I’m over at Word Whores, confessing my secret talent. Hint: it’s not holding lipstick between my breasts.
Have I ever mentioned that our dog, Zip, is pretty much completely deaf? Yeah… He’s an older dog now and it happens. Most of the time it’s not that big a deal. He’s a border collie, so he responds well to hand signals. And he’s generally pretty well behaved. Because he can’t hear, he’s less sensitive to being disturbed by outside noises. So, no more pacing at night or running to the window to see who’s going by.
He dreams like a son-of-a-gun. Couple this with no sense of his own sound-production….
That’s right. 4am he had a bark-attack. Full volume, right next to the bed.
Oh. My. God.
I sat up bolt upright. The kitties went sailing. You know how in stories people say they feel like their hearts might burst? Yeah, that. Nothing like a huge adrenaline kick yanking you out of a deep sleep in the early morning.
I could swear I have an epinephrine hangover today.
Love those thunderclouds. Rain all you like!
Yesterday, Angela James, Executive Editor of Carina Press and savvy social media maven, tweeted this:
Me to agent: “I’m going to pass on this author. She’s had occasion to be very rude to me & others in the past.” #pubtip : Be professionalvia TweetDeck
This is noteworthy because we’ve all suspected it’s possible for this to happen. The publishing community is quite small, often insular, occasionally incestuous (and I mean that in the nicest possible way). Whether at conferences or online, we are in each other’s laps much of the time. There are no secrets. When questioned, Angela followed up with:
This is pretty much what I would have predicted. Angela is at the helm of a digital-first imprint of a major publisher. She knows that online interactions play a huge role in this world. The days – if they ever really existed – of a writer getting to play the diva and curse anyone who crosses them are well and truly over.
It reminds me of the small town thing.
When I moved to Wyoming for grad school, I went from living in Denver and St. Louis, to a town of 26,000 people. Functionally the population is half that if you only count the year-round population. Now, I was an *ahem* aggressive driver. Not rage-driver, but definitely big-city driver. Other cars were never about people to me – they were simply “traffic.” Nothing personal.
Imagine my surprise when people called me out for it.
“Hey, you cut me off this morning!”
“Geez, how fast were you going down Grand yesterday afternoon??”
“You tailgated me all the way to Safeway – what’s up with that?”
Once I got over the fact that these people actually looked in my car and recognized me, I discovered I was now accountable for my driving behavior in a way I’d never been before. No longer anonymous, I had become part of a small community, for better or worse. I had to change my behavior.
I suppose you could argue this impinged on my freedom to be obnoxious. Small towns can be oppressive because they do limit freedom of thought and action. The social mores can be restrictive. But, there’s always the option to leave that community. If the reasons to stay are compelling enough, you’d better learn how to get along with your neighbors.
And if you want them to hire you or elect you to city council? Find a way to be congenial.
It can’t be said often enough: watch what you say in public. Imagine that everything will be heard and remembered, and absolutely held against you in the court of public opinion. People will forgive you the odd slip, but a pattern of continued bad behavior? No no no. My writing buddies and I have the Cone of Silence. All snarkiness must occur inside the Cone.
Make sure it’s really on, too.
What was most amazing to me about yesterday’s exchange was an author replied to Angela saying:
Oh, shit, I said I was *sorry* I called you “picky.”
I’m crying now. You’re such a b*#$ch.
I didn’t include her tweet info here, because I think she’s an idiot for posting those and I’ll save her this extra bit of self-induced humiliation. The tweets are still up, though, for anyone who cares to see… and to track that her data matches up to Angela’s author-in-question.
Perhaps it all comes down to learning to take criticism. Live and learn.
When you do get called out for something, like I did? It’s an opportunity for course-correction. Apologize and fix the problem. People will forgive. They’ll eventually forget.
But not if you keep behaving badly.
