Hell or High Water: Appointment with My Self

I had to make an appointment with my Self, the “come hell or high water” type.

And now I’m finally here with my Self―BITCHOK (butt in the chair, hands on keyboard), an acronym I’ve borrowed many times from young adult author Cassandra Clare.

There’s no way to fool the true Self, but wow did I fool myself it had only been a couple of months since my last blog post!?! I told my Selves (I know you know what I mean) that today was the day, come hell or high water, that I would write.

There’s a funny thing about intention when it’s addressed to the true Self. The Self ain’t playing. It remembers and wants that specific appointment kept, no matter how long it takes. Meditating, exercising and contemplating life over a cup of Darjeeling and a handful of dark cherries isn’t the same.

I had to make an appointment with my Self, the “come hell or high water” type. And now I’m finally here with my Self―BITCHOK (butt in the chair, hands on keyboard), an acronym I’ve borrowed many times from young adult author Cassandra Clare https://www.cassandraclare.com/writing-advice/. There’s no way to fool the true Self, but wow did I fool myself it had only been a couple of months since my last blog post!?! I told my Selves (I know you know what I mean) that today was the day, come hell or high water, that I would write. There’s a funny thing about intention when it’s addressed to the true Self. The Self ain’t playing. It remembers and wants that specific appointment kept, no matter how long it takes. Meditating, exercising and contemplating life over a cup of Darjeeling and a handful of dark cherries isn’t the same.
Darjeeling and Dark Cherries

In this case, my specific appointment with my Self was to write for this blog. Posting on Instagram or Facebook wasn’t sufficient. Those posts weren’t the deal we made. This is the deal.

Then my Self let me know she wanted more. My Self wants me to write to a letter to herSelf. Or is it that my Self wants to write a letter to me? Of course, I know the answer, since I am me after all. There shall be letters―to me, to others, from characters. I saw this letter thing in my mind’s eye grow like mushrooms build in cartoons or anime. Today’s will be short.

Dear Tanya,

Thank you for keeping our appointment, no hell or high water required.

I know you’ve been busy. I see the deer-in-the-headlights look in your eyes, posture and aura. I hear it in your thoughts, your voice, your dreams.

Go easy on yourself. Relax. It’s all okay. If you don’t get something done in a day, so what? Your dreams won’t suddenly vanish. Think of this appointment with me as a first step toward the advancement of those dreams.

Love,

Your Self

I Thank Winter and Welcome Spring

[I quite recently wrote this prose and read it for a Unity service. Spring ― I’m ready! Bring it!]

Budding Branches
I Thank Winter and Welcome Spring

The cold and bare limbs of the trees wave in the chill wind as if whispering goodbye to Winter.

Stark fingers of branches jab at me, demanding, Look! Look inside! Take an honest view into the Self.

What must I see before I may embrace the forthcoming of Spring?

What thing shall I release so that I may behold the joyful bounty of this earthly life, to witness its beauty, its love expressed in vivid greens and rainbows of flowers?

Does an errant thought hood my eyes? How I long to bathe in Spring’s splendor! What obstruction must I change or let go?

What tiny pebble rides inside my shoe?

What thought twinges within my belly?

What hurt calls from my heart?

Surely and gladly, I

Shake out that pebble

Cast out that thought

And forgive the hurt.

I free myself to accept the full embrace of the Divine presence on this beautiful earth.

I open myself as a clear channel for this Infinite Love

to co-create and share the boundless spectrums of Spring

through gentle thoughts, kind words and expressions of gratitude

with my sisters, my brothers, with this world.

I know the bare branches waving in the breeze of Spring.

Now I see their budding leaves

And revel in the perfume of their blossoms.

I thank Winter and welcome Spring.

Check out the video to see the reading of I Thank Winter and Welcome Spring as well as the the entire talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hD3RzftunwI

Comfort

Comfort

Getting Personal on Changing Comfort(s)

Stress and Familiar Comforts

My year has been woven with grief and its associated emotions, debilitating flu, the annoying presence of shingles, and agent query rejections. When stress hovered like a Charles M. Schultz’s Pig Pen dust storm, I reached for favorite comforts in the name of self-care. I binged-watched primarily home improvement shows―against the frustration of being unable to act on them―and mysteries. I read books of nearly every flavor with heavy helpings of Brit and Aussie cozy mysteries. Several pounds later, I know for a fact how if some potato chips are good, the whole bag is not necessarily better.

