Nanowrimo – A Final Assessment


​Nanowrimo is in the wind until next year. I do not have any solid plans for what i’ll do next year, but this year was, by my estimation a success. No, I did not meet the 50,000 word goal, but I did have more words written at the end of November than at the beginning, and for me, that is a worthy accomplishment.

I have been talking about writing a book about my journeys through Wales since I graduated from college, lo many years ago, and I’ve never been able to get it off the ground. Part of that is the vastness of this project. Another are that the questions of where do I begin and where do I focus have been nagging at me since, well, since the beginning.

As I have studied the English and literature fields, both as a teacher and a writer, there have been many evolutions since I first set foot in Wales and found a calling that has stuck with me, and affected much of my spiritual life. And whether religious or not, it is truly spiritual. Literature has gone from one genre per publication to multi-genres and mult-focuses. interconnectedness. Connecting the dots of the many facets of our lives.

Is it possible that I was waiting for something rather than procrastinating? Perhaps that is what I was waiting for whether I knew that’s what I was waiting for or not. For years, decades, it felt like self-loathing and procrastination, laziness and the feelings of not being good enough to complete a compelling book and story or perhaps to even begin one, and so I never have.

I’ve continued to take notes, to write blurbs, to write dozens of outlines that then became outdated, and I’ve been relatively okay with just keeping it in my head with a question mark.

Now, I have several blurbs and beyond, ranging from as little as 75 words to as many as 3,465 in a single piece.

I’ve accepted that this is more than a memoir, which I had only accepted it being a few short years ago thanks to my library writing group.

I’ve accepted that it is a memoir, tha people may actually want to hear my stories, but it’s also more than that. It’s a travel guide – where to go, what to see, what and how to pack. It is also a spiritual guide, more of a spiritual journey that is personal to me, but also an offering of advice to begin your own journey of the spirit; a walk of faith, whatever that path may lead you to as it led me to many different and unexpected places.

I had originally intended to do some outlining and editing in December, but keeping up on this site and getting ready for the December holidays, which include innumerable church and retreat times plus sharing a car with my husband who has to actually go into work a few times each week has made this month a little more stressful than it would have usually been. I’ve decided therefore to put off the focus on the editing process and plans for what I didn’t write in November for January, specifically beginning on the 4th.

My final Nano assessment is a rousing success as far as I’m concerned. My official total for the month of November is 35, 308 words. That is just the word count for the book of Wales. I also had twenty separate posts, some writing, some photography, some art. It made me happy to work on my book and not leave this page by the wayside. Sometimes multi-tasking can be a blessing.

In the early part of next week, I will have an Advent reflection, a book review, and a reflection on Mary, only a few days past her Feast Day of the immaculate Conception.

As this month and this year comes to a close, I hope to have some surprises in store and some positive changes here, but also at home and with my spirit.

Have a blessed Advent and Holiday Season.

From Autograph to Selfie Seekers


​When I was younger, throughout high school and college I collected autographs. I couldn’t say who was my first. I’d write letters and receive replies. The objects of my fannish obsession ranged between television and movie actors to sports figures, both professional and Olympic when they were amateurs. I received a Christmas card and a post card from Bart Conner (Olympic gymnast) and a thank you card from Randy Gardner (Olympic ice skater). I have postcards from Jon-Erik Hexum, Robert Blake, Pierce Brosnan, and Linda Kelsey, one of my fictional journalist heroes. I met Telly Savalas in a Long Island diner once and waited outside the Nassau Coliseum to meet Don Maloney, Ron Duguay, and Mike Allison of the New York Rangers. I finally met Bart Conner in a shopping mall autograph event with his wife, Nadya Comeneci. My and and I both received separate lovely letters from Mr. Rogers, each one in tune for our individuality, his at five, mine as a bit older mom of a five year old.

I don’t know when I stopped.

Somewhere along the way, autograph collecting made space for selfies and social media likes. I was thinking about this earlier in the week. Ed Asner liked my tweet about his new book. It made my day. Sam Smith of Supernatural liked my post about  my Halloween cosplay as her character Mary Winchester. John Barrowman liked when I welcomed him to the 50 Club. Yvette Nicole Brown has actually comforted me when I was feeling lost.

These are all the ways we connect with the public people who help us through the day. They inspire us, they advise us, and they help us feel less invisible.

Our heroes have always been the ones who we can be, inspire us to do better, fill us with ideas of the things we could do with just a little positivity, a little encouragement, a little push in the right direction. I told Ed Asner that his Lou Grant was one of the reasons I began writing. Linda Kelsey was a female journalist on television at a time when there weren’t that many in real life. That show, and those actors were some of the reasons I took a journalism class in high school.

Yvette Nicole Brown, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Misha Collins, President Jimmy Carter.

And I will always get excited when  celebrity likes my tweet or instagram photo. It is ther same thrill as receiving the California postmarked envelope with who knows what inside. The biggest difference is the immediacy; the instant gratification of a response, although I suppose the anticipation of the autograph had equal value as the ping on the smartphone.

Our heroes are in the palm of our hands – their photos, their quotes, their memes, their ways of communication. We are much more in tune with each other, and much more available for one another.

49/52 – December


​December used to be cold and miserable. Snow and wind, sleet and hail. And as the climate changed so did December. I never worked on my birthday. From college on, no classes, no work. One birthday I went on a job interview and for a drug test. I almost got into a head on collision. That should have been a sign.

I usually take the day to myself, have a Starbucks breakfast, go shopping, stop by into Target and get one or two Christmas ornaments, a Moose, a Mary, something for someone, maybe even write.

This year, it’s Sunday, so I’ll stay home with the family, quietly, although…


Mercury in retrograde? Is that good or bad?

Chanukah, Christmas, and New Year’s approaching quickly; too quickly.

But it’s still early in December, still time to enjoy the quiet before the last minute rush, before school recesses, holiday parties, last minute wrapping.

The quiet of the house is a reminder that quiet can be found throughout December. Light a candle, read a book, say a prayer. Have a cup of tea. Every day is an opportunity to slow down and look past the noise and see what’s really important.

Day two of Advent calls. Editing Nano calls. The kids call.

But I think I’ll light a candle and drink this tea.