Posted in Blogfest Entries, Just for Fun!, Life Writing, Parenting, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, Unschooling, Writing in Freedom

The Sweetness for #SoCS

This post is part of Linda G.Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday meme -an unedited stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt: ‘concentration,’  used any way we like.

Still Silly After All Twelve Years!

The Sweetness

There are so many things I could write about concentration – but I’m pretty worn out today. Why?

#notgivingyoucontext

Well, because yesterday (Friday) my daughter turned twelve, and she and I spent the day out together, doing some light shopping, eating croissants and sweet treats (a cake pop for her; a slice of pumpkin bread for me) at Starbucks, then hanging at the mall and going to see The Secret Life of Pets on a very crowded opening day. After that, we hung out eating food court pizza, then grabbed a few grocery items before finally heading home.

I can see generations of my family’s women in her young face. And a sparkly, impish nature that is all hers!

I always try to make my kids’ birthdays special, and I feel it’s important to concentrate on making them special in ways the kids want them to be. But I am not fond of shopping or hanging at the mall for myself. So I’m a bit tapped out today.

Croissant Love!

It was probably more important this time around. Next year this girl will be a teen. This is like a magical threshold year, when she transitions from, as she describes herself, my “medium kid” to a big one.

Growing up happy.

And then there are the things happening in my country, things that hurt my soul and make me wish for a magic wand that lets all people see beyond bigotry, that gives better conflict resolution, that gets right to the root of what’s wrong, so that it can be untangled and set to rights. I have words to write about that, but they need time to rise to my surface.

First time riding in the front seat beside me. =D

For now, though, I’m just going to concentrate on the sweetness in my life, because I think, somehow, that there is power in it.

With my favorite girl in the universe for the last twelve years running.

So here are my pictures, and a few words to go with them. Maybe they’ll offer you some sweetness, too.

Focus. Much as i love her smiles, she’s lovely when she’s fully engaged in a project. Here, she was making a music dub video.

Did you enjoy this dip into the Stream of Consciousness waters? Come join in – there’s plenty of room, and just a few simple rules. Check out the #SoCS hashtag, or get more SoCS!

Because why WOULDN’T you have your picture taken with a giant cat in a blue tie when it’s your birthday?!
Posted in Just for Fun!, Marketing my Writing, Novel Excerpts, Uncategorized, Writers' Resources, Writing in Freedom, Writing Samples

A Perceived Injustice: Sea Changes (Kifo Island Chronicles Volume 1) 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 Witt. 

Okay, just a quick note – this is my fourth blogpost of the day. It’s almost 10:40 pm, and I’m still running later than I want to be on more projects than I want to think about.

On the other hand, I’m not as far behind as I was this morning, and I’ve managed it without being stressed out. Went for a nice walk and sat in the yard with my two-days-to-twelve girl. Sorted some books. Listened to some Hamilton, and watched some documentaries (Making North America: Life and 9 Months That Made You.)

But there’s still a lot to tend to, so let’s dive right into the WIPpet and rejoin Donovan Nash and Ava Garcia in Sea Changes (how’s that for a bad segue? You’re welcome.)

Donovan is one of my favorite Kifo Island characters. He had a major supporting role in both of my previously drafted Kifo stories. Now, he gets his own (well, shared with Karina and Ava, but still, he’s finally the star he was always meant to be!)

The premise:

In advocating for a dying girl seeking emancipation from controlling parents, can an overburdened young woman and a lonely young man find a future together?

Note:

This passage is NaNo rough. My plan is to begin creating a revision plan beginning in August as the 24 scenes pass through my local crit group. Until then, I’m focused on new writing.

Your input is gratefully accepted, and might go a long way toward making this a better novel!

WIPpet Math:

  • Today is July 6, 2016
  • I‘ve got 12 sentences today, for my girl, plus one for luck (and because it fits.)

Ava is tired, and plans to nap in her chair while Donovan reads her medical records.

A Perceived Injustice

She ended on a huge yawn, and her eyelids dropped low, revealing long thick dark lashes. She’s going to be a beautiful woman one day soon, he thought, and then realized that, if she was right about her condition, she never would realize the promise held in her face and bearing.