Back in September, I promised to do a post each month on the full moon. I’ve hit them all until this month. I don’t really know what happened. The Planter’s Moon rose on schedule Sunday night. At first I was too early to catch it, then I was too late. I tried to photograph it setting in the morning, but the light was wrong. Here’s one of the landscape shots I took while trying to capture the faint moon at dawn.
Some months it’s just not meant to be.
I can say that it’s been ferociously windy lately and so I haven’t been lingering outside. It’s a good thing we haven’t been planting, because the 40- and 50-mile per hour gusts would have ripped the seeds from our hands. Springtime here is windy. I think of it like lake turnover – all that cold air warming up and rising, a turbulent transition. It will settle soon.
In promise of that, this morning is gorgeous warm and still. Everyone is loving it.
Besides, it’s not like any of you called me on it. The full moon. All the blogging advice says you have to keep these contracts, to satisfy your readers. “They” also say you have to keep the same schedule. Then there are the massive exceptions like Allie Brosh at Hyperbole and a Half. She has only posted three times so far in 2011. Her third post, which went up last night, already has over six hundred comments. The love is not lagging.
Instead of the exception proving the rule (how I hate that line), the exceptions prove there are no rules, I think.
And that, every once in a while, it’s okay to miss the moon.
Which sounds way better than Worm Moon. Poor Worm Moon, superseded by our current love of all things supersized.
In case you live under a rock, this particular full moon was to appear 14% bigger than the “regular” sized moon, because of the moon’s proximity to earth. That’s a decent amount of moon supersizing. From the left to the right is a 14% increase.
Several people commented they tried to photograph the Supermoon. It doesn’t come out right, does it? It’s because the cameras still aren’t as good as our eyes. This goes back to the “we photograph light” thing. The great big full moon is so bright against the dark sky, that it ends up being just this blob of a spotlight to the camera. No picking up the subtle shadows of the Sea of Tranquility. No gentle smile of the rising moon.
You’ll notice the best photographs are the ones where the sky is still pretty light, so there’s less extreme contrast. Or, like this one, where a few clouds mute the brightness, allowing for something less than glare.
At any rate, hopefully you got to see it. Lots of people had clouds. Even if you didn’t, it was really the same gorgeous moon we see come and go every night and day. The Worm Moon is for the advent of robins and the worms they eat. The soil is warming and thawing. The birds are singing. Yesterday was also the Spring Equinox.
I forgot to mention last month that the Chinese Year of the Rabbit that we just kicked into is also the year of the moon. Here’s a neat bit I found:
According to Chinese tradition, the Rabbit brings a year in which you can catch your breath and calm your nerves. Not many people know that the Rabbit is the symbol of the Moon, while the Peacock is the symbol of the Sun, and that together, these two animal signs signify the start of day and night, represent the Yin and Yang of life. It is said that anyone making supplications for wishes to be fulfilled are certain to get what they want… and in the Year of the Rabbit, the wish-granting aspect of the Sun and the Moon combined is multiplied. The Moon is YIN and this is the Yin of Heaven, signifying magic. Thus on each of the Full Moon nights of this year, go out into your garden to gaze into the Full Moon and visualize plenty of Moon dust and Moon glow flowing into you, filling your whole body with bright white light and granting you fearlessness, love and courage. This will not only strengthen your inner “Chi” energy, it will also bring wisdom into your life.
So, go make your wishes on the moon. Catch your breath. Calm your nerves.
Fill yourself with moon dust and moon glow.
Go be fearless and wise.
My friend on Twitter, my kawan, @Arzai is Malaysian. She’s read Petals and Thorns, which gives me such a kick, that this lovely woman all the way in Malaysia has read my story. She kind of shakes her head at my enthusiasm and says that she’s certain many people in Malaysia have read it, that Malaysia, after all, is a very big place. But she’s the one I know about and I get all pleased thinking about it.
Last night she was teaching me Malay words and phrases on Twitter. I asked her for full moon (bulan penuh), since I knew this would be my morning post. I then asked if Hunger Moon would be bulan lapar, since she’d already taught me that “lapar” is hungry. She didn’t think that would be right. Then she came back and asked what “Hunger Moon” means.
