Posted in Blogfest Entries, Just Jot it January, Life Writing, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, Weekend Coffee Share, Writing in Freedom

Raise a Glass to Freedom: #SoCS, #weekendcoffeeshare, and #JusJoJan Day Twenty-One

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’m not exactly sure why I chose that title up there. It could be as simple as the fact that Hamilton lyrics have been my constant if variable earworms since last spring, and this is the one that’s been running through my head since I first read the Just Jot It January and Stream of Consciousness Saturday  prompt for today, “glass.” Linda assured us we could use the word as we see fit, or even use an object made of glass as our theme.

But I keep hearing Lin-Manuel Miranda’s plaintive, dubious little “Raise a glass to freedom,” right before he famously throws away his shot, and the mood feels – right.

So does this little post I wrote a year or so back, and titled “Schrodinger’s Glass”  – you know, the one that’s always either half-full, or half-empty, depending on how you look at it, or your nature, or your current mood…because, really, it’s both.

I’m thinking I may not be making much sense, but that’s also kind of how I feel, right now, so maybe it fits. I’m a bit like shards of broken glass, and a bit like fine glasswork that steals breath away even as it inspires. I’m aware of the dangers of sharp-edged, jagged fragments, and yet I’m filled nearly to overflowing with the beauty and potential I see, the grace that moves through everything.

Once, I wrote a story where one character destroys a handmade water service gifted to another character. It was a thing of irreplaceable beauty – the maker had learned, practiced, and developed her skill in the art to honor the recipient and his family. The owner of the service carefully gathers up every shard, although they slice his fingers, and carries them a great distance, as treasured items. Later, he fashions them into a symbolic piece of art that gives them a new and deeper meaning.

I feel like that – like that’s maybe where we are, as a nation.

It’s possible that some don’t know it yet. It’s possible that the crashing and shattering happening now is music to some people’s ears, the dream they’ve held dearest to their hearts.

But for many, it’s the kind of shattering that sets you back, makes you re-evaluate…

I’ve been doing that, quietly, for over a year, now. Threads of different things braiding or weaving together, fraying, coming together again in a new form – and yes, I know I’m mixing metaphors here, but, somehow, that, too, seems appropriate.

I’m becoming something different- evolving. In Sequoia National Park, so long ago that I wasn’t yet anybody’s mother who wasn’t feline, my Accomplice and I learned that the seeds of the giant trees need fire to germinate properly. There’s a scientific name for this, but that’s not as important, to me, right now, as that truth – the magnificent sequoia, which holds such majesty and tenacity as it stretches to the sky on a widely-flung, shallow collection of roots, springs from the destruction of its landscape. Only in the charred aftermath is it set free to fulfill its magnificent destiny, in the company of its scarred and surviving parents, who have the ability to withstand the flames.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that this is how I feel, today…like there’s been a shattering, a scorching, a fraying – but that it hasn’t destroyed me, or the light of grace and mercy and simple, loving kindness in the world. I’m scarred, but still, I stretch, and soar, and grow…and I know that I’m not alone.

We are a strong forest, together. Will you grow with me, and find the beauty that comes after the flames?

Before you go, I will ask you if you have a story you want to share, or words of wisdom? Gouts of flame, torrents of sorrow, jolts of fear? Hope and a way forward that will embrace us all?

I’d love to hear from you. We’re all strongest when we have a voice, and use it to speak our truth. Please come back anytime you need to use yours, and, in the meantime, visit Diana at Part Time Monster Blog, and find some other places you can enjoy the #weekendcoffeeshare

Posted in Enterprise fan fiction, Flash Fiction Pieces, Just for Fun!, Just Jot it January, Life Writing, Writing in Freedom, Writing Samples

“Cause for Concern”: #JusJoJan Day Twenty

Welcome to Day Twenty of Just Jot It January, where the prompt is: “transcendent,” used any way we wish. Today, I offer you yet another peek into my fan fiction playground, with the fourth and final installment of my A Beagle’s Bedside Manner  sequel story. Follow the links below to read previous installments.

And, as always, standard disclaimer applies. I write these stories for love, not profit. I don’t own the characters or their world. It’s not my fault that they keep whispering stories in my head, and that they demand I write them, is it?

She Belonged Here


Trip spun away again, toward the door.

Please don’t go.” It was a thick, hoarse whisper; that voice she used when she felt more than she could keep inside.

When she was breaking.

That spun him round fast, but not fast enough, apparently, because T’Pol was huddled on the biobed, her knees up to her chin, hugging herself, and new tears streaked her pale face. Her eyes were focused down and away again; she needed privacy –

And she needed him.

