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The Writer Writes...RIP

Back in February, life seemed rather grand.  But at the end of that month, my mother ended up in the hospital.  Her CoPD was causing her serious breathing problems.  She had also noticed a lump in the area where her cancer surgery was.

We had been in the hospital at the end of January, and she mentioned the lump.  They looked at it and told her it was probably just a swollen node or something minor and gave her antibiotics because she had a strep infection in her blood.  Two weeks after we left the hospital, that unimportant lump burst open and started draining.  And causing Mom a lot of pain.  She ended up going to her doctor, who got her an appointment with the oncologist who did her original cancer surgery.

The conclusion was it needed to be biopsied, but Mom was in such pain, they decided it could wait until the antibiotics had finished.

But no.  Mom ended up back in the hospital.  The oncologist refused to come see her because she was there having heart and lung issues, and they did not see it as important.

After nearly two and a half weeks in the hospital, we *finally* convinced the oncologist to look at it again because the drainage had gone from clear to pure pus.  Wound care was called in to pack the wound, and Mom was sent to a nursing home for recovery.

She was in the nursing home from the middle of March (I had to cancel my attendance at MidSouthCon) until late April.  She came home for three days, and then went back to the hospital because thanks to a persistent nurse at the nursing home, the oncologist had to take another look at the wound and admit that it was a vulvar cancer.  Mom was scheduled to have surgery.

However, the day she went into the hospital, she went into congestive heart failure.  She ended up in ICU for three days, then was transferred to PCU for a couple of days.  I had to speak to her oncologist, who decided there was no reason to do surgery as she would not be able to handle it.  I had to speak to nurses and doctors who kept acting like she would get better, and hospice care folk who seemed convinced she would not.

In the end, I took my mother home.  She lasted five days.  On the fifth of May, in the wee small hours of the morning, she left me.  Quietly, in her sleep.  I was sleeping on the couch to be close to her while doing hospice care.  I had checked on her just a couple of hourse before.  She was having a lot of difficulty breathing.  I fell asleep and woke up because things were suddenly too quiet.

At first, I was numb.  I called the on call nurse from the hospice care group that was helping me.  I ended up sitting with my mother's corpse while several people came over.  I helped clean her and dress her before the funeral home arrived to cart her away.

It some ways it has been a relief.  In others, not so much so.  I muddle along each day.  I stayed off work for so long that I wondered if I would be able to go back.  I tried to straighten up the house, but I just look around and get weepy when I do.

I know that eventually, I will manage.  I am a strong person, and it may take a little time to get over my loss (and no, I am not belittling the fact that I have siblings who also are suffering from her loss), but I was the closest to her.  I took care of her.  She was a big part of my life.

In many ways, I have not just lost my mother.  I have lost the best friend I ever had.  When all is said and done, my mother and I enjoyed one another's company.  We were doing fine after my stepfather passed away.  We were making plans to travel more.  None of my siblings will ever really understand the relationship my mother and I had.  She was a funny person, full of wit, highly intelligent and at the same time, very goofy.  Yes, she had her opinions about everything from politics to television.  She believed in some pretty silly things.  But at the same time, she made good sense about others.

I had her cremated.  I have the main portion of her ashes in my possession.

And I plan to do some of the trips she and I always talked about...with Mom in tow.  Strange as that may seem, she loved to travel, and I would not dream of leaving her behind.

So I do apologize for not being out here as much.  Life just had some obstacles for me to overcome.

And overcome them, I will.

The Writer Writes...Just So You Know

March is the Month of MidSouthCon, and I have been given the honor of being this year's Toast Mistress.  This is a big thing for me.  I have done panels at conventions for years.  I have been keynote speaker at Writers Conferences, but this is my first Big Gig at a SF Convention.

MidSouthCon has always been good to me.  The people are down home and friendly.  The con puts on a good show.  I have never felt unwelcome, so for them to offer me this chance to stand up and be counted as a pro (which I should say, I have been a pro writer since I got paid for my first article at the tender age of 18) is a thrill and an honor.

So of course, I am telling you people out there that you should come to MidSouthCon this year.  It happens in Memphis.  Need information?  Try going to this website:
http://midsouthcon.org and take a peek.  They have a really good lineup of folks who will be GoH.  Christie Golden, Anne Stokes and of course, Yours Truly.

