Flash Friday: Do you trust me?

Do you trust me?” Sylvester’s voice reverberates through her mind. She wakes, curled on the ground, in the crook of the tree’s roots. Chirps and whistles, crackles and odd smells she can’t identify fill her ears and nose.  She opens her eyes. The light is dim, trees and bushes reach tall into the sky. Is it dusk or dawn?  She sits up and clamps her palms against her temples, dizzy. She’s sore  and covered in dust and leaves. She leans against the tree trunk and waits for her eyes to focus.  She grasps a handful of leaves and they disintegrate, dusting the forest floor.

Do you?” She thinks the voice is near, almost.  His voice sounds real.  She climbs to her feet; one hand holds onto the knobby tree.  She doesn’t remember any forest near her house, her town.  An urbanite to the core, she prefers the stone forest of the city.  How’d she get here?  She picks leaves out of her short cap of brunette hair and brushes dirt from her slacks. Pink sneakers?  She doesn’t like pink.  No watch, no ring, no cell phone, no briefcase.  She scuffs through the leaves around the tree trunk.  Nothing.

Do you trust me?” His voice again.  “I wouldn’t have married you if I didn’t” Her voice croaks and startles the birds into silence. “Now however, I’m not so sure.”  She circles the tree once more, huffs out a breath and begins to walk.  She racks her brain as she meanders through the maze of greens, browns, and yellows. 

I’ll find you no matter what.” It’s night and her husband is by her side.  A pinch, a yank. His hand outstretched.  Anger and fear on his face, yet his eyes lie.  She finds a trail and follows a sound. Water gurgles and her throat hurts.  The trees thin and light brightens the path.  She’s hot and thirsty. More gurgles and splashes tease her.  She stumbles weary out into the sun and a clearing.  A small waterfall drops into a pond, water streams down the hillside.  She drops to her knees and drinks, splashes her face.  She lays by the pond for a while, then follows it downstream.  She navigates trees and bushes, roots and branches. 

I love you. Remember that?”  Her last glimpse of his face through the car window. Laughter.  Voices echo through the trees.  She hides behind a bush, wary.  Two men, thick and tall, trudge past with backpacks, talking about football. They aren’t sweating.   She waits until they are out of sight, then runs down the trail.  She stays inside the tree line, observes a parking lot, cars, a small building. She watches and waits.  A familiar blue van pulls in, driven by an unfamiliar blond woman.  Three men, including Sylvester, climb out and pull on backpacks.  Her husband kisses the woman goodbye and  laughs, then  walks into the forest.  The blonde waits a few minutes, then jumps out of the vehicle and disappears into the building.

Don't you trust me?”  She races across the lot and climbs into the van, plucks the extra key out of the glove compartment.  She still doesn’t know where she is.  Two cell phones sit in the console. Sylvester’s and probably the blonde’s.  She drives until she sees a sign and a rest stop.  Two hundred miles to Asheville, North Carolina.  She's far, far, far from her stone forest city.  She thumbs on her husband’s cell phone, reads through the texts and email messages.  

Honey, you know you can trust me.”  His voice runs through her mind. A forgotten conversation spins through and she throws the phone out the window.   She heads north and away.  

Thursday First Lines: War and Peace

"Well, Prince, Genoa and Lucca are now nothing more than estates taken over by the Buonaparte


How to be Fierce on the Page

I finished Fierce on the Page and Cohen really inspired me to get my butt back in the chair with all her wisdom.  I'll share a few more tidbits noted on my reading journey:

Get to the Place of Grace:  "No matter how experienced you may be, each piece of writing arrives on its own terms, and you must learn to interpret its cries and give it what it needs.  When and what to revise, if and when its finished, and when to let it go into the world are questions whose answers must be sourced from the writing itself.  It can be difficult to know and much of what we writers do is trial and error (or practice)  I think the most common mistake we writers make is to hurry a piece of writing out of our hands and into the world before it is ready to go."

Hubby keeps asking me when am I going to be finished with Eyes in the Ashes.  He read the first few chapters in the rough draft and fell in like with the story, in all its rough glory.  Little did he understand, it had a lot of holes, too many points of view and needed lots of editing.  Unfortunately I let too many eyes review and over edited my voice out of it.  I set it aside for a long, long time, then had an epiphany, several of them, and I've been letting it percolate.  I'm almost ready to start rewriting with fresh mind and attitude. 

Love the Dog you Pick: "I believe our job as writers is to welcome the writing we are called to do with the same way we love the animals in our lives; with everything we've got.  To trust that the material we have chosen (or has chosen us) is the path to our deepest riches.  When love leads us, day by day, we cultivate a practice through which our accountability to ourselves and our work becomes undeniable."  

