. If I just knew what a train ride was like I’d be all set. I also did a lot of research on shamanism and mental control for magic, so meditation and chakra points. Hey, I still think the tractor research was a lot more interesting, but I gotta go where the book tells me to. Or rather, where Taylor tells me to. She’s a demanding bitch. Good thing one of us is.

Started off slow again today, just like yesterday, only for different reasons. Last night, Dad, Bruce, and I gave up on cooking and went the local watering hole for dinner. Of course, profuse amounts of beer later and I still have a headache this afternoon. When I got up this morning, just after 7, I thought Dad was already up and gone, but the coffee pot was cold and his truck was still in the driveway. Lo and behold, I looked over while making cereal and yogurt (quite a complicated gourmet feat, I tell you what) and there’s a lump still in Dad’s bed. It’s unheard of this man to be in bed after 7 a.m. I don’t think he felt that good, but my ego got a boost and I could quit calling myself a good-for-nothing loser for a few minutes. Hard on myself? Moi?

So I got to the store, took thirty dollars in beer cans (and two pop cans) back, and made it back home in an hour and a half. Now I’m trying to settle in for an afternoon of writing, or at least working until I hear whether I got colts to ride. Then I’ll be doing laundry and packing like a manic. Or is that Maney-ic? Oh well. ;-) Happy days.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Success has a simple formula: do your best, and people may like it. -- Sam Ewing

Despite mulching at Gram’s for two days, I’ve been on this Robin of Sherwood marathon, the BBC series that was on tv in the ‘80s. The DVD version was a graduation present that I am very much enjoying. I still sob like a school girl during “The Greatest Enemy.”

I did a writing exercise yesterday and realized something important. I took this time off in order to write, to try and make that a career. But I’m not taking myself seriously enough. It’s like, since I’m home all day, I should be able to do this, that, and the other thing. The writing suffers because I don’t sit my ass in a chair and do it. That has to change. But no one ever said working from home was easy. I guess I’m exploring what works for me. So far, I’m fucking off and messing with the farm, which needs attention too since its also part of my self-employment plot, plan, whatever.

Oh, I don’t know. All I want to do is tell stories. Why does it seem like some days the whole world and everything in it is stacked against that? I really try to be a positive person and make a difference in the corner of the world I live in, but sometimes it’s more difficult than others. The global problems just seem overwhelming. The odds seem stacked against the unconventional person trying to make a living in this world. It’s great to enjoy the little things in life, but they don’t put food on the table.

Sorry for being so negative. I promise to try and shake it off by the next entry.

And here comes the rain on the windows. A perfect day to stay in and write.

Monday, May 12, 2008

For all you overachievers out there -- fucking knock it off

Oh joy, its Monday again. Out of all the days of the week, it’s generally the day I feel the worst about myself (except those days when I wake up and can’t find my clothes and have to chew my own arm off, but luckily those days are fewer and farther between). I always make these grandiose plans for Mondays. Clean the house, top to bottom, get all the bark mulch spread, do laundry and dishes, read tons and tons, exercise like a fiend, and get lost in a rush of glorious pages that never need editing.

Yeah, right.

About 10:30 I get dizzy from low blood sugar, binge eat, feel bad about that, but too full to do anything, so I curl up with a book, inevitably fall asleep, and lose track of all the much more productive things I had planned. (Yes, I know I need to get a job, but work with me.) I beat myself up so bad for not sticking to my schedule (aka giving in to my human failings), that I never get anything accomplished. And once my Monday gets thrown off, the whole week might as well be gone, because I failed, etc, etc. You get the idea.

Maybe it’s because I’m female, maybe it’s because of this damn Calvinistic work ethic, I’m not sure. Well, goddamn it, I hate this attitude. It’s unhealthy and counterproductive. I’m comparing myself to other people and that will bring me up short every time. After all, in the broad scheme of things, I don’t work that hard. But instead of getting down on myself about it, I should use that energy to make something, to invigorate and motivate myself. You’re not a failure until you stop trying, after all. And in the end, the only person I really need to compete against is myself. I would do well to remember that.

And that Mondays always blow.

And the next time I get these impulses to stack all my jobs on one day, make it a Wednesday.

