Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Thinking ahead

So it's a brand new year and I find myself pondering what I want to post here in the months ahead. When I started this blog--on July 4--I assumed I'd be writing a lot about writing, and for a while, I did. But honestly, what I have personally enjoyed the most has been the social aspect of this. I even feel that writing too much about writing doesn't make much sense, because it doesn't have that much to do with the lives of maybe half of the people who come here. I think we come here for each other. I suspect all I really have to do is put out a welcome sign. :)


The thing I like second best to the social part is when we talk about things--often weird--that provoke stories from you guys. I love that, hearing about ghosts you've known, or strange, amazing, exciting, scary, or touching things that have happened to you. Partly, I like it because I learn more about everybody here, but I also like it because it stretches my mind and imagination, always a good thing for a writer.


So I guess what I'm saying is that I'm not sure what I'm going to say in my posts from here on out. Now and then I'm sure I'll say something about the writing life, just because it's so much of my life, and also because I hope it's helpful to any beginners who might tune in. Sometimes I'm tempted to post about current events or politics, but then I back off, thinking there are so many better places to do that, and I don't want to risk disturbing the equilibrium here. There are many, many places to argue on the intertubes, but there are precious few places where actual friends can talk in an expansive kind of way with the assurance that they'll be treated with affection, openness, and respect. I like to think this is one of those places, and--speaking just for me--I want that and seem to need it, too. I really value people behaving decently to one another, and that's what happens here.


I'd like to say thank you for a few things. To katiebird who inspired and provided my website, and who kept gently nudging me to blog. To andif for her photos. To all of you who make the now-and-then newcomers feel welcome, so this place doesn't feel like an impenetrable clique to strangers. I thank you for the simple fact that you keep showing up. That's what makes it work, and I do think it works. I thank you for your honesty, openness, and flexibility. I thank you for your sense of humor!!!! I like you guys. That's an understatement. :) My life is better for knowing you, and my blog would be nothin' without you. I also thank you for your own blogs, where we also go to get informed and refreshed, encouraged and supported. Without your blogs, this place would get to feeling awfully self-absorbed to me; I'm grateful that I can visit the neighbors where other people's lives are going on.


If my posts seem a little scattered for awhile, you'll know why, which is just that I'm feeling my way from here on. But I know by now that on days when I can't think of a thing to say, I don't have to force it. I can just keep the lights on and the coffee going, make sure there's also hot water for tea, move the cats off of Family Man's lounge chair, and then sit back and enjoy whatever it is you come up with in the comments.


If you have any thoughts about all this, or requests or suggestions, I'd be delighted to hear them, but it's also okay if you don't. I'm not at ALL worried that you'll find other things to talk about today. :)

76 comments:

Nancy P said...

G'night, and sweet dreams.

Andi, if you're first in the morning, please sweep up the confetti, will you?

Family Man said...

Geeze it's after 1:00 am and I'm still awake. Then again, I might have woken up from a long nap and don't know it. Go figure.

Nancy I have to tell you that I'm so glad you started this blog. I'll be the first to admit, I missed the hell out of you when I didn't see you over at the cafe. You've bought a wonderful place to be, along with a lot of old friends, you've also bought a lot of new friends.

Nancy to you and each and everyone of you here, thank you.

Now just a little to the off side. Hah! I'm first here today, and I not only left confetti for Andi, but....OK I don't know, but I do have a lot of leaves on the ground.

Cathy C said...

Happy, happy 2008, Nancy and everyone here!
You have created a very comfortable and friendly place here. Thanks!

BTW, Nancy, your legacy continues. Roberta, Hank and the rest of the gang at Jungle Red Writers tagged me.
At first I thought, oh, no, but then it turned into a fun exercise. I mentioned it at a holiday party recently and we went around the room with everyone telling one little known fact about themselves. It was fascinating the stuff I learned about friends I've known for decades!
I posted my deep dark secrets :o)at: http://catherinecairns.com/blog/

Here's to a wonderful, magical year!

Cathy C said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cathy C said...

That deleted comment was from me. I got an error message and then my comment posted twice. Sorry :o)

AndiF said...

Sorry Nancy but FM was here first and besides cathy c didn't even notice that he didn't clean up so I'm thinking it just adds to the charming decor ...

... as does whatever you chose to blog about. Part of the fun of reading someone's blog is following their thoughts as they ping around off of walls, edges, floors, ceilings, and even those of us in the room.

paul lamb said...

It is ironic, I think, that bloggers with a very tight focus -- writing about just one thing -- tend to have more ease at writing posts than bloggers without a specific subject. The tighter focus means they know exactly what they are going to write about each day while the more general seem, sometimes, to be adrift.