As I understand it, my job will be introductions, panels and in general having a good time entertaining the audience.

So I hope folks will attend.

It would make me very happy to see you.
In days of old, when Knights were bold...

When I first started writing stories...and I do mean first started writing because we are talking about someone who is 61 years old...I used pencils and notebook paper.  It was all we had, except for typewriters (remember those?).  As I saw it, if it was good enough for Edgar A. Poe and Samuel Clemens, it was good enough for me.

But of course, I was only a child, and the one typewriter of my acquaintence belonged to my Great Aunt Evelyn, and none of us were to touch it because she was a secretary.

At any rate, I wrote on notebook paper, and all my stories ended up in notebooks, and I would watch the pages go yellow and brittle (because of the acid in the ink and in the papers they sold in those days), and wish there was a way to preserve these things better.

When I decided I was going to write professionally (and I did that while I was in my teens--I just knew I was going to be famous in those days), I moved up to typing my stories on that old Royal Upright that my great aunt had allowed us to have because she had moved on to IBM electrics.  In some ways it was like beating rocks on paper (the description my mother often used when my younger sister was using the same typewriter to practice for her typing class and would sit it on the floor upstairs to work).

I had a Smith Corona Galaxy XII by then.  It was a Christmas present from same great aunt (though she was appalled by my choice as she thought nothing beat a Royal).  But I was still writing all my first drafts by hand, and retyping things as I went.  Those were the days of erasers and carbon paper.  Things I still get nostalgic about when I look at my collection of old portable typewriters.

My SC was a portable.  It weighed about 35 pounds and had a hard case that I used as a table when I sat on my bed typing.  I remember taking it on trips because I started traveling and going to conferences, and it was a burden to haul around, but I was a professional writer in my own mind, and that is what pros did...

So when I got my first electronic typewriter, I was astounded first by the lack of weight and the fact that it had a screen so I could type the line and look it over before I sent it to the paper.  From there, I moved to an electronic typewriter that was one step away from a computer--it had memory and used floppies--and then I bought my first laptop, a Bondwell B200.  It was a marvelous machine.  640kb RAM.  Two floppy drives (one for programs and one for saving to).  I used a writing program called Easy Working Writer that let me edit my work.

I got my first printer, and I remember hooking them up and watching my words being placed on paper.  My mother watched as well, and asked, "Isn't that cheating?"  When I asked what she meant, she explained that the machine was doing all the work...

Yeah, Mom was never a techie.  I had to gently explain that I did all the work of putting the words *into* the machine, and it was merely spitting them back out.

I advanced, getting a desktop, more laptops, discovered PDAs, netbooks and tablets, and still I find that when all else is said and done, I start working on stories on paper.  My brain works better that way.  With the computer, I just spit the words into it, and then rearrange them.  With the notepad and pen, I have to *think* about what I am writing.

In the end, I think that is what I miss about typewriters and notebooks.  The thinking.  One did not just spew out words, one carefully selected them.  Writing was (still is) an art form that requires proper selection of words.

It is the reason I think I am going to start my next novel in a notebook.

I miss those days of thinking about what I wrote.  They made me a better writer.
It was a really good Christmas at my house this year.  By that, I mean that there was no drama, no illness and no problems.  Mom did not have her usual moment of getting depressed because it was over.  Instead, she was elated and looking forward to next year.  The family who were able to be there had a good time.  Good food was enjoyed by all.

It was just fun.

The shed I ordered should be here in a few days.  They are supposed to call me Monday to let me know what time to expect the builder to stop buy and set the shed up (yes, it is one of those they build on your site in a few hours--we are also getting it painted to sort of match the house--I say sort of because I just guessed at the color that looked closest to me).

I got a lot of my stuff moved upstairs over the holidays.  It is just sitting around taking up space for now.  Once we get the shed, I can start moving stuff into it to store, and then start arranging the room upstairs.  I will get a new mattress for the bed first (because, frankly, the one that is there still holds a bad odor, in spite of my mother's assurances that it was covered in plastic for all the time my late stepfather slept on it.

What I liked best was the fact that I started getting writer ideas again.  I have been working on stuff, but it is more going through the motions of editing and rereading and pondering what to do next.  All still chores a writer must perform, and I do have a lot of stuff written that really needs to get finalized and put into the publishing pipeline.

But ideas were not flowing, and I was not really thinking of new stories.

