it’s my life

What’s shakin’, bongo players?

Yesterday was my birthday, and it was a great day. A quiet day doing fun things I enjoy, by myself, and thus a great day.

I got my hands on some more fantastic vinyl, including Knock on Wood by Amii Stewart (one of the best disco albums of all time) and the B-52’s (first album). Excellent presents.

I took this photo to commemorate the day and celebrate a new addition to my polyester shirt collection:

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I’m forty-eight and a very happy person.

The fourth decade of my life has been my best decade so far. It’s during this decade that I truly came into my own, when I decided what I wanted to say “yes” to, and what I wanted to say “no” to—and wouldn’t apologize for my choices either.

More quiet stuff today.

Here’s some upcoming polyester:

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Eating shepherd’s pie with a loved one later.

Surf’s up.

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decompression

What’s shakin’, bongo players?

I had an ultra fun afternoon yesterday.

I went to a local record shop I’d been meaning to visit for a while, and it was a fabulous experience.

Is there any comparison between downloading music, and crate digging? None whatsoever. As I went through one bin after the other, looking at albums, I felt a serenity that’s hard to describe.

All was well with the world. Life was good.

When I was younger, I used to go to a place called The Record Runner. It was sublime. Aisles of records. You never knew what you might stubble across. Discoveries around every corner.

This was the case yesterday afternoon when I uncovered four New Wave gems.

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And I’ll say it again: watching the album on the turntable, listening to the rich sound of vinyl… It’s so deeply satisfying and excellent.

These albums are beautifully in and of themselves. The covers. Holding them, gazing at them. Downloads can’t do this.

It’s like books. Some of my paperbacks, I’ve had since I was a teenager. The smell of the paper, the sound it makes when you turn the pages. The notes sometimes written here and there. How can eBooks come close? They can’t. My yellowing paperback is precious. It’s a treasure.

Coming home with my New Wave albums, I felt that maybe there’s still some hope left for this planet.

These past few years, I feel like I’ve been getting my life back in just about every conceivable way. This has been due to decisions I’ve made, major changes, and unexpected drastic events.

I feel like I’ve been making expeditions to my past and taking back everything that’s ever given me joy and comfort. I rescued it for myself. It’s like saying “This is mine, and you can’t threaten to take it away, you can’t sully these moments anymore. I am stealing my shit back. You can’t have it anymore. It was never yours. And you can’t harm me or those I love now. You can’t have my moments. I extract your poison from my life.”

Many of my toys symbolize moments of happiness with loved ones, moments that made it possible to get through and survive the rest. Moments like an island refuge. That’s why the haven where I display these objects is what I call my PTSD decompression chamber. Favorite music, books, pens and notebooks all come into play as well.

As the song goes, it’s my life, don’t you forget.

I live my life, my way.

Surf’s up.

satanic agenda

What’s shakin’, bongo players.

And it seems another couple of months went zooming by again. I had Things to deal with, and I needed to rest frequently because of the Things.

There are fewer Things ahead, thankfully. Life is settling down. In August, we’ll be celebrating the six month anniversary of the Best Damn Thing Ever.

July and August will be restful. I’m going to work on finishing Hit the Road, but that’ll be restful. Writing, self-portrait sessions, hanging out in bookstores and record stores, photocopied booklets, macramé (and finally using the vintage wooden beads I got a few months ago), being home: that’s the agenda for the rest of the summer and this autumn.

I’ve been ignoring the news, and much of what’s been making this planet go bugfuck these days. This is my source of news:

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Imzy, alas, kicked the bucket (nothing good lasts on the internet anymore), and “social networks” are such a joke.

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Let’s all like the same shit, do the same shit, be the same shit. Corporations give it two big thumbs up. Under no circumstances miss the latest blockbuster.

And nobody wear “scary” Halloween costumes, ya hear? Because Facebook cares™.

Fuck it all.

“Missing out” is something I enjoy with ever greater amounts of gusto. I’ve never cared much about the hype du jour.

I’ve been re-reading The Satanic Bible and The Devil’s Notebook for the first time in a couple of decades, and it’s a breath of fresh air. I have a bunch of interesting books on the way, and clipboard folders are better than tablets.