That made him want to cry, but he pushed the impulse back, to save it for when he could be alone, and weep at the perceived injustice of a life taken so soon.

It was only a perceived injustice, a sense that everyone needed to grow to adulthood. Donovan knew that, in reality, people could die at any age at all – even before they were born. Fairness had little or nothing to do with who lived and who died.

“I’ve authorized you to have access to all my records, already,” Ava said, in a voice that was a thready and fatigued almost-whisper. “I figured it would be easier to revoke it if you didn’t end up taking my case- anyway, they’re all available, and there’s a terminal in the corner, if you need it.”

She sounded lucid, but was asleep within moments. Donovan watched her for a moment, marveling at how trusting she was, how willing to put her well-being and safety into the hands of a man she’d only just met. Of course, he wouldn’t have any idea how thoroughly she or her legal representatives had had him vetted unless she told him – she might know more about his work history than he even remembered. It wouldn’t be the first time.

Will Ava be comfortable with Donovan there?

What will her records reveal?

Will her nap be restorative?

Some of these questions may be answered – and others will certainly be posed- next week, so be sure to come back then to learn more of Donovan’s story.

To read Donovan’s scene in its entirety, just follow the links:

If you’re enjoying my Kifo Island posts, and would like to see the evolution of my two upcoming WIPs, The Far Shore and Tsunamis, I’ll eventually be posting an index for my Story a Day May 2016 vignettes. Until then, clicking the link will take you to the category, where you can play.

Want more WIPpets? You can find them, and even add your own date-related excerpt if you’re so inclined, by following the little blue froggy from WIPpet to WIPpet to WIPpet!

 

Posted in #8Sunday, Blogfest Entries, Just for Fun!, Marketing my Writing, Parenting, Writing in Freedom, Writing Samples

Sun and Shadow: #WeWriWa #8Sunday

 

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors’ Eight Sentence Sunday!

It’s the weekly hop for everyone who loves to write! We’ve got a variety of genres and talented writers just waiting for you to come sample their wordy wares. Come read one, or all, or pick a few like leftover holiday memories….

If you’re inclined to share your own 8-10 sentence snippet, follow the link and sign up. It’s a great community to be a part of! =D

Full disclosure: I posted this last week, but, when I went to add it to  the linky, I saw that it had already closed. It’s been a crazy week, and the next days are going to be busy and emotionally charged.  So, I’m sharing this here, and will move on from there – after next Wednesday, I’ll get a week or so of slightly less intense living before the kids and I go camping with fellow unschooling families, which is a yearly thing for us.

I haven’t been here since early last month! It wasn’t intentional; or not exactly intentional. First, there was a week where both of my children had social plans – and my son’s involved two 300 mile drives in four days. I don’t mind the driving, but it does take time and energy, and shifts the rhythms I live and write by.

And then there’s the writing. I’ve gone from April CampNaNoWriMo and Blogging from A-Z, to Story a Day May, to JuNoWriMo, and now, this year month, July CampNaNoWriMo and #WordHighJuly…

So, rather than sharing here, I’ve been writing things I might eventually share here, like this snippet from “A Splash of Red,” which I’m serializing here. This surreal fantasy story is the child of my own life and dreams, with a generous dollop of imagery and a big dash of creative license…we’re getting close to the end, now, so things that have been mysteries will maybe begin to come clear…or as clear as they will get, anyway.

More on the story after the nine-sentence snippet.

Context, such as it is…A woman is attempting to win the trust of a little girl in a red dress, while hawks wheel above. We left last week with the child’s question answered, and another asked – why did the woman used to hit her children, and yell at them? This week, finally, the woman gives an explantation.

Given the surrealism of the story, punctuation is a bit creative, so be warned!

Sun and Shadow

“Because I was a hawk, raised by hawks.”

“I am a hawk?” Hawklike, she circles, as she had before, watching me, watching the pebble in my hand.

“No,” I say, gently. “Not really. You are a dove who has to pretend she’s a hawk, to survive.”

