Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, A Round of Words in 80 Days 2014, Coffee and Conversation, Life Writing, Round 2 2014

Coffee and Conversation: ROW80 Round 2 Retrospective

 

Grab a cuppa and a comfy seat, and let’s chat a while.

It’s Monday again – time for Coffee and Conversation.

When I was six, myfamilywas driving on a highway late at night. Streaks of headlights and taillights painted the dark. For the first time, I realized that each car held people living lives as important to them as mine was to me.

I wanted to know what those lives were, and to share my own...

So, what about that ROW80 thing, anyway?

A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80), is the creation of Kait Nolan. It’s “the writing challenge that knows you have a life”. Rather than an intensive writing marathon with rigid rules, ROW80 divides the year into four 80 day segments, with breaks between. Each writer devises their own personal goals, then gives an accounting once or twice a week. If the goals aren’t working, they can be changed at any time.

It’s an idea that’s brilliant in its simplicity and flexibility. Through it, I have learned a great deal about myself- as a writer, and as a person. More, I’ve found a supportive community of fellow writers at all levels – I can learn from those who are further along the road than I, and offer support and advice to others, as well.

It’s break time now; Round 2 is over, and Round 3 begins on July 7. So, it’s a good time for me to take account of where I stand, in order to get a sense of what I’d like to do in the next round.

For 2014, I’ve set annual goals; each round, I make steps toward these in the form of smaller, incremental goals. Some of these goals will be somewhat altered for the next session, since I have a better idea of what I can accomplish at the midpoint of the year than I did at the beginning.

Curious? Click this icon!

So, without further ado, here are the goals I addressed in Round 2, and their status:

2014 Blogging:

Focus on layout and design aspects of my Blogging Action Plan.

  • Mostly, I set this aside, for this round.

Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.

  • I did fairly well with regular posting, and with answering comments.

  • As far as queues and sharing, not so much.

Brainstorm what I want in a website; move The Unfettered Life to a spiffy new home.

  • I have a better idea of what my eventual website will look like.

  • As for The Unfettered Life, it will be incorporated, in some form, into that website.

2014 Writing:

Complete rough drafts of To Be or Not to Be, The Stars Are Fire, and Perchance to Dream.

  • TBONTB complete.

  • TSAF nearly complete at 138K (it’ll need some cutting in the edits, for sure!)

Draft two more novels in the Trueborn double series, as NaNo projects.

  • I’ve got some extensive basic notes on one character’s story arc for one story.

Explore my gestating Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction novel concept, as well as the Last House story collection concept, in the form of short pieces or flash fiction, during April and May. (Overstrike; completed!)

  • The Last House concept was renamedKifo Island Chronicles, and will be developed as a series of novellas.

  • The Enterprise fan fiction project was named The IDIC Romance, and will be offered freely online as a serial project.

2014 Editing:

Complete first revision passes for Chameleon’s Dish and Bounded by a Nutshell; make pre-revision notes for Blood and Breath.

  • Chameleon’s Dish in revision; set aside for most of this writing round.

  • Pre-planning notes for Bounded are complete.

  • Blood and Breath has had a read-through.

2014 Hometending:

Continue physical and virtual hometending plans – resetting rooms, cleaning files, and inhabiting my study.

  • Progress made in resetting rooms (but a slow process!) and in the study.

  • File cleaning was more organic; with the introduction of a snazzy new computer.

2014 Lifetending:

Stretch and find new ways to blend the facets of my life with intention and awareness.

  • I got together with some friends I hadn’t seen in longer than I wanted.

Seek out playful new ways to move and challenge my body.

  • More thought being given to fitness and related goals.

Do you set long-term goals? Do you enjoy moving toward them as part of a group, or are you more of a soloist in that regard? Or, like me, do you prefer a blend of personal attention and group accountability? Please pull up a seat, and I’ll pour you a fresh cuppa while we chat!

 

Posted in Flash Fiction Pieces, Life Writing, Story a Day May Challenge, WIPpet Wednesday

WIPpet Wednesday: Trip, Stumble, and T’Pol

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday –K.L. Schwengel’s weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move their WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date.

I’ve spent most of the last week writing. Tens of thousands of words of my current WIP, The Stars are Fire. It’s ragged and extremely rough, so I won’t be inflicting it on you yet. You’re most welcome. =)

Instead, this snippet comes from my Story A Day May Challenge: Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction exploring the interspecies relationship of T’Pol and Trip, in a project titled The IDIC Romance.

Disclaimer: T’Pol and Trip , and all the rest of Star Trekare property of Paramount; no copyright infringement intended. I just want to play with them, and I’m careful!