Once I decided to be accountable to myself and not look outside myself for someone to be accountable to, it kind of all slid into place.  

Practice Closes the Gap:  "Ask now what your writing life can do for you, but what you can do for your writing life. Welcome yourself and your writing as you are.  Adore the deep, messy, wobbly middle of your work and your writing in the same way you would love a child who hasn't mastered language or bike riding."

I'm learning to embrace editing. I'm  learning to embrace all my foibles when it comes to writing and not worry about an audience or whether I'm doing it right or wrong. Being a writer means being a perpetual student of the word. 

Sticks and Stones:  Words gives us a way to retain, make sense of, and even transcend our experiences.  Every kind word opens us up a little and every unkind word closes some part of us down. Since we have a choice, why not find a way to use words to craft a lifeboat that will sustain what we value most?"

Build up those we love, not tear them down.

Cupid hits an Artery:  "When cupid hits an artery, we can simple write it down and see what words come after. We can trust the words as companions. They don't have to be perfect or good. They just have to land on the page as we land in our lives: one foot, one word, after the other. This is what makes a writing life."

I like cupid hits an artery better than bleeding or vomiting on the page.  Much more elegant way to say it.

From Impossible to Inevitable:  Inevitable success starts with knowing what you desire and then holding your focus there.  As you move toward what you want, seek out what you need to grown and appreciate your evolution each microstep of the way.  You have enough and you are enough to become the writer you were meant to be. 

Baby steps, focus on what you want, don't fear change and practice, practice, practice.

Listen to your Mother:  "I hated writing thank you notes until I loved it.  What I discovered was that practice is not only the path to mastery, but also a means of initiation into ourselves.  Through the repetitive  act of giving thanks, I discovered how deeply grateful and fortunate I am."
What a wonderful idea. Write thank you notes to all those people who help you, from the gardener to the teacher who pulled you up by the boot straps to the author who entertains and makes you think. Not a email, but a written letter.  My book group has a postcard/book swap list and I've been quite remiss in not sending anything lately. Time to get writing a few notes.  

If I ever needed a kick start to get back into writing and back into blogging and journaling, Sage Cohen provided that with her Fierce on the Page. I'm still working on the long list of questions she asked in Chapter 62 about intentions, clarifying your actions and choices when it comes to the writing life, but I really need to write Ms. Cohen a thank you letter.  She totally inspired me. 

Monday Meandering

Ack!  It's truly been one of those days in which I haven't had much time to myself and I failed to write anything Sunday to post today.  My imagination was running wild this morning, tidbits of stories running through my head while showering.  What would happen if you suddenly went blind while driving?  Would  you have any warning?  What would you do? Slam on the brakes or try to pull  to the curb?  Would anyone stop or just think you are being an asshole.  How long before anyone stopped?  Would you be able to dial 911 on your phone or just wait until someone decided to see if you needed help.   Hmmm!  A name, a child, possibilities.

Then on the way to work, just at the intersection where I do a uturn to our shop, an accident had just happened.  A truck smashed into a smaller car which was half crushed.  If I had been a minute earlier...  Lots of people rushing about so I made my way to work, thankful for the last red light and to idiots who had been driving like road slugs which prevented it from me being the one in the smushed car.  Hug your kids and spouse tonight.  You never know....

Sunday Salon Chit Chat

Happy Sunday!  Supposedly our heat way is over, the highs should be in the 90's and our delta breezes are back.  I refused to do our usual two and half mile evening walk all week after attempting it in the heat without our usual evening cool off.  Gah!  Went out last night and it was balmy, breezy 70 ish.  Wonderful!

I finished spelling out Pearl for the June Birthstone Bookology challenge

P: The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson is his second novel in the Millenium series. Salander is wanted for a triple murder and she chooses to simply disappear. Even the reader doesn't know if she is innocent or guilty and only knows what Blomkist does as he decides to investigate without her.

E: Gods and Ends by Devon Monk is her third novel in the paranormal trilogy, Ordinary Magic. Vampires, devils, even a crochet and knitting rivalry almost turns into a gang war as Delaney works to protect the town of Ordinary, Oregon.

A: Ashley Bell by  Dean Koontz is an excellent psychological thriller about a writer who been diagnosed with brain cancer and only has a year to live.  She wakes in the hospital believing she is totally cured after a mysterious middle of the night encounter and thinks she needs to save a life.

R: Relics by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child is the first book in his Pendergast series. Someone's been savagely murdered in the natural history museum.  Is the culprit human or animal? No one knows for sure.

L: Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire, the 4th book in her October Daye series has October running for her life, trying to stay away from the Queen of the Mist's who wants her dead and trying to save Lily and Luna who are dying from a mysterious ailment.

