Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days -2012, Life Writing, Marketing my Writing, ROW80 2012 Round #1, Writing in Freedom, Writing Samples

ROW80 Goals Update #7 – “New Vistas and Small Acts of Courage”

Here we are, at another checkpoint on this envelope-abolishing journey…..

It’s been a different type of few days for us.  We seem to be coming out of hibernation, the children and I.  We spend a good deal of the summer and fall traveling and doing and going….and then, when the weather turns colder, we go into a rest phase at home….

Now, after several weeks of drawing inward, of gathering  and centering ourselves, once again, around the pulse of home, renewing, recharging and processing all that outward-oriented experience, we are rousing ourselves from our “long winter’s nap”, and rejoining the world……

I used to worry, during this rest phase, that we weren’t doing enough.  Now, though, I have lived through it enough times to see the depth of living and learning that runs beneath the surface of these times lived close to home and hearth.

Certain things are harder to do when life is about getting out and going…..time to create leisurely art, or daydream or read a day away, cooking, organizing, noticing the tiny changes in a yard and landscape one knows intimately well…

Days spent in free flowing play, or conversation, or watching the man who has come to repair the well.    Other times of cooking and bathing the dog,  or sewing button eyes onto a stuffed gorilla….

Deepening our connection to and affection for one another.  The easy flow of life at home, with nowhere to go, is filled, for us, with many, many moments, small and large, to understand each other more fully.  These times are filled with small tokens of love and restorative cuddles.

It also turns out to be a very conducive environment for writing, too….

But, as I said, we are yawning, and stretching, and rousing for a shift toward an outward life again….and now, I will learn what it is to write through increasing activity levels…..

On Thursday, we went to our homeschool co-op for the first time since November.  We’ve got some new families, so there were new friends to meet, and, for Annalise, a bit of emotional upheaval when she found that her best friend had made another friend, and wasn’t quite as available as she had hoped.
Jeremiah renewed his friendship with one friend, and made another.

After co-op, we went to to Ethan’s house, because he and Miah, who generally needs less social interaction than Lise does, wanted more time together.   There was DS play, Stratego, Cartoon Network, Beyblades, and pizza before we headed home through gathering snow at 7:30pm.

We got home 5 minutes ahead of Jim’s call for a ride home, because it was too snowy, and his motorcycle wouldn’t start.  So out we went, on unplowed country roads this time, with just enough slushy snow to make traction unpredictable (and through a national park where deer take refuge from hunters).

After we got home, it took me about an hour and a half to wind down enough to settle to write.  I just missed my 750 words for the night. but, although shorter than I had planned, it was a productive session.

Friday’s excitement was having no water-  our aged outlet and circuit breaker gave out just after Jim left.  I am excellent at reading and writing and being with my children, fair at organizing and hometending and yard care, and not at all inclined towards mechanical or electrical pursuits.  We live about 5 miles from the nearest small towns, and Jim had taken our car, so the kids and I spent a day without water.

My favorite moment of the day was  Annalise coming to me while I was washing dishes in the little bit of water I had gotten into my dishpan before the lines were emptied, and saying, “You know, Mommy, I’m kind of glad we don’t have any water.  It means we have to be resourceful.”

She can be very wise –  often wiser than seven-and-a-half years of living would seem to account for, and her observation smoothed the rougher parts of “roughing it”.

Once Jim got home, he went out –  in the dark, at 11pm, because he is our blue-bearded hero, and cobbled a makeshift connection until he can buy a breaker and replace it in the system.  We are missing a couple of lights we like to use, but don’t really need, but we have plenty of water again, so we will manage until all is back to normal again….

Saturday, we drove Jim to work, then, because Lise has had a cold and bit the inside of her mouth, resulting in a painful sore, we went to the grocery store, for medicines and fruit and veggies  and Valentine’s goodies and a new Beanie Baby and two DVDs–  a Pokemon collection for Miah, and a sampler of kids’ movies for Lise – things like The Black Stallion, Little Rascals, and Shirley Temple‘s “A Little Princess“, although we don’t know yet if it’s been colorized or is original black and white.  At any rate, we saw a Shirley Temple collection commercial on TV at Ethan’s house on Thursday, and had been talking about it, so this was a cool find.

