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  • I so love Cowbird and all your truly wonderful stories, and . . .

    I printed out a couple of my cowbird stories for hubby Keith to read, and he said, "Cowbird, that's a perfect name. Cowbird is pushing all your other projects out of the nest." I immediately felt angry. Guilty, defensive, annoyed. Not because he was falsely attacking me, but because he'd hit a nail on the head.

    Yesterday, I had lunch with a friend and colleague, and we asked each other about our various projects. She had a lot of progress to report on hers. I could only say that I'd written a number of Cowbird stories lately. I think it's like an addiction for me. And harmful.

    Everything else on my plate has inadvertently been pushed to the back burner. My children's books. My adult novels, my poetry manuscript. My sending things out. My financial arrangements.

    Always, I believe it won't take me long to do a Cowbird story and THEN I will do my real work. I am writing this story, right now, on a small device while walking (a Psion). I'm killing two birds with one stone, getting my exercise and writing. That should be a good thing, right?


    I don't want to kill any birds. Not unless I'm awfully hungry.

    But here's the thing. What I am writing now, this first draft Cowbird story, will be finished--in rough first draft form—by the time I get home. I may even write several others.

    Yea! I will have written a story. But hold on. It's still inside my device. And the device, because it is small and I am walking, is hard to use without making mistakes.

    So then the process goes like this;

    1. download story (I need special software and a special computer to do this; I can’t do on my regular computer.) And then I have to transfer it to the regular computer.
    2. basic editing (fix typos etc); while I'm editing, I see revisions
    3. revisions; try to make the writing better.
    4. repeat above 2 steps about 5 times
    5. Paint a picture or find one somewhere. For this piece, I image a humanoid bird-figure with a Cowbird mask (KKK-style) pushing baby birds out of a nest. Each is labeled like a political cartoon with the names of my projects that are being neglected.

    I'm not a very good artist, so actualizing what I see in my head is difficult for me. It may take several days of work.

    And here's the thing, once I start a project and until I complete it, I become a woman possessed. I want to see it through--any project--that is—I don’t want to do ANYTHING ELSE--until I get interrupted and the process stalls. That's how projects end up on the back burner.

    So if I write this story, or any other, I want to stick with it until I see it in print.

    6. If I painted something, I have to scan it and tweak it (the scanner doesn't produce an image that looks like the original.) (Even tweaking it rarely gets it back where it was).
    7. I have to upload the picture and the story to Cowbird, further tweak it, add characters, dedication, time, location, etc.

    You know the drill. Maybe you're faster at it than I am. All this takes me a long time.

    THEN, there is instant gratification: Love. Ah, love. Sweet love. (Or is it?) Virtual love, anyway.

    And then there is reading. My device (the Psion) doesn't get the internet, and I couldn't really read while walking anyway, hard enough write while walking. [That's why I can only create a first draft--my fingers know the keyboard--it doesn't require visual attention.]

    I not only want to write, but also to READ all your wonderful heartfelt stories. They move me. Often, they move me to want to write a response, and the cycle starts over again.

    OK, now I'm home, and hubby Keith is making dinner tonight. I will try to paint an image to go with this story. When I finish the painting, I will post the story. I may also post a poem; I also may post a photograph (I had one I wanted to post.).

    I have about 25 to 30 other stories I've already written for Cowbird on other walks. But here is my vow: After this ONE (and the poem and photo), NO MORE until I've done some serious work on several major projects that need to be pulled back onto the front burner. Those many other stories will have to wait.

    And NO SPROUTS until I've made some real visible progress.

    I love your stories and am eager to return! Bye for now!
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