October Is The Perfect Month To Work Hard And Play Harder
October 6, 2015 Leave a comment
I always feel like autumn never officially starts until October, when the temperatures finally drop and the evenings are cool, pumpkins make their appearance everywhere, including my oven, and apples are ripe for harvesting. But it also means that summer fun is over and it is time to settle into a stricter writing routine. Every writer has his or her own strategy. Some are planners, others like to see where their writing takes them, and then some, like myself, plan a loose outline so they know where the story is headed, yet are open to the possibilities. That’s what has been happening to me lately.
The story I’m currently working on is about a group of friends, some who have known one another longer than others, and how they navigate their relationships while finding their own way in the world. The characters came to me easily, and in some respects I feel like I’ve known them a long time. It has been fun placing them in locales I’ve visited and come to love over the years too. But it is always thrilling when the story takes on a life of its own, and the characters start to show their true colors, surprising even me! So what initially started out as a drama with a touch of romance, is now becoming a novel with a more sinister thread, complicated by suspicion, desire, and murder. I’m having a grand time writing it!
October is also the American Humane Association’s Adopt-A-Dog Month. I’m a huge dog lover, and a big advocate for pet adoption. I’ve worked with lots of shelters and rescue groups in the past, and every time I visit one of them, I wind up making new friends, both human and canine. As I’ve always said, a dog doesn’t need a pedigree to make a faithful companion and loyal friend. I’ve had mutts and AKC registered pets over the years, and even though every dog has its own personality, each of them loved being by my side and added so much love to my life. So if you’re in the market for a great dog, please visit your local shelter before contacting a breeder. If you want a specific breed, make that known and the folks who run these places will usually keep an eye out for you. Also, there are breed specific rescue groups as well, so you can always get the right breed for your family. In the meantime, watch this fun video created by the folks at a shelter in Florida.
In addition to animals, I’m also very passionate about helping at-risk children. It’s why I’ve worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters for so long, because I know the importance of having a good mentor in my life. I’ve been fortunate to have lots of people who have championed me along the way, but there are plenty of children who aren’t as lucky. When I hear stories about young kids like Bailey O’Neill and Rebecca Sedwick, both of whose deaths have been attributed to bullying, I just shudder. I can’t help but think that if they had only had someone to listen to them, to bolster them up despite the attacks they endured, they might be alive today. So for all the kids who are persecuted daily, I urge you to talk with the young people in your life, and really listen to what they say, and observe what they don’t. Get support and tips on how to do this from Pacer’s National Bullying Awareness Month website, and learn how you can make a difference. Like the old adage says, ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’
On a lighter note, this is also National Chili Month. I’ve learned that every region has its own take on a ‘bowl of red,’ but growing up in Texas I tend to like the spicy varieties served up with a big slice of skillet cornbread. (Get my busy day chili recipe here.) But that doesn’t mean I haven’t learned to appreciate a little derivation now and again. For example, when I first moved to Cincinnati back in the late 90s I had never heard of Skyline Chili, which blends cinnamon and allspice into the pot, then serves it all over a plate of spaghetti. My initial reaction to the idea of this concoction was, “No, no, no!” But it grew on me, and now I crave my Skyline five-way chili with a side of cheese coneys every now and then. In fact, now I know what I’m making for dinner tonight!
WHAT I’M READING
I just finished reading Andrew Grant‘s novel, Run, which was the first time I’ve picked up a book by Lee Child’s brother. A knack for suspense must run in the blood, because the former telecom employee turned novelist weaves a tight story that will keep you turning pages until the wee hours of the night. If you’re looking for a story that will keep you guessing, pick it up today.
Now I’m reading David Lagercrantz’s continuation of the late Stieg Larsson‘s Millennium series, The Girl in the Spider’s Web. I must admit, I was hesitant going in because I didn’t know if anyone could pull off the delicious Lisbeth Salander or the cynical Mikael Blomkvist like the original author did. Like Larsson, Lagercrantz is also a journalist, and he seems to have captured these two beloved characters quite well. I’m not done reading the book yet, but so far so good.
WHAT I’M WATCHING
Like so many of you, I’m always looking for a new series to binge watch on Netflix. Recently I discovered Zoo, CBS’s adaptation of the novel by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge. With an ensemble cast starring James Wolk, Kristen Connolly, Nonso Anozie, Nora Arnezeder and Billy Burke. The show examines what would happen if mankind’s scientific advancements sparked a violent chain of startling adaptations in the animal kingdom. The show is smart, thrilling, surprising and fun, and makes for entertaining viewing. Best part of all, if you love the show, you’ll be glad to know that CBS just picked it up for another season!
But if sports are more your thing, football season is now in full swing too! Sunday night we gathered with friends and watched the Dallas Cowboys play the New Orleans Saints. With lots of good food and drink, and marvelous people to cheer or playfully antagonize (depending on who they were cheering for), it makes for a fun reason to get together. I’m just delighted that Drew Brees is back on the field again, and that the Cincinnati Bengals seem to be on a winning streak! So for me at least, it is a fun year to watch the best of the NFL.
No matter what you’re doing this fall, I hope you take time to enjoy some of the simple pleasures of the season. October is the perfect time to work and play a bit harder, but it is also the ideal month to cook up a pot of chili, read a great book, or get together with those you love, and those who make you laugh.