Monday, January 15, 2018

Wherein I Finally Determine What My Tattoo Should Be

Not my Tattoo!
In conversation with a new friend yesterday, I admitted that I had spent the last twenty years planning my first tattoo. I’ve come up with several possibilities, but I always end up dwelling on whether each design is something I really want to define me for the rest of my life. As well, getting a tattoo feels like it would be the ultimate act of rebellion, and though my mom has been gone for twenty years now and, let’s be honest, it would be pretty easy to hide one from my dad (especially if I did not blog about it in a public place or, say, post photos of it on Facebook once it actually happened) it seems funny that I would feel that way about a tattoo, when I think of much of the rest of my life as a gradual act of rebelling against what I was taught I should do/be/become.

Here I am, approaching my 50s, many years-clear of any of the traditional institutions of my youth that would have considered a permanent marking of the body unacceptable (though happily, not the people) and a tattoo still feels . . . well . . . Taboo.

I honestly don’t know that I’ll ever commit, but in my head, I am someone with a tattoo. I am also someone who wears long, flowy, colorful skirts and big dangly earrings that catch and reflect the light and chime softly when I move. (And I move like a dancer, by the way, rather than a person who relies on roll-bar technology in her shoes to keep her upright.) In my head, I am a person who can tell you what phase the moon is in, I know the Sanskrit names for all the yoga poses, and when my life comes to a halt at random moments to leave myself post-it notes of inspiration, I do so in the most beautiful calligraphy.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Living Timelessly in 2018

Gratuitous Bookstore Cat Photo:
The Raven Bookstore in Lawrence, Kansas
I have always wanted to start a collection
of bookstore cat photos. Maybe this will be
the year I actually do so.
It's a new year and I have not made a single mistake in writing the number 2018 yet. A good sign, as it seemed as often as not in 2017, I would pause before writing the date to contemplate the year. 2010? 2013? Where exactly in time was I?

I did make resolutions this year, and no, I'm not going to talk about them here. You will see the results of them if I succeed. You won't if I don't. Enough said. Once upon a time I called myself the Queen of New Year's resolutions. Then I spent several years saying that last year's plan worked well enough, I'd simply keep on doing the same ole' same ole'. This year I'm somewhere between the two, and I've committed to checking in with my family on working toward some long term goals.

I am trying something different this year, and seven days in, I'm fairly pleased with the results. For many years now I have been a diligent tracker of time. Perhaps a bit of a side-effect of a freelance lifestyle, or simply a need to document how I spend my time to give myself a record of progress made, I can go back many years and tell you how much time I've spent on "job" related tasks, such as working for/in my husband's law office, and working for the farmers market (a job where, though I was technically an employee, I was the only employee and pretty much the boss of me and how I managed my time). I can tell you how much time I spent on freelance work, most years broken down by the type of work I was doing (writing for pay, writing for fun, ghostwriting, editing, and other). In recent years, I've even tracked time spent on some of my volunteer commitments, not because I felt like I owed the communities I volunteered with any certain amount of time, but because I felt I owed it to myself to make sure that I was spending at least as many hours on me as I was on other people. I have a tendency to put myself last in line of importance, and by tracking these hours, I got better at making sure I was putting in time for myself, as well.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Life Archiving: Aunt Gerry's 85th Birthday

Aunt Gerry and Me

Today is my Aunt Gerry’s 85th Birthday. I am reminded by her photo on the family calendar and a note on Facebook, reminding me to wish her a happy birthday on this day. Aunt Gerry won’t get my note on Facebook, however, because Aunt Gerry passed away on December 31, 2016. Her funeral was the first family event of 2017.

Here I am, coming up on a year of the anniversary of her death, and exactly a year ago today since I last spoke to her. I called her on her birthday last year and we had a great conversation. I remember feeling relieved that she sounded so relaxed and happy, a state of being that wasn’t typical to the one my aunt had a tendency to dwell in.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Kansas Authors Club 2017 Convention in Coffeyville

October 13-15, I attended my 15th Kansas Authors Club Convention. I’ve only missed two since I became a member 17 years ago. This year the event was held in Coffeyville, Kansas. I have circled the state more than twice now attending conventions with KAC, and, as almost always, I was extremely pleased with the quality of presenters, I very much enjoyed the time spent with my writing family, and I came away with new ideas and inspirations sure to fuel my writing work well into the coming year.