Comfort

Old Comfort

I Question My Good Ol’ Familiars

I agree  we need our go-to comforts, but do they really need to come from a bag of chips or bowl of macaroni and vegan (¬_¬) cheese?  So far this year I:

  • Incorporated stress-reduction solutions like herbal teas and binging Netflix or Prime to my existing regimens of yoga stretching and meditation.
  • Researched go-to remedies (papaya, wild blueberries, lemon balm tea) and supplements (B, B-12, L-lysine).
  • Started Book 2.
  • Spoke with a close personal friend who happens to be a spiritual grief expert.

Hmm. Some of these could easily become my new first-line comforts.

Comfort Change Challenge

I challenge myself to step up my game and change my comforts. Join me, if you choose, to be ready when stress hits. We’ll trade some old comforts in for new ones. We’ll ditch the unhealthy and not-so-functional for healthy habits that work. I envision grabbing for the organic apple, celery with hummus, or glass of lemon water with a frozen strawberry (or three). There can be more walking and less couching.

comfort

Cool Lemon Water & Frozen Strawberries

Stress and Comfort Are Real

Stress happens. We’re human. We trip into Life. Life bumps into us. There may be days with full-on tears and snot and lots of wadded up tissues. People and circumstances will likely frustrate and/or annoy us. Yet, we’re the ones who choose what we do in response. Call a friend? Take a walk? Reach for clean, cool water? Relax and do nothing?

What Will You Do?

What changes will give you real, better, healthy comfort? I look forward to reading your ideas and solutions in the comments. Thanks for sharing your experience and wisdom!


Fiction writer and author, Tanya D. Dawson, has written a story for the young adult in all of us. Her pending novel, Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel [working title], is an atypical tale set in our everyday reality alongside an unknown world of extraordinary others. This becoming-who-you-are adventure breathes fresh air and light into the often dark and apocalyptic world of YA fiction, without giving up the angst or the weird. While Andersen Light is primarily set the fictional town of Mystic Creek, Oregon, Tanya lives and works in the American Southwest.

Write from Here

I write from here in southern New Mexico (neither new nor Mexico, as they say around here) about characters in a made up town on the west coast of the United States. I’m calling the location southern Oregon.

 

write from here

Oregon Coast by Jane L Ray

How do I write from here about the goings-on in a lighthouse and its estate while hunkered down in a creosote forest and hammered by a desert wind storm?

  • Imagination.
  • Memory.
  • Photos of lighthouses, especially those from friends. Thank you, Jane, Randy, Dalene and Susan.
  • Research – like visiting lighthouses whenever possible, in person and online.

 

What else can I do to ignite those little brain cells?

  • Read. Thanks to:

    write from here

    Lighthouse Spiral Staircase by Randy Jiner

    • Cozy authors Agatha Frost, Lynn Florkiewicz, Frances Evesham, J. A. Whiting.
    • Literary fiction author L. J. Ross and her DCI Ryan books.
    • Local library (Thomas Branigan Memorial Library).
  • Listen/view waves roll, crash, and spray in ocean-themed nature videos. Special thanks to YouTubers and video sharers:
  • Webcams! I’ve been to these places and more from the comfort of my office: Ireland, Thailand, the Hamptons, Hawaii, Virginia Beach, Shelter Cove, Italy, Miami Beach, New Zealand, and my most frequented, Florence, Oregon. I recommend EarthCam, a great online tool and app, and publicly accessible internet webcams. The best ones include sound. (Warning: you may be tempted to travel to places completely unrelated to your research. Still, the Paris webcam at the Eiffel Tower is amaze-balls as my niece, Cassie, likes to say.)
  • Meditate.

You can use these ideas to write from here (wherever your here is). If you have tips of your own you’d like to share, please add them to the comments. Thank you!


Fiction writer and author, Tanya D. Dawson, has written a story for the young adult in all of us. Her pending novel, Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel [working title], is an atypical tale set in our everyday reality alongside an unknown world of extraordinary others. This becoming-who-you-are adventure breathes fresh air and light into the often dark and apocalyptic world of YA fiction, without giving up the angst or the weird. While Andersen Light is primarily set the fictional town of Mystic Creek, Oregon, Tanya lives and works in the American Southwest.

Willing

Willing

Willing

Georgie Jones is not a balker by nature. She chooses instead to be willing—or at least willing to be willing.

Willing to Act

Early in the story and from the safety of a willow tree in her dad’s yard, primary character Georgie recalls intolerable behavior back at her old home in Starkton. She was held back from taking action by threats against her loved ones. Her healthy, spunky confidence took a barrage of insidious hits as the situation escalated from inappropriate to abusive. The girl wrestled with herself, willing herself to reach out. Ultimately, Georgie took charge and leapt into action to protect her siblings. These were the first steps in restoring her confidence and awakening her true self.

