Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, A Round of Words in 80 Days 2013, Life Writing, Round 2 -2013

Round 2 Goals – Reading, Trying, Waiting, Watching

Curious?Click here!

I am espousing a new theme for this round, based on some very sound unschooling advice that I’m learning to apply to my writing life, as well:

Read a little, try a little, wait a while,watch. ~Sandra Dodd

This phrase, intended to help parents gradually shift the way they look at and parent their children fits my ebb, slack,and surge energies.

Read a little

  • This is when I take in concentrated information from reading, going, watching TV, visiting friends, being attentively with my family… a time of gathering ideas, inspiration and information.

Try a little –

  • To lengthen the stretch, hold it a little longer and stronger, as in yoga.

  • Not to eat the entire Jeep in a day, but to spread it out, lovingly tasting each bite….

  • For the most part, I will be continuing with the same targets I was working toward in Round 1. There will be a new angle or two, as I shift toward some of my “second-tier” targets, but they will work into the existing plan, so that I am not plowed under by too much new, all at once.

Wait a while –

  • I’m starting the round with the A to Z Challenge and Camp NaNo.

  • I’m still getting used to blogging by schedule.

  • I need a little time – a week, maybe two, to see how all of these gel with my other writing projects (QUOMIS, flash stories, and essays at 750 Words). 

  • When I know I have a balance, I will likely ride the plateau for a bit before upping my incline with a new target or two.

Watch –

Throughout the round, I will be paying attention to some things I am practicing being mindful of:

  • How much time I have to do the other things I love.

  • How often I take time to be – really be – with the people I love.

  • Whether I feel energized and challenged, or frustrated and overwhelmed.

  • Whether the projects I am working on inspire me, or make me want to be anywhere else, doing anything else (if I would rather change a litterbox than be writing, there is a BIG problem!).

So, with that in mind, here are my targets for the beginning of Round 2.

Main Characters:


  • Posts scheduled a solid week ahead.

  • Will introduce two new features this week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

  • Posts scheduled through the letter S, which is the first post of Week Four.

  • I have one full week and one day left to finish.

  • T andposts are in various stages of revision.

  • I  have a good cushion, so that, if other things take precedence, as they sometimes will, I won’t need to panic.

April CampNaNoWrimo

I am doing this as a rebel effort, with the goal of writing approximately 75,000 words, and completing three previous winning but unfinished NaNo WIPs.

Sima Garo Provides, NaNo 2012:

  • I have done some outlining and expanding.

  • I will complete this novel first.

Blood and Breath, NaNo 2009:

  • I have a previously written story arc.

  • I have begun an outline, which will merge with the story arc.

  • This will be my second WIP.

To Be or Not to Be, August CampNaNo, 2012:

  • I have located and reread this WIP, and like it more than I remembered. It is a joint Warp/Weft novel, as written, so will eventually become two separate novels.

  • This novel still needs to be collected and placed into a Scrivener file.

  • This will be my final WIP for the month.

Supporting Characters:

ROW80  –

  • My sponsor post is pending.
  • My long-term goals will be presented at my first evaluation, Sunday, April 13, and  are in progress.
  • I will be making visits to final posts before Wednesday, so that I can share them at the first check- in.

Deep Revision for Flash Fiction

I’ve done a little each day with the exercises I am putting my three current flash fiction WIPs through. I’ve really scaled this back, while I set up for and adjust to the challenges. I have made them my morning words, so they are progressing slowly and steadily.

A Splash of Red”:

  • I have finished the first portion of Part 2 -re-imagining the story, section by section.

  • Next, I will transcribe these handwritten sections into a new document file.

Morning Coffee”:

  • I am currently working through re -visioning the sections in this story.

  • I will continue until all are completed.

Peach Liqueur Love”:

  • I will resume working on Part 1 exercises for this piece once I complete the current exercise with “Morning Coffee”

Queen of My Infinite Spaces (poetry book) :

  • During Round 2, I will revise the 31 poems and end matter, and begin canvassing for beta readers. This may not happen until later in the round, depending on how much energy is being directed to higher-priority projects.

I will be posting my long-term goals, and how these fit into them, at my first bi-weekly evaluation, on Sunday, April 13.

All of these lovely images are freely offered in Jenny Kaczorowski’s Flowers and Plants Flickr photostream, via WANA Commons.

Posted in Life Writing, Sunday Sampler

Sunday Sampler: March 31, 2013

Assorted lovelies for your reading and viewing pleasure….offered up weekly on a pretty blog platter!