Some highlights: Pete Walterscheid performed his magic for us twice! Attendees got a show on Friday evening, a great warm-up for the weekend, and he performed again for the youth awards event on Saturday.

Speaking of youth awards, I think we had the best event for our young writers that we have had to date. Our programs for young writers keep improving and I am so proud to be a part of KAC’s efforts to encourage these kids. For many years now, formatting the Youth Awards Book (printing courtesy of Mennonite Press) has been a highlight of my KAC experience. This year, I continued my support of the creation of the book by lending the talents of an intern for my publishing company, Meadowlark Books. Sammy Beck is a senior at Emporia State University majoring in English with a minor in creative writing. She did a fantastic job on the publication and her original artwork for the book’s cover was a hit.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Poet Ronda Miller Reading and Book Signing at Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore

WaterSigns, Poetry by Ronda Miller
Published by: Meadowlark Books
ISBN: 978-0996680127 

September 18, 2017 - for immediate release

Poet Ronda Miller Reading and Book Signing at Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore

Emporia, KS: Ronda Miller will share from her third and latest book of poetry, WaterSigns, with a reading and book signing at Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore, 1122 Commercial, on Saturday, September 23, from 1-2pm. The book was published by Meadowlark Books of Emporia and sells for $15.

“Miller’s collection, WaterSigns, charts water’s path for plainspeople—water in the aquifer, water in the clouds, water in the field ditches and in the bird’s beak and in the mother’s womb. In this way, Miller’s collection is a celebration of life’s true blood, and Miller gets the people and the flora and fauna of Kansas-country right, right down to the dew drops on grass blades,” writes Kansas Poet Laureate, Kevin Rabas.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

A Life in Progress Book Release Party Scheduled at Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore

A Life in Progress and Other Short Stories, by Tracy Million Simmons
Published by: Meadowlark Books
ISBN: 978-0996680134 

September 7, 2017 - for immediate release

A Life in Progress Book Release Party Scheduled at Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore

Emporia, KS: Award-winning author, Tracy Million Simmons, will hold a release party and book signing at Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore, 1122 Commercial, on Thursday, September 14, from 4-6pm. Readers are invited to come and go. Her newest book is a collection of short stories titled, A Life in Progress. The book is being published by Meadowlark Books of Emporia and sells for $15.

In this collection of short stories, Simmons captures slices of life, glimpses of everyday people and everyday thoughts and actions, and the many moments—touching, amusing, happy, and sad—of lives in progress. This book is an intimate peek into a writer’s stash, written across the decades, an experience of timelessness and the human condition. Through fiction, these stories reveal relatable truths.

 About the book, Cheryl Unruh writes, “Tracy Million Simmons shows clearly the moving parts of relationships. Her stories reveal the irreversible ties of family. She shows the push-and-pull between spouses, between parent and child, between dear friends, and we see how we’re all recklessly and joyfully bound one to another.”

A Life in Progress and Other Short Stories will be available after the release party from Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore and through any book retailer. It can also be ordered direct from the publisher, Meadowlark Books, Emporia, Kansas. Learn more at


Monday, July 10, 2017

Impromptu Writing Retreat

My Munchkin Boy had a state 4-H meeting that kind of snuck up on us. It was far enough away that making two round trips for drop-off/pick-up seemed unreasonable, so I checked the points on my Choice Hotels rewards card and got myself a "free" room with a desk. Bought myself some fancy coffee drinks and healthy snacks and shut myself in for a writing marathon. Hit the ten-hour mark before crashing sometime this morning. Let myself wake up naturally rather than by alarm and am pleased to have another couple of hours to devote to writing before I need to be anywhere.

Wrapping up:

  • WaterSigns -- new poetry book by Ronda Miller
  • A Life in Progress -- short story collection by moi!
  • Essays about vendors and my time at the market. I am calling this a market memoir. I believe it is going to end up being a fairly comprehensive history of the 35 + year history of the Emporia Farmers Market!

What a satisfying way to start a week!

Blog Archive