After we got out of the store (Lise had asked to take some quarters from the car, and I said OK), they took turns with the claw machine, unsuccessfully this time, although physics-minded Jeremiah often wins something or several somethings.  Then Lise chose another pair of fake teeth for her collection, and we headed off to the McDonald’s drive thru, because none of us had eaten, and Jim is usually the one who takes them there, so I could make it a treat for them.

Things were pretty mellow after that, filled with movies, veggie and fruit plates, 3DS play, more duct tape creations  – in two days, there have been purses, handbags, games bags, cell phone holders, pencil cups, boats, and clothing tailored for Beanie Babies.  Jeremiah is considering selling his wares at co-op.  He’s an entrepreneur who has yet to find his niche….but he is patient, and has hired his sassy sister to advertise for him….this may be a go…….we will see.  My job is to find better prices on and greater quantities of duct tape.  I have a connection for that! =)

Which brings us to now, early Sunday morning……I am going to  go take a hot shower to try to erase my chill and my tense muscles, and then I will tell you about my goals progress…..

Round of Words 80 Goals – Round 1, 2012:

I will write at least 10 essays and/ or photo essays, and post them publicly.

I will complete all necessary homeschool reporting (2010-2011 end-of-year assessments; fourth request for approval of 2011-2012 IHIPs , and Second Quarter Reports-  all items for both children).  These will be completed and submitted as follows:

  • 2010-2011 EOY Assessments  –  January 31, 2012
  • On Thursday, I printed and presented the EOY assessments to the impromptu, 3-person Peer Review Panel.  They were duly filled out and signed.
  • Jim mailed them on Friday, on his way to work, so this goal has been accomplished!
  • 2011-2012 IHIP Approval Request – February 15, 2012
  • I have a rough draft of this letter.  It’s very terse-  the school superintendent in charge of our required paperwork has exhibited a pattern of neglecting his responsibilities under the law while demanding things he has no right, under the same law, to require.  I am frustrated and frankly tired of repeating myself in dealings with him.  Therefore, I think it’s best to let this sit a day or three, and then review the wording.
  • 2011-2012 Second Quarter Reports – March 1, 2012
  • I did fairly well at keeping track of our doings until mid-December, when the holiday season more or less took over, and, after, I began ROW80, and have scarcely remembered that the reports were started!
  • I have pulled up the draft of Annalise’s report, and added bulleted lists of things to include for each subject area, as well as some note to remind myself of tasks still unfinished.
  • Within the next several days, I will be doing the same with Jeremiah’s report.
  • After that, I will only need to flesh out, revise, and polish before submitting.
 I will submit at least one essay or photo essay apiece to
Tiny Buddha and Sunday Surf.
  • I spent considerable time with the Tiny Buddha post this week.
  • I had thought the piece nearly completed –  until I put it into my handy-dandy Word Count Tool – and found it now has 1900+ words.  As the upper limit is 1300 w0rds, I will need to do some revising.
  • In preparation for this I read two recent articles and skimmed several more on the blog.
  • This pointed me toward a more structured form of essay, and so I will be revising again at some point during the next few days.  I believe that the new format will, by its nature, eliminate a few hundred words as no longer relevant, which should make cutting a less intensive project.
  • My piece will need a title; as yet it has none.  I am planning to wait until after the next draft, and see what presents itself in the process of writing.
  • I wrote a bio for the piece and posted it on the ROW80 Facebook Page.  
  • It was suggested that the bio was too long, and that I could look at other bios on the blog.  It was too long by a fair margin so it, too, will be getting a rewrite or two to lean it out. More focus on where I write and basic tone of how I live and who with, and where, and nothing else, really.
  • I have finished , revised, and added many links to the Sunday Surf  piece.
  • Over the next several days, I will begin the photo editing and importing (I am thinking mostly collages, although there will be single photos and at least one linked slide show…..).
  • It is conceivable that I could have either or both of these posts submitted by next Sunday.
I will complete the rough draft of my unfinished NaNoWriMo novel, Chameleon’s Dish.
  • I have, at this moment, 6810 words of Chapter 16, “Blood and Breath”.  The story seemed to wander aimlessly for a few days, then, tonight, all those disparate scenes and thoughts merged together in a startling and perfect-seeming way…..I am happy.  And the chapter is nearly written.
I will submit at least four pieces, queries, or proposals to for-pay markets.
  • This goal got pushed absentmindedly to the back burner over the last few days, so nothing new to report here.
  • A priority, over the next several days, will be to draft an ad for my independent service, and play around with photographs.
I will update, keep current on a weekly basis, and add writing samples to my Facebook Writer Page, and I will  update, edit, and post to both of my regular blogs on at least a weekly basis.
  • I have posted to both blogs in the last week, and have other posts in progress in the drafts folders of both, too.
  • I have been using my Facebook Writer Page as a repository for research, and a place to share things, mostly, as I have been busy this last few days.
  • No real prettying up has happened, although I did add a few elements to this blog…….perhaps more details on that, Wednesday…..

