Monthly Musings: It Begins

Well, I promised a new feature on the blog, and this is it.

Last month I read Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess)’s latest book: Broken (in the Best Possible Way)

(Okay, technically, I listened to it on audiobook, which is even better, not only because I got to hear her voice, but because there were additional bits directed to audiobook listeners that were possibly the funniest parts of the entire thing.)

If you’ve never read any of her work before, I highly recommend you hit that link above (go ahead, I’ll wait). Jenny – nope, that feels weird, referring to her like we’re on a first name basis. Let’s go with The Bloggess – has amazing stories and a real knack for telling them. They’re chock full of inspiration and wtf***ery (with a fairly liberal sprinkling of expletives, so fair warning if that’s not your thing). If you can get through one of her books without laugh-crying (or is it cry-laughing?) you’re a different person than I.

Where am I going with all this, you ask?

Well, Broken really resonated with me. Maybe it was the Bloggess’s struggles with chronic illness, or maybe it was her openness about depression, but I came away not only feeling seen, but feeling like I understood myself better. So, I’ve decided to write my own series of essays every third Thursday called Monthly Musings.

(I was going to publish them every third Monday, so I could call them Monday Monthly Musings, but a) there’s lots of Mondays in a month, so that wouldn’t really make sense; and b) I procrastinate a lot and I don’t usually have time to write on the weekend, so that just felt like a recipe for disaster. So third Thursdays it is.)

What will my Monthly Musings consist of, and how will they be different from my Monthly Updates, you ask? (My, aren’t you the inquisitive one today.) Well, Monthly Updates generally consist of how my writing journey is (or isn’t) progressing, along with my month’s Reading Stats. Monthly Musings will be more…eclectic? Basically, like The Bloggess, I expect to offer up personal essays that are about a combination of: chronic illness, things I feel passionately about, and some random anecdotes that I think you’ll find amusing.

Unlike The Bloggess, I’ll do my best to keep the stories expletive-free and overall family friendly (no shade toward The Bloggess, as I think her stories are all the funnier for her use of swears – looking at you, Beyonce – but since this *is* supposed to be the blog of an aspiring children’s author, I promise to rein in my potty mouth and keep things SFW.)

Look, I don’t expect to become the next Bloggess, or anything. I don’t have her quirky personality, her love of taxidermy, or her knack for naming animals (our dog’s name is the phonetic misspelling of an Ewok’s name because that’s what she looked like as a puppy, and because my kids (and I) are giant Star Wars nerds.)

BUT,

if my Monthly Musings can make someone feel like they’re not alone in their chronic illness, or just bring a smile to a reader’s face, then it’ll be worth it.

I guess it’s appropriate that this first-ever Monthly Musing is about Monthly Musings, even if it feels a little light on the musing part (Monthly Mildly Musings?) But since I didn’t have a fun anecdote to make you smile this time, I’ll leave off with a picture of our ridiculously fluffy Star Wars dog:

Okay, I take it back, I’m not going to leave off with that photo.

Because I need to show you the various other photos that came up while searching for it. Here are some of the things Google considers to be a dog:

A goat. Really, Google?

But wait, it gets better.

My kid, wearing a zebra onesie. (Smiley sun added for blog)

Seriously? I mean, I know that’s not the most zebra-ish zebra around, what with the flat snout and rainbow mohawk, and I absolutely wouldn’t have been upset if Google hadn’t been able to identify this in a search for zebras. But a dog?

But wait, it gets even better.

Yeah. That’s some kind of deer, sticking its head in the window of our car.

At least I guess we don’t have to worry about the robot uprising in the too-near future, if this is what Google thinks a dog is.

All right, and one last one:

At least this one is a dog.

Yeah, I can’t fault Google on its identification of this one. I really only posted it so you could share in the horror I felt the day I walked into my twins’ bedroom and found that. Seriously, whoever designed a dog rug must have had some issues to begin with, but I have to hope they never imagined how terrible it would look if someone sat something heavy on it, especially with the way that tongue lolls out. Ick.

And on that pleasant note, I’m going to sign off on this, my first ever Monthly Musing. See you next month…

November Update

Seriously? November?

*Double checks calendar*

Yup, it appears to be November.

Has anyone seen what happened to October? Because I’m pretty sure it disappeared. We need to get its photo on milk cartons or something.

I just re-read my Update from last month, and, no joke, I would have sworn that’s what I was going to write for this month. But apparently my kids have actually been in school all month…

So, what did I do?

Well, I finished polishing my Adult Urban Fantasy and sent it to a publisher. Now I’m doing my best to forget about it. Then I finished a short story set in the same world. Once I run it by some critique partners and polish it up I’m going to send it out and see if I can get it published.

And, I decided to enter NaNoWriMo (aka National Novel Writing Month, where the goal is to write 50,000 words of a novel in a month) this year.

I’ve had lots of time to think about the MG Fantasy I was working on when chaos hit in September, and I’ve realized I need to re-write it basically from scratch. So, I figured NaNo would be the best way to motivate myself and get words on the page (screen?).

It’s been a few years since I entered NaNo, and I have a ton of other calls on my time these days, so who knows if I’ll manage to hit 50,000 words. But any words will be more than I have now, so I’ll count any writing as a win.

I’ve also come up with a new blog feature that I’ll be posting every third Thursday, so stay tuned for that in two weeks.

Sadly, I’m still not doing well with reading/listening to audiobooks. I don’t know if it’s pandemic fatigue, or the challenge of finding good audiobooks (only one of my audiobooks this month truly captivated me), but it’s definitely been a struggle this year. In fact, even listening at 1.75x speed (and increasing it to 2x speed near the end) I had one of my audiobooks returned when I was only 90% through (I haven’t counted it in the stats, since I didn’t complete it) – and since there’s a huge wait list for it, I may just find a summary of the ending, rather than try to finish it. Le sigh.

October Reading Stats

  • MG Fantasy (1)
  • YA Fantasy (2)
  • A UF (1)
  • A Non-Fiction (1)

September Total: 5

Year-to-Date Total: 56 (+ 3 Re-Reads)