Posted in #atozchallenge, Blog Hops and Fests, Blogging from A toZ April Challenge, Blogging from A-Z April 2018, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, My Poetry, poetry, slices of life, SoCS, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, Weekly Features, writing prompts, Writing Sample

Marriage Metamorphized with Metastasis: #SoCS and #atozchallenge Day 13

Anywhere in Sickness

Monsters in the closet and under the bed

Monsters can lurk almost anywhere

Anywhere we imagine them with our fears

Anywhere in the body where they can grow rampant

Rampant cells divide and multiply and divide again

Rampant growth consuming what was healthy and strong

Strong as his body and strong as our mature love

Love that slew every monster that came

Love that wrapped us in armor of everyday magic

Magic that put wonder into simple things

Magic we counted on in our darkest days

Days with little money and worries to spare

Days when rainbows and birdsong filled our lives

Lives shared with happiness and sometimes frustration

Lives made richer when we two became one

One home one bed one path tread by four feet

One purpose in the life we shared

Shared coffee and meals and arguments and joys

Shared a little more than two decades

Decades more we thought we’d have

Decades to grow even and ever more

More life and more business to attend to

More tears to shed and living to do

Do the things needed to raise our kids well

Do what we needed to embrace our own dreams

Dreams postponed while the kids were small

Dreams that were taking on more concrete shape

Shape of a future we never will live

Shape of a tumor-monster that killed

Killed my husband of twenty years

Killed my children’s loving silly dad

Dad and husband strong and solid

Dad snuffed out by that greedy cancer

Cancer ever hungry could never get enough

Cancer swelled and sucked away energy

Energy and strength all given to the monster

Energy gone and marriage metamorphized

Metamorphized as the cancer metastasized

Metastasized from pancreas to liver

Metastasized with deadly speed

Speed of the change from being his partner

Speed of the change to become caretaker

Caretaker a job that I never expected

Caretaker a function I served as my honor

Honor the vow I took twenty long years ago

Honor the vow of in health and in sickness

Sickness that made of him a man in grave need

Sickness tended my final wifely service

Service

Need

 

I actually wrote this poem early in the day, but then had plans that kept me away most of the rest of the day. Now, though I’m feeling so tired it’s hard to type, I’m here, because I’ve made it before midnight all week, and don’t want to blow the streak…

Marriage changes when a spouse is terminally ill. The growing infirmity shifts the partnership relationship to one of caretaker and tended. When the disease progresses as swiftly as Jim’s did, the changes can come at a truly dizzying pace.

It was exhausting, often frustrating, and consumed my time much like caring for a newborn in reverse. It became, in the last couple of weeks, almost impossible to know how my days would pass. Things we’d thought, in the beginning, we’d be able to see to together, became things I’m still dealing with three months after his death.

There were times I sobbed in sheer hopelessness at all the things that needed my attention, and the grinding fatigue as they piled up, no matter how much effort I expended…I was also angry with him, sometimes, for the things he might have done when he was well, but didn’t, even when I asked.

Maybe it was a form of grieving, and of dealing with the monster growing unchecked in my beloved’s vital organs.

But, through it all, I was honored to be able to do this for him, however imperfectly. I knew it was the last service I could do for him directly, and, after all, I didn’t promise to just be with him when things were good and he could do for himself…but in sickness, as well as health, to death did us part.

This post does double-duty for this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday post, where the prompt is “mon” as a word or part of one. You can find more SoCS posts here.

And come on back Monday, when we experience No More of So Much….

Looking for more M posts?

The journey of a marriage, in one poignant song. I’ve loved it for years, but now it has new meaning…

Posted in April CampNaNoWriMo 2018, CampNaNoWriMo, Just for Fun!, Novel Excerpts, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, Weekly Features, writing, writing prompts, Writing Sample

The Key to Freedom: #SoCS and #CampNaNoWriMo

 

Passive-aggressive behavior was something Serrah felt she’d elevated to an art form – but Donovan Nash didn’t leave her any openings to use her craft.  He just offered her options, without seeming to have any stake at all in how she used them.