I love learning and stretching my perspective; I love sharing what I find with others, and learning and stretching more in the process.

I offer up this virtual Sunday paper, filled with things I have read and enjoyed recently, in the spirit of learning and sharing.

 I invite opinions, editorials, and ideas for future topics or articles…

And now, this week’s buffet of ideas….

Creation by Jeremiah Burton, toothpick and miniature marshmallow construction. What do you create? What will you create next?


This week, I was fascinated by the PBS series  The Human Spark, with Alan Alda, who always delights me with his humor, passion, and curiosity.

Kristen Lamb’s Blog is a wonderful resource for writers.  I’d been meaning to read this for a while, and finally got to it this week – serendipitously, as this is a time of deepening for me, in my writing, and in life.

There’s been a lot of Pocket Minecraft learning, here, this week. What are you fascinated by? What fires your thirst to know, and what quenches it?


It’s been a week of diverse and reckless learning, for me.  I would love to share it all, all at once, but there is just so much of it….I’ll compromise by offering a bit here, and then more, later….

Sarah Selecky’s blog is home to the revision  process I am currently exploring.  It’s deepening my fiction, and I am loving the revision process, and what I am discovering about my characters and their stories.

The children have discovered Minecraft, and are often joyfully immersed in it, Jeremiah in survival mode, and Annalise creating entire worlds in creative mode.  This PBS Idea Channel video fits our life – except that I think adults would do better to just allow kids to discover, learn, and create, with no curriculum or agenda involved.

Another wonderful discovery I made this week is Lifehacker.  Chock-full of more practical learning than I could possibly fit into my one three-pound brain, it’s going to call me back, again and again…here’s my first foray.

My tiny Buddha helps me to relate peacefully when traveling alone with the kids. What helps you relate peacefully, and what are your struggles?


The Sunday Edition had this intriguing piece on Radical Rest Homes…which fit with an episode of This Old House wherein a young family built a home that would carry them through all the changes aging might bring….

I believe that history – maybe especially violent history –  holds clues to what the future might offer.  Here, Buzzfeed Politics collects a series of covers on the Iraq War.

And at Becoming Minimalist, I read this exploration of simple living that resonated with my soul.

What images inspire you? Share below, in the comments!


My lifelong best friend and spiritsister, Eden Mabee, has recently been indulging her passion for photography, which is inspiring to me.  At her blog, Many Worlds From Many Minds, her photos remind her of another passion…

Back over to Lifehacker, this time to explore ways to live a happier life.

At my WANA friend August McLaughlin’s Blog, I was inspired to do more of something that has also been a huge part of my unschooling life…saying yes.

The hows and whys of retracting claws at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. What are your favorite hows and whys?

Hows and Whys:

And back again to Lifehacker, to consider why we tend to fear change, and ways we can learn to accept it more gratefully.

And at Huffington Post Women, Maria Shriver explores the ideas of leaning in and pushing back…

And back to Lifehacker yet again, for one of my deep passions – COFFEE!

Spring brings out the giggles and grins here. What makes laughter bubble up, for you?

Smiles and Laughter:

Over at More Cowbell, the hilarious Jenny Hansen reveals the inside scoop on gold lame and Amish Erotics….

I hope you enjoyed this wild romp through the inner wanderings of my mind….next week, I’ll be back to do it again! =)

If you have comments, ideas, editorials, or just something you’d like to share, drop a comment in the box below….your input will make this feature even better! =D

Posted in Life Writing, Saturday's Share...

Saturday’s Share: A Dog’s Life

Share your captions!

This is Corki, a probable  American Pit Bull Terrier/ viszla mix who is six years old.  he’s lived with us since he was 12 weeks old.  I took this photo of him looking up at me, as he does several times  each day. For me, this portrait exactly captures the soul of this friendly, gentle, almost Velcro canine, who seems to live to please and be near his people, and who has adopted me as his alpha female, often gazing into my eyes, as he is in this photo.

Corki’s pastimes include going for walks, chasing the cats, catching balls (not so much returning them!),  being upside down, and eating cheese. 

Animals have always been a huge part of  my  life.  Their companionship answers something in me that nothing else does, and I find it fun, challenging, and enlightening to share our home with other species.

This week, we celebrate pets, past or present.  Have a funny story, sweet memory, or dream pet?  Have a photo of your furry, scaled, or feathered pal?  Want to guess what the Corki-dog is thinking? Share in the comments, and I will include your contributions in next week’s Saturday’s Share.

