Monday meander - Mom, super detective

Thinking - Davide Restivo

My day to work at the shop. The guys called me a dozen times. James is upset because he can't find his New Super Mario Bros ds game which he hasn't played since 2012.   I tell both him and hubby, I will find it when I get home.  But we have already looked everywhere they say.  Of course, these guys are notorious for looking, but not everywhere.  They seem to have a thing about not looking underneath or in things.

I get home, search through James room, asking all the while if they went through the whole box of games in the garage.  Yeah, kind of, sorta maybe. Why don't you check, they eventually say.

So I go through every single game case and find in the middle of the pack, the game in a different case.  I give hubby a look and he says, well it was hot, at least 103 in the garage.   


Don't be discouraged. It's often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock. ~Author Unknown

Sunday Salon Chit Chat

Oh my goodness, where did July go?  This month zoomed by and I don't feel like we got anything accomplished life wise.  Blog and writing goals wise, I'm zooming online.  I've posted every single day of the month. Albeit a little late in the afternoon some days.  I've established daily themes with plenty of flexibility built in so I don't have to stick to that daily theme if I have something else to chat about.  I'm playing with art and poetry and having fun.

The one thing I haven't done is work on Eyes in the Ashes. I seem to be stuck in a nonfiction mode.  Or is that just an excuse?  Am I still percolating or has it moved on to procrastinating.  Why am I having trouble with fiction?  The book I'm reading currently - Fire Up Your Writing Brain says to write down and clarify your intentions about why you want to work on this piece.  Find your reasons.  Find your passion. Be sure of your passion.  

I'm not feeling really passionate about Eyes in the Ashes at the moment so what do I need to do to get that back?  Immerse myself in the story, immerse myself in fiction writing. Do prompts every day. Fill my notebook with ideas and story lines. Talk to my characters and listen to what they have to say.  I know what I have to do for Eyes in the Ashes and realize it is going to be a lot of work. Fun work.  I know there are ideas in the back of my brain just waiting for me to pull them out.  And yes, I will clarify my intentions.

Speaking of intentions, I just saw the most beautiful video of the Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah rewritten following the events of Easter.  Impossible to watch without choking up.  Enjoy!

Happy Sunday! 

A to Z Poetry: I is for Invisible

Courtesy of A Lady In Red


Today, I'm invisible
A fly on the wall.
They talk and
I listen to one and all.

How the mighty have fallen
when once they would jest
'we have them deceived,
we are the best.'

Ignorance defined as
one without intelligence.
They sink themselves,
left without relevance.

inspired duality
Left without accountability,
none with reliability.

Inside and out,
how can we doubt?
Illustrations transcend,
they've gone off the deep end.

Innocence lost,
possibilities found.
What is the cost
when life rebounds.

~R.Lee McCormack

Flash Friday: Sorrow is born

Spotless in dust, waiting from free by Zhongwen Yu

The man held the newborn girl and tears streamed down his cheeks as he said 'you are my Sorrow, you are my Joy.  She's gone. My darling, my heart, my life. What shall we do?  You and I, we shall survive.  She would have demanded nothing less.  We won't let her death destroy the most beautiful, precious gift I hold in my arms.  My sorry and and my joy.  Together, we'll prevail.

My name is Sorrow Joy Andreas.  My friends call me Ro.  My dad named me right after my mother died during childbirth. My birth.  He used to say 'you are my sorrow, my joy.'  How can one be both sorrow and joy at the same time?  I don't know how he managed it. He raised me to follow in his path. A successful lawyer, an entrepreneur, a killer. My father, you see, was an assassin.  Not of lives, but of ambitions.  He took great joy in ruining people.  Those who deserved it, he would say. Those who took advantage.  Those who gave no thought to who they stepped on.  "Sorrow, my love," he'd say. "You must be strong, you must be wise, but most of all, you must beware.  You look innocent, but I will raise you up as a barracuda who looks like a trout."

We lived in the islands, my father and I, along with a half dozen servants.  He filled my head with words and images from Aristotle to Eva Peron,  Hitler to Christ, all the way from Mr. Rogers to Mao Tse Tung.  Quite a diverse group of men and women from the classics to the present.  He taught me to argue, to defend, to criticize and to trip without being trapped.  A lawyer, a defender, a prosecutor.  A knight in sheep's clothing.  Then he left me.  Not voluntarily, mind you.  Alone on the island, surrounded by paid friends.  

Thursday First Lines: Light in Shadow by Jayne Ann Krentz

Light in Shadow 


Jayne Ann Krentz

"The walls screamed at her.  

