Summer has arrived

Well hell; I will miss nature coming thru my open window. The day has arrived. The temperature has reached summer. Up til now, the open doors and windows have kept my apt cool and comfy. But today I came home to a sauna.

Much as I hate to close it up and close out the sounds of the birds and breezes in the trees it’s time.

I closed all my windows, balcony and kitchen doors and turned on the ancient central air conditioners in this old place. Hate the droning hum of it, but I hate to be hot and sweaty more.

I’ll sleep in comfort, but no longer hear the distant sound of passing trains nor wake to birdsong right out side my bedroom window or the errant rainstorm when it comes or much of anything from the outside world.

I’ve reminded Jazzmine where her kitty door is in the window of my studio. Probably unnecessary, but she is older and hasn’t needed it in some time.
Summer is not my favorite season. Give me Fall, Winter and Spring. After y’all.

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My One Word Resolution

My one word resolution for 2016 is Persistence.

I rarely wait until New Year’s Day to decide what one word I will choose to inform my actions through the coming year.  I begin on Solstice – darkest night. It is when the new year begins to me as we the wheel turns minute into the light and spring and rebirth.  I feel hopeful and full of the possibility that like nature, I too can begin again, be renewed, and choose new paths.

I light my candles, recite my small mantra (aka spell) and sit and sip and ponder the past.  I drew a card from the major arcana of my Tarot deck.  I spoke volumes about my current moment and showed so many possibilities.

Long story short my One Word is Persistence.

Why? Simple as I sat and looked back at 2015 I saw the myriad of projects started but never finished. Paintings in varying stages of completion, but not yet done; Essays – ditto; blogs – ditto; and query letters for a completed children’s picture book – ditto.

And so I chose Persistence.  I’m not going to do everything all at once.  I started by taking the Painting-a-Day Challenge for January.  I will paint one new painting every day of January and complete one unfinished one from my archive.

I will post one Blog a week – that’s easy as I write in my journal on a daily basis and it’s just a matter of transcribing an edited version for publication.

I’ve taken the following quote – one of my all-time favorites and posted it above my desk.  I paired it with a photo I took long ago of a flower growing in the middle of a sidewalk blooming where it was planted.

pic persistence 2016

 

 

 

 

Monkey Brain in the Kitchen

Monkey brain: So I had this tad of leftover cornbread in fridge and I thought, hmmm. Crumble it and make a quick cornbread dressing.

But it wasn’t really enough, so I messed up my clean kitchen and made a quick batch of fresh cornbread.

Now having a messy kitchen I decided to deal w jalapeños from potted garden and pulled out the mini food processor, a can of tomatoes and voila hot sauce for later guacamole lunch which was going to be breakfast, but really how could I not have a hot from the oven wedge of buttered cornbread. And it went on from there..

Now to clean the mess.

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Nothing So Certain as Change – a Sad Parting

End of era – for me at least.  I will not be renewing my P.O. Box, and I feel as if I’m losing apo box 1 friend.  Actually, In a way I am.  The people who work there are a friendly helpful crew.  I’ll probably still take them my annual gift of 3-4 tins of cookies as I have for the past 25 years, but alas, it will be the last.

The post office has always been open 24-7 for those of us who have office hours of our own and need access in the wee hours of morning or night.  Now, because of the unwashed who use it as a nighttime squat, leaving their trash and on occasion vomit, the Post Office has announced office hours of its own and the rest of the day the doors will be locked.

po box 2I’m not sure how those who have jobs outside the home will make it work.  Fortunately I work from home and it doesn’t affect me except in principle.  I loved stopping by and picking up my mail after an evening out or on my early morning walkabout (rain, shine, or snow), but they won’t unlock the doors now til 7:30, and I’m home from my walk way before that. Worse still they’ll close early on Saturday and totally close on Sunday.