Now, I am getting ideas again, and I am happy with the ones coming into my head.  I am jotting them down, collecting them together, sifting through the sands of my imagination and keeping hold of the gems I find therein.  It is kinda nice to get that muse juice flowing again.

I am always writing in my head.  Not always on paper, mind you, but again, it is part of the process.  I have always been perceived as someone who sneezes a lot of stories out at once (and there was a time I used that metaphor to describe myself as a writer), then cleans them up and ships them off.  As I get older, there are many other things standing in the way.  Life as it is being the most prominent one.

My life has been upside down and inside out for the last 16 months.  First with Mom's cancer, then with her surgery, and then the death of my stepfather.  I had to become a caregiver for my mother, taking care of all manner of things.

I am pleased to say she is getting over a lot of the crap.  She will never be physically perfect.  She really wasn't perfect before the surgery.  She had been having trouble breathing for quite a few years now.  She is 80 years old, so it is allowed.  ;-)

As for me, I am in my 60s now, and still pushing beyond normal limits.  I take on a lot more tasks to keep my mother from hurting herself, and I don't mind.  It just means I have to "schedule" my own stuff for evenings and lunch hours.  And I manage that easily enough.

Life as it is...getting back to what it should be.  And though I know there are roads ahead of me that could easily turn into tangles, I have a really big machete ready to hack my way through.

It is what I do best.

Life...I live it.

The Writer Writes...The Wonder of a Child.

I was listening to NPR on my way to work a few days back, and they were talking about children and Christmas.  I do not remember everything that was said, but I know there was a mention of the Wonder a child feels this time of the year.

I remember that wonder.  It was magic.  It was icicles and tinsel and cookies and believing that Santa would soon be there to bring gifts.  I believed SO much.  I had a wild imagination as a child as it was, and Santa was just a big part of that tradition.

As I got older, I heard the rumors that he wasn't real, and I thought back on things from my earlier years that made me wonder in a different way.

My father was big on trying to keep the magic going (as my mother still is), and would lie through his teeth about things.  Like the night I heard a squeaky sound that kept me from falling asleep, and when I got up and wandered into the livingroom of our old house, Dad was trying to make a puppy be quiet.  I was shocked.  Why was the puppy here?  Wasn't that what I asked Santa for?  Clearly, Santa had not been here yet...

My dad boldface lied and said, "Santa travels around the world in a sleigh, and it is too cold for a puppy to ride along, so he came early to drop the puppy off so it wouldn't get cold."

I believed.

I know better now, of course, but I believed.

Time, of course, takes away that child-like wonder.  The child grows and soon has more adult concerns, and suddenly Christmas is no longer a time of wonder but a time of commercial frustration.  What to get for who, mostly.  We are so into the "giving" of gifts, we sometimes slide into the world of cynical reality , and get tired of slogging through crowds in stores.  We talk about tidings of comfort and joy, but we are fighting for the last Cabbage Patch doll or kicking ourselves for not buying the latest Monster High doll when she was available.  We get into the frustration of deciding what to have at the Christmas feast, and we look forward to getting the family together but dread all the drama that ensues.

We take a hit in the wonder department because we are too busy dealing with things that concern adults.  Most adults forget what wonder even was.


I am a writer.  Wonder is part of my daily routine.  I know I still have it.  Waves of it hit me every time I watch a flock of geese flying overheard, see a shape in a cloud, watch the sun play across the wall.

You see, writers never let go of the wonder that we usually consider to be in the ball court of children.  We still believe there are elves in the forest, and trolls under the bridges.  Just because we cannot see them doesn't mean they are not there.  We know there are dragons in the far reaches.

For us, wonder never ceases.

If it did, we would stop writing and fall into the mundane routines that eventually lead to the grave.

I don't plan to turn into a curmudgeon (though there are times I think I am already there).  All I have to do is pick up a rock, know that it is as old as the world and certainly older than me, and that it has endured.

One day, I might find that dragon.  One day, I might finally see the real Santa Claus.

I just have to keep writing and believing.

The Writer Writes...Playing with Dolls

I am sure people are getting tired of me talking about dolls.  They would rather hear me talk about writing, but I think I talk about writing all the time, and worry that people get bored with me in that category...

I found an interesting article in a British publication about a woman who "plays with dolls."  She is near my age (not sure which direction) and turned a garden into a photography area for shooting pictures of her dolls in various situations.