You're right about the social aspect. It is good to feel the sense of community And like good friends anywhere, you're free to talk about anything you want.

Lets make 2008 the year that the word "blog" is no longer used as a verb, okay?

olivia said...

Morning everyone!

Nancy, I like not knowing what I'm going to find when I click on over here. It's definitely one of the charms of your blog. The talented group of people who share here adds to that as well. It's fun to read through the comments, and most days has me chuckling.

Thanks for creating such an inviting space -- and like FM said above, it puts me in mind of the old cafe days. :)

Beth said...

Wow, fam was first today! I don't remember the last time he beat andi (see earlier comments about not really beating andi).

I enjoy not knowing what we're going to talk about. Having a place to go when I'm lonely, because there's always someone here to keep me company. The unconditional support and caring and respect that each person shows everyone else. It's enriched my life, and I hope it continues in this vein for a very long time.

Thanks for creating this special village for us, Nancy!

{{{everyone}}}

GhostFolk.com said...

Help me, I'm brain dead.

Sorry to miss the party. I'm swamped. I have to do five more story synopses to finish my proposal due in December. And, naturally, the remaining five are the ones I haven't thought out.

I need something on a southern coast. And I could really use a cave. Does anyone know any area of coast Vriginia to Texas that might have a cave?

GhostFolk.com said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beth said...

Oy, ghosty, you've picked a region where the coast is flat and sandy. Lots of underwater caves in the reefs off the Keys, but that's not going to help.

Maybe a nook or cranny in an abandoned fort? You can find those on the southern Atlantic coast.

I haven't been to the Outer Banks, so don't know if that area could maybe have a pile of rocks that make up a cavern-type place.

Still thinking...

GhostFolk.com said...

Travails.

Should anyone ask me something and I don't respond, I'm going to Akron O Sunday to evaluate an estate. Two days gone, maybe three (depending on outcome). I sure don't like driving north in winter.
Gee, I'm dumb.

Nice cold snow in Asheville, btw. 18 degrees tonight. Next time I mouve south, I am moving SOUTH. Beth, where's that town in Mexico?

Beth said...

I like the parrot head! Maybe it picks up the coins behind the cat when the cat isn't looking... :-)

Trap door in the sand...hmmm...it would be buried in no time by shifting sand. Maybe something to do with mangroves? A cave-like place created by the roots?

It's going to be 26 here tonight. So driving south won't do you much good, either. With 15 mph winds.

Be careful on those roads, GF.

Kimberly Frost said...

Nancy - Congratulations on the Cotton Bowl!

Fam - You left the confetti for Andif? Better be careful or you might find that confetti scattered on your lawn with the leaves. The fun thing is that then we could all enjoy the joke because Andif could take a pic for all of us to see. ;)

Morning, Beth, Cathy, Ghost, Olivia, & Paul.

Ghost, Does the cave need to be between Virg and Texas or can it be in Texas? I'm pretty sure there are caves in Texas. I think I saw a pic in one of my Texas travel guides. Lemme know and I'll look and see.

GhostFolk.com said...

Lots of underwater caves in the reefs off the Keys, but that's not going to help.

Underwater might work! Hmmm. Or a pile of rocks. Yup. Now how do I google map search for a pile of rocks?

I know, building debris from a collapsed lighthouse. Or some old coastal fort? Hmmm. Galveston? Wonder what the hurricanes did there 2004...

GhostFolk.com said...

Texas or can it be in Texas? I'm pretty sure there are caves in Texas.

Texas is fine, Kimberly. I can do one Texas.

Thanks for the tip. I'm off to google the Texas coast. There must be a few rocks or an old collapsed building stone foundation on Galveston...

Thanks, Beth, or thinking of roots. That's a reasonable choice, too. And spooky.

Beth said...

Good luck rock-hunting, ghost! Let us know if you need anything else. And good luck getting the stories done, and driving to the frozen north. Let us know when you get home safely.

Kimberly Frost said...

Ghost,

There are caverns in a place called Sonora that looks a bit left of center within the state. (insert political humor here)

Other touristy caves are Cascade Caverns, "Cave Without a Name" (good grief. give that cave a name! there are one or two texas writers who could've helped out if the Tx govt needed a hand), Inner Space Cavern (the picture of it is extremely cool), Longhorn Cavern, and Natural Bridge Cavern.

Does everyone notice how Texas doesn't just have one cave to offer? Yep, things are bigger here. I'm telling you that you guys need to come visit. Nancy could rent the Scooby van and you could all pile in! I'll take you on a tour of all the sites in Houston. Let's see there's B&N on Holcombe. Then Borders on Alabama. Murder By the Book... Oh, wait, you wanted to see something besides bookstores? Okay, sure. I can write in a cave. That's what laptop batteries were invented for. ;)

GhostFolk.com said...

