<![CDATA[Welcome to All Things Stacey Longo - My Blog]]>Thu, 18 Jan 2018 11:11:01 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Writerly Things]]>Thu, 18 Jan 2018 17:44:11 GMThttp://staceylongo.com/my-blog/writerly-thingsPicture
I've been struggling lately with the writing side of my life. This isn't unusual for any writer, though honestly, it often feels like you're the only one when you're going through it. And that you're the worst, most terrible writer in the world. 

I started the week down in the dumps (two story rejections in five days didn't help). My novel My Mom, MS, and a Sixth-Grade Mess had been up for a Preditors & Editors Readers' Choice Award, and by the time I went to bed Sunday night, the book had dropped to third place in the standings. I knew I'd lost.

Imagine my surprise Thursday morning when my editing partner congratulated me and posted the announcement on my Facebook wall that I'd won! (And thank God for him, because I never would've thought to go back and check the final standings.)

I'll admit, it knocked a little bit of the Eeyore out of me.

Later that same day, a contract arrived in my inbox. Now that I've signed it, I'm assuming it's safe to announce my story "Of Giraffes and Men" will appear in Limitless Publishing's Carnival of Fear anthology in April 2018. It's the tale of two men, working as costumed characters in an amusement park. When the zipper gets stuck on one of the costumes, terror ensues . . .
It was a fun tale to write, and also the first time I've sold a story based on a proposal alone. And yeah, signing the contract felt nice.

There was another e-mail in my inbox, this one from the publisher of my upcoming YA novel. He let me know the proof was ready for My Sister the Zombie, and all systems are go for its release in March. I even got the go-ahead to reveal the cover, so here it is!
Coming March 2018 to a book retailer near you!
I will say this: when your inner monologue is urging you to quit writing and find a more suitable trade, like, say, person who doesn't get out of bed, sometimes if you wait a few days, the universe will perk you right up again.

​So thanks, universe. And my friends. And my e-mail server.

​I needed that.
<![CDATA[Good Horror]]>Fri, 12 Jan 2018 16:42:38 GMThttp://staceylongo.com/my-blog/good-horrorWhat makes a good horror movie? I’ll admit I’d forgotten the answer to this, and shame on me, because I should be on top of current events in this particular genre. I’m a horror writer, Halloween is my favorite time of year, and I write B-horror movie reviews over at Cinema Knife Fight.

Maybe it’s because of that review column that I’ve forgotten what truly good, heart-skipping, made-ya-jump horror is like. In the past few years I’ve immersed myself in funny, terrible, so-bad-it’s-good scary movies. My view of some utterly awful stuff is rose-tinted sometimes by who’s in it—Meatloaf, Roddy Piper, Barry Bostwick, all actors I love—or some of the wisecracks in the script (the killer turkey in Thankskilling still makes me laugh every time he says “You got stuffed!”).

I can’t blame it all on always looking for the next bad/good B horror gem to review. I grew up in the eighties, and the eighties horror genre is a thing unto itself: gory, corny, full of one liners. Call it the Freddy Kreuger effect. I grew up on those flicks, and that’s what I learned to love and appreciate. But was I scared? And if not, did I want to be?

It turns out that yes, I did. I just didn’t remember.

Thursday afternoon, Jason texted me a picture. It was the DVD cover of the newest version of IT, which came out last fall. I bought IT, he said. We’re watching it tonight, I replied. We’d missed it in the theater, and I’d had a rough week. A scary clown sounded like just the thing I needed to soothe my stress.

That night, I made dinner, we fired up the DVD player, and hit “play.” I had many questions: Would this Pennywise be as good as Tim Curry back in 1990? Would I be able to stand these child actors? And most importantly, would I stay awake? (It had been a really rough week.)

The movie opened, and an amazing thing happened: I put down my phone. Normally when something’s on, I’ve been known to keep working on my phone or laptop, only half-listening to the TV, and okay, yes, indulging in a round or five of mahjong. But the rain started falling on the screen, Georgie lost his boat down the storm drain, and I was enraptured.

