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The sign is not ready to hang on the hull just yet, but it’s in the process of being made. Still, I decided to take a stroll down to the wharf today, pat the old ship hello, and check in with friends.

It’s hard to believe it’s only been a little over a week since the year-long blog was completed. It’s been a week full of wonderful and horrible moments.

In the way of wonderful…I have continued working on the novel’s revision and enjoying it. I may not meet my end-of-summer deadline, but I’ll be close, and I’m happy with my work. Most weekdays find me in the library at lunchtime, working away, a soy chai latte or hot chocolate at hand and classical music in my ears. In the evenings I’ve been blissfully domestic…and working on that self-care I said I’d get back to. With my promotion at work I was able to rejoin the gym. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy the gym…after work, before work. While I work out, I listen to books on my iPhone and inhale the gym smells (which sounds gross, but actually isn’t…yesterday I realized that for whatever reason my gym smells like London…so definitely the right gym for me). After just three days I can already feel that my energy level has gone up and my stress-level down.

On Saturday I hosted two writerly events at my house. First, I live-streamed the first ever All Souls Con taking place at the Sofitel Hotel in Beverly Hills. This was a conference totally dedicated to Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy…amazing coup for her! A few of us fans put together a festive table of goodies and enjoyed the “lunacy,” as it was dubbed. For a first conference, they did a great job: contests, live music, character discussions, interviews with the author and the reader of the audio-books…even yoga breaks, since yoga played a part in the books. I sent my guests away with pumpkin party favors and was left with way too many leftovers. Then the Keys arrived with more food! The evening was a an equally festive writing group meeting. There were four of us total, so I didn’t have to open up the dining room table. It remained round and became laden with laptops and papers, bowls of my famous beef stew and Costeaux bread, red wine, champagne, sherry, home-made iced tea, and far too many glasses to count. We didn’t break until after midnight, and one of the Keys stayed over on the sofa bed, which meant more literary chats in jammies with coffee the next morning. Saturday I felt Autumn in the air, felt like a writer, and felt full of youthful optimism.

In the way of horrible…the devastating wildfires that have affected thousands of human and animal lives, and destroyed, cumulatively, over 100,000 acres, has weighed heavy on me. I woke up Sunday, after my wonderful Saturday, to learn that a whole town nearby was gone, to see the sky orange & hazy with fire, and to feel the terror and suffering of all those souls. I learned some things about myself this week…mainly that I no longer want to sit at home crying for others. I’d rather go cry with them. I’m no longer able to just pray, though I believe in the power of prayer. I want to pray and show up to help, as well. And I believe that if I can help only one other creature in my efforts, then it’s been worthwhile. So I signed up to volunteer for the Red Cross. I’m attending my training/orientation next Tuesday and hope I can be put to use as soon as possible. It doesn’t help that I have an incredibly busy schedule for the next few weeks, but I know that this disaster…which they’re calling possibly one of the worst wildfires to affect California in recent history…will require help for weeks and months to come. I’m heartened by the outpouring of community help I see. I also know that once the media is done with this tragedy, support will also wane. And all the good people who have been working so hard will need to get back to their lives. I’m good at stepping in at those times, and I’ll be ready.

As for the blog, I do miss being on the ship. At the same time, I won’t deny that I feel like I have a lot more free time…and I feel like I’m putting it to good use, not just watching aimless YouTube videos and scrolling through Facebook…but I miss you all! So here’s a hint of what’s coming…a proper author’s website (if you build it, they will come) with a proper domain…weekly writerly posts…monthly book reviews…and maybe more.

I’ll be back down to hang the sign soon I hope…and will check in weekly until I do!