It's the way that she move, the things that she do

I mentioned in WildLife – Heckie, Sheldon, Veronica, Porgy and Bess that we have lots of wildlife in our yard. We encourage it. People who knew me in my NextStage days will remember my frequent posts about one such creature, Agnes the Turkey.

Well, she’s back!

She came back in Spring with her flock and we hadn’t seen her since. We thought she’s moved on/passed over (Nothing Ever Dies of Old Age in The Wild).

And then this morning, as I was sipping some coffee…

Heckie, Sheldon, Veronica, Porgy and Bess still come by nightly, as do Larry and Phil (two adult male raccoons, brothers, we think, and no pictures yet) and Ponchie (an opossum pup, this year’s litter by his size and also no pix yet).

I’ll share more as time allows.

And the Agster, the Aginator, Agnes who keeps our hearts warm and true, is back.

Writers’ Groups – Introduction

Questing...or so it seems

I’m involved with a few writers’ groups.

“involve” is one of those words that conveys so much, isn’t it? “How are you involved with…?”, “It’s involved…”, “We’re involved (in a relationship/in an activity).”, “Finding an adequate solution involves…”, “We haven’t determined my level of involvement yet.” (that last one is a business euphemism for “What do I get?”)
“involve” is a gateway word, a word that gets you from one side to the other. You need to know what’s on either side of it to appreciate what’s happening with it, what it’s signalling you, what it’s telling you. “involve” is a transitive verb, meaning it takes a direct object, hence its transportational qualities.
I wrote about another fascinating word, “affair”, in The Complete Eventing Yourself Arc.

I’m involved with a few writers’ groups. My reason for joining any writers’ group is to be critiqued. Basically to learn, to improve my craft, increase my skill (such is my nature. I’m happiest when I’m learning, when I’m improving and increasing).

We may also kid around, grab a bite or a drink (usually not of each other, although sometimes those horror writers…), share gossip, share news about what publisher is buying what, who’s sold what where, commiserate, all the usual stuff.

I was active in several writers’ groups in the late 1980s-early 1990s. I was also published (in print. Back then all there was was “in print”).

Then life got in the way. More correctly, a bunch of things happened that convinced me writing (at the time) wasn’t working for me (more on this later, maybe).

But I kept writing. Getting published got easier. There were blogs everywhere, conferences were asking me to contribute papers, and I’ve always had an overriding belief: Any writing I do will improve all the writing I do.

I did technical writing, some humor, contributed to a few peer-reveiwed journals, wrote up some patents (five so far) and learned more about writing.

Now I’m back writing full time again. Because it’s time. A friend and Patreon sponsor (and you should all sponsor me on Patreon, by the way) told me this morning that I’m her role model because, at the height of a successful career and growing my business to international recognition, I chucked it and went back to my first love, writing.

So here I am, writing full time, sharing occasional musings in this blog and now doing a series on writers’ groups.

Some things you might want to know beforehand: I call ’em as I see ’em, meaning I don’t hesitate to state my opinion when asked. Susan (wife/partner/Princess) and I have a saying about such, “Don’t ask if you don’t want to know.” This philosophy often sets bridges on fire, to which I reply with Don Henley’s “Sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridge.”

I also wear my heart on my sleeve.

Or so I’ve been told.

Hope you enjoy.

(next up, Critiquing)

(want me to critique some of your work?)

Heckie, Sheldon, Veronica, Porgy and Bess

Children, playing in our yard

I’m taking a break from submitting and writing to do some writing.

Busman’s holiday, I guess.

Some readers may remember the NextStage Evolution Facebook page. It’s long gone and it was probably best known for the wildlife pictures and stories there. Susan (I mention her on the About Joseph page) and I have been working with the wildlife in our backyard going on ten years at this point. One of our regrets about taking down the NextStage Evolution Facebook page was taking down all those wildlife photos.

Over the years we’ve worked with raccoons, skunk, opossum, deer, northern and eastern woodlands coyote, red and gray fox, turkey, fisher cats, bobcats, various owls, bumblybees, hawks, spiders and I’m sure I’m leaving some out (please forgive me).

I’ve written about the wildlife interactions in several places. Perhaps best known is Nothing Ever Dies of Old Age in The Wild (republished on Discover The Practice). Much of the wildlife in our yard have learned to take food from my hand. Bart, an owl from a few years back, would perch in a nearby tree when I was grilling and wait for me to toss him bits of meat (don’t tell Susan. She always wondered why some steaks shrunk so much when I grilled them).

The wildlife still comes. There hasn’t been as much this year. We had two regular racoons, Hecate and Deneb, and never saw any trace of other wildlife. One year we had 19 racoons in our yard, three skunk, two red fox and their kits, some gray fox and their kits, a deer, …

But not this year. I asked Hecate where all the racoons were and she said, “There are three of us.”

I didn’t know what she meant. Did she have two kits? Were there only three adult racoons in a woodland area that once supported racoon colonies?

A few nights later Hecate and Deneb were eating some peanuts and yep, a third racoon, Leopold, came forward. Shy at first, then getting right in there with his peers.

Then we saw Kirkpatrick, an amazingly healthy northern coyote.

We’d been hearing coyote for several nights (quite soothing) and wondered if that explained the dearth of wildlife.

Then we saw some gray fox and a bob (sorry, they’re quite shy. No pictures yet. Haven’t even told me their names).

Okay, that variety of predators, perhaps few scavangers have made it to Fall.

Then Olivia the Opossum showed up (again, no pix yet). The next night she brought her partner, Max (nope, both shy).

And then

Hecate (aka Heckie) introduced us to her kits, Sheldon, Veronica, Porgy and Bess.