I jumped in all the right places. My skin crawled in others. I empathized with the kids and clapped when Beverly threw rocks at the bullies. And I loved, loved, loved, Pennywise.

Jason: You know, I think Bill Skarsgard might be even better as Pennywise than—
Me: Don’t say it.
Jason: I’m just saying—
Me: They’re different. That’s all. They just play Pennywise differently.
Jason: But—
Me: Don’t you dare disrespect Tim Curry or I’m leaving you.
After the movie ended, I went to the kitchen to clean up from dinner. I stepped out on the side porch to dump the cooking grease over the railing (don’t judge me).

It was pitch black out.

Below the porch, something rustled.

I screamed.

And that, my friends, makes IT good horror.
I need your help! My Mom, MS, and a Sixth-Grade Mess is in the running for best YA novel of 2016 over at the Preditors & Editors Readers' Choice Poll. Voting ends on Jan. 14 and ANYONE can vote! Please vote for my book here: http://critters.org/predpoll/novelyoungadult.shtml (it's listed twice, so please vote for the first listing). Thank you!
<![CDATA[Traditions]]>Thu, 04 Jan 2018 19:29:53 GMThttp://staceylongo.com/my-blog/traditionsMy mother’s family is Greek. For New Year’s, it is tradition among her people to bake vasilopita, a bread in which a coin or trinket is baked. Everyone takes a slice, and whoever gets the coin (in our family, we use a dime) has good luck for the year.
I can’t prove the dime actually brings good luck. Or that it doesn’t affect the taste of whatever it’s baked into.  But still, though my grandmother and great-aunts are gone, my mother, my sister, and I continue to carry on the tradition. Sort of.
My online resources (and the one Greek guy at work) confirmed that vasilopita is actually bread, which was news to me. See, when we were growing up, Mom always made coffee cake (for which I applaud her. Bread is so boring—and it’s too easy to spot the dime in the slices, leading to cheating). The New Year’s Day coffee cake was cut into five pieces—one for Mom, Dad, my sister, me, and the house. (See? If the dime is in your slice, you win good luck. If the house gets it, in theory, you’re looking at a year with no major appliances breaking, which is also nice.)
As my sister and I grew up and moved away, we kept up the tradition. Kim has a family of four, so her homemade coffee cake too is cut into five pieces.
Then we have me.
First off, I’m not so great at remembering to make the coffee cake. I’ll confess I’ve used store-bought in the past, sticking the lucky dime in the bottom and giving it a spin. This year, though, I completely forgot (Jason had to remind me, and there’s not a single Greek in his family tree), and we had the added complication of me being unable to digest gluten. Plus the weather was bad, so the thought of driving to the gluten-free bakery one town over wasn’t appealing. “I’ll just make a cake,” I said. I have gluten-free flour. I have cinnamon. I could handle it, I figured.
Except, when I started futzing around in the kitchen, I discovered I didn’t feel like eating coffee cake. I felt like chocolate cake.
My ancestors would forgive me, right?
I made the gluten-free chocolate cake from scratch. I altered the recipe to add chocolate chips. And on New Year’s Day, we cut the cake into three giant hunks, and had cake for breakfast.
I’m not gonna lie: gluten-free chocolate cake, even with extra chocolate chips, is still pretty gross.
But I got the dime, as did my mother and sister in their respective households. So sure, we’ve morphed the tradition of vasilopita from bread to coffee cake to chocolate cake. But at least we’re still doing it, right?

Happy New Year!
And yet, though disgusting, I ate two thirds of it.
<![CDATA[Happy New Year!]]>Fri, 29 Dec 2017 17:10:16 GMThttp://staceylongo.com/my-blog/happy-new-yearI hope everyone had a lovely holiday. I sure did. And now, I find myself looking at the new year and the end-of year tax stuff I have to do, and thinking, I really don't feel like writing a blog this week.

So I didn't.

