Clouds Beget Clouds

Today is quite a bit cooler than the past few days have been. It’s cloudy. ANd in looking out my office window, I’m reminded of the clouds in a couple photos I’ve taken over the years. This particular one is from a bridge overlooking White River, just outside of Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

I like it for a number of reasons. I like how everything reflects in the water. I like that we were able to stop in the middle of the bridge on a rare afternoon with little traffic. I like that it’s Eureka Springs, somewhere I would really like to be right now.

I am aware it’s a repeat that I’ve used on this blog before. I don’t think I’ve ever said why I like it, though. (Plus, I’m working on edits for RealmWalker: New Beginnings, so I wanted to post but I needed something easy-ish at the moment.)

I’m Glad Roseanne Got Canceled: Stand Against Hate

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard the ABC sitcom Roseanne was canceled following a racist Tweet Roseanne Barr posted. I won’t repeat it here. If you missed it, even though the tweet itself has been deleted, there are plenty of stories about it that you can find out what it said.

I’m glad the show was canceled.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that put other people (cast and crew alike) out of work. I also believe that would make for a toxic work environment. When someone above you — a manager, boss, or the star of a show — endorses such racism, bigotry, and hate, the continuation of that person’s employment is tacit acceptance/encouragement of their viewpoint.

ABC definitely did right by canceling the show.

Not only that, I think it’s past time for people — possibly especially writers and other people with any kind of platform (that means EVERYONE with a Facebook account or other social media) — take a stand and speak out against the current culture of racism, bigotry, misogyny, ableism, sexism, genderism, etc.

This is my stand.

I am legally blind. I have been on the receiving end of ableism more times than I care to count. I fully understand those who require the use of a wheelchair experience it more than I do.

In the past, I have accepted it as “the way things are” and kept on keeping on. That is not to say it didn’t hurt, though.

You know the saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”?

That’s a huge lie.

Words matter. They can hurt or (help) heal. It’s way past time we realize the power words have.

For anyone experiencing hate, racism, bigotry, or any other form of hate, I am an ally. I am taking a stand.

This has to stop.

I’m willing to do my part. Are you?

I’m Back (I Think)

I did not intend to disappear for the majority of May. Especially since I’d had a good month with the Ultimate Blog Challenge for April.

After three years of compensating for the problems with my left leg, my right lower back decided to give out. I’ve been dealing with that since the end of April. It got better, then it got worse again. And now it’s getting better.

It’s a long process, especially when you consider that I’ve dealt with back issues since I sprained my lower back in 2005-ish.

But that’s in the past. I’m able to be at my computer again. Yes, I have the WordPress app on my phone, but I have trouble blogging from that. There were a couple days when I slept downstairs because I couldn’t make it up to my bedroom. You don’t realize just how much you use your back for until you kind of can’t. Even when I could make it up to my bedroom, I couldn’t sit in my office chair at my desk, so no computer work.

And now here I am!

I didn’t sit idle, though. I have a baby blanket almost done and another one I need to do. And in between that, I need to finish converting RealmWalker: New Beginnings from first person to third because the editor at my publisher-of-choice asked to see the whole thing.

Here’s to good health to you all! Happy creating.

Getting Personal for a Minute

There are some things I don’t talk about on my blog or social media. It’s not that I’m embarrassed or ashamed, but they don’t fit in with my brand. Some of that will be changing, but there’s some that still won’t be talked about much.

One of the things I don’t talk about is my health. On one hand, it doesn’t fit with what I want to be known for and what I do. On the other hand, it definitely does because our health directly impacts everything.

I am diabetic. I have been for 14 1/2 years. I am a mosquito magnet. I always have been. About four years ago, I got a mosquito bite in the middle of my left shin. Instead of welting up like most mosquito bites do, this one turned into a blister.

I had what is known as skeeter syndrome.

As blisters do, it popped. Then it turned into a sore. I put Neosporin on it and took care of it myself. But it kept getting worse. I kept hiding it. I wouldn’t even think about wearing shorts, capris, or skirts. Keep in mind this is probably in the middle of summer and I’m only wearing jeans or long pants.

This went on for about six months. Maybe longer. My mom caught a peek of the bottom edge (which was, at that point, near my ankle) and made me go the emergency room. I was angry. I shouldn’t have been, but I was.

From there, they referred me to Wound Care. I went to Wound Care twice a week for almost three years. It would get smaller, ultimately to the point where it closed, but it would open back up. I was on strong antibiotics on multiple occasions. They talked about out-patient IV antibiotic treatment and even admitting me to the hospital for IV antibiotics.

Finally, with all of the medications, compression wraps, staying off my foot, getting my blood sugar under (much) better control, and keeping my foot elevated as much as possible, it closed. At this point, it has been closed since the first of February.

To summarize what all happened and what I learned while I was going through Wound Care:

  • The doctor who first saw me called me after lab results came in and asked if I was still on the hospital grounds. (I wasn’t. I was at another doctor’s appointment.) If I had been, he would have had me admitted because my blood sugar was so high.
  • You can develop an allergy to Neosporin. It causes skin breakdown, which can make sores and wounds grow and get worse instead of heal. This is what was happening to me during the time I thought I was taking care of it myself.
  • You can also develop an allergy to Bacitracin. Yes, I can no longer use Neosporin or Bacitracin. I have no idea what I will use if/when I need it.
  • I had MRSA three times in my left leg. That’s why I had so many strong antibiotics.

