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I'm Wearing My Mask: It Makes Me Brush My Teeth More

NANO DAY 8

Day 8 started out poopy. My leg was hurting and there was new swelling in my foot and ankle. I went in to the orthopedic doc's office, instead of waiting for the appointment schedule for the 17th. Of course, I was just paranoid - read too many entries on Web MD. or something. So, I dragged Henry to Boone, even though he is feeling crap with a terrible cold (timing is everything) himself. They x-rayed my leg and confirmed the fracture. The swelling is within the normal range. So, I got a new ace bandage, instructions to take the pain meds as prescribed, ice/heat alternating, lay low, use the walker at least to next week when I can probably switch to a cane, no driving for now… Like I said, poopy.

Anyway, I have done my words today anyway. Just as a kind of "F you" to the fractured-bone universe. Here's a few for you:

“Hey, Ivan, what’s the pup’s name?”

“Good morning, Rita. Hope you slept well and that it’s not too early. We’re early risers — we both always had 8 a.m. classes.”

“Ha, and here I thought you were early risers because you were farmers.”

“The dog is Ole’s, but I like him, too. His name is Doug. After the Douglas Fir tree - it’s one of Ole’s favorites. I told him that was a dumb name for a dog, but now that I’ve lived with him, I have to say, it suits the furry bastard.”

“Come here, Doug, and say hi.” The big standard poodle happily trotted over and enjoyed getting his thick curly head rubbed. Somehow, Doug was the perfect name for the big brown beast.

“God, Ivan, do you have to make this dog wear an orange vest during hunting season? He could completely be mistaken for a deer or a bear.”

“As a matter of fact…” Ole came into the kitchen, his scruffy graying hair gone haywire and sticking up everywhere, Doug’s got an orange vest he wore last fall.”  Read More 
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NANO DAY 7

It's NANO Day 7 and I'm behind. Not grievously mind you, just a bit.

Here's what happened. After I got my words all done for day 4, I went off to the courthouse here in Ashe County to finish up my duties for the election board. Mainly this consists of hanging around the election office, but it also includes some official stuff like opening all of the mail in absentee ballots we approved and putting them through the machine and signing off on the tally. Then we have to be there to receive the phoned in unofficial results and sign off on that tally and everyone brings in their materials from the precincts and up in one of the courtrooms on the third floor we set up screens to post the voting results as they get called in. I was walking down the stairs from the courtroom to our office on the 2nd floor with our Election Director and, of course, running my mouth, and BOOM I stumbled on the last step and hit the floor.

Those of you reading here that know me will be impressed to know that the only thing I said was, "what the hell" and not anything more colorful. It hurt. I dragged myself over to the bottom step and sat there thinking about it for a few minutes. Neither John or I could figure out quite what I'd done.

So much was going on, so, I slowly limped back into the office. One of the folks helping that night was an EMT, so she checked me out, and got me ice for my leg. We filled out an "incident report" for the county. I confess that I, at one point, did apparently go pretty white as I was sitting there, but it didn't seem like I'd done anything major. I pretty much stayed there in that chair and got through the next couple of hours of official duties.

My husband came in with the ballots and election stuff from the precinct he worked at all day a little after 8 p.m. Since I'm a frequent faller, he didn't bat too much of an eye. I drove myself home. But damn it did hurt.

And it hurt through a sleepless night, too. Early the next morning (Wednesday) amidst listening to and reading about all the un-fun results, I announced that after a shower I would appreciate him taking me to the ER. Which he did. And after and x-ray, I found out I had, in fact, broken my GD leg, no shit.

As broken legs go, it's not a bad one. It's the fibula, on the right side on the outside of my leg. No cast. Orthopedic visit in 10 days. They did want me to get a walker, however. That thing. Oh. It has so many unpleasant associations. I used it Wednesday and Thursday, but today I'm feeling pretty OK without it. I think it's more for when you're taking the Vicodin anyway.

So that, my friends, is the story of how I did not write any NANO words on days 5 and 6. They are a pain med haze. All I really remember is the brownies that Becky brought over yesterday.

However, I am not letting this broken leg thing stop me. I am back in the saddle today, making a serious dent in my word count. I'm not completely caught up, but very much in closing distance, and I'm sure I'll be able to get totally caught up to my per day word count by tomorrow. On that note, here are a few of the words I wrote today:

It was welcoming and cozy warm. As I opened up my pack to get out something to sleep in, I heard the boys continuing their conversation downstairs. The old vent register in my room that opened up to the kitchen provided a direct pipeline to their conversation. I didn’t know whether to quietly listen, or holler down “Hey guys, remember I’m up here and I can hear you…”

Oh, what the hell. I decided to just get ready for bed and not focus on listening, they’d probably soon be off to bed, too.