Happy New Year!
<![CDATA[Staying Fit for the Holidays]]>Thu, 21 Dec 2017 20:32:06 GMThttp://staceylongo.com/my-blog/staying-fit-for-the-holidaysMany people complain about weight gain over the holiday season. With all the cookies, special dishes, and more cookies, it’s no surprise we tend to pack on the pounds this time of year. But no worries: I’m here to help.
Here are a few tips to help you get through December with minimum impact on your waistline:
  • Instead of eating cookies, eat the cookie dough as you’re baking. Lumps of cookie dough, of course, are smaller than whole cookies, and therefore fewer calories. Also, this greatly increases your risk of salmonella poisoning, and there’s nothing quite like vomiting, intestinal distress, and kidney failure to shed pounds quickly.
  • Stop being so darn efficient when baking. Instead of getting all your ingredients together before baking, pull them out one by one as they come up at each step of the recipe. Making separate trips to the refrigerator to retrieve the butter, then the eggs, then milk, will add at least thirty steps to your daily walking goal. (I hear people set these goals.) Thirty steps=three extra cookies! (Disclaimer: I’ve never claimed to be great at calorie math.)
  • Get a real tree this Christmas. From the workout you’ll get walking through the lot, hauling the tree onto the top of your car, wrestling it into the house, and getting it into the stand, you’ll quickly drop weight. Digging the boxes of decorations out of the basement is also great exercise. And there’s something to be said for the sweeping and vacuuming you’ll be doing for the next eight months as you continue to find pine needles throughout the house long after the tree is gone.
  • Make your own holiday decorations. Many find this to be a frustrating, time-consuming activity. They fail to realize that while you’re cutting, gluing, and painting, you’re not eating. It once took me three days to make a new tree topper, and I lost six pounds and invented four new curse words during the process. Imagine my subsequent delight when we decided not to bother with a tree ever again after finding dried-out needles in the refrigerator in August!
  • Shovel snow. You people with your “white Christmas” garbage. I don’t know any New Englander who is happy to get two feet of snow on Christmas Eve. Someone has to move that crap out of the driveway and off the roads. Traveling isn’t going to be easy. Start shoveling early. You’ll burn a ton of fat, and since it’s unlikely you’ll actually make it to the holiday feast due to the snowfall, you’ll be eating boiled hotdogs and potatoes for dinner—both low in calories, by the way. Hope your pretty white Christmas was worth it.
  • Get a cat. If you want a serious workout, there’s nothing quite like a cat to keep you moving. From cleaning up their vomit after they chew on the tree, trying to wrestle them off the tree, chasing them when they steal ornaments, and playing with them when they find the balled-up wrapping paper far more entertaining than the deluxe cat playset you spent a lot of money on and even more hours putting together … the “fun” never ends with a kitty on the holidays.
I hope you find these tips useful. As for me, I’m really good at giving advice, but honestly, I’ll be doing none of these things this holiday season. Because why put up a tree when you can bring your cats to visit your mother’s tree and eat all her cookies instead?
Here's my cat Wednesday "helping" decorate the Santa cow. Seriously, I'm leaving her at my mom's house this year.
<![CDATA[Why Your Christmas Crankiness is a Load of Crap]]>Fri, 15 Dec 2017 01:18:28 GMThttp://staceylongo.com/my-blog/why-your-christmas-crankiness-is-a-load-of-crapPictureYup, she's adorable.
This week, I wanted to say something nice about the holidays. I'm sure you're all tired of my complaining. And I tried. I really did. 

I failed.

Luckily, my friend, the talented author Ryanne Strong, has enough Christmas spirit for both of us. Please enjoy this surprise visit from my favorite holiday elf!

