Getting It Right

I’m a perfectionist, whether I’m writing, creating art, learning how to consistently bat over .300 when playing softball, or being an all-around descent person. I’ve been this way all my adult life, and it was the force behind my determination to be an excellent wildlife artist waaaaaaaaay back in the 1980s. I began painting whitetail deer in the hopes of becoming a magazine and book illustrator, but my deer looked cartoonish (I was a cartoonist at the time!), so I painted hundreds of deer from 1983 to 1987 just to get it right.

Gouache on paper, 1985
Watercolor and acrylic on board, 1987

I’m a perfectionist with my books too, which is why I pulled my Green Crystal series from their Amazon home in 2015. Sometimes an author (and artist) has to say “Good enough” and get on with the next project. But sometimes that decision isn’t “Good enough” after all.

I’ve spent plenty time posting why the Green Crystal books weren’t good enough to stay in circulation, so I won’t repeat all that here. Let me summarize, however, that I’m pleased with what going back to the drawing board with them two years ago and starting anew has brought to light.

Although the first five books of the 8-book series are short stories, I spent a lot of time and TLC on character development that elevated their personalities and made me an acting child psychologist of sorts since my characters are 14 years old. And since they’re part of the overpopulated YA book department, they need to stand up well against their contemporaries.

If all goes as planned, I’ll have the first three books of my Green Crystal series available at the end of the year. I tweaked their covers again, so I’m sharing the art of the first two books—number three is still in progress.

Night of the Hell Hounds ebook cover
Day of the Fairies ebook cover

If I miss the mark on the release date, it’s only because the perfectionist in me found a good reason to hold up the publication. And that reason will be: to get it right.

Halloween

It’s Halloween and it’s still one of my favorite times of year. When I wake up on that day, a myriad of words and images fill my mind and take me to recalling my childhood and the childhoods of my children and grandchildren. This evening, my grandchildren and their friends will take to the streets in costumes and go home with candy and other treats, just as their parents and grandparents did when they were young.

Halloween has been an event for families and communities all my life. When I was a country boy, hayrides, corn mazes, carving pumpkins, and bobbing for apples happened days before Halloween, leading up to the event that took us to town with excitement in our hearts. I don’t remember a time when kids in costumes didn’t fill the streets of my hometown for tricks and treats.

For me, Halloween is the closing of autumn. The season came with the usual sights, sounds, smells, and feelings of summer’s end, when the days shortened and whispered to me the approach of winter. Yet, I bathed in sunlight and the gold, brown, and red when the first leaf of autumn turned color (here in the north) and grew to a crescendo when Halloween finally arrived.

So, I arose this morning and peeked out my window, because Halloween comes with surprises. Will it be sunny, rainy, or snowing when the carved pumpkins are alit with candles one last time and the little trick-or-treaters ring our doorbells tonight?

We shall see. Meanwhile, have a safe and happy Halloween everyone.

Image courtesy scholastic.com.

No More ArtWritingLife

WordPress is hounding me to renew my old domain, ArtWritingLife. They say

The domain artwritinglife.com will expire on Sunday, July 18, 2021. Visitors to artwritinglife.com will not see “Steve Campbell”.

That is true. I have a new domain, stevenlcampbell.com, which I created last year. Both domains take you to this website/blog. I suppose that if you signed up to follow my site via artwritinglife.com, you will get a notice after July 18 that the site is no longer available. The easy remedy is to visit/follow me via stevenlcampbell.com.

My apologies for any confusion and/or problems this may cause. I simply wanted a domain that reflected my name in it. I chose it because I published books under Steven L. Campbell and that is the name that pops up in many searches. However, I now publish as Steve Campbell, the name I published my artwork under.

Bottom line is, I am still at WordPress and easy to find.

Peace and love, everyone. Have a great day.

Feeling the Rain

A year ago today, I was rushed into emergency surgery that saved my life from a perforated bowel.

During my weeklong stay at the hospital—first in a recovery room, then in a 24-hour observation room where my nurses kept watch for sepsis, I spent a lot of time alone. Covid restrictions allowed me one visitor, which was my wife who had to travel almost 40 miles to see me. When she and my nurses were not with me, I entertained by visiting the internet via my phone and perusing art and writing sites. One night, I found a long quote—perhaps a poem—by Walt Whitman about his desire to be closer to animals and nature. Being a wildlife artist for many years, I felt akin to that desire. So, with pen and paper, I jotted down a couple lines about animal life that intrigued me.