I also read The Girl who Played with the Hornet's Nest and don't want to give away any spoilers except to say everyone who knows Salander personally are in her court, doing what they can to help her.

Nora Robert's hits it out of the park as usual with her latest Come Sundown, a thriller of epic proportions with a loving extended family who run a dude ranch/resort and a nasty villain, living on the edges of life and sanity.

Last but not least, a new to me author John Dechancie's and his science fiction adventure, Starrigger. A fascinating adventure about an interstellar trucker, a hitcher who knows him but he doesn't remember her and a gangster one step behind him all the way.

My reading has slowed down quite a bit since I'm concentrating more on writing, plus most of the books were  chunky.  I just started #7 in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series with A Crown of Swords.  Plus War and Peace.   Both will keep me busy for the rest of the month and beyond.

A to Z Poetry: Divided

A House Divided

Love haunts
Sadness prevails.
Choices, consequences.
Love tests, love fails.

People change
Love unconditional?
There's no I told you so's
Love tests, love fails

Do you have to choose?
Acceptance, rejection
Can you go back?
Love tests, love fails

Once friends
Now strangers
Love haunts
Love tested, love failed.

~ R.Lee McCormack ~

Flash Friday: Rewriting Montaigne

The following essay On Books is from Book 2, chapter 10 of  Michel De Montaigne’s Essays, translated by J.M Cohen.  

“I have no doubt that I often speak of things which are better treated by the masters of the craft, and with more truth.  This is simply a trial of my natural faculties and not of my acquired ones.  If anyone catches me in ignorance, he will score no triumph over me, since I can hardly be answerable to another for my reasoning’s, when I am not answerable for them to myself and am never satisfied with them.  Let the man who is in search of knowledge fish for it where it lies; there is nothing that I lay less claim too.  These are my fancies, in which I make no attempt to convey information about things, only about myself.  I may have objective knowledge one day or may perhaps had had it in the past, when I happened to light on passages that explained things.  But I have forgotten it all; for though I am a man of some reading, I am one who retains nothing." 

My translation:
I often attempt to convey ideas I’ve learned from books, but feel I lack the eloquence of those authors experienced in the craft.  My first thoughts, natural and off the cuff lack a certain intelligence as I stumble to understand; constantly questioning, thinking out loud, feeling for answers.  My understanding may end up being different from others, so it important they read it for themselves and come to their own conclusions.  I don’t want to mislead anyone.  My thoughts and experiences play a part in what I take away from the book. Theirs will be different. I may read a passage and understand it completely, enlightened for the moment.  But when I go back a second time, I may not find the original passage that caused much understand or find I’ve completely forgotten what I read and the words are all new again. 

I’m fascinated by Montaigne’s essays on reading.  Although I've had the book for some time and it's been calling my name to read me, read me, I've been ignoring it. Until now. 

Some days I feel like a fraud as I try express my thoughts, not able to explain a certain passage in a book, quoting the author rather than attempting to put in my own words. I’m intimidated by certain authors, their words make me feel stupid.  Then there are days in which my mind is wide awake and absorbs the words like a sponge.  The light bulb turns on and I get all excited. I’ll turn to my hubby to tell him what I discovered, talking his ear off.  He is so much wiser than me in some subjects and his questions make me want to tell him to read the book because my attempts to convey myself eloquently get hammered by my own doubt and insecurity. Questions run through my head - Is that what I meant to say? No, don’t quote me. I may have taken it out of context. 

I think I’m logical, analytical, capable of intelligent discourse.  Then along comes someone who has given it more time and thought and blows me away.  I can’t let it make me feel stupid.  Perceptions, ideals, life experience all play a factor.  Each person’s viewpoint highlights what is important to them and what they need to learn.

Sometimes it is better to quote the author, other times not.  Translating Montaigne's ideas is a great idea. Leads me to think and ponder and trust that  no matter what anyone else may think, what I discover is what I need at that moment. 

Do you have moments in which you read a passage and it sings to you?    But you failed to highlight it and when you go back can’t find it or when do find it, you can’t understand why it flashed so brilliantly in the first place?  I’ve learned to immediately underline passages and write down my thoughts, before I lose them. Because your first thoughts, those bright sparks of understanding won’t ever be the same. 

Thursday first line: Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz

The year that Bibi Blair turned ten, which was twelve years before Death came calling on 

her, the sky was a grim vault of sorrow nearly every day from January through mid March

and the angels cried down flood after flood upon southern California. 

Birthstone Bookology - P E A R L 

My own private Idaho...

I'm currently going through the list of questions from Chapter 47 - Notice, Intent, Act in Fierce on the Page.  Like Artist's Way exercises  they pull thoughts and insights I generally haven't given much thought too and give voice to them.