LOL, Kimberly. Indeed, I do write in a cave. I spend most of my life in one. But this cave has cable. :-)

Following up on your nifty inside tips. THANKS!!

GhostFolk.com said...
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Beth said...

Save me a seat on that van!

I was trying to figure how I could fit TX into my road trip (I have other friends there), but it's a wee bit out of the way. I'll see you in May, anyway. But I'll definitely be hitting TX one of these days again soon.

Kimberly Frost said...

Okay, I know I'm the last one to the party that is Kelly McCullough's series, but I started WebMage yesterday and it frellin' rocks. (Nod to Andif, other Farscape fan.)

Kelly, if you drop in today, may I just say that when it comes to originality, no one can touch you! And for the love of Hades, write faster. I'll be done with these two books by next week.

Kimberly Frost said...

Beth,

When Texas is in your travel plans, please e-mail. I have a guest room that was just remarking that it would so like to meet you.

Beth said...

I do so hate to disappoint a gracious guest room. And will definitely do that, Kimberly! Might not make it this year, but next year looks very doable. It's been a while since I was in TX - I've never seen San Antonio or Galveston or Corpus Christi - lots of places on my list.

Thanks!!! :-)

Nancy P said...

FM, thank you so much. I did love the Cafe, too.

But I swear I never paid a cent for any of you.

:)

Nancy P said...

Cathyc, that's so cool that you thought to do the tagging thing at a party! Getting tagged often triggers an "oh, shit," reaction, but then it seems to turn into something interesting and fun. And at least it's not really like a chain letter--SOMETHING TERRIBLE!!! won't happen to anybody who doesn't pass it on.

Nancy P said...

Morning Andi, Paul, and Olivia, and thanks very much for your comments. I'm not going to mess with this modest success, but I do feel fuzzy about the front page now that I'm not really focusing on writing about writing. Andi, sometimes it's your photos that give me a little focus. Appropriately enough. Hmm, I think, scrolling through your pictures that I've saved. . .which of these might inspire me?

Nancy P said...

And you guys just demonstrated another thing I love about what you do here. . .the brainstorming.

Kimberly, I'm getting that Scooby van! :) Beth, you can navigate, what with all your traveling experience. Which reminds me of a funny tv show preview I saw yesterday.

"Shotgun!" yells one character before piling into a car.

"Nine millimeter!" shouts the heroine, topping him.

Nancy P said...

Ghostfolk, northern Alabama is known for caves, but that probably doesn't help at all.

Kelly McCullough said...

Late to the party today and about to drop off the grid for a bit.

Hi all (waves from underneath the cats piled in his lap).

Ghost, love the story idea. One other thought on the cave front, destroyed oil machinery from Katrina. A fair amount of it got washed ashore.

Nancy, whatever you want to write about will be lovely--Olivia has it exactly right. Oh, and I love what you've done with the confetti decoupage. It's is intentional...isn't it?

Kimberly, thank you. I very much appreciate the praise. Also, I'll see what I can do about the writing faster thing. I really would like to shave novel writing time down to three months and change.

FM, ditto on the cafe.

Beth said...

Hi Kelly! Nice to see you out and about for a bit. Ditto on being anxious to read #3. Hope #4 is going swimmingly.

See you the next time you emerge!

FARfetched said...

Late as usual. Beth had the same idea I did (hollow place in roots), but I was thinking of a live oak. ISTR a pirate treasure is supposed to be buried under a live oak somewhere on the South Carolina coast, but nobody knows which one. Maybe the cap'n's bones sit atop that treasure, separated by only a couple inches of sand. But the pile of oil machinery debris is even better (doffs hat to Kelly), if you don't mind topical.

Confetti... leaves... dang. The wind was blowing so hard last night and this morning that I don't know if any leaves managed to hang around. I had other things on my mind as I left the manor this morning & didn't look.

I'll come check things out a little later this evening...

Beth said...

Wind. We've had 20mph winds all day, gusting to 30. I've been chasing the neighbor's garbage around the yard all afternoon. Calling for low 20's tonight, with the same winds. Which means a wind chill of single digits. We also have high surf/coastal flood warnings, high fire danger warnings, wind chill warnings, and freeze warnings. Lowest temps in decades. Florida doesn't know what to do with weather like this. I'm staying inside - and might even turn the heat on!! Wishing I had andi's dogs to curl up with.

Family Man said...