Now to me, one of the fun and fascinating aspects of dolls IS photography.  I personally used to fancy myself a good photographer.  I used to go out with a variety of cameras, everything from a really old Brownie box camera (which I still own) to more modern digital camera and take photos of everything.  Mostly of scenery (like my mother, I am fascinated with trees, and how they are shaped and especially what they look like in the winter time).  I am also fascinated with mountains and streams and forests.  I used to hike alone, sometimes even taking my harp into the woods.

I don't do that anymore.  For one thing, it is dangerous.  As a younger person, I was pretty fearless, but I was also cautious enough not to do stupid things like step off trails without leaving some form of a marker to find my way back, or torment bears with the odor of food.  I usually took water in a bottle, and maybe something I could keep the scent of well disguised just to fuel me, and I stayed on fairly populated trails.  In this day and age, you cannot hike alone without risk.  There are too many crazy people who would look at me as an older woman alone and think I was fair game for whatever.  They might learn otherwise (even as an older woman, I am pretty fearless, but I am also wise to the ways of the world).

But I love taking pictures, and one fun aspect of doll collecting is photography.  I take pictures of my dolls when I bring them to work.  I take pictures of them at home.  I set up backdrops and photograph scenes.

In a way, it is a form of storytelling.

And oddly enough, taking photos of my dolls inspired me to write.  Since many of them are designed and based on characters I have created and written about for a long time, they provide a means of continuing to craft stories.

So yes, I play with dolls.  I make clothes for them, paint their faces, design boots and wigs for them to wear.  I take them places where I can set up and take pictures of them without worrying that people will think I am a nut job, because surprisingly, people who don't play with dolls think people who do are creepy or crazy.

But playing with dolls is no different from collecting and playing with action figures (yeah, I am looking at you) and playing video games.

At least I DO know what reality is.  The leading cause of stress, for the most part, but I don't lose sight of it.

The late Terry Pratchette, when I approached him about one of his books to answer a patron question, asked me if people asked me "those" sorts of questions often, and I said yes, and went on to cite a few examples of the sorts of questions I had answered for the public at large.  We librarians are taught to believe there are no stupid questions, but I can tell you for a fact, that a lot of mundane people have NO grasp on reality.

His response was, "Why do they think we live in the worlds we create in our heads?  Don't they realize that in order to write we have to keep both feet firmly planted on the ground?"

I think about that every time someone asks me why I play with dolls.

Everyone needs a little escape from reality, but one should never lose sight of it.  I keep both feet on the ground even when I am playing with dolls.

But we all need a distraction, and dolls are mine.  They keep me creative.  They keep me moving.

And I like that.

The Writer Writes...T'is The Season...

And the Writer is Writing when she can...

Seems like I think I have a handle on writing stuff here and I get distracted by one thing or another.

Mom and I just got back from a visit to Louisiana to see my youngest sister and her kids.  It was fun.  A decent trip, except for the last few hours of the drive back when we hit rain, and then hit Chattanooga traffic, and then drove on in the dark in the rain.

But we had a good time, and that is all that really matters.

Now we are getting ready for Christmas.  The tree is already up (sorta--we left it up all year and decorated it seasonally--something that made my mother feel better since we never got to enjoy last Christmas due to my stepfather entering the hospital the week before and dying at the first of the year).  We have pulled off the autumn leaves and pumpkins that we put on it for Thanksgiving, and soon will start decorating the tree for the holiday.

Now I know there are people who think this was a little insane, but it gave my mother a distraction.  His death left her sort of glum.  She was on medication to prevent depression and keep her from losing her temper.  But recently, she has decided that medicine was doing more harm than good and weaned herself off of it.  She has done this before, and life was really getting better for her when the cancer hit, and then the long slow recovery from double pneumonia and UTIs and then we barely get her home when my stepfather takes a sudden leap into the abyss of mortality.

So yeah, thing have been kind of hard.  I have had to be the rock.  My life has been on hold, trying to get her back on track.  But things are leveling out, and I am reaching a point where I can do my own thing more.

Some habits I got out of, I am having to retrain myself to.  Like writing in this journal.  And there is the hobby that now takes up much of my time.