"What makes me want to sit down and write? And what keeps me there?"  Not why, but what this time and I do believe it is the desire to know more, discover and learn.  What keeps me there are the aha moments, the free flow of thought, ideas randomly popping into my head, the synchronicity of a resolution I hadn't even been aware of needing.  So what is stopping or has stopped me.

"When do I avoid doing the writing I intend to do?"  In the past when I was feeling emotional or stressed, there were some things I didn't want to think about. I didn't want to cry or get mad all over again and avoided writing until the feeling passed  I know many writers work through their angst on the page.  I had a tendency to block.  I didn't like pouring all those feelings out on the page where they can be seen in black and white or red or purple or whatever color pen I'm using that day.  I've always processed thing in my mind, then let it go. I didn't want to publicize it.

Maybe its fear someone else would get the wrong impression, when they are feelings of the moment that have passed but others might take it the wrong way.  I've always been a very private person when I comes to my emotions and thoughts.  And I don't like repeating myself, rehashing things. It's done and over with.  Ha! Life really doesn't work that way.   James and John have memories like elephants and don't always let things go.  Things I think that have been worked out, come up again days, maybe months later.  

But isn't that what makes a writer successful?  Taking all those thoughts, feelings, past experiences and using them to create.  I could be like Joan Didion who melds and shapes past true events into something that it's not. Is that turning it into fiction or just reshaping the truth, molding it into something unique, entertaining.  Won't people who know the writer and experienced the event say, 'oh her perceptions are all wrong.'   Or maybe they won't recognize themselves at all because its totally been forgotten.  Then through rewriting the event, the writer not only creates beauty but finds letting themselves bleed all over the page, a cathartic experience.

What I love about writing is the same as what I hate. What it reveals, what I feel. What I make the characters feel.  Or rather I'm the conduit for the characters so they can reveal their stories.  The free flow of ideas, creating new ones, molding and shaping, both fiction and non fiction.   I have a feeling I've been and will keep repeating myself a lot.   The flash non fiction classes and private but not private essays have taught me to face those things I'd prefer be left buried.  It's helped me to sort my thoughts, giving them voice and excising them from my system.   Also teaches me to not be so distant, helping me to take the blinders off and really see life.  As an introvert, I tend to avoid crowds. The loud and hectic wild masses.  I can't think because its overwhelming so I put on blinders, the virtual ear muffs and blend so as to not be seen.  Just let me get in, get out.   I'm working on being more observant, more open to experience.

So where is this leading?  To my own private Idaho - My promise to write month.  I've committed to MyProWriMo - each month, either a theme or a challenge.  Like 52 Books in which I've established monthly themes for reading challenges, I think I'll brainstorm themes and/or ideas for future months. Right now I'm taking it one day, one month at a time.  So far, so good.


Let's Write...

The universe is trying to tell me something.  I signed up for the Writer's Digest Short Story class which began last week.  My muse has been hitting me on the head the past few days with TLC's Waterfalls.  I've had the chorus lyrics running through my head for the past couple nights:

Don't go chasing waterfalls.
Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you're used to.
I know that you're gonna have it your way or nothing at all,
But I think you're moving too fast.

Then yesterday, she finally got through to me. The title of a story.  Yep, Chasing Waterfalls,  along with a couple character names and a inkling of an idea.   Then realized today I'm not quite ready to start writing just yet, so it wouldn't work for the WD class. So decided I'd work on Yellow Belly Shoppe for Cowards. It's one I began while taking classes at WVU and never quite finished it.   

I keep running across the idea of writing 52 short stories, one a week,  ala Ray Bradbury everywhere on the internet the past few days. And Sage Cohen had mentioned it as well in Fierce on the Page.  Which lead me to Write Practice and Joe Bunting's Let's Write a Short Story.  While I was downloading it, also saw James Scott Bell's How to Write Short Stories which I just had to get.   I just finished reading Bunting's book and love the idea of taking the novels and characters in those stories and using them for short stories.  It serves as a way to get deeply into the characters and their motives and lives.  I've been considering a short story for Greg so I know I'm headed in the right direction. 

I was sitting here thinking I needed a theme for July for the blog and the universe gave it to me.  Molly Totoro who just published Journaling toward Wholeness (which I'm still reading) pointed me in the direction of NaJoWriMO - National Journal Writing Month - which runs January, April, July, and October.  I'm dithering on joining although I know I should, but don't want to commit, and end up doing it anyway.  I'm commitment phobic these days other than those I've made to myself like blogging and morning pages.  

The universe is yelling at me to get my thinking cap on and writing butt in gear.  Time to listen and brainstorm. 

Sunday Salon Chit Chat

Courtesy of Gunjankarun.com
Happy Father's day to all the dads today where ever you are.  Hubby is enjoying a very relaxing day and we'll be having roast beef with yorkshire pudding this evening. 

