Friday, May 20, 2016

Sense and Sensibility

The Dollbabies House Rental
I spent last week renting a house with a group of wonderful women writers in Virginia Beach. This annual event has been going on for about fifteen years. I’m not an original though. My connection with the talented author Terri-Lynne DeFino procured me an invite about seven years ago. I’ve been going ever since to what’s called, “Dollbabies Week.” And, yeah, there is a meaning behind the name “Dollbabies.” But too much wine and too many heady trips around the sun have excised this obviously important fact from memory. So the meaning of the name eludes me, but not the meaning of the week. We get together to write.

A week of writing at the beach with a bunch of talented women who respect what it takes to write. Yep. It’s pretty damn awesome. During the day the loudest noises are typically the clicking of keyboards. And an occasional text squawk from Terri-Lynne’s phone followed by her shaking her head at whatever her husband has sent and a lovingly whispered, “Oh, Frankie D.”  Even without knowing what has transpired, the women in the room laugh. Seriously, there should be a book about Frankie D’s exploits. Actually, I think there kind of is. It’s called Finder. 

This week was typical. In that the group of women all quietly wrote during the day and at night drank wine and laughed and made crafts and howled at the moon. Literally howled. And, of course, we did the occasional cartwheel. via GIPHY

On one of the days, I had set a goal for myself of 5000 words. I met the goal around ten at night. Wine had been opened. The group of us sat around on the brown leather couches framing the great room. I had my laptop on my lap, and I was pseudo-paying attention to the conversation. If you’re a writer or married to a writer you know what I mean.

Geri (left), Me (right) pseudo paying attention.
Though I had little left in the tank, I began to exceed my word-quota. That’s when I realized I wasn’t “writing” anymore. I was just throwing words onto the page, going off on tangents, and taking seedy alleyways to nowhere just to make sure I could fill up another page. I stopped myself with this thought, “Now, you’re just making stuff up.”

I shut my computer. Later when I told the ladies my line, "Now, you're just making stuff up", they all laughed. And, sure, it’s funny. Because isn’t that what writers do—we make stuff up?

But here’s the interesting part, I meant what I said. And even though it wasn’t verbalized, I believe the ladies knew what I meant. You see, yes, writers make things up, but that doesn’t mean we just fling things willy-nilly at the page. For me at least-- pardon my reach, Jane Austen--writing needs to combine sense and sensibility. 

Sensibility would be the feeling of a story. That feeling of casting out a line and sensing, before even the first tug, the weight of having a fish on the line. It means that even when I’m making things up there are internal breadcrumbs to follow, a thread of an idea, a bit of visual string that reels in the fish or leads me through the labyrinth of my story. 

Labyrinth is a good way to put it. Because there are a lot of places to get sidetracked, lost, stuck in story. And that’s where sense comes into play its part. 

Writing can't be led by my ego--a place to dump, sort, and expose my mental trash or treasures. It’s a skill. For me, writing must come from a place that weaves conscious and creative with subconscious prompts. That place where knowledge combines with my internal and emotional guidance system.

The more I think about this, the more I realize this lack of sense and sensibility is the reason, more often than not, my earlier works sucked. 

In my earliest attempts at writing, I had either been too much in my head. Too much into the mechanical, worried about how things appeared on the page, worried about my grasp of writing craft. I hadn’t incorporated these skills yet, so I was always flailing out, searching for them without allowing my sensibilities to feel the story. via GIPHY
Conversely in some instances I wasn’t in my head enough, because I hadn’t learned the skills, so I didn’t realize they were missing. I wasn’t conscious of the fact that making things up, putting words on the page wasn’t writing for others. I thought because I “felt” the story, scene, the character, the setting or the theme that those things transferred automatically onto the page. Nope. For me, it doesn’t work that way.

For me, communication is hard work. Writing is hard work. And expressing the ideas rolling around in my head requires a great balancing. Sense and sensibility. It requires knowledge of pacing and emotions and character, how words play to an audience, invoke ideas, or obscure them. It also requires knowing when to let go and let myself follow that tug on the end of the line. That’s the magic of writing.

