Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days -2012, Life Writing, ROWnd #2, Writing in Freedom

“Life Blooms; I ROW” – Goals Update #4

A busy day today. Up after not really as much sleep as I wanted, to get ready for co-op. Jim got a ride to work, so the kids and I headed to Hannaford and bought the supplies for the flarp we planned to make.

We got to co-op early, and there was a group of church children doing an activity in the room our tweens usually play in. So it was an unusual day, at least for a while.

The project went well…..a bit of chaos, and a bit of panic because the food coloring stained the counters of the church kitchen (thankfully, a good scrub with a little bit of borax on a scrubby sponge fixed that problem.

Making flarp with our Live and Learn Co-op gang!

It was a pretty day, a little unsettled, but the filtered light was good for making the colors of the flowers really pop, and so I got pictures of those.

I had a walk with Jeremiah (a tradition of ours), and another with Annalise and her friend Gabrielle (who was wearing roller skates). The kids had Shield Battles, Simon Says, and a girls vs. boys romp through the church and grounds.

Annalise and friends Gabrielle, Aleia, and Alana create flarp art.

There was ball play, and flirting, and then we came home, and both kids fell almost instantly asleep,. until I needed to wake them to go get Jim, because, at the moment, we are car-sharing, and we were his ride home. ~excerpt from Thursday’s 750words post ~

 Oh, and an invitation to Gabrielle’s seventh birthday party on Saturday…
Flarp fun with Jeremiah, Logan, Nolan, and John!
Where there was a bounce house, marshmallow shooters to make, necklaces and bracelets to bead, delicious foods to sample (Miah loved the veggie sticks, I loved the rice noodle dish, and Lise was crazy over the watermelon).There was a tire swing and a gazebo “shrine”, and the company of good friends, a house filled with interesting things,  and cake and ice cream and presents and love and laughter, and hiding out together, and snuggling, and many varieties of play, and computers and Netflixfor those who wanted them…

Springtime tulips....A welcome splash of color on a cloudy day.

And mostly lovely weather that had only a little, much needed rain…

A busy second half of the week, and, fitting into the spaces around those hours were other parts of living –  home and yardtending; snuggles, hugs, and play; lots of conversation; some stress and conflict and hurt feelings; tending to myself and my family; and shifting to the rhythms of a busier season.
More lovelies!

And there was reading, and writing, and claiming my dreams.

Round 2 Goals:


  • Read at least 3 articles a week from my To Be Read files on computer, and categorize those I choose to keep or share.
  • Completed for 4/11.
  • Read at least 5 blogposts a week (not including my own), and like, comment, and/or share as I am moved to.
  • Completed for 4/11.
  • I read K is for Transplant, and was deeply moved to comment.

  • Create flash fiction, short stories, dialogues, character sketches, alternate scenes, and poetry for  Chameleon’s Dish.  Wander cow trails, and learn these people and their lives more fully.
  • I have had an idea of what may be a far better prologue for my story, and one that will foreshadow some of the important conflicts.
  • I am letting this idea simmer for a while, to dream on and play with, until I can’t wait another moment to write it, and then I will begin!
  • Pull material from 750 words posts not part of the Chameleon’s Dish first draft.
  • I have separated the June 9, 2011 post into one snippet and a complete essay, perhaps needing minimal editing.
  • Create essays, stories, and other pieces based upon these writings.
  • I have reread and done a rough edit of the first original essay pulled from this area.  It seems to need a few additional paragraphs, and some polishing.
  • In the meantime, I will decide whether I want to post it on my blog or look for a market to submit it to.
  • Find all chapters of Blood and Breath.  Input into Scrivener; possibly begin rewrite.
  • I have input Chapter One into Scrivener.
  • Next up is creating a story arc for the rest of the novel, and playing with characters and settings.
  • Finish father-in-law letter and send.
  • I am still allowing ideas to surface and be written out via my A to Z posts.
  • There seems to have been a reason I chose some of the topics, although I wasn’t aware of it at the time.
Gabrielle and Annalise enjoy birthday tire swing fun at Gabrielles's house.

