Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, A Round of Words in 80 Days 2013, Round I 2013

ROW80 2013: Round 1 Goals – Building with Trust

 

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What do you trust?

My goals, sans commentary

My theme for this year is trust. Trust in myself, my abilities, my loved ones, and the universe. Trust in sima garo, which I talked a little about in 2012…and which is the soul of my latest WIP.

When I looked back at my 2012 accomplishments, many inspired by ROW80, I found a lot there to trust. Things like my sleep/wake cycle, energy levels, the ebbs and flows of day to day life, my ability to learn, adapt, and grow…

There are many more things, but not all of them are ready for articulating or sharing, and some I just choose to keep to myself, at least for now.

Our perfect non-traditional tree….more or less unattractive to kittens…

And so, I am going into my second year of A Round of Words in 80 Days ready and willing to trust…

  • That the words will come.

  • That there will be time.

  • That everything else I do feeds my writing, just as my writing feeds everything else I do, in a symbiotic relationship.

  • That everything is connected.

  • That I will be able to find my true voice even when the truths are difficult, and the stakes are high.

  • That ebbs, flows, and the spaces between are all natural parts of living.

  • That relationships, goals, and writing can be accomplished without force.

  • That there is greater productivity and reward from moving with the currents of my life than in struggling against them.

  • That sometimes just stopping is the best possible option.

  • That some people have good intentions, while others do not, and, in the main, I will be able to discern the difference.

  • That each of us has our own path to travel, and, although I may have ideas, I can never know another’s path to the degree I understand my own.

  • That there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in my philosophy.

  • That positivity and gentleness trump negativity and cruelty, every time.

  • That the only logical responses, in a world where brokenness too often explodes into catastrophic violence on both large and small scales, is to learn, more and more, to live in peace, with compassion, and to focus on healing.

  • That the universe is unfolding as it should.

Simple, minimalist Christmas. The big gifts were the Kindle Fires, but the morning brought some small treasures…

That seems like plenty to trust in, for now, but I trust that I will be expanding this list as the round progresses. Certainly, it is my intent to stay with this idea of trust, and to see where it takes me…

As much as trust is a worthwhile philosophy, and a wonderful mantra, it is not easily quantified. It’s maybe a lofty pursuit, but it does not, in and of itself, make goals I can measure.

So, my goals will be based and centered in trust, and they will be specific.

As I considered what my goals would be, three  areas kept recurring, and so I will trust in that, and use these as frames for my goals, this year.

I love these candid shots, when they aren’t looking at me…and I love the closeness between them…I have several of these, going back almost to when Lise was first walking.
  • Creating

  • Connecting

  • Claiming

All of these are areas where I have learned to trust, and where I know I can learn to trust more deeply, more widely, and more naturally. They also seem to encompass, quite neatly, what I feel resonates most strongly for me, in writing, and in all of life.

So, these will be my three major categories. All of my goals will fit into one of these categories, which will form the foundation of my writing throughout the year. My general goals for this year are here.

Now that I have a foundation, it’s time to build a structure upon it – walls and a ceiling to shelter my goals as I strive to meet them during Round 1.

So, here are the walls, by category:

Creating:

  • WIP Novels (Sima Garo Provides, Chameleon’s Dish, To Be Or Not To Be, Blood and Breath)

  • Flash Fiction (new, on various topics and themes, using prompts, and not)

  • Exposition (essays, guest posts, book reviews, letters, interviews,ect.)

Connecting:

  • Blogging (new posts, guest posts, design and layout, editing, blog rolls)

  • Visiting ( sponsor and other visits, comments, sharing)

  • Social Media (continuing, developing presence, exploring new arenas, learning, growing, classes)

Claiming:

  • Continuing on with the poetry book project. (gathering, revising, structuring, learning about ebook and print options, additional materials)

  • Owning my own perspective and experiences, and saying things I have needed to say – not for the other’s response, but for clarifying and claiming my own strength and reality. (stories, letters, essays, art, reading, and other expressions or healing around my life)

  • Reclaiming our home (kids’ rooms, kitchen, and other areas that tend to get lost to clutter; repurposing, reorganizing, maintaining and beautifying inside and out.)

And one for me, from my friend Robin, all the way in Washington State – delivered by a sweet boy.

So, now I have a strong foundation,  walls and a roof. Seems a good time to lay out a floor plan – open, yet with purpose. I tend to need freedom, but with focus and direction to channel my energies and impulses into effective zones.

Using my foundation and my frame, I will lay out an open plan, with general zones – one major, and two minor, goals for each area.

Building With Trust ROW80 2013 Round 1 Goals List

Creating:

WIP Novels:

Major goal –

Minor goal 

  • Separate Chameleon’s Dish into two books with individual Scrivener files – Warp and Weft series.

  • Begin timelines for both stories, throughout all WIP and extrapolated novels.

Flash Fiction:

Major goal –

  • Create new flash fiction weekly through prompts, challenges, envisioning WIP scenes, and original ideas.

Minor goals –

  • Revise existing pieces in my Writing Bullpen files, with an eye to submitting and/or creating a collection for a potential book.

  • Submit at least one short story to a paying market each month.

Exposition:

Major goal –

Minor goals –

Connecting:

Blogging:

Major goal 

Minor goals –

  • Edit sidebars and layout for all blogs (excepting childrens’ reporting blogs)

  • Write at least one post weekly for three major blogs (shanjeniah; Trueborn Jottings, and The Unfettered Life.

Visiting:

Major goal 

  • Complete all ROW80 sponsor visits twice weekly; comment, and share posts I read.

Minor goals

  • Submit guest posts, at least once monthly.

  • Read weekly at a writer-oriented blog that appeals to me; comment; share; learn; absorb; try; grow.

Social Media:

Major goal –

Visit PinterestShe Writes, or StoryDam at least weekly. Get a better sense of how each works, and build my presence there with sharing, commenting, and asking questions.

