Magpie at Hanuman Temple, Taos

Hello!

Thanks for having a look over here.

I’m Maureen O’Connor Saringer and I live in a college town in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

A few years ago, I retired from a Higher Ed career in data and systems administration. Now, I work part-time as a technical project manager at a Higher Ed consulting firm. It’s really fun. Working 5-10 hours per week is hugely more life-affirming than working 40+ hours per week.

I finally have more time to focus on fiction writing. Yay! Also, mildly terrifying!

Thank god for spreadsheets, as that’s how my brain aligns with the world.  I’m one of those affected people who have individual spreadsheets for Fun Things to Do, Household Tasks (with categories for Short-Term and Long-Term projects), Cooking to Try, and Personal Miscellaneous, because can you even manage your Miscellaneous without a spreadsheet? And then there’s my weekly review, in which I have a glance at all the files, and add items to the spreadsheet for This Week & Upcoming.

So, some overthinking. Do I actually do all the things on that weekly list? Hell no. But at least I have my plan, and it grounds me.

Meanwhile, writing is a whole different animal, who’s screaming for attention and throwing shit around everywhere. There’s no order. There’s no Save the Cat type plan, Aristotelian structure, or bullet points. There are just random snippets of phrases and scenes, index cards that are not at all indexed, notes about the ombre’d hair of the main character and the unicorn tiles in their guest bath, foam boards covered in color-coded sticky notes about…something? Plot? Interiority? Half-filled journals every damn where, and a Dropbox full of partially completed stories. But, thanks be to god, I have found some relief while reading Matt Bell’s excellent craft book, Refuse to Be Done, in which he calls my scraggly bits, “islands.” And he says it’s okay, so I press on.

I don’t know what I’ll write here, to be honest. I know I want to consider the craft of writing, as I learn things. I also want to write about the things that I care deeply about, which are likely to show up in my fiction. Expect a pro-choice, feminist, mostly left-wing bent to everything you see here. You can expect some sadly entertaining stories of my tennis game, chronicles of my elderly cat, notes about meditation, and occasional outbursts about yoga poses I can't do. No, I do not do a handstand every day. It’s a metaphor for trying something challenging, every day. Although I love handstand, it’s gotten creaky as I’ve aged. Or I’ve gotten creaky? Surely that can’t be it.

In closing, I must warn you: do not attempt to evangelize me toward pickleball because I have #StrongFeelings about tennis. Also, I reserve the right to change my mind once I actually play pickleball.

My vision for a better world is more funny cat pics and singing dog videos, with everybody meditating and making their own art, baking pies, working hard, prioritizing sleep, and just trying to live free and upright with each other.

I’ll see you in the field.

Maureen

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In which a retired higher-ed systems administrator pursues the craft of fiction.

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Fiction writer person.