All Over But Nowhere

A couple of years ago, I changed the name of this blog to ‘Scribing English All Over the Place’ because of a philosophy teacher I had. He said that people would tell him his lectures were all over the place, and that the key part of the comment was ‘the place’. It’s still centered, despite being everywhere.

That’s the way I’ve been feeling while on break. I have opened WordPress and closed the tab so many times, initially with the idea of reading the blogs I follow and writing a bit while I’m at it. But then I thought that I should be making flashcards to study for exams next month (NEXT MONTH!!!!!!), or I should be working on editing my novel–or that oh wait, I have another novel I want to get done that I think I can pump out really fast if only I have a detailed enough outline, but then really I should be acquiring more editing work. Of course, all the while I should be sowing the seeds for our vegetable garden so we can eat next winter, but oh dear, the weather has been conveniently crap–and now the eggs are hatching and really I shouldn’t leave the chicks when they’re this young on their own…..

And so on and so forth.

All over the damn place. But, I’m still in the place. I’m still productive. While I’m working on a hundred things at a time, I’m still focussed on an overarching goal, still being productive, and still keeping things interesting.

So no, I haven’t actually written in my blogs for a while, nor have I been a good reader for the blogs that I follow. But I’ll get back in the swing of things. Recently I’ve just been enjoying the freedom to tool around over here, then over there, and then back over to the north side of the whatever, without demand of a schedule.

I will study.

I will edit my novel.

I will sow my garden (at least I freaking hope I will).

But for now, I’m happy doing a little bit here and there and just getting things nudging along slowly.


Please feel free to visit my website at www.authornjthompson.com and subscribe to my newsletter. I’m also accepting manuscript for proofreading and development editing.

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Update: Snow and Writing

My last post was a bit of a winge. I will give you that. So I thought I would update and iterate that it wasn’t as bad as it felt at the timeand update in general.

Snow

The snow is finally easing off. Most of yesterday was above freezing, and I could even see some green patches of grass around the caravan where it was just finally pissing off, as requested. We still don’t have any water, since our pipes are still frozen. But I’m off to work in an hour and I suspect that the frozen pipe issue will have remedied by the time I get home. As I am writing this I can hear the water trying so hard to come back on! There are drips!! This is very exciting as we’ve been without for four (this is our fifth) days!

I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to do dishes in my life.

Honestly, while I was frustrated, it wasn’t as bad as I made it seem. We had electric the whole time, which was fine. Our gas worked the majority of the time, which meant we could cook. We were able to go to one of the farm houses and use their water for a shower and to fill up water bottles to bring here so we could drink (coffee), wash the minimum amount of dishes, keep the dogs hydrated and cook.

None of the dogs died from being too cold. Our chicken didn’t die (Did I mention we have a chicken and hatching eggs???) and the birds outside this morning are sounding pretty pleased with themselves.

Also, the week from school (yeah, week from school because between strikes and snow days, I haven’t been to one lecture or tutorial in a week)

Writing

My Project

As I wrote about a few days ago – and have had some pretty positive response to – I am trying to get a publishing project off the ground at the university. I’ll tell you, it’s slow going. While I know the project has been dispersed via a few news letters, I’ve so far only had one student response, who seems quite keen. I won’t lie, I don’t know what to do now. I’ve asked for some background information, and he sounds like a good option, but I don’t know if I should just say ‘great, you’re in!’ without actually meeting him first. However, because I’m impatient, I’m thinking I’m going to just tell him ‘welcome aboard’ and go from there.

But I don’t actually know where to go from there. I mean, it seems logical to meet up with him any way, and we can start discussing the details of everything – how to set up the web page, what our first theme will be and so on. But I’m thinking that I should give it a little bit more time to try and acquire a fuller team before I start moving ahead. After all, I think it’s only been a week or so that the word went out.

The problem I’m facing regarding this is that I’m hoping to get the website and call for submissions out by the end of May with a deadline of August and a selection by September. This would allow the first issue to be out by November. Which sounds like a good plan, except we have to consider that I’m planning on working with just students. In two weeks, March 16th, we all go on break until April 15th (or thereabouts), so a lot of students will be going home. After that, it’s only two weeks until exams, which will be going all month long. My first exam, I think, is on May 4th (maybe 9th?), and the last one is on the 26h. After that I’m done with uni for the summer.

