Freedom From Distractions

Here’s an app that might help those who fritter away way too much time on social media, instead of writing. (You know who you are!) 😀 Check it out.

Story Empire

Good morning SEers, Joan here. Happy first day of Spring! I don’t know about you, but I look forward to the longer days of summer, especially those summer evenings. But I digress.

Are you a disciplined writer? I admit to being easily distracted, and it often interferes with my writing time. Here’s what an ideal writing day might look like for me.

I have the entire day to myself. I’m on vacation from my job. I don’t have any chores to do, errands to run, and I’m not expecting any visitors. My husband is at work, the cats are asleep, and I plan to write.

So, I sit down at my computer, open Scrivener, and get busy. An hour has passed, and I’ve written 2500 words.

Feeling energized, I take a short bathroom break and grab something cold from the refrigerator. The words are flowing, and I feel as if…

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#GardenInspiration – Painted Bunting

It’s an absolutely picture perfect day here in central Florida today. Cool enough breeze to keep you from melting, but warm enough for shorts and t-shirts. And as if the weather isn’t enough reason to spend some time outside, this morning, a stunning male painted bunting visited our birdbath. He splashed and frolicked long enough for me to really enjoy his vivid orange, blue, and chartreuse coloring. I’m hoping he’ll be back later for a snack at the feeder, but when he finished his ablutions, he flew up into the bamboo, and became invisible.

You wouldn’t think a brightly colored bird like this, or our year round resident cardinals could vanish among solid green foliage, but they do. You can stand beneath, listening to the scarlet cardinals singing, and not see them to save your soul. Mother Nature is always interesting, and usually inspiring. Today, I was reminded of that once again.

Writers, when your muse has deserted you, go outside. Take a walk around your neighborhood, or a hike in the closest wooded area. Go for a canoe ride. Take an eco-tour. Or just sit on your patio with a  cup of tea, and see what flies or scampers by. You might be surprised. Even in a busy suburban area, with nearby shopping malls, and an interstate highway, I regularly see things like today’s painted bunting. And when I return to work, it’s with renewed energy and inspiration.


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Everyone! Erin go bragh!

On this day, in 1944, at St. Vincent’s Hospital, Jacksonville, Florida, guess who was born? Yep. Me. I arrived kicking and screaming, and pretty much kept on in that vein for the next 73 years. Well, I don’t scream as loud as used to, and I hardly ever kick anyone these days, but you get my drift. Today is my birthday, and do you know what I plan to do? Ahem. ANYTHING I DARN WELL PLEASE! All day long! 😀

My daughter gave me a lovely piece of art for Christmas, and the first thing I’m doing tomorrow is taking it in to be framed. Then I’m going to do some fun shopping, hitting the local bookstores (what’s left of ’em, anyway) and some garden centers I love to browse. After that, I’m getting a haircut, so I won’t scare the dogs anymore. In short, I’m going to have fun doing whatever strikes my fancy.

But let me tell you about my real birthday present. My husband and I have both become quite hard of hearing in our old age. (I blame it on too much rock and roll in my misspent youth.) For a very long time, I put off doing anything about it because, frankly, hearing aids are quite pricey, and I didnt’t think I could afford it. Instead, I became pretty darn good at work arounds. I can lip read surprisingly well, and I’ve made sure folks know to face me and speak loud when telling me something. So I was coping. I thought.

Then I started reading some research on what happens to the mind from hearing loss.  I Don’t want to depress you with all the details, but hearing loss is linked to many emotional problems you might expect, and just about as many physical ones, which you probably don’t. I didn’t. For instance, it is definitely linked to memory loss and dementia!  

After some more research, I knew I couldn’t afford to wait any longer, and I consulted an audiologist (referred to me by my family doctor). She was amazed at how well I was functioning, given the severity of my loss, and worked with me to find a solution.

Now hear’s the good news. A few weeks ago, I was fitted for hearing aids, and there are no words to describe how wonderful my life has become because of them. I’m living in the world of sound again, and it’s astounding how much I was missing. The first day I had them on, I walked out onto my back porch, and I heard my beautiful wind chimes for the first time. I cried. My yard is filled with birdsong that had gradually disappeared. Turns out, it didn’t go anywhere. My ears did. 🙂

I’ve learned all sorts of interesting things, too. Like, every door in my house squeaks. Who knew? And light switches actually click when you flip them. Wow. A hundred times a day, I hear something I haven’t been able to hear for years. And a few more things I never knew made sound. (I think it’s been at least ten years since I heard the turn signal in my car!)

We are going to Charleston in a couple of weeks for my grandson’s 4th birthday, and I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to being able to hear his sweet little voice clearly. Apparently, I never have.

Happy Birthday to Me. I can hear again, and it is glorious!

P.S. Those of you who recognize yourself in this story, do yourself a favor and have your hearing checked. Not only are you missing out on some of life’s most beautiful things, but you are risking damage to your brain that can cause severe memory loss and possibly lead to much worse than that. Make an appointment today, then one day, you can take a walk around listening to things you haven’t heard in a long time. You won’t believe how wonderful it is!


#NotesFromTheRiver – Cottonmouth!

Young Cottonmouth or Water Moccasin

Today’s #NotesFromTheRiver post will tell you the easiest way to identify the Florida subspecies of this much-maligned snake, along with a few other interesting tidbits that I suspect will be news to some of you. Hope you’ll take a look, even if you aren’t a snake lover, like I am. It pays to know some of this stuff. 🙂 And please, feel free to share far and wide.

#NotesFromTheRiver – Cottonmouth!

A fresh start


I remember when I was a very little girl there was a fairy story my mother read to me. It told of how the fairies painted the sticky buds on the trees to protect the baby leaves from the frost. I thought of that tale when the dog and I were out for our pre-dawn wander. The buds are swelling, and reaching up, sure enough the tight little buds are sticky with sap.

There were celandines in the wood this morning, a sheltered little patch that seems to have stolen a march on spring. Their tiny, glossy petals were barely beginning to unfold their fragility to the dawn, but the brilliant yellow that showed against the green offered a promise.

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There is promise in the sunshine today too. Not much warmth yet, but the skies are blue and bright, with a possibility, a mere hint, of warmer days to come. As the frost recedes and the green shows more vividly across the landscape, there is a little vernal vibrancy tingling in the air.

The birds are busy collecting stray fluff and feathers, early lambs and the odd calf gambol in the fields or snuggle close to Mum for warmth. It is a typical moment of the turning of the tides. In spite of iced ponds and bitter winds, you can almost feel the sap rising.

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I love these moments where you can see the turning of the wheel, the cycle of life in motion. Spring may slide into summer with barely a noise, but the change from winter to spring comes with a fanfare, a riot of colour. For now Spring is waiting in the wings. We, the audience, hear the occasional rustle, catch an odd whisper of the glimpse of a golden skirt as she prepares for the raising of the curtain. It is all poised, hushed and eager to begin.

It is a season of births and beginnings and we ourselves feel and respond to the changing seasons. It is a rather nice feeling to be aligned with the forces of Nature in this way, waiting for the sun to come in and light everything, painting it gold and filling it with warmth and life. It feels right that this should be the moment where tomorrow begins.

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Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer with a camera. She has written a number of books, both alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Find her at and on Twitter @SCVincent.