She slows, then stops. Her hand reaches out, trembling, then retreats. Her lip quivers; her eyes are sun and shadow.

Will the girl overcome her resistance?

Is the woman’s explanation satisfactory?

Will the child be able to trust her?

Next week may bring more answers – and certainly more questions!

Previous “A Splash of Red” snippets:

Did you like what you read? “A Splash of Red” was originally published in the 2014 inaugural edition of World Unknown Review, which is edited by L.S. Engler. Since I retain all rights beyond first publication, I intend to revise the story and use it as my own initial self-publishing experiment.

That being said, I’d love any and all input and criticism you’re inclined to offer. Until then, may your week be delightful! =D

Want more #8Sunday?

Posted in #8Sunday, #RevofKindness, Challenges and Contests, Just for Fun!, Life Writing, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, Travel, Unschooling, Weekend Coffee Share

Class, Kindness, Coffee, and Hamilton: An #SoCS #RevofKindness #weekendcoffeeshare

If we were having coffee, I’d try to take a nice deep breath and relax while you’re here. But I’d have to admit that I’m feeling the press of time’s passage, today, and apologize for the fact that I’m rather scattered and rushed today.

In order to get some things done, and hopefully with some sense of relevance, I’m making this post due triple duty, or maybe even a little more than that. It’s my Stream of Consciousness Saturday post, which makes allowances for the scattered and unedited nature of this post. Today’s prompt is “class.”

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I loved school. It was there that I first learned about Alexander Hamilton – that he was a Founding Father, the first Treasury Secretary, and that he was on the ten dollar bill. I also learned that he was killed in a duel by Vice President Aaron Burr. I may have heard that Martha Washington named a tom cat after him, or maybe I heard that later.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my own children, now just shy of 12 and almost 15, had ever had a history class. They have, however, been to Philip Schuyler’s house in Schuylerville, NY, right around the corner from where their dad works. We’ve watched magical puppet shows on the same lawn where Alexander Hamilton may have walked or watched his own children play (Philip Schuyler was his father in law.) We’ve attended an Eighteenth Century Day on a summer afternoon where we watched weaving, sheep shearing, quilling, and soapmaking. My daughter tried her hand at candlemaking and stiltwalking, and my son was fascinated by medical leeches.

 

The Schuyler House at dusk, July 2010.

We have a different kind of life, as unschoolers. My children can learn about Alexander Hamilton, and the world he lived in, in many ways, even if neither has thus far been thrilled by my recent fascination with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s breathtaking musical…I hadn’t made the connection between Schuyler and Hamilton until my son stopped to read the sign as we were leaving from that puppet show.

How my kids learned about the duel…

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I value this life where learning comes not from classes, but from all the directions our lives carry us. It’s organic and unpredictable and not at all within my control. Daily, something one of my children says, or does, or creates, awes me. What they know, they know. They don’t know it to pass tests; they know it for their own reasons, and use it for their own purposes.

Leeches at the Schuyler House!

It’s very cool. This week has been busy with kid travel. My daughter had a sleepover at her best friend’s house. My son is on his first out of state trip without me, to a boys’ only birthday party. I met his friends halfway, and, before that, we stayed up all night, talking, and going for a long walk, and I was quietly amazed at this child I gave birth to, who is now an intriguing combination of almost a man and a great big goofy puppy with oversized paws and ears who just gallumphs joyfully through life.

A curvy dipped candle fail, but a cool experience nonetheless. August 2013

 

It was a long drive home, all alone. It had been a long time since I had a long drive solo – and I listened to Hamilton and enjoyed -until my new Bluetooth speaker cut out, and, without the boy who excels at the tech stuff that flabbergasts me, I ended up at a rest area, trying to work things out.

If we were having coffee, I’d mention the car I noticed next to me, with an elderly gentleman in the passenger seat, and a young man maybe in his 20s behind the wheel. It was a casual kind of noticing, because I really wanted to figure out the speaker (I did, but not until I was home again.) When the car pulled away, I was occupied, but when it pulled back in and the passenger attracted my attention, I was a little surprised.

