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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Even the Sorrows are Gifts

I don’t mind admitting that it has been a brutal year and I am certainly glad to see it go.

There were good moments. Some great, in fact! But, at the same time, it has been an uphill struggle for a better part of the year and with little to show for it.

This year felt like being stuck in a bad marriage to a traveling salesman: cheap, boring, with enough simmering resentment to fuel bad poetry.

I exaggerate, of course. I am a writer. I have an inherent need to dramatize, to tweak, and then to give it a noir shine…

If I simply told you that there have been some challenging months where all I did was apply for dozens of jobs (full time and freelance) and got little yield… Who cares? Everybody has a period like that. But a bad marriage to a traveling salesman? You’ll remember that!

So, yes, there have been lean times, but also awesome opportunities, creative surges, and hope that everything will balance out in the end.

At the end of this strange year, I am grateful for freelancing to keep me afloat, creative juices to keep me writing, and great friends who make the journey so much more fun.

I’ve pulled some shorter works from the online bookstores (the works still exist in compilations). I have reformatted every book and added updated back matter to all.

For those interested, there are a few new covers:

I also reformatted the cookbook (e-book version only) and I think flows better. It is slightly re-edited, but the recipes remain the same.

The biggest update has been in reference to the Food Goddess blog. I have created companion pieces for some of the entries (it started with the piece about butter). I’m still working on the updates to the blog itself, but you may find new and fantastic curated boards here (you can click on each image to link to it):

Happy holidays to those who celebrate and here’s hoping 2015 brings us all health, fortune, and more joys than not! And the sorrow? Make art out of the sorrows!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Managing Bookmarks

In my research, during my travels, and as part of different ongoing projects, I will sometimes come across articles, blogs, books, periodicals and other resources that I may not need immediately but will at a later time.

With Chrome and other browsers, you can type in a word into the address bar, and get a list of relevant bookmarks and possible search options. To match your bookmarks, it is contingent on you making sure the search terms are part of the link’s name (because the thing you are looking for may not always be part of the URL).

I know somebody who literally collects bookmarks “for future reference.” There is nothing wrong with this, but if you do not curate your lists, you will make it virtually impossible to find what you need. Ever.

I have hundreds of bookmarks! If I need something, I cannot open each and every link. That’s not efficient. And you know after the first dozen, if you managed to stay focused that long, you’ll lose your train of thought.

The best thing, I find, is that if you use good SEO in filing and naming links, you’ll need not spend much longer than if you Google it.

At the moment, I have folders on Writing, Business & E-commerce, E-book Marketing, Learning, Research (General), and Resources (Art, Cover, Fonts). There are more, but not all writing-related.

Each new project I start gets its own folder, so that I can refer to my personal repository of data when I need it. I also create a document with links (but am not as consistent about maintaining it).

I have also created Pinterest secret boards of links that I will use as research for current and upcoming writing projects. I’ve written about these, and suggested that you may release these after you publish (for fun, for book clubs, as part of the ongoing conversation with your readers).

If you prefer to synch your data, you can save bookmarks to Google.  

For a few minutes every once in a while you can be your own sexy librarian.

I find it particularly helpful to review my bookmarks from time to time – create new folders, move links, check the viability of sites and content, etc… Clean house!

Sometimes in managing your links, you will find new content to bookmark. You can let go of the lessons you’ve already mastered.

Do you have to do this? Of course not! It is, in my opinion, an excellent aid to help you reach clarity in your search for inspiration and help you feed your creativity.

This is also possible in the midst of chaos. It’s just a different experience and a whole new story. 

How do you manage the variety of articles, sites, artifacts, blogs, pieces of art or music that you use for each book?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

December is for Revisions

Another year, another 50,000 words. This year it was a little difficult to get through the last 10,000 words. It tripped me up a bit.

I have December to revise and tie it all together, maybe release it as an introduction of the character before I send her into space. The 50,000 words I wrote kept my protagonist earth-bound.

Digging through my early notes when I first chose to do the story and I had different names for the characters and I need to decide whether to keep or change them. I have to say it enough times to see if it sings to me.

Then there is the second volume that follows. The planning for the writing needs to start soon. It helps with continuity (and there is no rule that commits me to it).

Was it fun? Yes. Was it maddening and insane? Yes. Will I do it again? Oh, yes!

It’s about commitment and discipline, confidence and creativity and a combination of craziness and adventure.