  • Complete the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge.
  • I have written the rough drafts of my posts up to letter V, leaving 5 to write.
  • I have edited, embellished, and scheduled up to P is for Playfulness, leaving 10 posts to complete before meeting the challenge.
  • Create a “flow chart” for posting to shanjeniah and The Unfettered Life.  Use these, and adapt as necessary, throughout the round (with allowances made in April for the challenge).
  • I have posted both flow charts, and will begin easing into using them as I finish  the A to Z writing.
  • My goal remains to be using both flow charts by May 1.
Naomi and siblings Carson and Olivia model for me.


  •  Explore She WritesTwitterStoryDamPinterest;and LinkedIn .  Use, develop, evaluate, adjust.
  • Am beginning to add connections and get braver in posting to LinkedIn, even posting my first link on Thursday.
  • I have pinned a couple of items on Pinterest, to test the Chrome extension I installed last week. Added a new board, Time Images.
  • I joined the Story Dam Facebook Page.  I’ve peeked around a little bit, and will be learning more, and likely interacting more, on future visits.
  • Continue joining hops, fests, challenges, and other community blogging efforts.
  • I have looked at Shah Wharton’s latest Storyteller Writing Challenge.
  • I will let the words and image seep into my awareness for a day or three, then write.  I know I only need to do one, but both tempt me.  I’m a glutton for storytelling, I guess! =)
Jeremiah loves exploring the principles of physics - anytime, anywhere.
  • Comment on and share blogs regularly; share my blogs as widely as seems feasible, and in diverse ways.
  • I realized I haven’t been posting my A to Z posts on the Row80 Facebook page, so will be posting 2-3 there each day until I catch up.
  • So far, I have shared posts up to F is for Food there.
  • I am reading ROW80 update blogs and A to Z  blogs, as I can manage them.  There will be considerably more blog reading once I have finished my fourth book (in progress) of the month, and/or I get all of the A to Z posts written (I am up to V, at the moment).
  • I am mustering my bravery to begin posting links to my writing at the Story Dam Facebook Page and She Writes sites.  Soon, I think!
Marshmallow shooter making!
  • Do 3 guest posts and  host 3 guest bloggers this round.
  • I have posted a note to the ROW80 Facebook Page, seeking guest slots and guest bloggers.
  • If that doesn’t pan out in a day or so, I will write a separate blogpost with my request, and widen it to include The Unfettered Lifewhich would be an ideal place for fellow unschoolers to guest post.
  • I now have three guest posters……next up, working out schedules! =)

  •  Submit at least 10 pieces of flash fiction or poetry this round.
  • I am currently  pondering which pieces of flash fiction and poetry  I will submit to the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette.  They accept previously published work, one piece at a time.
  • Submit at least 5 essays or lists this round.
  • I am allowing the thoughts to coalesce for my Anything Goes submission on becoming/being a blogger.
  • Continue submitting to hops, challenges, fests, etc.; at least 3 each month.
  • I have submitted once to The Storyteller’s Writing Challenge.
  • I am contemplating posting there again this week, and also to Chuck Wendig‘s Terrible Minds Flash Fiction Challenge.
Those bouncing young Burtons....


  •  Organize all photos on hard drive; move to organized Picasa web albums or delete.
  • I deleted all redundant photos in my download file, after assuring I had a copy of them in my Picasa Web Albums.


  • Add useful articles to my shanjeniah Marketing Articles page.
  • I added two links to this page, with brief descriptions of both.  The first was on Book Promotion; and the second on creating a Rough Sketch of a WIP, which I believe will be useful later, when I create pages or blogs for my  WIPs.
  • Use this information to help define my direction; adjust as needed.
  • I am letting the ideas from the articles I read seep into my awareness.
Birthday cake!


  •  Get Scrivener  downloaded; begin learning by inputting first an essay, and then Blood and Breath.
  • I have input all the available chapters of Blood and Breath into Scrivener, and will next be creating a story arc for mapping out the action in the missing chapters.
  • Use Twitter and Tweetdeck at least one day a week.  Learn more.
  • I am replacing Tweetdeck with HootSuite, which is much more to my liking.
  • Future goals updates will reflect the change.
  • I am running Hootsuite today (Sunday) –  a very, very quiet day thus far…
  • For WordPress, create a running list of questions; work on finding answers!
  • I have created a rough list of questions to start with; next will come the learning the answers part, and, of course, more questions!
  • Begin learning about how to publish ebooks.
  • I have begun reading here.  There is a lot to absorb, so I will be reading in stages.
  • Begin research list/research for  Chameleon’s Dish second draft.
  • I now have the beginnings of a research list. Next step is to look through the links I browsed in the rough draft writing more carefully, and gather them in a central and more accessible location.

