Time flies when your writing life is full

Battery units to explore at Ford Worden State Park, Port Townsend, WA

If I haven’t been up-to-date on my blogging here, it’s because I’ve been blogging and writing everywhere else! 

2018 has been a full year


Travel

Since January, I’ve been two Phoenix three times, Philadelphia, and Port Townsend (twice now, if counting my stay here right now). 

Phoenix in February was about the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show, and I’m sure my suitcases were a few pounds heavier coming back from the event. 

Phoenix in April brought me to Tapatio Cliffs in northern Phoenix (Peoria) for the Association of Healthcare Journalists conference, which was a fantastic event, followed by a few days’ stay with a long-time friend in Apache Junction. 

Phoenix in June and July brought my husband and I back again, to Mesa this time, to spend time with family and attend my daughter’s DCI competition show as a new member of the elite drum corps, the Concord Blue Devils. 

I went to Philadelphia in March to attend the second ever Health Union Connexion conference, which brings together columnists and forum moderators from all over the country (and even Canada and the UK) to celebrate and honor our work in the field of healthcare journalism.  

But before all this, I attend the winter YAWP at Port Townsend, where I finally completed my abecedarian poetry book (it’s about 48 pages not counting front or back matter). And I’m here again for the 2018 Port Townsend Writers Conference, a summer tradition I have enjoyed and valued since 2005. 

MS Walk

I finally was healthy enough to attend an MS Walk this year, the first time I’ve done so since my diagnosis in 2013 (yes, it has already been 5 years, can you believe it?). So far, so good on the remission portion of my life; aside from random strange occurrences (like vertigo that awakens me in the middle of the night), I’m feeling nearly normal these days (knock on wood). 

Camping

We’ve made two trips so far this year: one to Cape Disappointment (or Fort Canby, if you’re old school), and one to Twanoh State Park on the Hood Canal. Both were fantastic with great weather and much to keep us busy.

Other fun stuff

This year, we spent a day in Seattle taking in three films as part of the Seattle International Film Festival. I highly recommend you see The Place. It’s an Italian drama directed by Paolo Genovese based on a 2010 concept series in the US titled The Booth at the End. The entire film takes place in a café but is peopled with 10 characters who are trying to make some sort of dramatic life change. 

Family news

Our youngest daughter is marching with the Concord Blue Devils this summer in her 4th year in competition color guard. My oldest is nearing completion of her Bachelor’s degree in Special Education. 

And yes, I #amwriting

It’s been a tough year, I admit. The distractions are considerable: political chaos is something I can’t look away from, for one thing. It’s hard to leave behind social media when it’s so inextricably connected to your working and writing lives. I’ve also been hooked on some amazing television dramas (Goliath s2, all of Bloodline, etc.). 

And efforts to keep my blood circulating and to prevent the atrophy of my muscles (I have “sitting” disease) have ramped up. I’m walking about an hour at least several days a week now, breaking in tight, inflexible feet and calves and shaking out what I’ve discovered is an arthritis-riddled spine.

It has been a year of rethinking priorities, as well, and I’ve hit some dark lower levels where I’ve questioned the point of my writing life and reflected on what it is I want. Because even though I love the professional writing life I have, I still need the creative writing life to keep me balanced. And time and energy are just so difficult to cobble together and commit for this purpose, these days. 

Still, writing, publishing efforts, and incubation of narrative ideas are happening, and I’ve been going to bed nearly every night meditating on the details of the book I hope to work on while I’m here in Port Townsend this week. Meanwhile, 
  • I’m putting together a marketing plan for my abecedarian to start submitting it
  • I’ve attended the summer Hugo House Write-O-Rama, which helped me play around with some story ideas I have been entertaining for months now
  • I’m taking a class taught by Waverly Fitzgerald on submission strategies (also at the Hugo House) to jumpstart my efforts to find homes for my work
  • I’ve put aside my sleep and dreams manuscript started last summer at Centrum in favor of a novel idea I’ve been obsessing with for a while now. Let’s just say it involves multiple sclerosis, the Lord of the Flies, and ferry boats. 
  • I’m looking ahead to several book ideas I can pitch at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA) conference next September.
I blame all the reading I do on the inspiration to keep writing. Most recently: 
  • The Forgiven by Lawrence Osborne (probably my favorite book so far this year)
  • The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles (probably my second favorite book so far this year)
  • Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids by Kenzeburo Oe (very much like Lord of the Flies and just as  compelling)
  • Soft Apocalypse by Will Mcintosh (a fresh take, probably more realistic but, in this day and age of fake news and Trump, sobering and depressing)
Drew Magary’s The Postmortal is my current read. 

I also keep hearing and learning more and more about the growing interest in hybrid writing, which is encouraging as it makes me feel a little bit better about the fact that I am most comfortable outside traditional ideas and formats. My Bill Ransom workshop this week at Centrum should help spin out these concepts for me, as well.

Recent acceptances/publications

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

Poetry

“The Bridge,” “Diagnosis,” and “Hot Bath Test” in Something On Our Minds (anthology of MS writing)

Essays

“Gaze” in The Nervous Breakdown (with many thanks to Bernard Grant for inviting my submission and to Chelsey Clammer for her great care and support).

Submissions under consideration

Poetry – 5 poems (to 3 markets)
Fiction – 0 
Nonfiction – 0

With almost all the cows come home, it’s time to start submitting again! 


Coming up

September will be a crazy month for me. I will be pitching four or five different manuscripts at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference. 

The following weekend I’ll be soaking in some great films at the Port Townsend Film Festival, and just a week later, I’m heading to Indianapolis for the 2018 Sleep Meeting for the American Association of Sleep Technologists. 

Not long after, I’ll be helping out the Washington State Sleep Conference as the board’s secretary. 

There are some camping trips slipped in between these events through October, and I’m hoping to make a trip to Auburn, Alabama in early November to touch base with one of my clients. 
Thanks again for your reading and for your continued support!

~Tamara

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