Why Your Christmas Crankiness is a Load of Crap
by Ryanne Strong

I love Christmas. From the simple wishes of “Happy Holidays” from strangers, to the extravagant decorations plastered across every public space from late November to January, I adore this holiday. I can never understand it when people tell me they don’t like Christmas.
They always have a mountain of reasons, but they’re never very good ones:
It starts too early. But we’re not allowed to dismiss anything just because of bad timing—bills, deadlines—we just deal with them and move on.
It’s a Christian holiday, why do I have to celebrate it? This one is always amusing to me. You have to dig pretty deep to find the religious element in Christmas, but I guess it’s still there somewhere. It’s been years since I’ve personally laid eyes on a nativity scene though. But, while we’re on the topic of religion, how come I’ve never heard this complaint about Easter? On that one, there are crosses everywhere.
Everyone is too cheery./It’s fake. I’m can’t be sure what these folks are used to, but I am unfortunately immersed in a world of angry, cranky, bitter people most of the time. I’ll take a fake smile from a fellow shopper over getting cursed out any day of the week.
Big family get-togethers are so stressful. Well, yes. Gathering any large group of people together is definitely not going to be relaxing. That’s why, for over a decade, I have been avoiding these big, structured gatherings entirely. For some I visit before the holidays begin, others I come by and help clean up after their festivities have ended. I’ve always valued one-on-one time more than group activities because it allows me to spend quality time with people I care about and often avoid entirely the people that really just add stress to things.
I hate/am bad at giving gifts. You can’t be bad at giving gifts. You just have to know a person and get them something that you want them to have. People are usually happy just knowing that you thought of them—if they aren’t, then they don’t deserve to get gifts anyway! Don’t buy them anything. Although there are sometimes occasions when you have to give gifts to people you don’t know that well, or don’t want to. That’s what gift cards are for.
The crowds are vicious! Ah, yes, each and every year you hear about some kind of holiday-related misfortune. If you Google “Black Friday Tragedies” you get back a list with hundreds of thousands of entries, although personally I’ve never, nor do I believe I know anyone else who has ever been at one of these supposedly dangerous events. I have to believe that some of the stories are at least a little bit of fiction embellishing the darkest part of our society. If that’s the case, perhaps we should take them for what they are: dark stories.
So maybe it isn’t Christmas itself that people don’t like celebrating. Perhaps they just haven’t found a way that really works for them. Like every day, Christmas is what you make of it. And, if you know where to look, you can always find a few of your favorite things. 

Ryanne Strong's short stories have appeared in Tricks and Treats: A Collection of Spooky Stories by Connecticut Authors, and she will soon appear in both the Inkstains Literary Journal and My Peculiar Family 2, both slated for release in 2018.

<![CDATA[Is There Hope for a Grinch?]]>Fri, 08 Dec 2017 18:20:06 GMThttp://staceylongo.com/my-blog/is-there-hope-for-a-grinch Picture
Listen, gentle reader: if you’ve been reading this blog for the past ten years, or even the past ten days, you know me. You know that out of all the holidays, I dislike Christmas most of all. Admittedly this doesn’t make me much fun to be around this time of year, and I’ve chalked up exactly zero invitations to holiday parties, including the one my company is throwing. But in 2017, I was faced with a realization: there is one thing—or should I say, one very specific someone—who actually brought a smile to this grinchy face of mine.

Was it a Christmas miracle? Did my heart grow three sizes or some other sort of holiday magical nonsense?

No. Don’t get your hopes up.

But like I said, not once, but twice even, I cracked a grin this holiday season.

The first was a Rock meme, posted on my Facebook wall at the end of November.
And for the first time in years, I was okay with a holiday picture.

Then, just this week, a friend sent me a picture of the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, accompanied with the message, Look what came in the mail today!

You see that line on the bottom? “You’re getting Dwayne Johnson for Christmas!” And I thought, I can get on board with that. I may have even giggled—unheard of from me in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas!

I think Piper Kernan said it best, in her memoir Orange is the New Black: “I have seen with my own eyes the power of the Rock. The Rock is a uniter, not a divider. When the BOP showed Walking Tall, the turnout for every screening all weekend long was unprecedented. The Rock has an effect on women that transcends divisions of race, age, cultural background—even social class, the most impenetrable barrier in America. Black, white, Spanish, old, young; all women are hot for the Rock. Even the lesbians agreed that he was mighty easy on the eyes.”

To top it all off, my husband got us tickets to a sneak preview of Jumanji tonight, which, incidentally, stars Dwayne Johnson himself.