'Oh, damn," Zoe Luce whispered. She halted in the doorway of the empty bedroom and stared at the white walls.  Not now. Not today. Not this time. I really need this job.  

The walls sobbed.  Terror pulsed through the layers of sheetrock and the fresh coat of stark white paint that covered it. The silent shrieks ricocheted off the floor and ceiling.  

She put her fingers to her temples in a purely instinctive, utterly useless gesture. She squeezed her eyes shut, bracing herself against the ragged bolts of lightning that were shooting through her and pooling into a glacial pond somewhere in the vicinity of her stomach."

Tuesday Tango: Money can't buy you class nor taste

I hate reading news because it is just so dang depressing or makes me so angry that I avoid it if at all possible.  I'll admit I'm a celebrity junkie.  Daily mail showbiz, Eonline, and People magazine to name a few, capture my attention more often than not.  I've enjoyed being a fly on the wall ever since I was young, watching ET and other celebrity news shows.  Two very important things I have learned is neither gobs of money nor celebrity status can buy you class.  Most of these people are train wrecks which is probably why it's so entertaining.  Our lives compared to theirs are calm and happy.  They may think ordinary people live mediocre lives. Far from it and makes me appreciate mine more.     

Last year was the year of the side boob. This year is the year of the underboob.  Neither is attractive and only makes them look like hoe's at best.  Why don' t they just cover the headlights with a couple pieces of duct tape and forget the shirt.  Oh wait, they already are,  except the shirt is sheer. Classless!  

Speaking of classless, this past season of the K girls I noticed that they were finally covering up, wearing sweat shirts and high collared shirts.  Then I realized they were all wearing a certain brand.  It's all about advertising. I guess they got tired of covering up, because the boobs are front and present again.    

I've fallen in like with Tyler Henry. Now he has class and charm and personality.  I love watching the skeptics being blown away and enjoy watching lives be uplifted and healed.   Now you know my guilty pleasure.  What's yours? 

Monday Memories - Lost things

It’s kind of apropos that you are currently reading a story about lost things right now.  Totally fiction in which the lead character can see and feel the losses of everyone around her.  Awesome book and so you think about your losses, from little to big – keys, mom, fur babies, friends, and even directions.  Yes, losing your way easily because you have no sense of direction isn’t always fun.  You end up taking long detours that aren’t always an adventure.  You resist going down the pathway to talking about death.  Maybe because it used to be so foggy. And now that you’ve stepped out of the fog into the light, that sense of loss has dwindled.  Although grief hits at the oddest moments.  A smell, a texture. Even a TV show reminds you of that person.  And you wallow, let yourself sink, then rise back up to go on.

You remember James first birthday and the family came to celebrate.  You were anxious and angry and had no idea why.  Maybe because you hadn’t really processed the idea you couldn’t have any more kids.    You could, but the risks would be too great and you didn’t want to leave hubby with two children and without his wife.  You experienced congestive heart failure during labor and your husband was given a choice – You or the child.

Fortunately, you both survived, a bit battered and battled scarred, now healthy and strong.   It was a bonding experience for your husband who hadn’t anticipated being in charge of this tiny little human being, responsible for feeding him and changing diapers. Pressed into duty by the NICU nurses, he was thrown into fatherhood without you.   You didn’t get to see your son for a couple days until hubby  talked the nurses into bringing him up to the ICU.  Those first few months after James was born are pretty foggy as we lived moment to moment; healing, living and loving our son.  

So you fret and fume, unsure of why you are melancholy.  James is your miracle child after all.  When hubby was seventeen, he’d gotten shocked while working on an amplifier,  and thrown across the room. You went into the marriage with the thought there was a very real probability, he would be sterile.  Happily, you were wrong.

Each year is bittersweet, perhaps because in the back of your mind, all those dreams for your family had died.   You’d always thought you would have five or six. A gaggle, a troop, a party of five.   Maybe you had been grieving and not aware of it.  Grief, you learned after your mother died, ebbed and flowed with the tides.  Some days are foggy, others bright and clear.  You can’t imagine having more children now. Your little family unit, the three of you living your  lives to the fullest and blessed with your miracle child, who is almost 18 now and surprises you every day with his wit and insights.