Speaking of satanic things, it’s my birthday next week. Yay me! Hopefully, my latest box of books will be here in time for that. And my most recent polyester acquisitions:

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In light of the increasing Disneyfication of social networks, I want to focus on and update my blogs more often. I feel better on WordPress.

Gotta go do a few errands because shops are closed tomorrow.

Surf’s up.

getting the wheels in motion

What’s shakin’, bongo players.

Once again, it’s been a while. Life and all that shit.

I’ve been taking care of a lot of stuff. Things that needed to be done, such as clearing out the basement (not finished yet, but I at least got the long overdue project started), and assorted bits big and small—this, that, and the other.

Now, if the weather could start warming up and drying up longer than three days in a row, that would be most revitalizing.

But anyway.

A couple of days ago, I got some new ink. The hula girl I’d been wanting for some time; I had a space left for her on my right forearm. Loving my girl. And she’s sitting on a Tiki. I have this image on a flask. The moment I saw her, I knew she was the one.

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I’m still kind of tired, but it’s all good.

I treated myself to a rad new pillbox earlier today.

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Because if life isn’t silly, it’s often too much. Gotta be silly. You can’t take it too seriously.

I have more polyester treasures on the way, so there will be more funky photos. On the whole, life is better when I deal with the 21st century on a need-to basis. The societal pressures (from all sides these days, it seems) that say you have to do things and be and think this way or that way can fuck off, basically.

This summer, I want to make more macramé wall-hangings and do portrait sessions and twang my ukulele again, and sit in the garden again (didn’t do this at all last year, for the first time since we moved here; I was too worn out for garden anything).

What I want most of all, however, is to get back to writing. I’ve begun writing two of my upcoming books, and I need to write again, get back to work, to complete and publish new books. Even though I’ve had much on my plate since the start of 2017, pretty intense shit, even though I know I can only juggle so many pins, as it were, I also know that I have been stalling, too.

It’s true that the whole “I don’t know what I’m doing” writing-fear mindset has less of a hold on me than it once did. All I want to do, now, is simply write what I write, what I love to write, and that’s it. Whoever digs it can read it. Whatever, you know? There’s no point in worrying and agony. No point in trying to write what doesn’t do it for you, whether what works for you is marketable or not.

I’m not interested in “targeting” an audience. Or making sure I take the necessary steps to turn myself into an “effective brand” or whatever.

I can’t be the only one who thinks shit like this is weird and depressing.

Sometimes, I don’t know if I stall because I want success or because I’m afraid of it. Who knows what might happen when you put your work out there.

I do know that when I don’t write as much as I need to, when I’m not publishing new stuff, my unhappiness is greater than the unhappiness that comes with success or failure, and fear.

One thing that has been amusing me is the idea that if I ever became a somewhat well-ish read author, I’d buy myself a 70s Thunderbird. Preferably a 1977 model.

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Because driving down a highway in that big magnificent bastard would rule.

On that note, I need to eat something.

Surf’s up.

the professor with the golden sunglasses

What’s shakin’, bongo players.

Aaaaand it’s been a while again.

Side note: I may continue reblogging these personal Apostate Island posts on logospilgrim.com, otherwise hardly anybody will see them, probably.

So anyway, it’s been a very intense month and a half over here. Life-changing, in fact. I’m still not going to go into specific detail (although if you’ve known me for a bit, you’ll probably have some idea what I’m hinting at here), but it’s been an excruciating thing, and an absolutely fucking glorious thing. It’s something I’ve wanted, desperately so, ever since I was old enough to think.

It’s been excruciating because of the severe Complex PTSD symptoms and behaviors it reignited—think “volcano-level” symptoms—and glorious because of the delirious, hitherto unparalleled freedom that is resulting from it.

It’s normal, maniac-free living.

And whoever thinks it’s easy to extricate oneself from an abusive situation, which is like being trapped at the bottom of a deep pit with steep, slick walls and filled with a life-sucking, mind-numbing quicksand from hell, “whoever” can kiss my ass.

The day has come at last, however. A case of what goes around comes around.

I wasn’t the main person involved, but at the same time, I was very involved. It has to do with persons intimately close to my heart, and an abusive individual who exerted his manipulative tyranny over us for decades—an individual I’m utterly glad to say I’ll never have to see again.