Best December I’ve had in decades. And I promise you this, my friends: get the Rock to show up at your holiday party, and I will be there—with bells on.

<![CDATA[Surviving Christmas]]>Thu, 30 Nov 2017 15:10:29 GMThttp://staceylongo.com/my-blog/surviving-christmasWe’re entering my least favorite time of year. I don’t know exactly why I dislike the yuletide season so much, but here are my best guesses: the financial pressure, terrible holiday specials, and Bing Crosby. (I’ve found lately, though, that Bing irritates me less than Mariah Carey, whose voice makes my eardrums bleed.) If you add in the fact that this year, I can no longer eat 99% of the holiday food—specifically, cookies—you may start to see why I really, really hate the holidays.

Because I’m a Christmas Grinch, I’ve had to develop coping mechanisms to get through this time of year. If you, too, hate the holidays, here’s a handy guide to get through it:

Invest in an MP3 player and earphones.  Toys "R" Us was playing Christmas music on November 1, y’all. The closer we get to Dec. 25, the more likely you are to be assaulted by insipid holiday tunes. Right around now, my iPhone becomes my best friend. I listen to true crime and Survivor podcasts on my drive into work, eighties pop music at my desk (I know, you’d think since I’m a fan of the genre, I’d like Mariah, but seriously, I cannot stand the sound of her voice), and put on a nice audiobook (I’m listening to Clive Barker’s Books of Blood right now) when I’m forced to leave the house on the weekends. I’ve found it’s much easier to smile at the kiddies if I’ve got Barker’s beautiful descriptions of tree branches draped with human innards whispering in my ear.

And speaking of leaving the house . . .

Don’t leave the house. Sometimes, you have to take the earphones off, like to listen for traffic or to talk to the pharmacist when picking up your antianxiety medication. And when you do, you will immediately be assaulted by Christmas music, electronic Santas barking ho-ho-ho, and people asking for donations.

So many people asking for donations.

Stay off social media. Besides the holiday memes, YouTube “this is my favorite scene from Jingle All the Way” videos, and non-stop “Buy what I’m selling!” pleas—by the way, have I mentioned My Mom, MS, and a Sixth-Grade Mess makes a great holiday gift?—you will get a lot of requests for donations. You see, it’s now easier than ever to set up a fundraiser on Facebook, Twitter, and the like. And you will be assaulted daily with requests for money.

Without a doubt, the main stressor for me during the holiday season is money. Between buying gifts, wrapping paper, bows, cards, food to prepare for gatherings, and the like, plus my husband likes to say things like, “Surprise! MacBooks were on sale! Only cost one mortgage payment!”, I do not have extra cash this time of year. If you want to hit me up, do it in June, when I’ve just finished paying off the holiday bills, and the heating bill has finally gone down.

Don’t watch television. Unless you like knowing if you don’t buy your kid the latest Gizbot Hoodookidoo, you will go down in the annals of child-rearing history as the worst parent ever. Commercials this time of year have one purpose in mind: to use guilt as maliciously as possible to part you from your money. Who needs that?And the jingles. The incessant, stupid jingles. I hate you, television.

I do, however, love Netflix. If you’re going to have television, now is the time of year to binge-watch some fine Netflix series. Stranger Things has a new season out. If you’re feeling particularly angry about the holidays this year, The Punisher might be a good choice. Best of all, Netflix is commercial free.

Don’t put up decorations. I learned my lesson on this one last Halloween. It turns out in most homes, he or she who puts up the decorations is in charge of taking them down. This is why one plastic severed hand has served as a centerpiece on my kitchen table since October 2016. It’s the one decoration I missed when packing up the spiders, ghouls, and guillotines last year, and I just haven’t had the energy to pick it up, walk down to the basement, and dig out the Halloween decorations boxes to put it away. Neither has Jason, which is why I win. He’s the one who likes Christmas, so if he wants to get out the tinsel and tree, he can have at it. But when it comes time to take that crap down, I’m going to point to that severed hand and tell him exactly what he’s told me for fourteen months: “You’re the one who put it out to begin with.”
There are a million other tricks to try in order to get through this saccharine season, but these tips should give you a good start. When in doubt, try to meditate on those wise words penned so long ago that truly explain what the season is all about:

Bah, humbug.
Incidentally, my favorite portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge.
<![CDATA[NaNo Thanks]]>Fri, 17 Nov 2017 00:05:43 GMThttp://staceylongo.com/my-blog/nano-thanksNovember is National Novel-Writing Month, more commonly known as NANOWRIMO. Many aspiring writers participate in this, hoping to end the month with a 50,000-word novel. There are events and websites dedicated to the event, where you can post your daily word counts, compete and compare with other writers, and earn badges that quite honestly mean nothing in the real world, but maybe make people feel good.

I do not do NANOWRIMO. I think it’s a terrible construction promoting feelings of despair and failure, turns what should be the single most enjoyable thing in a writer’s life—writing—into a chore, and produces a lot of garbage manuscripts.

Here’s the thing: first off, on a personal level, I don’t like being told I should do anything. I’ve been writing my entire adult life, and I know the pace that works best for me and the schedule I can handle. Telling me I have to write 1,667 words a day for thirty days aligns not at all with a writing schedule I’ve carefully developed and managed successfully over the years. And every single writer in the world is different. A writer needs to figure out for themselves what pace and schedule works most beneficially for them to produce their best possible efforts. I don’t think NANOWRIMO helps them cultivate this at all, except maybe to show them writing close to 2k every day for thirty days straight doesn’t work for them.

But my issue with NANO is bigger than this. Listen: writers tend to be self-flagellating, my-work-is-garbage, zero self-esteem types. (Oh, sure, you’ll meet a few who think every word they produce is gold—and most of those types are so wrong it’s laughable—but as a whole, writers generally suspect they’re not very good.) And NANOWRIMO not only sets up writers to fail, but if they do happen to succeed, what they’ve produced is crap. Here’s what I see NANOWRIMO writers posting online during November:
  • Status updates lamenting because they didn’t hit their word count goal for the day.
  • Complaints that another writer produced 5,000 words Tuesday, and the person posting suspects that the 5k writer either cheated, lied, or wrote crap.
  • But what if they didn’t lie, cheat, or write crap? The status updater then declares themselves a hack and a failure, because they’re not the 5k writer.
  • Lengthy bemoaning (does that count toward your daily word count?) that the daily NANOWRIMO effort is a chore, and they now positively hate the novel they’re working on.
  • Writers giving up on NANO and beating themselves up for it.

Now, I’m not saying writing isn’t work. Of course it is. But if you truly want to be a writer, then you should love doing it, even the ugly work parts of it. Why on earth would you want to be part of something that completely strips all the enjoyment out of something you were once passionate about back in October?

And, as I mentioned, a good NANOWRIMO-produced novel is a rare gem. Sure, Water for Elephants is a solid NANO book. But that book is the exception, not the rule. Ninety-nine percent of novels written in November are unpublishable rubbish. Any submissions editor out there will tell you their least-favorite time of year is December through February, when the NANO sludge starts rolling in.

Here’s why it’s garbage: most NANO novels are written on the fly, under pressure, with the goal being produce, produce, produce, and not crafting a cohesive storyline, setting a believable and relatable stage, carefully thinking out plot points, or developing characters.

You know what probably works better? Following these simple rules:
  • Experiment with writing daily, five days a week, and every other day. What works best for you? Are you more creative early in the morning or late at night? Do you need silence, or music in the background? Where’s the coffee pot? The bathroom? Find a setting and schedule that works best for you, and stop worrying about what everyone else does. They are not you.
  • At what point do you feel what’s pouring out on the pages has taken a nosedive? Is it after 3,000 words, or 2,000, or 1,000? How long does it take you to hit that sweet spot of creativity—500 words in? A thousand? Try to gauge when it is your creative spark kicks in, and when it leaves, and set your word count goal accordingly. Find a daily/weekly goal that works best for you, and stop worrying about what everyone else does. They are not you.
  • Do you prefer to outline your stories, or take a “fly by the seat of my pants” approach with an end destination in mind? Figure out which writing approach works best for you, and stop worrying about what everyone else does. They are not you.
  • Most importantly, stop scrolling on social media to see what other writers are doing. Their success is not your failure, nor is your success their failure. Comparing yourself to your writer friends is a sure way to guarantee a bitter, miserable life. How about just doing your writing thing? Stop worrying about what everyone else does. They are not you.

