When you wake up happy

Looking out the sliding glass door to the back yard.

For some unknown reason, I woke up feeling very happy. It’s not unusual for me to be in a good mood, but today I feel exceptionally hopeful. I can’t stop smiling.

I’m trying to figure out what makes today different.

• I checked the temperature on my phone and it was in the low 70s. A perfect day for a walk.

• It’s bright and sunny after a few days of dark gray clouds.

• I went to sleep early and slept through the night.

• I have an entire day without a “to do list.”

• I’ve recently spent time with friends and had visits with my kids.

• I’m backing up my files on my new laptop — which by the way — doesn’t mysteriously delete my work.

• I had my home-baked banana nut bread with coffee for breakfast. Maybe it’s the sugar in the banana bread. The recipe is from my mom’s old orange Betty Crocker cookbook. It reminds me of my childhood.

• My rewrite of my manuscript is going well. I’ve decided to tell the story from the four main characters’ points of view rather than from one.

• I’m reading an enjoyable book called “The Optimist’s Daughter” by Eudora Welty.

What little things make you feel positive and encouraged for the day?

One of my favorite spots in the house. I love to sit at the table and look outside. We moved the table and chairs from Palm Springs. It was our kitchen/dining room table for 28 years and continues on in Arizona.

A fresh start

My new laptop

Last week I got my new laptop. My new glasses also came in. I am thrilled to see through glasses without scratches. Such a joy. The optometrist told me that my right eye has gotten a little worse since my cataract surgery pre COVID. But my left eye is the same. I’ve always had trouble with the right eye not being able to focus due to a hole in my retina. I think it’s congenital and I’ve had it checked through the years and it hasn’t gotten any worse. Thank goodness!

Here’s the deal. With my new computer and better vision I have started on draft number two of my manuscript that disappeared off my old laptop. I’ve roughed out a chapter outline and worked on my characters to add more depth. It was a manuscript I wrote for NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month where you write 50,000 of a rough draft in the month of November.

I put off working on rewriting the draft until the new computer came in. Files continued to disappear from my old laptop. I didn’t have the desire or energy to get all worked up if I happened to lose another draft.

Which reminds me. I need to order a new back up drive!

Are you working on any new or old projects that you’re excited about? What are they?

My new glasses without scratches in my line of vision!

Not to dwell…

The baby quail are delightful to watch. They get my mind off the unpleasant.

So. Apple contacted me at 7 a.m. yesterday. Just like they said they would. However the news was not good. At least the customer service was excellent with the tech keeping his word on when he’d call. He followed up with me several times throughout the process.

If you missed my post yesterday you can read it HERE to learn what happened.

“It looks like they have recovered all available files that could be recovered. They also stated that they will have no other ways to recover the data if it is still 
missing,” he said.

I looked through my computer to see what files they were able to recover. I noticed three and four copies of the files already there. So now I have a mess to clean up.

I felt a mourning loss for my work. I don’t look forward to my next newsletter that I have to start without the use of the two published newsletters to use as templates.

My son told me something I’ve never heard before. Ernest Hemingway lost 10 years of his work. It was all in one briefcase that he left on a train in France.

I’m not the only one to lose a manuscript. And it happened before computers and the cloud. Who knew?

“Did you know that D.H. Lawrence never edited his drafts?” My son told me. “He threw it out if he didn’t like it and started over.”

He told me to look at my NaNoWriMo missing manuscript as an opportunity, not a loss.

Thinking about that, he may be right. I get too married to my first rough draft. I make little edits here and there on later drafts, but I never get to the meat of throwing out scenes or restructuring my plot. I’ve submitted manuscripts to agents and publishers and have gotten interest. I’ve been given suggestions and have been asked for rewrites. But, after I resubmitted, I’d hear that I didn’t go far enough.

Do you find the silver lining in your mishaps? When life gives you lemons, do you make lemonade? Can you give an example?

Issue number two

newsletter
My community newsletter

Issue number two for 2022 was put to bed today. YAY! It’s a satisfying feeling to finally get it approved and done.

I sent the newsletter to my co-editor to proof read and to make sure I made all the requested changes from the Board of Directors. Then weird stuff happened. I had made changes and they didn’t save. Also when I made a few corrections, photos disappeared and entire blocks of text disappeared. My layout skills haven’t kept up with the newest version of the program.

I held my breath when I hit send. It’s done. And I have a few months until it’s time to do it all over again.

It’s hard to remember back to when I wrote nine newsletters a month. That was way before internet and newsletters were a big thing. With social media, blogs, and email newsletters, not many are still printed and delivered via snail mail.

Without me stepping up to take over the newsletter, this one would have ended after 15 years of being published. I like the old fashioned printed newsletter. There’s something to be said for reading on paper.

I edited the newsletter for my kids swim team on a volunteer basis for years. We used to mail it out with the monthly billing. Eventually the billing went online — and my son started a website and posted the newsletter there. The newsletter was no longer printed. That was before the iphone got popular. We were using an Apple program that worked well for the new iphone, but not for the Blackberry. One of the board of directors wanted us to invest in software that was older so it would be compatible with Blackberry phones because he predicted the iphone would never amount to more than 10% of phones. Do they make Blackberries anymore?

Then one of the coaches told me she didn’t see a place for the newsletter anymore. She felt Twitter and FB would be more up to date. I was sad to see that newsletter go away.

What are your thoughts about newsletters? Do you see them very often or do you think they are going by the wayside?