A bit about the challenge:

Story a Day is just that- a story every day in May. To make the challenge more interesting for myself, I used all of the prompts offered, throughout the month.The stories are sequential, they will have various tones, POVs, and voices, due to the particular prompts that were in play during the writing.

For those keeping track:

  • Installment #4 of Story #3, Vermilion Threads. The prompt was to write a story of about 640 words. An additional guest post was use the words “vermilion” and “musky” (that one’s in this WIPpet).

WIPpet Math:

Today is June 25, 2014

  • 25 sentences, for the date.

This snippet is a memory-fragment T’Pol experienceduring meditation shortly after she reports for compulsory duty aboard the human starship Enterprise in the pilot episode: Broken Bow Part 1.It follows immediately after last week’s WIPpet, “Breathless”. The beginning of this clip shows the scene that inspired this WIPpet.

I drew a deep breath, held it until I could control my autonomic response, and nodded. Soval studied me for a wordless moment, his face revealing nothing but alertness. I held myself still under his regard, wondering whether I wished him to conclude that I was in fact unsuitable for this assignment.

“Although the service is compulsory, Subcommander T’Pol, you still honor Vulcan in your willingness to accept this challenge. You are at liberty for the remainder of the day, so that you may attend to your affairs, and tend to your meditation.”

I said nothing else. It would be illogical; it was not that I didn’t trust my composure to hold if I spoke.

Then came a grueling series of preparations – I allowed those memories to pass quickly, until the moment I was ready to step aboard the courier, and Soval offered me a small box.

“To remind you that, although you are traveling with humans, you are still bound indelibly to your own people.”

I took the box, opened it, and found the skein of vermilion thread.

And then I stood at the door to Captain Archer’s office – his Ready Room, according to the very young human Ensign who had directed me here. I heard two male voices, the words indistinct – but there was no mistaking his intonations, or my Awakened, yearning response. I was aware of Trip, as I entered; my eyes shifted to the precise place where he was before I could control the action. My senses were fully engaged, my mind alight with searing, quivering arousal. Trip looked back at me with a human expression that might be shock, or disbelief, or any number of other things I could not decipher- but I was certain that he knew me as I knew him. Commander Tucker, I admonished myself – I must not think of him as Trip, as the man I had yearned for since that chance, forbidden encounter fourteen months, two weeks, and six days ago.

I had postponed using the prescribed nasal numbing agent, so that I could learn from his scent what only my olfactory sense could tell me. His pungent human odor was spiked with musky overtones, and my own pheremones released in involuntary response. I turned to the Captain, and attempted to still my instinctive reaction.

The animal upon the floor – a small, large-eared canid – provided an outlet; that was fortunate, since my control had already slipped unacceptably and quite noticeably, making me react discourteously. I focused my attention on the creature, allowing the assumption that its natural odor was offensive to me – and Captain Archer apologized, remarking upon the olfactory sensitivity of Vulcan females.

“I took a shower this morning, How ‘bout you, Cap’n?”

All my efforts at control were as nothing, to the smile I could hear in his voice – how could I hear any such thing? The captain belatedly made introductions, and I was forced by courtesy to turn to face him. Trip Tucker rose, extended his arm to me, hand open, in a blatant offer to touch that would only be shared by sexual partners, on Vulcan. “Trip. I’m called Trip.”

“I’ll try to remember that.” I only resisted the impulse to heedlessly take hold of that hand, recklessly give myself to what would follow, by turning away and clutching my quivering hands behind me.

Will T’Pol be able to maintain control in the face of her attraction for Trip? How will Trip react to being spurned? Will the mission be a success, or a disaster?

Yup, you guessed it…you’ll need to either read below, or wait for next week, to learn more…

Story A Day commentary…

Full version of the story…

These posts are the seeds of a project that will germinate over the next months, so input is especially valuable. No need to feel shy; I’m a friendly sort, and will keep my phase pistol on stun ..for the most part.

Want more WIPpets?

Okay, I have to do this! =D

 

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, A Round of Words in 80 Days 2014, Life Writing, Round 2 2014

Creative Delving : ROW80 Update, 6/25/14

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Well, hello there, and welcome to the final ROW80 midweek update of Round 2!

Ever look back at your last weeks, and find such a whirlwind of creativity that it spins your head a little?

Yup, that’s this round, for me. I delved two nascent ideas: the idea of a hospice resort in April’s Kifo Island Chronicles, and finally gave Trip and T’Pol my full attention in May’s The IDIC Romance.

In April and June, I moved forward with my Trueborn Weft Series fantasy WIP, The Stars are Fire.

