Thursday, November 30, 2023

November 2023 - Update #5

 Finally a little writing - chapter 3 is more or less finished at last. Now things should start moving, as Gwernin and company set off on a new adventure. The first part will be similar (but not identical) to the beginning of The Ash Spear - a sort of mirror, but twelve years later, involving the initiatory ritual called "the dark path". We'll be seeing Gwernin's friend Neirin again for the first time since that book. Hopefully he won't take over the entire story line, as he is prone to do!

Most of last week's snow has melted, but not all, because the weekend was very cold. It's definitely winter now. I'm looking forward to getting out of November - it's been a month with too many losses over the years.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

November 2023 - Update #4

 A cold grey morning with snow predicted tonight. The last two days were mild and sunny - what we call "the warm before the storm" - but that's over. I spent part of them doing garden stuff - planting crocus bulbs before the ground freezes, coiling a hose, giving the rosemary plants a last couple of days of outdoor sun. Now it's time to stay indoors and try to write. I have at least been considering plot and plot problems from time to time. Now it's time to put words to them.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

November 2023 - Update #3

 I don't usually start with vodka for breakfast, but this has been a horrible week.

A good friend (Elis Owens) with whom I had worked on the local Welsh language course for the last 24 years died abruptly last Thursday night. I heard about this in  an email two days later, and was just beginning to recover and start to write again when my Gray cat was hit and killed by a car yesterday morning.

The combined loss is almost more than I can stand. I keep reminding myself I have 3 young cats and at least 2 more books to write. But I've never felt more suicidal in my life.

Friday, November 10, 2023

November 2023 - Update #2

 Only a little progress in the last week. I did finish chapter 2 and started chapter 3, but that was mostly because chapter 2 was getting too long and I moved the last 1,000 words into the next chapter. I also spent some time thinking about plot development, and took 2 days off to work on the next issue of Oak Leaves. Hopefully I'll get back on track now. I always seem to have at least three major balls in the air, so to speak -- writing, Oak Leaves, and other druid activities (the last now in two flavors, so to speak), plus assorted daily mundane stuff.

Winter is settling in, with cold nights and heavy frosts the last two days, but we're still getting mild stretches. I need to use some of the milder days to do yard work, especially plant some bulbs and repair the cold frame. Ruay caught a mouse in the yard the other day, but I took it away from him and exported it. This led me to set the live traps in the garage, and I've caught two there so far. I need to get them out now, before the population explodes like it did last year.

Thursday, November 2, 2023

November 2023 - Update #1

 Winter is here. Over the last weekend, I got about 8 inches of snow, followed by overnight lows in the low teens F. A lot of the snow has melted so far, since the ground wasn't frozen, but it's still taking its time. I got all the garden tasks done beforehand; geraniums and rosemarys are in the garage, a few other freeze-tolerant plants in the cold frame. Still lots of garden cleanup to do, but no hurry now.

I've actually got some writing done this week. It took a bit of thought and re-reading of things after such a long break, but I'm hopeful of making fairly steady progress now. I've almost finished chapter 2 at last, and have been mentally grappling this morning with what comes next. The next few chapters will take Gwernin et al to Ynys Mon, where Taliesin's student Mael is going to undergo the initiatory experience called the Dark Path. Some of this I'll be cribbing from The Ash Spear, but some will be new and different. After that - Ireland again.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

October 2023 - Update #4

No writing in the last week either - weekend errands plus an intensive on-line course I'm taking with the Anglesey Druid Order took care of Saturday and Sunday; problems have reappeared with my laptop, which I like to write on while looking out the garden window; Wednesday was errands again, plus moving my geraniums from their summer home in the cold frame to the garage; today more garden work - moving rosemarys inside and four frost-tolerant plants to the empty cold frame, and harvesting the last of the current tomatoes and some still-healthy catnip (the latter to dry). Probably frost tonight, then snow Saturday night and Sunday, w/ a forecast low of 13 F Sunday night. Winter is on the doorstep. Next weekend we'll celebrate Nos Galan Gaeaf.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

October 2023 - Update #3

 Our retreat is finally over, and I hope to start writing again. Certainly I made no progress for the last week though - prepping to hold it at my house had kept me very busy, and I spent most of the weekend managing the Zoom sessions. After that it took me a few days to recover. Next year we expect to be back at La Foret, with more room and facilities, and that should be easier. We will also be a week later in October - the third weekend rather than the second, in part to avoid some conflicts which developed this year. Since we'll be so close to Samhain, I'm hoping our overall topic will have some aspect of that season.

Before next Wednesday I'll also have some end of the season garden work to do as well. We've had several light frosts, but things are about to get colder, so it's time to move the sensitive plants into the garage for the winter and harvest the rest of the beans.

On with the work!

Thursday, October 12, 2023

October 2023 - Update #2

No writing this week - I've been prepping for our annual Rocky Mountain Retreat. It should have been at La Foret conference center, where this picture was taken, but our cabin reservations got screwed up; instead the Zoom sessions and ritual will be at my house. This has required a lot of prep on my part.

I've also been creating a Power Point for a presentation I'll be giving Sunday morning. Since I'd never worked with Power Point before, I had a bit of a learning curve. Fortunately it works a lot like Publisher, which I use for ADF's quarterly magazine, but I had a busy 3 days.

Looking forward to having time to write again in a week or two!

Friday, October 6, 2023

October 2023 - Update #1


Again, no appreciable progress with my writing in the last week. There have been too many distractions, and I'm still stuck in the middle of chapter 2. Next week is unlikely to be better, but after our Rocky Mountain retreat I hope to get the story moving again. 

In other news, I picked most of the nearly-ripe tomatoes yesterday. We haven't had frost yet, but it can't be long - maybe tonight.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

September 2023 - Update #4


Very little writing progress in the last week - perhaps 300 words on Chapter 2 - but some ideas are developing. Most of my attention, however, has been on the situation with Chokecherry's retreat. Due to clerical errors on the part of our site, we are going to be forced to hold the retreat (which fortunately is mostly virtual) here in Denver at my house. A good bit of time and energy was spent on these problems, including unsatisfactory negotiations with the site, changing arrangements with several people who will be here, and serious housekeeping on my part. I also spent half of yesterday with technical support regarding a problem with my laptop, which turns out not to have been entirely fixed after all. Life in general has been rather chaotic, but I hope to get back to Gwernin's adventures soon.