Stiltwalker in Shadows…

He had a story of having left his wallet and cell phone at a rest area a few hours before, and being without funds, not able to find the person who could help him relocate his lost items. They said they were headed for Syracuse, and we were still considerably south of Albany.

He was willing to give me contact information if I could help him. I had only a small amount of money – perhaps ironically, a ten dollar bill with Alexander Hamilton’s portrait. I could have assumed this was a scam. It happens.

But, instead, I gave the man my ten dollars, and said it wasn’t necessary to share information or repay me. In the end, I figured that kindness trumped purpose. I don’t need to know if their story was true, or their gratitude genuine. I’ve been in dire circumstances, and there have been times when a complete stranger came to my aid.

Kinetic Still Life at the Schuyler House

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that giving the money to those two men was also an act of kindness for myself. I set aide the speaker, and popped in my Jewel CD, and sang my way home.
I’d also tell you that this post is my #weekendcoffeeshare entry, and that it’s also my Kindness Challenge Week Six post, where the theme is “Inspired by Kindness.

Given this post, it seems only fitting to share this, from last Sunday’s Tony Awards.

Posted in #8Sunday, Blogfest Entries, Just for Fun!, Life Writing, Marketing my Writing, Parenting, Writers' Resources, Writing in Freedom, Writing Samples

Slicing Through My Soul: #WeWriWa #8Sunday

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors’ Eight Sentence Sunday!

It’s the weekly hop for everyone who loves to write! We’ve got a variety of genres and talented writers just waiting for you to come sample their wordy wares. Come read one, or all, or pick a few like leftover holiday memories….

If you’re inclined to share your own 8-10 sentence snippet, follow the link and sign up. It’s a great community to be a part of! =D

It’s the weekend as I prep this post – a full week before Sunday the 12th. Yup, that’s right – I’m running EARLY!

I know; that’s a little shocking, since I’m usually the caboose on the links list. But I’ve shifted my main focus from Story a Day May to JuNoWriMo – and from exploring characters and their stories to actually, well, writing the novels these characters will inhabit, and I’m trying to get some of the smaller, slip-through-the-cracks stuff tended to before the noveling pulls me back in for another round of creation.

And so, here I am – so early it’s a little disorienting, but in a good way. I think I could even get used to this…(except that, after I wrote this, I got sick, and then it was all a scramble to get those big things done, and now it’s Friday, and I’m close to running late again, which makes me rather happy in a run-on sentence kind of way that I started this way back when!)

But now, onward…

We’ve gathered here today to explore another snippet from “A Splash of Red,” which I’m serializing. This surreal fantasy story is the child of my own life and dreams, with a generous dollop of imagery and a big dash of creative license…we’re getting close to the end, now, so things that have been mysteries will maybe begin to come clear…or as clear as they will get, anyway.

More on the story after the nine-sentence snippet.

Context, such as it is…A woman is attempting to win the trust of a little girl in a red dress, while hawks wheel above.We left last week with the child’s truncated question still unfinished.

Given the surrealism of the story, punctuation is a bit creative, so be warned!

Slicing Through My Soul

“Do you hit them? Yell at them? Call them names?”

I know that, if she’s ever to trust me, I have to give her the truth, even when it’s not pretty. “I yell, sometimes – not as much as I used to. I don’t hit them, or call names. I used to, though, before I learned how not to.”

“Why?” Her voice is an accusing cry, more fearsome than the hawk’s, slicing through my soul.

How will the woman answer?

Will she answer at all?

Will the child be able to trust her?

Next week may bring answers – and certainly more questions!

Previous “A Splash of Red” snippets:

Did you like what you read? “A Splash of Red” was originally published in the 2014 inaugural edition of World Unknown Review, which is edited by L.S. Engler. Since I retain all rights beyond first publication, I intend to revise the story and use it as my own initial self-publishing experiment.