What will Trip do next?
Will it be enough?

To read the rest of the chapter, click here, or the icon below!

31212453923_336a438b08_c


Posted in Blogfest Entries, Just for Fun!, Just Jot it January, Life Writing, Writing in Freedom

A Dirty Mind…:#1LinerWeds and #JusJoJan Day 18

Welcome to Day Eighteen of Just Jot It January, where the prompt is…well, I’ll just show you, OK?

Which made me think of this line from high school:

“A dirty mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

My twelve-and-a-half year old might agree. These last couple of months, she’s developed a cutthroat sense of timing and delivery of the line, “That’s what she said!”

This has been my (almost) One-Liner Wednesday post, too!

Posted in Blogfest Entries, Blogfest Entries, Just Jot it January, Life Writing, Mindful Monday, Parenting, Writing in Freedom

I Am Penetrable: #mindfulmonday and #JusJoJan Day 16

Welcome to Day Sixteen of Just Jot It January, where the prompt is: “impenetrable,”  used any way we wish. Today, I offer you a rare peek into my journal, where I mused on impenetrability and its opposite.

This is also a Mindful Monday post, particularly since I journal after meditating.

As I was jotting down ideas for what I want to be impenetrable in the world/in my reality, the word broke up in my head, and I heard it as “I’m Penetrable.”

And I am – or, at least, I’m far more so than I once was.

The ever-present sense of impending danger I lived with, growing up in an emotionally volatile home forced me to take survival measures – and one of them was building armor over my emotional sensitivity.

You see, every time I didn’t, my mother, father, sister, or brothers would find the open and vulnerable place, and attack it.

My childhood was emotionally bloody, and I only survived by building an imperfectly impenetrable fortress around myself and my feelings.

I used words, and stories, and imagery. The greatest part of my intelligence was turned to this purpose.

Later, I would find a kindred spirit in a half-Vulcan character named Spock – a make-believe man whose very “existence” demanded emotional barriers.

At seventeen, this was one of my favorite songs:

I entered adulthood still an emotional infants who had been raised and damaged by emotional infants. Not everyone who wears the body of a grown up has lived in conditions that nurture emotional growth.

My parents didn’t. And, so, neither did I.

I might have never even realized that…but life gradually found its way into the cracks in my armor.

College helped some, even though it was a small New England school and I didn’t stay long.

Love wielded powerful weapons. Sometimes they injured, but, at others, they healed. It might seem strange to many that the death of my fiance was healing to me, or that the death of our second son was.

But they were.

In both cases, I gave of myself – well, selflessly. Cystic fibrosis demands a great deal of time and energy to treat. A newborn with a devastating brain injury does, too.

I couldn’t give that level of myself and not be broken open.

The losses were devastating, but the gifts…they were priceless. My life is immeasurably richer because these two souls passed through it, and because I opened myself to them.

Because I loved Tim, I’m a better wife to Jim. Nineteen years into our marriage, I’m still learning how to be a better one, and still open to that learning.

Because of Elijah….

Well, because of Elijah, I have kids who look like this, most of the time:

No sisters were harmed in the taking of this photograph! =)
No sisters were harmed in the taking of this photograph! =)

It could easily have been different. I started off as a very different parent – but the death of a baby is so profound a loss that there was no way to keep being who I’d been – nor to keep believing that the lives of his siblings – of all of us – aren’t as fragile.

Death comes for us all, and so the changes we make, we have to make while we’re here, and alive.

And so, I’ve learned a new way of living, and being. I’m opening up to you – and I don’t even know which of “you” will read this.

I’m vulnerable and open.

I’m penetrable.

And there’s a beautiful kind of strength in that.

Posted in Blogfest Entries, Just Jot it January, Life Writing, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, Writers' Resources

The Odds and Evens of Blog Comments for #JusJoJan Day 23 and #SoCS

Welcome to Day Twenty-Three of Just Jot it January,  where, for a month – well, we jot. Whatever. However. Wherever. Whyever. It’s graciously hosted by Linda G.Hill.

Today’s prompt,odd/even”,comes to us courtesy of Linda, and is also the prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday.

I’ve tried to dampen down my natural oddness at various times in my life; even so, people call me weird. Now, I just let my unique freak flag fly!

OK, that was fun to write, but really not what I want to talk about…

I’ve got something of an odd problem-that-isn’t-exactly-a-problem.

Comments are piling up around here like the snowdrifts we don’t have outside today, and I’m finding it all but impossible to get to them.

There’s more snow outside that August ice rink than we have had all winter!