No day job doesn’t make it easier. In fact, it may fracture your loyalties in ways an 8-10 hour a day job might not. This is because you spend so much time weeding through job boards, updating resumes, tweaking the CV and cover letters…

Then there is the freelancing. I’m thrilled I can get some business, but if you are going to freelance, it requires a thick skin (you will write and rewrite proposals and submit dozens that will never get any response).

These activities take a lot of time and energy!

That does not mean that you let the writing slide. It means you have to readjust to what time you have for yourself and dedicate some of it to writing. But write you must: it is therapy and escape.

It is also a way to hone your craft, so you keep doing until you come close to a high level of excellence.

December is for revisions in other ways too: besides tweaking NaNoWriMo manuscripts, it is the last ditch to salvage the year or improve on the good stuff to end the year on a high note!

Do all your holiday shopping at Smashwords and Amazon

I need to release new work, and I have plenty of work to do: some writing, mostly edits, and a lot of transcription! But for those new to my work, I did create new PDFs for Justified, One Night with B.B., Chronicles of Ash, The Scent of Honeysuckle, Remembrance of Dingbats, and Kali, The Food Goddess: Volumes 1 & 2

Authors ready to publish: if anyone needs help formatting manuscripts to electronic formats (EPUB, MOBI, PDF, etc.) for submission to Smashwords (premium catalogue), Kindle, CreateSpace can check out my professional services page or contact me through elance.

Keep me busy! Help me keep the economy going!  

Monday, November 24, 2014

30 Days of Madness

Every year you take the NaNoWriMo challenge it is a different experience. The manuscript of my first novel was so bad I killed it with fire. The second one resulted in my first published novel. Last year, it was a disaster: I could not finish.

This year I outlined a story and I have followed it to some degree, but it’s very “first drafty” and I know that a lot of it will not survive rewrites. One wants the words that flow to be beautiful and poetic, and ready for publication!

(I know. I know!)

The ongoing joke, as I shared my status with friends, was that I had not yet used the unicorn. This is the idea that if everything else falls apart, you can always add a unicorn.

Magic and fantasy changes everything.

Last night, as a joke I threw in a unicorn reference… There is a festival taking place and the headlining act is a cover band called Monkeys on Unicorns.

The ensuing comments after I announced the unicorn development resulted in the following dialog (shortened here) which made me laugh out loud:

“At any rate,” Gábor was saying, “after I figured what it was, I was almost disappointed because there just was no way these guys could improve on my first assumption. But it’s not a bad band, I liked them.” 
“Why disappointed?” she asked. “I don’t understand.” 
“Well, when you called, I thought you said we’d go watch monkeys on unique corns.” 
“Monkeys on Unicorns,” she corrected. 
Gábor raised an eyebrow and said, “You say that like it’s supposed to be perfectly logical. Monkeys with Razor Blades makes more sense! Monkeys Wearing Boots makes more sense.” 
“Don’t you know what a unicorn is?” 
“Yes,” he said, annoyed. “And no…” 
“Explain, please.” 
“I did not discover children’s stories until I entered school,” Gábor said. “And I rejected most of them as ridiculous. My education, therefore, is rather incomplete in terms of whimsy.” 
He was standing over her as her swing came to a full stop. 
“Well, what did you think monkeys on unique corns would be?” 
“Monkeys riding perfectly cylindrical ears of corn,” he said a little too quickly. “Like some retro circus act.” 
The image alone made her let out a belt of laughter that echoed across the park. She threw her head back and the neon colored oval swing began its oscillation, then she kicked at the ground and she was off again.

“So, at what point did you realize it wasn’t going to be that?” 
“I saw their band logo,” Gábor said, crestfallen. “At first I thought it was even better: you know, monkeys on horses; then I looked closer, but without my glasses, and figured the horn could be an ear of corn on a horse’s head, because there was corn! But I quickly realized that was just ludicrous.” 
Maya was laughing so hard she was struggling to hang on and gasping for air.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Writing Life

There is this cool wind of euphoria that comes when you are in the zone and the words are coming fast and furious. There’s clarity and joy, and you write faster than you can even think, it becomes an instinct.

It’s like a drug, but better: it’s legal, has no side effects, and it costs absolutely nothing. 

I think that is part of the allure for NaNoWriMo.

