say something

Similarly to the way this post just doesn’t fit at the other blog, fiction just isn’t working for me. Today at least.

Yesterday I signed up for a free MOOC: the Iowa Writer’s Workshop(!) free class How Writers Write Fiction. This afternoon I’ve been working on the first assignment for the class, and it’s just not working. I have been more drawn to essay and poetry of late (which is not to say I write prolifically, or at all, but when I think about it, it’s never fiction).

I am undecided as to whether I will just skip this exercise [insert slap on the wrist: bad Allison] or try again another day.

I need to write, but I’m out of the habit.
I’ve been thinking about the written word, the literary world lately. It’s yet to be determined whether I’ll have something to say to a large audience, but this inkling of passion is a welcome change. And I can’t help but think it’s rumbling around for a reason. We shall see.

In the meantime, I’m going to go start reading Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. I’ve owned it for ages; it’s on my list for 2015 reading; I need a kick in the pants; I’ve got to start writing more than off-the-cuff blogs.

a quick pat on the back

it’s been a good weekend so far…which is to say it’s been productive.

last night we finished booking places to stay in scotland, since we’ll be arriving there in t-minus TWELVE days. apart from packing, that’s kind of the last big thing. hopefully we’ll make some good lists of things we might do while we’re there, and print out our itineraries/directions etc (since no cell service + driving on the right left side of the road + a folding map of the country = adventure/lots of turning around).

last night i also made a favorite meal and a cake (which we decided to call a coffee cake and have with, yes, coffee, this morning) and we finished off season two of doctor who.

even though rose isn’t my favorite companion, and doomsday doesn’t cause spontaneous sobbing…it’s still pretty heartbreaking.


but continuing the productivity…today it was nice to have breakfast already made when we got up, and i was tackling my goal of yardwork by 9:45 (which is making great time, for me, on a weekend). spent an hour sweeping, weeding, watering, etc…really makes me appreciate the work that goes into keeping a place up! and the necessity of having good equipment – a wider broom would have gotten things done much quicker.

then, after returning to the air conditioned house, decided a break would be nice and i made some great progress on getting the feedly reader caught up and sending emails. and now it’s only noon! hopefully more productivity to come later this afternoon, possibly even another blog about my trip to memphis last weekend. :)

happy saturday!

Bittersweet holidays

To be honest, it was a bittersweet weekend. With Friday off and the country’s birthday to celebrate, we spent the evening of the fourth over margaritas with new (to me) friends and good conversation. Cheers to that.

On days off when routine falls by the wayside though, it’s easier to think of what we’re missing.

July 4, 2011 – H and I attended the same rooftop party in Seattle (possibly at different times, as our paths didn’t cross).


July 4, 2012 – it was the second time H and I hung out together. It wasn’t technically a date, but on another rooftop in Seattle, H reached for my hand as the fireworks started and didn’t let go until long after the roof had been been deserted by our friends.

[photo by scott o’malley]

Seattle seems to be everywhere in media lately. Videos going viral on facebook (or maybe just viral among my large contingent of Seattle-based friends).

Magazines extolling the wonder of the Pacific Northwest…

[screenshot from rue magazine]

Here’s to Seattle and great memories. The Pacific Northwest that will always feel like home. New adventures and making something out of the three years we’ll be in St. Louis.

We have a backyard

Folks have asked for photos of the place…problem is it’s still not put together. Granted, whether it’s my house or life, things are never all put together. All the same, I’d still like to get the lightbulbs and batteries cleared off the dining room table before sending out photos of the dining room.

So as a conciliatory gesture, here’s a few images from the backyard.


St. Louis surprised me by being green. It rained a lot the first few weeks we were here, and there are luscious trees in abundance. I haven’t wandered too far outside the city, but I imagine once you get into farm country, corn and wheat give the land a browner hue.

The windchimes were left by a previous tenant or the owner. When it’s not too hot or humid outside, I’ll leave my office window open rather than crank the air conditioning. The musical notes, chirping birds, and occasional squirrel scrambling through the bushes make for a nice soundtrack.

Flowers don’t seem to last long here (I took the photo of the lilies last week and they’ve already wilted), but they’re some unexpected sunshine.

Grow where you’re planted

As I started yet another game of Sudoku when I should have been making a Target list and finally getting out of the house, I started contemplating a phrase it seems I’ve heard a lot lately.

grow-where-you-re-planted[via urban outfitters]


It’s one of those nouveau platitudes that gets pinned (I even had to double check whether I’ve in fact pinned it before)and shared and dubbed as wisdom.

When I started thinking about the phrase, my tone was self-accusatory: see, get with it. You’re planted in St. Louis, so just grow already. You didn’t follow through with coming up with any fun plans, the least you can do is go run errands at Target.

But then I started thinking about actual plants (presumably the origination of the thought above). They don’t just grow anywhere. Every plant is different and requires certain things in order to flourish. Cacti don’t do well in a rainforest; citrus trees don’t enjoy cold weather. I have an aloe plant that’s pretty hardy, but it didn’t like sitting out on the porch here. Granted, I don’t know too much about plants, and I’m pretty sure this one is in the wrong kind of pot (no drainage and just potting soil), but since it’s a succulent, I supposed being out in the humidity wasn’t ideal so I brought it inside.

So maybe I’m “planted” somewhere not suitable for my growth – ha! Allison – 1, platitude – 0

Except my aloe plant isn’t in it’s ideal environment either. It would probably prefer to not be in a pot as a houseplant. It would probably thrive best in it’s native habitat, but so far it’s doing okay. With a little tending, I think it will continue to grow and even flourish.

Maybe all I need is a little “tending”, if you will. As I’m adjusting to the relative shock of a new environment, I need to pay attention to how much water I’m getting (literally – the humidity sucks it right out of you) and maybe move around to find out where I get the best exposure to light.

Plant metaphors aside, the business of growing where you’re planted requires more than just saying “Ok, I’m here” – wherever here is to you – “let’s start flourishing.” It requires patience and attention to what is life-giving. Although where you’re planted may not be where you flourish naturally, that doesn’t mean you can’t flourish.

Here’s to getting ready to grow. I’m still recovering from the transplant, and I don’t need to expect significant growth right away. But with a little care and a lot of Jesus, there’s a growing season around the corner.