Thursday, September 20, 2018

Time and Space for Writing

I'm fortunate to have a lovely bedroom converted to an office in our house. So it's a bit unfortunate that I have so much trouble writing there. This is a serious first world problem, I know, but I prefer to leave the house and write in coffeehouses and libraries.

Writing takes both physical and mental space. And when I'm depressed, it's harder to focus at home. With a clean table and a fresh cup of java, my mind clears.

The main culprit interfering with my concentration at home is our fifty-four pound yellow Labrador "puppy" (she is 13 months old) Scarlet. On social media, she's #ninetyninepercentgooddog. She's so much less mischievous than she was just a few months ago, but I'm hypervigilant and every sound makes me wonder if she's shredded yet another chair or killed another television.

Now that Ed, my husband, is retired, he often stays home part of the day and helps keep the pupperina out of trouble. But he's a busy guy taking classes at The Ohio State University, volunteering at the Upper Arlington Senior Center, and remaining active in politics. Some days, he's gone most of the day.

When I need a break from the pupperina and don't want to leave her alone for eight hours, I ship her off to Puptown Lounge for doggy daycare. From the looks of the photos they take, I'm pretty sure she doesn't mind.


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

What Writers Eat FAIL!

I forgot to take a "before" photo: meatloaf, green beans, and corn.


It was delicious.

Monday, September 17, 2018

What Writers Eat #1

Sports fans often ask their athlete idols what they eat. Do readers wonder what famous writers eat? I'm not a famous writer, but what the heck. I'm going to begin posting some of the things I eat.

Thankfully, Ed, the one hundred percent good husband, does most of the cooking. If not, we'd starve.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Power of Lists

You've heard of the "to do" list, but what about the "to write" list? It's a powerful tool in my writing kit.

Sitting in the classroom at Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos, New Mexico, I watched as best-selling author Natalie Goldberg picked up her cheap spiral notebook, flipped to the back, and showed us a list of scrawled topics she'd penned on that last page. She said she carried a notebook everywhere and jotted ideas on the back page of the notebook as they occurred to her. "If I'm stuck, I look at these," she said.

She'd mentioned this list in one of her books, most likely Writing Down the Bones, but to see the real thing left quite an impression. I began to do the same and still carry a notebook at all times.

We also did list-making exercises in the many workshops I took from her. The topics varied, but here are a few of my favorites:

~ The things I carry (a spin-off from The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien).
~ Make a list of everyone you've ever met
~ Write the names of every place you've been
~ Name your pets
~ Tell me every car you've ever owned and what happened to it
~ Write down everywhere you have lived
~ List all your loves
~ Tell me everything you know about the color blue

When I write a list, sometimes I'll fill the entire writing practice with listed, but more often, as I made the list, something would occur to me and I'd soon be writing an essay instead.

Do you use writing lists? I'd love to hear if they work for you!



Saturday, September 15, 2018

Running with the Unicorns!

We did a little running today - ten miles. And there were unicorns to cheer us on!


Up close and personal!


Does your running group have unicorns? If not, maybe you should join ours!

Friday, September 14, 2018

A Dog. That is All.

Some days, days like today, when the new computer is unsatisfactory and needs to be returned, the old computer is on the fritz (which is why you bought the new computer), but the new computer has not yet been returned and the even newer computer has not yet arrived, the roof is leaking and must be replaced, and the air conditioner, while new, needs to be paid for, you only need to look out at the adorable pupperina to know that everything is right with the world if you just stay in the moment. A dog. That is all.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Winning!

I entered a contest. I didn't mean to win. I thought the picture of the prize was ugly. We had to name three ingredients to include in a sushi roll. I listed the three most disgusting things I could think of. I can't even remember them now. But, the joke was on me.

I won!

She arrived today. Yes, we "sparkle sisters" (the wearers of Sparkle Skirts brand athletic skirts) refer to each skirt as "she." And each skirt has a name. I'm calling this one, "On a Roll."

Get it?

Imagine my surprise when I opened her and loved the colors. She's so bright and cheery. Perfect for the rainy weather we've been having.


Sparkle Skirts didn't intended for it to be a writing contest, but I'm counting it as a writing success!

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Grounded for Life

The pupperina that is. She broke the TV.


The TV was on a table. She was tethered to the table. She's been tethered to the table many many times before. But this time, she jumped just right and pulled just right and whirled just right. And crash, down went the TV. It fell - just right - and the screen cracked.

We're headed to Best Buy.

It a good thing she's cute.

Monday, September 03, 2018

The Number One Rule of Social Media (and life)

"Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish." ~ Richard Dawkins

As I mentioned in a previous post, agents and editors want writers to have an established platform when pitching a book. I've spent the past month consulting experts and reading books and blog articles on the topic while I try a few techniques. For example, I tackled Twitter with some success even though I'm a major introvert. I'm growing my social media following, blogging more often, and gathering additional subscribers to my email list for Write Now Newsletter.

No matter which book I pick up, which expert I talk to, which blog I read, the bottom line comes back to one thing: Generosity. If I'm not offering my followers and readers valuable information, I'm doing both of us a disservice.

Learning this reminded me of a saying I heard years ago. "You have to give it away to keep it." Seems like a paradox, eh? But in yet another area of my life, it's proving true.

The books and blogs and experts talk about "noise to signal ratio." If there's too much "noise" (Buy! Buy! Buy!) and not enough "signal" (Here's a helpful thing.) people will turn and run. If I follow someone or subscribe to their blog and all they do is pitch their wares, I won't hang around.

Why would I expect this to be any different when the tables are turned?

To address this, my current experiment is to share 99% useful or humorous (laughter is also a gift) information. I offer techniques I've found helpful, answer questions, and (of course) share cute animal photos. Cue #Scarlet the #ninetyninepercentgooddog. Use her hashtag on my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts!

The remaining 1% of my platform is sales pitch material. This might be a link to my newsletter, a request to follow this blog, or an announcement of a class I'm teaching. It's just a fraction because, when people think of me, I want them to see me as helpful and entertaining rather than as someone chasing after their wallets.

The unintended consequence of trying to be "of service," is that I no longer dread "marketing." More than once, when I've been sad or in crisis, a mentor has advised me to reach out to help someone else (unless I'm in a deep deep depression for which I need medical intervention). Invariably, just as in the rest of my life, if I can be useful when promoting my business, I feel better too.

What is your experience with being generous in business? I'd love to hear about it!

Saturday, September 01, 2018

A Photo of My Dog Not Watching Football While I Watch Football

Despite her name (Scarlet as in "Scarlet and Gray,") the pupperina is wholly uninterested in this sports thing probably because it does not include doggy snacks.


And no, I am not writing. Sometimes you need a day off.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

"It Will Be Easy," they said.

I'm kidding.

No one ever said it would be easy. People give advice to make "it" (nearly anything) less difficult. But no one told me running would be easy and many tried to warn me about how difficult writing could be.


But they (whoever the heck "they" are) also could never have fully conveyed the joy I have found in both.

So there.

No, it won't be easy, but yes, it will be worth it!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Rethinking the Purpose of a Title

When I first began blogging in April of 2006, I thought of each title the way a poet might. The title didn't so much introduce the "poem" (blog article) as enhance it. It was its own "line" in the poem.

I was idealistic and much younger then. I was still in MFA school.

And, I hadn't read this stack of books on using social media effectively.

In the age of Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Facebook business pages, a title must do more than entertain. A title must make a promise. The article must fulfill it.

With overburdened schedules and a flood of information, readers scan titles for the helpful or entertaining. It is the age of the micro-blog, the mini-article, the itsy bitsy essay. If the title doesn't catch a reader's attention, it is lost.

You've probably already noticed a change here. What I might have previously titled, "The Farmer" became "Good? Bad? How Can You Tell?" and what I contemplated calling, "The Introvert's Dilemma" was posted as "Twitter for Introverts." These are still creative, I hope, but more informative. They promise information.

Don't worry. I'll still post photos of #Scarlet the #ninetyninepercentgooddog with silly titles.


Those promise to entertain!

And now I shall go enter "Effective Blog Titles" into the google machine and see if the experts agree.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Good? Bad? How Can You Tell?

My writing life, like everyone's writing or non-writing life, is punctuated by ups and downs. A polite rejection is followed by placement as a finalist in a contest which is followed by a not-so-polite rejection which is followed by an email telling me that a different contest has decided not to select a winner at all which is then followed by an email from an acquisitions editor saying, "Let's see if we can make something happen."

How do I keep from getting whiplash?

I remember this story:
A poor farmer's horse ran off into the country of the Barbarians. All his neighbors offered their condolences, but his father said, "How do you know that this isn't good fortune?"

After a few months, the horse returned with a Barbarian horse of excellent stock. All his neighbors offered their congratulations, but his father said, "How do you know that this isn't a disaster?"

The two horses bred and the family became rich in fine horses. The farmer's son spent much of his time riding them. One day he fell off and broke his hip bone. All his neighbors offered the farmer their condolences, but his father said, "How do you know that this isn't good fortune?"

Another year passed and the Barbarians invaded the frontier. All the able bodied young men were conscripted, and nine-tenths of them died in the war.

Thus good fortune can be disaster and vice versa. Who can tell how events will be transformed?

---- "The Huai Nan Tzu Tells a Story,"
from Tao Te Ching translated by Stephen Mitchell

Seriously! Who can tell how events will be transformed? Not me.

Stay tuned, but fasten your seat belt. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Abundance of Reader and Writer Events in Central Ohio Continues to Grow

In today's Columbus Dispatch, "So to Speak" columnist Joe Blundo writes of the Columbus arts scene, "We're still not New York City, but as you read what's ahead in the arts, keep in mind how far we've come."

The same can be said for the "book scene" in central Ohio. Steve Stephen's piece, also in today's Dispatch, truthfully proclaims "Plenty of authors await ravenous readers," and lists a half page of writing events.

In January of 2003 when I began publishing Write Now Newsletter, a monthly email listing central Ohio reader and writer events, the list had nine entries. Wow has that changed! Due to the summer lull, this month's email in August 2018 "only" included thirty-two events while the April issue had sixty-one. The poetry scene is exploding as are the number of author readings, writing groups, workshops and other writing and reading events of all kinds.

This abundance of options is fabulous news for the readers and writers of our community. It provides an opportunity for eager readers to meet the people behind the words. I still thrill at watching a favorite author pen their name on the title page of their book.

While I do my best to include every reading and writing event in our multi-county area, I fear I miss a few. Please help me make Write Now Newsletter as complete as possible by sending reader and writer events to nita@nitasweeney.com.

And, if you're so inclined, drop a few pennies in my tip jar. Thanks in advance!

Now get out of here and go see those authors!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Twitter for Introverts

In a previous post, I explained how agents and editors expect authors to have a social media presence before pitching a book. I did not mention how daunting I found this fact. It's similar to how naked I felt when I first began pitching a book to agents and how it has continued to feel pitching the book to publishers and submitting to contests as well.

You see, I'm an "off-the-scale" introvert. It's no surprise that every time I take the Myers-Briggs personality inventory whether it is a short version on the internet or the very very long version administered by a psychology professional, my "introversion" score is nearly as high as the scale goes. Putting myself out there is truly a stretch.

Add to that recurrent chronic depression and you have a roadblock many might not overcome. I can only do this social media stuff if I find a method that works with my natural talents.

My Facebook author page hadn't seemed that much of a stretch from my personal Facebook page so I linked it to Twitter. When I posted to Facebook, it automatically tweeted the same thing.

But the books I read about Twitter explained that this wasn't enough. I needed to interact. To my introverted self, this sounded as terrifying as walking into a cocktail party and shouting, "Look at me!" That was not going to happen.

On a four-mile run, I began to think about how I best communicate: one on one. I wondered what would happen if I just began talking to individuals the way I might in the rest of my world.

So I started responding any time someone tweeted something that resonated with me. For a few days, my tweets went unanswered. A few days later, one or two people replied.

Then, something remarkable happened. One of my running heroes, Hal Higdon, retweeted one of my replies to his tweet!















A few days later, it happened again!




















My one-one-one approach not only allowed me to play along with the extroverts who love Twitter, but also effectively increased my social media exposure. I learned that even off-the-scale introverts can Tweet!

Friday, August 17, 2018

The Ever Helpful Dog

For fourteen years, Morgan (aka Mr. Dawg), served as my writing helper.
















When he died last November, I worried I'd never have such good dog help again.

But #Scarlet, the #ninetyninepercentgooddog, is up to the task.

Here she is "helping" Ed with a project in the first weeks after we got her.













Eight months later, she's still "helpful," but at a much more relaxed pace. Today she helped us eat lunch.




















In the evenings, she helps in my office. I savor these moments watching her sleep.













Do you have a "helpful" pet?

Thursday, August 16, 2018

When In Doubt, Consult the Literature and Ask (someone younger) for Help

Platform. Platform. Platform.


It is not news that editors and agents want a writer to have a following. And it shouldn't be news that they expect that writer to have those potential readers in place BEFORE the book is published. But I'm often late to the party.

Oh, I've had a platform for years. I've been publishing Write Now Newsletter, my monthly writing email, since 2003. I've been writing this blog for nearly that long. You can also find me on Twitter and Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn. But in the current market, publishers favor authors who have a platform ON STEROIDS!

When I received a reminder of this truth, I did what I always do. I went to the library. The stack of books in the photo is just the beginning of my research. And, honestly, I already know much of what they are suggesting.

I also asked my friends, especially the younger ones, for advice. Last night, I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to post something on Instagram. A friend sent this helpful photo:


Literally, I just didn't know what button to push!

But once I've figured out the mechanics of these sites, there are bigger challenges. Yes I had a presence on these platforms, but I wasn't engaging on social media often enough and I wasn't doing it the most effective way. I'm still reading and consulting friends, but as I make changes, my numbers are climbing.

Stay tuned. Give me a few more weeks and I'll write about what I've learned.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Back to School

Today is back to school day for many kids in our central Ohio neighborhoods. My brother just texted a photo of his grandson (my great nephew) heading off to first grade. My sister posted photos on Facebook of her grandchildren. Two are going to elementary school and the oldest to his first year of middle school.


I had to ask myself if I missed that end of summer feeling? Not really. Still, being a writer is like having homework for the rest of your life. I previously wrote about why that's not such a bad thing!

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Writing Excuse Number 1,283

My dog is too adorable. Will you look at those paws!! I can't write under these conditions. I must share photos.

Monday, August 13, 2018

How to Use #nitaprompt and Other "Writing" Topics

On a Wednesday night group run shortly after I blogged about posting a writing prompt every day, a friend asked, "What are we supposed to do with them?"

Good question!

Ideally, one would do "writing practice" the timed-writing, no holds barred approach championed by my long-time teacher Natalie Goldberg with whom I have studied for many years. For those not familiar, I recently blogged about teaching Nat's "rules of writing practice." Since many of my followers on Facebook and Twitter are writers, I thought of each #nitaprompt as a topic for writing.

But feel free to use them however you want.

One artist friend finds they inspire her drawing and painting. This makes my heart so happy.

Another friend who teaches at a university stopped me to say, "I like those #nitaprompts. They make me remember things I'd forgotten." I do not know if he intends to write about them or not, but it was lovely to hear someone was paying attention!

The pupperina #Scarlet aka #ninetyninepercentgooddog brags to her doggy daycare friends about her creative mommy and her doggy friends bark about the topics.

Okay. Maybe that last one isn't entirely true.

My point is that I have no claim to how these topics should be used.

Do you have a unique way you use "writing" topics? I'd love to hear about it.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Thank You for Playing Along

Today, I spent a fabulous afternoon in the company of writers. Yes, I did most of the talking, but what the people arbitrarily labelled "participants" didn't know going in was that I needed them more than they needed me.

I teach the "rules of writing practice" as taught to me by best-selling author Natalie Goldberg (Writing Down the Bones and Wild Mind). In the year 2000, shortly before Ed and I returned to my home state of Ohio after living in Taos, New Mexico where I had studied with Natalie, Nat told me to teach writing practice in Ohio. She knew what I needed.

My lame paraphrasing of Nat's brilliance goes something like this:
1. Use Timed Intervals
. . . just like in meditation practice. Start with ten minutes. Set the microwave timer and GO! The time constraint has a pressure cooker effect, heating up our minds and helping words flow.

2. Keep Your Hand Moving . . .
. . . for the entire time period you've selected. It separates and your creative momentum from that oppressive internal editor. No stopping. No crossing out. Don't let that critic have a chance to stop your naturally moving hand. If you don't know what to write, write the topic again and continue. Something more will arise.

3. Be Specific.
Oak, not tree. Teddy bear, not stuffed animal. Capture the essential details of your life.

4. Don't Worry about Spelling, Punctuation; Grammar. Or even the lines on the Page

5. Go for the Jugular.
If it's scary, it has energy. If you don't write about it, you'll just end up writing around it. Even if you know you'll never publish those words, just go for it!

6. You're Free to Write the Worst Junk in America
(America, Earth, The Milky Way, The Universe). Take the pressure off. We all write junk. If you're free to write awful nasty stuff, you'll be free to write hot, lively stuff as well.

7. Lose Control!
Don't try to manage what goes down on the page. Let the wild waves of your mind roam free. Don't grip the pen too hard. It doesn't matter how sloppy your writing or your thoughts become. Set yourself free.

8. Don't Think.
Take a vacation from logic, organization, or anything your left-brain loves. Capture the way your mind first flashes on an experience. Step into the words and go. Become the words. No mind. Just write.
Simple enough.

The problem? I forget to follow them.

These "rules" have become so ingrained in me that I take them for granted. And I forget to use them. I lose sight of the practice that has kept me going all these years. I still write, of course, but not with the wild abandon and rich freedom offered by these simple rules. My writing turns shallow and my mind dull. I lose touch with my own big heart and crazy wild mind.

So thank you today to the brave "participants" who allowed me to refresh my recollection by teaching. And thank you to Nat (always) for knowing what I needed in order for the practice to continue at my own desk and at the desks of others. As is often the case, we teach what we need to learn.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Red and Howling Gives Back

I only recently discovered the lovely Red and Howling collection of prints and collectibles by Amy Luwis.

Right now, Amy (Red and Howling) is donating 50% of the profits from the "Be Kind" print to the amazing Project Precious Rescue. Project Precious Rescue was created for the countless animals, who without shelters, rescues, volunteers and many other caring people, would not have a second chance.

You can purchase this archival quality "Be Kind" giclée print on her website.

























The mission of Project Precious Rescue is to rescue animals who may otherwise face homelessness or death, and find them loving forever homes. They rely solely on their own personal funds and donations, and do not profit from their work. They believe every animal deserves a chance!

Friday, August 10, 2018

How to Host a Silent Auction

My friend and Goddard MFA classmate, Tammie Burnsed, wrote a fabulous blog post about how to host a silent auction. From her experience raising funds for San Luis Obispo NightWriters, she shares tips and shortcuts to make your event a success!

My personal favorite of her many suggestions is, "Don’t think you can do it all alone." I've long believed writing (and most anything in life) is a team sport. Silent auctions are no different.

Although Tammie was clamoring for cash for her writing group, these same principles apply to any silent auction effort.

Have you hosted a silent auction? If so, I'd love to hear your stories. Better yet, click through to Tammie's blog and tell her all about it.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

In the Interest of Nutrition

According to a Facebook comment (clearly NOT fake news):
The common principal psychoactive ingredient in cacoa is anandamide, a proto-endocannabidiol similar in synaptic action as THC. The name is taken from the Sanskrit word 'Ananda,' which means "joy, bliss, delight" + 'amide.'

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

The Other Writer in Our House

I'm not the only writer in our house. Today, the Columbus Dispatch published yet another letter to the editor written by Ed Sweeney, my husband.

Ed penned his current letter Reach Out Before Assuming the Worst in response to a spate of "racial insensitivities" (I'm being nice here) in our Columbus, Ohio suburb of Upper Arlington. Ed belongs to a group of citizens called Equal UA which hopes to promote "an inclusive climate which encourages all people to feel welcome and participate fully within our community."

Speaking to some Equal UA members, Upper Arlington Chief of Police, Tracy Hahn expressed her hope that citizens would talk to each other before contacting the authorities for situations which did not warrant a police presence. Ed saw the similarities between incidents in our suburb and the racial profiling of Smith College student Oumou Kanoute when a college employee called the police as the student was observed eating her lunch in a common area. Ed's idea for the letter was born.

When Ed thinks of something to write, he doesn't anguish over it. He jots it down, revises, and asks me to polish the result. Then, he sends it off. If he experiences angst, he doesn't show it. Oh, he's concerned with the quality, but it's more important for him to get his message across before the moment is lost. As a result, the paper has published many of his letters.

I envy Ed's ability to steer clear of mental land mines. He has a naturally thick hide and a strong spine. But most of all, he's in the moment - writing, revising, asking for help, and submitting. If there's blowback, he'll deal with it when it comes. His passion outweighs his need to avoid criticism.

I will continue to study this strange creature I call my husband as I have for the past nearly twenty-five years. I will mimic his movements and perhaps absorb a bit of his thick hide and strong spine. Maybe in another twenty-five years, some of it will rub off.



Add This to Next Year's Wish List!

