Once we get into February, it’s always the same for me. Utter elation when the sun shines, pervasive gloom when it’s gray, and the urge to do something to hasten spring. Yesterday I had that urge. Of course there’s nothing you can really do to get the leave back on the trees and wake your garden up. But when the birds start singing mating tunes, it feels as though the time for sitting around is over.
So yesterday I got out of the house. I stocked up on birdseed to make sure all those lovely little birds would visit my yard. And, oh, they have. Cardinals and chickadees, downy woodpeckers and white-breasted nuthatches, juncos and house finches. Their energetic hopping and flitting about makes me ready to do the same.
I also stopped by a greenhouse in town and got some little succulents for my petite vintage windowsill planters. Why succulents? They’re easy, they’re cheap, and in the summertime I can re-pot them together in an arrangement and place them outside if I want to. Beyond that, I’m used to getting succulents from the days our cat ate everything else that was green.
Now when I look out my office window toward the bare backyard, I see a preview of green and a tiny world that is busily getting ready for warmer weather. Perhaps I should get busy on my own nest. Someone hand me a sander and a paintbrush…
How I love the cleaning and reorganizing of the first days of a new year. A couple days ago I spent some concentrated time in the sunroom where I’ve been writing. I showed you the space on New Year’s Day, but I did not show you the other side of the room, which, in the cold months, becomes a dumping ground for items with no home.
At the first sign of snow, the outdoor cushions get stashed here. Furniture that must be moved to make way for the Christmas tree ends up here as well, along with random items as diverse as birdhouses and remote control trucks and empty picture frames.
But on New Year’s Day I cleaned it all out and came up with this.
The reason I focused on this area is because my husband and I have been considering the merits of standing desks. It occurred to me earlier in the week that the “pull-down thing,” which is the technical term my husband and I use for any door with hinges on the bottom, would make a perfect standing desk were it accessible.
And it turns out I was right. Just put up the seat bottom of the old pew from my grandmother’s church and pull down the desktop and voila! Now we can easily move from the sitting desk on the south end of the room to the standing one on the north end of the room.
Don’t you just love finding the easy solutions you didn’t know you already had?
This morning I wrote a letter to myself, sealed it in an envelope, and taped it to the December page of my 2014 calendar. On January 1, 2015, I plan to open it. I won’t tell you what it said just yet (maybe I will next New Year’s Day), but in it I made some suggestions and promises to myself. I hope to find that this year next time some hopes and dreams will have come to pass, some goals may be met, and some growth may have occurred.
As for writing goals, this year I have just one–to write, revise, and edit my novel so that, come 2015, I’m ready to query agents. I’ll do other writing-related things, like publish my ebook, The Intentional Writer, and my collection of 2013’s short stories (now planned for June to avoid rights conflicts). I’ll put the individual short stories up on Smashwords for you non-Kindle users. I’ll continue to write in this space.
But the main thing is the novel. I’m quite thrilled about it. The first couple days of writing have gone well and netted me close to 5,000 words and a lower back ache that is subsiding a little today.
Here’s where I’ve been writing:
The big map is of Detroit and the markers are to delineate borders at various times in the city’s history and highlight spots affected by riots. The books include a number I’ve already read, some relevant ones I got for Christmas, and the sixteen new ones I just picked up from a couple used bookstores. Because, after all, the more you research the more you realize you need to know. I’m hoping I can get them all read as I work on writing the book.
My husband says it looks like I’m planning to go back in time and murder someone.
But actually, I imagine the body count will be far greater than just one…