I might try adding up all the words I’ve written this round, at some point…or I might not. While I’m pretty sure it’s staggering, it’s really not the point. The goal was creative exploration, and the honing of my craft. It was delving into myself, going deep, growing and evolving.

That’s a huge part of why I write – to discover myself, and to connect honestly with others. To give the daydreams that possess me space and breathe life into them that I can share with others, and maybe entertain, intrigue, provoke…

I write to learn who and what I am, and to become more of myself. To learn how to be a better version of me.

It’s been a big round, and there are revelations beginning to break my surfaces. I’m not quite ready to reveal them – like icebergs, they’re still mostly submerged, and I’ve learned to wait for the time when they burst forth on their own.

Art by Uwe Kils, Wiska Bodo, via Wikimedia Commons.

Do you find that your creative surges lead to revelations and epiphanies of a more personal nature?

I’ll be posting a full-round assessment on Sunday. For today, I’m focusing on what happened this June:

June Focuses:

  • Homeschool Reports (due 6/15) Target attained!

  • Guest post  –Blog series canceled.

  • JuNoWriMoOn target to finish by the end of the month.

2014 Blogging:

Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.

“Blogging Maintenance”: Post regular features; answer comments; make return visits. On target.

Build Features Queues: Add to Idea/Concept Files; develop post outlines; create posts; ship. Not yet.

Share Diversely: Look for more places to share and interact; develop a diverse sharing habit. Not yet.

2014 Writing:

Complete the JuNoWriMo Challenge: 50,000 words onThe Stars Are Fire and, if applicable, Perchance to Dream.On target to finish the challenge, and maybe the WIP, by the end of the month.

  • New words: 15,701!

  • June words: 40,775/ 50,000

  • WIP to date: 129,085/~ 140,000

  • I will likely be finishing up the challenge with TSAF.

Write guest post.  Blog series canceled.

Draft Round 3 Sponsor post. On target.

  • I have been tossing ideas around and letting them simmer in my mind. I’ll be drafting over the break.

2014 Hometending:

Continue family room reset: Move computer desk and pantry to new positions. On target.

  • Cleared some clutter from the desk itself; things have been landing there more than I like.

  • Things moving slowly…

Continue claiming my study: Clean and reset corner between work spaces. On target.

  • Nothing new this session.
  • Progress continues slowly, overall.

2014 Lifetending:

Stretch and find new ways to blend the facets of my life with intention and awareness.

Maintenance goal: 5 salads/fruit smoothies peer week. On target.

  • 2 salad, 1 smoothies.

  • 3/attained.

Evaluate other fitness and lifetending goals. Something’s gone amiss, and I think I need some time and attention to what that is, what I want to accomplish, and what might be a better way to get there. On target.

  • During my moderately strenuous workout on Tuesday, I had a bit of an epiphany regarding these goals. I’m beginning to formulate that into an actual plan; more on that for Round 3.

Sponsor Visits:

How did the other ROWers ROW?

Okay, hopefully, my icerberg is not as titanically disastrous as this…

Posted in Coffee and Conversation, Life Writing

Coffee and Conversation: Projects, or People?

Grab a cuppa and a comfy seat, and let’s chat a while.

It’s Monday Tuesday again  (Okay, I’m a day late!)- time for Coffee and Conversation.

When I was six, my family was driving on a highway late at night. Streaks of headlights and taillights painted the dark. For the first time, I realized that each car held people living lives as important to them as mine was to me.

I wanted to know what those lives were, and to share my own...

What happened when I stopped treating my children as projects to be completed, but instead as whole people, already?

Too often, in modern American culture, children are seen as projects. Maybe it comes from an illusion, carried over from times past, that babies are blank slates, empty vessels waiting to be filled with what their parents and their society deem important. It’s true that babies aren’t able to do many things – but they aren’t empty. If I look at my children today, at nearly 10 and approaching 13, I can see in them the seeds of who they were as babies.

Jeremiah on his twelfth birthday. We were on our way to lunch.

Maybe it’s because very small children need a lot of care. They need to be changed, fed, carried, cuddled, comforted, helped to know what is safe and how the world works. There are many book, magazines, programs, classes, and products designed to meet these needs…and the insecurities and fears of new parents, maybe far from their own families. Much money is made by preying on parents’ desires to not only do well by their kids, but to give them the advantages that will lead to a “successful life”.

I used to indulge in more of these than I’m comfortable admitting. I bought into the idea that I “owed” my kids all I could afford, and then some.

But over time, I started to notice something. So much of the literature and programming was designed less to help children, and more as a means of manipulating them, steering and pruning them, making them more convenient to live with, and steering them in the directions we want them to go…often, directions that will give their parents something to brag about.

