What’s Making Me Happy: November 2017

Does anyone else feel like November zoomed by? Again? It feels that way every year, first with Thanksgiving and now Christmas approaching fast. And while November was relatively stress-free, I’ve been struggling to keep up with blogging because of changes in my work circumstances. I’m not sure how this impact the blog in the long term. But since I’m planning to take an annual holiday hiatus from blogging soon, the time-off might be a good chance to think about what changes, if any, might be needed for 2018.

But I shouldn’t get too ahead of myself, shouldn’t I? 🙂 So let’s turn our attention away from what may be ahead to what we can already be thankful for. As always, feel free to share your joys of the past month in your comments. But for now, I’ll share with you the things that made me happy this November!

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What’s Making Me Happy: October 2017

Wait! It’s November now! Isn’t this post late? 

Well, sort of. (Better late than never, right?) But with my new DIY MFA article posting earlier this week and S.J. Higbee’s blog tour stopping here last week, today is the most convenient day to look back on the joys of October.

And, boy, do I need this post right now. October was very stressful, between sudden changes at my day job and unexpected (and expensive) car repairs. And when I’m already stressed / anxious about one thing, it’s so easy for me to get stressed / anxious about other things. If you’ve felt the same way lately, let’s take a moment to inhale deeply, exhale slowly, and give thanks for our accomplishments and joys over the past month. And as always, feel free to share what’s made you happy lately in your comments.

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Finding Gifts and Inspiration: The Blessings of a Writer’s Relationship with Nature

During a recent lunch-break walk at my day job, I almost stepped on a bird feather. It might not sound so extraordinary. After all, birds are part of the everyday outdoors. But unlike fallen leaves, clods of dirt, or patches of grass, it’s not every day that your foot comes in contact with a stray feather. So I stopped and picked it up.

Two thoughts crossed my mind then. First, the feather itself. Gosh, was it gorgeous. It was slender, slightly curved, and mostly brown with white horizontal bars that became indistinct closer to the tip. And at over 1 foot long from shaft to tip, it was also HUGE. I still haven’t identified what species it belongs to. (Someone suggested the wild turkey, and it seems to be the closest match.) But as I twirled the feather between my fingers, what bird once wore it didn’t matter. What did matter was how I felt at that moment: as if I’d found a piece of treasure.

Second, as I returned the feather to the ground, I thought about writing. For me, nature and writing have been deeply connected for a long time. In fact, they might be more so now than ever before. Continue reading

What’s Making Me Happy: September 2017

I love September. Firstly, it’s my birthday month. 🙂 But secondly, September is a gorgeous time of year in Massachusetts. Maybe that explains why this month was a balance of indoor activities (the new WIP, reorganization / decluttering projects) and outdoor fun. There were a couple lows (ongoing anxiety, plus a dishwasher leak), but in short September was joyful and productive, with much to be thankful for.

In fact, it was such a good month, I had such a hard time narrowing down my list of joys for this Happy post. But that’s not such a bad thing, right? In the end, I settled on five that best represent the sights, sounds, tastes, and experiences that made my heart sing. And as always, feel free to share your joys of the past month in your comments!

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Poetry & Song: “Eve of Spring” and Anathema’s “Lightning Song”

Do you listen to music while you write? Has a specific song or music artist ever influenced one of your stories, poems, etc.? This has happened with a number of my published poems. Thus, Poetry & Song is a limited-run series where I share one of my published poems and the song that “helped me write” it. I also offer insights into why I chose that particular piece of music, as well as any other inspirations for the poem.

After the amazing response to the first Poetry & Song post back in May, I knew I’d have to write another one down the road. Today happens to be a good day for that, because… um, well, September 5th is my birthday. (*blushes*) But that’s all the attention it’s getting. Instead, the joy and gratitude I always feel on this day gives me reason for blogging about “Eve of Spring.”

What? You say spring was five months ago? Who’s counting, though? 😉

Today I’m sharing “Eve of Spring” and the life-changing song I listened to as I wrote it. And together, both pieces were among the saving graces that helped me through one of the most challenging periods in my life.

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What’s Making Me Happy: August 2017

As I write this, I’m battling a cold (which should be gone by the time this goes live), so I can barely grope for words to summarize my August. Except for “awesome.” Yes. I still dealt with lingering anxiety in my offline life, but as the month comes to a close, I’m utterly delighted with what happened and what I accomplished during that time.

So, yes, it was an awesome August. Say that alliteration ten times fast. 😉

Since today is the last day of August, it’s also time to share some of the joys of the past month. I’m taking a slightly different approach this time, too. Instead of mostly material items, I included two accomplishments (or, rather, “to-do list” items that I completed) and one experience. And feel free to share your August joys in your comments. I always love hearing what’s made you happy, too!

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What’s Making Me Happy: July 2017

Summer has been playing ping-pong with our weather here in Massachusetts. Some days it’s sunny, 90+ degrees Fahrenheit, and disgustingly very humid. Other days it’s rainy and hovering around 70. (Though there have been glorious days in between, often with good timing for my Cape Cod trips. *smiles*) And personally, my month of July mirrored that fluctuation. Without going into detail, it went back and forth between contentedly quiet and productive, to stressful and tiring. 😐

So I’m partly glad that July is almost over, especially since it means the NYC trip is getting closer. (Yay!) It also means that today marks the next installment of What’s Making Me Happy. (Double yay!) So I’m linking up once again with fellow DIY MFA columnist Leanne Sowul and sharing five things that made me smile when I needed it most this past month.

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What’s Making Me Happy: June 2017

June was a weird month. It was busy for the usual reasons (work, writing, two weekend trips to Cape Cod), but nothing out of the ordinary happened, either. Which is fine, actually. It’s nice to have extended downtime between busy spells, and since I’m heading back to NYC in August, I’m taking advantage of it as much as I can. Oh, and I finally finished my GoFundMe photo album of my Iceland trip!

The only downside to June? The increasing heat and humidity. Ugh. I like summer, but not when it’s 90+ and muggy. Makes me ever more grateful that my condo has air conditioning… and now I feel like I’m rambling. (*blushes*)

So, yes, it’s happiness-celebrating time again. I’m linking up once again with blogger / writer friend Leanne Sowul to share my joys during the month of June. (Her post is scheduled for Friday, but you can still check out her blog here.) As always, feel free to share the things that brought a smile to your face in your comments on this post!

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Weekly Writer Wisdom: Neil Gaiman’s “Make Good Art” (June 13, 2017)

It’s the time of year for college / university and high school graduations in the US. So I thought I’d put a “commencement” spin on this week’s Weekly Writer Wisdom, with one of the most inspiring, entertaining, and craft-pertinent speeches I’ve ever heard from an author – and it’s by the one and only Neil Gaiman. 🙂

(Look for this week’s #WeeklyWriterWisdom questions after the jump. If you’d like, click here to read a transcript of Gaiman’s “Make Good Art” speech.)

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What’s Making Me Happy: May 2017

Is anyone else having a hard time believing that May is almost over? Gosh, was it busy. Not in a bad way, either. But in between writing, work, trips to Cape Cod, and life in general, I also worked on the online photo album of my Iceland trip that was one of the promised GoFundMe perks. (FYI: If you’re one of those donors, I hope to have the link ready within the next week or so. Sorry for the delay!) As a result, I’m on a social media hiatus (except for Goodreads) until the photo album is done, and then things should return to some sense of normalcy.

So what kinds of things made me happy in between all of May’s busyness? Would it surprise you if some of those joys are lingering reminders of Iceland? 😉 And as always, feel free to share the things that made you happy this past month in your comments on this post.

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