And So It Begins

There’s something compelling about a door.

Anything can be behind a door. Open the door and a story begins. Or maybe it ends. But for sure, the doorway stands between what was and what will be. Which explains why Janus, the Roman god for whence the month January comes, is perfectly suited for this first month of the year. Janus represents the transition, the both-sides-of-the-story; he’s depicted with two faces, and often found adorning doors, or gates, or archways. That’s Janus–and January–for you. You never know what you’re going to get until you open the door.

I was sorely tempted to just stand on the other side of the door for this January and wait until I felt a little stronger, a bit more hopeful. But eventually, I stepped through.

Do you remember that game, “Mother May I?” I played it when I was just a wee girl and I taught my kids how to play it. One of my favorite ploys in the game was to allow a child to get almost to the finish line and then on the next turn, when the smug kiddo had just inches to go, I’d say, “Joey (because he was the oldest and best able to handle the vagaries of life), you may take THREE GIANT STEPS! (Pause for a beat or two) BACKWARDS!” (Oh, don’t get worked up, Joey would almost always win. And he learned important lessons about the Game of Life along the way. But now that I think about it, he will not so much as play a game of cards with his dear, sainted mother today. I believe I’ve suddenly had an insight as to why.)

Anyway, I really, truly wanted to take three giant steps backwards this January. Or maybe just call out, “Do Over!” the way my kids would when they didn’t like the way things were going. But those aren’t exactly very effective strategies in the grown-up world. So I just pulled myself up by my faith and carried on.

And then I remembered that Thomas A Kempis, who was a veritable font of quotes that one could copy on notecards and keep handy for inspiration, had one particular quote that should perhaps be above January’s door:

THEY TRAVEL LIGHTLY WHOM GOD’S GRACE CARRIES.

(And for those of you who’d like a little writing inspiration, The Muffin is also a veritable font this month, with my two posts, The Secret to Success, and Just for Today, For Writers (Part Deux) in the offerings. I wish for you a year full of writing happiness, and I hope you’ll let me know all about your beginnings or endings in 2021!)

Still Miffed But Whatever

As you may recall well over a month ago, I was thoroughly put out with technology. Specifically, the changes made at this here WordPress blog that once allowed me to write at ease but now requires the use of brain cells heretofore relegated to dealing with the once-every-five-years computer glitch.

Pfffft.

To be honest, I thought if I waited a bit, all would be well when I returned. That the mechanics of blogging here would all be miraculously back to just the way I like it, what’s normal for me. But alas, despite my denial strategy, nothing changed and I’m still grappling with my new blogging-at-Wordpress reality.

Come to think of it, the denial strategy is not a very effective tool in the whole Life Toolbox thingie, is it?

Nope, what’s called for is pulling up one’s bootstraps, facing situations head on, chin up, and no crying in baseball (if you’re a Braves fan).

Look! I added a picture where I wanted it!

So let’s just carry on and take a look at what I had to say about feeling lucky, in life and in publishing, over at The Muffin. At the time, I didn’t have any wedding photos from the Big Event, but if I’m lucky, I’ll find a way to add my favorite pic of Oldest Junior Hall and his Princess Bride. I’d also like to add that, fortunately, it’s been nearly a month now, and all the wedding guests have been quite well, thank you. So happily, we dodged making the 11 o’clock Atlanta Covid News.

While I was waiting and quarantining myself, I turned to some creepy mystery reading because it is my favorite spooky month, after all. I read a Victorian period mystery that was in first person present tense (*shivers*) and I had plenty to say about that, too, over at the Muffin.

I did not say the name of the novel, however, and I’m sure you’re thinking what’s so creepy about a Victorian period mystery (unless you’re thinking of Jack the Ripper and the White Chapel murders and then you’d be a clever one, wouldn’t you)? AND though the Ripper came up, sprinkled here and there, that was not the main creep factor in this novel. It was all about hanging, which was a pretty ghastly and common means of dealing with the criminal element in the 1800s. And there is a LOT more to hanging than just throwing a noose around a neck. So if you’re up for a bit of grisly, and you think you’d like to give first person present reading a whack, take a look at The Hangman’s Secret.

And so that’s about it for October. I sincerely hope that when next we meet, I’ll be well and truly used to blogging here. A little tolerance and kindness would be nice, too, because however it goes in just a week, some people are still going to be miffed. For us all, then, I offer a few words that always make me feel better:

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have OVERCOME the world.” (John 16:33)

Get Off My Lawn, Technology!

You know how they say it’s important to keep stretching your mind so that the old brain cells don’t atrophy? Like brush your teeth with your left hand if you’re right-handed…or learn a new language…or take a different route to an oft-visited spot.

But I don’t have to bother with all that. All I have to do is check in to my tech-heavy platforms occasionally. That is, assuming I can still get into ’em. Because everything–EVERYTHING–is constantly changing and you need a degree in quantum physics or computer engineering or both to keep up.

Take this here blog at WordPress. For reasons only they know–though I’m sure there’s some delightfully cheery WordPress post explaining all and telling me how these changes are going to make my life easier–I’ve been switched to a different editor. Frankly, I think it’s because Blogger switched their editor, though honestly, I’m not sure who switched what first. I am sure that now, I can’t use what little brain cells I have to think up brilliant words and put ’em together into posts; I have to expend my grey matter on figuring out all the tech changes.

I realize that with everything going on in the world right now, this seems somewhat petty, complaining about the constant changes in technology. But that’s exactly what’s so annoying: with everything going on in the world, I’d like one thing, one thing to stay put for a minute.

I want my smart phone and my smart TV to quit being such smartypants. I want to slip into my website and blogging platforms without thinking, like when you’ve been on the road traveling but you finally come home and breathe that sigh of relief because you know where everything is. I want appliances that don’t have a gazillion options to figure out before I can even use ’em and I want a car that I can just get in and drive without needing a 15-minute demonstration on how the dad-blamed KEY works. I want…I want…I WANT TECHNOLOGY TO GET OFF MY LAWN.

Ahhhh, that felt good.

Anyway, I dropped in here to tell you, ironically, about my latest blog post over at The Muffin: Do You Do This? (And How It Can Make You a Better Writer). It’s ironic because…well, you’ll have to zip over there and read the post to get the irony.

Just doing my part to keep your old brain cells sharp.

P.S. I wanted to insert this very apt image in a clever and intuitive way into this post but I’ve already used up all my thinking. So here’s the pic and you are free to just imagine a great spot for it: