Articles By Jamie DeBree

Unfocused Short-Term, Focused Long-Term

Words for the week: Perseverance, Begin, Success, Intention, Pain, Content, Confusion

It’s been a crazy week, and I’ll admit my focus got seriously fractured round about Wednesday the 6th. I’d like to believe it’ll get better (and it will, eventually), but I suspect it’s going to be a month or so before things quiet down on the political front. Yes, I’m following, even though I don’t discuss politics online. This is a turning point for our government and country, so of course I’m paying attention. We all should be.

I’ve been off work since last Thursday, burning extra vacation hours and healing the latest session on my Medusa back tattoo. Friday I took basically the whole day to write out and redo all of my routines, in order to accommodate my yearly goals. I still need to create schedules and deadlines for my writing, so I have an idea of how much I need to get done in a day, week, month, etc. And then…then I should be ready to move forward, finally. I feel good about that.

My writing class is done, and I’m itching to put my new knowledge into practice, but I signed up for several more that I can take at my own pace. So I need to figure out when to slot those in as well. I’m excited to take them, and expand my knowledge.

I’ve been easily distracted lately, which is probably a sign of both the times and hormone imbalance. I don’t think women give themselves enough leeway for changes in their bodies, because we’re taught to just “tough it out” and keep acting like nothing’s wrong. Thing is, even if nothing’s wrong and it’s just a normal up or down, I don’t think we should have to deny who we are and the physical challenges that come with it. My body is aging and it’s going to do that whether I want it to or not – why can’t I just acknowledge that some days, I’m not going to get as much done as I’d like, and *that’s okay*? I need to work on that – on giving myself permission to have an “off” day here and there, when my brain isn’t focusing as sharply as I’d like it to.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I want for the future – what my goals are for ten years from now. I like my job and the steady paycheck/insurance/pension that comes with it, but I freely admit that the only thing I’ve ever truly wanted to be was a full-time writer. I’ve never thought I could make enough money solely as a writer, but in ten years, I won’t be eligible for social security, but I will be eligible to take county retirement early, because I started with the county so young. Given that, and the fact that I’ve found a way to learn writing that is giving me new confidence, I think I’ll work towards the goal of being established enough as a writer in ten years to retire from the county and write full-time. I’ll be 55 then, and that seems like a good point in life to make a major career change to self-employment, barring any major issues that come up between now and then. And hubby will be either retired or ready to retire by then, so we could retire together (easier for traveling!).

Ten years seems like a good amount of time for planning and preparing for such a big step. So that’s the first goal deadline I’m setting. Now I’d better work backwards, and set the goals and deadlines that will get me to that point on time. Goals are good, and this one’s been in the works since I was 16 years old. It’s good to feel like the dream might actually become reality.

Time to plan!


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Resolutions, Goals, and Rough Starts

I was planning to post this Monday (the 4th), which tells you how my year has started off so far. I’ve had all sorts of issues, both organizational and mental, so I’m off to a bit of a slow start. That said, the “mental” part of it was mostly trying to decide on my “big three” resolutions for the year. I wanted to choose things that would really positively impact my life over the long term, but were well within reach without straining too much.

Given those parameters, these are the three Resolutions I chose:

– Get 5.5 hours of sleep daily
– Write 12 flash fiction pieces and publish as a collection in December
– Read a minimum of 12 books this year.

The first and third will take some time to…well, set aside the time on a regular basis. Routines need to be redone, and honestly, I’d prefer six hours of sleep, but I made the resolution for what I thought was actually doable. Getting enough sleep is really the resolution that will have the most impact on everything else I want to do, simply because when I’m rested, I make better decisions, I manage time more wisely, and I perform better no matter what I’m doing or trying to do. Sleep is the cornerstone of everything in life, but it’s also the one thing I’m most willing to give up when I want to do something else. Sleep is boring and feels ultimately unproductive. But it’s vital, and I need to give it much higher priority than I do.  

I haven’t been making time for reading at all – whenever I get a quiet moment, I’m generally either decompressing or writing. Quiet moments are unfortunately hard to come by. But I have a ton of books I really do want to read, and I just need to set aside time to do that. I want to make it a priority. So I shall.

As for writing…man, I feel like I’ve been drifting in this story wasteland/dreamscape for the last several years. I lost confidence, I lost ambition, and while I’ve been writing all this time, I haven’t bothered to publish anything in way too long. I knew I needed to learn and grow in order to gain confidence, but a lot of writing “instruction” tells you what to do, but not exactly how to execute it. This leaves people like me, who need things broken down to base elements in order to learn, floundering.

But I recently took a chance on a writing class called Depth in Writing by Dean Wesley Smith, and he broke things down in such a way that I got it. And my writing improved dramatically in a short time – noticeable even to myself. That was a huge confidence boost, and I bought several more of his online classes to take throughout this year.

Sometimes with learning, it’s not the subject matter so much, but the best match in teaching styles and learning styles.

So now that I have some confidence back, I need to establish a writing workflow that’s conducive to daily progress. I also need to come up with some deadlines, so that those twelve short stories aren’t the only things I work on all year. They need to be strictly flash fiction (1k words max) so I have time to work on the longer novels and short stories I’d really like to publish this year.

In addition to these “big three” resolutions, I also have some other goals I’d like to work towards. Things like cleaning my makeup brushes more often, and losing ten pounds, and keeping my kitchen sinks cleaned out better. And definitely writing and publishing more books.

I’ve also decided to do a journaling project of sorts. I bought myself two journals, one small, and one a more comfortable writing size, though still not too big. The small one is for a word-of-the-day. Instead of picking one word for the whole year, I’m picking one word for the day, and writing it down in the small journal each night. No commentary, no explanation, just the day’s date, and the word. It takes very little time at all (though I’ll admit I have not hit everyday just yet – creating new routines takes time), and at the end of the week every Sunday, I’ll go back and grab all the words for that particular week and put them in the larger journal. I might write a story, I might write an entry that includes them, I might just right down the list of words and close the book. I think it will be interesting to follow my daily whims and moods, and see what becomes of the practice at the end of each week.

So that’s the plan for the year so far. Three big resolutions to sleep, write, and read, some smaller goals that I’ll get to if I get to, and a word of the day journaling project.

I know we’re starting out on a bumpy note, but I have a feeling it’s going to be a very clarifying year overall. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Do you make resolutions or goals? Or are you just winging it and hoping for the best? Either way, I wish you luck, good fortune and good health.


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Year in Review – 2020 (Ugh)

I kind of feel like we’re all at the same point with the year right now…which is:

“Goodbye and good riddance. Go ahead and let the door hit you on the way out – you deserve it.”

Something most of us can agree on in a mostly disagreeable, disjointed, and socially schismatic time…yay!

Personally, my year started pretty well. I had a plan, I was ready to go, I was writing regularly, reading again, and feeling good about things.

Then I got sick (like, sicker than I’ve been in a long time) at the end of Jan/early Feb. Work was crazy, I couldn’t get rested, I wasn’t writing or doing anything else…and then just when I was finally starting to recover…pandemic! Civil unrest! Election year! Seriously. The crazy just wound right up and spun out of control and that was that.

Needless to say, many of my resolutions were pretty much left in the dust with my personal motivation and focus this year. Which sucks, but sometimes that’s the way it goes. I have been starting to claw my way up from the rubble, and I feel like I’m in a pretty good place at the moment. I have some health issues to address in the new year, and some book business decisions/issues to address, but nothing that seems insurmountable, at least not at this point.

Some good things actually did happen this year though, including a new fridge and stove, curtains instead of blinds for the living/dining room windows, and the promise of new, easy-care landscaping first thing in the spring. I’m writing again, and I’m taking a writing class at the moment which I think is really helping me to improve as a writer, so that’s exciting.

I’ve discovered new ways to grocery shop, including our local food hub, which is great. I discovered a few more local shops that have become favorites, and I started using Instacart, which doesn’t work for everything, but does work for main grocery shopping and saves me a lot of time each week. I will probably have to go back to shopping for myself next summer, just due to the amount of box and bag waste that not taking my own reusable bags creates. But at the moment, I’m enjoying having that time to do other things. If reusable carrying media was an option, I’d probably keep getting my groceries delivered indefinitely.

I’ve gotten a much better handle on my finances, and feel pretty good about being able to control them going forward. That was one of the goals (in a more specific way) that I did meet, and arguably one of the more important ones. I am stalwart in my weekly budgeting now, which is a very good thing. There are a few other things I need to get to that point with as well. One thing at a time.

All in all, aside from ten extra pounds I don’t need (and five more I should lose just for good measure) and the aforementioned health issues, I don’t feel like I’m in too bad of shape going into the next sun-cycle, but…time will tell, I suppose.

I’ll be setting my goals for next year later this week, and will post them next Monday to start the new year off on a hopeful note.

Until then, I hope your Christmas was bright and merry, and that the first day of the new year will bring feelings of peace and hope.


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Humbug

I don’t really understand how the first couple months of this year flew by, and then time pretty much stopped from March until December 1st, and now, this month is flying by in some sort of weird warp speed as if even the calendar has given up and said, “screw it, we’re all done here.”

I wouldn’t mind so much if I was actually ready for Christmas, but I’m not, so…a pause button would be appreciated while I figure out how to catch up. I’ve had a hard time getting in the mood (that’s not a new or abnormal thing, it’s just…me), but I need to get there and fast, or…well, there is no “or”, I guess. I just need to get done what needs to get done. Like finishing my gift shopping and figuring out which cookies to make and how many this coming weekend.

I need to get my cards sent out too…this week. I need to call a plumber about a minor/slow leakage situation we have going on, so I think I’ll take whatever day we can get someone over for that off work, and work on catching up and getting organized then.

I have new curtains coming for the living/dining room and kitchen this week as well – thicker velvet thermal curtains to keep the cold air more at bay than our current fancy window dressings do. It would be nice to at least get the front curtains swapped out, since those are at my back when we’re relaxing in the evenings.

Did I mention I’m taking an online writing workshop in the middle of all this? There was a sale, I feel like I really need to work on adding depth to my writing (which is the very focused topic of the workshop), and that’s how I ended up doing a writing assignment for the second week of class this past Sunday night instead of writing a blog post (well, that and not reading the calendar correctly – I had one more day before that assignment was due, so…my bad). It’s already straining my brain, which is both good and bad – good because I obviously need it, bad because…well, it’s yet another thing to sort of stress over at the moment. But at least it’s a stress I *chose*, rather than one that was just flung at me. So there’s that. And hopefully I’ll be a better writer afterwards, which is the main/exciting goal.

All this to say…I’m not really overwhelmed, just unmotivated and uninspired for the holiday. Maybe (hopefully) as I get my cards out and get closer to finishing my gifts up, I’ll feel a little more holly-jolly. We’ll see.


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New Perspectives…on Hair

After touching up my roots this weekend, I found myself going down the rabbit hole of “Going Gray” videos on YouTube. Every time I’m less than impressed with how the hair dye goes, I find myself wondering yet again if I should just embrace my natural hair color and get off the dye, touch-up, repeat carousel.

And every time, I’m reminded that a lot of these women still bleach their hair to get an even color, or use purple or blue shampoos depending on their personal tone to keep their hair from turning off-colors like yellow. Point being, going “natural”, whether that means white or gray or a patchwork of colors (like mine is underneath the henna and indigo), does not mean “no maintenance”. It just means a different kind of maintenance.

I ask myself if I’d truly be happy embracing my natural color, and the answer is no. Could I, if I had to? Of course! I’d never have started dyeing my hair at all if the lab-made dyes were all that was available, but I have natural powdered plants to dye with, so, it seems less damaging than the nail polish I use weekly.

So why then, am I do annoyed with the fact that I need to maintain my dye job? Mostly because I have trouble getting a consistent result, honestly. I miss spots, or I don’t get the color “right”. It’s because I’m not “perfect”, even though I’ve done root touch-ups exactly four times now.

Seriously. That’s ridiculous.

I do my nails every Saturday night. I started that habit decades ago, and it wasn’t because I really liked doing my nails. It was because my nails grow fast and are hard, but tend to break easily at the tips if they aren’t maintained regularly (cut, filed, and at least top-coated).

So as a way of making the nail maintenance I needed fun, I learned to do a full manicure and started doing nail art. A new design every week, and my nails were protected and maintained. Now it’s one of my favorite times of the week, because it’s a time to relax, watch YouTube videos that make me question my life choices (and also the occasional movie or series – currently the second season of Virgin River), and eat questionable snacks gingerly as my nails dry.

Could I let my nails just go au naturale? Sure. They’d still require maintenance though, and it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun as a new color every week.

So how is my hair different than my nails? It’s really not, I’ve just built it up that way in my head. And I’ve put far too much pressure on myself, especially when it comes to being perfect. It’s just hair. And if I miss a spot, I can go back and catch it later. Or next time, even, because no one is going to blink at eye at the occasional stray white or gray hair on my head, just like most people don’t notice when I have to cut one nail shorter than the others for whatever reason.

And if they do…does it really matter?

No, no it does not.

There will probably come a day when I can’t dye my hair for whatever reason, and I’ll deal with that. For now though, I need a change in perspective. And a weekly hair-pampering routine on the weekend that makes the necessary maintenance seem more like a treat and less like a chore.

To that end, I’m going to appoint some time every weekend for hair care. It might be a hot oil mask, or maybe just trying a new hairstyle, but it will be scheduled time that will hopefully become like my nail nights, or my foot care nights (I do foot care while budgeting and grocery shopping online late Friday nights). I think that will make the root touch-up nights just another normal thing I do, like polishing my nails and shaving my feet (yes, that’s a thing…and in my case, necessary).

On a related note, I think we all need one day a week where we can just focus solely on caring for our bodies. It would be so helpful to have time set aside that didn’t also have to be used for household chores and errands.

Weekly spa day for everyone! Wouldn’t that be the life?


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Skirts? More 2020 Weirdness

It’s been a very long time since I last wore a skirt. I honestly can’t even remember when that was. I’m guessing I was around 15lbs lighter though, and had a lot more hair. I stopped wearing a lot of things when I chopped my hair off, but that’s a whine for another day. I’ve never worn skirts all that much though, or dresses either, for that matter.

Regardless, I actually do like skirts. I just find them largely impractical for everyday wear. I find it bothersome to have to worry about whether said skirt is flapping about or too far up, a problem fixed by wearing a more fitted skirt, which is then more restrictive for movement. Also, having to make sure it’s positioned properly when I sit, and sitting in a “ladylike” fashion…it’s just a lot higher maintenance than a pair of jeans or slacks.

Recently I’ve been considering skirts again, though I’ve yet to buy any. There are three I’ve seen online recently that I thought would be nice to have (and ModCloth has a bunch of cute/funny and vintage-style skirts that would be fun to wear), but…there’s the question of whether or not I’d actually wear them. And if I wouldn’t wear them, why give them the closet space?

Add that to the fact that few women in IT wear skirts, so it’s outside the normal/unspoken dress code, and…I might have one skirt in my closet at the moment. Two at most. Skirts that fit, anyways. My job is a desk job, so I’m not crawling under desks or carrying equipment around (mostly), but still. It’s always weird to change up your style of dress, or dress differently than the people around you. I’m not the kind of person who will ever see skirts as an “at home/knock around town” piece of clothing.

I have none of the various accoutrements for wearing skirts anymore either – I have no idea what I would have done with my slips (though these days skirts seem thick enough not to require them, which is nice), nor do I currently own any nylons (I know, bare legs are in, but I’ve never been all that fond of bare legs under skirts and I hate tights and leggings). I have tattoos that may or may not look okay peeking out from certain types of skirts. I’d have to try it and see. Or buy a couple pair of those stylishly tall boots to cover. Not that I’m opposed to that for all but 3-4 months of the year.

I think perhaps I’m just that unsettled. Changing things up in order to find relief from the stress and tedium of the year, and also just boredom with the same type of hair and wardrobe for nearly twenty years now. My hair grow-out has been a long time coming…I was bored with it several years ago, and just afraid to change things up (all the piercings were in part an attempt to make my pixie cut less conservative/boring, which I think worked well). It stands to reason that a wardrobe switch-up is also in order. I did finally buy a couple flannel shirts (one of which I really love), and a fuzzy coat that really wouldn’t have looked as good with the pixie hair, but works fine with my current length and will look great with longer hair.

Will I buy a skirt or two? Remains to be seen – I’m still very much undecided. If I buy one, will I wear it? That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it?

I will note that if I had a nice A-line or swing skirt that was work-appropriate, it would be a lot looser after a food-heavy holiday (say…Thanksgiving) than my jeans currently are. So there’s that.

We’ll see. Variety is the spice of life, but change is…difficult, to say the least.


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Storytime: The Dolls of Rosewater Hill

Welcome to Storytime Friday! Unless otherwise noted, everything posted here will be largely unedited draft work, just for fun.

This week’s excerpt is from a story I started last year. It’s a little different from what I normally write, but I’ve had fun with it, and the draft is nearly finished. Meet Adam and Carrie:


Adam couldn’t remember the last time he felt so out of place, standing in the little shop, surrounded by a horde of porcelain dolls, all dressed in various outfits, most elaborate with big fluffy hats and puffy skirts.
Never in a million years had he imagined that he would end up in a place like this. And yet here he was, desperately needing to find three specific dolls.

He approached the glass counter, housing all manner of miniature furniture, tiny dolls, and bits and baubles to go with. No one was standing behind the counter. He tapped the bell beside the cash cash register, wondering how much traffic a shop like this actually got. It must be a terribly boring job to work in such a niche store. Although maybe these dolls were more popular collectibles than he gave them credit for.
The woman who came from the back room didn’t look anything like the coiffed and elaborately dressed dolls on show. Her mousy brown hair was thrown up in a bun with strands sticking out here and there as if she hadn’t had the time or energy to worry about making it smooth. Her eyes were partially hidden behind glasses that could have been cat-eyes but fell just short, and her dress was casual – jeans, a simple light yellow sweater and a white cardigan over the top.

She looked a little agitated, as if she didn’t appreciate being interrupted.
“What can I help you with?” she asked, looking at him as if she felt the same way he did – that he didn’t quite belong. “Are we shopping for a gift today, perhaps?”

Adam shook his head.

“No. I need to find some dolls. Three specific dolls, I mean. I think someone might have brought them into your shop last week. Do you happen to remember buying three dolls from an estate sale? It would have been last Wednesday or Thursday.”

She didn’t even have to think about her answer. “The Rosewater Hill dolls, you mean?” She raised an eyebrow. “They came in last Thursday, and sold on Friday and Saturday. I can get the name of the person who brought them in if you’d like. I can assure you I gave her a fair price. I can get the receipt for you as well, if you’re a family member. I was so sorry to hear of Greta’s passing. She was a good customer with a beautiful collection, but a good friend as well. Do you know what happened to the rest of the dolls?”

“Greta was my grandmother, and I’m sure she’d appreciate your kind words. The will was just read yesterday, and I inherited everything, but my aunt Bernie sold those three dolls. I really need them back. Is there any way that you can help me find out who bought them so that I can offer to buy them back?”

The woman tilted her head and looked at him as if he were a little off kilter.
“What’s so special about them? Which dolls were they, that they’re so valuable?”

“They’re special to me, and I need them back. That’s really all you need to know. Can you help me or not?”

She paused for a moment, and then nodded. “I might be able to. Let me go check in the back. But I won’t be able to give you the information for anyone who’s bought them. All I can do is promise to contact them for you.”

She disappeared through the door behind the counter before he could protest. He waited, tapping his fingers on the glass case. She didn’t understand. No one would understand. But the dolls had something that he needed. Something that would decide the fate of the entire Rosewater Hill estate.


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Thanksgiving & Historical Hair

I’m not sure if “Happy” is the correct word to put with “Thanksgiving” this year. I think many of us are so tired, beaten down, depressed or angry for one reason or another that while we’re thankful to have survived this far, a lot of us probably still aren’t all that “happy”.

That said, we have survived this far, and there’s light at the end of the tunnel, so while it may be a ways off yet, we can make it. We just have to keep slogging along, and do the one thing that seems to be the most difficult for humans to do – stay away from each other for a little while longer.

Admittedly, I don’t really have an issue with that like a lot of people, so it’s really not a hardship for me to eschew family gatherings and such. Honestly, it’s kind of a convenient excuse. I’ll be spending Thanksgiving with just my husband this year, and making a nice dinner tailored to our own tastes. Nothing to complain about as far as that goes.

In other news, I’ve recently become fascinated with historical hairstyles/styling. The thing about growing your hair out is, if you don’t focus on the goal, you are pretty constantly tempted to chop the whole thing off again during the awkward “in between” stages of growth. I’ve been buying fun hair accessories and even pony tail holders in anticipation of my hair being long enough to use them, and one day a couple of weeks ago, I stumbled upon a YouTube channel of a historian demonstrating how to care for hair during…the Edwardian period, maybe? I can’t remember really, but it started my spiral down into the world of historical hair care and styling, and I’ve been watching similar videos every since. Here’s a different hair video I watched this weekend…fun and fascinating, methinks!

Needless to say, the wait for long enough hair to braid (or “plait”) again is even more excruciating while I watch because I want to “play” too, but also something I’m really looking forward to. A few more months and I should be able to do quite a bit more with my own mop.

I got very little writing in last week, and that’s something I’d really like to change. So along with a really good ham, scalloped potatoes & sweet potato pie dinner this week, I’d like to get some words in consistently. With any luck, I’ll hit four mornings out of five, and have another fun something for Friday.

Until then, I do wish you the happiest Thanksgiving you can possibly have.


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Storytime: The Reset Button (excerpt)

Welcome to Storytime Friday! Unless otherwise noted, everything posted here will be largely unedited draft work, just for fun.

It’s November, and National Novel Writing Month, so today, I thought I’d share an excerpt of the novel I started for that challenge. I’m not going to make the challenge, but I will keep working on the story! Here’s the beginning. Enjoy!

The Reset Button

Lexi sat on the edge of the old Heberly railroad bridge, her feet hanging over the edge to flirt with the swirling eddies in the Meadowlark river below. A wireless electric razer buzzed in her left hand as her right followed it over her scalp and collected the long black tresses as they fell.

        She’d been thinking. That’s what had started this whole chaotic night, and she knew she should stop and find someone to talk to, but it was too late. She’d done too much, said to much, and tomorrow, everything would be different. She’d pressed the reset button on her life, and there was no going back.

        The buzzing stopped and the last of her hair fall into the black, turbulant water. It wasn’t her hair though, not really. She’d been dyeing and cutting it for so long she couldn’t even remember what her natural color was, much less if it was wavy or straight.

