Things my inner anxiety cat says to me when I’m thinking about my draft

And the logical side of my brain’s responses. 


Anxiety Cat, batting at stringWhat if you never finish it?

Logical side of brain, staring at Anxiety Cat over the frame of their glasses: As long as I try, as long as I keep taking small steps every day, I’ll get there eventually. If I never finish it, then that means I quit.


Anxiety Cat, knocking a glass off the counter: What if it’s horrible?

Logic-Brain, grabbing the broom: That’s what revision is for.


Anxiety Cat, coughing up a hairball: What if nothing ever comes out of it, and you just wasted over a year on this project?

Logic-Brain, taking a sip of espressoI still learned a lot this past year, no matter what. I completed a novel, and that’s not nothing. It wasn’t a waste.


Anxiety Cat, dropping a dead mouse on the rug: Fine. This is for you.

Logic-Brain: Honestly, what is wrong with you?


Maybe some of you can relate.

I mean, some of the time my thoughts come out better in writing. But pretty much ALL of the time I talk, it comes out, like, I wish I could say English wasn’t my first language. Because then I could blame it on a language barrier, but really it’s just a brain-to-mouth barrier.

Shoot. Maybe my words don’t sound better coming from anywhere. THAT’S OKAY AT LEAST MY DOG LIKES ME.

In which I take a break from writing to talk about fuzzy animals.

So when I’m not spending my weekdays writing (or more often than not, avoiding writing), I am often spending it instead with fuzzy, adorable animals.

Not everyone thinks the animals I coo over are adorable, mind you. For example: we’ve had a spider living outside our front door for several weeks now, and I’ve grown strangely attached to him. He’s our spiderbro and I root for him when he rebuilds his web. I totally look for him every day to say hi.

But I didn’t come to talk about spiderbro. I came to squee about some of the adorable animals I work with at the best volunteer job ever.

I volunteer for an animal education group, and a lot of my time is spent prepping animal diets and cleaning enclosures. BUT, another big part of my time is spent socializing with the animals, and it’s almost always one of the high points of my week (except for when I get into boxing matches with the kangaroo. No, really. That happens a lot).

A new little animal came to us recently, and he has stoleth my heart, I daresay. Like a thieving thief.

His name is Lionel.

Lionel, the babiest, slothiest sloth.

Oh little tiny baby sloth, my husband is so sick of hearing about you. Because I talk about him all weekend long. “Do you want to go drive over and see Lionel?” I’ll ask him, when we’re taking a walk, and he’ll sigh. “I just wish I could hold Lionel right now,” I say, as we’re sitting down to watch a movie. My husband looks skyward and nods his head, knowing there’s no way to break me out of animal mania once I’ve gotten sucked in.

So, I’ve taken to sitting with Lionel for ages, and he’ll fall asleep on my chest, his little claws curled around wrinkles in the fabric of my shirt. And when I put him back in his enclosure, he’ll wrap his arms around his ‘Mama bear,’ which you can see in the picture. He lost his mom at a young age, and Mama Bear acts as a replacement and a security blanket. He spends most of the day sleeping with his arms wrapped around her.

Seriously. He needs to stop being so freaking adorable.

I work with a lot of other animals, but this post has already gotten ridiculously long enough since I can’t seem to not turn into a cooing, melting mess when I start talking about Lionel. But I thought I would share this picture with you guys, because it amused me how this little armadillo was eating.

Right, so eating IN my food bowl is probably the best way to approach this.

This dillo lives with eight other armadillos, but he’s a baby and hasn’t seemed to grasped the concept of ‘sharing’ yet. Nobody else needs to eat, right?

Interestingly enough, he and his brother were actually ‘surprise babies.’ We’d had no idea the mama dillo had had a litter until they were old enough to start wandering around on their own. It was definitely a pleasant surprise.

Also, the food he’s eating took a long, tumbling route to get to him, as I managed to trip and roll down a hill while carrying it, spilling a bunch of it everywhere in a rain of insectivore, dog kibble, and shredded carrots. Sigh. I’ll say this: picking pebbles out of your forearms and limping up a hill to remake food for 26 armadillos is not the funfest you might imagine it would be.

But it’s totally worth it.

So since my husband fell asleep and I can’t keep talking to him about my animal friends, I’m babbling to my blog instead. I mean, it’s just hard for me to focus on writing when Lionel is a little distance away, wishing I could hold him (and he totally wants me to hold him. We’re going to be total BFF’s one day. I have to get started on the friendship bracelets). So, I have an excuse for not having written yet today, right? Right? Sigh. No. Okay fine, I’ll get to work.

* grumbling and stomping back to writing desk *

Nobody expects the puppy inquisition

So…I’ve tried to keep this blog mostly writing-centric, but would you guys mind if I talked every once in a while about random life stuff, too?

Because today I started walking this dog to earn a little extra money during the week, and she’s – well, she’s flipping adorable.

The happiest dog I know.

She’s handicapped, so she sits a little funny and doesn’t have complete control over her back legs. She has a pink wheelchair she gets strapped into if we’re going for longer walks, and she has to be carried when there’s stairs.

But she’s the happiest little thing ever.

I am kind of a crazy dog person – I’m one of those people that will stop strangers in the street and ask if I can pet their dog, and then when they say yes I proceed to talk only to their dog and completely forget they exist (it’s kind of embarrassing. I can’t seem to help myself). Dogs have unique personalities – some are emotional, some are shy, some are divas. But Skippy just radiates joy the second you meet her. She doesn’t even notice that her back legs don’t work. She scoots over to you, her whole body wagging with happiness.

Oh my goodness. It’s just, her happiness is contagious. I’m still smiling, and I walked her over an hour ago. The air is cooler, the leaves are changing, and my future weekday afternoons are going to be punctuated by this bright, gold, fuzzy ball of joy.  🙂

The World Is Too Much With Us

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. –Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

 – William Wordsworth

The other day I was driving down the freeway, flanked by generic stucco buildings on either side of me, surrounded with billboards and advertisements and chain link fences until it was all I could breathe in, and the opening line of this poem suddenly came to me.

The world is too much with us.

I feel this, often. It’s so hard to get away from everything, even when you want to. I crave a quiet space in the middle of the woods, the air thick with the scent of damp earth. I crave a place where I could turn in a circle and only see trees and ferns and moss, view uninterrupted by buildings or manmade debris. Not forever, just for a little while – a place to breathe and recollect. Sometimes the craving is so strong I can almost feel it, a phantom pain inside me.