Some takeaways:

  • Some absolutely wonderful people work in Wound Care. I have made some very good friends.
  • I am so very glad my mom made me go to the ER. (For the record, I’m also legally blind so I don’t drive. She literally took me herself.)
  • I feel fortunate to be alive.
  • I feel fortunate to still have both legs.
  • Never assume ANYthing as a diabetic.

While I was going through this, I had some very low times. I had times where the only creative thing I did was crochet because I could do that with my foot propped up. That’s also why I learned to knit. (There’s a knitting/crochet/weaving/all-around fiber-y group that I go to once a month that was definitely a sanity saver.) I didn’t do much writing. I did some, but it was difficult to sit at the computer with my foot up.

Why am I telling all of this now?

I’ve been going to Wound Care for the past three months as a kind of maintenance strategy. Everything has been good in those three months.

Yesterday, I had my last appointment. This has been an emotional journey. I am grateful for the people who helped me on it.

(Phileen, Misti, Stephanie, Sparky, Vicki, Barb, Dr. Boren, Falisha — yes, I mean you.)

I hope nothing like this ever happens again, but I know if it does, I will not let it get bad before I get help.

Don’t take your health for granted. It literally impacts everything. Even your creativity.

Lessons in Blogging

All day, I’ve been thinking about what I want to talk about for the last day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. This is what I’ve come up with.

I know I talked a lot — maybe even exclusively — about creativity. That’s something I’ve been interested in for a long time. Even since before I heard about The Artist’s Way fifteen or so years ago. It’s basically part of who I am. That interest.

What I’ve Learned

This month, I have learned what posts work better for me. Posts that are a combination of photo and text are good. Posts with videos are good. Posts that are audio only are not. In fact, the day where I embedded my podcast and didn’t include a photo had the lowest views all month. I posted mostly in the evenings, so I really can’t say if I’ve figured out what time of day is best.

I will say that although I did manage to post every day, it is not something I am going to keep up. As I mentioned yesterday, I’m going to use May to focus on 2-3 posts a week and see how consistency and views go. After that, I’ll evaluate again. I think this monthly evaluation is a good thing and something I’m going to stick with.

Coming Up

Speaking of May and the blog, here are some of the types and topics of posts you’ll see:

  • More about creativity. I kind of can’t help it. When I’m in the middle of something, I talk about creativity more than I do when I’m not.
  • Writing in general. After I posted the question my friend asked, I’ve gotten a few more questions from other people. I’ve answered them in the manner in which I received them, but I am going to expand on some of the answers here.
  • The submission process for novels. I’ve self-published most of my body of work. I decided to shop the novel I just finished around to different publishers and agents. There is actually already news on that front, but I’ll tell about it in its own post.
  • Yarn stuff – knitting, crochet, whatever.
  • Photos. I have a couple ideas I’m thinking of with this. I’ll see how they progress and post as they mature.
  • Videos.
  • Podcasts. I’ve learned from this, though. When I post a podcast link, I’ll include something else so there’s something to hold interest.

Updates

There is also an update. Remember the post, A Tale of Two Shawls? Both of those are finished. I need to take pictures of them both before I do an official update about them.

If you remember the announcement about Journal Your Way to Creativity at the first of the month, there has been a review posted for it. Mindy Phillips Lawrence posted her review on Amazon and also submitted it to New Book Review, where you can see it now.

Thank you.

There have been a lot of new visitors to my blog as a direct result of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. Thank you for that.

In the comments, some other members of the challenge contributed frequently. I would like to thank Jeanine Byers of HyggeFamilyMoments.com and Martha DeMeo of The Martha Review for their frequent comments. There have been others who commented, too, including my friend and neighbor Richard Barron. I sincerely appreciate every comment. Whenever I participate in a challenge, it is always a fear that no one will comment. It is always a relief to see that fear is ungrounded.

Thank you, too, to Paul Taubman for hosting the challenge and putting in the work behind the scenes that goes into the daily emails and group postings to keep us all on track.

This is the last post for April. I’ll see you in May.

In the meantime, happy creating!

Is It Just Me?

 

Creative Commons via catchingcourage.com

Has this month flown by or is it just me? Maybe it’s because spring has finally made up its mind and is here to stay. Maybe it’s because posting for this challenge has kept me busy. Or maybe it’s because writing, in general, has kept me busy.

 

Whatever it is, Tuesday is May. And that’s a little bit crazy to me.

The other day, I posted a poll asking what you all wanted to see after the challenge is done. It seemed to be a tie between keeping the daily posts going and 2-3 posts a week. (At least, it was the last time I looked.) I’ve decided I’m going to scale back to 2-3 posts a week for May and see how that works. If I find I’m not being consistent, I will revisit that at the end of May and decide from there.

At this point, honestly, I’m getting a little post-fatigue going on. I feel like I’m running out of things to say. I know I’m not, but I blasted through my brainstormed list and didn’t generate new ideas to replace the ones I used, which was all of them.

Tomorrow is the last day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I would like to know what you liked about my posts during this challenge. Did you learn something new about yourself/your creativity? (You know I had to bring this post back around to that, didn’t you?)

I’d like to hear it.

And tomorrow, my post will be about the types of future posts you’ll be seeing here.

Happy creating.