The process is still ongoing, especially for the main person involved, but it’s a process of liberation, let’s say. A legal process. A personal process that includes positive life alterations.

It’s a period of renewal in every sense of the term.

In other news, I am now using a new computer—it was only in the box for a week and a half before I felt ready to set it up; not bad. But I’m back on track with the most recent OS, and fully updated browsers, and a nice shiny external hard drive. Said hard drive will be extremely useful (it’s the first time I have one of those things). It’s amazing how small it is, too.

So I will be getting back to work on Hit the Road, finally. And holy shit, the timing is excellent, let me tell you. This project has never had more relevance for me.

In April, I’ll have some macramé and the first issue of my handwritten, photocopied zine on my Etsy store. For all the news on this topic, visit my website Renouveau 70. For weeks after the Major Recent Event, I really wasn’t able to do much of anything, but I’m slowly getting my groove back. This means writing and macramé.

Definitely not going to MISTI-Con this year, but who knows, maybe next time, if the organizers decide to go ahead with another one. We’ll see how it goes.

The 70s continue to give me joy. I’ve got a third vintage polyester shirt on the way, and I’ve begun collecting vintage plates as well.

Here’s some pictures I took of me wearing my first two polyester shirts. I have a fantastic love for these marvelous shirts.

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Tell me that polyester doesn’t rule. I won’t believe you.

I’ve never had two gold chains before, and I’ve been enjoying the heck out of that too. And my little gold crab is love. It makes me very happy.

Holy Crab Rangoon, baby.

There’s going to be “polyester shirts with suits” portrait sessions soon. The weather’s going to start warming up… I’ll be looking for fab cheesy locales.

I’ve never been happier with my life.

I’ve moved on from a number of things, I have interests and hobbies I enjoy, I know what I want and what’s not for me. And I so don’t miss religion and all that shit. At all.

I’m glad to be alive.

That’s what I write about. I share my moment, my human moment, on planet earth.

And my human moment is fine.

I profess my humanity.

Surf’s up.

knots for relaxation and living

What’s shakin’, bongo players.

So, while large segments of this planet are busy going absolutely batshit these days, I’m working on positive projects that keep me from having a fucking PTSD-fueled nervous breakdown.

Last night, thinking about the current situation, I began having an intense anxiety attack and I’m so done with all this bullshit and madness… I’m going to hunker down and try to live as calmly as I can until the rest of the world decides that religious extremism and nationalistic nuttery is a total dead end for humanity.

I think what we’re witnessing is the apoplectic, ugly demise of ancient worldviews, but anyway.

So much noise. I’m widening the moat and sound-proofing my physical and mental space.

I’m giving a Center For Inquiry talk on Monday, and at this point I’m pretty sure I won’t be doing the public speaking thing again for some time to come. It’s too hard on me. I’ve recently come to the conclusion that this simply isn’t something I want to do anymore.

What I’m working on right now is books, that first zine of mine, which will be the handwritten/photocopied form of what I’ve done online for years: rambling. Deleting my Livejournal was a major step forward in my “reducing online stuff” non-action plan. I want to focus a lot more on real stuff. Hence, things like my zine project: a tactile endeavor that requires envelopes, mailboxes, paper, and greater involvement than virtual anything.

Social networking will be the means of sharing information about my physical endeavors, and communicating with friends. But I won’t let it take too large a chunk out of my days. Lately, I’m finding Instagram less traumatizing than Twitter.

Anywho.

One of my main projects at the moment is putting together a booth for the local summer market.

I have fallen head over heels in love with macramé, and crafting it. It gives me pure, unadulterated joy.

I like to make it without a set design or anything. So I make macramé the same way I write books, more or less.

It’s 70s-inspired macramé art.

Here’s a piece I made as a gift for someone. It’s hanging from a wooden embroidery hoop.

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Here’s another piece I made yesterday. I’m calling it “Island Dream”. It’s Tiki happy.

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I will have some of my macramé art on Etsy, along with my zines and books.

Fuck, I love making those knots. I love square knots best of all, square knots in a variety of patterns and combinations.

I designed a funky sign for my upcoming booth, too.

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My work uniform will consist of 70s-themed candy and whatnot t-shirts. Oh yeah.

I think this is going to be fun.

Mr P and I want to go to flea markets this summer, and hunt for assorted 70s shit. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for mushroom mugs and stuff like that.

