Hummingbirds

On January 6, 2021, thousands of people stormed the capitol with the intention of halting the electoral college’s certification of the next president of the United States. 

They were armed.  They broke windows. People were injured.  Items were stolen.  People were arrested.  Some died.

I was scared, angry, embarrassed, and completed dumbfounded as to why I was the only one in my office near tears.

See a problem, fix a problem.

Words I live by, but how could I fix this?  I can’t.  I am one.  I am no one.

On my drive home, I listened to Jane Fonda’s book What Can I Do, and, as if the Universe had planned it all, she told The Story of the Hummingbird as she heard it from Wangari Maathai.

Click the story title to hear or read the story.

The short of it is this – The jungle was on fire, and none of the big animals were doing anything about it.  A tiny, hummingbird was flying from a stream to the fire dropping one little drop at a time on the water.  When asked what the hummingbird was doing, it tells them, “I am doing the best I can.”

I sobbed.  There was my answer.  To fix bigger problems, I can solve little ones and encourage others to do that same.

I will be the hummingbird.  I will do the best I can.

Hello.

Shot with FIMO ERA 2021.

I’ve been keeping a blog of some kind since the dawn of time. I wish I still had some of those earlier blogs. They were terrible, but, man, was it exciting to be on the freakin’ internet.

You could meet people who were miles and miles away without having to jack up your phone bill. Think about how ridiculous it was to pay a 50-dollar phone bill back in the day the next time you look at your cell phone bill.

As time moved on, blogs became “niche” which is good for businesses and consumers. But, then personal blogs became personal brands.

Everyone has a book (I have several – Kid’s books) and everyone has a YouTube Channel (except me). Everyone is a coach or teaches a class (also, me – Skillshare & Udemy).

This is great. I’m not complaining about the multiple streams of income or the ability to share and gain knowledge. Nor am I complaining about our ability to share and manifest joy with others around the world.

What I am saying this – a branded blog is not a personal blog. It isn’t the freedom we were promised when the internet was new. So, I am laying waste to personal branding here. I will leave the branding for business (mine and otherwise).

I will share pictures sometimes. I will most likely write about my workouts and food. I will blog about my projects and give relevant links when I think it is necessary.

I will keep the BUY NOW buttons on my business sites, in relevant blog posts and on relevant pages. Deal? Deal.

Okay. Let’s go.

Books? Click here.

Courses? Click here.

A List

Here is a list of all of the books, projects, hobbies, businesses, side hustles, etc in my life. I have categorized them, added a brief description, and a link for you.

Please keep in mind that I have the following as well: A full-time job, a spouse, a step-person, and community obligations. Everything I accomplish is in 10 to 30-minute intervals over stretches of time. I’m racing no one. I always aim for a minimum viable product and improve upon that as I go.

I tell you this, because if you want to write books, make courses, exercise, etc., you can do it even if you are cubicle jockey like me.

Books

Chills Collection Vol.1 (2020) | Short Story Collection

How to Write a Children’s Book (2020) | Non-fiction

Licorice in the Time of COVID-19 (2020) | Action Short Story

A Christmas Rideshare by Lily Dae (2019) | Lesbian Holiday Romance

An Eartha & Audi Story by Barbara Ann Burgess (2017) | Newborn to Kindergarten

An Eartha & Audi Story: Coloring Book Edition by Barbara Ann Burgess (2017) | Newborn to Kindergarten

Fernando Learns About Sharing by Barbara Ann Burgess (2018) | Newborn to Kindergarten

Fernando Learns About Helping by Barbara Ann Burgess (2017) | Newborn to Kindergarten

Fernando Learns About Asking by Barbara Ann Burgess (2017) | Newborn to Kindergarten

Fernando Learns About Asking: Coloring Book Edition by Barbara Ann Burgess (2017) | Newborn to Kindergarten

Courses

Writers’ Writing Camp | Coming Soon

Simply Journaling | Skillshare

How to Write a Family Newsletter | Skillshare

How to Write a Children’s Book | Skillshare & Udemy

How to Write a Short Story | Skillshare & Udemy

Medium Publications

Mind Your Big Red Dot | All Things Menstruation

Step-People Magazine | For the Other Parents

The Simple Wardrobe | One woman’s quest to create uniforms for herself and never think about fashion again

Podcast

Hello.  This is a Podcast. (2021)| See title.

Business

Pilgrim Fowl Press (2019) | Small Press & Book Seller

2021 – So It Begins

I ran into a cold lake with my brother in what we are calling a Polar Charge. This is the first time we’ve ever done this, but we aim to charge into a body of water every 1st of the year going forward.

When winter begins, I start taking a longer than usual look at my Mega List.

