Welcome to my blog Upstate Girl, (a.k.a Follow Your Bliss Part II), I am an independently published author. This blog is all about writing and the stuff that inspires me to write, the joys and obstacles that come along with the writer's life, and my fascination with the psychology of people and what makes them tick...the human condition, as is...and my love for words, playing with them and making sense of them...and I throw in a few photos from my acre of the world just to make things pretty...sometimes there are things I have no words for, only pictures will do.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I don't know...

It seems I say this a lot lately...I don't know...just coming up with a post this weekend has been clouded over with a fog of unknown, so I'm going to wing it here...it seems there's a good deal of people out there grappling with a similar unsettled feeling of unknown...the "Where am I going?" question.

How do you get there?

Keep going forward, aim for a goal, do what you gotta do to achieve it.

And...
Don't forget to have a good time. (Ani DiFranco's latest mantra, I'm sure the Little Folksinger won't mind if I share it with you.)

This little drawing on my table in the upstairs studio hadn't changed much...


...because I didn't know where else to go with it...then I added to it, and I feared I ruined it and should've left it alone...well, when that happens, I just take it in hand and really do something to it to mess it up some more...there are some things that will get worse before they get better...it's too sopping wet at the moment to take a picture...I'll post the result another day...

I've been struggling with a new manuscript, it's rawness is troubling me. I'm pulling things out of my head, but not fast enough to suit me...not quite writers block (thank goodness), but I'm feeling impatient with the process. Along with that, I'm impatient with the process of getting published. I'm still mailing queries to agents (although sporadically because I'm picky about who I write to, and research them to death before I actually send the letter.) Thankfully, I've stopped the agonizing depression part after receiving the rejection letters. Don't get me wrong, I still feel disappointed, but I'm less indignant about it, it' s just business, it's nothing personal. That doesn't mean the frustration factor isn't any better. I have one book that's ready to be self-published, but I'm hesitant to do it just because I'd rather go about the more traditional way of getting a book on the shelf with the backing of a publisher, rather than me with my pitiful resources. (I'll let you know when I'm ready to take the plunge.)

Writers tend to chase their emotional tails a lot...no wonder we like to tip a few...

I'm also feeling uncertain because of my health issues, Fibromyalgia is a pain in the ass (and everywhere else.) I try to maintain a sense of humor about it, but it's getting old fast...I'm tired of feeling 86 rather than 46. At least it won't kill me, right? My coping skills are maxed out.

There's a lot of uncertainty out there, nationally and personally...so I don't know is all about that too...

Some of this I don't know business has to do with things I'm missing, and was recently reminded about my love of horses by fellow blogger, Kate...several months ago, I found this picture of a mustang on the BLM website where people can go to adopt horses that have been rounded up from the public lands...I fell in love with this little fella's face and his fuzzy ears, I don't know what happened to him, I hope he found a good home (isn't that velvety soft muzzle kissable?)

Honestly, I'd rather see them free to roam.

This winter is getting on my nerves...March is coming...the light at the end of the tunnel. I was checking the pussy willow bush down by the garden, I saw the silvery tips of kitty toes sticking out, there's a fuzzy bit of hope...(she smiles at a furry little friend who just found a paper bag to be a play thing, the little clown.)


So, I don't know...did I do what I set out to do with this post? Maybe a little.

This pencil drawing's title is I Want More Out of Life... says it all...I really do love this drawing!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Studying Stones

I do love stones...they inspire me to make my pictures...I've acquired several over the years...lately they have made excellent models for photos (they don't move much, it's usually my shaky hand that makes them blurry)...these aren't the sparkly ones from the beach (I'll save those for another day) these are just field stones from my acre of the world...even some of the plainest ones have the most lovely patterns on them...you have to wonder about the forces that made them...
Some are scared by the plow that used to churn up the field around us...


What I really think is cool...they've been around for millions of years...