Oh, I want to! One of the biggest reasons I post here is to engage in connection and conversation with others…but, as the old saying goes, be careful what you wish for…even, apparently, when what you wish for is blog interaction.

I love reading your comments. I want to answer you – and I want to bring in firewood so my home is cozy for me and the other beings who live here – my Accomplice, the Boyo and the Girl, the ancient guinea pig, the getting-old pit bull mix, and the formerly feral feline of the house, who also rules the yard. I want to hone my revision skills, through revising my own work, and critiquing and beta reading for others. I want to draft and refine some of the stories in my head (and keep T’Pol from taking over by making sure that she gets her fair share of attention, or something she can at least find agreeable). I want to be submitting, and publishing, and blogging…

Sometimes, I even want to be with these beings I live with. We happen to like each other here, and there are the odd moments of snuggling, conversation, shared meals, entertainment, and, where my Accomplice is concerned, even some occasional canoodling (I like my marriage happy, and canoodling from time to time certainly helps!).

Oddly, I even sleep sometimes. Well, not all that much, honestly – I’m something of a sleep camel, and I don’t generally sleep more than five or six hours, and often considerably less (I’ve had 3.5 hours of sleep since about 10:30am Thursday; it’s now 8am on Saturday morning. I’m tired, but not exhausted).

I’m feeling more like last winter…

So…

I’ve got to have a better way to handle comments. At the moment, I try to answer each and every one, and make a return visit. I try to visit multiple people on each hop I join, and read other interesting blogs as I find them.

I feel a sense of failure when I can’t get to those things. And yet – nearly all of my discretionary time is spent on writing-related projects. I’m not wasting time, or twiddling my fingers – and I still can’t keep up, or even come close. The last several days, as I do various critiquing and beta reading projects for the three other members of my local critique group and move through a beta reading I took on a year ago, I’m only catching the odd comment, and the string of those I haven’t responded to is getting longer and longer.

I’m trying to accept that I can’t get to you all right now. That may change, once this new crit group becomes not new but SOP, just another part of my every week. But, for now –

I’m not ignoring you. Oddly, I’m probably thinking about those unanswered comments a lot more than you are. I’m feeling guilty about it, and that’s not good for any of us.

Maybe I need HER attitude about snowdrifts?!

I need to let go, not try to break even….

So, this is my blanket comment to all of you who take the time out of your own lives to interact with me here.

  • You are valued.

  • I read your comment.

  • It’s very likely it made me smile, or laugh (I kind of do those a lot).

  • I might have nodded silent agreement.

  • I almost certainly wrote you at least the beginning of an answer in my head.

  • I was, and am, honored that you took the time and energy needed to write that comment.

  • Things will settle, and I hope to get ‘caught up’ then-

  • But I can see that I might end up making myself stressed and crazy trying, and I’m sure none of us want that….

I promise to do my best to show my appreciation – if not in return comments and visits, then in the content I share freely on this blog. I hope that, whether you just popped in the first time to read an odd post or two, whether you’ve been here a few times, or even if you read Every Single Thing I ever post, and want more, you will find something here that makes you think of commenting, even if you don’t.

If you’re a blogger (especially a high-volume and often-visited one), how do you deal with comments? Do you answer each and every one? Do you have a system? Do you ever feel overwhelmed? Do you even try to get to them all?

Or am I just odd?

That’s it for me…find more jottings and SoCS posts right here, and feel free to add a comment to the snowdrift down there –

Maybe you’ll help me learn a better way of addressing them. =D

I just need to find my trail…
Posted in Blogfest Entries, Enterprise fan fiction, Flash Fiction Pieces, Just for Fun!, Just Jot it January, Novel Excerpts, Parenting, Writing in Freedom

“A Little Felicity”: The IDIC Romance for #JusJoJan Day 22

Welcome to Day Twenty-Two of Just Jot it January,  where, for a month – well, we jot. Whatever. However. Wherever. Whyever. It’s graciously hosted by Linda G.Hill. 

Today’s prompt, “Felicity,” comes to us courtesy of Fun at Simply Me.

This is the latest (and maybe last, at least for a while) episode of my December story, “Animals”, all of which has appeared here. Links to all segments, from the beginning, follow the story.

This episode takes place several months after the events in the Star Trek: Enterprise Season Four episodes, “Demons” and “Terra Prime”. Trip and T’Pol, are grieving the death of another baby daughter, and struggling to find healing – possibly through adopting two newborn orphaned kittens.

And, as always, I don’t own them; they’ve just got a direct link to my imagination. I write their stories for passion, not profit.

“A Little Felicity”

“You want to name a Mississippi kitten ‘Mittens’, son? I thought you said you never got space happy out there?”