While it appealed to her, the way he was, and the peace he seemed to feel, it was also frightening. What would it be like, to have that kind of freedom? To not be trying to find any little way she could to get out from under the iron-willed control Mom and Dad held over her? To stand braced on her own two feet, the way he was standing, and hold herself tall beneath the ocean sky?

Was she strong enough?

That was a question she’d avoided asking herself. It was easy, back home – other than the crazy risk she’d taken in running away and coming here to find out about the dead baby who belonged to her hostage heart, she’d never really had the chance to find out whether she was strong enough to make a choice for herself.

She’d thought she was trapped; but now, Serrah thought maybe there was a strange kind of freedom in it. With Mom and Dad making all the decisions, all she’d really had to do was decide if she was going to go along quietly, or complain to herself and find tiny, inconsequential ways to rebel. Or, as was more often the case, just dream of rebelling.

She’d been wasting her life, and she’d told herself it was Mom and Dad’s fault.

But it was her life, and there was a lot she could have been doing that she hadn’t, until she came here.

Now, she was responsible for herself, and for her own decisions, and that was a trap she’d never seen coming – because Serrah Eleanor Reed, whose middle name was for a woman who hadn’t waited around for permission to do things, even though she lived in a time when women weren’t allowed to do nearly what men could, had almost no practice in the art of living.

“Will you show me, Donovan?” Suddenly, learning tai chi seemed to be the key to freedom and power in her own life.

“All right. The first thing you’ll need to know is how to set your stance. This first one is called the bow stance.” He stepped out with his right leg, and turned his left foot out at an angle. “Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, and your tailbone should be tucked. If you can imagine a string connecting the top of your head to the sky, your posture will be better.”

**

The above was a snippet from the rough draft of Still Nameless, a Kifo Island Chronicles novel I’m working on for this month’s April CampNaNoWriMo.

It’s also my entry into this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday blog hop, where the prompt is “passive/aggressive”, with bonus points for beginning the passage with one of those words.

Learn more about CampNaNoWriMo here.

Find other SOCS posts here.

 

Posted in Blogging from A toZ April Challenge, Blogging from A-Z April 2018, CampNaNoWriMo, Challenges and Contests, JuNoWriMo, Life Writing, Parenting, slices of life, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, Weekly Features, writing

“I’ve Got a Lot of Work to Do”

So says Trip Tucker, from Star Trek: Enterprise.

I can relate.

Everything I want to get done is all bunched up together. It’s been that way for me for months now – first it was my seemingly ever-increasing role in Jim’s nascent hot-sauce business while attempting, at the same time, to move my own writing career to the next logical level. Then it was Jim’s illness, and attempting to care for him as his condition deteriorated while at the same time preparing the kids and I for a life without him.

Time bunches together; it seems nearly impossible that the entire process of dying was encompassed in a day less than two months – leaving my head spinning, with a bunch of what I’d intended to accomplish still left undone as those last weeks brought a rapid, crashing decline that began with the literal crash of Jim’s body hitting the dining room floor when he could no longer reliably locomote.

And then he was gone – and it was like the bunches of undone tasks were breeding like tribbles – a new litter every few hours, and no concerns whatever for things like inbreeding…

I feel like I’ve been scrambling for a long time, trying to find the right blend that lets me address all the things left undone when Jim died – like that life insurance policy I never found, so had to do an end run by finding the withdrawal on our bank statement and going from there – and those things that move our family life, each of the kids’ growth, and my own professional and personal development further…

I’m still scrambling.

But the life insurance claim has finally been submitted, two and a half months after Jim’s death. Last night, I filed our income taxes. I’ve helped the kids connect with their far-flung friends, and there are more plans. As spring blooms, I’m cleaning, decluttering, and planning for some desperately needed home improvements. Jim was going to do these – but that didn’t happen, so I need new plans.

Planning my goals for the next quarter is among the bunch of things I still want to finish before a new month dawns at midnight (not literally – literal dawn will take another few hours).