Because of this schedule, I don’t know how many people are going to be able to devote any time at all toward this project and getting it set up. I don’t know how many will have time to respond now. THe only thing I can think to do is get the guy who’s responded, work with him to try and get things done as much as we can between us, and hopefully people will respond to the submission call, and we can try and recruit more people over the summer for aspects like graphic design.

So while I’m impatient, I”m impatient for a seemingly legit reason.

Non-Uni Projects

I’m working on a short story at the moment for a competition. Among all the other things I’m doing, I’m trying to turn out short stories on the regular to submit to paying competitions in an effort to get some more cash flow. This week off has been pretty helpful with both essays and creative writing, but it’s also been pretty influential on my laziness,

Carpe Nocturne

While I had mentioned that there was a bit of a delay with the last Carpe Nocturne issue coming out, there is still that issue. I’ve been in contact with one of the section editors who has been in contact with the producer of the magazine, though he hasn’t heard anything new yet. While I had hoped that this issue would be out by the end of February, it’s still not out.

Wonderbox Publishing

The Anthology still isn’t out. I haven’t heard anything more about it either. The last I had heard, the digital copy was going to be released and there was going to be a Kickstarter (or some equivalent) to get a print version on the go. I thought that in order to make that happen, it would have started ages ago. However, again, I haven’t heard anything.

Ugh. Writers.

Blogs

And, just as a general self-promotion, I thought I would share my recent blog posts from other blogs. Actually, I”ve only written in one blog other than this one, so I’ll essentially just list and link the blog entries (nice and simple, yes?)

 

A Farm!

It’s done! It’s sorted! I have a place to move to!

As mentioned before in a previous entry, I got on the website Work Away with the crazy plan to find a farm that would be willing to put me up in exchange for room and board. Well, the first farmer I contacted got back to me right away, and yesterday I went to visit the farm.

It was a long drive, all the way up to North Yorkshire. But it was a nice day, and a nice drive, despite my injuries. My back was killing me the majority of the way, and my wrist I think is just progressively getting worse rather than better.

However, after arriving at the farm and being shown the aviary (with some 2-300 birds of all types), a couple of pigs, the cat-breeding, and meeting a few dogs, we arrived at the caravan. It has a shower (Mom will be pleased), two bedrooms, a kitchen, and most importantly to me, a table–all with full permission to modify it however needed. He even said that it might be wise to install a wood burner rather than the current heating, which he would pay for entirely.

As far as work, he just hopes for a couple hours a day (I can totally clean out bird pens or horse stables for my keep, no prob! (she declares as she pops some ibuprofen for her wrist and back)), and essentially will provide the rest.

Did I mention there’s an orchard? And that I can plant and grow whatever I want? I can have my own little garden!

Also, he said there’s a village at the bottom of the farm with a pub, the owners of which he’s friends with. He said he spoke to them, and they would be happy to take me on part time for some actual money-making work.

It is a 40 minute drive to Durham, which I generally don’t mind. However, there’s also a train from the next town up which is only 14 minutes. If the student passes are cheap enough, I might opt for that.

Everything is falling into place! I’M GOING TO UNI!!!!

Burning the Old Ways

My day was in the garden. After a horrific evening previously, I woke feeling rough and in dire need of water. We both did – my boyfriend and I. We had been terribly – terribly irresponsible, and were definitely paying the price in guilt over our own drunken over-spending, as well as the general self-loathing that proceeds a night of such heavy lubrication.

Yet somehow, as we were draped across the couch in a pool of feeling sorry for ourselves, inspiration was found.

“I have to get up. I’m doing yard work!” Perhaps my words were not as concise as that, but the general gist was there.

The day hadn’t decided what it was doing yet, whether it was going to pull the blankets back and allow the sun to shine through, if they blankets were going to be wet and rain on me, or perhaps they were to stay put to witness my work ethic. The sky was very indecisive about its actions, and went through all the motions to test them out before settling on letting the sun out to play.

Mostly, my goal was to bring the already pulled heaps of sticker-bushes and weeds over to the potential burn area, and tidy the yard as much as possible. I actually went out with the excitement and intent of putting to use the heavy rake my mother had lent  us. I wanted to see dirt where we had pulled everything up, instead of the roots of stubborn runner plants, fallen leaves of the rhododendrons, etc. However, I felt silly making piles to go into the wheelbarrow that had not been touched or examined since we moved in, especially since there were already so many tall piles waiting for that barrow already.

