If It’s April,Then It Must Be the Black Snake

Here it is April already. And the snake is back.

So basically, we’re going to be talking about snakes today. And I wanted to put it right out there for you so you’d know what was coming. Furthermore, if you do not want to see a snake, you should probably click out of this post right now. Although…

The snake tied in remarkably well with my topic over at The Muffin today and I’d hate for you to miss out on some terrific writing tips just because of a snake. But yes, there’s a snake there, too. The post is called “First, You Need a BIG Black Snake (Or How to Grab the Attention of Agents, Editors, and Readers)” so you gotta have a snake. But at least you know the snake’s there. Sometimes you have to take the bad with the good, y’all. Although…

BIG black snakes are good to have around. I’m just sayin’.

Anyway, back to my original point. Which is BIG black snakes and April. This is the snake that Libs alerted me to the other day:

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You’ll note that this snake is on a walkway of my deck. And though it doesn’t look like much at first, you’ll see that in point of fact, it is a BIG black snake, even if it’s all twisted up.

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(It was stretched out next to the house and I had to disengage it and so it responded by coiling into itself.) But the minute I saw this snake–I was walking on the deck/walkway and talking to Youngest Junior Hall who was telling me about the bear (Yeah, I said bear. What is the world coming to?) that had broken into the golf cart barn where’s he working now–I recognized the snake.

Oh, yes, friends. I knew this snake. In fact, I’d documented this snake right here on the blog. So I went back to find the post where I’d discussed this very same BIG black snake and there it was: “If It’s Wednesday, It Must Be Time to Post.

The snake had nothing to do with that post, except–and this is really what the post, “First You Need a Big Black Snake...”  is all about: every single comment on that year-ago post was about the BIG black snake.

Anyway, as I was proving, you’ll note the date of the first appearance of the snake was April 18, 2018. So clearly, this snake has a nice, comfy home somewhere under and/or around my deck and walkway. And I’ll bet you five bucks right now that in that home, possibly next to the front door, you’ll find a calendar with April circled.

Checking In, Sort Of

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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.)

April is the Poemiest Month

031Yes, I know “poemiest” is technically not a word. But I was making a high-falutin’ reference here, y’all, so even though poemiest is not a word, we’re all smarter now.

And when I received Irene Latham’s newsletter this month with all her poetry doings for April, I was beside myself (and smarter, too!). But then I thought what if y’all don’t get Irene’s newsletter?  Well, that wouldn’t do. So I’m sharing here with you! (I know. It’s a little poem. Sometimes I just can’t help myself.)

First of all, you have to zip over to Irene’s website and read all about Artspeak! Here’s the deal on that:

“This year I am continuing my National Poetry Month poem-a-day project called ARTSPEAK! Each day I respond to a piece of art from the National Gallery of Art’s digital collection — this year’s theme is Plant. Grow. Eat. You can find last year’s offering as well as this year’s (growing!) collection at my blog Live Your Poem.”

Very cool. And she’s also participating in the 2016 Kidlit Progressive Poem. Irene has a running list of everyone who’s participating (look for the list in her sidebar) so you can keep up with all the wonderful poetry each day.

And I don’t want to forget to give a shout out to her latest book, FRESH DELICIOUS, POEMS FROM THE FARMER’S MARKET. I’ll be looking for it the next time I visit my local library and I hope you’ll look for it, too! I’ve loved all of Irene’s poetry books–and reading wonderful poetry will be a huge help to you if you’re participating in RhyPiBoMo!

Finally, if you sign up for her newsletter, you might get an April surprise. And not like the April surprises I give to my kids–oh, April Fool’s was epic this year! I’ll share that story next time–but something really nice and poemy.

Which also may not be a word, but it’s April, y’all, and anything goes, right?