Autumn Updates and Winter Plans

The autumn is always a busy time, and this year’s fall season is no exception. 

September was jam-packed

Annual Rib & Pie Fest

We hosted the annual shindig (12th one this year, not counting the skipped year) to fantastic weather and a host of new neighbors! It was probably our biggest block party yet, but they always seem like that. 

Jury duty

I participated in my first criminal trial jury duty in early September and hope to write about that experience in the coming months. It was an intense, enlightening, and overall positive experience. Spoiler alert: The dude was guilty. 

But let me say, I derived absolutely no pleasure from that outcome. It was a sad and sobering day when we arrived at that decision after almost two weeks in court. 


Meanwhile, hurricane season hit with intensity and I was happy to do my small part to help deliver CPAP machines to people in need through the A.W.A.K.E. Angels effort launched by my peers at the American Sleep Apnea Association. 


Somehow, we also managed to sneak in some camping trips as well… In August, we visited the Washington coast right before the eclipse, kayaking in Willapa Bay and checking out Westport, and we also camped at Potlatch State Park, where we caught crab and ate our limit in fresh oysters. 

More recently, we camped at Dosewallips State Park on the Hood Canal, and more recently, to Potlatch on the Waterfront (also on Hood Canal). 

Other fun stuff

We attended the Port Townsend Film Festival, which was so much fun that we are already booked to go again next fall. The documentary film, “No Man’s Land,” is a must-see and may even be nominated for an Academy Award. It won the doc category at the PTFF. 

Coming back from that event, I attended the poetry reading of Gary Lilley and Tara Hardy at Eagle Harbor Books and was so glad I made it! Two fantastic writers and presenters!

Family news

During this time, we also moved both our daughters into new digs for the school year: one went from an apartment to a townhouse with twice the space and roommates, the other from temporary arrangements over the summer to a condo in the city with two roommates. 

We also bought our youngest her first car, a five-year-old Fiat that she’s absolutely in love with. Check that one off the family milestone list!

Bye, Bob

My husband and I lost a good friend in September and said goodbye to Robert McNerney among friends from high school and college. 

Health updates

Folks are always sweet to ask about my MS. It has been very stable and we are even thinking about reducing my medication dosage (to give my liver a break). 

But probably most significant in the long term was my diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). How ironic that the girl writing for the American Sleep Apnea Association is diagnosed with the very condition she writes about? 

I started PAP therapy (using an AutoPAP device) on the day after my birthday in late September, and the experience has been very positive. 

This will turn into fresh content for my blog at SleepyHeadCENTRAL, to be sure, and I have some multimedia ideas to wrestle with over the next few months. 

And yes, I #amwriting

I get asked this one a lot. Folks, almost every single day! 

I have my paid efforts for the usual suspects (the ASAA, SHC, both the blog and the magazine for the American Association of Sleep Technologists, Health Union, BioNews Services, and a private sleep clinic client). 

As for my creative writing, there are small moments where I tinker with:

  • my almost-complete abecedarian chapbook on my MS diagnosis
  • the manuscript on sleep and dreams I jump-started last summer at Centrum, and 
  • an outline has emerged for a collection of essays, also sleep related, that are part of a strategy for 2018 that, with any luck, will culminate in a book to pitch at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA) conference next September. 

Meanwhile, I have been reading a lot. Most recently: 

  • Seed by CS Patton (great concept, iffy writing)
  • What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton (must read!)
  • Apocalypse Mom (not worth your time)

Stephen King’s 11/22/63 is my current read. 

All of which to say that reading fiction again after a long stretch of nonfiction means that I can feel the coals to write short fiction stirring again. 

Goals for 2018 include reading more of my own writing friends’ works and following a reading list I recently came upon this list by LitHub which cites 15 works of literary fiction they recommend for people who don’t like horror. I actually like horror, but I also like literary writing and each of these titles seems super interesting to me (I have already read Kafka’s The Trial—thanks, Mr. Shiflett!—and Atwood’s The Handmade’s Tale). 

Acceptances/publications for 2017

As for efforts to find publication, here’s an update for folks who track such matters:


Racer’s Edge” in Snapdragon: A Journal for Art & Healing (original from my current abecedarian chapbook draft)
On the Day After Gary Ridgway’s 48 Confessions” in The Broken City (reprint)


Witches’ Hearts” in NonBinary Review‘s Hans Christian Anderson tribute (original)

Submissions since Jan 1

Poetry – 37 poems submitted
Fiction – 6 story submissions
Nonfiction – 6 (4 essays, 2 flash nonfiction pieces) submitted

Submissions still under consideration

Poetry – 17 poems 
Fiction – 1 story 
Nonfiction – 0

More than half of these submission responses are due or past due, so I hope to have more good news about them shortly. 

Coming up

I cannot wait to attend the Autumn YAWP at Centrum in Port Townsend over Veteran’s Day weekend. I will make one final trip in the RV to Fort Worden State Park before we pack the trailer up for the winter. 

At that time, I hope to finish the stragglers for my abecedarian chapbook on MS as well as make a few more submissions and start work on my essays for the book I hope to pitch at PNWA next fall. 

In January, I will also attend the very first Winter YAWP over the first full weekend in January, but will stay in the cozy cabins with my peers. You just never know what the ice and snow situation will be like, so I decided to skip the RV writing space as much as I love to work in it. 

That’s it in a big, fat nutshell, the kind a squirrel dreams of. Thanks for your support as friends, readers, and peers!


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