 Summer has unofficially arrived in the form of a heat way and we will be baking for the next few days.   Officially Summer starts on Wednesday and I'm so happy to have several weeks off in which to play. We're giving James a couple weeks off because we know he is going to get bored, then we'll start doing math and perhaps some physics or chemistry experiments.  We have several books to tackle that we just haven't had time to read together so he's trying to decided between  Winter is Coming by Garry Kasparov, Putinism by Walter Laqueur or even possibly an actual fiction book like Fahrenheit 451.  Yes, he's very much into politics and foreign affairs.  I'm waiting with bated breath to see which he chooses.   

Today is the start of week 25 in my 52 Books Quest and a group of us have decided to read War and Peace.  For me it will be a reread which is a good thing since I zoomed through it the first time.  I have a number of chunky books to read on my plate at the moment - Besides War and Peace, I also have Dean Koontz's Ashley Bell and Robert Jordan's A Crown of Time, the 7th book in Wheel of Time. I just finished the Steig Larsson's Millenium trillogy with The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. Now I'm contemplating whether I want to read David Lagercrantz continuation of Salander's saga in The Girl in the Spider's Web. The reviews are 50/50 so I'll have to decide for myself. 

We finally received approval from the planning commission on our plans for the new building.  Just waiting for the fire department to do their thing.  Yeah!  So ready to get started with construction.  Speaking of which my father's project on creating the Bull Head City food Bank and coordinating and combining all the churches to make it nondenominational is ready to go. The building will be dedicated and opened on Wednesday.   He's worked his fingers off so am very proud of him.   

A to Z Poetry: Ode to C

Courtesy of Wikepedia

Big C 
Little C
What Begins with C
Thanks to Dr. Seuss
We won't end up in a Tree

Calliopes and carousels
chugging, chanting, caroling. 
Circling without a care. 

Courteous citizens
develop the knack,
Reaching, stretching.
Fingers to snatch
That colorful, oval,
 brass ring. 

~ R.Lee McCormack~

Don't fence me in....

What are fences for?  What kind of fence do you have?  Aluminum, wood, iron or chain link?  Is it there to keep you in or others out? Do you keep your gate locked or trust that etiquette alone will keep others out? A boundary or a barrier.  Does your horse balk at the fence refusing to jump over or does it bound over effortlessly?  Does your dog dig under or jump over or sniff along the bottom, curious but cautious?  Forget the cat. We all know they'll slink through and under and over without any problem.  

What about your metaphysical fence? Do you let yourself get fenced in, stuck in the ruts surrounding the fence?  Have you created a gigantic moat to keep others out which in turn keeps you in?  Or is the fence something fun to climb, to jump over, to scale, to rise above and see what is on the other side? Do you like to experiment with your fences, mixing them up every once in a while, exchanging short for tall, lots of openings to the wood so close together, a gnat couldn't sneak through?

Do you go for the plain wood or like to beautify your boundary with elegance or artful messes?  I think its time to take a look at our fences to make sure we haven't gotten in a rut.

Flotsam of life

Do you ever have those days in which you just want to hide away from the world but you know you can't. My dreams tend to reflect what's going on in the back of my mind.   An interesting phenomenon took place in my dreaming world.  For the longest time, I've had the same type of dream in which I'm at a school or university library.   Sometimes I'm there visiting, other times living there.  I leave to go the store.  When I decide to return, I get completely lost and either find myself half way across town or lost in a maze, unable to get back to where I started.    Last night, the dream started out in much the same way.  But instead of trying to go back home, I began to explore the different stores, shopping, food tasting, and just meandering about. Hmm? I wonder what that says about my life?  Progress is happening!

While reading and outlining more of Fierce on the Page, I decided I'm more of a plotter than a pantster.  I began working on my very first story -  Floating on the Surface - way back in 2007 for NaNoWriMo.  Once I decided upon the goal of the story, I spent a month world building and creating characters, figuring out the setting, drawing pictures of streets and houses, and names of all the places in the town. Then wrote out a general outline of scenes. November came and I was ready to write.  I've done the same for most of my stories, except for Green Cross which didn't work at all before  I realized I wasn't a pantster. Truly, an experiment gone wrong, although I fell in love with the main character, Hunter.  He's shown up in two other stories, handing out clues left and right, which are part of his story,  but also part of Eyes in the Ashes and Blue Steel.  I don't think he's ready for his own story yet as he's highjacked, err, taken up residence in Eyes in the Ashes. He and I need to have a talk!

Get Back on the Scale

Day 15 since I started posting and almost halfway through the month.  I've posted every single day. I've managed to get up an hour earlier almost every day, work on morning pages, dabble a bit with poetry and prompts.  Even with all life's stresses, I'm not letting it get in the way of writing and posting.  As I told hubby the other day, I've given myself the month of June to get back into writing, then I'll tackle Eyes in the Ashes and editing.