When I lived in San Antonio there were bat caves all around. One early morning when I went into to work, I was on the loading dock and thought there were a lot of birds flying around at night. I mentioned it to my boss and he informed me they were bats. Just like when I mentioned something about how foggy it was outside one morning. He told me it was a dust storm.

Ever feel like you need new glasses. :)

Kimberly I left the confetti for Andi because I knew she'd do the same as me - ignore it. :~)

Yep Beth I was first because I was up so late last night. It doesn't happen often. It also sounds like the cold air is following you. We're supposed to get down to 15 tonight, but no precipitation. It seems if it's going to be this cold, the least it could do is snow.

Beth said...

Boy, we must have worn ourselves out the last few days. Quiet on the old blog front.

Or maybe everyone is huddled around the television, waiting for the Fiesta Bowl to start - Go Mountaineers!

Nancy P said...

Is the fiesta bowl the one with OU? I'll be watching, and I hate to be supporting the other team, but one must root for The Big Twelve, one must. As you can see, however, I'm not exactly well informed.

It is quiet. . .we set records the last couple of days. I feel quiet, cause I put my back out yesterday and the chiro fixed it today, BLESS HER, and now I just want to sleep. AFter football.

Beth said...

Yep, that's the one. And being a Boise State fan, you can imagine that I CANNOT root for OU. But I will respect your need to. :-)

Sorry about your back! Bless the chiro, though. I recommend warm heating pads, dark chocolate, and quiet cheering, followed by lots of sleepy time.

Nancy P said...

Oh, now I really feel bad not rooting for Boise State, cause really, the hell with Oklahoma after the way they dismantled MU earlier. I just like the sound of
Boise State Beats Sooners.

I like your prescription.

Beth said...

That's okay - I'll root extra loud!

And thank Conda for reminding me of the health benefits of dark chocolate - drat her! If only I didn't have a bar of Trader Joe's chocolate in the pantry, calling my name...

Take care of yourself!

Nancy P said...

Wait. I'm confused, aren't I? OU is playing. . .West Virginia? One of those states.

Ignore me. :)

Beth said...

Sorry - I confused you. Boise State beat OU last year in the Fiesta Bowl.

Yes, one of those rural states. With mountains. And not many people. :-)

Nancy P said...

Oh, now I remember. That's the game OU is so sick of hearing about. Snicker.
So far, WV looks really pumped up and OU looks surprised.

Beth said...

WVU's coach quit a couple of weeks ago, and the team was stunned. Everyone thought they'd fall on their faces tonight. But the interim coach seems to have gotten them through the hard part, and pumped them up. So OU might have been expecting a sad, distracted team.

It's a long game...we'll see how it goes. My teams have generally lost this bowl season, so... :-)

FARfetched said...

Re the prescription: Booze, Beth. You forgot the booze. Very important for numbing the pain while the other things do the real work behind the scenes. ;-)

Lordy, I sound like a major lush. I'm really not. I like a beer or two (or rum shot or two) in the evening, and will crawl into a bottle when needed (maybe once or twice a year).

Off to see if Olga is in the mood to inspire me tonight...

Nancy P said...

I read that most of the teams who have lost their coaches have also lost their bowl games. Arkansas comes to mind. :)

Oklahoma is a BIG team. That can make the diff.

Beth said...

Thanks for having my back, far. WHAT was I thinking?! Nancy - TEQUILA! RUM! BRANDY! For purely medicinal purposes, of course.

I had an awful day, and was ready to crawl into a bottle around noon, far. But I overcame...and will post a pointed little blog in the next few days that made me feel MUCH better when I wrote it. I am so evil.

Beth said...

And it probably will. I'm just excited that WVU made it - and that they haven't embarrassed themselves yet, a la Hawaii last night. I had to go to bed, that game was so awful. Poor guys.

Nancy P said...

I think Olga's ready to go, far. She's got on her black net stockings.

Nancy P said...

Wow, VW is getting to the quarterback! OU is so arrogant. They may get their egos kicked if they don't wake up.

Beth said...

Darn!! :-)

Nancy P said...

Yeah, I felt sorry for Hawaii.

Hmm, booze. Another good prescription.

Whoa, what a run!

Beth said...

Did I mention I'm a Big East fan? Worked at Syracuse for a while - still follow the Orangemen, although moreso basketball, since their football team is an embarrassment these days. One of the best football games of all time was SU vs WVU when the Carrier Dome first opened (I'm dating myself). I had a falling-out with my boyfriend's mother, so I had to sit outside the stadium and listen to the game on the radio while they watched it inside. It was STILL a great game!!

Nancy P said...

I had a falling-out with my boyfriend's mother, so I had to sit outside the stadium and listen to the game on the radio while they watched it inside.

