The GOP, Bacon, and Me:

Why This Primary Season is Even More Unpalatable than Usual By Jean Copeland Like most of us, I’m trying to maintain my sanity during this presidential primary season, but it’s no easy task. Whethe…

Source: The GOP, Bacon, and Me:


A Writer’s Snow Day

Making the Most of Nature’s Gift of Time

It’s the dream of every writer with the day job of teaching: a snow day, a precious gift given too rarely during the school year that allows us to shut out the seemingly endless demands of the real world and dedicate our entire focus to our craft. It’s a day to revive our senses, renew our inspiration and fully immerse ourselves in our narrative, thanks to this offering Mother Nature has so generously provided us.

Unfortunately, like most people who can enjoy the benefit of cancelled plans and a day home in pajamas, I usually find myself lamenting at the end of the day that I hadn’t accomplished nearly as much as I’d set out to. So today, the first snow day of the school year, I’ve decided to investigate why that is by chronicling each event of this blissful, unscheduled writing day to figure out why I’m not more prolific when all I have is time.

5:30 am:  Answer robo-call that school is closed. (Should jump out of bed right now, make coffee and get right down to writing!)

8:30 am:  Wake up after falling back to sleep plotting out the opening scene in head

9:00 am:  Sit down at computer. Forgot what I plotted out in head before falling back to sleep—something about two women separated in a snow storm.

9:30 am:  Staring out window at cascading snowflakes imagining giving Best Screenplay Oscar acceptance speech after novel is made into movie

10:15 am:  Writer’s block. Wander around house; realize how infrequently I dust

writer giving up.jpg
Why bother?

10:30 am:  Wake up cat with kisses

10:31 am:  Apply Neosporin to scratches on face after waking up cat with kisses

10:45 am:  Back to writing

10:46 am:  Check Facebook to make sure I’m not missing anyone’s birthday

10:47 am:  Follow link in newsfeed about 37 Actors Rumored to be Gay; internet too slow; abort article

11: 15 am:  Finish scrolling newsfeed. Log off

11:16 am:  Try to write opening scene again. Remember I logged off Facebook before wishing friends happy birthday. Log on again. Wait to see if they “like” birthday posts.

11:30 am:  Back to opening scene. Boy, that snow’s really coming down. That’s way more than the 1″-3” they predicted last night. These damn weather people. You can never believe a word they say.

The alleged 1″-3″ of forecasted snow. I’m expecting to see a dog sled team whiz by any second.

11:45 am:  Coffee gone. Need to make another cup. Let me throw in a load of laundry as long as I’m up.

12:00 pm:  Back to opening scene. (“It was a cold and snowy afternoon. Eliza couldn’t bear the thought of Clara all alone on that lonely, dangerous cattle ranch.”)  Awesome. I’m well on my way.

12:15 pm:  Lunchtime. Didn’t make a milk and bread run yesterday. The forecast was only for 1″-3” of snow.

12:30 pm:  Still foraging the kitchen for something to spread peanut butter on. I should go grocery shopping more often.

1:00 pm:  Baking muffins I found in cabinet. Expiration dates are just suggestions.

Chocolate chip muffins. Lunch of champions.

1:30 pm:  Taking mental break from writing. Surf channels till I find Forensic Files. Fall asleep right after woman’s body is discovered by hiker in shallow ravine.

3:00 pm:  Refreshed from nap. Back to my opening scene. (Why is Clara all alone on that cattle ranch? Why is it dangerous? How did Eliza meet Clara? Are they romantically involved yet or does Eliza adore her from afar?)

3:15 pm:  Quick check of Facebook while deciding why Clara’s cattle ranch is dangerous. Scroll faster to avoid #Friendsday videos. Oh, a cat video!

3:45 pm:  Shit. Forgot laundry in machine.

4:15 pm:  Back to opening scene. Why the hell did I set this story on a mid-western cattle ranch in the late 1800s? I’ve never even been to the mid-west. Or a cattle ranch. Or the 1800s.

4:30 pm:  “It was a cold and snowy afternoon. Liz couldn’t bear the thought of Claire all alone at that lonely, dangerous wine bar. How she’d wished she’d put snow tires on her car earlier in the season.”

5:00 pm:  Done for the day! 36 words. Not bad. Could’ve been more. Hey, writing is an art, a delicate process that can’t be forced. It’s only 36 words, but they’re 36 quality words. Save Word file. Do mock end-zone victory dance. Celebrate by opening bottle of wine.

Jean Copeland is the author of The Revelation of Beatrice Darby, and The Second Wave, coming Oct. 17, 2016 from Bold Strokes Books.


Memorial Day From a Writer’s Perspective

Writing is the most essential form of human expression. Even when we lack the courage to say what we feel, we can always count on a card, note, or text to help us cross an unsteady emotional bridge. On Memorial Day this concept especially resonates with me. As a writer of lesbian fiction and essays, where would I be without the freedom of expression? Where would any of us be without it? If so many men and women hadn’t risked and ultimately sacrificed their lives fighting for the freedoms we enjoy as part of the American way, we’d live in a society where voicing our opinions on topics we feel so passionately about could get us killed. Sounds incomprehensible, but for too many, it’s fact. And imagine a world in which we couldn’t air our indignation at or pride in America through social media debates that settle nothing in the grand scheme of things–ok, bad example, but you know what I mean. At the very least, those social media exchanges give us pause to think and consider a different viewpoint–at least I hope they do.

So as I sit on my lanai, sipping coffee from my Doris Day as the gender-bending Calamity Jane coffee mug, preparing to revise a short story, the brave members of the US Military, living and gone, are in my heart with a heavy debt of gratitude.

Writing with my muse...
Writing with my muse…