        All that stopped now. Tonight.

        “Need some help?”

        “No. Leave me alone.” Lexi twisted just enough to see a woman in designer-torn jeans, purple converse and a black leather jacket stop beside her. Her long blond hair was curled and styled, and her makeup was impeccable.

        None of which matched the distinctly male voice that had offered “help”. She frowned, and then looked the other way, wondering how the normally deserted spot had suddenly gotten so crowded.

        That same male voice chuckled, and Lexi turned to see the woman…or was it man…grinning.

        “I get that look a lot,” he or she, or was it they, said. Lexi wasn’t sure what to say, so she said nothing.

        “It’s ‘he’, if you’re wondering, and I’m not gay or transgender – not that there’s anything wrong with anyone who is, I just like makeup and think women’s clothing is so much more interesting and fun than men’s. Don’t you?”

        “I guess. I never really thought about it that way. Clothes are…” just another thing I don’t want to think about, she finished in her head. “I really don’t want company right now. Please leave me alone.”

        “I can do that, but can I just-” he tentatively reached out a hand toward the electric shaver. “You missed a hard to reach spot back here, and I can finish it for you, if you’d like.”

        Lexi ran a hand over the scratchy stubble she’d created to the back of her nape, where she could feel the offending section still attached. Without a word and half expecting him to cut her head off, she handed the razer over and tilted her head forward to give him better access. The buzzing started again and she felt him gently grasp the leftover hand and use short, quick strokes to clean up the back of her head.

        “There now.” He turned the shaver off and returned it, along with the last hank of hair. “Have you shaved your head before?”

        “No.” Lexi could sense he wanted more, but she wasn’t feeling much like sharing.

        “Well, my name is Max Harris. I own a salon and boutique over on 5th and Madison, called The Harris Experience. If you need help or a touch up, come in and ask for me personally. I’ll be happy to help, and I’m a good listener too. And now I’ll leave you alone, but do me one favor – don’t jump, so I don’t have to feel guilty about walking away.”  

        “I’m not going to jump.” Lexi stared out into the night. “I’m just hitting the reset button. I’ll be fine.”

        “Good for you. I think we all need to do that sometimes.”


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Words…Words…Words…

When I got the nifty little writing machine I’m typing this on now (The Freewrite Traveler, which I mentioned a couple weeks ago), it was right before NaNoWriMo. I haven’t won NaNo in years, and only jump in occasionally now, but I thought, ” What the heck? Jump in. See what happens.”

Well. What’s happened so far is a whole lot of not much. I barely have 2k words so far, and I’m struggling to even write 500 words in a session, much less 1667 in a day (The amount normally needed to “win” at 50k words for the month). I haven’t made the time or found the headspace to be disciplined about it at all.

But, it’s okay. This morning during my normal writing time, I opened up the story, took a look at where I was, and decided I needed to know a couple of key things before I moved forward again. I often start writing with just a character and a scene, and “learn” what happens as I write. This time, I started the story with a girl – Lexi – in serious distress, and I really wanted to know what might have caused it, and what, ultimately, she was looking for. I don’t need to know the details just yet, but I needed to know the base motivations so I could make some sort of sense out of what was happening.

So I spent my writing time this morning (and part of my shower time, because the best place to think is often in the shower) working all that out. And now I know what she was doing before, what happened to send her into the spiral where I first met her, and what she’s ultimately looking for in life.

I feel good about this. I still have no idea where the story is headed, really, but I know Lexi well enough that she’ll tell me the rest of the story if I keep writing, and it’s probably going to be kind of a wild ride.

The most important thing is, now I’m hooked. I want to know what happens next, and the only way for me to find out is to write it. To give Lexi a voice. Am I up to the task? There’s only one way to find out.

I think maybe it’s time for the return of Fiction Fridays, considering I haven’t published anything in…well, a long while. Interested? Come back Friday. We’ll both see what happens.


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