More insight from Fierce on the Page.  I think we can all relate to avoiding the bathroom scale. Cohen sees a similarity between the scale and writing in Chapter 34:

"Because I bet you the chai tea latte I skipped this morning that you are avoiding something in your writing with as much dedication and justification as I was avoiding my scale. You can't manage what you don't measure, as the old adage goes.  And by putting your head in the sand, you are depriving yourself of opportunities to meet your writing life head-on.  

But the truth is also the very best medicine.  Facing every dusty corner  of your broken promises and sloppy habits is your best hope for creating the writing life you want.  If fact, chances are good that as it simmered in your file cabinet, the plot know in your abandoned story may have simply untangled itself and now you know how to resolve it.

It's never too late to get back on the scale, measure how you're living up to your goals for your writing life, and then take informed action.  Buddha reportedly said, 'what you are is what you have been.  What you'll be is what you do now.'

Re-evaluate your goal....Or maybe it's time to recommit to your writing practice and find new strategies for making the writing time happen..."

Sunday Salon: Comedy of Errors

Happy Sunday!  The past week have been quite hectic.  The air conditioner blew on hubby's Chevy.  I don't know how folks deal with being one car families.  You have to  coordinate everything you do and end up spending lots of time in the car.  We dealt with it pretty well until things went to heck Friday. We received a call at 7:00 am from the security company telling us our business phone lines were down. The landlord has been doing a lot of construction about the shopping center and a few weeks back managed to cut our phone lines. We thought they did it again so didn't worry about it too much until my technician texts to tell me all four lines are down. 

We call the phone company fix it guy who says to report it again to AT&T before he can be dispatched. Because it took them a week or more last time to do anything, I decided to order a cell phone from Verizon and pick it up locally.   Since we expect the mechanic to call and let us know the car will be ready sometime on Friday, hubby and James pile in the car to come with me to work.  Hubby goes looking for the cut phone lines and discovers two other businesses in the center have lost their lines as well.  He calls the phone company who won't be able to have anyone out there for another two weeks. Hair pulling time.  The car and the phone are ready for pick up so off we go. Drop off the guys at the mechanic, I drop by Verizon to pick up the new phone, then go back to the shop and change all the voicemail messages so folks know to call the back up line. Couple hours later, hubby says the car is hissing, part of the repair has gone bad and he has to take the car back. Oy!  

Saturday morning, we are all up early. Hubby drives car to mechanic, I jump into the shower because its my turn to man (or woman), err, work at the shop and have to be there at 11:00.  Then race out to pick up hubby at mechanic, drive him home and then go to work.  Owner of auto shop is embarrassed because his mechanic screwed up one of the lines and sorry for the inconvenience, proceeds to get it done even though they are usually closed on Saturday.  After work, I drive home, pick up the boys and off to the garage we go. After dropping them off, it's time to do the grocery shopping.  Home, dinner, then crash instead of our nightly 2.5 mile walk because I'm pooped.  

Our landlord calls today to let us know the phone company repair guy showed up and discovered...you ready for this - the phone lines had been cut and removed.  Copper thieves are at it again.

The next time our security company calls to say they've lost signal, we're telling them to dispatch the police.  Fortunately they were able to repair it today and tomorrow, God willing, all four phone lines will be working properly.  Keep your fingers crossed.  

A to Z Poetry: Blank


What do you see,
When you draw a blank?
Letters, foggy and fuzzy
 Roam and flee.

Words, simple.
Yet not.

Like butterflies waiting to land.
Do you catch them or wait?
They sit on the tip of your tongue.
On the back of your hand.

Rhythm and rhyme,
Let it be.
Make you see.
Take your time. 

Words, simple.
Yet not.

Color pens bleed
Across the page.
Strokes and symbols
Take on need.

Blank and blind
Thoughts and letters,
Illuminate and illustrate
What comes to mind.

Words, simple.
Yet not.

~R. Lee McCormack~

Not resting on my laurels!

Courtesy of BBC: The Runaway Bride

What exactly does that mean, resting on your laurels?  It basically means glorifying what you've accomplished in the past and not try to further yourself.  I've written a lot of essays, flash fiction and little stories over the past couple years for classes and the temptation to pick one when I'm having an off day or busy day is hard to resist.  However, the point of this exercise, posting everyday is to work on my writing and I don't want to regurgitate or revise something just a little to do a quick post.   I did that a couple years back with most of the posts for an A to Z monthly writing challenge and it was most unsatisfying.   I didn't feel any sense of accomplishment.   So, I'm promising myself not to rest on my laurels.  