It’s about time I live my life how I want, and do what makes me happy. It’s okay for me to want what I want, to need what I need, to live how I live.

Surf’s up.

equilibrium

What’s shakin’, bongo players.

Well here we are in 2017, and I’m hoping it can’t be worse than 2016. In any event, every time I write “2017” on anything, it feels like relief, so there’s that.

I do feel more exhausted than I’ve ever felt, however. Peri-menopause is in high gear these days, and it’s basically wiping the floor with me. On a more positive note, I’ll finally be done with fertility and all the shit it involved at some point this year… It can’t happen soon enough for me. It’s been (useless) misery since day one, lo these many years ago.

Apart from that, there’s a stressful situation, nothing I want to get into, though I’ll say that Mr P and I are fine and everything is well where I am. But the stressful crap in question has been the cause of PTSD episodes, and I’m coping by withdrawing from the rest of the world even more than usual. It’s the introvert way, right? I have absolutely no energy for outside anything, demands, social whatever… For once in my life, I’m listening to myself and doing what I need to do to preserve my health and happiness. I take care of every day stuff, and I stay home a lot. I do things nearby. I do solitary things. This helps me maintain my inner equilibrium.

This Savage Chickens strip says it all:

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When I’m home, I feel good. I feel calm. If anyone felt the need to tell me I should go out more and be gregarious, my response would be fairly unpleasant, let’s say. It would be on the Trailer Park Boys spectrum.

I didn’t get round to finishing My Merry Secular Holiday, mostly because I wasn’t feeling much holiday cheer of any kind this year. I didn’t even watch most of my favorite specials; I simply wasn’t feeling it.

In the coming months, I’ll be focusing on Hit the Road, and my zines.

Yesterday, I got a couple of the latest Num Nom sets (the candy Num Noms, and the marshmallow Num Noms), and that made me stupendously happy. The second season of Grossery Gang figures will be coming out soon, and they look fun as heck. The collector can of Rotten Soda is especially hilarious to me.

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Surf’s up.

living space

What’s shakin’, bongo players.

I’m not done with Secular Holiday yet, though I will be working on it this week.

I got a bit distracted last week.

I wanted to add some 70s inspired shagadelicness to my living space. So that’s what I did, and I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am about it.

For the past three years now, I’ve been making some major changes to my personal refuge. When I moved into this house with Mr P lo these many years ago—twelve years ago, to be exact—my office was entirely dedicated to Professor Snape. I more or less recreated his office. It was fun. Bugs and jars and books everywhere.

There was also a big part of the room that was my “Orthodox church at home”—a wall of icons, with areas for incense and everything else. Prostration center.

Them Orthodox days are over and long gone, thank Mai Tai.

After I walked away from religion and faith altogether approximately three years ago, I slowly began collecting and accumulating toys, an activity I soon found to be phenomenally therapeutic. It’s no coincidence that this was when my living space really started to change. It was becoming my space.

Eventually, the religious stuff completely disappeared (for a while, I kept some icons as “art” then decided I wanted much better art than that), and, one after the other, my shelves became filled with cheerful toys that had great meaning and significance to me.

I’d always used the glass cabinet for Professor Snape collectibles, and said cabinet is now the main place where I display such items. Because my room is no longer a tribute to someone else (and, simultaneously, to religious self-effacement); it’s a place for me and all that I love, all that makes me smile, all that delights me and gives me comfort.

A place where I celebrate my humanity, and where I nurture and honor it.

Last winter, another big change: I replaced my two large work desks with a comfy chair and footstool, and a smaller work desk. This indicated that my life was no longer all about work. No more crushing and eradicating myself; that was over. I was making yet more room for my humanity. For me.

I deserve room. I’ve given myself room, at last.

This past year, I’ve developed another intense interest: a love for 70s kitsch, 70s everything. Tiki was just the start.

It happened as I grew increasingly selective about what I was willing to devote my time to; specifically, the internet, fandom… Things of that nature.

I was making room for me time-wise, as well. Giving myself my time, my need for solitude and tranquility back. I was giving me back to me. I would not treat myself like a second-thought anymore.

No more arduous trips. No more trying to be available around the clock. No more draining myself online, or offline for that matter.

