Off the Grid and Off on a Tangent

2011-08-02 03.05.19Y’all already know about the epiphany I had when I returned from the beach, but I fine-tuned it a bit and shared over at the Muffin today in The Off the Grid Pay-off.

If I’m being perfectly honest, I’m finding it downright difficult to make the lifestyle changes that I know I should.

I’m still reading my paper every morning, even though I’ve watched Lester Holt on the news the night before and know most of the important stuff. But if I skip the paper, then I’d miss finding out about some pretty interesting things in the world. Like the 86-year-old jewel thief who’s been arrested yet again. At Wal-Mart.

And though I am dashing through my emails these days, I just can’t help reading/watching one or two of those emails about the wacky, weird, and wonderful world out there. Which would be fine, except that then I Google more about the wacky, weird, or wonderful subject of the email because dang, y’all. It’s just so interesting!

The Internet–and all of our electronics–have sucked us in and I don’t think there’s any going back. I mean, we have kids who’ve never used a card catalog, who’ve never experienced the hours of  joy/tedium of the Periodical Index, who probably don’t even know the word “microfiche.” But they sure know their way around the Internet.

I don’t know whether to be alarmed…or jealous.

Or maybe, just maybe, this is the way our parents felt when we disdained typewriters for word processors, network TV for Netflix, driving our own cars for car-driving services.

*Sigh*

So where was I? Oh, yeah. The Internet and how there’s a payoff when you go off the grid. Stay strong, friends, and may you find plenty of writing time this summer!

SUCH a Good Book!

I’ve been…oh dear,what’s the word?

Oh, yeah, now I remember. Lazy.

Judy Fogarty bookSo today, I made a Very Serious To Do List because I did not want another 24 hours to go by without sharing a great summer read with you. The title is Breaking and Holding which, once you read the book, you’ll see is a very clever title. But for now, I’ll add that tennis plays a big part in the story and isn’t it serendipitous that Wimbledon’s going on?

Judy Fogarty is the lovely author and I met her when I was down at the beach. She came out for an afternoon chat and I learned all about her publisher (Lake Union Publishing, in the Amazon family), her writing group (a hard-working and well-published bunch!) and all about her journey to publication (a long road with a nicely successful ending).

I hadn’t quite finished the book when we met, but I’d read enough to know how much I liked it. Judy calls it a romance at heart–and it is–but it’s so much more.

Breaking and Holding is a beautifully written novel, a compelling literary debut. Whether on the South Carolina resort beaches or the high-rise advertising boardrooms of New York, you’ll be lost in this story of love and passion, deceptions and truths, of control and breaking free.

It’s a delightful bonus that the story takes place in the 1970s, a golden age of tennis, and a time when Mister Man and I played–and watched–a ton of tennis. I felt 20-something again, and I’m not going to lie: that’s quite a feat!

And it’s quite a feat to keep a reader like me, who’s not exactly a fan of romance, turning the pages. I think the book is classified as women’s fiction, but I hope you don’t let a label keep you from grabbing up this book. Because whatever it’s called–romance, women’s fiction, contemporary adult–it’s a thrilling ride with an authentic cast of well-developed characters. And a perfectly wonderful novel, guaranteed to jumpstart your summer reading.

Especially if you’ve been…oh, what’s that word again?

Yeah. You know what I’m talking about.

What Happened to June?

2009-06-16 10.50.44So I took off for the month of June and headed to the beach.

I know.

And I get that you kinda hate me right now, but you’ll feel better when you find out that I spent most of my time cleaning up the house. Not a little dusting here, a little mopping there clean-up. This was heavy-duty, sweaty clean-up work, and I suspect that some of these bruises are so deep, they’re permanent. Not to mention being ate up by mosquitoes.

And now you feel better, right?

So anyway, I’m back now, and I learned a little something something, being away for so long. Like…

Because I didn’t have wi-fi at the house, and I pay as I play for data, I skipped checking on Facebook and such. I don’t get a paper delivered to that house and so instead of starting the day with the news, I started the day with random reading…a novel, a book of verse, ghost stories. Sometimes, I’d watch the world news or local news, and oddly enough, I was attempting to fix a couple of channels on the cable on the same day as the gunman opening fire at the baseball practice, so I followed that news. But mostly, I just checked my email once a day, to keep up with any necessary business.