Mega List

My Mega List has taken many different forms over the years. If you follow the hyperlink above, you can read through past iterations of the list.

The short explanation is this: it’s a list that I keep constantly of things I want to do (goals, challenges, things I want to learn, etc.), and through the year I edit and update this list as I either lose interest in a topic or complete an item on the list.

I prefer this to New Year’s resolutions, because, by no fault of New Year’s resolutions themselves, they seem immoveable and unwilling to adapt with me. I either nail it or fail with New Year’s resolutions.

I keep a longer list of things I want to try, achieve and experience all year long – the Mega List.

In an effort to achieve more and have a little more focus, I have made a Mini Mega List that I keep in my bullet journal.

On the top of my list Mini Mega is a goal that will take an entire year to achieve – Paint/Draw 52 Self-Portraits.

I’ve always been a decent artist. My mom is an excellent photographer. My dad could draw anything with any kind of pencil you handed to him. I think basic art skills were inherited, but I’ve never really studied it and, therefore, have never been great at it.

I’m going to spend the year learning about portraiture and practice on myself as I will not be offended if I make myself look like a toad by mistake.

I have two more items to place on my Mini Mega, but I am torn between a few options right now. So, for the time begin, this is it.

Let’s see what’s next.

Obligatory Book List 1: Self-Help/Self-Improvement

While I have consumed many non-fiction, self-help, and self-improvement books, the following three books were very helpful to me this year.

I believe this book came out in October of this year. This will be one I read over and over again.

This is a lovely book about turning everyday tasks and moments into holy, spiritual, or sacred practices.

I’ve read this book at least 20 times. In my mind, this is a definitive guide to help us all live in the moment .

Happy Book-iversary, Fernando

Four years ago (as of December 3rd), I published my first children’s book, Fernando Learns About Asking.

When you are making a children’s book, you don’t know what you don’t know.

I spent years watching how-to videos, reading books, and browsing articles about the subject. I believe I read and watched over a 1000 pieces of content on the subject of children’s books writing and publishing, and I still wasn’t prepared.

All I knew was I was tired of thinking about writing a children’s book, so I did what I knew I could do immediately: I wrote.

When the book was written, I knew I wanted to write more books, but I needed someone to illustrate them if I was going to actually publish them. I wanted to spend my time on the writing – not drawing.

So, I did what I knew I could do: talked about writing children’s books and needing an illustrator. It worked! (Read my post about Duncan here.)

I didn’t know how to format the book with the new images, so I read an article – just one this time – and did what the article said as I was reading it, and boom. Formatted.

Of all the things I did in the nine months it took to make this first book, the hardest part was hitting publish.

I wanted to hit published. I needed to hit publish to keep a promise to my five-year-old self who answered writer each time someone asked what she wanted to be when she grew up.

Hitting publish turned my childhood dream into a reality. It wasn’t the great American novel. I wasn’t becoming the next Camus, Whitman or Steinbeck like I imagined. I wasn’t becoming the Barbara Cooney of a generation either, but it didn’t matter. I was keeping my promise to myself. I was starting. When I hit that button, I became an author of a book.

So, I hit publish – spoiler – and had a minor panic attack like you do when you jump off a metaphoric cliff.

A lot in my life has changed since publishing that book. While I still write some children’s books, I don’t publish them at the moment. I’ve been teaching writing classes and writing books for grown ups. I’ve started a small press which boasts eight books at the time of this post, and I am launching a writing camp soon.

The coolest thing that happened, though, was a kindergartener cosplayed as Fernando on Book Day at his school, and a friend of mine was there to see it! She snapped a picture for me, and it is the best day of my author life to date.


If you are interested in reading Fernando Learns about Asking or any of the other children’s books that followed, please click here.

Productive in other ways

I love this time of year. I love this autumn weather the most.

Give me a cool, cloudy day in Tennessee anytime. I’ll choose that over the wet blanket of humidity that is draped over this state most of the year.

I do my best creative work during the fall and winter. Something about the grey skies and changing leaves makes me more creative.

Yesterday, however, I was less than creative. I spent the entire day on the couch like a house cat. I even played with yarn.

But, this morning – oh, friends – this morning I woke up feeling it. It’s almost time for writing season to begin.

Thanksgiving Cat

Thanksgiving was different for everyone this year, but especially for Ginger. Ginger decided this was the year she was going to come out of her shell and – gasp – act like a cat.

Most of her day was spent trying to put her tail in the dressing, sitting on the top of a pie (it was covered – no pies were harmed), and trying to nap either on our plates while we were eating or between our bodies and said plates.

In addition to embracing kitten-like duties, she participated in the most common of all Thanksgiving traditions – fighting with her siblings.

Happy Thanksgiving.