That being said, I’d love any and all input and criticism you’re inclined to offer. Until then, may your week be delightful! =D

And in tangentially related news, I’m honored to be May’s Featured Writer for the 2015 edition of World Unknown Review! Here’s my story, “Monday Morning Coffee” at L.S. Engler, available free for a limited time. You can also read my interview with L.S. 

Want more #8Sunday?

Posted in Blogfest Entries, Challenges and Contests, Just for Fun!, Life Writing, Marketing my Writing, Novel Excerpts, WIPpet Wednesday, Writers' Resources, Writing in Freedom, Writing Samples

“Without Tethers and Poisons”: Sea Changes (Kifo Island Chronicles Volume 1) 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 Witt.

I made it to everyone last week! Before the weekend was over, even!

It helps that I’m settling into my new June focuses, and finding something of a rhythm. Yup, it’s the rhythm of Paul Simon’s new album, Stranger to Stranger. It varies, with driving beats, lyrical grace, short and longer tracks – there’s a certain amount of lovely chaos in it that suits me perfectly – and it’s Paul Simon, my all-time favorite singer/songwriter, so there’s that.

Anyway, I think I’ve got the hang of this transition from Story a Day May to JuNoWriMo and noveling. I’m finding a pace, moving between projects, and I can finally see my way to finishing the rough draft of A Rising Tide and the plotting of the next project on my summer schedule, The Far Shore.

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself, here…

Because now it’s time to rejoin Donovan Nash and Ava Garcia in Sea Changes.

Donovan is one of my favorite Kifo Island characters. He had a major supporting role in both of my previously drafted Kifo stories. Now, he gets his own (well, shared with Karina and Ava, but still, he’s finally the star he was always meant to be!)

For those new to this story, here’s the premise:

In advocating for a dying girl seeking emancipation from controlling parents, can an overburdened young woman and a lonely young man find a future together?

Note:

This passage is NaNo rough. My plan is to begin creating a revision plan within the next few months, when all 24 scenes have passed through my local crit group. Of course, that means I’ll have to do the rough revision pass on this one, so I can, you know, SUBMIT it….)

That said, any input is gratefully accepted!

WIPpet Math:

  • Today is June 8, 2016
  • I‘ve got 11 sentences today. Why 11? Well, because I had the wrong date, and 11 sentences brings us to a very nice stopping place (from my perspective, but maybe not yours…) Or, we could say that it’s because I added the 8 and 6 from the day and year to get 14, then subtracted the 2 and the 1 from the year, leaving us with -presto! – 11 sentences. Wouldn’t be true, but we can still say it, right? =)

Donovan and Ava are exploring a possible working relationship. Donovan has asked Ava what she wants and needs.

“Without Tethers and Poisons”

“I want to live. I want not to have leukemia – but those are wishes no one can grant, not even that fairy godmother in all those ridiculous princess stories my mother read to me whether I wanted to hear them or not. What I want most is to live and die somewhere beautiful. Somewhere without tethers and poisons. Somewhere where walls and elevators and hospital policy don’t separate my from the rest of the world, ‘for my own good.’ Somewhere just like here, where someone like you might be my friend, and occasionally even hug me.”

Her eyes were still wet with tears, but, for the second time today, Donovan encountered a stranger who met his eyes without fear or surprise or revulsion. He thought he loved her for that, and it decided him.

“Whatever happens, Ava, I’m in this with you. I don’t need to hear anything more, but I will need access to your medical history, if I’m going to be the best support person I can be – “

“It may take longer to read it than I have left to live,” the girl said, and she sagged back against her chair as though in mute testament to the living of those records.

Will Donovan be able to help Ava reach her goals?

Should she have the right to refuse further treatment?

What will Ava’s medical records reveal about her status?

Some of these questions may be answered – and others will certainly be posed- next week, so be sure to come back then to learn more of Donovan’s story.

To catch up with Donovan’s scene, just follow the links:

And now, a friendly reminder:


If you’re enjoying my Kifo Island posts, and would like to see the evolution of two upcoming novels, The Far Shore and Tsunamis, I’ll soon be posting an index for my Story a Day May 2016 vignettes (OK, maybe soon is a relative term. Maybe we should go with ‘eventually’ instead….

