Frequency Illusion

Frequency illusion, also known as the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, is a cognitive bias, an illusion of familiarity. I know you’ve experienced it, now you can put a name to it.

I got a new (to me) red car and all of a sudden red cars are EVERYwhere.
My son got engaged to his girlfriend and all of a sudden, EVERYone is getting married!
I’m referencing my novel in progress as The Writer’s Retreat, and all of a sudden, OTHER publications are called The Writing Retreat (close enough for post purposes).

I find this phenomenon fascinating! And maybe a little frustrating.

I reference it in my novel, MeTopia, another work in progress (aren’t they all), but now that I’ve put it out there, I need to finish it before someone else names their book that.

In the meantime, I love my new (to me) red car.
I’m very excited for my son’s impending nuptials, and everyone else’s too.
And the two Retreat novels are NOTHING alike, although I will definitely be giving mine a new title once it’s complete.

Funny how these things reveal themselves.

What is your Frequency Illusion?
Do tell.
I can pretty much guarantee others share it.

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I Hugged a Stranger

and other anecdotes.

As I’m sure you are aware, we have SO MANY more friends now because of social media. Whether we know them in person or not, they count as friends. I was at an event a few weeks ago and got to meet a FB ‘friend’ with whom I share a mutual real-life acquaintance that I hadn’t seen in much too long. Assuming this new IP friend would see the other before me, I gave her a hug to pass on.

It is so nice to be able to hug again.

Interestingly enough, I met up with our mutual friend before the hug could be passed on, so I guess that’s my new IRL friend’s hug now. To keep, or share, as needed.

A Napkin between Kindred Spirits

I was at Mary’s Market recently, killing time and making novel notes. When I got up to refill my coffee cup, I passed a woman about my age, about my size, who was dabbing a napkin on her chest. I recognize that action, so I grabbed her a few more napkins and offered them. Seems she had a pile of extras already because this chest catch-all mode of dining tends to be a chronic situation, but she appreciated the gesture. We chatted for a few minutes, laughing at our shared foibles. She said this exact thing is a running joke in her family. She mentioned to me that whenever she dines with her mother, her mom watches and waits for the spill, the drip, the drop, and eagerly points it out. She told me how her long distance sister placed a French fry on her shirt and took a selfie, sending it with the caption, Miss you!

Silver Sisters

Holding the door for a woman at a restaurant the other day, not only did she thank me, but she also complimented my hair. I cannot tell you how much random flattery means–or maybe I don’t have to? Of course we want our friends, family, and co-workers to notice our apparent appearance efforts, but honestly, they see us so frequently, what they encounter is who they remember us to be. But a stranger! They don’t know us. They don’t know how hard we worked to get this look or what cost was paid. They don’t know if the gray is new, or cheap and lazy, or ridiculously premature. She thought it looked nice, so she told me. And I swooned. She, too, was au natural and I thought, we Silver Sisters need to stick together! I’m eager to pass on the compliment as easily as she did. In the moment, in passing, with no build up or fall out. Just because your (hair) looks pretty.

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3 Sentence Review: The Island

  1. My biggest complaint (and yes, I realize it’s probably just me) smacks in the face of Chekhov’s Gun, where the family is enticed to cross from mainland Australia to a private island in order to see ALL THIS AMAZING WILDLIFE — the trees are dripping with koalas — and yet, we never even get a glimpse of the promised wildlife.
  2. Lots of stretched liberties taken in the writing of this ever-amping thriller where things continue to get repetitively worse long past the point of thinking they can get any worse; might have been nice to balance the trauma with a little wondrous wildlife.
  3. Despite the exasperation and exhaustion of the first two sentences, I enjoyed this novel, will read more from this author, and am eager to see how Hulu handles the material for The Island, a book-based original series.

Full Title : This Island
Author: Adrian McKinty
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Crime

Brief Synopsis: On vacation in Australia, an American family struggling with their own personal issues gets stranded on an island ruled by a family of vengeful psychopaths.

~ ~ ~

3 Sentence Reviews are a quick and easy read, right to the point, no spoilers. Just three sentences about what resonated with me upon completion of a novel. They are always only MY OPINION, and I invite quick and easy rebuttals. Have you read The Island? What resonated with YOU?

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Sign of the Times

When I was twelve years old, my stepmom gave me a little sign that read:

All I want is less to do,
More time to do it, and
More pay for not getting it done.

I think about that saying frequently.
Which makes sense when you consider how relevant it is.
Inclusively so.

Timeless, indeed.

