Posted in Challenges and Contests, ROWnd #3

A Gliding ROW…ROWnd 3,Update 1

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I forgot to write my 750 Words on Monday….I really didn’t write much at all, beyond a rather brief conclusion to my ROW80 Goals Post.

I feel a little silly, forgetting to write until after midnight, on the first day of the ROWnd. One of my goals, after all, is to write here every day.


Every time I think I am so on top of all this, life comes in, chuckling at my fallibility, and reminds me that I am, in the end, a human bean, after all…

It’s OK. I can handle the reminder, and I’m smiling as I type this.

I could say I have a good excuse, but I have little use for either excuses or the blame that tends to lead to them, so I will give an explanation, instead.

I was probing my deeps, and simply forgot to rise to the surface and realize that I had another goal I had intended to see to.

Impromptu paper airplane factory – July 4, 2012.

Goals Update for ROW80 ROWnd 3, 2012


Trueborn Series:


  • Reread current rough draft from 1998-9ish and 2000.

  • I am reading through the older, printed copy first. I am on page 37 of 240, or, in other words, at the beginning of Chapter 11.

  • As I read, I am jotting notes and impressions on the backs of the pages (which are contained in a large loose-leaf ring binder….).

  • At this point, my plan is to read through and collect ideas from both drafts, then address the triaged research, and, after that, to create a loose story arc as I play with the character and storylines.

  • This is intended to be a joyful journey of discovery and play, and most emphatically NOT a cringing, shamed critique of my earlier self!

Blood and Breath:

  • Complete story arc.

  • I have added Chapter Twenty-Two. I believe there will be about twenty-five chapters and an epilogue, but I still am not sure…this is getting to the end of the current and missing draft – I was approaching, but had not yet written, the climactic scenes when NaNO 2009 ended.

Chameleon’s Dish:

  • Complete basic research based upon library books and websites; looking for information to enhance later digging and prevent hugely obvious gaffes).

  • I have continued readingShakespeare’s England and The Folger Shakespeare Library‘s Hamlet, as well asThe Colonial Cookbook (not a perfect resource, but many of the dishes and etiquette were English, especially in the early colonial period, and I am looking for the feel of life – besides, it’s interesting)!

  • Experiment with removing Tisira’s story as a YA novel, with a potential optional add-on of the fanfic elements….not sure how this will work, exactly, but I think it might be the best approach to have something marketable without sacrificing my vision.

  • I’ve been allowing this one to sit in my mind and compost. I plan on making some notes while I edit the current version, and I will see from there where to go next…I do believe I know which scene will open the YA story.

Flash Fiction WIPs

  • Look through all current pieces in my Writing Bullpen files.

  • I have done a quick canvassing of the Flash Fiction in Progress folder.

  • There are 2 pieces ready for submission, 6 awaiting revisions, and 1 unfiniahed.

  • I will be beginning with the items in this folder.

  • Begin compiling a list for possible ebook anthology.

  • I have created a file and a list for this project, and have added several stories I might like to include.

  • Go through old story notebooks for source material.

  • I have been delving many old notebooks, letting myself get a little lost in them (it’s July; it’s a heat wave; we go camping in a week). I haven’t written any notes; just reading and browsing and composting.

  • I have separated story themed notebooks from the more nonfictionally oriented writing practice ones; however, I tend to write in whatever notebook is closest to hand, so there is a good deal of mixing, which I will deal with as I go.

  • I will be delving far more deeply into the existing stories, throughout the ROWnd.

  • I have also rediscovered Morning Coffee, a short story I wrote in the fall of 2000. I have not yet reread it, but plan to work more with it this ROWnd, as the concept still compels me.

Essay WIPs

  • Look through all current pieces in my Writing Bullpen file.

  • I have glanced through this file, and found things in various stages of life…no energy or focus to dive in more deeply, just yet.

  • I will probably begin by reading through those I left in progress at the end of ROWnd 3, and move on from there….

    Busy hands…and busily growing!

Homeschool Administration Ad Infinitum….

  • Letters of Intent to Homeschool if not done (due July 1) completed 6/26/12.

  • I received an email from the school district superintendent to whom I am required to report. He was apparently waiting for the fourth quarter reports, although our “quarter” (which only exists due to state law, and not due to any relevance or need in our lives) doesn’t end until the end of this month, and isn’t due until Sept. 1, according to paperwork he approved. This is the latest in a long string of missteps on his part…it would be wonderful to deal with someone who really knew the law and didn’t assume that I am trying to be subversive…

  • Fourth Quarter reports for both children (due Sept. 1).

