I failed to call my dad on Father’s Day, because I had no cell service. I feel like that was bad planning on my part, but by the time I realized that my phone was lying to me — that the 1 bar of Verizon service really meant responses like “message failed to send” and “call failed” — I’d already paid $40 for two nights at Bay Furnace Campground. And not just that, I’d gotten one of the four nicest sites, the ones on the lake with water views and their own tiny private beaches. I was not minded to walk away for the sake of an internet connection. (Sorry, Dad. I hope you had a Happy Father’s Day!)
Even if I hadn’t gotten such a nice site, I would have loved this campground. All the sites are reasonably spacious, with good separation between them. I can see my neighbors — and actually overhear some of their conversations — but my site still feels private. I left the shades up to watch the night sky when I went to sleep last night, which I don’t always do, if it feels like people might be driving or walking by.
Although speaking of night skies… Michigan is very far north. I know this not because I can read a map or know anything about American geography (although I actually can and do) but because it stays light ridiculously late and gets light ridiculously early. My instincts are to stay awake for a couple hours after it gets dark and then wake up with the sunrise. That’s not giving me nearly enough sleep in Michigan. If I lived in Alaska, I don’t think I’d get any sleep all summer long.
Back to the campground — it’s dry camping, no electricity or water hook-ups, but there are bathrooms and a dump station and places to get fresh water. Also unexpected ruins and fog on the water in the morning. Also, I am fairly sure, forget-me-nots growing wild in the forest. Seriously, forget-me-nots and fog together make me feel like I’m living in L. M. Montgomery novel.
The writing is still not going well (translation: not going at all), but Amazon finally gave the Kindle app a useful organizational tool: the ability to mark books as Read, and then filter by Unread and Read. I’ve been working my way through my Kindle library, finding the books that I downloaded on impulse, when they were on sale or free, and then never got around to reading. I currently have 302 unread books, which is probably enough to keep me reading for quite a while, although I suspect that plenty of them will eventually wind up in my DNF collection. I was surprised to discover, though, that of the 800+ books on my Kindle that I have already read (or tried to read), only 104 were in the DNF collection. I would have thought that number would be much higher because I give up on books easily these days. If my interest hasn’t clicked by the 10% mark, I move on to the next book.
There are some exceptions, though, usually the ones that I think will be good for me in some way. The virtuous reading. Most of those are about writing, marketing, or self-publishing. The current one that I’m working on is about newsletters. It’s entertainingly written, the author has a great voice, and reading it makes me feel like Sisyphus. The fundamental concept is using your newsletter as a way to connect with people — you don’t want to simply inform people when you have a new book for sale because that’s asking them to buy something, instead you want to charm them and turn them into your friends. Be authentic, be real. Send kitten pictures! … So that they will then buy something from you.
I get the concept. I even understand that if I ever hope to earn a real living at writing books, it’s part of the job. It doesn’t even make sense that I think of it as pretending to be a nice person, because my authentic self is, in fact, nice. But it feels so fake. I might have to pick one of you and write you an email every month and then send it to the rest of my mailing list as well. That might work better for me. Ha.
Moving on, I’m currently writing this on my phone while sitting outside, using a tiny Bluetooth keyboard and a lap-desk that I bought a year ago, and my newly beloved camping chair. I love this chair. It was so worth the quest. I’ve been thinking about a post — or maybe a FB post to the Travato group — about what I’ve learned in my almost three years of van living. There’s an industrial concept about the virtues of constant incremental optimization. It’s got a Japanese name — kaizen, maybe? Anyway, it applies to life in a van, too. Three years and I’m still discovering ways to be more comfortable, to make life easier or more pleasurable. Being able to sit outside in the sunshine while I write is lovely. Lovely enough that I think I will now try to work on Fen for a while. Maybe I can break through my travel-inspired inertia and actually make some progress.
Oh, but one final note about Michigan’s upper peninsula — it was 38 degrees this morning. 38! I should absolutely not have packed my winter clothes away when I left Arcata.
38! HS! Pics so pretty, ducks and water and pink and blue sunset/sunrise. Too cold for mosquitoes tho? The silver lining?
I’m going to guess that it’s almost never too cold for mosquitoes here! There are plenty of them around. Not so many that it’s unbearable, though. I’ve been using my bug spray more than I have in the three years I’ve been on the road, but still fine to sit outside when it’s on. And it’s very very pretty here!
Roberta Carichner said:
The advise in the book “Be authentic, be real. Send kitten pictures! … So that they will then buy something from you.” seems unnecessary since you are doing exactly that already.
I read each of your books at least twice. In the first read I am always in a hurry, following the story. In the second read I concentrate more on the writing, use of metaphors, descriptive details, growth of the characters – all that stuff!
Well, I don’t actually use my mailing list. I don’t send newsletters out to the people who have subscribed to the list, just the occasional rare email about a new release. (Rare, of course, because my new releases are pretty rare.) The people who subscribe to the blog get blog posts in their email, but that’s a different thing. Hmm, although it occurs to me that it might be easy to get them mixed up. I should probably change the mailing list subscription link and put it on my rozelle press website instead. Anyway, I’m glad you like the books enough to reread them — I was rereading Cici today and thinking she’s the first book that I’ve written that I reread just because she entertains me!