They're the bones of the earth...
Weathered and worn...a piece of our blue marble...Earth...

...their mineral amalgam is a synopsis of their ancient origins, the elegant remains of a landscape long gone...

LJW, from Washed Glass

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Happy Thoughts!

As a Man Thinketh by James Allen, published in 1902, a classic self-help book, the language is a bit dated, but the message "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he" is always a good lesson as any...

Suddenly Mom comes to mind, she used to say...Don't look like that, your face might freeze that way...there's wisdom in that...

One of my friends at work used to call out during moments of stress..."Happy thoughts." There are many of us who still call it out as needed...it's an instant smile.

Anyway, back to the book...a friend of mine brought this little book to my attention over the summer, I liked what she quoted from it so I went on line and found a copy, since I love old books, and bought it sight unseen, I was very pleased with the result (I love the cover), this sweet little thing came cheap, I bought it to add to my old book collection.

He sort of looks like Sean Penn...just sort of, in an old fashioned sort of way...

The quote that my friend mentioned is on page
39:

The dreamers are the saviours of the world. As the visible world is sustained by the invisible, so men, through all their trails and sins and sordid vocations, are nourished by the beautiful visions of their solitary dreamers. Humanity cannot forget its dreamers; it cannot let their ideals fade and die; it lives in them, it knows them as the realities which it shall one day see and know. Composer, sculptor, painter, poet, prophet, sage, these are the makers of the after-world, the architects of heaven. The world is beautiful because they have lived; without them, labouring humanity would perish.

Then during my page turning, I found on page 40:

Cherish your visions; cherish your ideals; cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts...

Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your Vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your Ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.
The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg; and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.

Most of my stories are about my characters struggles with dreams and realities...and just being an artist and a writer is all about that...making it happen on paper...I try to make it happen everyday.


One day I made this little bit happen...it's just a bit of splashing on a small piece of scrap matboard that I snagged from the recycling...I swear, I love making the little 'uns more than the big'uns...this one is full of happy thoughts...I was happy at the time that I made it and it makes me happy every time I look at it!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Home sick in bed with a stupid cold

And it's been a bitter cold day too...but I didn't go out in it to take this picture...this is from another frosty morning a while back...

I've done a bit of sleeping, brewing tea, more sleeping, lying about drinking tea...and of course, you drink enough tea and one must pee...it's always good to flush the sickly body...

My tea cold tonic is a special blend:

2 bags of chai
1 bag of ginger (or a chunk sliced off of a fresh ginger root, which I did today)
1 bag of lemon zinger (if there are not fresh lemons in the house)
5-9 peppercorns (whatever looks right)
12 cups or so of hot water.

I just run the water through our coffee maker, have the fixin's in the pot and let it brew and keep warm (refrigerate what you don't use, warm up for later)...fill the cup, add honey...it's very spicy, very soothing for an irritated throat and an unwell body...

I thought I'd talk about my little kitty, Picky-Picky. Here she is...the little button...she found a patch of sunshine, or it found her...in my dictionary, her picture is next to the definition for 'Adorable'...
This unique little kitty came to us in the late fall of 1997, one of the many kittens that were born that year in the empty barn across the road from our house. When I first became aware of her I didn't know for sure she was a cat because of her unusual mode of transportation, and incredible speed. When I finally got a good look at this little creature that would appear at the food dish out on the porch, but it would quickly disappear by tumbling over the edge and hiding underneath the porch...I discovered that she was dragging her hind legs behind her, and was just running about on front leg power. Poor baby (she was only about three months old, if even that old, a definite runt of the litter, but with a will to live. I tried capturing her one day, but got my thumb bit in the process! She was so vicious it was startling, hissing and growling, holy crap she startled me! So I dropped her, and watched her scuttle away, pitiful, but I had to admire her spunk. (She had chomped on me so hard that it bruised the thumbnail through my work glove!)