They do not sweat and whine about their condition, they do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins. Not one is unhappy over the whole earth.

The words took me back to the years I studied wildlife. Animal lives seemed so basic, so simple, which led me to practicing a similar simple life. My main purpose then was to care for my children. Although employment stole time from us, it gave me enough income to acquire necessities to keep them healthy and safe.

My children were long grown and raising families of their own when I left the hospital to finish recuperating at home. What had my purpose in life become? To grow old and die?

Beyond making purpose for a corporation by my employment to it, I decided to make purpose for me again. So I retired from the workforce and did a lot of soul searching for what I wanted to do.

I have been an artist—a good artist—most of my life. It brought me awards and recognition beyond my desires. And it brought me to a crossroad where I no longer felt challenged by it. So I spent the winter and most of spring looking at things that challenge me most.

One of my biggest challenges is writing well, mostly because I suffer a form of dyslexia that has hindered me most of my life. When I write well—and by that I mean something that reads coherently and moves my emotions long after I wrote it—the experience is an uplifting one, much like depicted in the illustration above.

I want to feel the rain when I write. And I want to feel it when I read it. That is my newfound purpose in life.

It will talk as long as it wants, the rain. As long as it talks I am going to listen. —Thomas Merton

Old Dog, New Tricks In May

I’m back in the saddle with my KDP book projects, getting ready to publish my books again at Amazon. I spent the past month learning new publishing techniques that will help ease the burden of being an indie author who self-publishes their books.

First among the list was learning the latest Microsoft Word program after I replaced 2010 with 365. The learning curve was small on that, which carried me onto Amazon’s latest version of Kindle Create. Again, the curve wasn’t too difficult since I last used the program five years ago.

Next on my list was learning to use Inkscape so I can create my book covers for paperback books. I usually use MS Word and an old PhotoDeluxe program for that, but I wanted to learn something new. The curve on that is big, so I’ve been watching YouTube tutorials to ease the process. I have a college BA degree in graphic design that I received in 1990, so I’m a relic when it comes to all the gadgets and their bells and whistles in the digital age. Don’t let me get started on all my failures while using Photoshop twenty years ago. The program was Grand Canyon huge and clunkier than my grandfather’s Model A Ford back then, so I got rid of it and settled on its streamlined and swifter little brother, PhotoDeluxe. Inkscape doesn’t seem as difficult as Photoshop but has plenty of bells and whistles.

During all this excitement, I replaced my Win7 laptop with a Win10 one. I spent a weekend moving files and learning 10’s shortcuts. It was funny when the computer connected to my old 2007 Hotmail account and wanted to use it as my primary email. I’ve been using Gmail for a decade and I forgot all about my Hotmail account after I transferred all my contacts to Gmail ten years ago. It was funny and a little bewildering to see my face from 2007 on my computer’s sign-in screen. Ah, the old gray hair isn’t what it used to be.

In between writing, prepping my books for publication, and getting comfortable with Win10, MS Word 365, and Inkscape, I decided to dive into the deep end of the author pool by downloading Scrivener version 3. More tutorials at YouTube helped me with its steep learning curve and I enjoyed how easy it was to create ebooks and paperbacks ready to send to Amazon’s KDP.

As if I wasn’t busy enough, I created a new author logo.

I plan to use this on my book covers to give them a unique look. I’m tired of seeing plain fonts on covers, so the artist in me took over during one of my book cover design sessions. Although the one pictured is red, I can use any color.

As an experiment, I threw this cover together for the first ebook at my KDP website.

I made it with MS Word and PhotoDeluxe—my old standby method—but I’ll probably use a cover built on Inkscape when I actually publish the book.

So, there you have it, my busy month of May in less than 1000 words.

Have a great June and stay safe.

Peace and love!

10-Year Blogging Anniversary

I received notice last week from the good people at WordPress that my blog reached its 10-year mark.

Happy Anniversary, dear blog.