Minor goals 

  • Continue visiting and interacting through Facebook and Twitter, especially via relevant groups, several times a week.
  • Explore Linked In and WANATribe every other week. Both have things to offer, and are my newest social media connections. I want to get to know them better, slowly.
True joy exists before the present is opened! She makes my heart grin!

Claiming:

Poetry Book Project:

Major goal –

  • Complete a rough draft compilation, with dedication, introduction, and conclusion.

Minor goals –

  • Gather art and images for inclusion in the book.
  • Gather resources for learning how to publish ebooks.

Owning My Perspective and Experiences:

Major goal –

  • At least once weekly, use expository writing time to explore memories, wounds, healing, perspective, or personal philosophy.

Minor goals 

  • Read through all 2012 blog posts, and make a list of items to consider or expand upon.

  • Continue my eating and health goals from Round 4, 2012. Aim to get to the Y once alone, and once with the children, each week.

Reclaiming Our Home:

Major goal –

  • Clean Annalise’s and Jeremiah’s bedrooms, creating spaces of welcome and haven for them, with room for their favorite things and activities.

Minor goals –

  • Clean and reorganize kitchen, so that it supports a home where everyone prepares and serves themselves, and where cleanup is easy enough that we all will choose to participate.

  • At least weekly, work on an area where clutter tends to take over, such as the games cupboard, round table, my office, computer desk, coat cabinet, bathroom dresser, and my personal spaces.

So, there we have it -from the ground up, here are my goals for this first round of my second year of ROW80. I trust that I will know whether these are working or not, and will take appropriate action,as needed.

Jim gets Lise a Hess rescue vehicle every year. It a regional collectible, and a tradition between them. This year, with the Kindle, she had been willing to give up the Hess helicopter….but she didn’t have to. Sweet surprise.

A few last points:

  • I plan to work on each major goal every session, and work in the minor goals as my time and focus allow.

  • In my updates, I will only list those goals I actively pursued during that session.

  • I will evaluate my goals, progress and preferences at least twice monthly, and adjust accordingly.

It’s a BLOG HOP!

Posted in Uncategorized

Building With Trust – Writing Resolutions Blog Hop

 

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I have been writing since I was seven years old, and telling stories in my own mind as far back as I can remember, way back in my early toddlerhood.

For many years, the majority of what I wrote was contained by the walls of a growing stack of spiral-bound notebooks, stored in the warehouse of a cupboard.

Eventually, I began a blog, and added to it on occasion. Still, I did nothing at all to publicize it…this was in the days before Facebook. I had a seldom-used LiveJournal page, and a MySpace page I don’t think I updated even half a dozen times.

I was using other walls and warehouses for my words…

Until 2009.

A lot changed that year, from the way we parent to the way I see the world, to how I approach and share my writing.

I revived my Blogger blog, The Unfettered Life, which I had not posted to in six years, and shifted its focus to documenting our first steps into the worlds of unschooling and partnership parenting.

Later that year, I participated in the National Novel Writing Month November Challenge (NaNoWriMo) for the first time. I made a commitment to myself that I would not disrupt the rhythms and flows of our daily lives. The children were 8 and 5 that year – I finished the challenge, but barely, with about two-thirds of the novel Blood and Breath completed.

I participated in my first blog hop that December. I’d joined facebook the year before, and began to link my posts there, which, six years after starting the blog, finally gave me a readership.

I attempted NaNo again in 2011, finishing more quickly, and with more words, as well. A second mostly finished novel, Chameleon’s Dish, joined Blood and Breath.

Realizing that these challenges – loosely structured, but with lots of room for individualism – suited me ideally, I was considering more blog hops when a friend mentioned A Round of Words in 80 Days.

Ancient (pre-children) copies of the original Trueborn…..waiting for a re-imagining!

I signed up for my first round a year ago – a year that saw:

  • Chameleon’s Dish seen through to completed rough draft status

  • Two more novels well begun through NaNo and the all-new Camp NaNo

  • Two poems and an essay published for pay

  • Enough poems to make a book

  • Over two hundred posts in my writer blog

  • Expanding into flash fiction, book reviews, social media, and marketing

  • Many new writing friends,connections, and resources

In short, last year, I went from being someone who writes things no one sees – to simply being a writer.

I am someone who writes to share, now, and I am claiming my passion, my talent, and my life for myself…

So this year is about trust.

I am going to trust in myself, in the ebbs and flows of energy and creativity, in the life that I live, and in myself, as a writer, and otherwise.

I will use trust to build the writing life I want to be living.

I will use trust to go ever more deeply into myself, to delve my truths, and to share them.

I will trust.

More specifically, I do have a few goals for the year, and I will be striving to meet these with ROW80 and other tools, wielded as needed:

The clutter of creativity…..in a very mild form! =)

Creating:

  • Participate in June and August Camp NaNoWriMo, and November NaNoWriMo, for three more WIP novels.

  • Complete rough drafts of Sima Garo Provides, To Be Or Not To Be, and Blood and Breath.

  • Separate Chameleon’s Dish into two WIP drafts – one for fanfic elements, and the other for Tisiira’s original storyline. Take notes for first round revisions; quick copy editing run.

  • Create and submit flash fiction and expository writing.

Connecting:

  • Complete at least one post weekly for shanjeniah, Trueborn Jottings, and The Unfettered Life.

  • Create blogrolls for shanjeniah and Trueborn Jottings.

  • Edit sidebars, pages, and posts in shanjeniah, Trueborn Jottings, and The Unfettered Life.

  • Continue connecting via Facebook, Twitter, and ROW80.

  • Expand my social networking to more fully incorporate Pinterest, She Writes, Story Dam, and LinkedIn.

  • Enter blog hops and challenges, to share, and to connect.

  • Read and review works by writers in my networks.

Claiming:

  • Complete and publish my poetry WIP, Queen of My Infinite Spaces.

  • Continue exploring my own experiences, wounds, healing, and perspectives.

  • Reclaim my virtual and real-life spaces where they have become cluttered or outdated.