Sunday Salon Chit Chat

We met with our building team consisting of our architect, contractor, and electrician. Now the real works begins and since it took so long for the plans to be approved, it looks like things will be progressing a bit more slowly than planned and it will be about four to five months.  Everybody's busy since it is high summer so we just have to be patient. Grrr!  Never fear, I will be cracking that whip to make sure the renovations are done by the end of the year.  Fingers crossed, knock on wood, and where did my dang rabbits foot disappear too.  *grin* 

I finished my birthstone bookology challenge for this month which should have been relatively easy since spelling out RUBY.   However a few other books yelled for my attention in the midst of the challenge.    

R: The Rook - Daniel O'Malley (#1 Rook, paranormal, 504) 

U: Fire Up Your Writing Brain - Susan Reynolds (nonfiction writing, 266) 

B:  The Beautiful Mystery - Louise Penny (#8 Inspector Gamache, 384, e)

Y:  The Year of Yes - Shonda Rimes (nonfiction, 336)

I just finished reading Ill Wind by Nevada Barr which is the third book in her Anna Pidgeon series.  I was annoyed by Anna in this particular book and feel like the author provided too much information and then not enough in some areas including Anna's issues with alcohol.  She had one major blackout and then declared at the end of the book - I'm an alcoholic. Or maybe I missed something in the reading.   I'm just glad I didn't start out with this one or I'd never had read any more of her stories.   The first book I read in the series was Blind Descent which was excellent, so I guess the stories are hit and miss depending on the story line, just like other series. 

Plus Roxanne St. Claire's latest in her Dogfather contemporary romance series came out a couple days ago,  Leader of the Pack, which is a quick, delightful, palate clearing read.   

For the past few years I have been listening to J.D.Robb's In Death Series in the car and finished with her latest # 44,  Echoes in Death.  It's always a pleasure to listen to her stories because she writes so well,  although the subject matter is a bit tough at times. As a writer, I've learned quite a bit between both reading and listening to the stories. I have to give props to Susan Erickson who does a magnificent job with all the voices.    Knowing myself, I'll probably start missing the characters in a few days and start listening all over again.  Can't get enough.    I started listening to Louise Penny's Beautiful Mystery today and am enjoying the narrator so far, however I did find my mind wondering a little bit since its a change.  We'll see how it pans out.  

It's week 30 in our 52 Books challenge and the last week in our Science Fiction and Fantasy reading months and highlighting author birthdays and bookish news.  

I have no idea what I'm going to read next.  Off to peruse my shelves.   

A to Z Poetry: Hope waits

Hope Waits

I'm here, she says
Lean on me. Wait, don't go.
I have much to teach,
We have far to row.

I'll do my best for tomorrow
There is hope in my sorrow
We look, we listen, we wait.
We do our best to bear the hands of fate.

We are saved. I am here.
No more pain, no more fear.
Yes, I'll wait.
Stand tall, it's not too late. 

Hope waits, hope gives,
Sorrow passes, hope lives. 
Don't worry, don't hate
Sorrow walks alone through the gate.

Remember, no matter what
The door will not shut.
Nothing is beyond my reach. 
I have much to teach. 

Don't worry yourself so.
Save the tears for tomorrow.
Hope tells the tale, 
blessings prevail.
Hope waits.

~R.Lee McCormack~

Flash Fiction Friday: Don't sit with your sorrow

My mother said something prophetic the other day. I didn't know it at the time, but as the words sank into my soul and warmed my cold heart, I began to live again. My wife wouldn't have wanted me to give up. She had such courage. Obviously more than me.

"Don't sit with your sorrow, but next to it."

I hadn't the foggiest idea what mom meant.  With or next, what difference did it make?  Did she mean it literally or figuratively?  Did she mean don't sit too long on your ass, moping and dwelling, crying in your beer?  Or did she mean I should remove myself from the equation?   And just why the hell do I feel the need to analyze it.  Because it bothers me.

"Don't sit with your sorrow, but next to it."

Are we acquaintances, sitting together in a room, keeping each other at arms length. Or have we become friends sitting together, bonding over who knows what. Holding hands, gathering strength, being a part of each other's lives rather than viewing each other across the coffee table.  

"Don't sit with your sorrow, but next to it." 

Sorrow.  Can you personalize it, him, her?  Does it become a person, a physical entity.  You can either be that person or next to that person.  Sit with me, Sorrow says, and I'll tell you a tale of woe.  Sit next to me, Sorrow says, I'll give you a rake to hoe.  I'll give you a shoulder to lean on, since you still have far to go.  Sit next to me, but don't lean on me. I have things to do, said Sorrow. Don't count on me, said Sorrow, I won't always be around. I won't be there tomorrow.  