I recall when I began chiseling its foundation in January all those years ago, publishing my first post in February, and getting my first follower. I received many more followers in the next ten months, and I eagerly followed my followers, we commenting back and forth, and I feeling like a new tenant of part of a happy community. Sadly, I no longer hear from those bloggers. Two of the blogs from 2011 are in limbo and haven’t shown activity in several years; the rest of my followers of that year are no longer around.

All the same, it has been a fun ride and I haven’t run out of things to post! Here’s to ten more years.

Hell’s Fury [politics]

I usually stay away from politics when I’m on the internet. Too many uneducated people try to sway my opinions with poor arguments that would get them laughed out of a Philosophy 101 class.

Anyway, there’s a big stink in the state of Pennsylvania (and I don’t mean the governor this time) over the POTUS election. And one of those stinks involves my wife.

She discovered that her vote didn’t count because she used a Sharpie on the ballot. A Sharpie on a table at the polls that a worker there told her to use.

And now her vote is invalid.

Really?

How ridiculous … lousy political snafu … stupid is that?

A lot more stupid than our 43rd and 44th presidents put together.

As it stands, there’s an investigation going on over misconduct at the polls in Pennsylvania.

All I can say is this election was a farce and an embarrassment to U.S. citizens. And if Biden is POTUS come January 20, 2021, comedians are going to have a field day with that stooge.

***UPDATE*** Pennsylvania officials say that while they preferred voters to use either blue or black ink pens on ballots, the Sharpe ballots were not discounted. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania poll workers claim Sharpie ballots were destroyed and not counted.

Life after Surgery

I thought I’d share some of the ups and downs of my experiences after surgery.

I had stomach surgery three months ago, July 13, around 7:30 in the morning. I don’t recall much after waking up that first day—I was groggy and confused, but I do remember how happy I was to see my wife. I couldn’t turn or sit up in bed—the pain from moving kept me immobile, so I stared at the ceiling a lot and prayed I wouldn’t cough or sneeze.

My stomach was stapled and bandaged with thick white gauze and lots of tape, and I was hooked up to an NG (nasogastric) tube, which was a long, thin, flexible tube inserted through my nose and down into my stomach, which kept me fed and medicated by IVs of various sizes and colors. I couldn’t eat or drink anything, so I listened to my belly rumble for nourishment of the old-fashioned kind. Another tube, a JP (Jackson-Pratt) drain from the right side of my stomach, collected bodily fluids from the surgical site and collected them in a bulb that had been squeezed like an old tennis ball. It slowly expanded and sucked the fluids out of my stomach.

On day 2, the pain lessened enough that I was able to get out of bed and walk a little, despite the medical contraptions connected to me. I did better when the unit nurses moved me—bed and all—to a room on the other side of the hospital later that day. One of the nurses had lowered the bed during the transport, so I found it easier to get my feet to the floor. It was a slow and still painful procedure getting out of bed and walking, but I was determined to get healthy again. This attitude pleased my physical therapy nurse, so she added a few things to my To Do list.

When I wasn’t walking or doing chores on my list, I spent the time in bed and bored, so I read Kindle books and WordPress blogs, and hung out at Facebook on my phone and tablet when my wife wasn’t at my bedside. I never felt as lonesome as I did when my wife wasn’t with me.

My room nurses removed the NG tube and wicks (small, absorbent gauze between my staples) on day 4 (July 16). Then I had my first taste of water; it was delicious. Food came in liquids and gels—my favorite was lime gelatin. The physical therapy nurse visited me and added more exercises to my To Do list. I did them fine with hardly any pain.

On day 5, my room nurses awaited my first bowel movement. It didn’t happen, so I spent another day in the hospital, eating real food—soft and bland—and strolling around the hallways to fight boredom. I’m not much of a TV watcher, so I read a few more books.

The awaited BM arrived on the night of day 5, so my surgeons (I had two) came to see me the morning of day 6 and released me to go home. When I got home, I took to my recliner and slept for several hours.

I started Home Health therapy the next day, stuck to my exercises, and felt good during the rest of July. I had my first shower on the 29th; it was heavenly.

Two days later, my face and hands swelled. To this day, my doctors don’t know why, but the consensus is it’s my thyroid. I take thyroid medicine (have been for almost twenty year) and I was off my medicine during my hospital stay. Apparently, it knocked my thyroid levels out of whack, so I’m under a stronger dosage and awaiting more lab work and another consultation next month. Meanwhile, I have bouts with swollen lips, nose, eyelids, and hands. I’m writing this today (October 25) with a swollen left hand. The swelling isn’t life threatening (as far as the doctors say), though my throat swelled one time in August and had me worried.