And when that dawn comes…

I’ll be embarking on two new writing challenges, and the first of four months of intensive writing pursuits:

I’m far less prepared for this than I normally an. For my April project, I’m working on finishing a novel I began last April. I’m not quite halfway in rereading, as I type this, and I haven’t even glanced at my outline. I’m hoping to do both before midnight – but I have to accept that I might have to choose between winging it, or waiting to start writing till I’ve caught up…

I only have a rough idea where I want the A-Z posts to go, when I prefer to write them ahead of time, revise, and schedule all before April starts.

And, in the midst of all this, I still have two major and one minor writing course I’m in the middle of…

Yup…

It’s a bunch.

It could be stressful if I chose to be stressed.

Instead, I’m trying for a different approach. Rather than trying to force myself to do everything perfectly and to completion, I’m going to see it as more experimental. Can I begin from where I am, and move forward without indulging in insane amounts of stress? Can I focus on growth, passion, and the joy of creation? Can I find the balance point between all the many aspects of a transitioning life, and ride it like a wave, or will I end up choking on a bunch of sea foam?

Only time will tell….

This bunch of words is my entry for Stream of Consciousness Saturday, where this week’s prompt is “bun,” used however we wish. Wade in yourself – the water’s fine!

Posted in Enterprise fan fiction, Fan fiction, Just for Fun!, Uncategorized, Weekly Features, WIPpet Wednesday, writing, Writing in Freedom, Writing Sample

A Little Higher  for WIPpet Wednesday

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date.We’re led by the capable fingers and nimble mind of Emily Wrayburn.


Hello there, fellow WIPpeteers – and, to those just along for the ride – welcome! Hop in, get comfy…but don’t leave popcorn in the center seat!

Two weeks in a row – yay, me!

I feel like things are starting to settle into something like a rhythm…not quite a routine, which is fine, because I’m not the kind of person who enjoys having each day play out the same. But we are getting to a point where there’s a normalcy about being a family of three and not four; where Jim’s absence, though still acute, isn’t quite as raw. I’m not feeling as though I’m fumbling and stumbling along nearly as often…and, once or twice, I’ve even felt as though I’ve got something that approaches a handle on things.

Which doesn’t mean that there isn’t still a tremendous amount to learn and do…only that I’m starting to feel like, eventually, I’ll crest that mountain and be able to scan the horizons that await us…

On to the WIPpeting!

It’s time for another installment of my TnT fan fiction story, adapted from Humanity’s Enterprise. It’s a patchwork of sorts, written in different styles, at different times, and for different projects. I’m slowly figuring out how to pull them all together into a coherent whole that explores just how and why T’Pol was the one Vulcan chosen to accompany Enterprise NX-01 on her maiden voyage.

I’ve decided to use this story, once revision gets to a point I’m comfortable with, as my initiation into Wattpad. So please don’t hesitate to let me know if something’s not working for you – it will make a better story in the long run!

Recap: 

Trip Tucker has something he needs to say to Enterprise’s brand-new Vulcan Science Officer, but she’s not exactly making it easy when she says she doesn’t expect any better of a human.  We pick up immediately after my last TnT post, A Vulcan Question Mark,

Here’s the standard disclaimer. I don’t own them; I don’t make money from them; I just love them, and I tell the stories they give me as well as I can.

WIPpet Math:

  • Today is March 21, 2018. I added the two digits of the date to offer 3 short paragraphs.

 “What the hell’s that supposed to mean?”

The words burst out before he could catch them. Her eyebrow slanted up a little higher, and she regarded him coolly. There wasn’t any need at all for her to say even a single syllable in response.

Trip could see it in her eyes. He’d just proven her point.

What point did Trip prove?

Can he recover from this?

Will T’Pol accept Trip’s apology?

Any guesses?

If you enjoyed this snippet, and want something more before next Wednesday, you can pop over to my fanfiction.net page.

And, as always, clicking the little blue froggy above will carry you on to other WIPpet offerings from our talented and diverse group of writerly folks. You can even add your own date-related excerpt if you’re so inclined!