Trip chuckled. “Don’t worry, Dad. My wife isn’t going to let me name either one of them Mittens.” Dad had always known how to find his funny bone when he was hurting, one way or another. It used to make him mad, when he was a kid and thought Dad was making cracks while he suffered, but he understood, now, and was grateful. A man could drown in this kind of hurt, and T’Pol needed him maybe more than she ever had.

“I haven’t addressed the issue of nomenclature, t’hy’la.” She sounded – and felt – less empty, since the kittens.

Trip hoped it was a good sign; that she was coming back from the edge of that damned Vulcan abyss she’d been perched on since she came out of the coma. “Not aloud, anyway. But just because you can’t feel me right now doesn’t mean that I went anywhere. I’m still right here in your head, where I belong.”

T’Pol turned the conversation over and over, looking at it from every side in that way he’d been able to see in her face long before he could feel it in her mind. The way she hadn’t done with anything, this last week. Damn, he’d needed to feel her doing that – gearing up to rain all over his parade in that way only she could. Almost made him want to jump for joy, except then he’d have to let her go, and this was the most comfortable and peaceful she’d been since that terrible moment when someone’s carelessness had changed their lives – and ended Grace’s. 

And, just like that, he was tearing up again, the grief still jagged and gaping. Four babies – in less than a year.

“I had a cat named Felicity, when I was a little girl -”

T’Pol’s yelp wasn’t remotely Vulcan sounding, and cut Hoshi off with the precision of one of Phlox’s medical lasers. She reached up to disengage tiny but effective claws from her nose. Trip held his breath, knowing better maybe than anyone in this room just how strong her fingers were, and how easily she could hurt or kill the kitten if she wasn’t extremely careful – what would that do to her, after everything else?

“I won’t harm the animal.” She stroked the little domed head, and eased the kitten back into its cozy spot, nestled against the swell of her breasts with its sister or brother. “Nor do I have any intention of ‘raining on your parade’. I don’t expect logic in human naming practices.”

That was the closest she’d come to a joke since she woke up. Trip wriggled around carefully, so he could get a good look at her without disturbing her. She had four thin lines of blood on the side of her nose – and the life had come back into her face. After the last five days – well, he’d been starting to think he’d never see her lit up again. That maybe blindness – to everything that might hurt her – wasn’t enough of a defense against having to see, and accept their altered reality.

“Why, hello there, beautiful,” he said, and raised his fingers to salute her with an ouz’hesta,  stroking the backs down her cheek – just as the first tears brimmed over in her still-unseeing eyes and came to meet his caress. “Do you want to tell them, or should I?”

“Tell them?” Her voice was a throaty whisper; she was about to cry for real, and he got ready to let go with her. It would feel good, in a strange way, to cry together for their baby girl – for all of their babies. But first, he wanted her to realize what she’d just done, so that she knew there was hope. And then, maybe, there would be time to get her to their room, where they could sob their hearts out in private – or do whatever else she needed. Experience had shown him that she wouldn’t care about privacy, once her control snapped  – but after was a different matter, and he didn’t like audiences anytime.

“C’mon, pepperpot. You can figure this one out.” Trip held the answer in his mind, and tried to guide her to it, but she didn’t seem to feel him anymore. She was frowning a little, though, like she wanted to, like maybe she was starting to put the pieces together. Trip decided that was another damned good sign. But now she was exhausted; she wasn’t going to get there on her own, not yet. He was going to have to clue her in the old fashioned way.

He answered the question she hadn’t asked aloud. “Hmm…maybe you were just surprised by a little Felicity, then – but you read my mind, pepperpot. Twice.”

Read previous “Animals” episodes, in chronological order:

That’s it for me…find more jottings right here!

Posted in Blogfest Entries, Enterprise fan fiction, Flash Fiction Pieces, Just for Fun!, Just Jot it January, Novel Excerpts, Parenting, Writing in Freedom

“Maybe We Need This”: The IDIC Romance for #JusJoJan Day 21

Welcome to Day Twenty-One of Just Jot it January, where, for a month – well, we jot. Whatever. However. Wherever. Whyever. It’s graciously hosted by Linda G.Hill.

Today’s prompt,Mittenscomes to us courtesy of Candy at Rhymes With Bug .

Today’s post is the latest episode of my December story, “Animals”, all of which has appeared here. At the end of the story, I’ll post links to the other segments.

This episode takes place several months after the events in the Star Trek: Enterprise Season Four episodes, Demons and “Terra Prime”. 

And, as always, I don’t own them; they’ve just got a direct link to my imagination. I write their stories for passion, not profit.