  • Continue with my 2012 fitness goals, and stretch myself into new challenges.

Warehoused words, yearning to be freed!

Read my ROW80 2013 Round One Goals

That may seem like a lot, but those who know me will know that I thrive on a smorgasbord of goals and possibilities. And I am trusting in myself that these are the goals I most want to meet, and those which I will strive for with the greatest energy and focus.

These goals go deeper than a professional focus. These are meaningful to me on a far more personal level – they are about living my life with intention, and, now that the children, at 11 and 8, are both quite independent and capable of meeting many needs they used to rely upon  me to fill, it is a step toward the shift that must occur for all of us as they mature toward the point where they are ready to fully manage their own lives, and my focus is no longer so much on being their mom and facilitating their learning.

These goals will carry me forward, trustingly, toward the next phase of my life, just appearing on the horizon…

Read other writing resolutions here – it’s a BLOG HOP!

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, Round 1

Building With Trust ROW80 2013 Round 1 Goals List

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Creating:

WIP Novels:

Major goal

Minor goal

  • Separate Chameleon’s Dish into two books with individual Scrivener files – Warp and Weft series.

  • Begin timelines for both stories, throughout all WIP and extrapolated novels.

Flash Fiction:

Major goal

  • Create new flash fiction weekly through prompts, challenges, envisioning WIP scenes, and original ideas.

Minor goals

  • Revise existing pieces in my Writing Bullpen files, with an eye to submitting and/or creating a collection for a potential book.

  • Submit at least one short story to a paying market each month.

Exposition:

Major goal

Minor goals

Connecting:

Blogging:

Major goal

Minor goals –

  • Edit sidebars and layout for all blogs (excepting childrens’ reporting blogs)

  • Write at least one post weekly for three major blogs (shanjeniah; Trueborn Jottings, and The Unfettered Life.

Visiting:

Major goal

  • Complete all ROW80 sponsor visits twice weekly; comment, and share posts I read.

Minor goals

  • Submit guest posts, at least once monthly.

  • Read weekly at a writer-oriented blog that appeals to me; comment; share; learn; absorb, try, grow.

Social Media:

Major goal

  • Visit Pinterest, SheWrites, or StoryDam at least weekly. Get a better sense of how each works, and build my presence there with sharing, commenting, and asking questions.

Minor goals

  • Continue visiting and interacting through Facebook and Twitter, especially via relevant groups, several times a week.

  • Explore Linked In and WANATribe every other week. Both have things to offer, and are my newest social media connections. I want to get to know them better, slowly.

Claiming:

Poetry Book Project:

Major goal

  • Complete a rough draft compilation, with dedication, introduction, and conclusion.

Minor goals

  • Gather art and images for inclusion in the book.

  • Gather resources for learning how to publish ebooks.

Owning My Perspective and Experiences:

Major goal

  • At least once weekly, use expository writing time to explore memories, wounds, healing, perspective, or personal philosophy.

Minor goals

  • Read through all 2012 blog posts, and make a list of items to consider or expand upon.

  • Continue my eating and health goals from Round 4, 2012. Aim to get to the Y once alone, and once with the children, each week.

Reclaiming Our Home:

Major goal

  • Clean Annalise’s and Jeremiah’s bedrooms, creating spaces of welcome and haven for them, with room for their favorite things and activities.

Minor goals –

  • Clean and reorganize kitchen, so that it supports a home where everyone prepares and serves themselves, and where cleanup is easy enough that we all will choose to participate.

  • At least weekly, work on an area where clutter tends to take over, such as the games cupboard, round table, my office, computer desk, coat cabinet, bathroom dresser, and my personal spaces.

So, there we have it -from the ground up, here are my goals for this first round of my second year of ROW80. I trust that I will know whether these are working or not, and will take appropriate action.

Words, waiting for their trusting release !

A few last points:

  • I plan to work on each major goal every session, and work in the minor goals as my time and focus allow.

  • In my updates, I will only list those goals I actively pursued during that session.

  • I will evaluate my goals, progress and preferences at least twice monthly, and adjust accordingly.

 

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days -2012, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, ROWnd #4

ROWing Through Four Seasons – Final #ROW80 2012 Update

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ROWing Through Four Seasons – #ROW80 Final Update 12/16/12

I had originally intended to do an in-depth analysis of my first year of ROW80, but everything I wrote felt lifeless and passionless in comparison to the actual experience.

So, instead of that, I am going to share my Thankvember 1 post, which delves into what ROW80 has meant to me, this year, and I will also touch upon some of the highlights and lowlights of my challenge.

Highlights of my 2012 A Round of Words in 80 Days Challenge:

  • Making friends I feel I know, and one I actually met, through ROW80.

  • Networking on what may become a professional level.

  • Claiming my identity as a writer.

  • Resurrecting an orphaned writing blog with less than half a dozen posts, and ending the year at well over two hundred!

  • Claiming and/or reclaiming physical and virtual writing spaces.

  • Realizing that our unschooling life is perfectly suited to my pursuing my writing passion.

  • Finding wider arenas in which to share my work.

  • Being paid for my writing!

  • Stretching myself into new forms, such as flash fiction and micro flash writings.

  • Rediscovering my passion for poetry.

  • New challenges – one time, ongoing challenges of a formal nature, and those I set for myself.

  • Learning myself.

  • Awards and recognition.

  • Two novel drafts begun.

  • A completed rough draft novel.

  • A cohesive idea for all my WIP novels –  and room for more!

  • Ideas, information, and support.

  • Being a sponsor.

  • Reading and commenting on other blogs.

  • Feedback on my own writing.

  • Realizing I can do a lot less hometending, and ask for help, and the house does not in fact fall apart. ;D

  • JOY!!!!!

Christmas, long ago….

 

Lowlights of my first year:

  • Challenges I did not meet.

  • Comments left unanswered for far too long.

  • Round 3 – basic loss of contact and failure to meet far too many goals during the busiest season in my family life.