I’m almost in love with the process right now. Almost halfway through the novel and I have yet to stall (or resort to throwing a unicorn in the story to save a failed plot or faulty research).

I say “almost” because along with NaNoWriMo I am spending time writing dozens of cover letters to send with tweaked resumes, as well as dozens of proposals for freelance projects. Making more progress on the novel than the day job search is a little discouraging and balances things out in the joy department.

So life becomes an exercise in patience where I can be fertile in creativity but fruitless in efforts to move ahead professionally, at least for the moment.

Of course, I realize that the moment I start working full time, it will take time off the writing because it will be the bulk of my day. At this point, it looks like it may not be until after the holidays that I find a desk of my own.

What's a little multitasking amongst us girls, right?

That means I need to put more effort into freelancing and I’ve seen many projects cancelled in the last few weeks. It’s brutal! I am getting invited to submit proposals by clients, so it’s not like I am competing with the whole field out there, just the experts. This is excellent and promising, as long as I remain patient.

This is still not a work blog, but the freelancing does involve writing and publishing services.

So, let's review: I have no news, yet, except that I am still in the running because I will not give up. Also, I write, and I love the process.

NaNoWriMo progress: The story has become a side-by-side/alternating tale of the two sisters as they move through life and become stars on their own right – which may not all survive in editing, but is helping me flesh out both characters.

A plot twist suggested itself in dream form last night (yes, I dreamed I was writing). It isn't what I outlined, but I will allow the story to go in that direction because if feels organic to the story as it develops. (Don't you wish life were that easy and malleable some days?)

As long as I remain disciplined and patient, rewards will find me: the words will continue to grace the page, projects will be offered, interviews may start to materialize.

I remain hopeful in all fronts.

Now, what shall I call that unicorn, in case I need one later?

Friday, October 31, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014: the Amapola Press Way

NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow and I have character studies on my protagonist and antagonist for the first half of the book. I have an outline.

There are pictures that guide some of my choices.

There’s even a map!

For those of you participating, you may buddy up at NaNoWriMo and look me up as KaliAmanda.

I’ll have updates of my progress in this space as well as the Amapola Press Google+ page.

Love and the Android
Author: KaliAmanda
Genre: Women's Fiction

Maya Narayan has lived neglected by her parents and under the shadow of her sister Rani since the moment she was born.

Step-by-step she asserts her unique identity, and comes into her own by leaving Earth and taking over the International Space Station (now a private concern as NASA has moved on to interstellar and intergalactic pursuits).

On Earth, she finds a voice, and a new confidence as she prepares to leave the planet by committing her adult life to her work. In space, she finds love -- manifested and experienced entirely through electronic means and, finally, through the aid of artificial intelligence.

Love and the Android is a study in loneliness, empowerment, and sexuality, a compendium on the civil rights of artificial intelligence, the ethics and consequences of using artificial intelligence as surrogates, and life in space...

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Indecision 2014: NaNoWriMo Edition

In two days thousands of crazy creative people will go on overdrive and try to race against the clock and the calendar and themselves, and try to complete a 50,000 novel in 30 days.

I’m still in relative limbo, unsure whether I have it in me or if I even want to do this to myself again.

A couple of days ago, as the Antares rocket launch was scrubbed, a scene played in my head that has been forming for weeks. It may or not serve as the introductory scene to Love and the Android – it has a Halloween and a space theme. It also hints at the overall plot. But it does not call out to me…

I want to say that I have spent the last three weeks outlining and plotting and doing character studies. I’ve done nothing!

Yesterday, the relaunch for the rocket went horribly wrong. Thankfully, it was an unmanned vehicle, but it reminded me of Challenger. I thought of the kids that had gone to see their teacher go up then, and of the kids who were there this week to watch their experiment go up to the ISS.

Worst, I’d contacted an old schoolmate and suggested her boy watch (he likes space science). Would this spur his curiosity so that it cements his passion for it or turn him from it?

There is some drama there, themes that can be explored. Any space-related news is research and usually enticing, evocative, inspiring. And yet, I don’t feel seduced by the idea of jumping head first into this year’s adventure. But it is precisely this that makes me want to do it, because I don’t back down from a challenge.

I’m missing a couple of my cheerleaders this time around and that makes me sad. I didn’t finish the challenge last year and that left a bad taste in my memory. So I’d come into it as an underdog.

