Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Inspiration in the Deep Freeze

I'm going to take a short break from griping about the snow, because the lovely, kind, warm, and talented Gina Stoneheart has nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Which is ironic, really, since all I've done in recent weeks is complain about the Everest-sized piles of snow in the city, while Gina has celebrated other writers and shared her personal journey and posted her thoughts on love. Wait a minute, Gina, why are you nominating me???

Well, too late - it's MINE! I won it, fair and square! Or something.

And now I get that cool retro typewriter, as part of my award!!

What's that? Oh, the typewriter is just a two-dimensional promo image?


Well, never mind.

Anyway, the rules for award are:

1. Thank the person who nominated you, and link to their blog.

Easy-peasy. Thank you, Gina, for this sweet and lovely, if momentarily misplaced due to weather events beyond my control, award. If you don't follow Gina, you should. She's wonderful :)

2. Display the award logo.


3. Nominate at least 15 other blogs (more or less) and provide a link where they may be found.

Ummm.... I just have to be honest, here, and admit that I'm not gonna make it even close to 15. Let's try Ava Quinn, because I've never read anyone who makes me laugh like she does; Quanie Miller, because her blog is always thought-provoking and smart and a great place to have interesting discussions; and Anna Soliveres, because she combines smart, practical tips on self-publishing with a true sweetness and a genuine enthusiasm. Ladies, if you don't have time to accept the award and post about it, do not worry!!! To nominate is enough, I say.

4. Then, go to their blog, leave a comment to let them know they have been nominated, and where to find the information they need to accept (rules).

Yes, I will do that... soon.

5. Mention three things that inspired you the most during the past few weeks.

Three things that inspired me??'s so utterly miserable here!

Ok, ok, ok. I do like to say that positive thinking is important, so I will attempt to be positive.

First, my neighbors. We've all spent so much time outside, shoveling, that we've bonded. Hours of back-breaking labor will do that; it's the theory of shared misery bringing people together. Seriously, though, my neighbors have so impressed me with their laughter and humor, their tenacity in the face of all of this snow, and their generosity. We've all helped each other clear out cars and shift snow piles and park in ever-shrinking spaces, and I am truly grateful.

Second, Ursula Le Guin. When things in my life get really stressful, I tend to retreat to some beloved, favorite books. These past few weeks, I've been rereading her Earthsea series, and remembering why I love it so much. Beyond the wonderful, difficult stories and characters, in the world of Earthsea, magic is performed by knowing and speaking the true name of a thing - and what could be more beautiful, or more perfect, than magic as a metaphor for the piercing accuracy of language?

Third, skiing. Yes, really. When I was in Vermont, I went cross-country skiing, and I loved it. It was such a welcome change to be doing something with the snow other than moving it from one place to another. Plus, I'm a runner, and I start to feel so frustrated and cooped up when I can't run outside (and no, I will not use a treadmill, because I am not a hamster.) It was a huge relief to be able to get outside and exercise in the open air. When I got home, my mother-in-law surprised me by generously and thoughtfully giving me her skis, boots, and poles, because she unfortunately can't use them anymore. I've been out skiing twice in the past four days, and I feel much more human.

What's been inspiring you? What are you reading?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I Surrender

We had another snowstorm this weekend - perhaps you heard about it? It dropped over a foot. Again. We are now over the 8 foot mark in less than four weeks. It's almost as if Mother Nature is trying to tell us something...

Image courtesy of

(I didn't take that photo; I stole it from another website. One of the joys of writing a not-for-profit blog.)

Ok, Mother Nature, I hear you! I'm giving up. I'm waving the white flag, which you can't even see, because everything in this whole city is white. Or black. Or gray. When did my life become a classic film??

I surrender. I'm going to Vermont, where, in a bizarre twist of reality, there's actually LESS SNOW.

I'll be back next week...hopefully. My wonderful friend Birgit made something to help me along through the mountains of snow this week, and get me back to normal life (I  hope). She's the best :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

SOS (Snow, Oh, Snow)

Not to belabor the subject - but I'm going to belabor the subject, because I am hardly exaggerating when I say that all I have been doing in the past two and a half weeks is SHOVELING SNOW.

Ok, I've been sleeping and eating (a lot, actually; one of the side-effects of all of the calories I've been burning while I SHOVEL SNOW), and going to work - but even that has been cancelled quite a few times because - oh, have I mentioned this? - it will not stop SNOWING!

Lest you think I cry wolf, let me tell all of you warm-locale-dwellers, or anyway non-Massachusetts-dwellers, that we are now over the six foot mark for snowfall. In seventeen days. Which means that in 17 days, we have broken the previous records for 14 days, 20 days, and 30 days. Oh, and did I mention that there's another storm on the way - for TOMORROW?

All of this means that life in the city has ground to a virtual halt, and in some cases, an actual halt, like when we broke the subway. Unlike more rural places, or even mores spread out, modern cities, or really any place with less corrupt and better managed state systems, we have, quite literally, nowhere to put all of this freaking snow. We are in fact borrowing snow removal and melting equipment from other cities. Which makes no sense, when you consider that Boston is located in New England and New England is well-known for being stupidly snowy.

I love my city. I really do. But I don't so much love this weather - or our inability to deal with it.

But I digress. I was going to complain some more about shoveling. I spent all day on Monday shoveling my roof with my neighbor, and most of the day yesterday shoveling out the sidewalk and our cars.

Actually, maybe I'll just let the photos speak for themselves:

This is what the pile of shoveled snow looks like in front of my house. Yes, it's up over the first floor windows. Yes, it's from the storms plus the shoveling. It's hard to tell from the picture, but this particular mountain is well over my head, probably close to the ten foot mark in height, and more than that in width.

I actually had to dig a tunnel through that pile to clear the snow away from our furnace vents (another thing I've learned this week: blocked furnace vents = carbon monoxide poisoning.)

I dug through the pile of snow in front of one of the cars...

And in back of the car...

Only to realize I'd forgotten all about the side of the car that faces the street - and the plows. Sigh...

This person has decided not to bother, and to just start driving again in April. The antenna is all that's left to indicate that this is a car, and not just another snowbank...

Snow is pretty, isn't it? I do love it - it blankets the whole world in white, softening all edges and wrapping every corner of the city in quiet. But I happen to love it in moderation.

So, not much else happening here these days. What about you? Have you gotten any snow?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Insecure Writers: Digging Out

It's the first Wednesday of the month, so it's time for The Insecure Writers! The IWSG is an online group created by Alex J. Cavanaugh for writers. You, too, can join us anytime!

Can you believe it's already February?!

I can, because in the past week we hit a record for the most snowfall in a seven day period in Boston, ever. We've gotten over THREE DAMN FEET of snow in the past week. If you've ever lived in a city, particularly one with old, narrow cow-paths for streets, you know that means there is just nowhere to put it.

So, while I dig myself out, I'll leave you with this fantastic website I just discovered. You know when you finish a really, really good book, and you feel a terrible sense of loss, because not only do you have to say goodbye to the characters you cheered for and loved, but you are now facing a gaping chasm of no-new-book-will-ever-match-this nothingness? And then you feel utterly insecure and afraid that you'll never be a good enough writer, because you won't have any inspiration to read? (See how I just tied that in to IWSG? Genius, right?)

Yeah. I hate that.

SO, now there's a site to reach in and grab you by the jacket and lift you out of that chasm. It's called, appropriately, What Should I Read Next? You just plug in the title of the book, author, or ISBN number, and the site will turn out a list of books you might like to read next.

So go, enjoy it! And I'll see you on the other side of this snow bank...