Willing to Learn

Georgie is willing to look at her family, herself and her life with a frankness uncharacteristic in a fourteen and a half year old. (But then, she is not your typical teenager.) Why had her parents split? Why had her mom chose Jack, her stepfather? Her self-analysis brings clarity, and answers—neither had anything to do with her.

Willing to Trust

Georgie knows deep down in the core of her that she can trust Luther, a longtime friend of her grandparents. Her willingness to trust him opens her to his wisdom. It forges their bond of mentorship, and hearkens to a prophecy.

Willing to Grow

Luther guides her through the shock of learning the truth of who she is. She regains her spunk. Georgie wants to grow. Her willingness enables an open and fertile mind, and nurtures her into who she is meant to be.

Georgie sets aside disbelief and skepticism, whether wholeheartedly or temporarily. This allows her to clearly grasp and excel in lesson after lesson, develop new abilities, and save a friend from certain doom.


Fiction writer and author Tanya D. Dawson has written a story for the young adult in all of us. Her pending novel, Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel [working title], brightens the sometimes dark world of YA and delivers the angst and the weird in this inspiring becoming-who-you-are adventure of mystery, intrigue, and mysticism grounded in today’s world. While Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel is primarily set on the North’ish West Coast, Tanya lives and works in the American Southwest.

Character origins

Character Origins – More Revealed

Greenhouse Memory

I’ve learned more origin info about my characters since my last post. My mom and paternal aunt independently corroborated history of the greenhouse I remember as a child. It actually belonged to my grandmother’s sister-in-law, Georgie, and her husband, Al. Yes, Georgie—the very same Great-aunt Georgie whose name I gave my character!

Luther, whose name I gave my other primary character, was in fact a help-mate and friend of my grandparents. He and his wife lived next door to my newly married parents. She was especially kind to my young mother.

Great-aunt Georgie

Aunt Georgie was an earth angel to me, and others. As nurse and relative, she was there when I was born. (She was also my aunt’s role model. See her post comment.) Georgie wiped my tears after teen breakups and taught me my first yoga moves. We talked about astrology and horoscopes when the coast was clear (and no one else could hear). Aunt Georgie may have given me my character’s name, but she gave me so much more. I have felt her presence steadily throughout my adult life.

Now you know.

The names Luther and Georgie came from real people. Maria Elena’s name came from the beautiful song by that name, a favorite of my mother’s.

Here’s to unearthing your own fond memories!

—–

New fiction author, Tanya D. Dawson, has written a story for the young adult in all of us. Her pending novel, Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel [working title], brightens the sometimes dark world of YA and delivers the angst and the weird in this inspiring becoming-who-you-are adventure of mystery, intrigue, and mysticism grounded in today’s world. While Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel is primarily set on the West Coast, Tanya lives and works in the American Southwest.

 

Getting Personal

Getting Personal

Trip to Tucson

The instructors, Reid Tracy and Cheryl Richardson, told us in the Hay House workshop (ref my December 5, 2017 post) we need to get personal, to let people get to know us. I am convinced I heard the collective, internal groans from the writers in the room at this remark. We can be a private lot.

I get the idea of learning about people. I like to read about my favorite writers. Does knowing a little bit about them or the region they live in help inform her or his writing? [Shrug] Beats me.

Here’s me being personal. This weekend I am in Tucson, Arizona with hubby to hang out with my sister following her surgery. It’s been an emotionally rough last few days because it was a scary surgery. She’s a trooper and we got her home this afternoon.

Last night, Super Spouse took me to a two-story Barnes & Noble for a night cap in the cafe (him, hot chocolate and me, iced Tazo Passion tea) because he figured it would help me feel better. He was right. I love being surrounded by books. And I like that Passion tea. ?

Future Location of My Novel

Right now I’m in my pj’s in the hotel waiting for delivery of hubby’s favorite meal, pizza, and watching the SAG awards. He loves all the awards shows and I kind of like them too. We’ll be back home by tomorrow. I’m going to take a long nap.

Enough about me. (Pizza’s here.) Like we say around these parts, hasta entonces (until then).

BFF

 

Smart and pretty with a long, dark braid, Josefina Garcia befriends Georgie her first day at the new high school. Fast friends, Josefina offers to show Georgie around school, and later, Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel.

New fiction author, Tanya D. Dawson, has written a story for the young adult in all of us. Her pending novel, Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel, brightens the sometimes dark world of YA to deliver the angst and the weird in this inspiring adventure of mystery, intrigue, and mysticism grounded in today’s world. While Andersen Light: A Mystic Creek Novel is primarily set on the West Coast, Tanya lives and works in the American Southwest.