​To my writer friends out there, I love you. Keep on doing what you’re doing. Of course you realize I think you’d be happier letting go of this NANO crap and going back to your regularly scheduled writing habits. Now, I would hate for you to participate in something that makes you miserable, but you are an adult, and can make your own choices. Participate. Don't. Do whatever you like.

Which is what I'm doing.  And I, for one, am enjoying the heck out of my NANO-free November.
<![CDATA[Explanations]]>Fri, 10 Nov 2017 00:05:02 GMThttp://staceylongo.com/my-blog/explanationsLast week, I saw someone post a lovely photo on Facebook with this simple tag:

Seven days. Seven black-and-white photos of my life. No explanations.

Sounded like fun. I was in! Except, as it turns out, a lot of my photos . . . begged explanation. But explaining on Facebook was strictly against the rules. However, it sure would make a handy blog post!


​DAY 1

This is my view every day of my desk, to the left of my computer. Why yes, that is Tom Petty in the photo, whose loss I'm still mourning and whose picture makes me smile when I feel down. (Turns out the best thing to help me shake the "Tom Petty's Dead Blues" is, in fact, Tom Petty.)

​Otherwise, you've got a desk top and a pen holder. Pretty standard stuff.


Two of my favorite things: coffee, and a mug mocking other people's typos. I did have one Facebook friend who demanded to know where the mug came from (and wouldn't take "my totally awesome editing partner" for an answer), but mostly, I was worried about using this photo in this blog, because some, or more specifically my mother, might not find the mug amusing. One quick Google image search later for a censored tag, and I was good to go. Enjoy!

Side note: I posted this photo at about 8 a.m. on Day 2. Not one person questioned the time on the coffee pot. Guess they needed more coffee, too.


By this point, I was getting bored with the whole "seven days of photos" thing. As were my Facebook friends, no doubt. If they were even watching, though I suspect nobody cared.

I woke up Sunday and took this shot of my breakfast. I'd become one of those people who posted photos of their food. I was ashamed. I ate my jellybeans and pondered if I wanted to even bother continuing.


Yes, those are socks. Yes, I should probably throw them out, because there are toe-holes brewing there.

Yes, I was thoroughly bored with this project. But unfortunately, I'd made a commitment. Anyone who knows me knows that it is very difficult to get me to commit to anything. But they also know once I say I'll do something, by golly, I do it. 

​Only three days to go.


I work near Lego. And they have the best pedestrian crossing signs ever in their parking lot.

I sure was struggling to finish this stupid seven days of photos thing. I even cheated a little on this one: that's a sepia-tone photo, not straight black-and-white.


Here's the thing: my everyday life is pretty boring. I work, I drive home, I eat, I sleep. Rinse and repeat. If people really wanted a snapshot of what I see every day, well, they were gonna get it, warts and all.

This is the view of the right side of my desk. That's my zombie bobblehead, Gary. (I don't know why his name is Gary. He resembles no Gary I have ever known. All I know is he says his name is Gary.)

Gary likes to watch me edit on the computer, but he's never particularly helpful.

One day to go.


I made it—hooray! Finally!

Except now I was at work, I needed one more stinking picture, and I'd already covered my desk, the coffee pot, and the Lego sign. What was left?

This. This was left. It's the interior of the top drawer of my desk. Nothing too exciting—scissors, paperclips, coffee, a severed nose. Pretty run of the mill, but I didn't care. I was done!

And so are you. Thanks for sticking with me on this. Hopefully, we'll never have to take this journey together again.