Inspired by Solitaire

There are two immutables that drivSolitaireShote my writing life. One is that I am the ADHD poster child. This means that focus is not my strong suit and that I am fidgety as all get-out. The other is that I am an audial writer. I have to hear it in my head before I can write it. So, sitting still while mulling over my next line can be a bit of a problem.

Thank God for solitaire. Okay, I also like Bubble Witch (although that’s getting a little too tough for mindless clicking) and I have a slot machine game (completely mindless clicking), plus the mahjong matching game and blackjack training. But when it’s time to write, inevitably, I’ve got the solitaire app open.

It’s one of those that has dozens of games, most of which I don’t play. But I have my ten or so favorites, and of those, there’s the game I play most often – Thirty Thieves. It’s not an easy game to win, but not as impossible as its cousin Forty Thieves. I win about half the time I play – and I know that from my stats. It’s not completely mindless, in that I do have to decide where and how to play my cards. But it’s pretty close. (Drat, just lost another hand). In short, it keeps my mind and my hands just busy enough that I can focus on what to write next.

The idea behind Thirty Thieves is that you try to move cards in number and suit order Solitaire2up to the foundation from where they’ve been dealt. The catch is that you can only move one card at a time (okay, need to undo that last move) and you can only go through the stack once. But you can put cards in any empty spot, once you’ve emptied it. (Let’s see, if I put that seven here, I can put the eight and the nine there and there, then put the eight on the nine and the seven on the eight, and that’s a new empty spot.)

I try not to think how many games I go through while working on something. I think I’ve played at least 12 since I started this piece (won that last one – yay). And sometimes, I have to get away from desktop so that I’m not playing endless rounds of solitaire. But there is something about that mindless clicking that joggles the thoughts loose like nothing else. (Okay, 14 games).

So, what helps you joggle the thoughts loose?


Anne Louise Bannon Would Like to Introduce Herself, But…

Photo of Anne Louise Bannon's desktop to illustrate why she's writing such a quick introduction.Is it the Third Thursday already? Shavings! (Note to self, check to see why reminders didn’t pop up). (Note to self, stop ignoring your reminders).

Hi, I’m Anne Louise Bannon. I’m supposed to be introducing myself, and my intent was to offer you a breezy little look at who I am, introduce you to the household critters, that sort of thing.

Only I’d really rather be working on my novel right now. It’s at that place where things are falling together, even though I’m really annoyed about having to off an otherwise inoffensive, nice guy of a character because it’s better for the plot.

And it’s not like I don’t have other distractions. We all do. I have a house that I need to help keep liveable, and while the dust generally waits around here, my feet sticking to the floor must be dealt with. And my husband needs clean shirts – only fair since he does the dishes. Plus the dog wants out again. The cats, as usual, can’t make up their minds, and the more I want them to, the longer they take to do it. Plus there’s the money gig which needs attention – I’ve gotten rather fond of eating, you know.

So, this is going to be quick. I’m Anne. I write the Freddie and Kathy series, set in the 1920s, the Old Los Angeles series, set in 1870 (the novel I want to get back to is the third in this one). I have a lovely husband, one adult daughter, and the critters, who I name because they don’t have the same privacy issues the kid and the spouse do. TobyWan is our basset/beagle mix. There’s the older cat Sadie, who should be Medusa, and the two young cats, Xanax and Benzedrine. There is a story behind the names, but that will have to wait until next month or some other time.

I need to get back to Death of the Chinese Field Hands. Maddie is in full interrogation mode and I need to write that.