So what I meant when I said “Now you’re just making stuff up” was that I had lost that interior thread of the story and in addition was no longer even using skill. I was throwing things willy-nilly at the page--unconcerned with if it contributed or was aligned with character, mattered to pacing or the story, or even made sense in the context of the story. But that isn’t writing that communicates. I can’t just make things up. I need to put form to made up things.  via GIPHY

 In case you’re wondering, I didn’t "make up" this idea about writing either. When I borrowed "sense and sensibility" from Jane Austen it was to express something I’d been taught. Although not in the same words, I’d been told about flow, juggling balls, and walking the line between craft and imagination in numerous ways by numerous writing teachers. I’d heard about these things, but back then I didn’t understand it.

It wasn’t until I learned what I needed to know about craft, until I made mistakes, committed serious writing crimes, failed and failed again that I understood it. Once I understood it and had practiced what I needed to know about writing--enough that it became second nature--I could do it. Not as well as some people mind you. I constantly have things I work on, need to learn or relearn. But I can tell a story now. And, really, that’s what I set out to do. Not just make things up.

I’m happy to report that all this hard work toward balancing sense and sensibility has earned my latest novel, Warrior Women: The Fall of Justice a place as a finalist in the Daphne du Maurier Awards for excellence in Mystery/Suspense. Good luck to all my fellow finalists! The winners will be announced in San Diego during the Death by Chocolate ceremony. Num. Chocolate. Death. So. Good.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Angel's Landing

They call it "hiking" up Angel's Landing in Zion National Park, Utah. It did seem like hiking. Well, the first two miles did. The path was wide and rocky with creepy tarantulas, but once we trekked up those two miles, everything changed. That's when I faced a rocky outcrop and a few inches of space to navigate around it to avoid a sheer drop. There was a chain embedded in the stone outcrop to help people inch my way to the other side.  
I quickly realized if my fingers slipped from the steel embedded into the red rock, not a chance since I had a cadaver's grip on it, I would drop to my death. I guess it's the same with life--you're moving along at a brisk pace thinking you have everything under control and then the trail takes a dangerous turn and you find yourself plodding forward with the unmistakable knowledge that yes, you are going to die. And not in your sleep. You are going to plummet off the side of a mountain while your husband and son watch in disbelieving horror. 

That's exactly what I thought would happen. But I didn't die. I made it around the outcrop and looked out over mountains stretching into the distance. I shared a smile with my husband and son and said,"Angel's Landing is beautiful." My  husband laughed loudly, pointed up and up a huge mountain in the distance (Partial image below), and said, "No. This isn't Angel's Landing. That is."

Thanks for image!
"I'm not doing that," I said vehemently. And to make my point even more forceful I sat down on the mountain, shaking my head. My husband and son laughed. I saw no humor in the situation. In fact, I was perfectly willing to wait there all day until they came back. Problem was, they refused to go without me. Mom guilt. Is there anything worse? I watched and waited with them as people came back from the trail or went up it. My husband and son kept trying to convince me I could do it. I started to consider it. I even spoke to a girl that couldn't have been more than sixteen as she made her way back. She said it wasn't that hard if you held onto the chains. With my husband and son looking on hopefully, I decided I had to try.
My legs feeling wholly inadequate, I started across the rocky bridge that led to the ascent. I was so terrified that I alternatively cursed and called to God softly in Spanish. I don't speak Spanish with any sense of comprehension, but thanks to a bold and brash aunt and a devote mother, I can curse and pray in Spanish. At this point, my son saw my wobbly walk and started to worry for me. He began to hike to the side of me, on his tiptoes since space was limited, holding out his arms to catch me in case my legs gave way.

I was horrified.

Now just so you don't think I'm talking about a ten year old here. Below is a picture of my very capable son at Angel's Landing. Well, capable of getting himself up the mountain. I knew if he kept doing what he was doing, when I slipped and fell off the mountain, yes I had accepted my inevitable death at this point, that he was going to die as well. I did what any mother would do to protect her child. I lied. 

"I'm fine," I told my son, making a point to tell him he was disrupting my balance with his attempts to protect me. Then I ground my jaw to keep any more rogue Spanish from escaping my lips. My husband seemed to have had no doubt about my abilities. He led the way, looking back with a big, confident grin. Spanish curses would've come in handy for the feelings that went through me when I saw that stupid grin. Oh well, onward and upward. You know, until the drop. I continued up the mountain, crouched low the whole way, like it would hurt less if I was crouched rather than standing up when I fell 1200 feet off a mountain. I had to convince myself to keep going many times, and nearly doubled back when passing the yellow plastic warning tape that looked remarkably like police caution tape. (I later found out a person had slipped off at that exact spot two weeks before.) 