Damn. Sorrow isn't a very trust worthy person is she?  I think she just gave me my walking papers.

Greg - Eyes in the Ashes

Thursday First Lines: The Rook by Daniel O'Malley

The Rook by Daniel O'Malley

"Dear You,

The body you are wearing used to be mine. The scar on the inner left thigh is there because I fell out of a tree and impaled my leg at the age of nine.  The filling in the far left tooth on the top is a result of my avoiding the dentist for four years.  But you probably care little about this body's past.  After all, I'm writing this letter for you to read in the future.  Perhaps you are wondering why anyone would do such a thing.  The answer is both simple and complicated. The simple answer is because I knew it would be necessary." 

Tuesday Tango: I can't believe....

I can't believe I'd been afraid to dive out of an airplane.  It was the biggest rush, free falling and floating, diving towards the earth.  Granted I didn't do it alone, strapped to the instructor, a rather odd position to find myself in.  I don't usually get that close to another man unless I'm taking him into custody. A good old fashion headlock with no room to squirm.  Once was enough though.  Beautiful and terrifying.  One more thing to mark off mom's bucket list.  She made me do it. When have you ever been able to say no to your mother?

I can't believe I was intimidated by her.  Here I am, forty years old and she still makes me feel like a child.  That's all me, though.  I like being taken care of...sometimes.  She won't let me see her bucket list. I think she's making it up on the fly. No pun intended.  

I can't believe she never told me about the running of the bulls. She has pictures to prove it, along with the scar on the back of her leg when she fell over a chair in the process.  She likes to tell strangers that was how she and dad met.  One of the bulls tagged her and dad saved her just before almost getting totally trampled.  She's feisty and finicky so I found it hard to believe she'd get down and dirty with the bulls until she showed me proof.

I can't believe how many years it's been since Jessie and I did the same thing.  I looked at mom and called Jessie, put him on speaker phone.  "Hey, man! Mom just showed me a picture of her running with the bulls." 

"No way, Mrs. E."

"Yes dear, believe it." 

Jessie chuckled and said "hang on, I've got a picture you need to see." 

She narrowed her eyes at me and I shrugged.  The phone dinged and I turned it her way.  Her eyes widened at the site of me and Jessie sitting on a wall where we'd jumped to get out of the way of the bulls.  Her spine straightened with a snap.  "You lied to me and told me you'd gone to Portugal."

"We did after a bit of a side trip.  At least we got away without any scars."  

"Gregory," She actually snarled at me.

"Mom!" both Jessie and I said together in a whine like we we used to do in high school. 

She huffed out a breath and shook her head. "Boys."

"Well, you did it first, paved the way."

She smiled and patted me on the back.  "And don't you forget it."

Greg - Eyes in the Ashes

Monday Meander: The Role of Handwriting

I'm a big proponent of writing everything long hand.  I write out all my fiction stories, flash and scenes long hand because I go completely blank looking at the white screen. However, I have no program writing blog posts on the fly.  Haven't figured that one out yet.   While reading, I'll underline portions and then go back and write it all out, along with the thoughts sparked by the text at that time. Otherwise I don't remember.  According to Susan Reynolds in Fire Up the Writing Brain writing longhand helps with comprehension and thinking.

"Handwriting is one of the most advanced human capabilities, because it combines all the complexities of language in concert with intricate psycho-motor activity.  It gives physical form to our thoughts and emotions, which is why some of us fall completely in love with the act of writing and spend hours searching for the perfect notebook for brainstorming ideas, journaling, or writing."

I encourage everyone I know to write long hand, but alas my son doesn't buy it.  He says he writes it all in his brain, then on the computer.  Of course, he and hubby have both photographic and eidetic memories and never forget a thing.

Handwriting also helps you express emotion:

According to psychiatrist Roland Jouvent  - "With handwriting we come closer to the intimacy of the author. That's why we are more powerfully moved by the handwritten manuscript of a poem by Verlaine than by the same work simply printed in a book.  Each person's hand is different: The gesture is charged with emotion, lending it a special charm."  Reynolds continues with "Cursive in particular, adds an element of dancing, instilling 'a melody' in the message."

So start practicing your cursive!