  • Jim’s accident, which wreaked havoc on anything I had planned, writing-wise, including the Platform Building Campaign.

  • Overreaching with social media, and the guilt engendered when I “disappeared”.

  • Sometimes being unwilling to adjust goals that were clearly not working, and then driving myself with guilt and “have-to’s” to try to complete them, to the point where I lost the joy of striving to meet them.

What does all that mean, anyway?

Looking back at those lists, I see many more highlights than lowlights. I also notice that most of the lowlights offer much potential learning, and, with some adjusting, understanding, and experience, they may easily become highlights.

On that note, I will take my final account of my Round 4 goals and progress….

Book love!

December ROW80 Goals (End-of- Round Housekeeping)

Write and post ROW80: Year One in Review.

  • I did not complete this goal before the round’s official end.

  • I hope to get this posted before the end of the year.

Read posts at My Write Spot and Thankvember Blog Hop.

For Thankvember Blog Hop:

At My Write Spot:

  • No new progress for this session.

  • I read a few of the interviews here, so this goal was completed during this round.

  • I still want to read all of the interviews, and visit a few new blogs, at least, so I will continue on with these until I get to them all, hopefully before January 31,2013.

Jot some notes for ebook/hard copy poetry book, Queen of Infinite Spaces, which will use my 31 OctPoWriMo 2012 poems.

  • I have reread the notes I wrote last week, and don’t feel the need to add anything to the prep list at this time.

  • I have begun to work on the list by gathering the poems from my LibreOffice files and adding them to my Scrivener binder for this project.

  • I have collected two poems, so far. Another small step; another small beginning.

  • This goal was completed before the end of the round.

Hangin on….out on a ledge in Montana, 2000. Photo by Jim Burton.

Continue writing Sima Garo Provides, throughout December.

  • I plan to use Rachel Aaron’s process on this story, noting what I plan to write about before each session, even if it’s only a short one, and time-tracking.

  • I finished the round nearing the end of Chapter Eleven, Scene 1.

  • Although the writing was much less intense in December, there have been some deepening revelations, and the final chapters are coalescing in my mind’s eye.

  • I completed this goal before the end of the round.

  • I will continue to write until I complete the draft, by the end of 2013 Round 1.

Moving firewood into garage, stacking, and stocking house as needed.

  • I’ve gotten all the firewood in, restocked the house, and begun tidying what I hurriedly flung into the garage.  I will continue to del with wood for the next few months, until spring warms enough that we don’t want nighttime fires regularly.

  • I completed this goal before the end of the round.

Editing Picasa albums, and sharing them more widely.

  • I dipped into this, toward the end of the round.

  • I began this before the end of the round, and will continue.

So. Much. Joy!

Add reports and sections to kids’ reporting blogs, and organize blogs.

  • I began the reporting period, last quarter, with one idea for these blogs, but, as is so often the case, living with it led me to some fairly major shifts.

    Now, I will be working toward adjusting the setup to match what’s really working for me, and making sure all of the first quarter report sections are public – I will use this if I need quick proof, or to refer a concerned family member to evidence of “what we do all day” (even though, very often, we are likely to be doing it all night, instead…)

  • Nothing new on this goal this session.

  • I did not complete this goal before the end of this round.

  • I intend to have all of these done before the end of the quarter – January 31, 2012.

Weekly update posts to both reporting blogs.

  • I am thinking that these will just be roughly sorted into categories – a sort of laundry list of the cooler parts of our week (Monday sounds like a good day to do them!)

  • Nothing new on this goal for this session.

  • I did not complete this goal before the end of the round.

  • I intend to have created a habit of at least a brief update each week, before the end of the quarter on January 31, 2013.

So, my new focus will be just on getting some things down for each objective before the quarter is over…and I will allow myself to breathe around this one.

  • Nothing new for this session.

  • I did not complete this goal before the end of the round.

  • I intend to remember that this goal is intended to simplify my lie, not complicate it! =D

  • Categories may be as simple as “Doing”/”Seeing”/”Making”/”Playing”/and “Talking About”, and may include pictures and/or links.

  • I have begun, but did not complete this goal before the end of this round.

  • As with the other goals, I intend to have this current by the end of the marking period, although the links may take a little longer.

  • I may also categorize using an initial code system, so that the “subject/s” an item fits into will be clear at a glance.

  • Again, I did not make this habit before the end of the round.

  • Again, I will cultivate this habit by the end of the quarter.

  • From there, I will move them into their “subject” and “objective” on the IHIP.

  • As with the above, I did not complete this goal, and plan to have a habit before January 31.

    Miah, at 8….he invented a sword and shield. =D

Guest blogging catchup.

  • I will be doing a round of checks on previous posts, to answer comments as needed.

  • I have done many visits, but did not get to all of them during this round.

  • I intend to continue this process until it is complete, hopefully by year’s end.

  • As I move through this process, I will make certain that my Where on the Web is Shan Jeniah? page is up-to-date, and possibly prettied up a bit…

  • I did not complete this goal.

  • I will be doing some researching and exploring during the course of the next year, and will update when I can do it in a fashion I am happy with.

  • I will be sending a completed post to a friend, to see if she would like it, and another where I can send a nifty little bit of flash fiction I wrote a few months back, and contacting another friend where I planned to write during the craziness that was Round 3.

  • I sent the essay post off to my friend, but have not yet delved into the flash fiction story I intend to submit to another.

  • This goal is a partial success.

  • I hope to complete this project before ROW80 2013 begins.

My holy grail, residing at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum gift shop.

Prepare items for submission.

  • I’ve been planning to send some things out into the world, but haven’t done so since the early part of summer. The reasons have been various, and now it’s time to offer up some of my words in exchange for a bit of disposable cash flow…

    I’ll begin small -just choosing a thing or two to spruce up and let go….and take it from there. My Writing Bullpen is chock full of potential – time to bring out some new pitches! =D

  • I completed this goal in a very modest sense, with the beginnings of a work file, and one essay and one flash fiction piece completed, and another in a completed rough draft status.