There have been several other real life challenges met and fought and survived this past year that had the potential to leave serious scars. Perhaps that has made me a little gun shy, but it is also the reason I ought not sit out NaNoWriMo.

The decision shouldn’t be so hard, but at its core is a woman who wants to be creative but only if she can commit to it in the way others commit to marriage. Not that NaNoWriMo requires all that, so essentially it is pilot error from the get-go, with me getting in the way of me. The writer’s nightmare… 

(This neurosis shouldn’t happen before NaNoWriMo, it’s usually scheduled for late in the second week!)

When the clock strikes 12:01 am on the Day of the Dead, I will start typing my story. The excitement will mount and I simply will not be able to help myself, because no matter what else I may be, deep within my soul resides a writer.

Now, can anyone tell me where I put Grandma’s English/Hindi dictionary? 

Friday, October 10, 2014

NaNoWriMo Upon Us

It is almost mid-October. The temps have begun to subtly decrease—the evenings are cooler. Leaves started turning golden and all sorts of beautifully earthy relatively early this year. It is autumn and a woman’s thoughts turn to NaNoWriMo.

For those of you not aware (where have you been?!), November is National Novel Writing Month and the lunatic fringe gets together (online and in real life) to write 50,000 words.

It is insane and exciting. It is a marathon for the intellect. It’s a challenge of wit and (yes) sanity. Why? Because we love to write; because the creativity is a heavenly high; because it stretches our stamina, our imagination, our personal threshold of je ne sais quoi

It goes beyond a love of language and writing. Participating in NaNoWriMo is about camaraderie (though you certainly can work alone). It tests your endurance even when creativity deserts you. It helps you redefine commitment against overwhelming odds. It allows you to delve deep into yourself and find alternatives to failure (yes, failure: you go in as an underdog!).

Creativity, a sense of honor and a sense of humor all come into play to get through an intense month!

You will not always win the challenge, but you should try.

NaNoWriMo is how I wrote my first novel, Justified, parts of the series for The Chronicles of Ash, and May You Grow Old and Fat

I intend to participate this year. I want to! I start at a distinct disadvantage because I am not only looking for a day job but also trying to procure freelance assignments.

Still the focus required to compete against your own self can be freeing, humbling, and a jolt of energy and self-confidence that is virtually rejuvenating! It’s like falling in love: a whirlwind, a joy, a mystery.

Don’t get me wrong, it can be maddening too. It can be a disaster from the moment you decide to jump in. It can be terrifying—especially when you run out of steam or story and you stare at a blank page or screen and the words won’t come.

So why do this to yourself? It builds character. Character is good.

I now have a couple of weeks to decide, to outline, to plot, to allow myself a tiny bit of whimsy. The question is whether to write a novella based on a new idea:
It's bad enough being charmed by a snake, but realizing it's just a lizard using smoke and mirrors... I mean, that's one talented lizard, but it's still just a scaly thing that eats small insects. 
The alternative is to pick up one of the ongoing projects and expand or renew the concept.

Last year, I started Magic Stilettos. I did not complete the challenge. Poetic Justice is missing the gut of the story in the new world (I have the beginning and the end). May Your Grow Old and Fat began as result of a conversation about child brides and the need to educate girls—perhaps Malala Yousafzai winning the Nobel Peace Prize today is a sign from the Universe to finish that story. 

As some of the writing is already done, this is cheating – unless I rewrite what I have and start anew. (Not unheard of as this is what happened with Justified. I started with one story and wrote another.)
And then there’s Love and the Android, the proposed study of loneliness and sexuality, and the civil rights of artificial intelligence. I have notes and research but nothing written yet.
Decisions, decisions…
The question is will you join us? What will you write about? What worlds will you build? Which characters will be born during your NaNoWriMo? The clock is ticking!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Writing Professional Resignation Letters

Actively searching for work means that your daily reading materials include a lot of writing advice. There are hundreds of thousands of articles that explain step-by-step how to write cover letters, resumes, query letters, status updates on LinkedIn…

The latest article that jumped at me from one of the writing boards explained, in a very simplistic way, how one must compose a professional resignation letter. I also fear this was repurposed from advice written in the mid-20th century and never updated.

I will not link to it here, but Step One was “clearly print the date . . . at the top right hand of the page.” Step Two was that the subject line should be “Resignation Letter.”


After working for two decades, I’ve written a letter of resignation or two.