Sunday Salon Chit Chat

All systems are go. Our architect and contractor are working out details with subcontractors and gave us homework to start picking  out the rock siding for the columns on the front of the house.  I had it in my head that river rock or irregular rectangular rock would look good.  John likes stacked stone and even asked customers for their opinions  and they agreed with him. Generally, he lets me make the final decision as he usually ends up agreeing with me.  No, I don't always have to be right, I told him.   He patiently waited for me to come around to his viewpoint.   After photo shopping different styles onto a picture of the house, I came to the conclusion he was right and stacked stone created a more clean look. Miracle of miracles, we passed the first test in husband and wife decision making 101 with the new building without a major argument.  *grin*

My sister and brother in law came by on Sunday and dropped off the box of stuff I'd collected from Dad's house.  A couple months ago, we had a packing party and relieved dad of lots of knick knacks and such. I was pretty conservative and didn't take a whole lot. Happy to say I now have another crafty birdhouse to add to my collection as well as a few books hubby will enjoy reading.

Speaking of reading,  I read through the whole of Fire Up Your Writing Brain and highlighted plenty of sections in which I'll go back and write down to remember.  And which is something they talk about in the book. Hand writing contributes to better memory as well as reading literary books and learning new things.  Keep your brain engaged and challenged and it will reap dividends.   However, I'm just not ready for a reread of War and Peace. Some day soon however.    

I finished Anne Stuart's Wild Fire as well as Seanan McGuire's One Salt Sea, #5 in her October Daye series.    I'm currently reading Daniel O'Malley's The Rook which is a dusty book in my nook virtual pile.  Thoroughly enjoying it and don't know why it took me so long to read.   I may dive back into the world of a Wheel of Time with #8 The Path of Daggers.  Given than August's birthstone is Peridot or Sardonyx, it will suit perfectly.  

James curriculum is rolling in for the 12th grade and now I get to have the fun of sorting through, outlining and figuring out the schedule.  Always Fun!

I'm sort of surprised, but not overly so with the choice for the new Doctor in Dr. Who. Never expected a woman to be chosen.  James and I had a big debate over it. He's excited and I'm skeptical and since the head writer and producer is also new, we'll have to see what course direction the show takes.  I'm going to be my perpetually optimistic self and wait patiently for the Christmas special. 

A to Z Poetry: Goblin or Goon

Ghost Writer by Wolstenholme

Goblin or Goon

Ghosts float through the attic
of my brain.  Used to be
goblins and gremlins, 
what could be more traumatic? 

Goon and guns
are more my thing
as well as gallant gestures
and clever angelic wings.

Disingenuous  and gorgeous,
he takes me out of this world
with his geodesic looks
and his wings unfurled.

The glint in his eye,
the glow of his skin
he charms and deceives
thinking he'll win.

As we glide through the glade,
reflections on bright glass
glistens and blind
as he says, 'don't be afraid.'

Oh to be a guest in his mind, 
so relieved.  Little does he
know, he'll be the 
one left aggrieved. 

~ R. Lee McCormack~

Flash Friday: Leap of Faith

Courtesy of Tassels

You wander through an old-growth forest with trees reaching into the sky  on a narrow, leaf covered trail. Wind whistles through the trees.   Branches rustle and sing as leaves scatter, captured by wild wind eddies, and fly around your head. You hear the roar of the waterfall, before the bridge comes into view.  The breeze pushes and pulls you and leaves crunch and crackle underneath your bare feet. Crack!

You jump and race forward as a huge tree crashes to the ground with a bone jarring thud. Once the dust clears,  you realize its blocked the path and you'll have to take the long way home. The wind whips up and pulls at you, until you sprint down the trail, almost flying. You've heard about the bridge but not seen it yet.  The view takes your breath away.  Two huge oaks trees stretch across the water toward one another, and the roots form a natural walkway. The wood is warm and bumpy underneath your feet as you walk to the middle of the bridge and stare down at the water.

The river roars underneath and empties into a crystal clear lake surrounded by ferns and wild lilies of white, yellow, gold and orange. Sunlight sparkles off the water and fish swim in aimless circles. You look across the tree tops to the edge of the village where a church steeple rises high into the sky. The tolling of the bells drifts by on the wind. A soft breeze caresses your face and whispers ‘I will catch you when you fall.’  The breeze plucks at your clothes, once again pulling you towards the edge. The kids all call it the leap of faith. You can do this.  You close your eyes, take a deep breath and jump.

Thursday First Lines: Wild Fire by Anne Stuart

"Sophie Jordan lay utterly still in the inky darkness, the cool tile floor beneath her sweating body, as she checked her heart rate. Steady and solid after she'd done two dozen reps in perfect silence.  She'd been working herself up slowly over the months--as soon as she started breathing heavily she had to stop. There were no cameras or microphones in her huge bathroom, but she wasn't sure how sensitive the bugging devices in her bedroom were.  For all she knew, they could pick up the sound of her increased respiration."