At Lake George, NY, being Just US. Three people. Photo by Jim Burton.

When my children were 7 and 4, my growing unease with this led our family to make a huge shift. We were already homeschooling our oldest, and the lessons I was conducting at the kitchen table were not going as well as I wanted. My son’s spark of curiosity was fading, and household battles were far more common than I wanted.

My kids were my projects, and I was screwing them up.

And so, we stopped.

I gave up the idea that they were projects, and began to learn to see them as….well, as people. Just that. Small, new people with lots to learn – but with the skills and desire to learn it.

It’s been remarkable.

Every day, one or both of my children will do something unexpected, or learn something I never would have thought to teach them. Every day, they become more who they are. And, because my role is as facilitator rather than project manager, I get to see something I might not have, if I were still managing them as projects.

I get to see that they know how to learn, that they’re hard-wired for it. They’re naturals at growing up – they just need support along the way. All that effort and angst and never knowing if I was getting it right, when they were little, was time and energy I could have spent on simply loving and supporting and enjoying them…

Because they are remarkable people. They always have been. There’s no one just like either of them. Each of them is unique, individual. Each of them is learning to become an adult – one moment, one breath, one action at a time.

And, now that I’ve let go of the idea that I need to direct this, I get to do something I like a lot better. I get to just be myself, and enjoy. =)

Girls Night Out, to see Phantom of the Opera with a sweetly silly person.

Have you noticed the “projectifying” of children? Have you seen the people within? Pull up a chair, enjoy your cuppa, and let’s converse!

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, A Round of Words in 80 Days 2014, Life Writing, Round 2 2014

Creativity, Exponentially: ROW80 Update, 6/22/14

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Well, hello there, and welcome to another ROW80 Sunday update!

Ever been so creatively charged that it almost feels that you are breathing your creative expression? That, even when you’re doing something else, you’re still creating, beneath the surface?

When I last reported here, I had about 6,000 words toward my JuNoWriMo total.

Things have changed, since then. In a big, happy, word filled way! And, better yet, I’ve had time for other things, too…

In other news, Wednesday will about finish out this round. I’ll make my final accounting on Sunday, with some thoughts about what I’d like to be doing until Round 3 starts on July 7. I’ll likely post something on ROW80 days over the break, because I like keeping that rhythm.

Where I often feel a lull at the end of a round, I’m definitely in a surge, just now. I’m going to keep this short, so I can get back to the storyweaving! =D

My focus for the remainder of this month:

2014 Blogging:

Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.

“Blogging Maintenance”: Post regular features; answer comments; make return visits. On target.

  • 3/3 weekly posts.

  • No comments answered Saturday; but caught up till then. I made lots of blog visits this week.

2014 Writing:

Complete the JuNoWriMo Challenge: 50,000 words on The Stars Are Fire and, if applicable, Perchance to Dream. On target, and nearly caught up to where I ought to be, at this point in the month.

  • New Words: 18,689 -yup, you read that right! =D

  • Word Count to date: 25,074/ 50,000

  • WIP Stats: Scene 48/60; 113,524/~120,000

2014 Hometending:

Continue physical and virtual hometending plans – resetting rooms, cleaning files, and inhabiting my study.

Continue family room reset: Move computer desk and pantry to new positions. On target.

  • Slow progress on clearing the porch.

2014 Lifetending:

Stretch and find new ways to blend the facets of my life with intention and awareness.

Maintenance goal: 5 salads/fruit smoothies per week. Almost...

  • 2 of each this week, thus far…4/5 attained.

Evaluate other fitness and lifetending goals. Something’s gone amiss, and I think I need some time and attention to what that is, what I want to accomplish, and what might be a better way to get there.On target.

  • I’m feeling more positive and proactive, and I’ve got the beginnings of a plan of action for Round 3.

  • I visited some dear longtime local friends I hadn’t seen in years too long! =)

Sponsor Visits:

Yes, but I’m going to beg off on the listing of these, this time…words are callin’ my name!

Other ROWers ROWing!

Posted in Life Writing, SUnday Post

Welcome to My Sunday Post for June 22, 2014 !

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Since my ROW80 updates are getting a little crowded, this seems to be an interesting way to update some things without adding to the clutter. June will be my “test month” for this feature. I’ll be evaluating and adapting, with a bit of a sandbox approach…summer’s a good time for playing in the sand! =D

Do you ever just need to get away – from routine, the expected, life-as-you-know-it?