Friday, May 9, 2008

If God had intended us not to masturbate he would've made our arms shorter. --George Carlin

Hey, I’m up north and my wireless still works! YEY! I wasn’t sure that it would and I didn’t plan on writing another entry this week, but my friends have gone to work and it just doesn’t feel right to start the day without an entry.

I made it up here all right last night. Felt good to drive and not go to Mount Pleasant. I have nothing against the place, but its not like it’s a great town to spend time in. And I’m still giving college the middle finger. I might like the place better when the finger joint curls up again.

Zip is having a great time with the other dogs here. Two black labs and they give him a run for his money. All three of them have a love affair with tennis balls, so it actually can get a little violent on occasion. I’m surprised that my momma’s boy dog usually comes out top dog. I never pegged him for a dominant. Currently, all three dogs have settled down after nearly tearing the house down playing this morning. The female lab is snoring, the male is passed out, and Zip is laying on my feet, making sure to growl menacingly should the other dogs get too near my bags. See? I raised a good son. ;-p

So I plan to spend the day doing tractor and equipment research for Taylor. She knows this shit, I don’t. And pick some brains when everyone gets home. If I knew what I needed to ask this would be so much easier.

I forgot to mention the other day that prior to The Computer Freeze, I’d managed to kill two MP3 players and we have our doubts as to whether the toaster will pull through or not as it remains very touch and go. (Kidding.)

So. Until Monday kids. And I promise I'll find someone else to quote next week.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I have as much authority as the Pope, I just don't have as many people who believe it. --George Carlin

Gotta love George Carlin. Thanks!

Some days it ain’t the block that gets ya, it’s the technology. I started editing yesterday, only to have my computer freeze for twelve hours. It just shuts down, goes to a glowing, pre-start screen, and sits there, with the fan running, until I get pissed, unplug it, and let the battery run down. Then I can start it… twelve plus hours later.

Needless to say, I was not a happyhappy Ax.

But I did get a lot edited on paper and some scenes sorted out. Surprisingly, I exed out an entire 2 pages and it felt really good. The rewrite is a lot stronger.

Today started out better. So far (keep your fingers crossed) no big computer issues and I’m not high off cleaning products. I’m the only person I know who gets a contact buzz from Pledge. Throw some toilet bowl cleaner and Lysol in the mix and I’m laughing like an idiot. Not that that is much different than normal… but hey. In all seriousness, I’m just really sensitive to cleaning products, fly repellant, herbicides and pesticides. They spray the corn and I get a sore throat. Get the idea? And since I got into some fly repellant last summer, I’ve been really bad around cleaning products. Not sure of the correlation and its probably all in my head, but that’s nothing new.

Tentatively heading up north tonight to visit friends and (ahem!) picking their brains on farm mechanics. I don’t know a piston from my left shoe, but they do. Hey, some people interview cops or doctors for their novels. Not me. I interview John Deere experts. It’s only a bonus that they happen to be my second family.

A last word on edits: I’d read interviews with bestselling authors who said the editing process was the worst part of writing and I thought at the time “oh, how bad can it be?” Let me just say, that it’s worse. But rewarding too in some sick and twisted way.

I’m going for lunch.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Happiness is something we create - Sugarland

(not my cows, by the way.)

Got 12 pages of Taylor edited yesterday. YEY! But I hit a snag with one of my villains. So I went back and did a character worksheet, did some research on psychological traits/ disorders that this character has, and viola! This morning I have a whole new perspective on him and how he and Tay interact and why. That’s why I love this writing process. I keep getting surprised!

I started reading Kim Harrison yesterday, speaking of getting surprised. 200 pages into The Good, The Bad, The Undead and I can’t put it down. Harrison and Hamilton always make me late, as if it is a physical pain to put down the book. I think both authors need rehab clinics for those of us waiting on their next books. Or we just write our own (see myself).

Aside from Kim Harrison, I read my butt off yesterday. Stanley Coren, Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst, Anne Bronte’s Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Ariel by Sylvia Plath, and an humor erotica book called Bad Sex. With a name like that, I just had to read it.