It’s been a rather off-balance few days –  but, mostly, in a good way.  We won’t always be in hibernation mode –  there will be times overflowing with busyness, too……

For instance,  tomorrow, Jim and I have a surprise to spring.  A fair amount of effort has gone into it, and more will, before we’ve finished…..

And so, I will find a new type pf balance, one that will easily shift with the flow of our living…..nothing else will work, for me.

And so, I welcome our return to the  outer world, our unfolding  into the life of going and doing……

More on Wednesday, from me, after Jim’s weekend, with details of the going and doing about to commence…..I wanted to say more, tonight, but am out of words!

ROWing along………. ROW80 Blog Hop!

Posted in Flash Fiction Pieces, Writing in Freedom, Writing Samples

My Very First Flash Fiction Challenge

OOOOH! This sets my imagination afire.....

This will be my very first Flash Fiction Friday flash fiction attempt. I am still getting the feel for it, as I tend to be a very, very wordy writer…..and yet, I am falling in love with these bite-sized writings I am just now beginning to explore……


A Bitter Meal

Jeniah chewed on the last of the fish, not so much because she was hungry as because the babe swelling her belly must be kept well-nourished.

The brisk sea breeze lifted and ruffled her fur in a way that was both pleasant and vexing…..

Or did that have more to do with the ominous hill away past the ocean-smoothed rocks, and with the three Canivaarii who sat  upon it, watching her silently?

She knew that Hallii was there, could even tell which of those indistinct shapes was her twin….

Her twin, who followed her every exploration, and who was ordering the murder of Tacivaarii and Untribed alike….

Her twin, whom she must stop.  And whom the child twisting and rolling in her belly would, with his birthing,  be the means to do so…

The fish turned bitter and sick-making in her throat, and she vomited it upon the rocks, then went to the water to rinse her mouth with the flavor of tears.


Wow!  I enjoyed that –  and it took me just about five minutes to write.  I may even go ahead and submit this, somewhere, in the next few days……

So glad I played along! =)

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days -2012, Marketing my Writing, ROW80 2012 Round #1, Writing in Freedom

ROW80 Goals Update #6 – “Ascent of the First Peak”

I’ve done it!  Woot! Wooty woot woot woot!

Yeah, that’s right.  I completed my first goal,  and it only took three weeks!  Oh, and a LOT of writing!

I learned quite a bit, in the process.  Things about my life, like that I don’t need to spend hours each day cleaning the house,  and that both children are far more capable than I knew.  Not only are they reasonably good at pitching in (at least, when they’e in the mood, and mostly doing things they like), but they’re also pretty good, these days, at negotiating ways to make life easier for all of us.

Things about my writing, like that I can, in fact, write a lot, and have it be meaningful, and still have the time needed to be the mom and wife I want to be.

And that, in fact, the time spent in writing makes me richer, makes me more willing to share the rest of my time with my family.

Because a lot of my writing is self-examination, I feel myself opening up in new ways, filling up, deepening in understanding –  of myself, my purpose, those around me….

This challenge has been amazing for me, personally.  I am feeling strong and empowered.  I don’t just feel more like a writer, I am proving to myself, on a daily basis, that I am a writer,  already.

I’ve discovered that I’ve been hiding – sharing my words and my vision mostly with those whom I  could be  reasonably sure would not object too strenuously to them.  I’ve had violent, harsh, abusive reactions to my words (spoken and written alike), from two of my three siblings; perhaps I was afraid that, if I got that type of response from someone I did not know, it would mean that I or my words or my viewpoint was worthless.

