Checking In, Sort Of

IMG_20170426_182421

The pic will make sense, eventually.

So I was outside, picking up my recycling bin (which is a maneuver fraught with anxiety for me since it was whilst picking up the recycling bin that I took a tumble down the driveway and lay there for 20 MINUTES waiting for Mister Man to come and investigate and when he did not, I somehow stumbled into the house and took the next twelve months sorting out the various bumps, bruises, cuts, sprains and strains associated with said tumble, taking the opportunity to complain to Mister Man whenever possible) when I saw my neighbor.

We don’t see each other often, so we had a little chat. And then he asked a simple question. To wit, “Do you work?”

Now, let’s not forget that I was already anxious (due to the whole recycling bin thing) and so I paused. And I don’t mean just a blip of a pause. I mean one of those really long and uncomfortable pauses. He clearly thought he had somehow wandered into some incredibly inappropriate waters and he began to flail around, apologizing, but really, there’s nothing wrong with asking a person if she works.

Except for me, it opened up the door to Angst and Uncertainty. A year ago, I would’ve said, “Oh, yes, I work at home. I’m a writer.” And then I’d explain how I don’t make a ton of money but I enjoy my work, blah-blah-blah. I’d have meant it, too.

But as I stood there on the edge of my driveway (and honestly, I considered catapulting myself down the slope so I wouldn’t have to answer the question put to me because I’d rather take another tumble than explain exactly what it is I am doing these days), I did not know what to say.

Do I work? Well…that required me to consider whether or not I was still a writer. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I think a writer should actually…you know…write. And to work as a writer, I think it might be necessary to put writing out there in the wide world. To try at least to make some money from writing, even if the money’s not enough to pay your internet bill (which just went up again).

And here it just happened to be the end of the month, when I was thinking about checking in and realizing that April had been a not-so-very accomplished month. To tell the truth, April has been a very unaccomplished month (unless you count all the books I’ve read, which I don’t, because let’s be fair, reading is not writing).

So all of these thoughts were whirling about in my head as I stood there, not saying anything for the longest time. Until at last I said, “I work at home. I’m a writer.” And then we blah-blah-blahed about writing and I talked with one part of my brain while the other part of my brain was screaming like the old woman in Princess Bride, “LIAR!, LIAAAR! LIARRRRR!”

Who would’ve thought going to get the recycling bin could be such an emotional experience? (Well, besides the crazy emotions I always feel, getting the recycling bin.) But as I walked back into the house, I thought, Cathy, poop or get off the pot.

I’ll let you know how that comes out. (No pun intended.)

The Road to You-Know-Where

pexels-photo (2)I had all sorts of good intentions here, but first, I feel like a mini-rant is in order. And it goes sort of like this:

Why does technology have to constantly change? I mean, I no sooner figure out something with…well, off the top of my head, we’ll just say WordPress…when WordPress up and changes things and I have to figure it out all over again.

But I don’t have to pick only on WordPress. It could just as easily be Google Docs or Blogger or my email or my fancy-schmancy phone. I’m all for progress, but honestly, there are days when I feel that there’s a guy (or a girl, no need to be sexist in this rant) sitting at a computer somewhere saying, “Oh, look, there’s Cathy C. Hall thinking she has quite the handle on things. Let’s just tweak this here and see what she does!”

Ugh.

Anyway, here’s hoping all had a very happy Easter! I was chin deep in singing for a couple of days so I completely forgot to let y’all know about my recycling ideas over at The Muffin in my post, “Come on, Writers, R-E-C-Y-C-L-E, Recycle!” (And P.S. you do not want to miss that song from Rocko’s Modern Life!)

And I wanted to share about a funny book I’m reading but that would require extra skills that I haven’t quite figured out yet, and so to that guy (or girl) sitting at her computer, tweaking random bits of technology to annoy Cathy C. Hall, I’m ready to let you know what I’ll do.

I’m taking a nap.

I Have Another Book!

Um…I just realized that saying I have another book is like saying that I have another hat. You’d think a writer could say what she means…

Which is I have another published book. And it’s from Darakwon. And the cover looks like this:

W&W 3-9

 

And it’s all about a third grader who’s a bit shy, but he decides to run against the most popular girl in his class in the school elections. So I learned a lot about the election process (and yes, I know about elections, of course I do because I always vote, but when you have to write about a subject you might be surprised to learn what you didn’t learn way back when you were supposed to learn it). And I researched campaign slogans (Bet the first one that came into your head was “Tippecanoe and Tyler, too.” But did you know that Lincoln’s slogan was “Vote yourself a farm”? It’s a wonder the man won…).