  • I intend to revise the rejected flash fiction piece, “The Last House”to this market or elsewhere before the end of the year, and revise and complete the second story before January 15.

  • I will continue to do this as I read, so that I will have a selection of items to prepare, without any extra work.

  • I have completed this goal, and will continue as I move through reading files and blogposts throughout the next year.

  • I am toying with the idea of rewriting a story I wrote in 2000, Morning Coffee, for the Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition.

  • I pursued this goal, and, although I did not submit it to the competition, I have a rough draft to work with. I am calling this a partial success.

  • I will continue with this story.

And my two standing goals, continuing on…

I am serving as a  ROW80 sponsor for this round.

  • I am calling this a success – and not as difficult to manage as I thought it would be, going in.

  • I have volunteered to serve as a sponsor again next round – I love this gig!

Fitness Goals – I will focus on eating before I am hungry (and getting protein and magnesium into every other time I eat). I will be active enough that I can always feel my body and muscles. I will add more fruits and vegetables to my diet, and be more attentive to how much water I am drinking.

  • I will be recording my progress here, along with my energy levels for that Sunday – Tuesday or Wednesday – Saturday period.

  • No specifics to report…too much time has passed, and I really don’t remember my Wednesday and Thursday activities. I was in Slack Tide for these two days, with perhaps minimal to moderate hometending. I believe I also tidied firewood in the garage, and restocked the house supply as needed.

  • I am rating this goal mostly a success,and I will continue to focus attention on being active and feeling my body fully.

  • I have been following a more intuitive and natural approach to eating and drinking, and allowing myself to feel my body’s wishes.

  • This goal was a success. I will continue my practice of eating intuitively, eating ample vegetables, protein, and magnesium, and attending more to my daily water consumption.

With a friendly tree at the Butterfly Conservatory in Oneonta, NY. They were 8 and 5, I believe.

And now, a bit about our last few days:

As I mentioned above, things have been pretty quiet here, lately.

A side effect of this is that the quiet house has inspired Squeak, one of the semi-feral kittens, to come out and play. She’s still avoiding direct human-initiated contact, but will come close enough to me to sniff my hand, and she isn’t in nearly as big a hurry to hide from me.

Yesterday and today, she’s done a little dance in front of me, tail curled and back a little arched, as though she wants to be friends but can’t quite trust me yet. She’s let me touch her a few times, very briefly…she is soft and sleek.

Her sister Srindi is a little less adventuresome, and a little less interested in being on the floor when I am. She’s still hanging mostly in my office, but is getting less shy about being out on the table while we are near.

Both girls like Achoo, our little kitten from the woods. She’s still sneezy, but growing well, and active. Hoping things clear up for her, as they are better than when she first arrived.

Achoo moves happily between her two big sisters, snuggling with Srindi, and playing with Squeak.

Life is good, indeed!

Since I wrote the above, Squeak and I have become friends. Srindi and I have played together. The children have reverted to a more typical sleep/wake cycle, for the time being, and have spent a fair amount of time out in the snow.

Life continues to be good.

Me, very early on Christmas morning…taken and edited with my Kindle Fire…

May the rest of your break be cheery, productive, and delightful!

Posted in Flash Fiction Pieces

The Gift of Snow – Spontaneous Flash Fiction

“Nestyn!”, I neighed, my voice broken and shrill, tearing into nothing as the wind rent it, mixing the shreds of it with the husks of the late autumn leaves. Still, I neighed again, and then again.

“Nestyn! Sweet One! Where are you?”

But my filly did not answer, and skittering fear trembled my muscles, tricked my senses, and sank into my soul, overpowering caution and instinct, and making my legs feel as inept as when I myself was newly foaled.

My baby – her legs had only grown strong enough to carry her at the last fullmoon – we had been running only a moonrise later, scarcely without rest.There could not be – the brown of leaves and dulling greens did not hide our glowing coats, nor our horns.

And men wanted those, or else us.

I knew – we all knew, had always known, although we did not know why.

All knew the stories of the trapped and the murdered… Like Alyn my mate, who was killed before he met his daughter, his Sweet One, and the men had been looking for us, greedy for more.

My voice was nearly gone, when I felt the first flakes of snow, a sudden gathering, building to a blizzard – and the sounds of the men and their dogs faded, leaving only  the softly chittering redbirds…

And there was Nestyn, by a small brush, nestled safely into the salvation of  snow.

 

From an anonymous Internet source….lovely magical muses!
Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days -2012, Challenges and Contests, ROWnd #4, Uncategorized

Late Season’s Hiatus – #ROW80 Update 12/19/12

What do you do when words and comprehension fail?  Will you share, please?  

Curious? Click here.

I know my updates are generally much more complex than this…but, the truth is, the writing-related things I’ve done this session are not product-oriented.

I’ve been mulling, pondering, musing, simmering, processing, percolating, composting, conversing, gaming, swimming, reading, and commenting…but not writing.

There was a time, not so long ago (like, at the beginning of the year, for instance), when this would have bothered me enough that I would have forced myself to write anything at all,regardless of quality.

Because of ROW80, I am instead choosing to go with this space and energy.

But, because I am who and what I am, I am also filling this post with images of my happy, thriving, peaceful children, in celebration of childhood, joy, and wonder.

There has been a jolt of sorrow, shock, and horror in the world, and I am responding empathetically on many levels…as a human, an adult, a parent, and as a mother who has suffered the death of a child…

And as a grown child of abuse, as a schoolroom outcast who was the target of bullies –    themselves likely abused and hurting.

And as a person who chose, from the beginning, not to send my living children off to school…for many reasons, one of which was an instinctive and unshakeable conviction that they, like all young mammals belong with their mother until they can reliably tend to their own needs in an adult world.

So many facets and perspectives…so many things running through my mind.  So much I want to say; so many assumptions I think ought to be questioned….so many people who are so dear to me, and who must be experiencing this even more viscerally than I.