Alive at the top!
To my complete astonishment, I made the top. I was dumbfounded and overjoyed at having survived, and as I proceeded down the mountain, and came across two very frightened Japanese men, I cheered them on. Cheered them on as they passed about a centimeter from me--there isn't a lot of room on the trail, so if someone is passing, you get friendly. One of the Japanese men looked me right in the eyes and said in broken English, "I so scary." Oh boy did I get that. It hadn't been too long ago, that I had been so scary too. I told him it wasn't much further and that he could do it!
As I continued down the path--which seemed infinitely less terrifying--I heard my husband remark on the gentleman that had just passed. He said cheerfully, "That's the cutest thing I've ever heard a man say." I couldn't help but laugh as I decided to forgive my husband for his flagrant confidence and lack of understanding when it came to us pragmatic, barely bilingual cowards. He had, after all, escaped near death with me. Even if he didn't realize it. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Meet Me At The Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood!

I was fortunate enough to be a finalist in the 2015 Golden Heart and with that comes some amazing opportunities. Please follow me over to the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood where I've done a guest blog post!

Hint, it's all about women. Women who are strong in many different ways. You might recognize one or two of them!


Thursday, June 4, 2015

A Night on Lake Nockamixon

After months of living in a tiny, crowded apartment near a train station--that lovingly provides a two am wake-up call-- we are finally in our new home.

On the lake.
Double yay!!

This week has been amazing. And tiring. Not only because moving is hard, but because of the rain. Turns out it's muddy here.

Yeah, I knew this. In a way you know something about a place you don't live at--or parenting when you don't actually have kids. With arrogance and a loose understanding of day to day life in a mud pit. (Not that I'm complaining. It's worth it. I'll take the mud. On my hands. Boots. Car. Kids. Floors. Hand towels. Dog. Cat. Yep. Worth it.)

So last night I was exhausted. Mud. Moving. Shit everywhere. Interior of my car has more of my clothes in it than my dresser, and the Internet still doesn't work exhausted.

What do you do when you're exhausted and you're cleaning up after dinner? Yep. I had some wine.

As I was cleaning my kitchen, drinking my wine, and looking out at the lake, I realized I had to make a choice. I could let the exhaustion claim me, keep me nestled inside. Or I could trudge through the mud to the shed, haul my kayak down to the lake, and do what my aching back considered impossible.

And stupid.

Kayak on the lake at night.

But it was quickly getting dark out. Creepy things troll the dark lake waters. Every kid knows that. I debated. And decided to do the dumb thing.

Because life is never perfect. If I waited for it to be sunny and dry and for the house to be clean and unpacked and for me to have a boat load of energy, I was going to have maybe one or two good experiences on the lake.

But if I pushed past the exhaustion and mud, I could MAKE good experiences despite the imperfect.

So I thwuk, thwuked through the mud to the shed, wrestled the kayak out of the shed, dragged it past the still in place silt fence, and down the muddy banks to the water.

It was full dark when I put the kayak into the water. But the moment I sat inside and pushed into the lake, I knew I had done the right thing.

Wow. Here's where I get weird. Nature weird. Turn your head and avoid eye contact weird.

Cradled in the kayak, there was peace and warmth. And I'm pretty sure the lake hugged me. All my tired thoughts fell away. It wasn't who I was, but what I was that suddenly mattered.  Action. Stillness. Awareness. Being present without trying. Yes. Home.

 My paddle rippled the black silk water as I glided forward. It was too cloudy for a moon or stars. Didn't need them. I could see the outline of the lake and distant homes. My iPhone played softly. No one else was about.

It was beautiful. And I wasn't just happy that I made the decision to go out on the lake at night, by myself, after 2.5 glasses of wine. I was rewarded.

You know that feeling? It's like the hidden world spoken about by mystical poets reveals itself to you. And at the same time shows you that you are one with it. It's that holy shit, no words, body suffused with wonder and joy and peace moment.

So last night, I relearned what I knew. And what I've heard a thousand times. No time like the present.

And I learned that if I want to have more nights like that one, more experiences that are filled with wonder, I need to make things simple. I need to use small words, instead of big excuses.

Go. Do. Be.

Thanks, Lake Nockamixon.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Magic City Writing and Me

One of the coolest things about being a finalist for the Golden Heart is meeting new people. Not only have I had the opportunity to be on a private GH list where everyone introduces themselves, shares personal stories, triumphs, obstacles, and encourages everyone, but people randomly  pop up and offer to promote me and my work. And not just me, but all of my fellow GH Finalists. I'm doing a blog post early in July on Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood, and this week I'm on Magic City Writing.