And now, a bit about last week’s share:

At age five, Annalise, who has never gone to school or had a reading lesson, and who lives in a book-rich, reading family, was working out  various things about letters, sounds, and writing.  One fall day, she was playing in the yard while Jim split kindling for the woodstove.  She claimed a few pieces, and created the word “AXAXA”.

The word has such an inviting sound that we used it as a catch phrase for a while.

I love this image because it shows something that tends to fade as children progress in school – natural, unguided, playful learning.  I look back at it now, when Annalise is 8, and I smile.  She never did have a reading lesson, and has become an adept independent reader.

(Come back and add any comments this generates!)

Posted in Friday Frolicks, Life Writing

Friday Frolic – Dominoes + Gravity = Art!

Did you see THAT?!?! Hill-air-ious!

Since I was a little girl, I have been fascinated by domino art, and awed at the patience and precision required to create it.  With the advent of the Internet and YouTube, I can enjoy a wider variety of domino tumbles than I ever dreamed of back then, all without leaving home, or trying to set up a domino run with three feisty young felines, and a rather nosy canine….

I invite you to come along as we peek in on a few of these delights for eye and ear…we’ve got art, games, and even a world tour and a domino cannon!

Ready, set……Van Gogh!!!

Van Gogh’s Starry Night:

This is my favorite painting by my favorite artist.  Score! =)

Brattleboro Domino Toppling 4:

Can you say “domino cannon?”

World record: 30,000 dominoes Toppled in a Spiral:

This one is almost meditative, as the spiral tightens….

Over 80.000 Dominoes – “Around the World”:

Did you see your country, or other places of interest?

Real Life Angry Birds Domino Theme Walkthrough:

Amazing Fire Domino!!:

Eggs in a Basket:

Whether or not you celebrate Easter, this is cool!

Posted in Friday Frolicks, Uncategorized

NASA Johnson Style!

Last Friday, I posted my Top Five Gangnam Style videos on Friday Frolic.  In response, my Facebook friend Maria sent my this too-good-not-to-share NASA parody!

Dancing, space, gadgets, and astronauts….how can this NOT be a hoot?!

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, Round I 2013, Uncategorized

Trustful Renaissance – ROW80 Update, March 24, 2013

It’s the end of Round One, and, yet, somehow, I feel like I’m at the beginning of things.

 I’ve never felt this way at the end of the round, before….and I like it. It’s breathing and ease and possibility into life that have been in short supply, in previous rounds, as I careened madly toward the finish line, fixated on those goal I hadn’t accomplished yet, trying to squeeze everything in before the “deadline”.

Now I see that that was a mistake, for me.

The deadline is arbitrary. Just a pause, a breathing space, a time to evaluate and make shifts where needed, and to rest a bit…something like a vacation – or, in this case, a long weekend.

It’s not a finish line or a report card. It’s me, striving toward the life I imagine, taking steps along the trail that is already carrying me there.

So, this time, I have a different feeling. It’s accomplishment.

No, I didn’t finish everything I set out to do. As a matter of fact, I gave my goals a near-total overhaul a few weeks in, as my focus and intentions became clearer.

Still, instead of worrying about the things that remain undone, I am going to carry the remainder into next round, and take this time to celebrate and enjoy all that I have accomplished – both the easily quantified goals, and the deeper shifts that are leading to a new place and understanding, not just as a writer, but as a person.

I feel like spring is coming, not just to the world around me, but within me. I am softening, spreading my branches, sinking my roots, unfurling my leaves, preparing to ripen….

My story worlds, too, are becoming richer, and more deeply felt. I am blogging with a new confidence, and I look forward to the time I spend in crafting and creating….

It’s a vibrant, happy, and somewhat time, this spring in my soul…

May you, too, be filled with the spirit of rebirth…

ROW80 Progress:

All goals marked “pending” will be carried over into Round 2, and worked on through the break.

WANA113 :

Previous Targets:

  • Postpone these until after I get all A to Z challenge posts revised and edited, and outlines for my three CampNaNo WIPs.
  • Pending.

WANA Writing Moms (and Dads,too):


Complete Lessons and network as time and energy permit.

  • Read Week 3, Lessons 2-3.
  • Pending. 



Reread and color block freewritings.

  • Done
  • Target attained.

Write revision notes.

  • Pending.

Continue on-time sponsor visits.



Continue reading items saved to Pocket.

  • Read for Sunday Sampler post.
  • Target attained. 

Craft reading and exercises.

Continue reading with kids, as desired.