I’ve had a post office box on Southside since 1990.  It’s always been staffed by a terrific bunch of people that I’ve enjoyed doing business with.  It’s up for renewal and at $33 for six months, it’s a bargain for the security they’ve given me over the years. footprints snow po box

My first 2 apartments on Southside, the one on 15th Avenue (10 years) and then the one on 14th Avenue that burned in 2011 (also10 years), had exposed and unsecure mail boxes easily accessible from the street.  The day I moved in on 14th  in 1990, my neighbor came home to find his mail and an empty box of CD’s rifled and strewn across his front steps.

I immediately went to the Southside Post Office right next to the Golden Temple and got a box, and I’ve used it for 25 years.  My neighbor did, too.  I considered it a business address, but now I wonder if it’s necessary.

I live in a more secure 4-plex now; the boxes are inside; the mailman climbs the stairs to deliver packages to my door; I only have one magazine subscription that’s print; all my bills, bank and credit card statements, etc., are digital; payments from Amazon and other places that owe me money go thru PayPal or digitally credit my a special credit union account set up for such payments – separate from my house account at another bank.

Sad to say, but my PO Box is no longer necessary. I might of kept it just because it’s been part of my routine for so long.  I picked up change of address forms, but opted to do the deed online instead. Later I’ll order new business cards from VistaPrint and probably omit a physical address and opt just for email, as that’s pretty much how people contact me these days.

I waited until the last possible pay by moment, November 10, to let the box go.  I stopped by to say goodbye to the crew.

Up there with the certainty of death and taxes there is change.  Death comes and you’re no longer here to know it on this plane; taxes are a constant and expected, but change, oh change. Of the three, I think change is the more difficult.

Summer is late and I’m glad

Sunday and it’s the last day of May.  I pulled the kitchen calendar from the wall and sat down at the kitchen table to flip the page to June and add dates from my iPhone calendar.  The back daerie balcony jaz  2oor is wide open, kitty gate in place.  Jazzmine preens and watches every moving creature in the back yard, but her kitten days are long gone. She never attempts to leap out.  Not sure she could at her age and weight even if she wanted to.

I am amazed that this old place is still so cool inside when I know it’s a very warm 80-something outside when I took the trash to the alley just now.

Perhaps the daily rain storm is a contributing factor, indoor garden 2but I also know that old buildings built before there was air conditioning were designed for air flow.  I have windows open in the back bedroom and the dining room and the kitchen door, which all face west.  I have the door and windows to the screened in balcony open wide as well.  That, the ceiling fans and a few strategic box fans have been keeping it very comfortable in here.  The minute I open the kitchen door in the morning, the air moves through the place at an event quicker and cooler pace.

I love living on the second floor – I can keep windows and balcony open year round.  The onlbalcony aerie new w bistroy thing I do close when night falls or I head out to run errands is the kitchen door.

However many days I can delay cranking up the central air, I’ll cherish.  I hate shutting myself off from nature and the outside world – the trains passing through in the wee hours; the birdsong and chattering squirrels that wake me in the morning; reading on the balcony loveseat; sitting at my small bistro tablejournaling, sipping and watching the life ebb and flow on the street below.

Is Doing Nothing Writing?

Golden rain of leaves

aerie, eyrie, perch yellow orange tree
leaves float on unseen breezes
I sit pen in hand

wanting to capture
it all on the page but words
cannot hold the wind
                    © Perle Champion

William Wordsworth wrote, “Come forth into the light of things, Let Nature be your teacher”.

So one could call my gazing hours on end out the window or off the balcony of my aerie watching the seasons change before my eyes as research.

And, one could call my walking down sidewalks kicking leaves as hands on experience to commit to the page at a later date.

 

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Who Do You Write For?

Laying Life on the Line

aerie dining room desk  2she sat pen in hand
journal open before her
her life paced the lines

glory inglory
marching cadence cross the page
bare and unadorned

“Never mind the misses and the stumbles…” “The habit of writing for my eyes only is good practice, it loosens the ligaments.” – Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf’s quote hits home for me, and if you would write, I hope for you.  There is something so freeing about writing just for yourself with no deadlines.  It doesn’t need to be perfect; it’s a conversation with and exploration of yourself for yours eyes only now or forever unless you decide to share it.

