Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

Weekend Update: Chestnut Edition

And so it begins.

The kids are clamoring for back-to-school stuff, and, in the Magpie’s case, off-to-Japan stuff. They know how fast the next two, three weeks will go. The Catbird starts cross country practice today, the Magpie heads over the ocean (actually, we looked at the flight path; she spends very little time actually over the ocean; it’s pretty wild) in 3-1/2 weeks. Meanwhile, when I got up and started writing this, the sky was ever-so-slightly less than pitch black. A couple of weeks ago, I could have sat outside and read easily at that hour. We’re already seeing changes. Picking the Magpie up at work last week I passed a maple tree with a bright red shock of leaves. It was probably a tree that was under some sort of stress–damaged roots, disease, insect attack–but it’s still a reminder that we’re in the tail end of summer, not really the Dog Days after all. On Saturday morning, the temperature hovered just above forty.

Well, that’s just the way the world works. On a happier, tree-related note, here are a couple of freshly-snapped picture of my American chestnut:

Not the greatest pictures in the world. The ‘new’ trunk is a little over 3″ long, but it’s got a nice set of leaves going. It’s also got it’s own little spider (not pictured) that has built a web in the protective tube above the future tree. Without that tube I have little doubt either deer or rabbits would have eaten this thing to the ground. We have a ridiculous number of rabbits this year. Oddly, I’ve also seen an unusual number of dead porcupines on the road this summer. Perhaps we’re in a boom year for porcupines.

Writing-wise, I’m back on submission this week. Someone else (and I can’t remember who it was; I read it on another blog but can’t remember where) said, “The first rule about being out on sub is, you don’t talk about being out on sub.” So, as Forrest Gump would say, “That’s all I’ve got to say about that.” On another writing note, at yesterday’s writers’ circle, I turned out another short little piece that I like a lot. It’s very short, 333 words as of its initial draft, but I think it could go somewhere. As always, the problem is finding it. Meanwhile, I’m hoping these bursts of short stories will help unjam one of the longer works I’m struggling with. I’m also hoping that now that I’m not thinking about the manuscript I can no longer talk about, it will allow my brain to really work over one of the other WiPs. I’ve had a few days recently where I turned out a couple thousand words on one of them, but it feels largely like spinning, hearkening back to this post from so long ago.

Hmm, that’s about it for me. How’s things by you? How was your weekend?

8 Responses

  1. When I hit a wall with Swing Vote, I'm so glad I had A Dangerous Refection to fall back on. Different genre and age group really helped pull me out. I've been enjoying the change.

  2. Nice to see your little tree is doing well. I think if it can survive the winter, it'll be just fine!

    My weekend was spent living in chaos that is called my house. When you empty the family room so that new flooring can be installed, the furniture has to go SOMEWHERE. And it's EVERYWHERE! I'll be glad when I can put the furniture back.

  3. Fall is zooming in – we've got leaves changing already too – not tons, but enough that it's not an anomaly. Glad to see chestnut is doing well!

  4. -Donna–it is good to have multiple projects to fall back on if you get stuck, isn't it? I would really like one of mine to take off on me.

    -Stacy-you're probably feeling like a mouse running one of those labyrinths!

    -L.G.–I feel your mixed emotions!

    Sheena-kay–indeed, it does; thanks for the cheers!

    -Jemi–I forget, you've got an even shorter season than we do–enjoy summer while it lasts!

  5. Adorable little chestnut. As you move into autumn, we're heading into spring down here in Aus. Exciting that Magpie is heading to Japan!

    Best of luck to you on submissions and with your progress on your WiPs.

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