All the children – the victims and the shooters – who died, because people are being broken so severely and often in this society that the brokenness explodes into horrific violence.

So very much I want to say..and so little ability to find words…or even coherent thoughts…for them.

I’m feeling both potent and powerless…

I know there is another way, because I live it, and so do many of my family’s friends.  I know it is a more peaceful way, and that its focus is very, very far removed from the world of school.  I want to share it, to offer an alternative, but I do not want to offend, or attempt to open minds closed to this reality.

I can’t write about it, or release the need to examine it, somehow fit it into my reality, maybe find meaning in it that I can distill and share…

So this is the longest thing I’ve written since Sunday, when I last updated, and completed the rough draft of my short story, “Morning Coffee”.

I am OK with not writing.  I need to be quiet with what’s moving within me.

My goal for this round is to honor myself…and this feels like a time to truly attend to that goal. 

So I am choosing to honor the need for stillness, and to leave my laptop closed for the time I need to…even if that means I finish the round with many dangling projects.

I’m learning how to post from my Kindle Fire, which lends itself to shorter, maybe less profound posts.  I’m doing my best to be gentle with myself as well as others.

And I will share my reading list here, for sharing…with a caution that there are many views  expressed in this list.  I do not agree with everything in this list, as you may not…but all of it seems somehow relevant, because all of these viewpoints and stories are a part of the world in which we live.

  • Over Achieving Elf on the Shelf Mommies Revisited (I am not a fan of the Elf – manipulating children with threats is not in keeping with the Christmas spirit, or respecting children, to my view.  Also, my kids were creeped out y the idea of elves, fairies, jolly strange fat men,and bunnies traipsing through our house spyin on them and stealing teeth when they did believe, and both are relieved to know that it was all fictional).
  • Nine Signs That You Might be an Introvert (I thought I was about evenly balanced between introversion and extroversion….but I have  8 of the 9 signs.  Maybe why I choose to go within myself and quiet at times like this?)
  • Apologies to the battered child (from a parent in process) (This spoke to me on so many levels, with deep truth.  I have been, to a lesser extent, that child and that parent.  Profound gratitude at learning a new and healthier way while my children were still young, and with my, and trust could be rebuilt.  A wish that my own parents could see that their actions had lifelong impact on their children, and that they were willing to hear and know that, and to move together toward whatever healing might be possible, for us.)
  • What would you do, Mom?  (This chilled me.  That teachers must think along these veins, that children are required by law to attend school, where they can become targets….this is too big for me. I do not understand why this is in any way okay, and I feel like weeping for all those children while profoundly grateful that Jeremiah and Annalise are not there.  Suddenly, the tedium of those homeschool reports and requirements seem far less tedious by comparison….and I am intentionally bathing all the schoolchildren, all of their teachers, and all who come in contact with them in love and peace…because I can’t think of a more useful or healing response…)
  • Connecticut School Shooting Tragedy: Child Trauma is at the Heart of Every Act of Violence (This is a post from an unschooling author whose views are often a bit too extreme, reactive, and generalized for my tastes.  While I would argue the use of ‘every’ in the title, because some diseases, like schizophrenia, can lead to violence without there being childhood trauma, I do believe that there is a general tendency in our culture to see children from the outside in, with little to no effort invested in seeing how the way they are treated is experienced from their perspective…and I believe that this lack of empathy and understanding that things seen as trivial to adults can be devastating to a child’s psyche.  I believe this because I have lived it. To this day, my parents would assert that what they did to me was never that bad, and yet, the more I learn myself, the more fractured places I find, places I know were broken when I was small, because I retain the experience of that breaking…)
  • SOS (Jeremiah and I were watching Saving the Titantic on PBS on Friday, and got talking about Morse code, Marconi machines, and SOS.  So we looked this up to see what SOS stands for –  nothing, as it turns out – and played this clip.  We both learned something –  unschooling win on a difficult day.)
  • I am Adam Lanza’s Mother (this troubled me –  that the mother used her child’s image, and that her litany of what she has tried does not seem to have included simply accepting her child as is, with his sensitivity to stimuli that is likely being  hugely overtaxed in a restrictive school environment, and her seeming assumption that every outburst is due to a diagnosis, and her listing of the many drugs he’s been medicated with, without seeming to question what effects those drugs may have had on him…but, mostly, I hurt for her child, whose difficulties she has made so very public, and I wonder if she thought to secure his approval before posting these details of his life without ever giving his perspective on any of it.  I wrestled with including this link, because I don’t want to spread this…and yet, this seems to me to really point out some of the attitudes and assumptions that may lead to violence, and certainly cause breakage of the child’s spirit and strength of self.)
  • You Are Not Adam Lanza’s Mother (A balance and response for the last article, this one seems more rational, points out the assumptions and deficits in the original post, and made a strong case for exploring the child’s point of view.)
  • ‘Childism’ – As Utterly Unacceptable as Sexism and Racism (This I loved, although it also disturbed me.  It speaks to the blatant public shaming that has become fashionable of late, with Internet humiliations by parents who do not see that their bullying and disrespect of their children will not and cannot lead to true respect from those children, that children are people as much as any other, and deserving of the same calibre of respect as any adult.  It doesn’t go so far as to discuss whether laws demanding all young humans of certain ages must attend school are constitutionally acceptable for American citizens.  The Supernanny clip really moved me –  I used to watch the show and follow those practices –  and I will readily admit that they did not help, and had me spending a lot of time as enforcer.  Our home was not remotely as peaceful, connected or joyous as it has since become… I wanted to scoop up that little baby boy whose feelings were being so ignored, peel those offensive and trapping T-shirts off those siblings who likely have been given no effective tools for dealing with the inevitable conflicts of a shared life, and get down on that floor to listen to a child so distraught they would allow themselves to be dragged across afloor for the simple hope that their needs and wants might be heard and counted as important.  Short of being able to do any of that, I can share this article, and hope it might widen a perspective or two along the way…)
  • Conversations (If I could count the number of times people have spoken to mychildren in this vein.  It is a scripted interaction, and the questioner, because this is not a conversation as much as what I assume is well-intentioned interrogation, is always something at a loss when my children proclaim that they are not and never have been in a grade, that I am not their teacher, and then, generally, steer the conversation to a more interesting and equal footing. A good number fade away rather than engage in anything remotely meaningful…their intention was not to truly engage, apparently.  My guess is that, to them, children are incapable of deeper interaction, or perhaps not worthy of it.  In any event, this tendency of adults to quiz children and to behave as though school ought to be the focus and framework of their lives mystifies Jeremiah and Annalise, who lead rich, textured, and school-free lives, and would love to talk to you about their passions!)

