Piddling and Pondering

So I’ve absolutely, positively finished the last of the edits on my YA manuscript. I’ve even started a new Middle Grade idea, and fleshed out where I want the story to go. I really, really need to get cracking on that agent query and put words on paper for the MG manuscript. And yet…I seem to be stuck in piddling mode.

You know what I mean by piddling? It’s that frittering away of time on little tasks that kinda, sorta should be done but honestly, you could let go. That chair you painted five years ago that could use a second coat? You’ve let it go all this time, but suddenly, you piddle around, looking for that can of paint…and do you have a brush? Maybe you could just dash to the store and pick up another one. And before you know it, you’ve piddled around the entire day and all you have to show for it (maybe) is a freshly painted chair.

Pondering on my piddling has led me to the inevitable conclusion: Piddling is keeping me from facing that agent-querying task. It’s ever so hard to put one’s heart and soul out there, even if you’ve had years of practice. But now I’m declaring this a No Piddle Zone. It’s GO time on that query!

Um, but before I go, I have to share what Juniorette Hall brought to my attention yesterday on a shoe-shopping expedition. “Look at this,” she said, pointing to the little silica gel packet. “Do not eat” was printed on it. The quotation marks are theirs, not mine.

Which of course, made me think of the “blog” of “unnecessary” quotation marks. I mean, why would you put Do Not Eat in quotation marks on this packet? Maybe, really, it’s okay to eat silica gel. Or maybe…oh, shoot. See?

There I go, piddling again.

The Things We Do For Love

I’ll bet you’re thinking of love love. That’s a strange expression, isn’t it? But words (and connecting them to each other) lead to the love I’m thinking about–the love of writing.

You see, last month, after I sent my column to Modern Senior Living, my editor friend emailed and asked if I had a picture of myself in a hat. That’s because a hat comes up in the column.

Now, I write a humor column, folks. And with humor, writers play fast and loose with the truth. At least, this writer does. I’m not saying I make everything up. I mean, the part about the coyotes is one hundred per cent true. But the part about the hat may have been a slight exaggeration.

Still, I did have a hat that would go along quite nicely with the column. So, after 42 minutes of throwing things around the basement (and a couple closets), I found the hat. Then, after 13 minutes of badgering the Beneficent Mr. Hall to take a picture, combined with the 17 minutes he spent taking 8 different pictures trying to get the perfect one of Cathy C. Hall in a hat, I had a photo of me in a hat. (Whew.)

You can see the photo on page 8 of this month’s issue of Modern Senior Living Magazine. Not only did I send the photo to my editor, but here I am, promoting the look.

Oh, the things we do for love.

On Winning Contests, Crazy Aunt Cloe, and Bubble Gum

Dear Donna (of Donna’s Book Pub),

You cannot imagine how thrilled I was to receive my contest-winning package today! Why, the very first thing I did was open that bubble gum and start chewing! I wanted to blow a BIG bubble for you, to show you just how much I appreciated my prizes!

So I chewed my Citrus Bubblegum a bit because you can’t blow a bubble just like that. And while I chewed, I read a delightful story, written by your granddaughter, Cari. The story was from the very first Cuivre River Anthology (of the Saturday Writers) and it was all about Crazy Aunt Cloe. I thought it was sorta funny that me and crazy Aunt Cloe’s names both begin with C. In fact, there are many folks who have called me crazy. But I figure that was all just a BIG coincidence.

Then I thought maybe the gum was ready, so I tried to blow my bubble. And then I said to myself, “Self, wouldn’t it be a fine thing if I could show off my bubble-blowing?” You see, Donna, when I was a wee, little girl, I won a bubble-blowing contest. You don’t forget skills like that. Off I went to find the camera. But when I took the picture, it came out like this:

It was a lousy bubble, anyway. So I chewed some more and read (though there were moments when I forgot to chew, so riveting were the words that crossed the pages) your story from A Cup of Comfort for Military Families. Then I collected myself and blew again.

Do you know how hard it is to blow a bubble and take a picture of it at the same time? But I persevered, because you’re a special person, and dadgum it, you went to a lot of trouble for me. And you shared your wonderful stories with me. So, Donna, this bubble’s for you!