Creating your own anxiety, rather than passion

Do you ever create your own anxiety by jumping ahead of yourself?  Yeah, me too.  I finished off the last few questions in Fierce on the Page. The last question is "What do I want to discover about myself as a writer or about writing in general this year?

I don't know yet.  My goal right now is to write, fill my creative well, and post on my blog every day.  I'd like to come up with content that entertains, amuses, teaches others.  Maybe have folks learn from my experience.  Back the truck up. Am I ready?   I haven't been thinking of anyone else but myself at the moment. I put in a lot of time and effort the past couple years worrying about  and helping other folks with their writing.   Am I ready to write for an audience?  I can feel anxiety creeping in and I'm not exactly sure why.

Some times you have to be selfish.   I'm taking this time to write for me, to find my passion again. Writing is a discovery process. I'm discovering myself again and by freeing up my thoughts and ideas and meandering on the page, I'm working on freeing  my characters again. I like imagining what my characters are thinking about or doing.  I want to learn their complete story.  And to do that, I had to learn how to tell my complete story.  I think I've made some progress in that direction, but I still have much to learn.  Plus I think it's time to let my characters loose and see where they take us.

I just copied this quote by Roald Dahl which I probably should tape to the side of my computer.

"If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead.  Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is not good.  Hot is no good either.  White hot and passionate is the only thing to be."

Monday Memories: The joy of Heartburn

Courtesy of National Geographic 

A few days ago when one of my customers dropped off his unit, he said, 'dang, I forgot. I was going to bring you a Jimboy's Taco."  It's been years since I've had one of their tacos and the memory of one sounded delicious.  I said 'you can't tease me like that. When you come back to get your equipment, you have to bring me a taco."  So true to his word, he bought tacos for me and my technicians.   They (yes I had two) were greasy, cheesy, beefy, crunchy good.  

But and you knew there was a but coming.  Friday evening, I could feel the knot in my throat, the sly creep of indigestion making its way through my body. Major heartburn that neither tums nor peppermint gum could ease.    I even tried the baking soda in water trick...twice. I sat in the dark living room, staring out the window between moments of trying to read.  It began to ease around four ish and I headed off to bed.  For the next couple days I had a fast food hangover.  

I think part of the issue is psychosomatic as through the night I had time to think about the last time I had Jimboy's and spent the evening in the emergency room. Long story short, eight years ago I had gotten a Steak Taco and was in the midst of talking to James, took a bite and swallowed a chunk too quickly and it got stuck.  It was a miserable evening and I haven't eaten there since.  

Lesson learned.  Shall I write them a dear John letter -

 "I'm sorry, it isn't you, it's me. You just aren't good for me."  She said as she swoons on the couch with the back of her hand against her forehead.   


Sunday Salon Chit Chat

Waterdrop by Zen 

Another hot weekend with temps in the 100's however I can't complain since Dad is in Arizona with consistent 110 + temps everyday.  I lasted all of 10 minutes out on the patio this morning.  Such a wimp when it comes to heat.  Despite it all, we are celebrating this weekend as we received our red tag approval from the fire department and got our final green tag approval from the city.  Yes, ma'am. Which means we can finally move forward and begin construction and renovation on the new property.  Happy Dance!!!

In book news, it is week 28 in our 52 books quest and this week we are celebrating Octavia Butler.  I have Dawn in my stacks and plan on reading it sometime this year.   As for our readalong of War and Peace is going, I'm been a bit distracted and haven't gotten too far.  I've been reading Louise Penny's Armand Gamache inspector series and I've fallen in love with Penny's writing and can't get enough  I  read # 8 Beautiful Mysteryin ebook and immediately went to the store and bought the book because there is so much to it and it's one of those I know I'll read again and again, highlighting and underlining those parts that speak to me. I just downloaded it in audiobook to listen to in the car, plus I've added it to my copy work project.  Immediately started #9 How the Light Gets In.  I had to find out what happened with Jean Guy!     Now I'm reading #10 The Long Way Home.  There are three more books left to the series, then will probably read it all over again at some point.