  • I have begun Annalise’s report, writing a preliminary version of her Reading section.

  • I will continue to add sections to her report, and to begin Jeremiah’s.

  • I intend to keep this low-key, low-stress, and steady. No sense letting state law invade more of the summer than is necessary.

  • Standardized Test for Miah (due Sept.1).

  • We believe we have decided on the PASS test – a standardized test designed specifically for homeschoolers. It can be administered at home, there are no time limits, and we will have four weeks to complete it, meaning we can do it the way we would most prefer; in small, unobtrusive portions.

  • I am happy that Jeremiah is excited about this test, which, like most of the state’s regulations, has no personal relevance in our actual lives, or in his learning.

  • IHIPs for both children (due four weeks after receipt of packet from school district).

  • I have read Lise’s English Language Arts section from last year. I tend to keep IHIPs general and supportive, based on the childrens’ passions, so most of what I wrote then can, with minor adaptations, serve for this year, as well. Hooray! =)

  • During the coming weeks, I will be continuing with Lise’s IHIP, and beginning Miah’s.

  • Begin setting up portfolios for both children – invite them to be a part of this process! =)

  • I have located a vast store of things I meant to capture digitally, from both children and going back at least 2-3 years.

  • During the next weeks, I will be sorting, photographing, and filing, and the portfolios will likely arise organically from this process;

  • Relax, enjoy, learn, grow, laugh, and … BREATHE!

  • So far, so good…we’re doing all of these!


  • Continue reading books for Bookmark Break Challenge – aim for 7 in July, 8 in August, and 9 in September, but these targets will be flexible – summer is prime traveling time for the kids and I and we have things planned and others we’re considering.

  • I have not yet completed any books for July.

  • Those I am currently reading, and my progress, are listed below:

  • The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd – page 165 of 302

  • Container Gardening by Stephanie Donaldson – page 74 of 256.

  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare – page 122 of 342.

  • Shakespeare’s England edited and introduced by R.E. Pritchard (taking notes as I read) – page 10 of 252

  • Continue reading five blogposts each week, on average.

  • I have read 6 blogposts so far this week, which exceeds my weekly goal.

  • I read Sprouting, commented, and shared on my Facebook Writer Page.

  • I read ROW80 Round 3 2012 Goals, commented, and shared on my Writer Page.

  • I read #ROW80 Round 3, 2012, commented, and shared on my Writer Page.

  • I read ROW80 Round 3 – Automatic, commented, and shared on my Writer Page.

  • I readROW80 Round 3! Fighting!, commented, and shared on my Writer Page.

  • I readA Lifelong Burden and the Policy That Made It Easier to Bear, and shared it on my Writer Page.

    Pieces of our lives….

Other Writing:

  • Write at 750 Words every day, with possible hiatuses for Unschoolers Rock the Campground (July 12-16); Learn Nothing Day (July 24); Northeast Unschooling Conference (August 23-?); and kids’ birthdays (July 8, September 2).On my birthday (July 29), I WRITE!!!

  • I forgot to write my words on July 2 – I was busy finishing up my goals post, and relieved when it was done – and I didn’t remember until 2am! OOPS!

  • I remedied this by writing over 1500 words on July 3.

  • I haven’t missed another day, thus far, although Lise’s birthday is Sunday, and I may not write if my focus is elsewhere…

  • Use 750 Words for whatever – flash pieces, essays, venting, ranting, reports, book reviews, etc.

  • Thus far, I have used the space for a stream-of-consciousness, fragmented, and tangential essay that may appear here, and also for a rough draft of an update post, based upon yesterday’s activities, for The Unfettered Life.

  • Today’s writing will likely be either an attempt at a poem that popped into my head just before I fell asleep, or a book review draft – or maybe both.


  • Aim to post at least twice a month to The Unfettered Life. Make one of them an update, perhaps roughly categorized to make creating reports easier.

  • I have not yet posted, but, as noted above, I did write a rough draft for an update post.

  • I will be revising and posting (with pictures – hooray!) within the next several days.

  • Begin using this blog in a way that really supports documenting, so that it does double duty as a personal tool for me in the way it once did.