Tips to catch typos

typos meme

Some of my most embarrassing moments have happened with typos. I’ve been writing professionally since college graduation. I won’t mention exactly how many years that is. But, it’s plenty. Plenty of time to make a few mistakes.

Here’s a rundown of three embarrassing typos:

ONE

SwimSwam parent tips. I left out a number on my tips and boy did I hear about it!

My process began with a small idea. Then I’d write a rough sloppy draft and hone it down into something tight and simple.  Along the way I cut out one tip that didn’t seem to fit. But, the story didn’t automatically renumber itself. Making a mistake like that on a busy forum like SwimSwam is decidedly embarrassing.

You can read that story here. 12 Parent Tips on How to Behave at Practice.

On the bright side, I got a RT by Natalie Coughlin. I was super excited about that, so the story still worked even if it was not perfect.

Natalie Coughlin
Natalie Coughlin

TWO

My second worst typo was in the 80s. I worked for a PR and advertising firm and I wrote eight newsletters a month, plus three or four press releases daily. It was a busy, intense job. I was in charge of a fundraiser for abused women which was held at a local country club. In my press release that ran just about everywhere — I mistakenly put in my own phone number instead of the club’s to RSVP! There was no taking that one back. I lived through it by hooking up an answering machine.

oops key on computer

I felt humiliated though, when my co-workers relentlessly teased me.

THREE

My all-time worst typo was when I had my own PR and advertising business. I had some super-duper clients including the hospital’s cancer center and a local branch of a major Wall Street firm. When the boss at the Wall Street branch was promoted to NYC to corporate headquarters, he still used me for all of his work. I was SO excited! Then I made a typo on a Power Point presentation. It was on the new logo he had me create for the Western Region of the United States of America. Ugh.

He was so angry with me, because I made him look bad. I’ll never forgive myself for that one.

street sign painted typo

The thing with typos is your brain can trick you into seeing what you intended to be there.

My tips to catch typos:

1. Read the piece from the bottom, sentence by sentence.

2. Read it out loud.

3. Put it away for a few days to get a fresh view.

4. Have other people proofread for you.

5. Don’t forget to proofread the title and headers. Numbers, too.

Do you have any tips to catch typos to add to my list? What typos have you made that you wish you could take back?

Motivated by bloggers

cat on SwimSwam magazines
Olive hanging out on top of magazines with my stories inside. She doesn’t want anyone to read them.

I literally dusted off two picture book manuscripts that I wrote 20 years ago — thanks to my blogging community.

I was motivated again by blogger LA for her leap entering a writing competition. In her comments section, I lamented that I had not fulfilled my dream of having a book published. Another blogger along with LA encouraged me to keep going.

Although I’ve won contests, been published by magazines, websites and newspapers — that elusive book deal hasn’t happened.

I realized that it won’t happen — because I quit submitting to agents and publishers two years ago.

When I said I dusted off two picture book manuscripts, it’s because I discovered they aren’t on my laptop, nor are they on icloud. They’re on backup devices that no longer work with my current system. It has been 20 years since they were on my computer or backed up. That’s a lifetime in nano years.

I wondered if I had thrown out all my manuscripts when we moved? If so, my work would be lost. After searching the house and garage, I found two notebooks that I used to keep copies of my manuscripts, a spread sheet of submissions and a bevy of rejection letters. It wasn’t sad to look at the rejection letters, some had personal handwritten notes and were encouraging.

Long gone are the days of the snail mail submission with an SASE (self addressed stamped envelope). I won’t receive hand written notes or form letters in the mail. Everything is done online and many publishers and agents don’t send rejections. If they aren’t interested, they don’t respond. Fortunately, some do reject via email, so I’ll know from those agents and publishers if my submission got lost in the ethers — or not.

I quickly typed the two manuscripts into my laptop and I’ll be off pursing my dream once again.

What are your goals or dreams? Have you stuck with it or did it go by the wayside?

Second meeting of book club

Original cover of "The Old Man and the Sea."
The original cover of “The Old Man and the Sea.”

I joined our neighborhood book club. After my first meeting and being forced to read a book I couldn’t stand — I was assigned “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway.

I didn’t enjoy reading “The Old Man and the Sea” in high school at all. The days in the boat fighting to get the big fish dragged. I was considering dropping out of book club.

Surprisingly, decades later, I really enjoyed the book. I guess I have a better perspective with age. Maybe I identify with the old man.

I also learned a lot from the neighbor who chose the book and led the discussion. She was thoroughly prepared. She had pages of typed notes, went through Hemingway’s life and told us the book won the Pulitzer and Novel prizes, and that 5 million copies sold within 48 hours in 1951.

I asked my son’s girlfriend her interpretation of the symbolism of “The Old Man and the Sea.” She’s a Lit major and brilliant.

I’ve read about Christian allegories in the book such as two days and nights in the boat and returning home on the third day. This represents the resurrection of Christ. Other Christian metaphors were Santiago’s bloody hands to the stigmata and him carrying the mast, like Christ carried the cross. In the end, Santiago lies down and falls asleep with his arms out to and his knees off to the side.

This is what my son’s girlfriend sent me when I asked her about the metaphors:

Ernest Hemingway quote
Quote from Good Reads.

I shared the quote with the club and they had a good laugh and then went on to discuss more metaphors.

What are your thoughts on “The Old Man and the Sea?” Was is required reading in school? Did you enjoy it? Do you believe Hemingway DID use metaphors or not?