“Maybe We Need This”

“That is hardly an answer.” Had she intended to direct her frustration at her bondmate?

“Don’t worry about it, pepperpot,” he whispered into her ear, his cool breath shivering and shuddering through her. It was perhaps even more frustrating that, while she remained as blind to his mind as she was to the room surrounding her, his ability to sense her had, if anything, intensified. “Do you want to find out what I mean by Schrodinger’s basket?” Before she could answer, he said, “OK, silly question. Of course you do. Here, let me help.”

 

He took her hands in his own, very gently, brushing the backs of her fingers. She wanted him to touch her fingertips, to feel his unique bioelectric pulses. Without them, without his mind sensed twining with her own, without their child growing in her womb or at her breast –

 

A strong arm around her, squeezing her firmly. “I’m still right here, T’Pol. What’s in the basket – I think maybe we need this -so, when you’re ready -” A tear fell onto her hand; she had shed no tears, not for Grace. Not for them. It was as though she were locked tight around the grief, the shock of waking from coma to find their daughter delivered, and already dead, while she was unconscious.

Was it logical that she still couldn’t accept that Grace wasn’t kicking and rolling, her small fist finding that precise place against her rib that elicited a sharp stab of discomfort – discomfort she illogically held to, as a sign of health and vitality that matched her father’s?

“You’ve gone all silent again, pepperpot. You OK?”

“Not in the least, Trip.” She would be honest with her t’hy’la. There was little else she could offer him.

Another small sound emerged from the basket on her lap, and, this time, an almost imperceptible movement accompanied it. T’Pol drew a deep breath. “Kaiidth. What is, is. I’m ready to learn what Schrodinger’s basket contains.”

He guided her hands down the handle of the basket, then into the bowl, where a nest of soft cloth waited. “Nice and gentle, now….”

Tiny, squirming life struggled into her hands, the cries becoming frantic. “Infant animals?”

“Kittens,” Trip told her. “No more than a week old, and orphaned.”

 

“We found them in the old shed,” Kath Tucker added. “We don’t know where their mother is, but they were going to starve to death.” T’Pol felt the way the ribs were plainly defined, and thought that Trip’s mother was correct.

“They need care, immediately,” she said. “Nourishment, warmth, and comfort. Closeness to serve as proxy for their mother.” She considered what she knew of Terran felinoids. “Cats see to matters of hygiene without assistance, if I’m not mistaken.”

“Not at this age,” Trip said. “They’re too small; their eyes aren’t even open yet – they can’t see any more than you can, right now. Mama would be doing that for them, if she was around.”

 

“May I help tend them? I know little of Earth felines, but, if you’ll assist me, Trip -”

“I was hoping you’d want to,” Trip said, and she didn’t need to see him or feel his mind to know that he was smiling at her through his tears. “But I didn’t want to push you.”

“It seems logical, Trip. We’ve lost a daughter; they’ve lost their mother. I will need assistance, and information in a form I can currently disseminate -”

“Ah, Commander T’Pol. It’s encouraging to see you returning to your customary efficiency. I’ve taken the liberty of adapting a formula designed specifically to meet the kittens’ nutritional needs.”

“And I’ve got a comprehensive file on kitten care, translated to Vulcan and recorded with your auditory preferences in mind,” Hoshi said, from the corner of the room.

“And I’m right here, to help be your eyes and hands, pepperpot.”

T’Pol allowed her fingers to drift along until she determined the dimensions of the kittens’ bodies, and the safest way to pick them up before she addressed her mate’s growing restlessness. “It is less than comfortable to rest against you when you’re attempting not to say something, t’hy’la. I’d find it more agreeable if you shared it.”

“I don’t want you to feel obligated -”

“Trip.” She made no effort to restrain her frustration.

“Well, Cap’n Archer says that we can keep them. If you want to, that is.”

T’Pol lifted the small creatures to her chest and cradled them there. “It is perhaps illogical to discuss this while they are hungry.”

Half an hour later, the kittens were both fed and asleep upon her chest,their tiny bodies vibrating in an involuntary sound known as ‘purring’; she had no desire to return them to the basket, where they could neither derive comfort from her, or she from them. “I would like to keep them,” she said quietly; their ears were as sensitive as hers.

 

Trip’s pleasure was evident in his voice, and the sudden relaxation in his body and scent. ‘What should we name them? The smaller one has four white paws – maybe Mittens?”

 

T’Pol chose not to tell him that the practice of giving a name to a creature that was notably unlikely to respond to it was highly illogical.

Now, as promised, here are the other episodes in this serialized story, in chronological order:

That’s it for me…find more jottings right here!