I’ve said for years that I would write, that I fully intended to begin a freelance career, but, still, I hesitated.

There were, of course, reasons.

  • I couldn’t write regularly,  in our traveling days,  because I was too busy and too tired.
  • I couldn’t write regularly, (or submit at all, I told myself), when the children were small, because they were all-consuming in their needs.
  •  Then it was not having the type of computer that would allow me to write quickly and easily, and I didn’t have the money to get one……

Now I have, step by step and little by little, made all those excuses moot.  And I am writing –  every day.     Joyfully.  Productively.

 That’s the path for me.  Step by step.  Little by little.  Moving forward.  Chipping away at my remaining fears and sculpting a new reality for myself.  A reality where I write, and submit, and attain my goals, and look forward, and challenge myself.

And now, on to my goals, while I take a few moments to soak in the view from here……

Round of Words 80 Goals – Round 1, 2012:

I will write at least 10 essays and/ or photo essays, and post them publicly.

  • I did it!  Yesterday, when I posted “Sibling Rivalry; Sibling Love” on The Unfettered Life, I completed this goal!
  • I still have three essays nearing completion.
  • I have unmined material in notebooks and on the computer.

I am debating adding a goal involving transcribing, gathering from hard drives, and/or working on my backlog of photograph.  I have decided to wait a week or so, work toward completing the essays in progress, and then feel out which goal feels like the best fit.

I will complete all necessary homeschool reporting (2010-2011 end-of-year assessments; fourth request for approval of 2011-2012 IHIPs , and Second Quarter Reports-  all items for both children).  These will be completed and submitted as follows:

  • 2010-2011 EOY Assessments  –  January 31, 2012
  • 2011-2012 IHIP Approval Request – February 15, 2012
  • 2011-2012 Second Quarter Reports – March 1, 2012
  • I am on target with this goal……Annalise is eager to see her friends tomorrow, and the EOY Assessment Forms are all but completed (need to add the attendance hours, and print, which I will do once Jim has fallen asleep).
  • I will take the forms to co-op tomorrow, and they should be ready for mailing on Friday, completing the first portion of  this goal.
 I will submit at least one essay or photo essay apiece to Tiny Buddha and Sunday Surf.
  • The Tiny Buddha post is very nearly finished.  I need to read through one more time, and then the text will be complete.
  • I will be reviewing the guidelines sometime before Sunday, and will make whatever adjustments are necessary.
  • If I am allowed to submit my own photos, I will gather and prepare two or three pictures to add to the post, then submit (hopefully, before next Wednesday).
  • I have added some photos to the Sunday Surf post, but not otherwise worked on it.
I will complete the rough draft of my unfinished NaNoWriMo novel, Chameleon’s Dish.
  • I’ve been concentrating on finishing blogposts and reports, and reading and commenting on other blogs, over the last several days, so I have been making only modest progress toward this goal.
  • I am, at this writing, 4062 words into Chapter 16, “Blood and Breath”.
  • I have a better idea of the plot, going forward, and may, at some point in the next week or two, begin taking some rough notes for the remaining chapters.
  • I still don’t know where I am in the plot, but, as I am hoping that the action will ratchet, in increasing fits and starts, to a crescendo,  from this point, I am thinking somewhere between 25-30 chapters altogether, maybe….
I will submit at least four pieces, queries, or proposals to for-pay markets.
  • I have done a little market research for this goal, but not made any decisions as yet.
  • I have joined the Write1 Sub1 Monthly Challenge.  The challenge is to write a story or poem each month, and to submit one, as well.  I am hoping this will give me that little push I need to keep pressing forward on this goal.
I will update, keep current on a weekly basis, and add writing samples to my Facebook Writer Page, and I will  update, edit, and post to both of my regular blogs on at least a weekly basis.
  • I have done well at this goal.
  • I have posted twice here; pulled a ROW80  post from The Unfettered Life to post here, and have added challenges, and three pages.
  • I have been continuing to learn new ways of improving my blogs.
  • I have posted once to The Unfettered Life, and plan on reposting the “Sima Garo Provides” post , minus the goals updates, because it is very much an unschooling essay.
So, about the view from here….It’s exciting.  It seemed, going in, like a very challenging goal….and yet, here I am, 3 weeks later, with this goal behind me.  I wrote a lot, but it wasn’t hard.  It was, at times, very emotional, scary, and liberating.
I feel lighter, and freer, at the same time.  Focused, and purposeful, and with something that is starting to look just a little like a plan.  Not a plan like a schedule or an obligation, but more as a sense of direction, of possibility, of dawning confidence that it is, in fact, okay to dream…..
This is just the first peak, the first ascent.  Ahead and all around are other pinnacles, other vistas to view, other clouds to touch.
Am I ready?  Maybe not for the whole range, all at once, but ready to appreciate the view from here, then prepare for the next climb…..
See you all on Sunday…..
Why not check in on the other ROWers ?
Posted in Life Writing, One-Minute Writer Posts, Uncategorized, Writing Samples