I’m fairly sure we covered the topic in high school, and also as part of the communications curriculum towards my Associate’s degree.
The letter should generally be brief and to the point, and addressed to your immediate supervisor. The gist is that as of a specific date you will be leaving the company, that you are grateful for the opportunity to have learned whatever you learned at that job, and an offer to help in whatever way possible for a smooth transition.
This gets truly epic at 1:35

Of course, this assumes that you are leaving amicably, and that HR and lawyers are not involved (or federal prosecutors).

There is always a pressing need to remind people it must all be done “professionally” or very bad things will happen!

I always take this advice with a grain of salt because there were two jobs that I resigned from for which I did hand in unconventional resignation letters – of course I had a very cordial relationship with my supervisors (and I also provided a back-up, more sedate note for human resources purposes).

The first included a half page with a fashion design that my editor found hilarious because the note looked like a cover to one of our books (I was working at Fairchild when it was “the” fashion publisher of note in New York).

The second made the marketing director and my publisher chuckle. There were a couple of private jokes involved – our magazine was about to collapse and life had turned into melodrama. We took any opportunity to amuse ourselves. Gallows humor saves the day!

To be fair, I had told my boss I was looking for work and had even shown him the campaign I had sent out (I was trying to branch out of publishing). Well, we were all looking. Nobody wants to go down with the ship, unless it’s the Enterprise! But that may be the geek in my speaking.

After I handed this to my boss and he showed it to his boss, I earned myself a very expensive lunch at the Algonquin. When the opportunity that I left for fell apart before 9 o’clock the first Monday I started the new job, my old boss told me, “Screw it, come back! We’ll just rip off your resignation letter.”

Stupidly, I did not take him up on that offer, but when I started freelancing soon thereafter, I found myself taking contract jobs with him. We worked together on at least three startup projects after that.

Yes, my work ethic, and the results of my efforts while in his employ were contributing factors. But you cannot convince me that the “I WANT A DIVORCE!!!” resignation letter hurt.

Creativity isn’t always the right answer, I know that. And it isn’t 1990 anymore--when we were all younger and care free! Professionalism always wins, but you need to be able to know when a little pizzazz or levity can give you an edge and take it! Writing advice is well and good, but don’t ever allow step-by-step tutorials replace your personality if the position and company you are in allow for individuality.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

It Hit The Fan

Isn’t it the case that the moment you are hit with tons of time, the desire to write goes out the proverbial window!

Of course, the situation is a little more complicated than that last sentence. In the absence of a day job, writing is relegated to a tidy corner of your mind as you are left to ponder your next move in life.

There is an excitement that propels you, but then there is also a bit of panic when the worst-case scenario plays out in your head and then you realize, “Ah the curse of being a writer!” 

That's right: a writer will imagine the worst possible outcome and all its alternatives in exponential horror!

The moment you recognize that your mind is still writing even when you are not, you smile and realize there’ll be another day to fight the good fight. (Just gotta remember to take notes because these details will be used in a story some day.)

The real value of being creative is that you see an end game when others get bogged down in minutiae.

This does not mean that writers are possessed of magic and can come out of vicissitude unscathed. It just means that we view the process in a rather unorthodox way and if we skin our knees in the process, more writing fodder for us!

Until things settle down, I’ll have to rearrange my attitude, my routine, my priorities… For now, I have uploaded the second editions of Because She Was A Woman and Justified at Smashwords.

Getting a day job is the top priority (although writing another short story, even a dark one is a close second). In the meantime, I must remember to take notes.

Far more challenging will be to stay alert and motivated, and use all the time before me productively.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Getting My Groove Back

The day job included some grunt work last week as well as working with invoices that translated to thousands of dollars and require monastic focus to make sure no details are missed when finalizing each step of the process.

Some people find the fact of a day job to the very description above a creativity killer. In my case, it’s a means to an end (it pays the rent, for the most part). Last week, it created an indirect funnel for creativity.

Work itself was not the inspiration, mind you. Being at work and having to adjust to both projects to complete them led me to the path of inspiration.

The grunt work required no intellectual capacity, it was automaton work. I can do that and do it like a robot! If you break it down something, a production line style, you can rely on muscle memory to move from step to step and create a rhythm – so that when you deviate from the rhythm, you can stop, back it up, and fix whatever went wrong.

How does this help creativity? It frees your brain to wander any fantastic realm it wants to inhabit.