Then I heard Ole say to Ivan, “What do you honestly think we should do, Ivan?” And that was the end of me trying to be polite and ignore what they were saying.
“Well” Ivan was saying,” I’m just thinking that maybe we should think about moving across the border, too, maybe before winter comes.” I could hear him moving around the kitchen as he was talking, probably finishing cleaning up after dinner. Read More 
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NANO Day 4

OK - I got home for long enough this busy election day to do my words! Aren't you proud of me? I sure am. Here's the words for today:

One of the old guys from the Philosophy Department, Henry Tabor I think, stopped short of the door he was about to walk out and hollered up at the President, “And who will choose the three representatives - if we are allowed to ask?”

There was that stupid separated-from-reality smile again from the President. “We haven’t yet ironed out all of the procedures in that regard. We will be sure to get you an official memorandum before the mid-term.”

You know that scene in Animal House where the snotty frat guys are making their presentation to the student government board and the student audience starts barking/sneezing “bullshit?” I swear, some of our faculty actually started doing that. Others were hissing.  Read More 
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NANO DAY 3

Well, it's Day Three and I'm still on schedule. It was tough because I had an early morning job to do and so had to be elsewhere when I'm usually writing. But I got back to it this afternoon and got the words done before I have to be at the Election Board for a meeting to approve all the absentees that have come in by mail by 5 today.

Tomorrow will be tough -- I'll be out visiting precincts by 6:30 a.m. I should be able to work in a couple of hours of writing in the early afternoon, before I'll have to be back at the courthouse for the duration. Mostly, that means answering questions and monitoring results once the polls close at 7:30. With all that is computerized anymore, we'll likely have preliminary results by 9 or 9:30 in our county races, no matter the turn out. I'm guessing I'll get home by 10-10:30. There are a couple of races I'm watching around the country that I'll tune in to and, of course, my news source for Election Night on the television has got to be Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. That'll save my head from exploding!

Here's your words from today's writing:

“So, I just said FUCK THIS, and packed up. They had screwed me out of any classes I had any interest in teaching, and school was about to begin. Fuck ‘em. Let them hire a last-minute adjunct for slave wages to teach those classes. They, literally, had provided mandatory syllabi and you weren’t allowed to choose your textbooks - make any additions or changes to the class. What the hell did they need me for anyway? They didn’t. So, I just made them happy and left. It’s what they’ve been wanting the last few years anyway.”

“But, you left more than your university, you left your home and friends and husband…” Ole wasn’t going to let her off quite so easy. Read More 
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NANO DAY 2

So, I think to keep my own feet to the fire, I'm going to post a very, very short bit of my daily NANOWRIMO.org writing here on my blog.

If you're interested in following along with me, or, if it might spur you on yourself -- please check in with me and, as always, leave me a comment!

Here's today's snippet:

“OK, enough about us, now it’s your turn.” Ivan went for the pie server, and without asking permission, sliced off a healthy chunk, plopped it on a plate, handed me a fork and slid it over.
“I’m a college professor…was a college professor.”
“I thought so,” Ivan noted quietly, looking right at Ole.
“Kindred spirits, eh, Ivan?” Ole replied. Read More 
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November 1 is Here!

Well, here it is. November 1. Time to start, time to finish, time to organize, put together, figure it the f*** out already! It's putting up or shutting up time. NANOWRIMO is here, National Novel Writing Month. The idea is you write 50,000 words in the month of November, and you do that by writing 1666 words a day. That's not really that many. I got the lion's share of 50,000 done last year, not quite 100% successful, but I've been working with my writing group ever since on what I did get done. This year, I'm going to write those 1666 words every day, and I'm also going to be dusting off what I've already done and try to bring some organization to it all. My goal is to have a serious draft completed by the end of the month.

It was an inspiring morning to start this year's adventure. Overnight we had 4" of snow and I woke up early, around 6 a.m., it was still dark. What a wonderful sight out the back door when I flipped on the light. Snow. Real snow. Not just pretend snow or snow to tease me. It's continued throughout today, although it's petered out considerably.

And it looked great from my upstairs office window, too. Which was good. Because I got those first NANO words done. Here are just a few sentences:

“City kids. Young. Probably not even 21 yet. They’ll be OK, they’re young enough to adapt. You though, if you don’t mind my saying, appear to be more in my era. We don’t see too many folks our age making the crossing out here and on foot. You running away, or running to?” Read More 
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NANO TIME

It's almost time. Time for NANOWRIMO.org - National Novel Writing Month. It's this crazy exercise you do and, PRESTO, if you do it right (no pun), at the end of November you have 50,000 words, a good novel draft.