One-Minute Writer Jan. 24, 2012 “Late”


Got a late start…timer started going, and I had a 3 second delay.  Does it get easier, juggling the clock and the program…will I always struggle this way?  Who knows?  It is still a lot of fun trying, seeing how many words I …

Just a minute

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days -2012, Life Writing, Marketing my Writing, ROW80 2012 Round #1, Writing in Freedom

ROW80 2012 Round#1 – “Sima Garo Provides”

Photo by Shan Jeniah BurtonSima Garo is a philosophical practice, among the Tacivaarii Huntstribe of the planet Aletris.  You say you’ve never heard of Aletris?  That’s okay – I created it, but haven’t yet widely shared with the people of this world.

It is centered upon the certainty that all that is needed in any moment will be supplied by that moment.

However, one must be open to it, else one might miss the offerings.  Sima garo is not forceful, it simply unfolds, in the manner of natural things.

There is no point in praying for specific things to happen.  Sima garo will indeed provide, but the provisions may be of a wholly unexpected nature.  One must be willing to act on instinct, and faith, and to keep one’s mind, soul, and heart open…..

It’s deceptively simple. It came to me one day, fully formed, in this sentence, the touchstone of the philosophy:

Sima Garo Will Provide.

Montana quarry, Summer 2000
Facing my fears in Montana, Summer 2000

That sentence was the key to the character and approach of Jeniah, a Trueborn  Tacivaarii who had, for much of her early adulthood, been Huntleader.  Once I knew that she had come, through many trials, to believe in sima garo to the depths of her being, it was much easier to know what she would do in any situation…..

Sima garo will provide; one must only be open to it.  Sima garo works best when one is poised and ready to act purposefully,  with less attention to following a preordained plan, and more to presence and full awareness not only of the factors required to achieve a goal, but also of why one is pursuing the goal, to begin with.

Sima garo works in concert with instinct, free will, personality, purpose, circumstance, and relationships.  It is infinitely flexible, and it is always there, in every moment, providing what is needed, although not every goal is attainable in every moment….which is why I’m telling you about sima garo right now.

It’s been a week of disequilibrium here,  with familiar patterns of all kinds being cast aside.  There seems little predictable about the flow of our days, suddenly.

I suspect both children are going through a physical and/ or cognitive growth spurt.  They seem suddenly bigger and more capable than they were only a week or two ago.  They’re watching programs and playing games that were too much only a month or two back.  They have a new array of freshly-minted skills and perspectives.

And, in the hurly-burly of that growth – they are an odd mixture of supremely helpful and intensely messy.

The nature of children is change.  Every parent knows it, although we, as adults, tend maybe not to think about it while we are making our plans and assuming we know who these children are and how they operate…..

Supreme goofiness at home (winter 2009?)....

Maybe these periods of intense growth are less chaotic, when children are enrolled in school.  Or maybe, with the children gone during those hours and the parents busy with their own jobs or plans, it’s just less noticeable.  Or maybe it comes out in other forms – falling grades, fighting, sleepiness….

Because Jeremiah and Annalise  have never attended school, I’ve been witness to and participant in every one of these sudden surges.

And yet, every time, it seems I need to remember it again, as I desperately try for balance amid the swirling, metamorphic energies all around me.