  • The drafted post is on target to help me move toward meeting this goal.

Organizing/Tootling my Horn….

  • Set aside time each week to winnow email. Read items being saved for later reading, sort or dispose as indicated.

  • I have done this,although, at this point, it has been more a matter of keeping the Inbox from swelling to insane (over 1000 messages) proportions. I am hoping that I will get ahead of it in the next few days!

  • Be bold and daring in commenting, sharing, and submitting. Declare myself, learn, grow, and sometimes do things that make me uncomfortable. Open and blossom!

  • Not sure if I am being daring quite yet, but I am commenting and sharing, and I have some ideas for submitting…the ROWnd is still young, and I will be building my daring as I go along.

Celebrating Life!

  • Add some form of specific motion (t’ai chi, swimming, hiking, biking, skating, dancing, etc) to each week. Keep track of what, where, when, for how long, and how I felt during and after.

    Airplanes! Made of PAPER!

  • On Tuesday, when I went to do Annalise’s birthday shopping (and to get some replacement tent poles!), I parked at the far end of the large parking lot. Although my right knee, which has been locking on occasion since May, was a little iffy, I enjoyed the walk across the lot, and the walk through the Wal-Mart (although generally not a fan, I decided to try to brighten lives while I was there, and that shifted my energy).

  • It has been very hot, and I am doing hometending but not much else.

  • We are planning to go swimming on Annalise’s birthday (also slated to be very hot).

  • Fill us all up with joy, and continue cultivating family peace.

  • I’ve tried, here – although the heat has us all a little cranky, and, with the moon nearing full, the children and I have been up all night, and consequently tired in the daytime.

  • I’ve spent time with Lise, reading and playing and snuggling (and, of course, I shopped fo her, but more ont hat after her big day).

  • I spent time last night watching TV (bad Starsky and Hutch movie with Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller; the best part was Snoop Dog as Huggy Bear…); and watching him play online games such as Old Man Baby and WereBoxes (a physics game; he loves those!).

  • Jim and I had coffee, conversation, and couples time, and he says my new reading glasses make me look like a sexy librarian! =)

  • I have been indulging myself with reading books and my old writngs, imagining, tending our home, and being…

  • Spend time cleaning and beautifying my personal internal and external spaces each week.

  • I have continued cleaning and organizing in my little personal slice of bedroom, and, although not a personal area, have enjoyed cleaning the hand-lathed table in the living room, and making a nature display in its center. Now I can fold laundry, or the kids can play a game or do a puzzle or…on Wednesday night, Lise and Miah spent over an hour folding and decorating paper airplanes there.

  • Embrace and be present in all my moments.

  • Not sure I’ve been perfect at this, but I have been giving it my best attention, and the week has seemed to flow in a mostly peaceful fashion….

  • Allow my emotions to be as they are. Practice expressing them calmly and reflectively.

  • I am allowing them, and old ones have been cropping up in my reading and organizing process.

  • I continue to practice calm and reflective expression, but it’s a work in progress…

  • Tend kindly and sweetly to myself and others. =)

  • I am working on this; I have a tendency to get rather short and sometimes more than a little growly when I am hot and tired.

  • Hopefully, continued conscious attending to this will lead me to greater compassion and tenderness.

    My office just wants to be loved! =)

Our house is small, and, as those of you who followed me last ROWnd may know, personal space for the adults is at a premium. We’re generally OK with that; the nature of unschooling means that the majority of space is given over to whatever projects and learning and growing happen to be in ascendancy in any given moment…

So, in the little strip of bedroom I can call my own, more or less, barring two windows, half a closet, and an air conditioner, I have an array of personal items. My personal items have always included a lot of papers…and, at this point, I have a two shelf cabinet with crystal-knobbed doors (I bought it at my friend Jeri’s yard sale a couple of years ago, for ten dollars, and I really love it.

I bought it because I like its look, and because I was drawn to it – and because it made me happy to be treating myself and helping Jeri (who was in a place where she really could use help. I’m happy to say she’s in a better place today)!

Two rough drafts of Trueborn…

I keep my notebooks in there.

As I consider my Trueborn series (there are 3 WIPs already, and I have ideas for at least two more; it’s become quite a saga), I began to remember various threads and storylines I have toyed with, over the years.

