In these days of rampant technology, writers are being advised to build a platform. This platform, according to the experts, should include a blog – written daily, or at least weekly; and Facebook, Twitter, instagram and some other “presences” I don’t recall the names of, posted with even more regularity; as well as speaking on the subjects about which we writers write. (Do you know how long it takes to prepare to speak?)  I believe this platform-building steals the hope of good writing, especially for those who wish to improve their writing over the course of their lives. There are, after all, only twenty-four hours in one writer’s day, and we all do have to get the dishes done or take out the trash.

design desk display eyewear

Interesting that I’m wiritng this in my blog–kind of an oxymoron in progress. No, not really, though, because it serves to clean my brain of a rant. I’ll just add this. When I was writing nonfiction, research was my biggest “distraction.”  Time-consuming, but far less than my current writing life, then I could spend a fraction of my time on platform.

Now that I’m trying my hand at fiction, there are so many skills  to learn, skills that build on each other and require neverending practice.  This polishing of a writer’s writing should take priority over platform building. If it doesn’t, my writing stands a good chance of being lackluster, ill-conceived drivel.

I know, because I have read others’ who I imagine spent the time they could have polished their fiction — you guessed it, building platforms.

So what to do? Publishers want the platforms so that readers will be drawn in. Makes sense. Perhaps they should consider helping  authors create and maintain their platforms. Or maybe agents should assist with that job? Or perhaps the frequency doesn’t need to be daily or weekly. I’m just advocating for putting the most, best time into the writing.

Rant End.


Shiloh’s First!

I forgot to take pics, so I’ll just show you Shiloh by the pool. Today she did her first therapy dog visi20170507_074325t at the pharmacy school at UOP in Stockton. She joined two golden retrievers from Paws4 Friends/Alliance of Therapy Dogs. She was super excited at first, but settled down fast. The students loved her. A truck was on fire on 99, and made us a half hour late. Things were noisy, which she’s not used to, so I was proud she kept her cool.  It was 100 degrees outside, so we hot-footed it through the parking lot. Everyone who pets her notices her velvet ears. They are therapy all by themselves. They gave her treats and a toy penguin to thank her for coming.

Last week we had to put Cozy, our poodle/yorkie cross down. She had a good run, but Shiloh misses her, so I was glad to offer her a distraction. Last week Shiloh also broke into the chicken pen in over 100 degree heat. I was able to cool her down, thank goodness. Dogs aren’t going to stop, even when they can hardly breathe anymore. That gate  you see in the backgroundof her pic didn’t keep that smart red lab out. So Bake and I reworked it, and so far it’s holding. I really love this dog, and my allergic husband is a prince to let me have her.



OK, get ready. I’m feeling hinky.

feet rain wet puddle

Photo by Alicia Zinn on

May, as in May I …

  •  have another frozen yogurt, please?
  •  watch Steel Magnolias every year?
  •  play football with my grandsons, or attend a graduation?
  •  go barefoot in your house?
  •  explain how to paint with oils? How about the Gospel?
  •  go outside and only come in when it’s dark?
  •  tell you a story?
  •  hug you?
  •  plant Swiss chard in your flower bed?
  •  smell your roses, or better yet, honeysuckle?
  •  eat corn on the cob like a typewriter?
  •  drive through the alfalfa fields sucking in the aroma?
  •  stroke your labrador retriever’s ears?
  •  show you out.



Today Shiloh, my red Labrador Retriever, and I were surprised by a pitbull on the loose. We were walking along, practicing Shiloh’s training, when all of a sudden there was this extra dog right at my feet. Now, I believe I’ve heard rules for encountering pitbulls somewhere, but since there was no lead time, I just reacted with as much sense as I could muster. I was not perfect, not even close, or probably even wise. I just kept my bare legs in between the two dogs, calmly saying no,

magnifique ♥♥♥ go away. My heart was beating like a bass drum. Shiloh just wanted to meet this new friend. I was not friendly. I imagine there were warrior angels saying and doing a whole lot more than I did, because the pitbull went away. Phew!

But it got me thinking about perfection, which I believe this morning was proven to be an impossibility. I have always wanted to be perfect, and I know a lot of other people who feel the same way. And yet, there are all these rocks in the road. Unanticipated events, selfishness, time constraints, incapacity, etc.

But there’s another thing. I don’t think God even expects us to be perfect. He said we wouldn’t until heaven. Why do I want something He has said isn’t possible? One reason is that I hate conflict. My imperfection causes conflict, inside and outside myself. and yet, conflict is as sure a thing as perfection is unachievable. So, I’d be better off practicing my skills at resolving conflict than longing for perfection that’s never going to happen.