Today's goal:  clean up the bookshelves, box up all the 11th grade books, notebooks and papers and make room for the new.   There are always a few books or things that simply disappear through a black hole and no matter how hard I look, they can't be found.  I've been looking all over the house for months for the Artograph Light pad we'd gotten for James to help with his drawing. Something I liked to play with as well.  Just a side benefit of home school.  *grin*   It wasn't in the box nor in his room, my room or anywhere else I looked.  Guess what?  Yep, it was hiding between two large books on the bottom shelf all this time.  Sigh!   It's now in residence in my writing space to play with during the summer.   Yeah!   

James has turned me into a Whovian.  We've been watching the older seasons out of order, which means they sometimes don't make much sense to me.  One of these days he will get tired of me pausing the show to say "Wait, what happened when..."  :)     A few weeks ago  I wanted to know where Donna came into play so watched The Runaway Bride by myself.  Guess what he picked for us to watch today? Yep! 

What does poop have to do with grief?

Yes, my brain works in insane ways.  I was cleaning out the litter boxes yesterday and two words popped into my mind:  poop and grief.    Neither hubby or James take care of the litter boxes. They don't have the stomach for it, so it's always been my responsibility.   When Herbie died last August, I did a major cleaning as if getting rid of his scent would make things all better.  You really don't think grief will hit you hard, when an dies, but it does. One of our fur babies, raised from birth, a member of our family. I still see him out of the corner of my eye, sitting outside the patio door. Plus mom's been gone almost four years now.  And there's the loss of a couple cyber relationships in my life that were very important. Grief comes in waves - some big that knock you over, some little ones that misplace the sand beneath your feet, and make you take a step backwards.  So what does this have with poop and the litter box? 

Cat's poop and try to act nonchalant with half their body outside the litter box, the other half inside, doing their business.  They hid it, cover it up,  Don't look at me, they say, eyes straight ahead, ignoring the human who happens to walk by. Later you clean it out, sift, scoop, toss in a bag and/or flush, depending on your way of doing things.  We bag and throw it away.  So - Grief. 

Sometimes, you try to avoid it, but when you gotta...you gotta.  You try to hide it,  your public face versus the private face.  When it's no longer possible to hide, you sift through and either throw it away or heaven forbid, put it back on the mental shelf for another day.  I stumbled across What's Your Grief today and their article on Understanding Avoidance in Grief.   One of the factors they listed is avoidance or denial of feelings or emotions.  One thing that makes fiction writing or even non fiction writing so interesting as well as cathartic is writing with feeling, with emotion.  But what happens when you deny those feelings.  Yep, writer's block or rather writer's avoidance.  Or like Sage Cohen says - it may be procrastination, may be incubation. 

I worked through a few things during a Flash non fiction class, surprised myself with the honesty, the emotion and discovered a few things in the process.  Something I need to continue to work on - let those emotions through, work them out, resolve and let go.  Yet, I've avoid it with my fiction. 

 I have a character and his backstory involves the loss of his wife.  I've wanted to write his story for quite a while but had been avoiding it. Too emotionally intense.  And how do you explain to your hubby or son why you're crying over an imaginary person.  Yep, writers. We get emotionally involved...when we let ourselves.  

So what's the moral of this story - the relationship between poop and grief?   Sift through the litter, scoop it out and throw the poop away.  Whether you throw it away on the page or just out of your mind, let it flow, let it go.  


Bob Dylan's Nobel Lecture

When Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature this past year, I was quite surprised and skeptical. I've read the works of various prize winners over the past few years.   There have been a great number of awesome writers as well as not so awesome. However they were novelists, poets, writers, and/or activists.Why would the committee choose a musician?  The committee's reason:

         "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition"

While his words and songs are interesting, could his music be considered poetry?   Perhaps.   Did he really read Moby Dick and All Quiet on the Western Front in Grammar school?   Probably not, but that's being nit picky.   He's always been an odd duck to me and people are inspired by different things so who am I to say.  I think I'll hold on to my skepticism a while longer.

Fail harder

I'm going to be stuck on Fierce on the Page for quite a while as I it read again, writing down all the points I underlined, making notes to myself, thinking about what she says.   I highlighted a few things from chapter 28 Fail Harder: 

In japan, wabi-sabi is an aesthetic rooted in the art of imperfection, celebration of the flaw that makes a piece of art unique.  When you embrace imperfection in your writing, you welcome the human condition as your source of your writing. This helps you cultivate the compassion and acceptance that you and your writing deserve.

When you set your sights on perfection, it's easy to forget that mistakes yield some of the richest and most surprising material --insights, wisdom, and writing that is not accessible through so-called success.  James Joyce proclaimed mistakes to be the portal to discovery.