I went back to work full-time August 24 and came home exhausted. I didn’t realize how much I charged through life until I couldn’t. Stomach surgery will do that to you.

Coming home weak, shaky and exhausted happened every day until September 17 when I had another bout with facial swelling and called off. My family doctor put me on a leave of absence. I’m still on it until November 2.

I still get weak and shaky. I wake up feeling tired. So, frankly, I’m uncertain whether I’m ready to go back to work at the old 9-to-5. Sure, I could use the paycheck, but how many times will I end up calling off because portions of my face are swelled to where I can’t see or talk and my hands can’t grip anything?

Thursday, I have an endoscopy scheduled. Next month, I have blood tests, probably another CT scan of my thyroid, and a few other tests on the books going into December. That means more days missed at work from calling off.

So, I’m seriously looking into retiring. I’m 63 years old and fifteen weeks away from turning 64. I planned to work until my full retirement age. That’s three years away and looking impossible to achieve. I could work part time. But I’d lose my health benefits if I did—not that my job’s health benefits are very good to begin with.

Retiring is a big decision. Can I afford to live on Social Security? I don’t know. But the biggest quest, I think, is: Where do I see myself in five years and how do I see my path of getting there?

With all the time I’ve had in recuperation mode, I’ve come to an insightful realization. I’m not the person I was before my surgery. And given my current status, I like being home with my wife. I like being able to go outdoors and be in touch with nature again. I love watching the leaves change color, the animals that scamper in my yard, and the way the trees and grass sway in breezes. October is a great time to change gears, relax, enjoy the out-of-doors, and embrace each moment as it arrives. My job took that away from me. It consumed much of my time and deadened me to the things I truly find beautiful in life.

I want to continue embracing each moment of that kind of life with joy, glad to think that my previous busy 9-to-5 life can be a closed chapter in my history.

My surgery saved my life. My sincerest hope is that I’ll continue living several years more. And with that life, I want to appreciate the beauty around me without dreading the thought of shutting the window on that part of my soul for the pittance of a paycheck from a 9-to-5 job I don’t particularly care about anymore.

Living

Three months ago to the date on the calendar, I almost died.

I woke up a little after midnight that Monday morning because I had excruciating stomach pain. My wife drove me to our hospital’s emergency room where they x-rayed my stomach and then loaded me into an ambulance and sped me north to one of the two major “city hospitals” where the awaiting surgeons sliced open my stomach and repaired a torn duodenal ulcer. Later, one of my surgeons told me that if I had waited an hour longer, I would have died.

That was some heavy info to ponder while I lay recuperating in a hospital bed for a week. My nurses made sure there was no sepsis or complications from the surgery, and I pondered about the important things in life while I made sure to exercise my legs and lungs to prevent blood clots.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the hospital allowed me only one visitor, which I had to approve in writing the best I could while on my back. I chose my wife, of course, and she visited nearly every day while I kept in touch with family and friends via phone and (shudder) Facebook. (I don’t like Facebook, but that’s another post for another time.)

Because of the drive and her part-time work schedule, my wife could only visit for four or five hours. We have been married for 39 years (40 in November) and she is my partner, best friend, and my crutch to lean on when I need to lean. So, when she wasn’t at my side and I wasn’t on my phone, the rest of the time I was busy soul searching. (I’ve been told almost dying can do that to a person.)

When I left the hospital and went home to finish recuperating, my love and appreciation for my wife and family had grown. My cares and worries about my job, social status, and everything outside my family circle became less important. Being anything outside my role as husband, dad, and grandfather, whether artist, author, or that guy who works in the photo center at a Walmart store: not important.

Three months ago, I almost died. But three months ago, I started living again.

The New Two-Day Delivery Service

I recently had major surgery and spent two weeks in the hospital before the doctor sent me home to finish recuperating. I spent a lot of time in my hospital bed reading ebooks on my tablet and phone. But when I got home, I wanted to have some hard copy books to read while stuck in my recliner. So, I headed to Amazon and placed an order for two-day delivery. That was two days ago. It took Amazon that long to process my order of a book in stock and then ship it. My book, Amazon tells me, will arrive Monday … two days from today.