The thing about my writing is that sometimes an impulse will take me, and there is no resisting its pull. I will write it, wherever I happen to be….this still has a tendency to involve a Bic Cristal blue medium-point pen, and a spiral bound notebook. I used to flip them upside-down in deference to my utter left-handedness; now, I am rather immune top the digging in of the wire binding as my thoughts fly out of me and, with untidy magic, alight on the page.

These notebooks are a riot of creative impulses…it was so when it was just me, writing only when the need to do so was so great that I feared I might implode if I did not write, right this instant, and did not stop until I felt wrung empty of words and ideas.

What I am busy with….

It’s gotten more interesting, since I became a parent.

You might have guessed, by the way Jeremiah nad Annalise are all over my public writing spaces, that I am not the type of parent to be furtive or proprietary about my writing. I tend to be upfront and honest with my children – they know I write erotica, sometimes, and, in a general sense on a par with each of their developmental understanding, they know what that means.

So, when there is a request to write or draw in my notebook, I generally pass it over.

It’s delightful, years later, to find the things that were added by smaller children than those who live here now, to see the seeds of who they are in who they were…that fascinates me, and may be one of the first things that drew me to homeschooling – not passing them over to others, who would get to see but likely not fully appreciate the becoming…

What I write about has deepened and broadened, since parenthood. Living with theses children, who are also not furtive or proprietary about their lives and thoughts and feelings, has made me more of myself, and also made me bolder.

Notebooks…the somewhat disjointed story of my real and fantasy lives…

The seeds of who I am lie in those notebook pages, too…

Things I have been feeling epiphanies about, lately, I keep finding in those old notebook pages.

I have tended, for a good number of years, now, to liken life to an infinitely faceted jewel, What facets we perceive, the degree of clarity and delight we find in that jewel, seems to have to do with a great many factors.

My personality seems to need to look into the sparkling depths, to trace the movement of the light out and away, more than to study the gem, or its setting. I fling myself often out into the cosmos Jeniah calls Everdeep, and down into the depths of the earth and the waters….

I think I’ve always been this way.

I think it may have saved my life, or at least my spirit – in childhood, where so much was charged with volatility, and love could be withdrawn in an instant; during the two great sorrows of my life – Tim’s death in 1995, and Elijah’s in 2003; through aging and accident and learning how to let go of familial obligation and guilt; in letting go of the abusive parent I was, and becoming myself, gentler….

So, there is this cupboard full of things I’ve written, some of them dating back to my teens. Things I wrote because they were wrenched from me; things I wrote self-consciously; things I forced myself to write out of a sense of ‘have-to’; and things that poured forth without any hope of my damming them….

And, yesterday, I opened it, and began to explore my life.

Today’s epiphanies are, so often, the deepening of those I had two years ago, which are the deepening of those from five years before that, which were the problems I worried endlessly at a decade before that.

As Kurt Vonnegut said, “And so it goes.”

There are lessons to be had in this – but it’s not really lessons I am after.


I am coaxing forth myself.

I am reading my own life from the other side.

Like those clouds in the old song, it never looks the same…

And yet, knowing who I have been, looking at it with deeper age and understanding, I see myself with gentler eyes, and I am embracing myself more willingly.

And so it goes….

Interested in others’ ROW8 Challenges?


I am myself. I own my life, and live with three other people who own theirs. My intention is to do only those things that bring me joy, and to give myself wholly to those things I do. Writing has been my passion throughout my life, and this will become the home for my writing life...because it brings me great joy!

4 thoughts on “A Gliding ROW…ROWnd 3,Update 1

  1. Wow! This is a serious list! It’s good to see you get it all down on ‘paper.’ Just don’t forget that joyful journey and be patient with yourself when you need to stop working and get some breathing space! Creativity thrives on having some time for your subconscious mind to churn things over in the background. Good luck Shanjeniah. It’s good to see writers with direction.

    Cate (ROW80)

    1. Cate –

      If I had really read this, at the time, I might have radically altered that list to keep the joy and relaxation time in there…

      Better learned late than never. This round, thus far, is ever so far better. Far fewer goals, with much deeper focus.

      I think I love this.

      Thank you for your advice and encouragement, even if I took it belatedly!

        1. Cate-

          Thank you! So far, I am really loving this round. It’s challenging enough to keep me coming to the computer with enthusiasm, but not enough to be stress-inducing.

          May your round be your best yet! =D

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