Going Retro on 2015 by Janine Donoho

Happy New YearAs a singular flow in the space-time continuum, 2015 crested, then mired in unpredictable ways. The year began by launching Intrepid Guy to Japan for another stint just as I published yet another novel, Soundings, Water Elemental—this time through Booktrope. That vast ocean of social media became a marathon swim. Still I virtually encountered booklovers along the way who I’d have gladly met for a delightful cuppa and conversation.Soundings Cover Upgraded 1-23-2015

Then in March, I packed and brushed off my language skills for a month in Japan that ended when I picked Intrepid Guy up at the Penticton airport before driving him to a hospital in Wenatchee. This time his immune system attacked vital organs, requiring six-months of heavy immunosuppression followed by another half year of lighter drug therapy.

Pup & Man Dome

Pup & Man Dome

As a bubble boy, what bothered Intrepid Guy most was the loss of his rafting season, especially one that included another run down the Grand Canyon. To compensate him for his loss, we adopted—wait for it—yes, a whippet puppy, Bodhilicious. Bodhi’s puppy shots coincided with Intrepid Guy’s first drug regime. And yes, we went there and shaved his head. He turns out to have a very nicely shaped dome, but you be the judge.

Home on wheels

Home on wheels

Both burst back into the world during a shakedown voyage for our 16’ Lance travel trailer as we made the rounds from home to Spokane to Wenatchee and back again. The trailer balanced beautifully with our Ram 1500 Eco diesel, so Intrepid Guy did a happy dance. We also began socializing Bodhi and the AKC show in Chelan helped. We met very cool dog people plus gorgeous Bodhi took both Best in Class and Best in Show for puppies. Since this was a beauty contest, it’ll be his last. His big brain really needs a job and with his propensity for running through culverts—gasp!—agility training might do the trick.

Bodhi Wins Big at AKC 2015

Bodhi Wins Big at AKC 2015

Our year of wildfires proved utterly predictable. Canadian fire plumes began in April and our rugged landscapes can be problematic for firefighters. We bugged out during Level 3 evacuations as the 9 Mile Wildfire roared into being. Friends and neighbors lost outbuildings and homes to the inferno even as staunch firefighters stopped the blaze ¼ mile from our home. Air quality remained hazardous throughout summer and into fall. Recovery continues while winter snow and melt cycles cause slides along burn areas.

Valiant firefighters

Valiant firefighters

Soundings at Beach Books

Soundings at Beach Books

Yes, I’m furious with Volkswagen’s intentional lies about our Golf TDI’s environmental impact. Yes, the polluting machinery sits in our garage as we lean into a buyout. Nothing less should be allowed. Still I drove the beast to Oregon this October for our Seaside writers’ retreat and book signing at the hospitable and brilliantly arranged Beach Books. As always, joy prevailed as I embraced the chance to hang with writers and make new friends.

Anj & I at Seaside signing

Anj & I at Seaside signing

Please allow me to wish you all the most joyous of new years. May health and happiness infuse your lives. With our home-on-wheels, who knows? We may find ourselves in your neck of the woods during this coming year.

Happy pack

Travel rig

Hot wheels

Elphaba, Glinda & I by Janine M. Donoho

Tuolumne Wave by Tim Palmer AmericanRiversDespite an intent to steer toward the middle channel, life’s awash with sucking whirlpools and standing waves. In mid-May after losing my beloved greyt Kartoucheʹ, I collected my guy from Wenatchee Airport when he returned from Japan after a 4-month stint. Responding to seasonal parameters, we immediately leaped from winter-cave mindset and rushed into spring toward summer. Anticipation of deep winter’s freeze often sends us scurrying before we’re again forced into our rather luxurious cave.

WOTR Larry BrooksLast week after attending Write on the River, where Larry Brooks, Booktrope’s Jennifer Gilbert, Jess Walter, and Jason Brick revved my writerly engines, we sprinted to Spokane. The highlight of this jaunt? A grand performance of WICKED, The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz. The final number of Act I, Defying Gravity, launched me into blissed-out sensory overload. The same happened during the finale.

Yes, I read WICKED by Gregory Maguire. No spoilers here, but the ending worked better in the play. As with the best of story arcs and character development, we discover aspects of ourselves. So it was with WICKED. At my best I am strong and self-actualized Elphaba—at my worst, a false and shallow Glinda. Yet each needs the other to become fully realized.Wicked-poster

This theatrical production proved a delight on many levels. What struck me in this rendition was the theme of finding pack—and the joy that entails. Acceptance as theme either trickles or gushes through most of my stories.

Which makes me wonder: do we all struggle to create a pack of our own? I suspect my best friends, who are also creatives, may share this sentiment. When we gather for our biannual writers’ retreat this coming Sunday, I’ll ask. Perhaps I’ll query those who attend our book signing at A BOOK FOR ALL SEASONS in Leavenworth on June 7th from 1 – 3 pm, too. Yes, a shameless plug. In the meantime…

What steps do you take toward finding others to accompany you in your journey? Do you connect with temporary or more permanent packs? Or like me, are you a hybrid who does both?Greyhound pack

Soundings, Water Elemental

LaunchFebruary 27th, 2015
The big day is here.

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