Some would use this freedom (from reality and responsibilities) to push the envelope on repressed sexiness. Some would use the opportunity to imagine comebacks to situations they’d lost control of earlier in life. Some can fantasize about things they may not yet have found the courage to do in real life.

But to build these mindscapes in which to operate and manage these reveries, one must be in the right state of mind: It’s a studied meditation of sorts.

For me music sets the mood. It can relax you, it can evoke color, texture, flavor, and it can suggest so much more. To me music is tied to specific memories and emotions and these affect the stories and landscapes in which these stories exist.

Music may also suggest dance, and in turn also affect how the characters interact.

It was music that took me out of the mud and propelled me to write two stories last week.

They are unrelated short stories, and the first is awfully dark. Content is not the object, but that I was able to sit and knock out a couple of short stories.

The second is well-rounded; the first is a rough draft. Ultimately it’s the simple act of writing that, the facility of having words follow other words, sentences turn into paragraphs; characters speaking to others and dialogue flowing; things happening…

It was the creative kick, after weeks focused simply on getting well and getting back to normal.

There are only a couple of stories and there is no particular project plans for it. I wrote. The Muse hasn’t left me. (I need to get back into my RPG but that has been a little more challenging.)

Now, to create a routine until writing feels instinctual again. 

It was a song that got me started on Because She Was A WomanSo, let the music play! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What I Did This Summer

Sometimes I question my sanity.

Then, it is the nature of humanity to experience moments of uncertainty and to wonder if we have what it takes to endure.

But sometimes it is unclear whether I can attribute my reaction to things as strength or the fact that I am a sociopath. Okay, I know that's extreme! I am my worst critic, and besides I do have a conscience.

My concern is more about my emotional health.

I just told somebody I spent three weeks in the hospital and the abject horror in their eyes left me a little confused.

No, everything is okay,” I reassured them.

But it wasn't okay, was it?

I went into the emergency room, voluntarily (a rarity in itself). They admitted me because they were not sure what the hell was wrong with me. For a better part of two weeks my condition was a mystery!

There was a steady stream of specialists coming through my room, each trying to determine whether my malady was part of their collective font of knowledge. 

They poked me every day, bled me daily, they changed my diet three times, they X-rayed me, threw me into a CAT scan machine, then confined me to an MRI machine. And I lived in those hospital gowns that leave your butt exposed.

In the meantime, because I just started this new job, I was missing work and not getting paid at the same time as my insurance was about to end.

And yet, I had no nightmares. I cried exactly twice: the night I was admitted (because I had promised myself that I'd never spend another night in a hospital for as long as I lived); and at the 28-minute mark I found myself trapped in that damned MRI. 

In the first instance, I teared up and felt a great sadness and some fear; in the last, I broke down because even if you are not claustrophobic, the experience is likely to freak you out. It's loud, cold, restrictive, and alienating.

I either took it really, really well, or I am better at compartmentalization than even I suspected.

The only way I could manage was to focus on the immediate problem before me and only on whatever I could control.

You'd think that the potential for drama, comedy, tragedy, quirky behavior and bigger than life personalities would get the creative juices running. It's all there! People in pain, relieved, terrified, overjoyed, at their best, their worst, their most vulnerable...

I managed to read a book, which was about as much escapism as I could handle. My own creativity took a back seat. I am not sure that I will be able to look back at the experience without a jaundiced eye and extract story material.

I am not that strong. But I am good, physically. Mentally and emotionally, I kept it together because I have a stupendous support system and because I couldn't allow myself to fall apart. Other than that, I haven't given it much thought except to question my sanity.

Is there a mini-memoir in that? Probably. 

I haven't put it all in perspective, I've just kept moving through and past it. I'm also not quite ready to look terror in the eye so close to the metaphorical abyss--because the terror was in not knowing and now that we solved the mystery and fixed the problem, there's no emotional baggage to drag around. 

Beyond this, it seems especially important to preserve the privacy and dignity of those who went on the journey with me (some because they wanted to, others because their path traveled through shared roads).

I did take notes for myself, but that required more honesty than creativity. Are these mutually exclusive? I'm not sure, some days they are.

The question is whether I can get back to writing and other creative pursuits. My head isn't in it right now nor is my heart. I want to, but there are other priorities that call to me.

Big girl decisions need to be made and action must be taken.

And that is what I did this summer! And that is where I am headed!