Really?

I understand that they are likely understaffed during our COVID-19 crisis. But I noticed a slippage in their prompt service before the worldwide outbreak.

Amazon has been slacking on their two-day shipping, which bothers me because I pay yearly for the promised 2-day delivery.

Once upon a time, Amazon delivered all my orders via either FedEx or UPS and shipping was great. Always on time. Never an issue.

I usually order books, no more than three at a time, so the packages from Amazon aren’t large, which is a problem for FedEx and UPS who are geared for delivering BIG packages. Because of financial losses from delivering hundreds of small packages all over the U.S., FedEx discontinued its air and ground contract with Amazon. Then UPS did the same for its delivery of small packages. Now (and I have seen this happen in my town), the drivers drop off the small packages at post offices on the day the packages are due to arrive to the customer. Then the packages sit at the post offices for another day or longer before delivered.

As I said, FedEx and UPS no longer deliver my Amazon orders. Nowadays, Amazon sends all my orders through (shudder) the United States Postal Service (aka the USPS—snail mail). Since then, none … and I mean absolutely 0 … of my purchases has arrived at the promised delivery times.

I never know anymore how long after Amazon’s promised delivery date my orders will arrive.

And this is happening to others too.

Just this week, my wife had an order arrive at our post office at 8:00am on its promised delivery date and sit there until the following day. It sat there because our post office won’t sort any mail and packages that arrive after 6:00am.

A coworker had his Amazon order arrive at our post office on its promised delivery day, sit there unattended for a day, then go to a nearby city, sit there for another day, and then return to our post office before he received it 3 days late.

Crazy.

By the way, when my wife complained to Amazon’s customer service about her order’s late delivery, they said it’s the US Postal Service who’s to blame, and rightfully so, but she is paying for a service that Amazon isn’t honoring.

To “justify” the situation, Amazon gave her a ten-dollar credit on her next order.

I’m sure not all U.S. post offices are as bad as the one in my town, so I don’t mean to lump them together when I complain about the slow service the USPS offers where I live. And I’m sure customer complaints to other postmasters don’t fall on deaf ears like they do here. But deaf postmasters have been a way of life in this town since the day I moved to it in 1981.

So, the bottom line is Amazon’s two-day delivery is a thing of the past for me. Therefore, there is no reason for me to pay extra for a service Amazon won’t honor via the USPS.

And that’s too bad.

Life Spent Recuperating

Let’s be silly for a moment or two.

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

And I quote to the best of my knowledge, “While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping.”

Now I intensely quote, “His eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming.”

The following is a bulleted paragraph list of three popular and very blind mice:

  • Rufus, the oldest and wisest, makes cheese sculptures at the Mouse Louvre
  • Dufus, who prefers to spell his name d-o-o-f-u-s and refers to himself as Doof, calls himself a “doof machine” and prefers to be in a constant state of “Doof” because “Doof is Life, baby … yeah!”

And

  • Gufus, whom most everyone calls Goofy (but we all know Goofy is a dog … right?), writes love poems in the sand at Myrtle Beach (which does not, as far as I know, grow myrtle beech trees)

The above silliness was brought to you by boredom.

I’m bored because I’m inactive. I’m inactive because I’m recuperating from an illness.

Recuperating may be boring, but it’s also nice.

Sometimes we need to recuperate from all the ills life throws at us. Sometimes we need to call “Time out” and go sit it out before we can go back into the game … if we can still play.

The past week I had to take a time out and recuperate from a complication while wearing the Covid-19 mask (and other facemasks) at my 9-to-5, 40-hour-week job. I have been breathing in too much of my exhale, which contains mostly carbon dioxide, along with methanol, isoprene, acetone, ethanol, ketones, and other alcohols and hydrocarbons. Rebreathing our exhale is not healthy, and doing so has left me in a near asthmatic state. I recuperate (able to breathe regularly again) after I punch out for the day and remove my mask. But due to my age (63), I recuperate at a slower rate than if I were younger.

When anyone rebreathes air, they are at risk for carbon dioxide intoxication or, in extreme cases, carbon dioxide poisoning. Hypercapnia or hypercarbia are names for a condition when a person has an excess of carbon dioxide concentration in the blood. Symptoms of carbon dioxide toxicity include high blood pressure, flushed skin, headache, and twitching muscles, all of which I have experienced while wearing the mask for periods lasting longer than two hours. I have also experienced irregular heartbeat.

