Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

Weekend Update

Greetings, it’s the first blog post of November. After me kvetching over unseasonable weather back in early September, we had a gorgeous autumn, with a great run of fall colors and pleasant temperatures. And yesterday came and I woke up to snow. It wasn’t much–little patches here and there, more like ice pellets  that coated the roof of the car and left isolated little patches on the grass here and there, but a symbol of what’s ending and what’s coming. Well, it can’t be stopped

We had one of the first of the lasts this weekend, as the Catbird said goodbye to her high school cross country career. On Saturday she and her team ran in the Sectionals meet. They did quite well, finishing fifth. The Catbird ran a good race, placing 38th overall out of 147 runners. Last night was the annual end of season potluck dinner. Coach always introduces the runners in little groups, hands them various awards/mementos (letters, patches, a photo book of the season). She definitely teared up a little bit when talking about the Catbird, who has been running with her for six(!) years. “She started as an adorable little seventh grader,” said Coach, “and she’s an adorable senior.” And still little. It wasn’t as emotional for me as I thought, but these moments will be piling up.

And the Magpie is doing very well. We’re in the habit of Skyping with her at 9 a.m. Sunday morning, which is 10 p.m. Sunday night in Tokyo. Or, it was. With the switch back to Eastern Standard Time, we are now 14 hours behind, and she can’t push her Skype session back an hour, so it looks like we have to get up extra early on Sundays. So much for sleeping in!

But she’s having a good time, and has found a good mix of people to be with. When she was still over here and planning her year, she vacillated between living with a host family and staying in a dorm. I think she really wanted the immersion experience of a host family, but chose the dorm in the end, and I think that’s a good decision. As it is, she’s meeting plenty of Japanese people (duh, she’s living in Japan), but she’d not beholden to the rules of a family, and she’s also meeting a wider variety of people. Her friends include people from Finland, France, Denmark and Canada, and almost certainly more than that. And though she’s been there now for two solid months, she says she still has these moments where she’ll suddenly think, “I’m in Japan!” And perhaps I’m overstepping my bounds, but what the hey: she’s keeping an intermittent blog that can be found here:

(On a likely related note, I suddenly see a whole bunch of visitors to this blog from Japan–hello, Magpie!)

That whole time thing really messed me up yesterday.

NaNo update: over the weekend, I managed to put together 5,339 words. My manuscript has now passed the 100-page mark, though I found myself looking at a scene I wrote yesterday, thinking, “Have I gone off the rails a bit? Does this really advance the plot?” Doubt on, doubt on.

And some music. A little Grateful Dead (because I haven’t done one of them in a long time) from a Halloween concert at Radio City Music Hall many years ago:

That’s it for me–how was YOUR weekend?

5 Responses

  1. I have two projects going on with Nano and ahead on one and catching up with the other. Catfish and Magpie are living their lives as all kids should. Nice musical selection Jeff and glad Nano has started off well.

  2. That's super exciting that Magpie is in Japan for a bit! And congrats to Catbird for her efforts in the cross country team. Best of luck to you this NaNoWriMo season and I hope you're prepared for the encroaching winter … meanwhile, summer is setting in over here.

  3. It's nice you get to still communicate with your daughter. I don't think Skype was around in 2005, or if it was, I didn't know about it. Heck, I still don't have it. 🙂 My daughter lived in Australia for 9 months and it would have been nice to talk to her at times.

    As for my weekend… I'm still trying to get used to the cold weather again. Brrr… 🙂

  4. -Jemi–I'm so glad. My biggest fear is she'd get over there after all the years of waiting and discover she hated it! Weather improved yesterday, 60+ degrees!

    -Sheena-kay–You are quite the busy woman! Good luck with your projects!

    -Bonnee–Don't rub it in about that summer thing–then again, you just had to deal with your winter, so that's fair. Good luck to you, too, as I see you've got your own NaNo going.

    -Stacy–The downside to the tropical cruise is coming back to winter! We do live in fortunate times–it took her 14 hours to get there, we can communicate pretty instantly. Think about when it would have taken weeks or months to get over to the other side of the world!

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