Well, after my comments, I feel that there is something I can say, now…it’s not all I want to say, but it brings a sense of peace.

I don’t need to say more than what I have, just now, so I will simply list my ROW80 Sponsor Visits (sorry, comments have been a little slow, due to my needing to cocoon a bit  and be still with my thoughts).

So that’s it, for me, except to echo Tia Silverthorne Bach

I encourage you to enact some random acts of kindness. Especially for yourself – most of us are far too hard on ourselves, or moving far too fast for our own good.

And for children.

Too often, children are given what are perceived to be kindnesses from an adult viewpoint….but the child does not see life as we do, and, as I go deeper into a partnership connection with my own children, and they confide in me openly, I see that there are many courtesies children would appreciate, but which adults might not even consider…

More on that soon…my own children are asleep, at an hour when they often are awake, and Jim is home from work, and our little nest is feathered with sweet, soft peace.  I am going to eat a shrimp and veggie quesadilla made just for me, and settle back into just being for a few hours…

I just realized that this is the official final check-in, but I will be posting mine on Sunday, after the round ends.

 

 I choose to focus on sweetness.  Will you join me?

 ROW80 updates  linky..

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days -2012, Challenges and Contests, ROWnd #4

A Pregnant Pause – #ROW80 Update 12/16/12

 

Curious? Click here!

Here we are, at the beginning of the final week of my inaugural year of ROW80.

 

I’m finding it a little hard to believe that it was just about at this time last year that I began seriously considering undertaking this challenge. I had no idea than how it would shift my thinking, focus my energy, inspire new friendships, and expand me,as a writer and a person…but I will have more to say about that next Sunday.

It’s been a mellow penultimate week here. Since shortly after our trip, both kids and I shifted to a nocturnal schedule. I was faster to begin the return shift than they have been, so the last three days have offered several hours each of daytime quiet for writing, which is rather unusual.

I’ve put the time to good use: catching up on comments, doing setup, reading, and writing. Oh, and resting, and hometending, and a very mellow beginning to our seasonal decorating – Annalise enjoys being a part of it, so I am waiting to really get going until out schedules are more in sync again.

I am still in the process of wrapping up my 2012 projects, and prepping for 2013 (yes, I have a focus, and some ideas about my goals and their structure). I am feeling mellow, relaxed, and productive in an easy and unstressed manner.

Life is more than good!

Art by Annalise Burton, age 8, using the Picasso app on a Kindle Fire.

How about you? Are you moving calmly toward the year’s end, eager for the next – or is this last week destined to be a frenetic charge to the finish line, with the new year breathing down your neck? Please share in the comments!

December ROW80 Goals (End-of- Round Housekeeping)

  • My original goals for this round.

  • My Thankvember NaNoROW80 goals

  • My informal schedule for December (not used during this session).

Write and post ROW80: Year One in Review – four seasonal posts, one for each round of my first year.

  • I’ve reread what I have written thus far, in preparation for adding the concluding passages..

  • This goal was moved to the back burner over the last session, as I caught up on other goals left untended while we traveled.

This goal is changing. The time element means that, rather than four separate posts, I am going to combine them into one “A Year of ROW80” post. I will also be shifting the focus, as what I have thus far written doesn’t inspire and isn’t saying what I intended.

Read posts at My Write Spot and Thankvember Blog Hop.

For Thankvember Blog Hop:

At My Write Spot:

Jot some notes for ebook/hard copy poetry book, Queen of Infinite Spaces, which will use my 31 OctPoWriMo 2012 poems.

  • I have reread the notes I wrote last week, and don’t feel the need to add anything to the prep list at this time.

  • I have begun to work on the list by gathering the poems from my LibreOffice files and adding them to my Scrivener binder for this project.

  • I have collected two poems, so far. Another small step; another small beginning.

Continue writing Sima Garo Provides, throughout December.

  • I plan to use Rachel Aaron’s process on this story, noting what I plan to write about before each session, even if it’s only a short one, and time-tracking.

  • I reread my notes and Chapter Ten,Scene Four, realizing that it is complete.

  • I’ve done no new writing, but I feel the story building for Chapter Eleven, and will be taking notes in the coming days. Perhaps writing will also commence.

Moving firewood into garage, stacking, and stocking house as needed.

  • I’ve restocked the house supply, and will next be tidying what I tossed into the garage to avoid it getting wet. I’m glad I did, because the next week is expected to be raining. =D

Picasso Art by Annalise Burton, age 8.

Editing Picasa albums, and sharing them more widely.

  • I began by adding a description and making public this small album of the kids’ recentish stuff….

  • Another small beginning here – do I hear ice cracking? =)

Add reports and sections to kids’ reporting blogs, and organize blogs.

  • I began the reporting period, last quarter, with one idea for these blogs, but, as is so often the case, living with it led me to some fairly major shifts.

    Now, I will be working toward adjusting the setup to match what’s really working for me, and making sure all of the first quarter report sections are public – I will use this if I need quick proof, or to refer a concerned family member to evidence of “what we do all day” (even though, very often, we are likely to be doing it all night, instead…)

  • I intend to have all of these done before the end of the quarter – January 31, 2012.

  • Nothing new this session – will be a priority for the next.

Weekly update posts to both reporting blogs.