I had to explain that it’s not really English, either. That the full moon names are English translations of Native American concepts. In this case, the moon itself isn’t hungry, but that this is the moon that’s full during the time of hunger. It’s still deep winter here, I told her, and though spring is coming, it will be a while before the plants grow again. This is the time when stores grown thin.
She said she’d learned something and I realized what a cultural difference that is. Even though our replete grocery stores keep us fed year-around now, we still have those underlying concepts, from our frontier ancestors and native neighbors, that winter is a time of privation. Something those in the tropics don’t experience in the same way.
So, here’s to the Hunger Moon, that rises over the mountains in Santa Fe and the beaches in Malaysia.
And to the ways we connect, great and small, across our little world.
I’d like to take you all on a little Santa Fe vacation today. Come sit on my porch. It’s a bit chilly, but we have a heater. Here, you can sit next to it.
I made sure to check the time and paid attention to where the moon rose the night before. Still, at first I wondered if I had it right. Then the sky began to lighten with that silver blue light that can be only moon.
And here is where I didn’t do so well. Hopefully you’re not feeling moonrisus interruptus. See how the focus is already blurring? The moon was so very bright, it took over the lens. All subsequent photographs look like a big white circle in a field of black.
Too bad, because my eyes could see so much more – the subtle shadows of the face of the moon.
I’ll get better at this, I swear.
Why I like writing? If, in the morning, the ending looks unfocused – I can always fix it.
No, I didn’t get any photos of the eclipse. We had a fair amount of cloud cover last night. I got up at 12:45 to see, but to no avail. It’s funny here – the clouds will lay low and flat over the top of us, but the horizons will be more or less clear.
So I caught the moon here, rising full on the longest night of the year.
The long night is over. Now we turn our eyes to the east, and the first day in our steps towards summer again.
Me: “Um, but it has nothing to do with Christmas.”
Crazy Gym Lady: “Well, I’m very visual.”
This moon is from Saturday evening. I would have liked to catch it last night, but I foolishly scheduled an FFP board meeting at the same time as moonrise. But, since the moon was technically fully full at 10:27am Sunday morning, the night before is pretty much the same as the night after.
November’s moon is the Frosty Moon. It’s also called the Full Beaver Moon. I am not Tawna Fenske, however, so I decided to stay away from that one.
Saturday wasn’t frosty at all. In fact, it was fully and gorgeously warm. Doesn’t that picture look like a summer sky? We went hiking and sat on the patio for cocktails. But, as if ushered in by the Frosty Moon, cold weather hit last night. The wind roared in, freezing rain pelted the windows. Between the bright, full moon and the turbulent storm, we and the animals woke several times during the night. This morning shows a dusting of our first snow.
Which, um, has nothing to do with Christmas.
The last week has been cool. All night long the rain pounds on our flat roof, a soothing sound that makes me want to tuck deeper into the warm covers.
I thought I might not catch the rising Hunters Moon, but then it crested the cloud banks over Tonto National Forest, in all its radiant glory.
We lead fortunate lives, that we don’t worry about hunting for the winter. We may fret about paying the credit card bill or defaulting on the mortgage, but we aren’t watching the descending long nights with trepidation, wondering if we’ve put enough food by to last all the way though deep winter and spring blizzards. We don’t look at our children and wonder which won’t be around for the next summer.
Perhaps worry is worry and the subject doesn’t matter.
It’s human nature, I suppose, to take the blessings for granted and focus on what we don’t have. We angst about what people might think of us, whether we can win the lottery and get that million dollars, if that agent will request a full manuscript. It’s not that these concerns aren’t important. If they weren’t meaningful to us, they wouldn’t occupy our attention.
But we’re not counting on the full moon to give us a little more light to hunt by either. Instead, it’s just a beautiful orb, illuminating the night.