I decided to count resin dolls a few weeks back and was shocked to discover I owned at least 100+ dolls that qualify as ball jointed.  Toss in the articulated dolls and the Monster High Dolls and the Obitsus and the hybrids, and my count has nearly passed 300.  And just when I tell myself No More Dolls, I put some on layaway (the best way to pay for them), and am already planning for a couple of major doll purchases next year.

But at least I am writing.  The project in the works is almost complete.  Just needs a little tweaking (as in making corrections), and then it will be ready to rumble out the door and make its debute.

And mean while, I try to catch up in other areas.

Like this journal...
Halloween is that time of year that inspires all manner of things.  A week ago, I put out a cute flag with a pumpkin on it that says "Boo!"  Today, I pulled down the light-up pumpkins, the ghost lights, the cauldron we use to hold candy and a few other things.
As a rule, I have always tried to draw a "Halloween" type picture.  Last year, I broke this tradition for the first time.  My mother was in a nursing home, and I was dealing with the household crisis as well as doing my darndest to get her out of the nursing home and back on the road to health.  Mom wasn't having fun.  I wanted her well.

But last Halloween, it was me alone in the house, handing out candy, watching Dracula, Dead and Loving It (a long time favorite of mine) and watching a terrible storm move in and scare away all the Trick or Treaters.

Suffice to say, I got Mom home just a week before Thanksgiving, and only to have my stepfather go into the hospital a week before Christmas and pass away on New Year's Day.

My doll collection was probably my only real solace during those troubling times.  They surround me in my room.  My mom adores the dolls.  She asked me once, "Do you find comfort in having all those dolls watching you as you sleep."

Oddly enough, the answer is yes.  While I am still in the category of "They are Just Dolls," I won't deny that I talk to them, say their names (more as a memory practice) and redress a few of them for the holidays.

Which leads me back to Halloween and "Creaking Dolls."

Resin dolls creak.  Being held together with elastic, they are subject to heat and cold.  Heat relaxes the elasticity of rubber and cold tightens it.  A fact of life.  Or chemistry.  I took chemistry in HS and know whereof I speak.  While I never had much use for it, understanding chemistry helps.

But Resin dolls creak.  They shift positions from time to time.  That is one aspect that often has doll owners going on about how "alive" their resin dolls are.  The truth is their resin joints do wear and slippage occurs.  One generally suedes (aka, add hot glue in thin layers) the joints to prevent this, but even the sueding will eventually give out, and a doll you sit in one position can easily shift into another.  It does not mean they are alive or possessed.  It is just one of the things one learns as a doll owner.  That and the fact that I thrash enough some nights that dolls closest to me might end up in my bed.  Since I know I kick in my sleep, or throw out my arms (I have awakened with pains and bruising from cracking my knuckles on close by furniture--one of the hazards of sleeping in a twin bed in a tight room), this does not surprise me.  No more than it surprises me when dolls shift positions or creak.

I can live with the creaking.  I live with all manner of noises in my room.  The fan, the music out back (though I get annoyed with that).  The house is old and it rumbles and creaks too, so having dolls make noise is not really that much of an issue.

On the other hand, I also notice most of the creaking happens when I am having a restless night.  My movements on the bed tend to jar the furniture around me, an because the dolls are on those spaces, they get a bit shaken.  And they creak more.

On an amusing note, this seems to fit the nature of Halloween.  I have relations who are creeped out by the dolls.  I don't care.  My more mischievous side has no qualms about putting up "creepy" pictures of my dolls this time of the year.  I actually made a giraffe costume for one of my Makies.  I dressed my newest Goodreau in a Halloween themed fabric.

There is often a temptation to do a selfie of me and one of the creepier dolls, and maybe include props that make it look like the dolls are attacking me.  But there are too many people already upset with dolls and doll owners.  Frankly, I don't give a rat's hind quarters what upsets people who just don't understand the bjd hobby, but I will behave and not do anything TOO creepy for Halloween.

Though I still want to get one of those Target Skeletons and dress it up as Little Red Riding Hood and have my werewolf puppet propped beside "her" gnawing on an arm, just for a silly effect.  Of course, that idea could just be the aftermath of watching the final episode of Halloween Warz last night.  Those skeleton/Zombies were cool.

We will see.  Don't have but six days left.  Time flies.

And I am having too much fun. ;-)

The Writer Writes...Slowly but Surely

As of late, I am in the mood to work on Anwyn stuff.  It started when I was poking around looking at harps on the web.  From there, it escalated into thinking of my own harps, and of course, I own the original Glynnanis harp, so naturally, I think of Anwyn.