Continue scheduling regular posts at least one week ahead, excepting Wordless Wednesdays (schedule these by Monday).

Answer comments as scheduled.

  • Target attained.

Organize Blogging Action Plans by blog.

  • Pending.

Continue revision and scheduling for A to Z Challenge. Aim to be done by April 1.

  • I – M posts (through April 15; into Week 3) scheduled.
  • Pending. 

Prep final eval and peek ahead.

  • Pending.


New Targets:

Previous Targets:

Continue Deep Revision Exercises, alternating stories in queue.

  • Nearing the end of the current exercises with “A Splash of Red.”
  • Pending.

Continue CampNaNo planning – Blood and Breath Outline, To Be or Not to Be reading, expand Sima Garo Provides outline.

  • Moving slowly forward on prepping for all three WIPs.
  • This will speed up when I get all the A to Z posts scheduled.
  • Pending.

Continue 750words, daily.

  • Yes, every day.
  • Target attained.

My final bi-weekly evaluation is pending, and can be found here beginning March 28, 2013.

It’s a BLOG HOP!

Posted in Coffee and Conversation, Life Writing

Coffee and Conversation: Value and Passion

Sit down with a cuppa, and let’s chat a while….

We live in a culture that often places higher value on what we do and produce than it does in who we are.

That’s an afterthought, if it’s considered at all.

For much of my life, putting the things I was required to do ahead of those I wanted to do was touted as responsible and mature behavior, and spending time on passions was seen as lazy and irresponsible. It was only a few years ago that I stopped echoing those opinions in my own mind.

Many of us, as young children, were initiated into the realities of school, where good grades, homework, and classroom participation were the watchwords of success, and staring out the window rather than at the blackboard, preferring bicycles or cats to more books and lessons on a magical late-spring evening, or a fascination with topics not covered in the curriculum were deemed underachievement and lack of motivation.

I was labeled an underachiever in school. I made decent grades, but I was often told that if I just ‘applied myself”, I might have done far better. No one ever questioned whether I wanted to do better; that’s what was expected, after all.

Today, decades later, I am into my second year of serious writing. I’ve at last embraced the desires of of my soul, and I’ve given up feeling guilty about that. To me, it feels like revelry, or a stimulating challenge. Even the stuck or dry times, when the words run dry, have their own charm. When there are no words to write, I have time to read, and watch television, surf the Internet, play more with the kids and the pets, tendto our home, and plan time with friends without the pull of one story or another tugging me away… those are the refilling times, and they have their own value.

Value may be the key.

How much have we learned to value those things that draw us, fascinate us, exist like shiny gemstones in our souls? How much do we value our unique and irreplacable selves, and the gifts that only we can offer?

Photographing trees is a passion of mine.

I am now 43 years old, closer to 44. I’ve worked a variety of jobs, always in direct service occupations, where I could offer of myself and connect with others. I’ve come to realize that my own ways of exploring and experiencing the world provide me more learning, and more textured understanding, than I could ever learn in a classroom, or from a textbook.

The things that once were my failings have become my strengths. Those long hours spent reading, and writing stories, sharing intimate details of my life with my best friend, and nurturing felines have all proven useful, in a variety of ways: making me a better wife and mother, a keen observer of human nature, motivation, and body language, giving me an appreciation of imagination, imagery, and story…all things that feed my writing, and my life.

I watch my children living a very different life than I lived at their ages, one that honors the things that they choose to spend their time and energies on, and does not fill their days full of anyone else’s ideas of what holds value.  I can trace these pastimes back to their babyhoods – because the seeds of what they are passionate about today were there in their infant delights.

I wonder where these passions will lead them – they are in a constant state of evolving and refining their passions, and exploring side trails and tangents that lead them to still others.

And I wonder how I might have been, who we might all be, if value ourselves enough  to take time each day  to learn what fires our souls, and then, boldly, claim our right to immerse ourselves in it, and in the inner reaches of ourselves.

How can you value yourself this week, and beyond? What fires you up? What would you do with a free day, and ready resources…? What can you do right now that will tickle your fancy?  Make a list, a collage, a comment – or just daydream about it, and see what arises….

I love comments and conversations, and there’s a fresh pot of coffee, and giggling coming from the other room – won’t you join us?

Next week….People who inspire me. Perhaps fictional, perhaps not….

The Winner of Buffy Greentree’s Five Day Writer’s Retreat PDF is Eden Mabee.  Congratulations, Eden, and here is Buffy’s guest post, in case you missed it the first time round.