  • I am thinking that these will just be roughly sorted into categories – a sort of laundry list of the cooler parts of our week (Monday sounds like a good day to do them!)

  • I edited a small album of kids’ projects, in preparation for adding to the kids’ portfolios.

  • I have fallen behind on this goal, but I am beginning to think that it is OK to relax a little and hit the high points. My reports have been extremely detailed; and there is no real need for that.

So, my new focus will be just on getting some things down for each objective before the quarter is over…and I will allow myself to breathe around this one.

  • I also intend to remember that this goal is intended to simplify my lie, not complicate it! =D

  • Categories may be as simple as “Doing”/”Seeing”/”Making”/”Playing”/and “Talking About”, and may include pictures and/or links.

  • I haven’t done anymore on these projects. I’m OK with that, and will make it a priority in the coming days.

  • I may also categorize using an initial code system, so that the “subject/s” an item fits into will be clear at a glance.

  • In the coming days, I will be adding these items to the appropriate categories on their pages, from which the next report will be created.

  • Nothing new to report, here.

  • From there, I will move them into their “subject” and “objective” on the IHIP.

  • I have done nothing toward this goal in this session,but plan to have both children’s first updates categorized before I post their third updates.

Guest blogging catchup.

  • I will be doing a round of checks on previous posts, to answer comments as needed.

  • I have completed responding to the comments onmy guest post at Elizabeth Anne Mitchell.

  • Next up, I will be visiting my ROW80 sponsor post.

  • As I move through this process, I will make certain that myWhere on the Web is Shan Jeniah? page is up-to-date, and possibly prettied up a bit…

  • I have played with my screenshot app, and think I will replace it with something else. It doesn’t seem to be working as well as I had hoped.

  • I will be sending a completed post to a friend, to see if she would like it, and another where I can send a nifty little bit of flash fiction I wrote a few months back, and contacting another friend where I planned to write during the craziness that was Round 3.

  • I have sent the essay to my friend, and will wait for her decision as to whether she can use it.

Prepare items for submission.

  • I’ve been planning to send some things out into the world, but haven’t done so since the early part of summer. The reasons have been various, and now it’s time to offer up some of my words in exchange for a bit of disposable cash flow…

    I’ll begin small -just choosing a thing or two to spruce up and let go….and take it from there. My Writing Bullpen is chock full of potential – time to bring out some new pitches! =D

  • The Last House” has been submitted. =D

  • This piece was rejected, with specific criticisms and references. I will read, revise, and resubmit to this market or elsewhere.

  • I will continue to do this as I read, so that I will have a selection of items to prepare, without any extra work.

  • I’ve saved my flash fiction category to my Read Later file. There are good pieces there….

  • I am toying with the idea of rewriting a story I wrote in 2000, Morning Coffee, for the Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition.

  • I have written over 300 words of this story.

  • This is a small beginning, but I expect the writing to flow quickly from this point.

  • Even if I do not finish in time for the deadline, which is midnight, I will still have a story I can submit elsewhere.

My favorite Annalise art.

And my two standing goals, continuing on…

I am serving as a  ROW80sponsor for this round.

  • I have caught up on my responsibilities, and am happy to be in good standing again.

  • I have volunteered to serve as a sponsor again next round – I love this gig!

  • I’m up on the sponsor list! Yippee! =D Hope to be seeing you all again soon!

Fitness Goals – I will focus on eating before I am hungry (and getting protein and magnesium into every other time I eat). I will be active enough that I can always feel my body and muscles. I will add more fruits and vegetables to my diet, and be more attentive to how much water I am drinking.

  • I will be recording my progress here, along with my energy levels for that Sunday – Tuesday or Wednesday – Saturday period.

Wednesday – Ebb Tide

Moved firewood, minimal hometending, worked on update and other writing, resting

Thursday – Ebb Tide

Moved firewood, moderate hometending, answering comments and other writing, submitting, resting

Friday- Ebb Tide

Moderate hometending, pet tending, answering comments and other writing, resting

Saturday – Slack Tide

Moderate hometending, firewood stocking, beginning holiday decorating setup, update and other writing, including short story.

  • I have been following a more intuitive and natural approach to eating and drinking, and allowing myself to feel my body’s wishes.

  • I continue to do well with this goal, intuitively eating more in the way of vegetables, protein, magnesium, and attending more to my water consumption.

Experimentation by Annalise.

And now, a bit about our last few days:

As I mentioned above, things have been pretty quiet here, over the last few days.

A side effect of this is that the quiet house has inspired Squeak, one of the semi-feral kittens, to come out and play. She’s still avoiding direct human-initiated contact, but will come close enough to me to sniff my hand, and she isn’t in nearly as big a hurry to hide from me.

Yesterday and today, she’s done a little dance in front of me, tail curled and back a little arched, as though she wants to be friends but can’t quite trust me yet. She’s let me touch her a few times, very briefly…she is soft and sleek.

Her sister Srindi is a little less adventuresome, and a little less interested in being on the floor when I am. She’s still hanging mostly in my office, but is getting less shy about being out on the table while we are near.

Both girls like Achoo, our little kitten from the woods. She’s still sneezy, but growing well, and active. Hoping things clear up for her, as they are better than when she first arrived.

Achoo moves happily between her two big sisters, snuggling with Srindi, and playing with Squeak.

As for me, I am percolating with new awarenesses and ideas.  It’s one of those deepening times where everything seems just beneath the surface, and just beyond words, a cresting wave preparing to break over me…

We’ve talked about the emotions brought up by this week’s events, and shared hugs and gentleness and gratitude that we have found an alternative to school.  There are no guarantees of safety for any of us, but there is a certain peace in our being together, in the knowing that our lives are filled with wonder and love.

Until then, I will move along, wrapping up my goals, and enjoying this quiet space…the kids were both up after 5pm today, so I feel that they are shifting back to a more typical pattern…

May your week be cheery, productive, and delightful!

More by Annalise, from last Christmas, when she was 7.

It’s a BLOG HOP!