I'm now working on the exercises from Fire Up Your Writing Brain and the very first exercise calls for you to list your resources and motivations:

"To solidify and validate the characteristics (affinities) you have in your writing arsenal, make a list - include even the seemingly unimportant qualities. List the attributes that contribute to your ability to write well.  Take time to ponder and be as generous and honest as possible -  noting strengths and areas that may need more work....   Keep doing this over time, reinforcing your ownership.... Once the list is complete, create another list that details your motivations for working on whatever you're currently working on.  Again be as specific and personal as possible, digging beneath the surface to get really clear on why you are choosing to write about whatever it is your currently working on. "

I'll be pondering what attributes I think I bring to the table as well as my motivations for writing my current stories. Why?  Yes, good question.

" What you are doing is feeding body, soul, mind, and brain the nourishment all will need to persist and do the best work possible.  Your brain is your greatest writing asset, so engage it from the beginning layering in complexity and encouraged focus and you will be fostering the kind of writing mindset that reinforces your efforts and leads to successful completion."

Wow. Never quite thought of my writing in such a way before so this will be interesting.  I also dove into What If by Bernays and Painter and working my way through the exercises and prompts in the Revision is rewriting section.  Having fun with it so far.

I also pulled You can Draw in 30 Days by Mark Kistler out of our shelves.  James and I had worked through another of his workbooks - I think the 3d one, can't remember for sure and had fun with it.  I found it while straightening out the shelves, prepping for 12th grade curriculum and decided I'd give it a go.  Which means really drawing and just not playing on inspire pro. With inspire, I have a tendency to do a lot of pastel, feathery, misty things.  I haven't had too much luck with really fine work on electronic medium,  so paper art pad, here I come.

~Cheers and stay cool~

A to Z Poetry: Ode to F

Ode to F 


Forever Fearless 
Flights of Fancy Fairy Tales 
Frogs fly high and free.

Fake, fancy, fabrics
Franklin sees through the fur tree
Faded and foolish.

Foster fetched Franny
fabulously facing fear
forever and free. 

facts and figures do not fade
like fables and fibs 

~ R.Lee McCormack~

Flash Friday: There's Something You Should Know

The last few nights she had a recurring dream about her brother, Tommy.  They were lost in Oz and didn't have any idea how to get home.  He lay in the cornfield at the feet of a scarecrow, hands on his head and laughing. He shouldn't be laughing, she thought. He should be scared or angry.  Why wasn't he angry? 

She pushed her way through the cornstalks, leaving a path out to the road.  The empty road. No yellow bricks, no Toto, no Tinman, no witch.  Just an empty Nebraska cornfield and a very blue and purple sky. 

Puffy yellow clouds raced each other to the horizon.  Birds sang, stalks whispered, and Tommy laughed.  He hooted and howled.  She waited for him to wind down, to catch his breath, to look at her. Acknowledge her.  

"You know," he said and startled her with his cheerful voice, "I do believe this is the craziest scarecrow I've ever seen."

She gazed at the figure nailed to two pieces of wood, like Jesus on the cross.  Polk a dot pants, striped pink skirt, white clown shoes and a black big brimmed hat, all stuffed full of corn husks.  It smelled of grass and red wine and dust.  Faceless and hand less, it flopped with the wind. 

"Does it remind you of anyone?" her brother asked.

She shook her head and waited for him to enlighten her.  Didn't they have more important things to do, to talk about? 

"He looks like I feel."  Tommy pushed to his feet and slung an arm over her shoulder.

"Like a bad fashion statement." She kept her tone light and cheerful to match his.

He chuckled.  "Stuffed with useless bits."

"How can we fix it?" She leaned her head against his chest and listened to his failing heart.

"We can't. But we can do this." He reached into the sky and snagged one of the yellow clouds.  It pulled them into the sky and they landed on the feather soft back of a horse. Clouds shaped like cars, trucks, feet, bicycles, and more swept along on an airy racetrack. She blinked and focused on people riding the clouds.  Nana, uncle John, Jollie her cat, all long gone. 

"You can't stay, babe."  Her brother said as they zoomed across the sky.

"You can't either; not yet."  She held on to him and closed her eyes, blocked out the sight of those she'd known and hadn't known, as they passed by.  

"Did you notice anything about these clouds?"  He nudged her and she opened her eyes.  He grabbed a handful of the horse's cloudy mane.  A yellow footprint formed in his palm.  "What's at the end of the yellow brick road?"

"Life. Peace. Happiness."  She ventured and wanted it to be the truth.

"Nope. The castle. The next step."


"Be brave," he said with a smile.

"Why? Why do I have to brave?"  Her grip slipped as he became more insubstantial, a part of the cloud.