  •  Edit all 2009 posts on  The Unfettered Life.  Consider layout and design changes.
  • Both children have been asking for some of my online space to share what they want.  Since The Unfettered Life is intended to be an unschooling/life blog, I am going to begin by creating a page for each of their  creations, and help them to add to them as they wish.
  • This is likely to necessitate a change in layout, which I had been toying with, in any event…
  • Input Blood and Breath and Chameleon’s Dish to Scrivener.
  • The existing chapters of Blood and Breath have been added.
  • Next, I will begin gathering and rereading the chapters of Chameleon’s Dish.  These are all in my possession, but not yet gathered in one place.
  • Clean up computer downloads, documents, photos, and other clutter – move it or lose it!
  • I cleared a number of redundant photos from my Downloads file.
Lovely bits of Gabrielle's home...


  • Add JOY to every day!
  • Thursday: Attended Live and Learn Homeschool Co-op.  Organized and orchestrated group Flarp making activity.  Lots of social  connection with like-minded moms and kids.  Photographed children and spring flowers.  A bit of reading and writing. One-on-one time with both children.
  • Friday: Recovery day from Thursday.  Reading, writing, uploading and editing photos.  Coffee in bed with Jim.  One-on-one  time with both kids.  Home and yard tending.  Worked in my new space.
  • Saturday: Very busy day! Friend Gabrielle’s seventh birthday.  Attended her party; lots more unschooly socialization with moms and children we love, and some dads, too.  Watching Lise and Miah enjoy tire swing and bounce house and time with friends.  On-on-one time with both kids.  Beaded a necklace.  Took a lot of pictures. A bit of work in my space.
  • Sunday: Coffee in bed with Jim.
More tire swing fun!
  • Add movement to every day, too!
  • Thursday: Shopping.  Lots of movement at co-op.  Walks with both children, orchestrating activity,  and cleanup (we rent space in a local church, and so must tidy and put things to rights before we leave if we want to remain welcome tenants (which we do; the space is perfect for our needs – we even have access to a large kitchen and yard).
  • Friday: Half an hour each raking and working in my new space.  45 minutes of hometending.
  • Saturday: Birthday gift shopping.  Lots of walking, swing-pushing, and similar activity at party.  Helped with cleanup.  Worked a bit in my new space.
  • Sunday: One hour hometending.  35 minutes yardtending – raking (nearly done!); dog waste removal, and yard cleanup.  35 minutes working in my space – it’s coming along, and I plan to post progress pictures on Wednesday.
  • Add self-decorating to every week!
  • I decorated myself with a necklace and headband on Thursday.
  • I wore the necklace I beaded on Saturday until bedtime.
  • Add more of my passions to each day, in as many ways as I can manage.
  • Thursday: Social time with like-minded people of varying ages.  Photography – children and flowers in bloom.   Writing. Planning and orchestrating an activity. Time with both kids.
  • Friday: Home and yardtending. Reading and writing. Working in my space.  Editing photos.  Coffee with Jim. Time with both kids.
  • Saturday: More social time.  Celebrating.  Photographing children and decor.  Beading.   A little working in my space. Time with both kids.
  • Sunday: Yard and hometending.  Working in my space.  Reading and writing.  Editing photos.  Goals update.  Coffee with Jim: snuggles with both kids.
Girl eats Dandelion, #1
  • Add all these for my beloved others, too!
  • Jim: Coffee and conversation.  Flirting.  Being on time or early when picking him up from work.  Home, yard, and childtending.
  • Annalise: Snuggles.  Sharing in her imaginative play.  Helping her with reading and spelling. Conversation.  Arranging to go to Gabrielle’s party, and giving her the freedom to choose the gift.  New Littlest Pet Shop friends.  Pushing her on the tire swing.  Bringing beading supplies home so she can bead when she wants.
  • Jeremiah: Snuggles.  A soda while out shopping.  Answered his questions about driving.  Conversation.  Hanging with him at the party when he wanted me nearby.  Beading together.  Helped facilitate his cooking.  Honored his sleep patterns, which are currently a bit out of sync with everyone else’s.
Girl decides dandelion is not for her!