The snow came early that year, and every day I put the food out for the barn orphans, I'd watch for her, and didn't always see her, I feared she was dead by November when I hadn't seen her in so long. Well, I was wrong. Our son was setting out to catch the school bus one snowy day before Thanksgiving, and there was the little one in the midst of the feeding frenzy around the food dish, she couldn't scamper away, he plucked her up, and handed her to me "Here, you want this?" he asked. I took her, stuffed her inside my coat, struggling and hissing, thank goodness I always wear lots of layers (I think she peed on me too!) I took her inside and stuck her inside the bathroom where my Fred was taking his morning bath, it was warm and steamy in there, so she hid behind the toilet with that "don't look at me" attitude. Soon enough she became quite tame, being warm and having food all to herself without sharing with her mom and siblings took the edge off. Lap became acceptable rather quick too, within an hour we became friends.

This is the very first picture I took of her...

Okay, so where's the wind up key, right? She looks like a toy...or maybe a cartoon character. All I know is this wee thing effectively broke my heart...the cuteness factor was off the scale.

I studied this wee cat, little pug-nosed face with large round green eyes, black and white fur, the little soul patch on her chin always makes me laugh, and the nasally meow that is more like "Ewe", and sometimes she says "Oot?", then she has that scrappy shriek that is still startling, I don't think I can spell it...it scares me too much.

To my relief, the little hind legs worked once she warmed up, I had feared that she had been hit by a car, but there was definitely something not right. The vet saw her the very next day...I always fear the worst when a wee kitty has their first check up, especially this one with her kind of troubles. He took one look at her sitting on his exam table, big eyes and very undersized for her age, he proclaimed "What a unique little kitty." For a vet who sees hundreds of cats a week to say that, I knew she was special. He looked her over, other than having a case of worms, being under nourished, she was healthy, but the ligaments in her knees are displaced, so she walks with a bowlegged wobble, and her spine is slightly crooked between her shoulders like scoliosis, her tail flails around behind her like a rudder to keep her going straight...pitiful, but it makes me happy to have her happy and alive. The vet didn't think she'd live beyond her first year. Well, she's becoming an old lady now, 12 years this summer...she never grew much beyond the size of a 6 month old kitten, she tips the scales at about 6-7 lbs at her roundest, tiny paws the size of my thumb pad, her little black bit of a nose is smaller than a pencil eraser, she's very wee compared to the four boys...but she's feisty, and can handle those stinkers. She's blind in one eye now, although we thought she might lose it, it seems to be getting better all on its own (well, as good as it's going to get).
A very tiny white mitten with black pads...

She's such a little character...she chases shadows for fun these days, she's waiting for one here...

This is one of her favorite baskets by the woodstove...that is a toy mouse...the darn thing does look a little bit too real...the cats love them.

So that's my story of wee Picky-Picky, the Picky Pie...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Favorite Old Books

I have many favorite books, and some I especially treasure...like this one...


The books that inspire a writer in those early years before she became a writer...I already loved ghost stories and such, this is one of the best...it's so dark...

This gorgeous old copy of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights illustrated with wood engravings by Fritz Eichenberg is a treasure...they just don't make books like this anymore...


At the age of 14 when I first picked up a paperback copy that I found in my sister's college texts, I was hooked by the first page...there was something magical happening from the start that sent my imagination out to those wild and windy moors...




"I'm come home: I lost my way on the moor!"



"Here! and here!" replied Catherine striking one hand on her forehead, and the other on her breast: "in which ever place the soul lives. In my soul and in my heart, I'm convinced I'm wrong!"





"...they may bury me twelve feet deep, and throw the church down over me, but I won't rest till you are with me. I never will!"




"I love my murderer - but yours! How can I?"





“We’re dismal enough without conjuring up ghosts and visions to perplex us...”



“No, Mr. Lockwood,” said Nelly, shaking her head. “I believe the dead are at peace: but it is not right to speak of them with levity.”