Excelsior! – Yeah, Right

(Excelsior: a Latin word meaning loftier,
used in English as an interjection meaning Ever upward)
The shades of night were falling fast,
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore, ‘mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device,
His brow was sad; his eye beneath,
Flashed like a falchion from its sheath,
And like a silver clarion rung
The accents of that unknown tongue,
“Try not the Pass!” the old man said;
“Dark lowers the tempest overhead,
The roaring torrent is deep and wide!”
And loud that clarion voice replied,
In happy homes he saw the light
Of household fires gleam warm and bright;
Above, the spectral glaciers shone,
And from his lips escaped a groan,

“Oh stay,” the maiden said, “and rest
Thy weary head upon this breast! “
A tear stood in his bright blue eye,
But still he answered, with a sigh,

A traveller, by the faithful hound,
Half-buried in the snow was found,
Still grasping in his hand of ice
That banner with the strange device,
There in the twilight cold and gray,
Lifeless, but beautiful, he lay,
And from the sky, serene and far,
A voice fell like a falling star,
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

IMG_2677I should have posted a list of resolutions on January 1.

I should have said, In 2014, I will write a blog post every day and write one short story a month and submit it for publication and finish my novel and query agents and sign with one and impress a publisher so much that he will offer a 6-book contract and an enormous advance to publish the novel and will pay for a coast-to-coast book tour and I will graciously accept and while waiting for the book tour I will lose 800 pounds and finish my second novel and I will reduce clutter and I will run a marathon and I will read Moby Dick and all of Henry James’ novels and I will learn to cook and will put a tasty and nutritious dinner on the table every night and I will read a book a week and will practice the piano and take voice lessons and a conversational Spanish class and I will, by January 1, 2015, be such a paragon of perfection that I will never have to make another New Year’s resolution ever again.

But all this week, I’ve been in a beastly mood, just waiting for some unsuspecting person to do something nice so I could switch on my evil eye, and that feeling was compounded when Ernest ate six inches of ribbon that was hanging from David’s birthday balloon, which we didn’t think he could reach but were we ever wrong, and then I stayed up two nights watching him for symptoms before delivering him to the emergency clinic Wednesday night and at dawn Thursday picked him up and delivered him to his regular doctor, who this afternoon said so far he seemed okay and probably just needed to come home and move around and relax because he’d been sort of frozen up, not because he was scared but because he didn’t like the people there, from which description I gather he was in a beastly mood, too.

To make a long post short, I don’t want to write about resolutions, much less make them, and even worse, I don’t want to spend 2014 striving to become a better and more productive person.

I want to recline in a vat of chocolate.

Anyway, to show I’m still a good person even though I don’t want to be, I’ll share this post from Totsymae: 9 Rules on How to Be Fabulous in 2014.

Nobody knows more about being fabulous than Totsymae, and I’m not talking everyday, garden variety fabulous. (To wit: Rule 1. Carry breath mints.)

I’ll be back in a day or two and maybe then I’ll have something more edifying to impart.


Other People’s Words

I stayed up late the past two nights and didn’t make up for the sleep lost. As a result,  my attention span hasn’t kicked in, and since an attention span is almost essential to my writing, today’s post focuses on what other people have written.


Totsymae climbed a ladder the other day but came down by a different route. Read about it here. No one can tell a story quite like Totsymae. She illustrates as well.


Yesterday marked my first post at Writing Wranglers and Warriors. There are nineteen bloggers in the group. When they asked me to join, I jumped at the chance. You might have seen my post about E-Impulse on the reblog here yesterday, but please stop in at Writing Wranglers and Warriors to see what others are writing. Today Erin Farwell, author of historical mysteries, writes about Keeping the Tradition. Two days ago, Doris McCraw posted Outside the Lines, about leaving the rules behind and making new traditions. Doris also blogs at fivesevenfivepage.


Gale Albright posts memories of her friend Cinda Cyrus in Visions and Revisions.

VP Chandler outlines required reading for her prospective informal education.

Elizabeth Buhmann posts about a neighborhood in Richmond, Virginia that inspired a setting in her novel Lay Death at Her Door.


I would express my opinion of the operating system that accompanied my new laptop, but if I did so, you would stop thinking of me as a truly nice person and start thinking something closer to the truth. The fact that four out of five critique partners agree with me would make no difference.

The laptop itself, however, is truly nice. So is LibreOffice, the free office suite I downloaded to handle documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and other functions I haven’t discovered yet.


The time has come to retire, lest the lose-sleep-lose-attention-span thing start all over again. ‘Night.

#ROW80 8/31 & Campaigning

This screenshot shows Ingrid Bergman and Cary ...
Image via Wikipedia

***Less than 2 hours left. Read on immediately.***

I never saw a project I wouldn’t raise my hand and volunteer for.

That’s how I became editor of HoTXSinC’s newsletter, HOTSHOTS!

The official story is that Sylvia Dickey Smith forced the job on me. It’s true she gave me several long, hard looks, and we were sitting in church at the time, and that’s a lot of pressure for a sensitive soul such as I to endure.

But Sylvia didn’t make me do anything. The little imp that resides in the back of my mind leaned forward and hissed, “It might be fun.” And I agreed and raised my hand.

I might as well admit I like the job. It’s grown on me.

Volunteering is also how I got into A Round of Words in 80 Days. I’ve forgotten how I found the blog, but the minute I saw it, that imp emerged again, and I signed on to set goals and to post my progress twice a week. Lately, twice has been a relative term—I sometimes get my days mixed up—but I’m still in the fray. Because it looked like fun.

Then, just minutes ago, I clicked over to Totsymae‘s blog, and what did I find? A paragraph about, and a link to, Third Writers’ Platform-Building Campaign.

According to Totsymae, if I join, I might get some notoriety.

Notoriety has never been at the top of my list, but ever since I saw that movie, Cary Grant has been. If there’s even a chance that someone Cary Grant-ish might happen by, I’m in with all four feet.

Further, says Totsymae, “You’ll also get a chance to meet like-minded folk, and that’s always fun, interesting or tiresome, depending on how you feel about yourself and which sides you’re liking or disliking on a given day.”

Note the word fun. I was on it like a duck on a Junebug.

(Not that I didn’t see interesting or tiresome, which I take to mean I might have to settle for Claude Rains, but that’s okay, because I think he’s cute, too.)

Anyway—even though I don’t really approve of the word platform as it applies to writers, platform being something of which there are three in The Scarlett Letter—I’m doing the same old thing, voluntarily latching on to one more project.

Blogging about the Third Writers’ Platform-Building Campaign is step #3 in the latching-on process. Including a link is step #3.1.

In step #3.2, I’m supposed to encourage my followers to join the Campaign. So consider yourself encouraged. But that’s all. I’m not going to force anybody.

This could be fun, interesting, or tiresome, or you might come out on October 1 with who-knows-what kind of reputation.

But you will build your platform on a strictly voluntary basis.