Want more WIPpets?

You can find them, and add your own date-related excerpt, by following the little blue froggy from WIPpet to WIPpet to WIPpet!

 

 

Posted in #RevofKindness, Blogfest Entries, Challenges and Contests, Just for Fun!, Life Writing, Parenting, Weekend Coffee Share, Writing in Freedom

Taco Bell Kindness: #RevofKindness and #weekendcoffeeshare

If we were having coffee… 

  • I’d open the door wide for you, and excuse myself if I sneezed. I’d apologize for my sniffliness. Today is intermittently rainy, but yesterday and the days before – they were dry, and the pollen count was very high, as evidenced by the coating of yellow my forest-green Subaru was wearing even. I never used to have a problem with local pollen, but moving around the country and then returning seem to have made me sensitive. I’m suffering, but feeling better after an allergy pill, and the rain is helping. I’m not exactly at my best, and I’ll do you the kindness of not getting so close I run the risk of sneezing on you or your drink.

If we were having coffee…

  • I’d want to talk with you about kindness. Is that something you spend lots of time thinking about? I do. You see, I want to be kind. I want to raise kind children. I wish, often, that I was kinder than I am, while at the same time, I know I’m far kinder today than I once even a year or two ago. Kindness is a skill, and a type of mindfulness. It’s hard, if not impossible, to be kind if I’m not paying enough attention to myself and the world and people around me to have some idea of what kindness is, for them.
  • And that’s important to me. I was raised by a mother who often quoted the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

If we were having coffee…

  • I’d tell you that I’m not very fond of the Golden Rule. I know that’s not a popular opinion, but I have my reasons.
  • Treating others the way I want to be treated assumes everyone wants to be treated the same way I do. There’s a certain mindlessness in that. We’re all different. We all have our preferences, dislikes, idiosyncrasies, and personal histories. For instance, my abusive childhood makes me very sensitive to body language cues that often precipitated parental attacks. When I encounter these as innocent gestures from others who’ve never hurt or threatened me, I go on alert. But I know that others don’t feel that way. I also love hugs, but have a close friend who doesn’t enjoy them, and so I choose to “hug” her by NOT hugging her.

If we were having coffee…

  • I’d tell you that I strive to treat others as THEY want to be treated. Respect and dignity are pretty universal, for everyone – which means that you won’t see me scooping up a baby just learning to walk, or demanding that my children hug someone if they’d prefer not to, or treating everything any adult might have to say as inherently more valuable than anything any child might have to say.

If we were having coffee…

  • I’d tell you I changed my plans this week to accommodate my childrens’ desires and my own, and that I was realistic about what I was willing to do and when I was willing to do it. My son wanted to go to Taco Bell, but advanced the idea just before rush hour on a Thursday afternoon. We happen to live in a rural area ten miles from the nearest Taco Bell, which is in the heart of an area known for its congestion, and I was in the midst of several projects.
  • My teen isn’t old enough to drive. If I’d refused him, or agreed and been stressed by the traffic snarls, I might have taken it out on my kids, other drivers, or the employees at the restaurant. Instead, I suggested that, if he was willing to go earlier in the day on Friday, we could swim first, then get lunch. I also decided to stop at Panera, which has a summer salad I love.
  • It might seem like I was putting him off, and, in a sense, I was. But it wasn’t done in an evasive way. I had valid reasons for wanting to wait, and I added value by including the swim. When my daughter wanted bakery treats at Panera, I readily agreed. And I was able to set aside my work, because I knew the outing was coming, and that the kids would sleep post-swim, giving me the time to focus wholly on it.
  • I think it’s better, and far kinder, to negotiate, as much as possible, a solution that works for everyone. Many people never learn conflict resolution skills. To me, that’s a vitally important part of helping my children learn the art of kindness – seeing others’ desires as valid, and looking for a solution that works for all involves.

If we were having coffee…

  • I’d say that it’s getting late, and I see you getting antsy. I’ll walk you to the door, and mention that this post is a combination #RevofKindness and #weekendcoffeeshare entry. Click the links for more great posts!