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Reading Stories

I’ve been holding onto this post idea for awhile now, waiting for a third entry. You know how I am with the power of 3, lol. This is a fun subject because the title works both ways–it’s about the stories we read, but also stories about reading.

First, I want to share an idea that I think is so cute–and the mother has the patience of an angel! This mother-angel-friend was telling me about this silly thing she does with her kid at bedtime. They pick out a book (and yes, it’s almost always the same book) and they’ll discuss which word the toddler is in charge of. I’ll use Goodnight Moon as an example. The kid picks which word they will “read”. Sometimes it’s ‘moon’ and they get to “read” a lot. Other times it’s ‘mouse’ and they have to wait their turn until the word they selected comes up. By now, they’ve probably had a turn being in charge of every word in the book, and that’s great, right? I mean, this keeps the child engaged and whether they are “reading” or not, they are aware of their word and know when it’s coming up in the story.

Then, awhile back, I overheard a woman discussing her nightly ritual with her ill mother. Every evening, 9 pm her time, she calls her mom and reads to her. There’s a two hour time difference, so it’s 7 pm at the memory care facility where her mother resides. She reads to her for about twenty minutes, sometimes longer. She recites books that her mother shared with her as a child. A Wrinkle in Time and Charlotte’s Web are in regular rotation. On good days they reminisce, but most days her mom just listens. Always, they feel closer than their miles dictate.

Recently, a friend shared her routine of driving around with her elderly mother, hitting up a fast food restaurant, and dining in the car, all while listening to an audio book together. They do this two or three times a week for an hour or more each time. I am a big fan of audio books, but even more than that, I am a big fan of a shared listening experience.

There you go, three quick reading stories. About reading stories.
How do you share your love of reading?

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New to Me

I don’t know about you, but I still get excited when I learn something new. I mean, I am sooo old, what haven’t I experienced? Just kidding. I expect to get much older and continue learning. Here are a few things I discovered recently:

You can buy ground bratwurst! I was making a beer-cheese soup and wanted to put brats in it. I assumed I’d have to cook the sausage link then dice it up, but on a whim, I asked our local meat market if they sold the inside meat, no casing. And they do!

The soup was excellent.

Some school districts offer streaming of their events! This may not be new to school-age parents now, but it was new to me. When we were out over the weekend, some younger friends were discussing their plans for the upcoming week which included multiple school events. With Spartan TV (specifically), they are able to have one parent attend in person while the other stays home with younger siblings and watches online. The parents alternate who goes and who stays and the students get to participate without the littles missing bedtime.

I think this is brilliant.

Puffin chicks are called Pufflings! OMG, how cute is that?

(the name might actually be cuter than the creature, lol)

~ ~ ~

I’m going to wrap up what’s New to Me with What I Know:

The person who designed this


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New Listings

I kicked off the new year committing myself to setting goals and making lists in order to keep them. I bought a cute little journal and every morning I list 3 Things I would like to accomplish. Some days I get to check them off, other days, well, suffice it to say 3 Things isn’t a lot until you factor in all of the OTHER things a day contains.

Since my commitment to listing, I have noticed LISTS everywhere!

I could lose an easy hour (and probably have!) on TikTok alone, swiping through all of the posts about the benefits of making lists. A friend also makes a morning list and shares her progress frequently. Her methodology has evolved into a place where she’s comfortably listing and crossing-out. I visited another friend recently and noticed she had notes on a wall in every room of her house. A list of to-do’s that she hopes to get through in the coming year. Painting, redecorating, updating, etc. I love this idea! I think of things I need to fix/address/decorate every day and yet, when left with an opening in my schedule, do you think I can remember a SINGLE thing?!

Pull up hall runners, clean floor, replace and secure hall runners.
Replace the broken toilet paper holder with the one you bought almost two years ago.
Finish painting the trim in the living room. Including the part that’s hidden behind the sofa.

Sorry, that was just for me, but you know, I remembered, so I made a list for easy reference.

Are you a list-maker?
What’s your process?
Because I’m 36 days in and still figuring out what actually works for me.

Luckily, listings are everywhere, so inspiration is bound to be found.

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Writer Math

I just returned from a weekend Writer’s Retreat. Nowhere exciting (Roscoe, IL), but the house made for a very comfortable writing atmosphere.
We checked in at 4 p.m. Thursday and left at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.
That’s about 86 hours of retreat.
Assuming breaks, meals, sleep, discussion and laughter, that leaves approximately 60 hours to WRITE. (Please note: I usually laugh more than I sleep on these get-aways.)