I woke the barrow from it’s sideways slumber cuddled with blocks of cement, and put it straight to work, taking no mercy with the viciousness in which I threw the yard debris.

As the piles got smaller, and I needed to bend down more and more, I grew tireder and tireder. The hangover wind number two was taking effect. A nap was calling me.

Meanwhile, my boyfriend had been busying himself in the house, doing some furniture re-arranging and some much needed spring cleaning. I am almost certain I feel asleep while talking with him, and woke snuggled with my cat, who decided it was time to take advantage of my shields let down (as if it’s hard for him to do).

It wasn’t a long nap – they rarely are – and I was back out in the hard, hauling the debris to the fire pit, which my boyfriend had gotten started. We were now fighting for daylight, trying to get as much of it burned as possible before it was no longer possible to see just what it was that we were grabbing at.

I found a chair and brought it outside to sit beside the fire, while my boyfriend continued to keep it active. I watched the sparks fly out, and marveled at the display of pure energy in front of me. The fire burned for hours before I finally decided to come in, and attempt to go to bed.

 

I was on Pinterest earlier in the morning, before my out-of-doors adventuring, and spied a book that I had when I was in Wales, and had spurred my inspiration for gardening previously – A Real Witch’s Garden by Kate West. In it were little gardening tips tied in with Pagan rituals and the like. I really enjoyed that book, and I wish I had kept a hold of it.

In it, it talked about spring cleaning, something I have never really been one for. My boyfriend has been keeping true to it, repeating over and over that is his priority now, meaning much more than simply cleaning out the house.

As I was pulling up roots and weeds and loading them into the wheelbarrow, I considered what I need to be doing to fully take advantage of the energy of the season. What am I doing to clear away the clutter?

“It’s so nice,” my boyfriend said, as we sat watching the fire, holding hands. “It was taking over our yard, and we pulled all this stuff out, and now – poof! – it’s not there any more, burned away.”

There is so much metaphor in spring cleaning, and bonfires as well. What aspects are being turned away, what old is being thrown out, what new will I bring in?

I was so content with all the work I did outside, and have been doing outside. Inside the house has seemed so stagnant recently, so I was glad that my boyfriend took on that task. I made sure that both doors leading in and out of the house were left open, to take away the stale air, try and let the draft take hold of the stilled energies.

I worry that I’ll lose motivation. I worry that my ambition for school is just a phase I’m going through, that the momentum won’t stay for very long. I think that’s why I started this blog, to make sure that I kept my passion, to help me alter my way of thinking, since I knew the quarter was starting a dangerous distance away.

And now it’s only a week away.

I won’t lie, I’m starting to get scared. I am worried about money, I am worried that I’ll be overwhelmed. I’m worried about a great deal of things, and beginning to fight mini panicky moments. But time is sweeping me forward. My actions can either be something sturdy, worth growing, something beautiful that will increase every year, or I can just be another weed that will some day get pulled up and thrown in a burn pile.

fire

And I Say Nay, Nature!

I’m sore from gardening. That means I’m doing it right. Currently our back yard is pretty destroyed, chunks of tree everywhere, blackberry bushes previously, neatly  wrapping around living tall things, now slumped lifelessly across the yard. Tortured stocks of demonicphoto 2 – I have no idea what the hell they are, but they’re prickly as all hell with fuchsia flowers – gouged from the earth by their stubborn, desperate roots, tossed into what will be the goat-food pile.

The ivy won’t even know what hit it when we get to it.

And now, I am finally sore. Woman vs nature, a battle I hoped never to engage in. I am nature’s ally, but I have to put my foot down and say –

“No more! This is my backyard and together my boyfriend and I shall enjoy it! daffodils shall be planted instead of your spiny fuschia flowers, and we shall delight in a lawn of chamomile, thyme and lemon balm, so each step shall omit soothing perfumes, and bumble bees shall seek their honey in this oasis in the flat farm lands of Skagit County. No more, nature, shall you dictate what goes on in the soil of this spot, for it is our time now.”

And Nature, in all her beauty and glory, will nod her head in acknowledgement. She knows how to share. She learned it in kindergarten, you see. She will understand, take a step to the side, and lend her healing, green hands when asked. And she shall know, that there is no need for her thorny anger here.

And now, the rain has stopped and the sun is coming out. Perhaps I should go and work in the garden.

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My boyfriend, hard at work

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