Aw, thanks Heather and Magic City Writing! 

Yep, I'm there along with the wonderful and talented people in the YA category of RWA's Golden Heart.

There's six books that finaled, but only five finalists. Stephanie Winkelhake had two books final. Woot! And all of the finalists' books sound so wonderful. For example, Julie Glover's Sharing Hunter"When best friends Rachel and Chloe decide to share a boyfriend their senior year, they risk ridicule, romance, and a rivalry that could destroy their friendship."

And the writers are amazing too. For example, T.L. Summer...."She holds both a B.S. and M.S. in business from Villanova University where she ran cross country and track on a full athletic scholarship." 

Wow. Guess I won't be challenging her to a race. I'm lucky to be included among such talented women. But you should check out the blog yourself. So without further ado or awkward self promotion, here's a link to the entire feature on Magic City Writing!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Should You Enter A Writing Contest?

Me. Somewhere in Death Valley, CA
Sometimes being a writer can feel like trying to navigate your way through a vast, dry and endless place. That's why writers so often seek advice or opinions from others. If you’ve been anywhere near the writer’s advice circuit, you’ve undoubtedly heard, “Writers need to get their work out there.” Along with this obvious wisdom, sage writers like to throw out a list of ways you can get your work out there. Join a critique group, submit to different magazines, blog, join Wattpad, and enter writing contests are just a few. When I first started my MFA program at Stonecoast, I heard most of these things. And I eagerly jumped into the fray, slamming ragged fingernails against the submit button and eagerly marking the date for first round judging. I quickly discovered I wasn’t contest ready. Not that my work wasn’t contest ready—it wasn’t but that’s a separate issue—but I didn't know how to evaluate feedback, how to assess the benefits of entering, or how not to take things personally. Below are a few questions I should've asked myself before hitting submit.

Are You Easily Offended?

Okay, be honest now. When you ask a friend how you look in your shiny new duds and he/she pauses to consider, do you scowl, gasp in horror, burst into tears, brandish a fist, or run from the room? If so, you might want to step away from the submit button on that contest form. If you're going to enter a contest and then go on a rant about how the judges are stupid, no one appreciates your genius, and you’ve worked so hard on this thing already, you’re not, yet, thick skinned enough to enter a contest.
Now some people will tell you if you're easily offended, you have signed onto the wrong profession and get out now. You know, I don’t think that’s accurate. You can toughen your skin and learn through more gentle means first—a writer’s critique group, online courses that are supportive—Savvy Authors has some great ones, and there are a lot of good books on writing that can help improve your writing. There's nothing wrong with sticking a toe in the water first, especially if that's your temperament. Some people really like the fire. The onslaught of criticisms makes them rise to the challenge, but if you're not that person, wait. You'll get there. And you'll know when you're there if you can tell shit from Shinola. 

Tall tale or shiny truth?

If you’ve been around this blog before, you might recall a post I did titled Why so Many Good Writers Can’t Write. In the article, I spoke about the crisis that can come from opening your writer-self up to too much criticism and opinions. Basically, when we first start writing we don't know how to tell good advice from bad or even when valuable criticism doesn't actually come with a valuable solution. It happens. That's why you, as a writer, need to learn to develop discernment.  

"Discernment is necessary in order to sift through the wealth of information and advice you are bound to get when you share your work with others." 

You can learn more about discernment HERE, a post inspired by a friend having a writing crisis. After I wrote that post, I was amazed by the number of close writing friends who thought that I was speaking about them. It struck home with that many people! The truth is that when you first start writing, you are desperate for advice, desperate to learn the correct way to do things, and that can make you too eager. So before you enter a writing contest, mill around in the writing world, read well-regarded writing books, attend workshops either online or in person, READ your market--for God's sake read to have a basic understanding of genre before you open yourself up to criticism that could ultimately do more harm than good. Once you've done this, if you still want to move forward, make sure you can afford to lose. 

Can You Afford to Lose?