I wrote 18,958 words.
Nearly 19k!
School Spirit, my most recent publication, a novella, has a word count of 30k!
If I was working on another Kimmie Jillison Mystery, I’d be nearly 2/3 done!

But alas, this one is a full-length novel.
Still, that’s almost 25% of my manuscript.
Or, 317 words per hour.
7600 words per day.
That’s 4.5 times the amount of words recommended daily word count for NaNo.

If I could keep that up…
I’d have a completed first draft in 12 days!

I wish.

But still, great progress.
Writer math don’t lie.

Unless I got the math wrong, in which case, I’M A WRITER NOT A MATHEMATICIAN!
To paraphrase a famous Sci-fi doctor, lol.

~ ~ ~

I was accompanied by two of my most favorite authors:
Debbie Deutsch, who worked on her NEXT BIG PROJECT, having recently published, Lucy in Disguise, a sequel to Throw Away Sisters.
Christine Cacciatore, who has a whole catalog of previously published works, prioritized her writing for the first time in too long by diving into a project that hopefully caught creative fire and will continue to grow.

We are already planning our next retreat…
With luck, determination, focus, and an appeal to the Writer Math gods, hopefully I’ll be editing a full draft by then.

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3 Sentence Review: Movie – The Banshees of Inisherin

  1. I found this movie to be long, boring, long, funny, long, ridiculous, long, sad, and long.
  2. If you are interested in the complicated relationships between isolated island folk, symbolism, and metaphors, I suggest giving Midnight Mass a try–the Netflix mini-series consists of seven hour-long episodes that we watched over a three week span and it was still shorter than Banshees.
  3. If you’re smarter, deeper, and more sympathetic, or just one to buy into the hype, you might feel the need to watch this movie, and by all means, please do, but consider yourself feckin’ warned.

Full title: The Banshees of Inisherin
Tagline: Everything was fine yesterday.
Director: Martin McDonagh
Writer: Martin McDonagh
Starring: Colin FarrellBrendan Gleeson
Rated: R for language throughout, some violent content and brief graphic nudity.
Run time: 1 hour 54 minutes, 273 days
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Dull

Brief Synopsis:
A lengthy travel commercial featuring the gorgeous vistas of Ireland is interrupted periodically by dim conversation and occasional insanity.

Just seeing if anybody even reads this far.

Actual movie synopsis according to IMDB:
Two lifelong friends find themselves at an impasse when one abruptly ends their relationship, with alarming consequences for both of them.

I guess that statement is not untrue.

Please note, The Banshees of Inisherin and Midnight Mass are nothing alike. Midnight Mass is good.

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As previously mentioned too many times to mention again, yet here I go, the past few years have not been as fruitful as I would have liked them to have been. I did manage to eke out a couple of literary amuse-bouche, a long short story and novella, to whet your appetites and hopefully keep you hungry for more, but I’ve come up sorely short on the novel front.

That will change this year.

Mark my words and hold me to them, I WILL publish a full-length novel THIS year.

As soon as I figure out which one…
So, I read these books a while back, review here, with a similar structure, i.e. alternating points of view and an unreliable narrator, and I challenged myself to write a comparable story. I started it. I was really enjoying the planning, plotting, and outlining–a first for me, but a technique I think I’ll need considering the alternating POV and unreliable narrator. I was making great initial progress…until I read another book, one which I have not reviewed yet, hmmm, but anyway, it reminded me loosely of Agatha Christie‘s And Then There were None, with it’s remote location, collection of strangers, and, of course, murder. And THAT story inspired a related novel in me. So, I began planning, plotting, and yes, outlining (there are many characters to keep track of, each with their own goals, secrets, and motives).

A wise friend suggested that if I want to finish one thing, I stop reading more things.

I’m calf-deep, more than ankle, less than knee, in the aforementioned manuscripts, but I’m wading in half a dozen other projects. I am equally excited, dedicated, and then dismissive of each of them. Fabulous stories all! To say I have options is an understatement; focus is what I need.

I am attending a writers’ retreat at the end of this month. My “goal” is to have a working outline completed by then for a whirlwind weekend of novel writing. It will probably be the most recent of my challenges, a story I am referencing, interestingly enough, as, The Writers’ Retreat. Title may change. Project may change. But I swear, as soon as I get out of my own way, I will publish again.

~ ~ ~

Wyra Goes to Hell, a tale of retribution, recollection, and recognition. In Hell.
School Spirit, Book 3 in the Kimmie Jillison Mystery series

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