Like Professor Snape, I threw the jar of cockroaches on the wall, smashing it, and declared, “Enough.”

And you know, lately I’ve been feeling better than I have in, well… ever.

This week, I wanted to add some 70s awesome to my room, like I said, and that’s what I did.

New bedspread, new pillows, new sheets. I put in some fabulous, thick, fluffy shag carpets. And most significantly of all: new curtains.

I hadn’t changed the curtains since I first decorated the room over a decade ago.

The changes gave me such joy, it was almost like I was on some kind of bliss-inducing drug.

When I removed the heavy, “Victorian parlor” old curtains and hung the new ones with their groovy cat pattern, it was like shaking off years and years of dust (and it literally was).

It was my call. My life.

It was about time.

So, without further ado: new stuff.

I love the color scheme of the bed. Black, red, white, weird patterns: very 70s.

May I say that Potion loves it too, as you’ll see. And he adores the shag as much as I do.

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The day after I got the new bedspread and everything, I moved my stuffed friends around a bit because the new fuzzy white pillows are thinner and taller than the old pillows, and stuffed friends kept falling off the new pillows while I slept.

Furry fabrics: 70s love. The pillows are so incredibly soft, too.

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The thick grey pile carpet is fantastic. And both it and the white fluffy shag are so much easier to vacuum than the purple rug I had before (the rug that first replaced my Oriental “church” carpet).

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Right now, Potion is under the comforter again, like this:

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New curtains. Note that they match one of the pillows in the big chair.

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I’m ecstatically happy with all of this. No words, truly.

I also managed to unearth an original postcard of a picture that hung above my bed when I was a kid. I loved that picture. When the vintage postcard arrives (from France), I’ll scan it, print an enlargement, and put it on the wall above my bed in here.

I didn’t have much to go on: I remembered a girl with large eyes and blonde hair. She was standing on a beach. I thought my chances of finding this image were close to nil, but soon enough I discovered who the artist might be, and then lo and behold, there she was. The artist was Michel Thomas, and the piece entitled Protection de la Nature.

The water, the sky… Something about this picture had always entranced me. Perhaps it was the freedom it represented.

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Many things that are ocurring on this planet at the moment are exhausting me. And thankfully, these days I’m quite aware of the role PTSD plays in the reactions I’m having to it all.

My Nouveau 70s state of mind and lifestyle are, I think, my way of giving all this shit the proverbial finger. I’m like, why don’t you go ahead and work out your fucking crap, and in the meantime I’ll be over here with Columbo and Kojak and Rosemary’s Baby and Monty Python and cream cheese covered sandwich loaves (want to get an excellent book this holiday season? Get 70s Dinner Party by Anna Pallai).

And wouldn’t you know it, the less you’re online, the less a whole lotta shit matters.

Yesterday, I finally ordered something I’d wanted for a while now.

A small, simple, beautiful record player.

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And I got this record. A classic. Smooth. The kind of music I want to play on my turntable.

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You’ll note that the record player doesn’t have any MP3 converting thingamajigs or whatever. It plays records, and it has an AM/FM dial; that’s it.

That’s what I wanted.

It doesn’t need to be upgraded. It just plays records and the radio. It’s not “wireless”. It has a needle that you gently put on the record.

I’m amused by some of the reviews I’ve read of record players. Complaints because of “cracks” and “pops”—are you kidding me? That’s part of the appeal.

Or complaints about the sound. Not “rich” enough. Also very amusing. Clearly these people never listened to cassette tapes on a Walkman. I remember when I had my first cassette-playing Walkman (my first portable music device was a radio with headphones) and I thought it was the most fabulous fucking thing ever. I also remember the small record players I had when I was a kid: they were great. They weren’t perfect, but they were great.

Last night, I was thinking that I hadn’t felt this relaxed in years. In fact, I’d never felt this relaxed in my whole life.

I’m going to do my quiet stuff. Look after the daily things. I won’t create unnecessary problems for myself. I’m going to look after myself.

I’m going to write my books and whoever reads them, reads them. I’m just not going to worry. What’s the point of that, anyway?

I’m going to write what I want, how I want, when I want. I’m going to do what I can. I’m going to respect who I am, what I am.

I love my cracks and pops.

Oh, and apart from the record player, I got a macramé book.

