Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Fungi-side

Ah, finally done. 

I've just wrapped up two intense weeks tackling the edited version of the next Lauren Atwill mystery, No Broken Hearts (coming in late spring 2014). So I'll have a social life again, as much I ever have one. As soon as I returned the manuscript, David and I threw a BBQ for a couple of dozen friends. The simple pleasure of eating off a paper plate and not a keyboard. 

When you're up against the return-the-manuscript deadline, you don't get many breaks. But it's important to squeeze some in. They refresh your imagination. 

But sometimes they don't make you feel better. Case in point: I was cruising an entertaining editor’s blog and on her site is a picture of her office. 

I started feeling a bit grumpy, because I always want my office to look like this:

Editor A. Victoria Mixon in the office I dream about

But instead, it looks like this:

Note that I do have the 4 basic food groups for writers (clockwise from far left): Water (glass), coffee (cup), wine (bottle), takeout (box). 

I kept this shot dark on purpose. The dust doesn't like the light.

As I snapped this, I began to think about pictures I've taken that looked (lots) better. And about how most of those pictures are yet to be organized. 

As you can see, organization is not my strong suit. 

So, once I'd sent the edited version of No Broken Hearts back, I began a search through my folders (and folders) of pictures from past vacations, and came across shots I’d taken when David and I hiked in the Finger Lakes region in upstate New York

Just looking at them, I felt better. I was outdoors again, not stuck in the office for weeks listening to a neighbor's constantly yapping dog while trying to rework dialog. [My neighbor believes the dog protects her, barking at intruders. But if it barks all the time, how is that protection?]

As I said, I felt better. I love hiking, and over the last couple of years have rarely got to do it, with the demands of the other career and writing two books. 

Okay, this is sort of embarrassing — but we're all friends here. I enjoy taking pictures of, well, fungi. Not the kind that sprouts under your camellias after a week of rain, and looks like a nasty aspic. The kind that surprises with shape, color and its artistic harmony with its surroundings. And in the Finger Lakes, just off the woodland paths, you can see the most wonderful examples. And no one disturbs you. In fact, I've found that when other hikers realize I'm photographing fungi, they move on pretty fast.  Here are just a few shots I found in my folders.

Maybe I should get these printed/framed. 

Just to the left of the pizza box, I have nice blank strip of wall.

I don't know why I'm so attracted to fungi.

Maybe because writers often feel as if they're stuck in the dark among detritus.

At any rate, it might explain the condition of my office.

Sheila York


  1. Oh, Sheila, your writing always makes me laugh. I love the photos of the fungi. I wish I could be a mushroom hunter like my French friends. Last I visited them in the Jura mountains, we went hunting, and we found and ate ones that looked a LOT like those trumpety black ones. With saucissons and loved scalloped potatoes. Having just eaten warmed over pasta, from night before last, for lunch, I am HAPPY you reminded not only yourself of wonderful hikes past, but me of a lunch in a sunny garden in France.

  2. I don't think your office looks that bad. Where is the cat dung under the desk? Where is the pile of books that won't fit into the bookcase? Where is the laundry basket full of unidentified toys, sewing projects and detritus from your attic, that you had to move out so the guests could get to the guest bed? Feh! I laugh at your so-called disorganization! I see your empty take-out box and raise you three banana peels.

    1. Hahaha. You don't see the other rooms. In the guest room, I have pillars of books. And just out of the camera view, stacks of who knows what that I am sure I'll take care of one day. One of the reasons David and I throw parties: we have to clean the house.

  3. Sheila, that editor doesn't have to write the books! TJStraw

    1. And I have a feeling it doesn't always look like that.

  4. Next to the Astronomy Picture of the Days, the fungi pictures have become my favorite thing on Pinterest. Thanks to you.

  5. I'm sorry, Sheila. I still suspect you're far too tidy.I predict Architectural Digest will be calling any day.