So I learned I have very little necessary business. What in the world have I been piddling around with every morning?

I learned that starting the day reading a novel or a book of verse put me in a better state of mind. Yes, I missed my AJC the first week. But by the next week, not so much. And now that I’m home, I’m beginning to wonder if I really need to read the paper every morning. I mean, after the headlines, it’s Dear Abby, the comics, and my horoscope. And if I’m being completely honest, Dear Abby ain’t what she used to be.

And I learned that life without social media is not only doable but relaxing. I love my friends, and I love knowing what’s going on in their lives, but I’m apparently incapable of balancing what I need to know versus scrolling through miscellaneous stuff. Once I checked into Facebook, I spent way too much time reading…what? I couldn’t tell you. But I can tell you that suddenly, I lost all that time I found at the beach. Time I spent working on a new manuscript. (Okay, calm down. I didn’t lie. I sweated ALL morning through the grunt work and then spent afternoons writing.)

So maybe I’ll give myself just one day a week to check social media. Maybe I’ll consider cancelling my newspaper subscription. And I’ve already stopped piddling around in my morning email routine.

Frankly, y’all, I need all the time I can wrangle. On top of the new manuscript, Precious the Laptop is gasping out her last breaths, and if you read my Muffin post, Get Smart, you’ll know how I feel about learning new technology.

I’m gonna need another vacation real soon.

 

Yes, It’s About Grammar (And, Yes, You Need This Little Lesson)

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Libby does NOT care even a little bit, but as she is a dog, I’m gonna give her a pass on the grammar lesson.

Every once in a while, I just can’t take it anymore. And by “it”, I mean all those words used incorrectly that pop up in the newspaper or across social media or even out of the mouths of candidates in their TV commercials.

Oy.

Thank goodness, I have the means in which to right the writing world. And so when I have one of those moments when I just want to scream like a crazy woman, “NO! It’s not effect, it’s affect! Affect! Affect!“, I can sit myself down and mostly rationally expound on “Two Little Words Used Incorrectly.”

If you know the difference between the use of “affect” and “effect”, then you can save yourself a few minutes and go on your merry way, patting yourself on the back. But if you are scratching your head and wondering, “Hmmm. Do I know the difference between those two words?”, then please do yourself (and me) a favor and give it a read. Because honestly, y’all, I really can’t take it anymore.

 

 

A Tiny Library! (And Mom)

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Note Mom’s expression. I was doing something with Cathy-on-a-Stick.

Before I manage to get myself out of bed every morning, I’ll stall a bit. And this morning, I realized it was Mom’s birthday so I wished her a heavenly happy birthday. And then I laughed out loud because I could just hear my Mom saying, “Pfffft.” (Not that she was anti-birthday, but she didn’t have time for any wishing of “heavenly” birthday foolishness.)

I sure miss my mom, but I often hear her. Not out loud, y’all, just in my head. If I start writing about literally hearing my mom (or Dad or Mister Man or really, any dead person), then I hope someone will contact one of the Hall kidders and send them over to check on me.

Anyway, my mom had an opinion on just about everything and I’ll often hear one of those opinions at the strangest times. Like this morning, when I was reading about the latest Tiny Door news.

Y’all remember that I’m completely smitten with the Tiny Doors around the ATL. So now, the folks who do Tiny Doors are opening a Tiny Library.

What-can-go-on-a-bookWHAT??? I am beside myself! It’s a fundraiser where you can get your own teeny tiny book on a shelf in the teeny tiny library. So you can become an art patron for this fantabulous project as well as get a little promotion. Or maybe get a little creative. Or maybe just put your name on the spine of the teeny tiny book for the fun of it.

The point is, it’s a tiny book! In a tiny library! You can find out more about the library project at C4’s website. (And you might enjoy taking a look around C4, too. Lots of creative stuff!) And you don’t have to be from the ATL area to participate, either. So when I go to the Tiny Library to take a pic of my book, I’ll take a pic of yours.

Now, back to Mom and her opinion of this Tiny Library. Can you guess what I heard her say (still just in my head, y’all)?

a. What in the Sam Hill is this tiny library?

b. Well, isn’t that just darlin’.

c.  If I were you, I’d spend my hard-earned money on that.

d. For heaven’s sake, Cathy, that’s as silly as a heavenly birthday. Pfffffffft.

(Note that I often hear her voice. I don’t always listen.)