What do you mean I didn't win!
Just because you're in a position to discern good or bad advice doesn't mean that losing a contest won't sting. It will. Rejection stings. And that is part of the business. So make sure to ask yourself, honestly, if the loss of this contest will hit you too hard. Will you be so devastated by a loss that you can't function for weeks? If that's the case, if that loss is going to keep you from completing your WIP, if it's going to make you go back and fix things when you should be going forward then it really might not be worth it. Yet. Wait until you get to the end of that novel before you start submitting your first 25 pages. See where your own creative process takes you first, before you add other opinions. Of course, in many cases you're putting out more than just your delicate ego. 

Should you enter a contest that charges a fee? A lot of people say no. And, ultimately, the answer will be determined by your own deep pockets, but a fee based contest can be worth the price of admission. There are some bad contest out there, but often good, reputable groups charge fees in order to raise money for the chapter. If the contest is well regarded and there are good prizes or at least the payoff of having your work critiqued, it could be worth the expense. Consider the fact that many online writing workshops, like the very excellent ones run by Margie Lawson, Savvy Authors, and Dean Wesley Smith charge for their classes and feedback. A writing contest can be it's own learning experience, though on a much smaller and less reliable scale. If you're okay with that and have twenty-five bucks to plop down on a well-regarded contest, then go for it. If you don't have the money to burn, but can afford to put some money into learning, you might want to check out some of the sites I mentioned. 

If you're secure with your answers to the questions raised so far then the last thing to consider is the payoff.  

What’s the Payoff?

What's in this climb for me?
Okay, here's where I fess up to having run writing contests and participated in judging these contests. When I did this, I gave the best advice I could for my knowledge at the time. Yep, that means that I didn't always give the best advice. But I wasn't the only judge and a critique from me wasn't a prize. We had experienced judges for our finalists, cash prizes, and gave our winners and finalists free publicity. Those are important benefits. So before you enter a contest just for the sheer fun of being able to say you won one, consider what the payoff will be. Are the judges well-known? Are the final judges an agent or editor that represents/publishes your genre?  Do the other prizes matter to you? What kind of name recognition will you get from it? And does the contest have an association with a good writing group—RWA, MWA, SCBWI, or the like? If the answers are yes, and you’re not easily offended, can afford to lose, and know how to tell shit from Shinola then go for it! If the contest offers feedback and connections, you really have little to lose. I’ve gotten some really amazing feedback from contests and recently became a finalist in RWA's Golden Heart . Woot! In addition, I placed first and second in the Pages From The Heart Contest. Woot, Woot! In both cases, the contests related to a well-respected writing organization, had great prizes, established judges, publicity, and I received some fantastic advice from the chapter volunteers. 

Friday, April 24, 2015


This STOP sign in my town was originally vandalized to say, "STOP TRYING". The township painted over the "TRYING" many times. But the vandal was more persistant than his message would lead you to believe. He kept repainting the "TRYING" part. Finally, a neighborhood optimist decided the graffitti couldn't stay that way. The optimist painted "NEVER" over the "STOP TRYING". It's been that way for a year now. For some reason the township isn't rushing to change this one. And the vandal? Looks like he stopped trying.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Golden Heart® Finalist!

Woohooo! My YA novel, Mind Traveler, has been selected as a Golden Heart® Finalist ! For those of you who don't know,  Romance Writers of America® holds the RITA and Golden Heart contest every year to showcase the work of published and unpublished romance writers. I'm so excited and honored to be chosen. The event itself is huge with over 3000 people attending. And there's a Jumbotron. Okay, if you hadn't though this contest was a big deal, I'm sure the mention of a Jumbotron has convinced you.

Yeah, it's Jumbotron big news! Now I need to get a professional author photo, so when they read my name and flash my photo on the Jumbotron in front of thousands of industry professionals there's not bread, fridge magnets, and dirty dishes in the background! Thanks, RWA®!! This is how I excited I feel:

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Life of A Princess

I'm currently reading Holly Black's, The Darkest Part of The Forest. I love Holly's work. I have ever since reading my youngest son The Spiderwick Chronicles. Judging by her photo she was ten when she wrote those. So, yes, the love of her work has morphed into a one-sided fangirl infatuation. She makes my heart beat really fast. Oh, Holly Black, stop trying to seduce me with your wonderful writing! No wait. Don't stop.

One of the many great things about Holly's work is the fun way she twists fairytales. In The Darkest Part of The Forest, she gender bends Sleeping Beauty. The cursed person in a glass coffin is a prince, but not just any prince, "...a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointy as knives." A pointy headed prince sleeping in a glass coffin in the woods while tourist snap pictures and teens drink and twerk around it, I'm so there. I do feel kind of bad for the prince stuck in a glass case, but woman have been putting up with that shit for centuries.