It is also important to keep in mind that what you consider 'failure' can shape shift before your eyes as your contexts and interpretations change.

This is how life goes. We expend tremendous resources in what proves to be the 'wrong direction' and yet there are equally tremendous-- and often unexpected -- riches to be sourced from every 'mistake'.

When you don't get what you wanted or when someone hurts you or when you disappoint yourself to the brink of devastation, this is not the end of the story.  Sooner or later, the pain you feel becomes a kind of transportation and you arrive somewhere else that never could have been accessible without that vehicle.  Often,you end up somewhere even better than where you originally set your heart on going. 

Wow! I just officially resigned my volunteer position at Writer's Village University where I had been facilitating and modding the non fiction courses for the past two or three years.  I originally joined the community to take a few writing classes, got involved when they started a private  MFA certificate program. After a while, I took on facilitating the non fiction courses and a few literature courses as well as taking the classes myself.  I never earned the certificate, being a few courses short.  After a while, I ran out of courses that were beneficial to me and recently decided it was time to move on.  Was any of it a mistake?  Did I waste my time?   

Nope, not at all.  I recall researching MFA programs a few years back and being intimidated by the offerings.  I couldn't fathom doing nonfiction or poetry.  I'm was a fiction girl, all the way.  The past few years have taught me quite a bit and now I embrace non fiction essay and memoir writing. I've learned how to put an interesting class together for literature.  I've learned how to provide constructive feedback as well as how to handle a variety of personalities.   Thanks to WVU, I know I'm not limited in my choices and can do anything I put my mind too.   

Looking back over all the jobs I had in the past, prior to getting married, every one,no matter how short or how long I lasted, was a step up and taught me something different giving me the skills to run a business. Here we are 20 years later still going strong and ready to move into a building we now can call our own.

Fail harder, embrace your imperfections, learn how to apply that to my writing,don't be afraid to make mistakes, because I just might be surprised and shoot for the moon.  

Life is my classroom.  


Sunday Salon Chit Chat

Happy Sunday!  June is turning into a very busy reading month. My 52 Books group is celebrating all things fantasy including the 20th anniversary of the publication of J.K.Rowling's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.  Bloomsbury Publishing has come up with 4 special editions, each with the house flags on the cover. I'm trying to decide which one I want or if I should just get all four.  *grin*  We are also celebrating Father's Day and well as the June Solstice which ushers in Summer in the Northern Hemisphere and Winter in the Southern Hemisphere. With the beginning of Summer, we will be also diving into a summer long read of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace starting on June 18th. 

June means I have three birthstones to choose from for the Birthstone Bookology reading challenge: Pearl, Moonstone or Alexandrite. 

I'm going to work on spelling out Pearl since I have a few P books and L books as well as chunky books on my shelves waiting to be read.  On my reading plate for this month are: The Girl who Played with Guns (chunky), A Crown of Swords (Chunky #7 Wheel of Time), as well as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone  and other fantasy novels.  I'm working my way through Seanan McGuire's October Daye series and next up is  # 4 Late Eclipses.  
I'm currently reading Devon Monk's Gods and Ends, #3 in her Ordinary Magic Series. I so enjoy Devon's creative mind and have read all her books. 

Writing wise:  Also decided I want to experiment more with poetry, so reading In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poets Portable Workshop by Stephen Kowit.   Plus added Fire Up Your Writing Brain: How to Use Proven Neuroscience to Become a More Creative, Productive, and Successful Writer by Susan Reynolds to my writing stacks.   

I've been getting back in morning pages, freewriting, journaling - whatever you want to call. it. Synchronicity is at work since a writerly friend, Molly Totoro,  just published her book - Journaling toward Wholeness: A 28 day to Develop Journaling Practice.  Woot! Woot! Congratulations Molly! 

Plus War and Peace. It will be a second read for me, this time a bit more slowly as I consumed it the first time in a couple weeks.  Yes, I know Tolstoy isn't fantasy but quite a few people in my book group wanted to spread it out over the summer.  We'll probably be doing a volume a month, along with some discussion.  Thank goodness for spark notes.

Eleventh grade is wrapping up as of Wednesday.  Hubby and James are doing a mad dash to finish up Algebra 1.   This year was a mish mash with math as we started the year with Saxon, segued into Starline Press, then ultimately settled on Mathusee mid year. We discovered teaching math is not my forte' so hubby took over completely   He was determined James would complete the whole book, learn everything there is possible to learn about Algebra 1.  Somewhere along the line, things started to click for James and he's been zooming through the lessons.   It's coming down to the wire, however and they are doing a full court press to finish up Wednesday, the official end, rather than easing through to the end of Friday.  I think they are going to make it.  

Off to enjoy our beautiful sunny, breezy day!