"There's something you should know..."  His voice trailed off, echoed in her head as she woke in her bed, in her apartment. The sun shone through the window and left trails of light in the dust, like the tears on her cheeks.  

"There's something you should know," he said, minutes before he passed away. His eyes slipped from her to Roland, their best friend, and back again.  "I found my courage." 

Thursday First Lines: The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny

"As the last note of the chant escaped the Blessed Chapel a great silence fell, and with it came an even greater disquiet.

The silence stretched on. And on.

These were men used to silence, but this seemed extreme, even to them.

And still they stood in their long black robes and white tops, motionless.


Writing Rhythm

I got rhythm, I got music, I got my man
Who could ask for anything more?
I've got daisies in green pastures
I've got my man
Who could ask for anything more? 
~ Ella Fitzgerald~ 

I love Ella and just this very moment got the bright idea to copy her music. Just for fun and to experience her rhythm.  Putting her on the copy work list.  Which brings me to writing rhythm.  It's another one from Sage Cohen's list which is probably going to take me the whole year to finish working through.

What kind of writing rhythm do you want?

Rhythm implies music, tone, balance, pitch, chords on the page, making up a song. Individual chords and words working together to make up a whole. A song. Pretty music that is great to listen to and we're able to play without discord.  How are you going to tune it?  Like a guitar or a piano with strings in alignment, tuned by ear or using one of those electronic gizmos?  Do you like to play by ear or by design?  

You want the joy of the music. The inspiration it brings. Learning how to play guitar and piano growing up meant lessons, learning to read the notes, where to place your fingers until it became muscle memory.  Once it became automatic, you began to make music.  In your case, sort of.  *grin*  Sometimes it was out of tune, other times not.  So how does it apply to your writing rhythm? You've had plenty of practice. You've learned the chords. It's time to play and make music.  

How does writing fit into the Rhythm of your life may be the better question to ask. There is a joy in creativity, letting the words flow from the pen to the page, from fingertips to the keyboard. 

You stumbled across this tidbit The Rhythm of life from David Drury in which he said -- "Rhythm is about cadence and tempo, regularity and measure. Rhythm cannot exist without two factors - beat and time.  Our lives have a seeming infinity of 'beats.'  Each activity and habit we engage in - each relationship and responsibility -- are 'moments' that are the beats of life..."

Maybe fit in isn't the right question either.   Your writing ebbs and flows, evolves and devolves as you do. It's something you do every day, like reading.  Some days you write for hours, other days minutes. Writing is becoming more natural. You're no longer fitting it in. Writing simply is part of your life now. And as with all things in life, it is a relationship of give and take and has to be tended to daily. 

"When you know what you want and pay attention to the choices you make, you can discover how your options and desires are aligned - or out of alignment.  With clarity, you can make choices about adjusting your practices so that they move you toward what you want to do, be, and have."  ~ Sage Cohen

Monday Meanderings - copy work

Copy Work 

The universe is trying to tell me something.  For all the years I've home schooled and had James doing copy work, as suggested by Susan Wise Bauer in Well Trained Mind and Charlotte Mason's classical education ideals, not once has it ever occurred to me that it would be beneficial for me to do so.  I discovered I retain and remember more when taking notes while reading non fiction. I've learned to underline sentences and paragraphs that spark while reading fiction, otherwise it goes poof and I never find that perfect sentence again.  What does that have to do with copy work?  

I read about the practice of copy work for writers in the last couple books I read, plus I've stumbled across the art of copy work on the internet this past week.  Brent McKay from the The Art of Manliness explains best how it will improve your writing as well as memory and focus. A few years back when I was reading all of James Scott Bell writing books, the idea didn't stick.  Read a book, take notes, copy the sentences, analyze the structure. Lather, rinse, repeat.   It didn't stick.  I guess the time wasn't right. 

The universe has been throwing copy work in my face the past few days and I finally got the hint.  I've been contemplating - who (whom?) shall I copy? Who will help me the most? Robert Frost is one of my favorite poets.  This morning's prompt for the National Journal Writing Month is to copy The Road Less Traveled, think about it and write about a time when you've take the less popular road, figuratively or literally.  Check - Robert Frost goes on the list.  

I love Dean Koontz's writing- he's poetic yet not, hitting all the senses, pulling me into the story and immersing me in the characters world.  Then there's the diva of writing, Nora Roberts.  I love her trilogies and also her In Death series which I've read several times.  I could never write stories like either one of them. However, maybe like the saying -

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars. 

So, I'm going to shoot for the moon, include copy work in my writing repertoire and see where it takes me.