 

Posted in Blog Hops and Fests, Enterprise fan fiction, Fan fiction, Just for Fun!, Star Trek: Enterprise, Weekly Features, WIPpet Wednesday, writing, Writing in Freedom, Writing Sample

A Vulcan Question Mark  for WIPpet Wednesday

 

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date.We’re led by the capable fingers and nimble mind of Emily Wrayburn.


Hello there, fellow WIPpeteers – and, to those just along for the ride – welcome! Hop in, get comfy…but don’t leave popcorn in the center seat!

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve managed a WIPpet post. There’s so much that needs to happen after the death of a spouse, and I sometimes get pulled away by those realities. I thought  it had only been a week since I posted, but clearly that’s not the case.

But I’m here now, for Pi Day, so let’s get on with it, shall we?

It’s time for another installment of my TnT fan fiction story, adapted from Humanity’s Enterprise. It’s a patchwork of sorts, written in different styles, at different times, and for different projects. I’m slowly figuring out how to pull them all together into a coherent whole that explores just how and why T’Pol was the one Vulcan chosen to accompany Enterprise NX-01 on her maiden voyage.

I’ve decided to use this story, once revision gets to a point I’m comfortable with, as my initiation into Wattpad. So please don’t hesitate to let me know if something’s not working for you – it will make a better story in the long run!

Recap

Trip Tucker has something he needs to say to Enterprise’s brand-new Vulcan Science Officer.  We pick up immediately after my last TnT post, Uhh…Listen, switching to Trip’s POV.

Here’s the standard disclaimer. I don’t own them; I don’t make money from them; I just love them, and I tell the stories they give me as well as I can.

WIPpet Math:

  • Today is March 14, 2018…Pi Day.
  • Pi is an irrational number. Therefore, I made no count of paragraphs, lines, words, or anything else…I just wrote till I was ready to stop.

She stared straight at him, and there was something in the directness that reminded him of the way she’d looked when she first walked into Fusion – like someone totally out of her element and lost, but either afraid or unwilling to admit it.

And he was the only person she came close to knowing here – except Jon, and it sure as hell didn’t seem like he was going to be even a tiny bit receptive to any problems she might be having.

Hoshi was right. He was an ass of the highest order, and for what? Because she hadn’t wanted to shake his hand?

Get over yourself, Tucker. She needs a friend, and you’re the closest thing she’s got. So put your libido and ego away, and act like a Starfleet officer.

“I’m listening, Commander. However, I have a great deal of work to do, if you have nothing further to say.” She didn’t move, or shift her eyes, but some tiny muscles in her face moved a fraction, giving him the impression she was impatient.

“I shouldn’t have lashed out at you like that.”

“’Lashed out?’” One of her lovely, delicate brows went up a bit, and her head tipped slightly. A Vulcan question mark, maybe?

Trip thought fast, trying to put what he’d done in terms she might understand. “I let my emotions dictate my response. I shouldn’t have done that.”

“You are human. I expect nothing else, Commander Tucker.”

What does T’Pol mean by her comment?

How will Trip take it?

Is this the end of Trip’s apology?

Any guesses?

If you enjoyed this snippet, and want something more before next Wednesday, you can pop over to my fanfiction.net page.

 

And, as always, clicking the little blue froggy above will carry you on to other WIPpet offerings from our talented and diverse group of writerly folks. You can even add your own date-related excerpt if you’re so inclined!

 

Posted in Blog Hops and Fests, Life Writing, slices of life, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, Weekly Features, writing prompts, Writing Sample

So Far for #SoCS: Stream of Consciousness…Sunday?

So far….

So far, it’s been not quite two months since Jim died.

So far, the kids and I are all right.

So far, I still don’t know how I’m going to get the roof, ceilings, and floors repaired.

So far, I haven’t quite managed to file the life insurance claim.

So far, I’ve done a little cooking, but not as much as I would like.

So far, there’s far more to be done than there is me to do it.

So far, I’ve started reclaiming my bedroom, but I’m still not quite in the habit of using my new workstation with the dual monitors, because I have such a long history of sitting on my bed with my laptop – which is just what I’m doing right now.

