The Organized Writer-2017

A year ago, I was investigating new ways to keep track of my life. I had evolved from a person who needed a Day Runner to organize family, professional, and pre-published writing lives to a published author with an empty-nest who was no longer on a corporate career path. The revival of the Day Runner in 2016 did not work for me.

In 2017, I tried a Bullet Journal. I made extensive lists of everything I thought I would track: food journal, blog schedule, books to read, brain dumps, dream journal, meal planning, mood tracker, and so on. I bought (a small amount) of washi tape. I bought colored markers. I used an old spiral notebook from my stash.

But my ideas about what I would track weren’t practical for my life. And using a Bullet Journal is all about the individual need.

I do like the layout on which I eventually settled. For months, I convinced myself that sitting down each week to draw my spread for the following week was therapeutic. I gave it a year. A few weeks ago, I even made a spread about what I wanted for next year’s bullet journal. I’ve even narrowed the choice of notebook from my stash to two.

But I’m tired of the set-up work. I need a planner to maintain my life, not the other way around. That’s not to say I won’t ever go back to a Bullet Journal, but I think I want to try something else.

I’ve been looking at Erin Condren. I wince at the cost, but I’m drawn to the lively colors and the ability to customize. I need to explore further.

Measles and Made-Up Books

When I was in the third grade, I needed to turn in a book report. I hadn’t read a book that I wanted to write a report on, so I made up a book (plotted a story) in my head and wrote about that. Imagine my surprise when my assignment came back with an A+.

I had gamed the system.

However, I also had a very active conscience. And a cousin, who lived next door who happened to have what our parents called the three-day measles*.

The night before the last day of school–where we reported at 9am and were dismissed at 9:30am–guilt kept me awake all night. After my dad left for work, I crawled into bed with my mom and confessed my crime. She told me I had to tell the teacher what I had done.  However, when I went to get dressed, I discovered red spots all over my stomach: I’d caught the three-day measles from my cousin. No school for me!

And that’s how the measles saved my bacon.

*According to Wikipedia, the three-day measles and the German measles are both rubella. Back in my childhood, at least in my family, the two forms were considered different types of measles. But here’s what’s even more curious. As an adult, my doctor ran some blood work on me, and one of the tests was for measles, mumps, rubella. According to the results, I’d never had any of those diseases. Yet I clearly remember having the measles. It was hot. School was out for the summer. My mom pulled out her galvanized washtubs, filled them with water, and let my sibs at them. My parents have photos of me hanging around my sibs and cousins while they sat in the tubs to cool off. I couldn’t go in because I had the measles. Go figure. Anyway, before I got married, I asked my doctor for the MMR inoculation, because I planned to have children and didn’t want to take any risks. My doctor double checked my records, saw that I had remembered the blood work results correctly, and gave me the shot.

I Had Cousins

My husband and I come from very different backgrounds. He grew up in an apartment in the Bronx. I grew up in rural upstate New York.

His parents sent him to sleep-away camp for two months every summer.

My parents had nieces and nephews.

My husband had color wars with other bunks.

I had cousins. Lots and lots of cousins.

Cousins living next door. Cousins at my grandmother’s farm. Cousins who came from out-of-state to visit every summer. Cousins who visited from the city for week, then I stayed with them in the city for a week.  Cousins (and aunts & uncles) who played marathon games of Annie, Annie Over when the sun was out and Hide-and-Go-Seek after dark.

He has memories of camp.

I still have cousins.



Toasted Marshmallows

At a recent writing retreat, the hostess built a fire in her fire pit on the patio and pulled out a package of Peeps for us to roast. Apparently this is a thing. Who knew!

So in honor of National Toasted Marshmallow Day, I give you this.