Saying you want to write is not enough, you must write it.  The truth is so much writing is just mental gymnastics.  A skater skates, a harpist harps, a writer writes. It is the practice that perfects.

Day after day, with no one to see, no one to hear, and no one to applaud, I rise and go to my practice. I write in my journal.

You Can Publish What You Journal.

Filling the white space

white space taunts my pen
my épée etching each word100_2443
slowly on the page

words marching cadence
along pale blue journal lines
and then there is light
                  © Perle Champion 2009

William Wordsworth wrote: “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart”

I’ve filled the pages of my journal since I was a child: daily observations, traumas & dramas,  poetry, essays, stories and more since I was a child.  I didn’t realize how much publishable material languished there in my own journal until one day.

One day I was rereading an old journal when I realized that one story was practically complete, so why not type it up and send it out. That story was “Rain” back in 2004.  What a thrill it was to see that story so dear me, not only published but resonating with so many readers.

That day I started paying attention to what I wrote in my journal and noting in the margin whether it would make a good poem or essay or story or a character in a book.  That decision has since stood me in good stead.  Most of what I’ve published originated inthe pages of my journal.

Do You Use the Excuse of Writer’s Block?

I’ve often wondered about those folks who use the excuse of writer’s block for not writing.  Yesdesk 1, I think it is an excuse akin to a certain in-law of mine who opines, I can’t cook.  My response to her is if you can read and follow instructions, you can cook.  My response to writers or wanna be writers. If you can put pen to page, fingers to keys, have a thought in your head, you can write.

I write everyday in my journal – that’s a start, and then there’s the Blog challenges, NanoWriMo, and poetry contests, etc.  They all have deadlines, so I make the commitment and on top of my daily journal, I write.

It’s day 6 of the BlogHer Blog-a-Day for November (note: they throw that gauntlet down every month), and I’m on track.

And

I’m still plodding away on my NanoNovel and have 17,545 words to-date, so I’m on track to get my 50,000 words done by and hopefully before November 30.  I plan to do heavy edit by/before December 15, sodesk martini 3 I can take advantage of Amazon’s offer to NanoWriMo winners (anyone who reaches 50,000 words) to publish 2 free hard copies of their novels.  I planned on uploading my finished novel to their Kindle platform anyway, but oh, to see the actual book in print (every author’s dream).

I’m encouraged by the sales of my non-fiction e-book published on Amazon in late 2012 – How to Journal and How to Publish from Your Journal.  While not a best seller it is selling and yay!  It’s making money.  I opened my P.O. box this morning and amid the bills, 1 rejected manuscript and the detritus called junk mail, was the check – a royalty check from Amazon.com on my book.  It was not large, but oh it’s such a nice feeling to get paid for doing something you enjoy.  As I have not promoted the book except for a few Blog posts and an Amazon affiliate link on my Blogs, I’m rather amazed and more than a little pleased.

I like the Amazon affiliate link, as it allows me to link all to the books I review and even those I just like and think everyone should read, and in return I make a few cents commission for having done so.  It adds up over time.

Do You Journal?

In the midst of all things on my November ToDo’s list, I’m still writing my morning pages in my journal – at least 3 handwritten desk w gilded 8pages.  Why?

It’s my creative net to:

  • Capture Ideas of the moment to pursue later.  The pen is my best memory.
  • Give form to my dreams and ponder how to give them wings
  • Brainstorm solutions to problems
  • Write a poem, or essay or capture a character for later extemporization.

It’s my friend to:

  • Give voice to things best kept to myself knowing the confidence will go no further.
  • Give thanks for what I have without sounding maudlin.
  • Cry over losses, and rejoice of triumphs
  • And so much more.

Do you keep a journal?

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