I am loving this writing. I am making myself a happy, peaceful place in which to focus my writing energies, and less removed from the life of the rest of the family. I can be nearby, even carry on conversations with the children, but still have a measure of privacy and room to myself.~ Excerpt from Friday’s 750 words~

I am so glad I realized I needed a writing space, and that there was this little tucked-away corner of the house just collecting debris……

had no idea I was going to write a flash fiction piece for this one. I couldn’t find a way to begin an essay on vision; maybe I’m not quite ready for that.

Everything I wrote felt like lecturing.

So I deleted, and it occurred to me that what I was meant to write about was Henry and Nockatee.

And that is what I did.

Every time I write one of these little pieces, I connect more fully with the characters, and in a more visceral sense.

Maybe it’s because so much needs to be accomplished in a very small space. Maybe it’s because I’m not trying to create an entire novel, just to create a vignette.

It occurs to me that doing a slew of these BEFORE starting a novel would give me a much better sense of the characters and their interactions and motivations.

OOOH! I want to do some of these as the basis for each scene in Blood and Breath’s missing chapters…

If each scene is an embellishment of a flash fiction story, there will always be a degree of conflict and resolution, and probably tautness, too!

~excerpt from Sunday’s 750 words~

 And now, for five more fans…please, step forward, and take a bow!
Posted in 500 Words On..., Blogging from A toZ April Challenge, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, Writing Samples

N is for Names

500 Words On….Names.

A baby girl named Shannon Danielle...long, long ago.

Humans are the only animals who  feel a need to name things. All things. All ideas,  all colors, shapes, moods, and weather.

It’s as though we feel, as a species, that if we name something, we own it, or at least can control it.

We all use names on a near-constant basis. They seem to be in every thought.

But do we really take time to think about the names we assign to things, and what ideas and assumptions we get from those names; the associations they make for us?

This little girl still liked her name, and goats, too. =)

My parents named me, nearly 43 years ago. It was an unusual name, at the time: Shannon Danielle.

I enjoyed my name, when I was small. I knew that I had been named for a river in Ireland (one of my father’s favorite places from his Navy days), and for my severely  disabled Uncle Danny, who lived in an institution (and whom I would not meet until I was a teenager).

I thought it was a fine and distinctive name, although my parents seldom called me by it.

So Shannon became my school name. At home, I was Dee – and an endless stream of often-insulting nicknames my mother delighted in giving me… of the nicer ones of these was “Physical Wreck”.

Shannon, in choir, age 16.

It was almost as though I had two selves, and lived two lives.

In both of them, I was bullied and ridiculed.  In both of them, I thought that somehow I must deserve it.

I thought that for many years – well into my 30s.

Even when my eyes opened to the realities of my childhood, it was several more years before I could move beyond the phrase, “There were abusive incidents in my childhood, but I was not abused.”

...And Dee, age 19 or so.

And a few more still, before I realized that I was still holding on to that childhood, still allowing my parents (and an emotionally abusive sibling, as well) to hold a certain power over me.

I was still, in too many ways, a victim. Just as I had been at 19, when I came home after curfew (I had been in the emergency room with a friend after a night of particularly bad judgment on both our parts). My mother dragged me into the house, I think by a handful of my shirt, and then got a double handful of my hair and forced me backward down the hall and into my bedroom doorway, where there was a wall. Once I could go no further, she spent what seemed an eternity yelling in my face and hitting me in the face, head, shoulders, and upper chest.

Time to break free.....and searching for a name of my own.

It never occurred to me, then, that I was an adult, and that this was unprovoked assault. I had been powerless my whole life, and this was not by far the first violent incident in my life, from either of my parents. It never occurred to fight back: I was careful, even , of how I tried to protect myself, because experience had long since taught me that it might be interpreted as aggression against a parent. a felony in our home.

After some time, I realized that, to reclaim my own life and the power in it, I needed to shed the victim mentality. And, to do that, I would also need to shed my name….

Just call me Shan.......Shan Jeniah is MY name.

Some time and thought and feeling later, I renamed myself Shan Jeniah – a snappier form of my given name, and one borrowed from my alter-ego heroine, who will defend herself fiercely, capably, and without delay, when there is a need.

I like it much better this way!