A SENSE OF PLACE: Exploring New Mexico Through Words
a retreat with NATALIE GOLDBERG & ROB WILDER

January 27 through 31, 2019
Santa Fe Writers Lab
Santa Fe, NM
























Every piece of writing is grounded in a sense of place, whether it's a metaphorical space or a physical setting. In this retreat we read the writers of New Mexico then go on excursions to explore the territory and places they have written about. Experience New Mexico's particularities--the dry cold in winter, red earth, snowy peaks (if snow comes), deep river gorges, Sangre de Cristo mountains, tiny towns tucked in valleys or plateaus, and, yes, also the landscape of hardships that come with drought, poverty, and decades of social disparity. We take this all in and wake up to the Southwest. Read more.




Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Monday, August 06, 2018

Chicken Soup for the Soul

I love how my friends look out for me! As I continue to tell people about my (as yet unpublished) memoir Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running with My Dog Brought Me Back from the Brink and how running helped my mental health, several friends alerted me to Chicken Soup for the Soul possible book topics on which I could write. These include "Life Lessons from the Dog," "Running for Good," and let's not forget "The Golden Years or Second Wind" among the nine listed.

The writing guidelines for their stories are deceptively simple. The bottom line? They are looking for stories that inspire.

I'll be honest. I didn't have a terribly high opinion of Chicken Soup for the Soul. Weren't these just fluffy, feel-good stories with no literary merit? Book snob much? Sorry. So I ordered Chicken Soup for the Soul: Runners. Just a few stories in, I dropped my superior attitude and began to thoroughly enjoy these tales of challenges overcome and lessons learned, stories similar to my own.

With my new and improved perspective, I'm going to submit a few essays and send them over. While the author biographies are compiled in the back of each book and not after each individual essay, if the series selects one of my essays, perhaps a reader will enjoy it enough to flip to the back and look me up. Ideally, I'll have a published memoir to include in the bio by then, but even a "soon to be published" reference can't hurt.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Take Your Meds

Recently, a friend asked for my best writing advice. Her question brought me back to all the suggestions I've heard since 1994 when I first began my journey away from the practice of law and into the dark unknown of wordsmithing. Like me, she is bipolar.

Perhaps she expected me to talk about craft or motivation. Maybe she thought I would suggest a book or a course or some external structure to help her learn to put words on the page in the proper order. I've asked for all that myself and received many fabulous tips.

Instead, I told her, "Take your meds."

She stared blankly at me so I continued.

"Do not stop. Do not go off them even if you are worried about weight gain or dampened emotions. Do not stop even if you fear they jeopardize your creativity. Take your meds. You cannot write if you're dead."

Her eyes opened wide. Yes. I had surprised and perhaps confused her. But she nodded.

I was, of course, remembering the times I'd quit taking the antidepressants and mood stabilizers I've been prescribed since 1994, about the same time I left the practice of law. Each time, stopping the meds seemed like a great idea. Even going on meds to begin with was a huge struggle. Why didn't meditation fix me? Or recovery? Couldn't I exercise my way into mental health? [That one still creeps into my mind occasionally.]

I specifically recalled three years in Taos when I'd tried to do mental health "the natural way" whatever that means. I tried Sam-E and long walks on the mesa with our two dogs. It wasn't long before I was suicidal and so filled with anxiety that I could not bear to be alone. I rode with my husband through the Rio Grande Gorge to his evening classes in Santa Fe because I was so afraid of the darkness, most of which was in my mind.

And during each of the times I'd gone off my meds, I could not write at all. And once I went back on meds, it took a very long time to regain what I'd had before. I truly have lost entire years to this folly.

So, I'm not a doctor (but I am a lawyer - CYA alert) and your mileage may vary so please, consult your mental health professionals. Maybe you don't need meds at all.

But if they have been prescribed, please take them. Please.

As I told my friend. Simply continue and you will find your path, but only if you take your meds.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Happy Birthday Scarlet

Scarlet, our yellow lab "puppy" turned one yesterday! She had a lovely birthday party at the fabulous local doggy daycare, Puptown Lounge.

We've begun jogging short intervals of one minute slow trot and one minute walk for about a mile and she's doing well. I have to wait until her growth plates are completely closed before we can go faster or further. I still miss Morgan (aka Mr. Dawg) on my runs, but I think the pupperina is going to grow up to be a fine running friend. She's already begun stalking me anytime I strap on my Garmin.


To see more photos of her, use #ninetyninepercentgooddog on Facebook! She's very popular there. Such a party girl!