And once I think of Anwyn, I start thinking of the stories that lie unfinished, mostly the novel now titled Magic's Song.

This book started out so long ago, I cannot really pinpoint the date.  But suffice to say I was writing Anwyn's story about ten years or more before I sold his first story to Marion Zimmer Bradley's FANTASY Magazine in 1990.  The stories had been circulating around for about five years before that, but the original tale of Anwyn and the harp Glynnanis was born in the days of playing Dungeons & Dragons with my ex-boyfriend and his roomie.

The story itself owes older origins to a series of tales I started back in my teens (yeah, that was a long time ago) and then a series of stories I went on to write in my twenties (also a long time ago--hey, I AM 60, you know).

I was calling the novel Songs of the Magister. I had it in my head that I was going to be very forward thinking in writing about a character who was gay.  What I didn't expect was an in-your-face refusal of publishers to even consider the novel because it was, after all, a coming of age story about a young man learning of his magical heritage and how to harness that power to help a friend in need.  They tended to see it as "this guy is gay--not interested..."

One such story was submitted to Dragon Magazine, and I really took out all the "gay" references in the hopes that they would see the story and look past the character's sexual preference.  Nope.  Got a nasty rejection from the then editor (will not name names) who stated, "We do not consider homosexuality to be a proper subject for our readers."

Seriously?  It did not stop them from going on and using the term "harper mage" to create a character class.  I was calling Anwyn the Harper Mage long before the D&D folk got their mitts on the title.  But that was long ago, and I got over that rejection because a year later, I sold the story to MZB.  Meanwhile, I noticed that Dragon Magazine had an editorial where the chief editor stated that players should not be so hostile towards gay characters.


Oh, well.  I went on to sell quite a few Anwyn stories.  Collected some old ones with some new ones and got them published under the title's Magic Song; Tales of the Harper Mage, and another set under the title of Song of Silver, More Tales of the Harper Mage.  There is even a novella titled The City Under The Bridge available through Wolfsinger (but you better hurry up and get a copy since it will be going out of print soon).

And meanwhile, I am working on the novel that I have been writing for over thirty years.  If not longer.  But this time, I am hoping that the new version will have more appeal.  And maybe one day, I will finally be able to offer it to my readers who are fans of Anwyn.

Until then, I will keep plugging away at the novel.  That is what writers do.

Write, write, write...
I have actually been traveling a bit with my mother.  We took a wonderful trip down to Disney World and had a blast.  Yes, we bought a lot of stuff.  I added several new dolls to my collection including the Precious Moments version of the Brave Triplets (I already had Merida).  I also acquired a Kurhn doll and a Attractionista named Gracey (The Haunted Mansion).

Mom was in hog heaven.  She is already almost done for Christmas NEXT year.  Yep.  She likes to get her shopping done early.

Other than that, I have been trying to get my writer brain back on track.  I have finished one short story and one novella.  I am looking at a long overdue novel that I really needed to finish years ago.

And I still play with dolls.

Lately, I have been looking at harps again.  I don't need one.  I have a perfectly good one.  I have one in the works as well (one I am building--yes, it takes a while because my free time is precious and limited these days).

But I like to look at them, price them, debate what it would be like to own one of them.  Money is the factor.  Harps run thousands.  Yes, you can get cheaply made ones of plywood that buzz like bees and will come apart in a year or two.  But good harps are not cheap.  I see lap harps selling for $1000 to $2000, depending on the maker.  The more well-known the maker, the more the harp will cost.

And then there are the floor harps.  Pedal harps that start at $5000+ and just keep going up.  You want harp heart failure.  Go to the Lyon & Healy website and take a peek at the gilded model.  I could get a small house or a large car for that.

Which is what keeps me from clicking the buy button and putting such beauties in a cart.

I know I spend money like there was no tomorrow at times (which is not to say I do not have a nest egg and plans for my future), but I cannot throw down that kind of money.

So I just satisfy myself with looking and dreaming.  I go home and listen to harp cds before bed (yes, I still play cds).  I stroke Glynnanis' strings, or noodle on the tiny 8-string harp I gave in and purchased a while back for a photo prop.

And then I start rethinking my life as it is, pretend that one day it will be as it should be and get my butt in gear and write.

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