{monday potpourri…}

Around Glasgow 229

Hey. Me again. How have you been?

I’ve been thinking lately about grad school, and about my experiences there. Not every writer has an MFA, but I do – and it was one of the better things I’ve ever done for myself. I’ve known other people to employ coaches, freelance editors, and shovel out tons of money to someone who makes them rewrite and rewrite. The MFA experience kind of provides all of that under one umbrella, plus, in my case, heartstrong, lifelong friends and delicious pumpkin spice muffins in the Tea Shop. (Good times, in that Tea Shop. Good times.)

The fair Farida (which is more about her peaceful countenance and sense of fair play, and less about her pigmentation) the other day mentioned a line from a film, “All That Jazz,” wherein the principle character (representing dancer/director Bob Fosse) tells a dancer, “I can’t make you a great dancer. I don’t even know if I can make you a good dancer. But, if you keep trying and don’t quit, I know I can make you a better dancer.”

If you don’t quit, it gets better.

Even sans MFA, even without a writing coach to whom you’ve paid hundreds of dollars. With only the application of your backside to a chair, and putting in the time… you might not be a great writer. You might not even be a good writer. But you’ll be a better writer.


Laurie Halse Anderson, who was recently included in NPR’s Top 100 YA Books list, is plugging ahead with her “Write 15 Minutes A Day” Challenge for August. I must say that her prompts are quirky, funny, ridiculous and provocative of thought. Some good writing is getting done, so yay. Those days that get missed – well. Persistence. Sometimes we just have to re-persist.

Please do read about Laurie’s conflicted feeling about being on the very Caucasian NPR booklist. It’s hard to know how to feel when you have been honored – but so many others have not.


I love, loove, love, love LOVE talking to The Niecelet, for she is full of Teh Funny. Yesterday we spent twenty minutes on babynames.com and chose my Starbucks Name.

Now, as Urban Dictionary will confirm, a Starbucks Name is a fake sobriquet with which you gift yourself because Simple Names R Us at Starbucks. Heaven help you if you have an unusual or creative name, not to mention one with roots in another culture or ethnicity. Having been called Tanitra, Tanitha, Tanisha, and Titna encourages me to say, “YES!” to a Starbucks name, as my special gift to the pronunciation challenged. (And trust me, a gift to myself. I mean, Tatitna? Titna!? Hello?)

Of course, Teh Niecelet has the Best Starbucks Name Evah (which I will not divulge, as it is HERS ALONE, and you might copy.) (Hah.) It’s a trick to find a good one – one must be cautious or one might end up with a stripper name, or so I am told. After much deliberation, I have decided that all Starbucks employees may now all call me Abby. Abby Thompson. I was going to go with Faye, but Teh Niecelet said though easy to pronounce, that one made me sound sixty-seven.

::sigh:: So complicated.

Lunch Salad 1


Jama continues to do those awesomely celebratory things that the rest of us never think to. I think next book of mine that comes out, I’m going to hire her to be happy for me. It’s a talent, this celebrating, and she’s got it in spades. ☺ Jama’s taking a full week to commemorate our Patron Saint Julia’s 100th birthday. Please pop by and enjoy the fun. You might even win something.


It’s the first day of school for hundreds of kids across the country, and for me, it’s hopefully the last week of being in housing limbo. Fingers crossed that I will truly be able to get my brain back very soon. Meanwhile, enjoy the sunshine while you can – nothing lasts forever, not even things you fear will never end. ♥

10 Replies to “{monday potpourri…}”

  1. Since I moved to the Northeast, my Starbuck’s name is apparently “Bob.” Somewhere I have a photo I took of it written on my cup. I kind of like it.

    I’m trying to get back into the groove of writing every day. It’s a lot harder than I would have thought. I will check out the 15 minute writing prompts for inspiration.

    I can’t wait to hear the story of the housing limbo and to see where you all end up. The thing about you, t, is that I always feel like whatever happens to you will be magical.

    1. Hope springs eternal, Bob, er, Barb. I could say the same for you – you’ve TRULY had a magical change happen. You inspire. I continue to watch and learn.

      Meanwhile, YES!!! Fifteen minutes is harder than it seems. But, Scott Turow apparently wrote In Cold Blood in something like three page per day increments. That’s some seven hundred pages or so in a year. It can be done…

  2. The quote from All That Jazz reminds me of some of Sugar’s wisdom: “And every last one of us can do better than give up.”

    I think it’s very appropriate that Jama and joy both start with the letter J.

    At this point in my life, I’ll answer to any name that starts with the letter A that is not obscene. I get Audrey, Aubrey, and Andrea a lot. My last name throws people, too: many think it starts with a V. This kind of thing doesn’t bother me. As long as my name’s right on my paycheck and I have some friends and family who are solid on what my name is, I’m good.

    1. If I were braver, and … well, the type of person to do so, I’d tattoo some of Sugar’s wisdom on my arm. As it stands, I will settle for writing it on my finger occasionally, and using her thoughts as email signatures.

      I’m not offended by people mangling my name – I understand it’s not usual – but I am a bit sad when I stand there stupidly and miss moments where I could have been drinking my gingerbread latte (the once a year Starbucks treat). That is unacceptable.

  3. Oh my goodness– that quote from All That Jazz does work for writing, too! I am so obtuse in this regard that that application to writing didn’t occur to me. Thank you.

    My street/shouty-bar/dance-hall and yes, Starbucks name is my middle name, “Sarah.” I did give my real first name to a Middle-Eastern fast-food kiosk in a Florida airport, but alas, no one was Arabic. The lady began to spell out my name on a cup, and then said, “Oh, never mind.”

    “Titna” is not to be endured. I will challenge that mispronouncing person to a duel… in my imagination.

  4. Hey hey! Thanks for the shout-out, Abby. 😆

    I sooooooooo need a Starbucks name too, having endured Jana, Pajamas, Yama, Hama, Jaime and Jamaica. Since acquiring a married surname I’ve also had Rattingan, Rattigew, and just plain Rats added to the mix. Doesn’t matter if you correct people, be patient for them to get it. Some never do, never will.

    Any suggestions for a Starbucks name for me? Or are we supposed to choose our own? I was thinking “Your Highness” might work. 😀

    1. Behold, Jama, your Starbucks name is MAY. Everybody knows how to spell it, and there is no stripper associated with the name – it’s just too wholesome (Although hundreds of women somewhere are now grabbing poles and thongs to prove me wrong). “Your Royal Highness” is just too long. We’re dealing with over-caffeinated barristas, here.

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