Surf’s up.

who I am is fine

What’s shakin’, bongo players.

I’m going to update this blog often, I said.

I have a difficulty with time, is the thing. It goes by much too quickly for me. A month feels like moments. All my clocks are a half hour ahead. “What, it’s already three?! Wait, whew. It’s two thirty.” It’s like giving time the finger.

Right now, I’m working on my little book My Merry Secular Holiday. I want it finished by the end of the week.

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It’s going to be almost thirty pages long, in a square format. A fun book that will be the first in a series of little square books, such as Tikiola: An Apostate Island Guide to Life.

I’m really excited about Hit the Road and Be Who You Are, The Rollicking Adventures of an Unrepentant Tomboy, and my swan song to the Potter fandom, Severus Snape and the Art of Being Human.

All of these books will be around a hundred pages. Short books; this is going to be my thing for the foreseeable future. I’ll also be focusing on paperback books as opposed to e-Books. Tomboy will be filled with something like personal essays about my life and shit I love, the 70s, toys, androgyny, oddness, Tiki… It’ll be the first in a series of Tomboy books.

I’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately—it seems like this planet’s bought the funny farm—and as such I’m much more selective of what I’ll devote my time and energy to: I’m calling one of my strategies “internet minimalism”.

I’m no longer on Livejournal. I’m on Twitter the most (though these days, not as much because I don’t want to see or hear about the Orange Fuck, whose stench gives me anxiety attacks and makes me feel almost like I’m back in the hellhole that was my childhood home), then Imzy and Instagram, and here on WordPress (logospilgrim.com is my news hub, and Apostate Island is a personal blog).

That’s it. That’s enough.

I need to get a new computer soon (fuck), and I’ve already decided that I won’t be getting iTunes albums anymore. If I really want something, I’ll buy the CD. The way I see it, it’s one less thing to worry about. I’ve had it with this “constantly keeping up with shit” shit. It’s like trying to fill up a hungry, bottomless pit.

Some technology is very useful. Some of it is puzzling or ridiculous. Too much of it feels like a massive headache; like an encroaching tumor that slowly makes it harder to function. The other day, I found myself longing for a television set with rabbit ears and a ten channel dial.

I want a stereo system. A few cherished vinyl records.

I mean, it’s the same thing with popular culture. Nowadays, it’s a veritable deluge of new stuff you “have” to be excited about and “must” want to see and keep up with; it’s a race that goes faster and faster, that gets louder and louder. Fuck it.

Like the other day, I was walking out of the grocery store and saw this stand with stacks of “Utopia” virtual reality headsets. I think I died a little at the sight of these things. This is why I want vinyl records, a turntable, real books, movies on DVD, my toys, interests that mean something to me.

Learning to affirm myself, to respect myself and what I want, to honor what I love and need: this has been phenomenally good.

What I want isn’t stupid. Who I am is fine.

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Surf’s up.

further ahead

What’s shakin’, bongo players.

I’m really fucking tired right now, boy.

I’m extremely grateful for my tranquil home, for this quiet, colorful room where I write my books.

I’ve been hard at work promoting Atheist Tiki Hour, and let me tell you, it’s not easy, feeling like you’re harassing people, it’s not easy, pushing to get your book out there, to get it read, and even worse, get reviews, when you’re a reclusive introvert type person.

There have been nights when I cried over my keyboard and wanted to rip my hair out from the stress of it all. And you wonder, are my efforts having any effect? Sometimes, it’s hard to tell.

They have, though. I’m so much further ahead than I was after I published Hula Girl. At least… I think so. I hope so. I’ve gotten precious help, which has encouraged and sustained me more than words can express, especially when I’m ready to give up.

People who care about me and believe in my work are the fire that keeps my engine running, and I persist despite self-doubt.

Once I’ve given my CFI talk at the start of December, I’ll withdraw and work on my next books. The thought that I won’t be going anywhere this spring is a tremendous relief. As the kids say these days, I can’t even.

I feel excited when I think of my upcoming books because I’ll be writing about stuff that gives me immense comfort. I will continue to celebrate life.

Okay, I need to rest. I thought I’d write more but I’m beat.

Have a picture of me in the early 1970s. You could say that it captures the essence of my next books.

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The essence of my life as it is now.

Surf’s up.