I have to laugh. That must have one tough broad.

Beth said...

Psychotherapist. Totally nuts. We had lived together for 5-6 years at that point, when she decided to attack me (John was going to Antarctica for 6 months, and she didn't deal with her emotions well, so she attacked me instead of telling him she'd miss him) late one night in a hotel in Maine. I was 26, and could only lay there in my jammies and stare at her, shaking as she accused me of catering to men because I passed food to her husband instead of her at dinner - called me manipulative and I don't even remember what else - she went on about for 45 minutes. She WAS (and continues to be) a mean old broad. We didn't speak again for many years. And his current wife tolerates her, I believe. John and I are still great friends!

Nancy P said...

Wow, how very unpleasant. Was it John and his wife you visited a while back this year?

Nice interception!

Beth said...

A VERY nice interception!!

I did see them when I passed through Syracuse this summer. His wife is wonderful, and John and I are still very close. Two great kids, too. John and I split after 7 years, agreeing that we'd be better friends than partners. And it's turned out to be true, though I believe we both wonder sometimes if we did the right thing. We had wonderful times, and a lot of fun together. Ski bummed in Aspen, lots of road trips, discovered Coeur d'Alene together. Now he has a real job at Cornell, and offers encouragement and support for my continuation of our lifestyle from the sidelines.

boran2 said...

Giving added meaning to FM's most recent post, my timing is off once again.

Nancy, just keep doing what you've done so far. Your blog is a meeting place for many, a fact demonstrated to me daily when I post comment number 50 or 60 in the thread. ;-)

Beth said...

We look forward to your summing things up for us each evening, boran! The day is complete once you check in.

Nancy P said...

Thank you, b2. I'm thinking I'll do that. It has helped me today to hear most people say essentially what you did.

It was a treat to see you around more the last couple of days, but it's also a treat to end each day with a boran2 comment. :) Thanks for making the effort at the end of your long days.

Nancy P said...

Poor OU.

::crocodile tears::

Beth said...

Lesser - and better - teams than them (they?) have made the same mistake - underestimating a team. Assuming they had the game won.

The second half might change, depending on how much the coach can inspire his team in the locker room.

And KU plays tomorrow night! We can root for the same team!

Nancy P said...

Yep. Arkansas certianly underestimated MU.

Don't tell katiebird, but I fear for KU. They're a fine team, but I just don't think they've been tested enough this year. Well, regardless, it's a learning experience for next season. I hope they surprise me. I'd love it if they won.

Beth said...

My lips (fingers?) are sealed. I wonder where she is tonight...

It's been that kind of a season. On any given Sunday...

Nancy P said...

She has a really bad earache. I think she retired early.

Now we see what OU's made of. And how good their coach is at half time.

Beth said...

He'll have to be a miracle worker - 11 rushing yards...

I'm sorry she doesn't feel well - an earache - ick. :-(

Nancy P said...

I know! 11 yards! That's unbelievable.

I want to keep watching, but I think I'll take my back to the shower. Maybe by the time I get out they'll have 12 years. ;)

Beth said...

I'll be here, hoping they have -11!

Beth said...

Oh no, I'm sorry, Nancy. KU is playing VT. I always root for VT. And a couple of my friends here (Brad and Michelle, the ones who adopted me in Key West) are VT fans, so I HAVE to root for them.

Sorry!

OU looked good for a few minutes after the half, but faded quickly.

Nancy P said...

Ah, I fell asleep!

Beth said...

You didn't miss anything. Hope your back is better today! Thanks for watching the game with me. Same time tonight? :-)

Rick Bylina said...

So I'm slow to the party. Thanks for all the writing fish. Here's hoping the mice and dolphin don't leave the building with Elvis in 2008. It's much too fun to watch from afar or drop in for a cup of hot joe.

And thanks for the note of encouragement for 2008.

Nancy P said...

Beth, that was fun! I wish I could do the same tonight, but I promised to go watch with some Jayhawks. I kind of dread it, in case KU gets creamed, 'cause they take it verrrry seriously.

Nancy P said...

"writing fish"

!! lol, Rick.
I originally typed, "Rock," probably cause you do. Thanks for dropping by regularly with your briefcase full of wit.

Beth said...

Well, I'll be rooting for VT, so you can imagine that you hear me hollering when they WHUP KU!

(Sorry kb!) :-)

Hope you have fun!

FARfetched said...

The Dawgs sure did stun Hawaii, didn't they? I'm generally a Georgia Tech fan, I went to Michigan Tech and sort of adopted the local engineering college, but UGA has been kind of ignored in the last few years (at the national level).

Off to the new post....