Sima garo will provide.

Every time, I struggle.  I battle my way upstream, against the tide of chaos, clutter, and emotional disarray.

I’ve been exhausted from my futile struggling, and so also crankier than I usually am.

Cranky moms do not help children find a safe center within the storms of growth…..

Sima garo will provide.

I don’t need to do it all.  Some days, like Monday, when there is nothing left but the energy to be, I don’t need to do any.  I can give myself a day to rest, to not drive forward, to stay still and feel what it is that sima garo is offering.  Time to listen to my instincts, and question my expectations.

Jeremiah, up close, listening to Irish Folk Music (Sterling Renaissance Festival, Sterling, NY Summer 2010)

Time to realize that, sometimes, growing is all-consuming, and huge messes will be made – not because of a lack of willingness or care for those they share living space with, but simply because there is no energy for anything but growing.

Time to turn to my growing-up children, my daily companions in the adventure of life, and remember that I know only who they are and have been.  I can’t know who they will be; I ought not impose my own agenda upon it.

Annalise inspects the unintended consequences of art, (making herself into a war horse) 2009ish

Time to wait, quietly, and observe.  Who are they becoming, in this frenzy of growth?  What are they learning?  How can I best support them- gently and lovingly?  How can I meet my own needs for order and rest and a certain degree of predictable flow to my days and responsibilities?  How can I do this in love, in peace, and acceptance for who we all are?

I’ve been a little short on kindness, the last day or so.  Deep within, I am growing, and changing, too.

While I let those thoughts and the feelings that go with them simmer in my soul, while I wait for what I am just beginning to sense sima garo is offering me, I am going to go ahead and celebrate my actions toward achieving my goals:

Round of Words 80 Goals – Round 1, 2012:
I will write at least 10 essays and/ or photo essays, and post them publicly.
  • With my last post, I had completed eight of the ten essays I planned to write to complete this goal.  Five more, including this update post, are in progress.
  • I have several more ideas brewing, and much material to mine out of previous writings.  I expect to complete this goal, and surpass it, within the next two weeks. =)
I will complete all necessary homeschool reporting (2010-2011 end-of-year assessments; fourth request for approval of 2011-2012 IHIPs , and Second Quarter Reports-  all items for both children).  These will be completed and submitted as follows:
  • 2010-2011 EOY Assessments  –  January 25, 2012
  • 2011-2012 IHIP Approval Request – January 31, 2012
  • 2011-2012 Second Quarter Reports – March 1, 2012
  • I’m moving forward on the assessment forms, having completed Annalise’s except for a final edit.  Jeremiah’s form is nearly finished, as well.
  • I am going to tweak the dates.  I had intended to take the assessment forms to our homeschool co-op group on Thursday, but the kids and I were all drained and a little sniffly, and Lise had hurt her foot.  By mutual consensus, we stayed home.   Since the forms need to be filled out by a peer review panel, that will need to wait until next Thursday.

The new deadlines are:

  • 2010-2011 EOY Assessments  –  January 31, 2012
  • 011-2012 IHIP Approval Request – February 15, 2012
  • 2011-2012 Second Quarter Reports – March 1, 2012

 I will submit at least one essay or photo essay apiece to
Tiny Buddha and Sunday Surf.