So now, after Day #5, I’m off work until (hopefully) Monday, sucking down various medicines, and spending too much time on the Internet.

Will wearing the mask knock me down again? Probably. But I plan to take better care of my health by often removing my mask in safer environments and breathing properly to clear my lungs. It’s my health, after all.

Nine Years Blogging at WordPress

I received notice earlier this week that I have been blogging at WordPress for 9 years.

This prompted me to reflect on my blog’s look and changes during its near decade of existence.

I didn’t call my blog Art~Writing~Life in 2011, but called it Creating New Worlds. My web address was my full name. The first image below is a short-lived header. I planned to present only my art here.

2011 header 1

I quickly changed my mind about my blog’s purpose so not to limit my options. And I used my full name. The following image was my header for the remainder of 2011.

2011 header 2

The next image was my header from 2012 through 2013. I called my blog my “Official Website” because I was in the midst of publishing my books at Amazon in 2012.

2012 header

My header took on a fantasy look in 2014. And I referred to myself as a literary and visual artist.

2014 header 1

By August 2014, I simplified my header and stopped publishing my books at Amazon.

2014 header 2

I began selling my books at Smashwords, so I changed my blog’s header in 2015 to reflect the books there. My novel Trespassing never made it to print, but the other three are still there … for now.

2015 header

2016 saw two header changes here.

The first change was a simplification that added more white space and less visual “clutter.”

2016 header 1

The second change came in two parts. The first part was to my blog’s name and address, which became ArtWritingLife. The second part was to get all crazy again with graphics in my header. I get like that sometimes.

2016 header 2

In 2017, I put my full name in my header again.

2017 header

From Handprints To Footprints had become my motto here, so I created a different header to show it. Also, I shortened my name to Steve Campbell to reflect my plans to publish books under that name.

2018 header

Finally, my current header reflects my free spirit.

2019 header

Receiving that notice also prompted me to look back at my first post, “A Day in My Life,” published February 20, 2011, at 10:49am. I received 2 Likes, 2 comments, and 2 followers that day. Since then, after acquiring 682 more followers, no one else has Liked or commented on that post, which shows that we all have posts that go unnoticed and unread. Even I forgot about it until I looked back. And I enjoyed reading it again, which has prompted me to share it here.

So, here it is. Perhaps someone new will like it.

A Day in My Life

Words awoke me the other morning, repeating in my mind loudly, obtrusive. At 4:27, I snapped on my lamp and scribbled them down.

Dark cold
Deep blue
Frigid from the death of violet

I wondered, What does it mean, frigid from the death of violet? I tried to remember the dream that had birthed those words, but it had vanished.

I extinguished the light and dozed. More words came to me: Birthed. Birthing. Born anew. They repeated and filled my head, sounding like children clopping in oversized rubber boots around my bed until the clamor became one voice saying Words. Words. Words. You send your words into the streets; they’re attacked and raped there. They give birth to new industries; your old words fall away like fallen soldiers.

Again I awoke. Again I asked, What does it mean?

Nothing revealed. I fell asleep and dreamed dreamlessly until sunlight stirred me back to the living. I took my jottings to my office and put them aside while I worked on some pencil drawings—3 hours of studying shadow and light. After breakfast I put away my art project, picked up one of my stories in progress and wrote some chapters. My main character was in a dark place—dark cold, deep blue; the basement room she was in was painted blue-violet and was frigid from the lack of windows.

Aha! The writing went quickly as words spilled from me. Soon, I had a few more chapters.

By afternoon I left for my other job (the one that pays the bills) and left behind the creative person that I am. There is no place at that salt mine for thinkers, imaginers, visionaries. People like that have been verbally attacked there for being different, and their souls spiritually raped.

Aha! … again.

I returned to my writing for an hour that night and struggled to continue my story; I was empty from the time spent at my other job. I struggled as well with the desire to edit what I had written so far—a bad habit that I am trying to break myself from. A writer should not edit his first draft until the story is completed and he has had time to put the story aside for a few weeks.

I drew instead, happy to be home and filling my emptiness with all that I love.