I didn’t post here last Sunday. I was instead enjoying the last day of a lovely weekend visit with friends a state away. I swam and played water games, and sat in sun and shade on Sylvia and Jim’s deck, reading and chatting.

It was a lovely way to spend the day, and I have no regrets about not posting. Sometimes you gotta get away….

This week, I’m back. Most of my creative energy has been on a late rally for JuNoWriMo – you can see more about that further down the post (Life Stuff). Other than my “hooky” day on Sunday, I’ve kept up with my blogging, and my reading, and my writing….lotsa that. And I’ve stretched myself, too..

Anyway, here’s what’s up in my little corner of the blogosphere

Recently at shanjeniah:

ROW80 Updates:

Last year’s visit with our friends. Love the secretive smile!

 

What’s Next:

This week, I’ll be riding the creative wave of JuNoWriMo, attempting to reach 50,000 words, and the end of my WIP fantasy novel, The Stars are Fire. If I’ve still got words left to write at the end, I will pick up with my other WIP, Perchance to Dream, Star Trek: TOS/ Enterprise fanfiction novel. These two are interwoven, and my goal is to complete the drafting of both by year’s end.

A little pooltime meditation.

In the Wilds of Internet-Land:

Then I got occupied reading T’Pol/Trip fan fiction, and, well, writing….so I haven’t been browsing elsewhere on the Internet as much as I might have. I did find a few interesting things, and now comes the fun part when I get to share them!

Sweetness on a plate!

 

Life Stuff:

  • The kids and I had a lovely weekend visit with our best out-of-state friends.
  • I did something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, and went to visit the family for whom I babysat in my teens. Odd to think that the boys are now all in their 30s! I’m more like a long-lost sister, than a former babysitter, now, and that suits me fine. They’re good guys. =)
  • I got the kids’ homeschool reports finished for the quarter. Yay, me!
  • My car is finally road-worthy, and I took myself out for two workouts – one with my son, which also included a lunch date, and another on my own, after which I took myself toPanera to write.
  • And I’ve been reading T’Pol/Trip fan fiction, and writing up a storm – over 18,000 words in four days!

Want to join the Sunday Post fun?

I like to end on a high note. Laughing works!

Posted in Blogfest Entries, Life Writing, Stream of Consciousness Saturday

SoCS: I LIKE FLIKE!

 

Flike Road, two winters gone.

This post is part of Linda G.Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday meme.

The rules and this week’s prompt.

The idea is simple – write a stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt.

This week’s prompt is to write a post that involves the word “LIKE”.

I LIKE where I live. Not quite as much as I did when I was a girl, but I do LIKE it. I’ve traveled the country, lived in many places, now, even married a man from the opposite side of it, and borne a son in the middle. And yet, here I am, on the same road I grew up on….

A road with LIKE in its name.

FLIKE Road.

I LIKE FLIKE.

It makes me think of political campaigns, and those old buttons. I LIKE Ike.

Well, I LIKE FLIKE.

Busier than those decades-gone childhood years, it’s still, by and large, a rural road, often sleepy and quiet. The Holstein cows I remember have gone, to be replaced by horses, and a few (but not too many) new homes. One of them is pink and somewhat palatial; it makes me chuckle that it has a sweeping, panoramic view of the trailer park on the next road over- that seems oddly fitting, since the house sticks out so amongst its far more modest neighbors -ranch houses and farm houses, modulars, and mobile homes with additions.

There’s still corn and hay growing, and tractors passing by, and sometimes horses. There are no sidewalks, no public water or sewer (although those have come closer, in the last few years, and may someday be imposed on those who live here on FLIKE. I would not LIKE that – our well water is sweeter than chemically treated town water, and we like being responsible for our own waste.

When I was a girl, the setion of the road that bisected the Holstein farm was left unpaved, so that the cows would not hurt their hooves when brought across twice daily for milking. Driving that section in summer raised hot dry clouds of dust that softened the pungent aroma of cow manure (which still, somehow, says home to me).

Once, there was a cow lying in the middle of the road, when we attempted to drive it late at night. My father didn’t LIKE the inconvenience of having to circumvent it with a LONG country “block”, but I did.

Another time, three horses broke loose, and went carousing down the road.

Ah, memories…

My own children know a tamer, more civilized and settled version of the road, but it’s still far more natural than many, and I LIKE that they’ve had the chance to grow up on FLIKE, too….

I hope you enjoyed my SoCS offering for this week. Remember, anyone can play, so long as they are willing to followa few simple rules. See you next week, for another live-streaming look into the lovely chaos inside my head! =)

 

Do you share my fascination with what’s going on in other people’s heads?

 

More SoCS posts here!