  • It seems as though I have been working on these two for a very long time….but….
  • The Tiny Buddha post is very nearly ready for submission.  I need to do a final revision, focusing on one still-rough passage, and to add a few pictures and perhaps links, too.  I will have it submitted before Wednesday’s check in.
  • The Sunday Surf  post is nearing its conclusion –  I feel there are a few more paragraphs to write,  and revisions to do.   I’ve begun to import the edited photos into the post. Not in time for this week, but I will submit it to next week’s surf.
  • Additionally, although not part of this goal, I have written about half of a rough draft for Sibling Love”, my post for the Unschooler’s Blog Carnival.  I have also found a treasure trove of online photos of the kids together, from baby days up to this week.  Loving the idea of getting into those  to edit -ohboyohoboyohgirl!!!!
  • I have also revised (again!) the guest post for Cooperative Catalyst and given some consideration to what I want to add as links and photos-  slideshows of kid art, the in-progress interviews with both children, and the days I itemized last March (on The Unfettered Life, but still needing editing.)  I expect to have this done by the end of January.
I will complete the rough draft of my unfinished NaNoWriMo novel, Chameleon’s Dish.
  •  I completed Chapter 15, although I felt it floundered some, with lots of energy oozing off in odd directions, and with lassitude beneath, kind of like our lives this last several days.
  • The next chapters will likely also have a bit of an identity crisis, as I learn things and the characters make their choices, and are acted upon by outside sources, as well.
  • Just as I am practicing being present with the children’s growth and change, I am practicing being open and present to the story, to not attempt to force anything, but to simply be the conduit for the story that wants to be told…
  • At this writing, I am 1453 words into Chapter 16,Blood and Breath“.
  • I’m somewhere in the neighborhood of the middlin’ end of the middle.  No, it just doesn’t get any more specific than that –  I don’t have an outline, just a sketchy story arc I keep in my just-now- muddled head. =)
I will submit at least four pieces, queries, or proposals to for-pay markets.
  •  Still letting the erotic poem rest, for the moment. I am considering writing a flash fiction piece based upon it.
  • I have taken some steps for my private writing enterprise by beginning to investigate accepting online payments – eventually, I may link to my service from here and The Unfettered Life.  It’s a small, simple project, but it would be fun to have rather than a donate button.
  • I also investigated and then signed up as a creator at The Unschoolers’ Emporium.  Over the next several days, in moments between other projects and activities of life, I will be writing my ad, experimenting with pictures, and setting my pricing….
  • So, an announcement of what it is will soon be appearing here and there –  but not until I get the ad in and am ready to go…..
  • I have been collecting resources for market research, and, once I get a few of my pending projects finished up, I will begin narrowing down and preparing for my third submission, which may possibly be something for
  • Gradually, the “What-the-hell-do-you-think-YOU’RE-doing?!” feeling is fading, as I simply move toward this goal of four submissions.  I am realizing that I have as much right to submit as anyone else, and that there are indeed those out there who are willing to compensate me financially for my words.
  • In this area, sima garo has provided richly.  I had thought, for years, that finding markets was a business so tedious as to approach impossibility.  Now, with my trusty Sweet L’il Lenovo, I can grab any appealing site, scan its guidelines, then post it to my Facebook Writer Page until I can investigate it more fully.
  • I intend, too, to bring the most appealing of these sites here, to post in my  Markets for My Writing  category, on this blog.

I will update, keep current on a weekly basis, and add writing samples to my Facebook Writer Page, and I will  update, edit, and post to both of my regular blogs on at least a weekly basis.

  •  I have been doing really well with this.  I am really enjoying learning more about how blogs work, and all the nifty little things I can do here.
  • I have been adding here and there…widgets, categories, menus, tags, and links.  I’ve had some ideas.  I have lots more to do, oveer time…I don’t want ot rush it, but rather to create an organically evolving place for my writings to live.
  • I’ve also made some adjustments and additions to The Unfettered Life, and to my Facebook Writer Page.  I anticipate that these, too, will continue to evolve and grow as I do……
  • Through personalizing my blogs, I am developing a better sense of my own writing passions, and finding a growing network.  In the past week or two, both of my blogs have gained some new followers.
  • Here at Shanjeniah, I am honored to welcome the following new members.  Find a comfy place to settle, and feel free to give me your drink orders – I loved my days as a waittress!
  • And a special, “Thanks, and welcome!” to my very first follower – —
  • If you click any of these names, you will be carried, (on gossamer wings, of course!) through the magical rainbow skies of the Interwebs, to land dreamily within a blog I really enjoy.  It’s like a bonus, for everyone!
  • I’ve known Eden since we were 4.  She’s not like a sister to me, she is my Syster.
  • And, now, I have four more people to learn about and from.  Life is good, indeed. =)
Annalise loves strawberries, especially from the walkway patch! Spring 2011

So, back to this sima garo thing….