So far, I still haven’t quite wrapped my head around the reality of Jim’s death.

So far, I’m keeping things mostly together, even if the garbage didn’t get picked up last week because I didn’t get that bill paid in time.

So far, we’re making plans a few months ahead, and dreaming a bit further.

So far…to go, and so far from where we were a year ago, when we couldn’t see any of this coming, when Jim and I thought we’d grow old together, in some time that was still so far away.

**

This Stream of Consciousness Saturday post was brought to you by the prompt “so far.” Check out other posts, or submit your own!

I miss this face…and the man it belonged to.
Posted in #weekendcoffeeshare, Life Writing, Parenting, slices of life, SoCS, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, Weekend Coffee Share, Weekly Features

Portals and Perspectives for #SoCS and #WeekendCoffeeShare

 

This week, I walked through many doors. Some, I walk through every day, or nearly so – doorways into the rooms of my home, and into the house proper. In nearly every one of those spaces, I’ve seen things I want to do – projects that have been waiting, and new ones just conceived. But I also see things I have already done – progress made.

Progress is important to me, just now – more so than it once was. Each project conceived and carried through to completion represents a step along the transitional journey from wife to widow…from being half of the homeowning team to the one who makes the choices.

There’s sorrow in some of these changes, and, paradoxically, there’s also liberation and joy. That feels strange; I was not a prisoner in my marriage, and my husband wasn’t the domineering or controlling type. But he was himself, set in his cluttered, comfortable-for-him-but-not-always-for-me ways, and, in the name of family harmony, I accepted more than I wanted.

Moving through these doors, and occupying these spaces in a new and more active way, is part of my becoming something more than I’ve been, and reclaiming my home, my spaces, my present, and my future – for myself, and for the kids…but, in so many ways, more for me, because my teens will be growing into their own adult lives, and will eventually be moving on into places and spaces of their own.

I haven’t walked through the refrigerator door, but I’ve opened it to new possibilities. It’s been many years since I’ve made anything close to a regular practice of cooking. I married a chef, after all. Now, though, there are Plated meal kits in the fridge, a gift from some wonderful writing friends, and I am exploring new techniques, flavor palettes, and working the preparations into my life.

This week, I’ve been in and out of car doors. There was a trip for groceries, and another with the kids to a local restaurant, where we honored Jim’s birthday by taking his motto to heart and eating dessert first. Jeremiah and I also went to Best Buy, where I picked up my long-needed new printer, a far more usable keyboard for my desktop computer, and some items he needs to indulge his new interest in creating live stream videos. I also priced what I hope may be my next phone – I want to upgrade and pass my current one on to Miah, who will likely have his license by the end of spring, and whose current phone is old enough to be all but obsolete. I want him to have something more reliable when he’s alone behind the wheel.

Through my television, I’ve entered many other doors. Doors into other people’s homes; I’ve been watching a lot of home improvement programming – This Old House, Fixer-Upper, and lots of flip shows. I’m not contemplating a career change, but I wasn’t the handy spouse, and I have a great many things I need to learn to maintain my home, and improve it. In that, there will be a new independence and sense of ownership. As I watch, I’m seeing new possibilities, as I see our spaces in new ways. I decided I want to redo the front walkway – it’s not attractive or as useful as it could be, and it’s where it is because it was there when we moved here 16 years ago this month. I’m seeing the potential for more workable changes, and starting to believe that I can enact them.

There’s one last doorway I’ve been passing through – the one that leads to my passion for writing. I was reminded of King of Shreds and Patches, a 535 page Star Trek/Star Trek: Enterprise crossover fan fiction novel I drafted a few years back.  The story is still in rough draft form, but it’s better than I remembered, and I got that wonderful, “Wow! Did I really write this?!” feeling in many places. I’m excited to get to the point where I can revise it and offer it up to people who will enjoy it.

That’s a lot of doors for one week – now, it’s your turn! W

What doors have you passed through, or passed by, this week? What did the doors you entered add to your life?