This was written in response to Writing 101, Day 11: Writing and not writing.
Writing, Chocolate, Vino and the Blood Moon
An Interview with Lynne Brown from the blog, from the sticks to the bricks and back again
Earlier this week, I sat down with Lynne Brown, a blogger who blogs at from the sticks to the bricks and back again. Lynne, who is sometimes referred to as sticks, has been blogging for just over two years now.
Her blog, which some call a lifestyle blog, features posts on family, social commentary, a cooking feature she calls Burnin’ Up the Kitchen, and a blogging community feature called Follow Friday.
Sticks took time out of her schedule to answer a few WordPress questions.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Life happens, when I’m not writing. Dishes, laundry, meetings, job searching, housework, spending time with family and friends, bill paying, grocery shopping, volunteering in my community. Realistically, life happens while I’m writing too, I just may not be as actively involved in the activity.
But then there’s never a time when I’m completely not writing. Walking through a mall, sitting in a coffee shop, grocery shopping you hear snippets of conversation and think “I’ve got to remember that, someday one of my characters is going to say that line.”
Sometimes while I’m walking around doing other daily activities, I am still writing. While I am cooking or doing laundry, I am writing and editing in my head. Then later when I sit down at the keyboard or with a pen and pad of paper, the words just come pouring out. Not perfectly, editing must still happen.
Why are you looking at me strangely?
Other people write in their heads I’m sure. I can’t be the only one who sees patterns in numbers and words and writes and edits first drafts in her head, am I?
What’s that? Does this happen all the time?
Clearly not. If it did, I would already have published a novel or two.
How do you reset and return to this dashboard refreshed?
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just hit F5 and refresh the page like we can on our laptops?
I don’t have a set routine, which could be a problem. I don’t have one thing that is a go to that refreshes me. Could be a nap or a cup of tea. I like naps a lot, I have sleep issues and naps are one of my favorite things.
I saw these questions in my inbox that you sent over and didn’t give them much thought. It was more of a glance and dismiss as opposed to a read and think about the topics. I knew I wasn’t going to make time to respond to your request for an interview until the following week. That being said, clearly they were in my subconscious mind during the week.
Fast forward to Sunday and the Super Moon. One of my nieces asks on Facebook whether anyone else was going to watch the super moon or blood moon and for suggestions on where to view. The geek in me started to type “away from city lights and a high elevation” but instead I responded Aunty Judy’s backyard.
I knew my sister was away camping but that didn’t stop me from preliminary planning a gathering in her backyard. I think it’s one of the downsides of owning what was once your childhood home – sometimes your siblings act as if they still live there. Guilty as charged, but I used to live there and six generations of our family have lived there. There’s a connection to that house and land that stays with me as much as my sister may wish it would go away. She can wish all she wants but I’m not going anywhere. Besides I’m her daughters’ favorite aunt.
Joe, Judy’s husband and my favorite brother-in-law, will build us a fire I suggested while Judy and Joe were still in a Wi-Fi free zone. I’ve got to go shopping, I’ll pick up stuff for S’mores, I offered. Spontaneously and without any input from my sister, my niece and I planned a blood moon viewing party in my sister’s backyard.
At one point both my niece and I felt pangs of remorse and tried reaching out to Aunty Judy to let her know our plans. If tagging someone in your Facebook conversation and texting her on the phone she accidentally on purpose left at home is asking permission to converge upon her backyard then we asked permission. Eventually Judy in spite of her initial pushback agreed to let us view the Blood Moon in our backyard, I mean her backyard.
A small group of my family, which included three of my youngest nieces, sat around a fire (thank you Joe and Jenny) roasted marshmallows and hot dogs, looked at the moon and chatted while the girls performed dance routines to their favorite songs.
We all took pictures of the moon on our phones, none of which would be classified as brilliant or artistic shots. But, that was okay. I though about going down to the house to get Judy’s camera as she suggested one of the girls get it. By that time, I cared less about whether I captured a great shot of the eclipsing blood moon and more about whether I missed the banter around the fire pit.
The night became more about our family than the moon. I might have missed Kendra’s hysterical laughter when Jenny asked her mom if she had any hotdogs because she wanted to roast wieners. “Jenny called hotdogs wieners,” Kendra was barely able to utter as she laughed uncontrollably telling us all what a silly word wiener was. I might have missed Gianna leading her sister and cousin in a dance routine. On second thought, I would definitely not have missed that because the girls would only be too happy to perform the routine again and again for me.
When one of the girls usually the youngest got too whiny, I would chime in with “look at the moon” distracting everyone as we collectively looked up towards the moon. Each of the several times, I used this ploy I would smile as I was reminded of our great Aunt Sally who was always compelled to tell us whether we were gaining or losing a minute a day of sunlight after the solstices.
I might have missed being schooled by Jenny on the phases of the moon. ” Aunty, you really don’t know the phases of the moon?” Jenny asked as I pretended to have never heard about this moon phase thing.
“Aunty, it’s simple – new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, third quarter, waning crescent.”
“Okay, Jenny,” I replied while thinking I may not know the light of a waxing gibbous as I walk beneath it, but I know my love for you Jenny girl will not wane.
I might have missed out on career advice as the discussion around the fire pit turned to my current state of unemployment. Not as painful as it sounds, Gianna offered up that she thought I’d make a good guidance counselor. Quite the complement, I think, coming from a fourteen year-old.
When someone commented that the next appearance of the blood moon would be in 2033, eighteen years from now, I suggested we all meet in the backyard again for a blood moon viewing. As everyone was agreeing to return to that spot, Judy said, “I’ll be retired by then.”
Not sure if she was noting that at least she wouldn’t have to get up for work the morning after our next blood moon viewing party or hinting that she’d be living someplace else, I asked if that meant she was planning on selling the house and moving. She quipped, “When I do, I’m not telling any of you where I’m moving to.”
I sat there under the eclipsing moon and thought I hope the next owners will light a fire because I fully intend, God willing, to watch the next super eclipse from that spot. That spot which is not far from where my great grandparents grew grapes, stomped them to make wine and sat underneath the stars after a long day sipping a glass of vino or grappa before turning in for the night.
And it was then it occurred to me how to answer your question – moments like these spent with family refresh me.
What do you need in your day-to-day life to maintain balance?
Who told you I’m balanced? They lied.
A piece of good chocolate soothes me and balances me.
Over the years, I’ve gotten away from self-care practices that help keep me centered and balanced. Things like writing morning pages; practicing the art of being in gratitude; making time for a peaceful cup of tea. These are some of the simple self-care routines that can provide me balance.
Currently, I think I’d describe myself as a hot mess who time from time enjoys a beautifully balanced day.