I probably shouldn’t have favorites but I really love this story; I hope the kids in Korea like it, too. And one day, I might find a publisher here in the US who might like this election story. I mean, it’s not just another book, y’all. I came up with a campaign slogan that’s a sure winner! (So if you’re ever running for president, let me know and I’ll pass it along!)

I Have a Really Good Excuse

2011-03-30 12.54.32

It started when the county chopped down my favorite half pink, half white dogwood.

It’s the end of March and I know that means it’s time to report on my month’s doings (or not doings, as the case may be). But really, I have a good excuse for this month’s slacking off. Come to think of it, I have several good excuses.

As I mentioned above, there was the whole tree cutting debacle. The county is widening a main road up the street from me and it was bad enough when they took out enough pines to build a small village of log houses. But The Special Dogwood that makes me smile every time I pass its blooming March splendor (and I pass it a lot)? How could I be expected to write through such a blatant disregard for my tree?

Then I had that SCBWI conference, and there’s a ton of stuff to get done before a conference, right? Totally legit excuse for not getting the writing going.

And then I also had a reception in Athens at the Georgia Children’s Book Awards and Conference. Not for my books; SCBWI was there to promote our regional authors, the ones who like to network and get those school visits. Also a totally legit excuse because there was also a lot of stuff to get done before the reception.

I did manage to get several books read even though I had that very bad, horrible, no good cold (also a legit excuse for lollygagging, by the way). Let’s see, I think the total read was five, so I’m still a couple of books ahead on my Goodreads goal. I had to wait two months to get Hillbilly Elegy, a memoir by J. D. Vance, but it was well worth the wait and my good read pick of the month.

I got fired up about a picture book idea after the conference and I’ve written a rough first draft so there’s that. And I managed a couple of blog posts, too. Which brings me to today’s post over at The Muffin where I talk about “When You Don’t Want To Write.”

March was…challenging, remembering how the Beneficent Mr. Hall was so great about shoring me up during the March conference craziness. But sometimes, just when you think you want to throw in the towel, someone comes along.

So a big thank you to Lovely Lisa for a long lunch. And for being there, just when I needed shoring up. I can highly recommend long, long lunches with a writer friend for those times when you need a good excuse for whatever ails you.

And here’s hoping your March was delightfully full of words and writer wisdom; I’d love to hear all about it. It also shores me up when I hear about my writer friends’ successes (and yeah, I could use some fall back good excuses, too, just in case April slaps me upside the head. The county is not nearly done).

A (Very) Few Juicy Conference Tidbits!

17239771_238234963314008_2215424444750180242_o

With pal and agent, Sally Apokedak at SM’17

Remember when I said I’d tell you all about Springmingle’17? And then really, I just told you about Patricia MacLachlan and Jacquelyn Mitchard and Cathy-on-a-Stick?

Well, today I’m going to deliver on that promise and tell you about the doings at the conference. Except I’m afraid I’m still going to direct you to another spot to get all–well, some; okay, just a few–of the details.

See, writer friend Sherri Rivers who’s over at GROG, a group blog made up of a lot of kidlit writers, asked if I’d share about the conference and of course I said sure. And then she asked a lot of questions about the conference and at that point, I ran into a bit of a sticky wicket. Because a. I am the worst at taking notes at conferences; I always assume I’ll remember stuff–and lots of times I do. But b. this was not one of those times.

This was the time I attended a conference with a very bad, no good, horrible cold. And so I was there, but perhaps I was not all there, if you know  what I mean. Even so, I remembered the keynotes and honestly, despite my very bad, no good, horrible cold, this was one of my most favorite Springmingles! Because even with a very bad, no good, horrible cold, I came away buzzing with eagerness to write, and maybe even a little joy blossoming in my soul again.

So I hope you’ll zip over to GROG–it’s an excellent blog with tons of great writing information so join in that fun!–and read “Flying High with SCBWI Southern Breeze.”

And now that the very bad, no good, horrible cold is gone, I have some writing to do. Hope this spring is busting out with all kinds of words for you, too!