Losing It by Janine M. Donoho

Isak Dinesen once said, “I write a little every day, without hope and without despair.” Such an approach continues to be a life to strive toward and even a fine way to process this world. Yet on a recent Friday, my motherboard and hard drive died. This after gifting the elderly DELL with new RAM and everything. No reciprocity there. It happened when I strolled from the room to replenish my water, then give and receive puppy love. I returned to nothing but black screen and the slow beat of a DOS prompt that took me nowhere. Ka-thump, ka-thump, ka-thump. Very Tell-Tale heart. Even my computer geek friend could not revive the zombie. Thus, I went into overdrive editing what had been a completed grant–and trying not to dwell upon what had been lost.

Allow a moment of gratitude for a back-up, even though it was not the most current edit. Now, another moment of thanks for my aging, but functional laptop–fingers crossed. In place of the nearly finished blog about our munificent harvest, along with bounteous pictures, you’re getting this one instead. There does seem to be some truth in that old saw of making lemonade from lemons, don’t you think? However, recent losses of my sweet Amanda Pandemonium, fire-stressed Ponderosa pines and even my mother came to the fore in this ridiculous crash of an old computer. Who knew?

Oh, and DAW finally got back to me about my MISTBORN CHRONICLES. Yes, another ‘at any other time we would certainly publish this…’ letter. When you can identify a market and satisfy it, that’s commerce. Evidently, targeting markets isn’t my strong suite. Thus, I believe I’m finished with the whole New York publishing thing, my friends. Even though my reading list remains deep and diverse, the books on my table and bedstead are from the local library. I only purchase keepers and those have become much fewer. New York feels more like light-years in distance. Therefore, finished work will continue to go to smaller literary houses. For me, these publishers have the ‘nads and vision to make stories into beautiful books, although they may lack the heft to make distribution either easy or steady.

Now let’s talk about stress–and flop sweat. Even though the DELL had made it nearly nine years, I still was unprepared to buy a new computer. In my rosiest dreams, my next workstation was an Apple–a Mac, in fact–with all the cool stuff. Adobe Photoshop, LiveMotion, GoLive… Ah, the vision of dollar signs flashing in my head. Nevertheless, none of my contemporary hats are full of money. Really.

Writer–not so much banquet as scarcity.
Conservation biologist–oh, come on, do employers really hire in this field of expertise? Choreographer and dance instructor–not high on the food chain in Okanogan.

Still, you probably spotted my trend of choosing satisfaction over financial security, although rarely in the vein of Dinesen’s splendid lack of hope and despair. However, I still dance and perform, lately returning to teach only advanced choreography. Plus another PC, one with speed, brains and Windows 7 has made its way by slow camel to this latitude and longitude. I’ve gone rogue with a desktop from Zt, a company with 15 years of history who has pitted itself against the megaliths. Yes, I often pull for the underdog, so long as they have spirit, integrity and heart.

Yet, I’ve also taken time to read everything and anything that strikes my fancy. In fact, a craving for the written word has engulfed me. So not idle, but not exactly centered either. Between long rambles with the hounds and the usual detritus of everyday life, I took a romp through Dan Brown’s latest, The Lost Symbol, before sliding into Frazier’s Thirteen Moons, a lyrical journey through the lost Cherokee past of my father’s antecedents. What a wonderful voice his protagonist has. Now Republican Gomorrah‘s on the table as I try to understand and find compassion for our own homegrown Fundamentalists, who seem every bit as toxic as the nihilistic foreign groups they rant against. I gobbled up Margaret Atwood‘s The Year of the Flood, finding the return to her world of Oryx and Crake more daunting than satisfying. A few short story collections beckon now: The Better of McSweeney’s, Volume 1, and Joyce Carol Oates‘ selection of Contemporary American Short Fiction. Then Naamah’s Kiss by Jacqueline Carey will balance Queen Noor’s Leap of Faith while Teri Coyne’s The Last Bridge does the same for Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwideby Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

Yes, the impact of losses remains. The dynamics between adversity and abundance will certainly continue. However, the space feels much less empty when filled with actual living. An artful life allows you to reveal your own truths, n’est pas?

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Soundings, Water Elemental

LaunchFebruary 27th, 2015
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