I did it last year and kickstarted, in a big way, the novel I have been subsequently working on. After futzing around since then with it, I can't decide what I'm going to do starting this November 1 -- will I work diligently on new material for the novel? Or, will I start all over again with a completely different story? Tick tock. I have a week to figure it out. Read More 
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On the Same Page!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's that time, folks, for the stupendous, glorious, feast of words that is known in these parts as ON THE SAME PAGE LITERARY FESTIVAL. I will be at everything, seriously, everything, and I will enjoy all of it.

Hard to believe, but this whole thing gets done by a volunteer coordinating committee and the library and county arts organization. And, every year, I swear to god, it gets better. We work hard all through the year to make the whole thing possible and by the time this week arrives, I am so psyched I could just about pee myself. (I'll try not to.)

One of the very best things about the Festival is the quality of the authors we get to come here. NO DIVAS. No d-bags. No people who have to be babysat. Just generous and talented and plain delightful writers, one and all.

I mean who doesn't love Danny Wallace. C'mon? Who did not laugh their heinie off reading "Lookaway, Lookaway"? Is Wiley Cash a star, or what? Bob Inman? He's a prince. And Philip Gerard, well, ok, so I'm definitely prejudiced about him -- he was one of my first-rate teachers in the Goucher MFA program.

You will not find a better setting or a more intimate treat than On the Same Page. Here's a quick schedule of who's coming and when you can see them: Read More 
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HAPPENING NOW

Hey friends, sorry to be gone so long. So much happening that I've gotten behind. Since my last post I've been to El Salvador and Jerusalem. Can you believe it? I'll be catching back up on my posts in the coming weeks, because it's all hitting the fan again right away. Emma and Steve are coming from England at the end of the month and then we're going back to Jerusalem to work on the Mt. Zion archaeological dig at the end of June. I know, right?

But today, I'm asking for a favor. Please read below and go vote for the On the Same Page Literary Festival so we can get some fab air time on our local NPR station. This year's Festival is going to be gangbusters. Here's who we have coming: Daniel Wallace, Philip Gerard, Wiley Cash, Wilton Barnhardt, Georgann Eubanks, Donna Campbell, Alan Hodges… That's some serious literary talent, folks!

So, please, read and vote:

The Arts Council needs your help. WFDD (fabulous NPR radio station in Winston Salem) is having a contest called ARTS AWARENESS, to win $4000 worth of marketing. There are 44 community organizations in the region that were accepted into the competition, and ON THE SAME PAGE LITERARY FESTIVAL is one of them!

We have until May 31st to garner as many votes as we can. You can vote every day and you can vote for 3 organizations each time, if you want. Catchlight Gallery is the other “local” group in the running.

It’s easy to do. Click on this link: https://polldaddy.com/poll/8025788/ (or copy it into your browser), then scroll down to On the Same Page (it’s all listed alphabetically), click on the little box, then go to the bottom of the page and click on “Vote.” That’s it! After you vote, you can see how many have voted for us and what percentage we are of the total votes cast. We’re not doing too well yet! So get on the computer EVERY day and vote for the Literary Festival. It is great exposure for us and if we were one of the winners, the bonus of the free advertising would be wonderful.

Please share this with family members and friends. We’ll only win, if we get the numbers up and the votes in. Remember, you vote every day!

Thanks for your help and support! Read More 
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It's Back!

Today we brought our piano out of storage and home. I should say "we" means Ben Fox from Fox Brothers Moving in Boone brought our piano out of storage. It's been in a climate-controlled concrete box for 5 months and we've been wondering what we were going to do.

I had reconciled myself to selling it and even toyed with the notion of donating. But damn… it's just not something that sells. Too big, too pricey, too, well, nice. And, this place we moved to -- it's perfect in just about every way --- except for the "piano question."

Now, we've decided on a rejiggering of things in this new (old) and smaller (thankfully) place. Originally, Henry was going to have his guitars and equipment in the finished basement downstairs. And, we up-fitted the detached one-car garage to be his office/study. Then, in December, he had a change of heart. And, I'm really glad.

Billy put in a new floor and painted in the downstairs office. With a bathroom right there AND the fact that Ginny the cat can be his study buddy again, I think Henry's happy with the rearrangement.

The garage room already looks like a great music space, even though it's all messy at the moment. The piano looks fabulous. I predict it will be very inspirational for us both. And, it won't be a bad place to visit either, with musical friends. Think I'll get my flute out in the next couple of days, too... Read More 
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