Getting used to People Again

We’ve been back in Nashville for a week, and I am still not used to seeing so many people.

Shot with FIMO Business 400.

We were alone in a small town for months. Talking to people is very foreign. Driving in a densely populated city is hard now.

I had gotten used to our little bubble.

It feels at once isolating and relieving to work at home and only been around a handful of people.

This is a very strange time we (everyone on the planet) is going through.

I hope you are doing well where ever you are and whoever you are.

Why I Don’t Enjoy Music

I rarely listen to music. I don’t like it.

Of course, there are exceptions to this. I will never turn down Marvin Gaye. Marvin Gaye only gets turned up. If Africa by Toto comes on, we will all be quiet and listen to it all the way through.

Other than these and a few other rare exceptions, I do not delight in listening to music.

I have musicians in my family. By all accounts, I am a musician. I play the ukulele, the guitar, and I might still have some piano skills. I’ve written music. I’ve performed music at parties. But listening to music is a different issue. It’s a different experience.

Music hurts me. My day can be ruined by a D minor chord. When I listen to music, I feel it emotionally in my whole body, and it’s painful.

When I hear a song that flips the switch on some of my deeper emotions, it might take me days or weeks to recover from it. I think it goes without saying that I am very, very sensitive, and I ruin a lot of car rides for people.

 This is not the kind of thing over which I have control. I don’t want to be this sensitive to music, but I am. I get very uncomfortable when someone turns on music in a car or if someone says, “Have you heard this,” while passing a deadly combination of new music and YouTube video to me via their rectangle of internet dumpster fire.

 When I seek out music, which is very rare, I tend to gravitate toward music I am very familiar with, because it does not affect me the way unfamiliar or fresh music does. 

Music doesn’t just make me overly emotional. It can also make me feel medicated, dizzy, tingly.

Right now I’m listening to a playlist called Space: ambient celestial music, and I feel this music all over my face. I especially feel it in my jaws and in lower cheeks. It is a wonderful feeling like my body is smoke.

This is the kind of music would pair nicely with yoga, slow belly dancing or tai chi…if only I could move.

Congratulations on Your First Children’s Book, Alyson M. Brown!

Not Now. I'm Writing.

I have been happy crying about this all day. One of the writers from the How to Write a Children’s Book course took it all the freaking way, and published this:

I was checking my email this morning and saw this:

Which lead to my very professional message to Alyson asking permission to share. (see below)

And, maybe I also cried on Instagram.

I’m so, so, so happy and still crying happy tears. Just knowing that I was even project adjacent to this books fills me with joy!

You can purchase Alyson’s first children’s book by clicking any of the images above or you can click here.

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Fountain Pens.

Shot with FIMO Portra 160NC.

When it comes to writing tools, I am an equal opportunity employer. Cheap pens, gel ink, liquid ink, expensive, ballpoint, and, of course, fountain. Fountain pens are my favorite. They are a bit fuzzy at times, but when they work, you can feel the words coming out of them. No struggle. Just flow.

Two random things about pens/fountain pens:

  1. Putting the cap on the back of your pen, any pen, is called posted position. You are either a posted or not posted position writer. I am a posted position writer. When I am unable to post the cap of pen due to design, I get furious.
  2. Sometimes with fountain pens either due to ink quality or environmental conditions, you will have to prime your pen to make the ink flow. Priming looks like this:
Shot with FIMO Portra 160NC.

Four Drafts

Here are the blog posts I’ve started to write this month and never finished (-some I never got further than the headline):

  1. I Watched Hamilton. There was crying.
  2. More? Whenever you publish a book-a book that may have taken you a year to make from nothing-people ask, “is there more?” This is excellent. They want more, but at the same time, you just created something from absolutely nothing. You’re tired!
  3. Fountain Pens. I think I’m going to publish this one. It isn’t a complete thought, but will do.
  4. A Note on the American Flag. After I read Scalzi’s post about the flag, I decided I didn’t need to write this one anymore.

How to Write a Short Story is Leaving Udemy

Hey, writing friends! How to Write a Short Story is leaving Udemy on July 31st. If you purchase the course before July 31st, you will continue to have access to it – no problem.

But, Barbara – why are you taking the class of of Udemy?

I’m actually building something pretty cool, and I need it as building blocks. Like I said – if you purchase it before July 31st, you will always have access to it on Udemy.

If you want to keep up with all of my writing resources, I highly recommend following my other blog that is only about the writing –

Licorice in the Time of Covid-19 is Now on Amazon

When someone locates a stash of black licorice at the local big box store, Judy is determined to secure the licorice for herself and her friends.

Little does she know that Karen from her Facebook group is hot on her trail.

Who will find the licorice first? Will it be Karen who only wants to keep it for herself? Or will righteousness reign supreme?

While I am sure you are a reasonable reader, I feel compelled to put into writing the following message: This story is by no means meant to make light of the coronavirus. It is , however, meant to lighten the mood. We, being intelligent people, know there is a difference. End of song.

B.A. Burgess. Licorice in the Time of COVID-19 (Kindle Locations 143-145).

Meet the woman behind the illustrations

Not Now. I'm Writing.

The question I am asked most frequently about publishing children’s books is, “Where did you find your illustrator?”

As general rule, I dislike any story that begins with, “I spoke it into existence,” but in this case, it applies and is true.

After yoga class, I said, “I’ve written some children’s books. Now, I just need an illustrator.” And from the other end of the studio, I heard, “I’m an illustrator.”

A few cups of coffee and some sandwiches later, Duncan and I decided to make some books.

Me: For those who may not know who you are, how would you describe yourself and your work?

Duncan: I would say I’m a production designer and artist. I’m loyal, opinionated, and hardworking. 

Me: Have you always been an artist? 

D: I have. When I was in school, I had really great art teachers. They would take my work and secretly enter…

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kayaking on Christmas Trees

It looked like we were kayaking in tree tops. Our boats weren’t dragging, but two inches below the water’s surface were branches of what looked like pine trees.

I thought it was an illusion caused by the sunrise, reflections and shadows, but when I put my paddle into the water, it made contact with soft, Christmas tree branches. There were so many. It looked like you could throw your legs over the side of the boat and take a walk right on top of them.

No matter how far from the boat ramp we paddled, the water pines were there. At one point, I put my paddle into the water and sank it trying to find the lake floor, but I couldn’t reach it. The water was deeper than it appeared. So, we didn’t walk in the water. We paddled.

We ate sandwiches in our kayaks and watched a heron fish for her lunch. We paddled under bridges and over tiny, freshwater Christmas tree branches.

It’s amazing what can happen before lunch if you just go.

Postcards from nowhere

It’s cold in the RV, but the air is thick and wet outside.

The sun sets later here than in other places. When it does set, there is no light pollution to keep you from seeing the stars and sunlight reflecting off other planets.

As I was walking River this morning before the sunrise, I looked at the moon and told her that it wasn’t really all that far away. “Maybe, we could go,” I said to her.

She seen less than interested, so I guess we’ll do that another day.