So today its housework, in between edits and rewrites. I’m a very physical writer. If the writing isn’t going well, I get up, get out, and do something, either clean or take a walk or go to the farm. Just something. It clears my head and I come up with great, wondrous ideas that I have no way to write down and escape as soon as they enter my head. But, it gets the block moved, one goddamned block at a time.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Weather forecast for tonight: dark. --George Carlin

Got ten pages of Taylor edited yesterday. YEY! I can’t believe how slow edits are going. I’m only forty pages in too. That’s almost halfway, I guess. Its 97 pages, so only fifty-seven to go. (Groan.)

Finished Stanley Coren’s book How to Speak Dog this morning. Only been working at that for three months or so. That book actually inspired me to write Taylor. I became intrigued with the idea of a person with an innate ability to communicate with all manner of animals. So I suppose I have Mr. Coren to thank. Aside from my other reading, I’m continuing to read his work, embarking next on Why Does My Dog Act That Way?

I wrote down what I got done yesterday. I guess I could note my plans for today. See if I actually get anything done, lazy ass that I am. I need to get the rocks and steel posts picked up at the farm, walk the cattle fence in the thorn apples, do my workout, read 25 pages in my books, and get at least ten pages edited for Taylor. Reasonable goals I think. Laters.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Barclay, Ax Barclay. Resident cattlewoman/minion.

Doesn't quite have the "Bond, James Bond" ring to it, does it? Oh well.

I got to be a farmer yesterday. Well, a cattle/horsewoman. Its only May and we’re already low on grass, no thanks to the drought last summer. Grass is short, but growing well over the septic tank, and hay is even shorter. So after we rode horses (Zip even came, YEY!), Dad and I fenced the thorn apples so the cows would have something to chew on. They love it back there. It’s like turning kids out onto a playground they’ve never been on before. “I wanna go down the slide! Wee! I wanna play in the mud puddle!” It’s craziness.

The glory of not having school this next week, or ever again, hasn’t faded yet. I’m still all relaxed and happy, letting my stories percolate in my head, fondling them the way one might examine precious gems, holding each idea up to the light, then letting it slip through my fingers like a minnow. Edits on Taylor are going so very slow. Its seems that I get a good start, 30 pages in say, then either hit a snag or get called away. I need to just buckle down and do it, but I need to do a lot of things. Like clear the rocks in the lane, take cans back, mow Gram’s lawn, do the spring cleaning, get up north before things get crazy doing hay, put in my garden… it never ends. But, hey, I got dishes and laundry done this weekend and got the cows fed for a day or two.

The guy who leases our property for corn and soy beans is farming today. The soil finisher is going over the field right now, moving on down the road, and they’ll be through to plant corn in the next few days. Guess summer really is here in full-force. Damn it all.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

I done gradgiated

Graduation ceremony last night. It lasted FOREVER! Oh well, it’s over now and I got to hang out with my second family, so that was awesome. And I made my grandma happy by going, so I did my good deed for the week. If I make one person happy a week, I’m doing good. Everyone else is so screwed until, like, Mother’s Day.

I should be walking around the house in a daze today, depressed and moaning that an era of my life has ended, I have nothing to live for, etc, etc. But I’m relieved more than anything. And, best yet, ideas are percolating again. Like ideas to write, not just stories I tell myself in my head. I’m relaxed and happy, for the first time in a long time, content just to do laundry and dishes, thinking about fixing dinner, making plans for the garden, and rubbing Zippy’s tummy (he’s laying under my desk again, helping me work).

The truth is, I hated college. I mean, I loved working with Dr. Blake on my senior project and I liked reading and learning new things, but the truth is, I can do that on my own. Always have. I can do it better now, but as far as all those friends and experiences that they talk about having in college, I could care fucking less. My best experiences were always at home or on the farm and my biggest learning experiences came from personal life, not institutions. That was why I wasn’t one of those kids up there getting service awards and all that bullshit—because I had, and always will have, a life outside of college. I think that’s what makes my writing so good; I’ve lived instead of just gone along with the rest of the class. What scares me after reading Jodi Picoult’s Nineteen Minutes is that if I had gone along with the class, or been forced to, I might have been the shooter instead of the student. Instead, I write. And I’m here, on a fine spring morning, with my feet on my puppy’s tummy.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Ax has graduated.