What are the conflict resolution guidelines? Lemme see, I’ve got time to think about this. No pitbull at my feet, and the fear factor has decreased. Ask questions first to be sure I understand the situation. Listen to what the other person says. Find out what they’re feeling. Speak in “I” messages. I need, I will, etc. Develop a plan that, if possible, will make both of us happy. Then work the plan. That’s not perfection, but it’s a good shot at it. Probably wouldn’t work with a pitbull, though.

I Guess It’s Obvious …

I didn’t enjoy sharing my research. It isn’t amusing, and I really enjoy amusing. Sooo, I’m going back to starting off and seeing where my loopy brain goes. I hope you enjoy this because it’s what works for me.

Do you already know that it’s  smart to start things that can do themselves before you sit down or stand up to do something that takes your attention to accomplish? For instance, I just thought, wow, I could be watering the front flower bed, and went out and turned the water on, and now I’m back. And the water is watering. And I hope nobody from the City of Modesto reads this because we have a watering law, even though the CA drought has ended, because bureaucrats don’t think ahead much. I’m not even a numbers person, and I can figure out that when the temp goes up later this week, the snow in the mountains will become, wait for it, running water. It will fill up and run the dams over if they don’t open the flood gates. The rivers will continue to exceed the capacity of their banks. My little watering might save the whole situation, but noooooo. I can only water on Sunday and Wednesday. I guess that was more of a rant than amusing. Let me begin again.

There was this old woman who started things before she sat down to write. (Ah, here we go.) She started laundry in the washing machine, dishes in the dishwasher, and then her hubby bought her a Roomba for their 40th anniversary. A robot vacuum might not have seemed a particularly romantic gift for some women, but to this old woman it was the bomb. You see, said hubby had allowed said woman to purchase a big red Labrador Retriever she craved. Well, the big red actually started out as a wee pup, but she growed, a lot. And shed, a lot, and hubby was allergic to dog dander. Now that’s romantic, I don’t care who ya’ are.

Anyhow, the old woman set the Roomba up to vacuum Mon, Wed, Fri at 10 a.m. Presto! One of the hated housekeeping jobs a thing of the past. Or so she thought. But, she read on Facebook that a Roomba picked up an errant dog poop mess at someone else’s house and spread it from he.. to breakfast. It occurred to the old woman that she better make way for the Roomba in advance. So Mon, Wed and Fri, she blocked off the sofa so the little Ridiot wouldn’t get under there and wind itself up in electrical cords, and she made sure the floors didn’t have any extraneous stuff like: shoes, dog tie downs, carelessly tossed towels, papers, etc (like poop, although red dog is accomplished at pooping outside). She made sure the doors to the rooms she wanted vacuumed were open and the doors to the rooms she didn’t were closed. Somewhere in the midst of this, she wondered whether she was saving time, but there was the not pushing the old vacuum around. When the Ridiot vacuumed the room the red dog slept in, she tried to ignore that she had to empty the little receptacle of dog hair five times before it finished.

Then came the day that Red Dog inadvertently wrapped her leash around the old woman’s feet as she was headed for the frig with a pot of barbecued ribs the old man had made for Mother’s Day. Just as the pot hit the floor, she heard the familiar whir of the Ridiot revving up for a cleaning spree. The leash was still wrapped around her feet, and she could feel her balance going. She grabbed the door of the frig, which sprang open and Red Dog now stood looking in confusion at the ribs on the floor and the fried chicken on the bottom shelf of the frig. Clearly, she couldn’t decide which way to jump. The old woman heard the whir coming closer, and she grabbed for Red Dog’s collar to unwind her, just as Red Dog decided the ribs were the more sure bet of the two. She lunged forward, the woman missed her collar, and the leash became a noose around her feet. She hung on to the frig door for dear life as the dog gnawed ribs and the Ridiot whirred closer. When the Ridiot appeared at the kitchen door, Red Dog looked up and, barbecue sauce making kind of a horror movie grin on her face, reached over and put a stopping paw on top of the Ridiot. “Beep! Beep! Error! Please move Roomba to a new location and clear her wheels.” Red Dog picked up her foot. The Ridiot headed straight for the barbecue sauce and rib strewn floor. What could the old woman do? She threw herself down between the ribs and the Ridiot, sacrificing herself for the sake of avoiding twelve hours or so of cleaning. Now this could go on, but the old woman has to get on with the revision of her WIP, so we’ll just say, the moral of the story is: ummm, Stay off the sauce? Or, multi-tasking can have drawbacks. Or, never move food with a dog in the room?