In fact, the princess always gets cursed. It sucks to be a princess. Which reminds me of a post I did way back when on why it sucks to be a princess. It was based on something my youngest son said to me after we watched Shrek.

"A princess's life sucks. They always have a curse on them."

It's true. Being cursed into a glass coffin is just one of the reasons it sucks to be a princess. There are more. Yep, repost, but an updated version. Here are the top ten reasons I've come up with why you never want to wear a tiara or glass slippers.

10. Unreliable transportation: You never know if your coach is going to poof back into a pumpkin, your horses shrink back into mice, one of your flying dragons will turn back into a cold blooded killer, or if your handy hair ladder will be sliced off.
9. You Attract The Wrong Kind of Attention: When you're a princess, people want you. Mostly dead or trapped. All you've got to entertain yourself as you cower from despots is your lovely singing voice. Unfortunately, you're not alone. You can't belt out a song without dwarves, beast, ogres, nosey princes, or furry woodland creatures turning up. Rarely do they have any sense of personal hygiene. You know who's going to end up cleaning that mess.

8. No Walk in the Park: When a princess goes for a rejuvenating walk in the woods she has to  be on the lookout for woodsmen with axes, homes with spindles, seductively persuasive frogs, and cursed cakes with the power to anthropomorphize momma bears.  
7. Too Much Alone Time: I know some of you might be thinking this goes in the plus column, but I beg to differ. Not only do mice have grating voices, but crabs are crabby, and towers are downright drafty places. Plus there's usually only one way out of a tower--the window. Do you have any idea how long it takes to grow a ponytail suitable for climbing? Yeah, I thought not.
6. Waiting to be Rescued: Is there anything more boring than waiting for someone to rescue you from a fire breathing dragon? Those are long days, baby. It's like waiting for your husband to bring home food from McDonalds when the kids are all whiny and complaining. And you just know he's sitting in the parking lot eating a burger and listening to sports radio.
5. Rented Clothes: Sure, the fairy godmother will grant you a cool set of duds, but don't be mistaken these babies are not yours for the keeping. The moment you think you look hot and the prince is coming in for some action, the clock strikes twelve, and you're left standing in your ratty old Fruit of the Loom.
4. Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful: Kelly Lebroc and Pantene aren't the only ones that need this handy catch phrase. When you're a saucy princess your cougar of a step-mother wants you dead. Curses, poison, axe murderers, she's not messing around. She's got a taste for younger men, and she's not putting up with them coveting your hot ass.
3. Fruit is The Enemy: We've all had the craving for a nice juicy apple now and again, but when you're a princess these health conscious tendencies could mean your death. Hint, if you're a princess and really need to try a piece of fruit, take small, delicate bites.
2. Men On White Stallions: Men on white stallions have an overblown sense of ego. There is a reason Beast was turned into well, a beast. He was kind of an ass. Trust me on this girls, go for the guy walking with the donkey. Go for Shrek. He might be gross, but he's reliable.
1. There's Always A Curse On You: If it isn't that you're turned into a swan or an ogre at night, you're trapped in a tower, shooting frost from your fingertips, passed out from pricking your finger on a spindle, or sleeping with dwarves. Sheesh.

Yep, the life of a princess ain't easy. And, as is it turns out, neither is the life of a prince. But that's another post for another time.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Checked Twice. It's Still Winter.

At the beginning of the season--way back in December--I was determined to not only survive winter, but enjoy it. How's it going? So far so good! Honestly, I wish I could say that was all due to me staying positive, but that would be a horrible lie that might make those suffering through this winter feel bad. The truth is--for this area at least--last winter was much worse. So while my friends in Boston brace to break their worst-winter-ever record, we outside Philly thank God we're not them.

It is cold though. Arctic cold. So whenever I go out for a run I bundle up. Some days, laundry days, I have to scrounge for things to wear outside to keep me warm. That happened yesterday. I almost didn't have the courage to step outside. I looked not just weird, but Punky-Brewster weird. (Have you seen Punky lately? Whoa. She grew up.) So, of course, I took a picture and went out. It turns out that the honey badger isn't the only animal that doesn't give a shit.

I'm not fast. I'm not stylish. But I'm still going. And so is winter. I checked. Twice.

In case you're wondering what it has looked like out there, here are some photos from my runs this winter.