Friday was a particularly grouchy day for me.  I was woken early by Jeremiah leaning over me, saying,”Mommy?  Number one, your computer is blinking, and, number two, I have no idea where Daddy is.”   Groggily, I answered that I knew about the computer, and that Dad had probably gone to get milk, because we were out. Almost as I said that, Jim and Annalise returned from the store, and my abrupt awakening became irreversible.
Physics, history, and fun on the Crow's Nest at the Renaissance Festival, summer 2010
A few moments later,  Jim and I were having coffee  when the children began screaming at each other.  This wasn’t a simple disagreement; it was a rare call to war.  In attempting to defuse a suddenly hugely volatile moment, Jim and I got screamed at, too.
That didn’t set a lovely tone for the day.  I was overwhelmed by input – a lot of it loud and really angry -from the instant I was awakened.  Normally, I enjoy relaxing my way into a state of readiness for my day – coffee and conversation with Jim until he heads off to work, then reading my daily meditation from The Book of Awakening.  This week, I’ve also been reading essays from A Quiet Place.  The disruption jolted me too awake, too quickly, and then it was hours before I was able to settle to do my reading.
The suddenness and chaos of that awakening was still with me when I stumbled out to the living room… find that the cleaning I had done the evening before had been erased, and more chaos resided in its place.
I struggled all day – against the mess, against the kids, against my own emotions.  Nothing seemed right, and I let the kids know – repeatedly and at length, and not, on the whole, very nicely.  I let them know in a way I have not done for months.
I was exhausted from struggling against what was, what already existed.  The mess was there, and the kids were unsettled and grouchy –
And so was I.
Outside the New York State Museum (Albany, NY), November, 2008
It wasn’t until after the kids fell asleep that I realized the truth –  I had simply been refusing to accept that day just as it was, and, by refusing to accept it,  I added resistance to all the difficult emotions we were all already feeling.  Sima garo will provide – no – even that isn’t quite right.
Sima garo provides,  in every moment, whether I am paying attention or not.
At the Butterfly Conservatory (Oneonta, NY, February 2009
Saturday was easier.  We all found our flow, and moved through the day with the energy we had; not resisting, just floating along.  I managed to do some cleaning, and some writing, and to spend some time enjoying both of the kids, and Jim, when he got home.   The children were far more generous and helpful than they had been on Friday.  Lise helped with pet care, dishes, laundry, and did some tidying.  Miah cooked – twice! –  for all three of us: toaster oven grilled cheese sandwiches and French toast.  He also did some dishes, helped with laundry, and did some general tidying-up.  Together, they made a pot of coffee.
At seven, Jeremiah read many, many books. These days, he prefers online reading, much of the time - research is easier that way. (Winter 2008).
Sima garo provides.  I need only be open to it. Whether it is the time to write, resources to help me toward my goals (writing and otherwise), patience and understanding, renewal and rejuvenation, love, affection, acceptance……it’s all there, all the time, if I only choose to see it and open myself to it….Does that mean every day will flow as smoothly and easily as yesterday did?  Of course not.  Already, today has been more challenging.  We are all very tired, and that leads to crankiness and conflict.  Jeremiah is missing a piece of gaming equipment he treasures, and which he loaned to Annalise yesterday.  He insisted she lost it; she insisted she returned it, and he got very angry, very quickly.  Without warning, we were thrust into a storm of emotion….
Photo by Jean Dorsey. Annalise gets to know the ocean (Rexhame Beach on the Atlantic, Marshfield, MA, Spring 2009).
 Life is a messy and tangled business.  Life as a parent is exponentially more so.  Life as a parent who strives, with each and every interaction, to respond from a place of peace and partnership can be the knottiest of tangles, the most overwhelming of messes.
But sima garo provides, even if it is only in the simple knowledge of my purpose, as a mother and a woman and a human….to leave things a little better than I found them, and, when I can’t, to release them.  Even if it’s just the knowledge that the boy screaming so furiously at his sister was, a few minutes before, confidently trying his hand at frying bacon.  Or that, once he remembers to breathe again, he will settle quickly and make things better, and he and I will be able to discuss better approaches for next time….Or the knowledge that no moment, no matter how unpleasant and trying, lasts forever, and each new moment brings with it new realities, new possibilities, and new understandings….
The kids and I outside the Mayflower II, ( Plymouth, MA, Summer 2010)
They are all there, waiting, in every moment.  I need only be open to them.
Sima garo provides.
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The family that laughs together - some time ago, on our couch, in a pile.