Sunday, November 28, 2010


Just over 52,000 now.  Which should cover all my information (research) words that didn't make themselves into story words, but stayed on the page because I will need them there when I work on it in the future.  I wont work on before next summer at the earliest though. I am just happy to be done. 

Done that is with the NaNoWriMo challenge.  Not nearly done with the story, not research wise, not editing wise, but I do now have a complete structure.  A roughly sewn first draft.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

50, 982.
Not that all the words count. there are variations on a scene, and some info details- in it, which need to be smooshed together, and written up in a nice way. But that sure isn't happening today.
I am glad at the progress that I have made, but i have not enjoyed it. I was up till 12 last night just trying to get it done because I am so sick of not having anytime, and always working on this thing.  And the holiday did not feel holiday-ish.  I have missed out on a lot of time with my family lately.
I haven't even eaten today yet (okay I had an apple), because i thought that with just 1,600 words to go, I would be done much sooner than 4:30.  Oh well, done for now.

Hmm, don't know if I will try to tidy it up over next several days, or focus on tidying up my house instead, (got a bit neglected)(understatement)(dishes always got done though)

I can't imagine I will do this again next year. Glad I did it, but...
time for me to focus now on quantity and learning how to edit, and instead of seeing if I can achieve a certain word out put per-day.
I do have to admit though, that it really does help me to work through blocks, and to come up with stuff that my normal procrastinating and hesitant self would not.
So it helps me learn how to make things
Now i just need to learn how to make things good.
Not tonight though, or tomorrow. 
I need family time, and honestly some TV time too.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I don't know where my NaNoWriMo icon stuff went.
I reached 13,629 words today. But I don't think I'll make it past 25,000 (if I make it that far).  I think there is too much research that needs to be done on this one, and doing the necessary research and making my writing quota for the day, is more time than I have in a day. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

1,728  my NaNo word count for today.  Can't get widget to work.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

saying goodbye to the time of magical creatures

 saying goodbye
to the magic that kissed thy brow
to your rosy cheeked spirit calling out in delight
How I long to see again, wonder in your eyes.
My fair reason filled boy
wont you carry any wonder with you into manhood?
 Oh if I could but pack your suitcase, the incredible things you would take with you.
And that is what I thought I was doing all these years. (filling you up, with carved pumpkins, sparkly trees, painted eggs, bits of fairy wings, and robin's egg shells, of Christmas, of candles, of twinkly lights, and of glowing clouds at sunset.)
Yes I know growing up does mean the setting down of certain childish things
I wouldn't have you standing in a field awaiting the great pumpkin,
or knocking out your grown-up teeth in hopes of cash under your pillow
but you don't need to leave it all behind,
hold onto the magic, the spirit, that flows behind it at the source.
At fourteen you won't express it, but I hope it is alive
in childhood's memory
its wings folded, tucked inside your heart.
so that if (when) you need them
they will awake and flutter within
strong enough to carry you through.

(to lift a heavy heart through hard times.)
for sometimes what seems silly and frivolous, glitter on construction paper,
strands of lights strung round a tree, is merely a trinket, a tangible tie to something much greater, something vast deep and strong. Something you should keep with you, your whole life long.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

  This is going to be a long haul.  I don't know why it should feel like such a hard thing to do.  I just starting reading over Echo, yep 2 1/2 pages in, and already I've bolted to come here and whine about it.  I will say this though, I read my initial first page of chapter one, and then the one I rewrote last March, and the March one is better (and I even know why and how it is better!).  So the good news is that while I am terrified to read over my work and attempt to "fix" it, I do have proof already by page one, that I am capable of reading over it and making improvements.

a bit like cleaning one's house top to bottom, reorganizing the contents of drawers and closets, choosing what to keep and what to toss, and deciding where everything goes, and how you want each room to look, and to many many decisions, and I have never been good at that.  Oh look here I have procrastinated myself out of time (surprise surprise).  Not good.  I must get my son from school and take him to the Ortho.  Well at least I'll take a book.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

     I've finished reading, A Dash of Style.  But I do still need to do the exercises that are present at the end of each chapter.  I have found it helpful.  It has given me new ways to think about the writing, about how I express myself.  And I see I have much work to do.  But thank God also that I have a map, some way of guiding myself through it. 

    Just as I am hiding from doing the exercises so too am I hiding from doing the editing.  A task that has long daunted me, and makes me quiver with uncertainty and dread.  But now I know what I am looking for, what I am going to try to change.  And finally I have realized that I can't go through it page by page making it "right".  I'm going to instead look at it for each thing separately.  First I'll go through for content, for story, then I will improve how that breaks down into chapters, and paragraphs.  I will go through it once for action verbs.  Once for the lengths of sentences.  Going on like that. Because when I have gone through trying to fix it sentence by sentence, I never knew what was right or wrong and it all just fell apart.  Instead I will go through strengthening one thing at a time. And only worrying about one thing at a time.

    Sin and Syntax, is next on my reading list.  Mostly I am concerned with sentence structure.
    Currently I am reading, Harry Potter's Bookshelf the great books behind the Hogwarts adventures, by John Granger. And I am really enjoying it.  I feel like I am learning plenty of stuff that will help me in my own writing, but reading it isn't work it's pleasure. 

    So far in my readings for my writing in the past year I've learned how really important it is to make your characters sympathetic.  I know that sounds obvious, but that doesn't mean that one automatically writes in the best way for it.  I have learned that in my tendency to be bright (as in cheerful not intelligent) that I miss opportunities to have readers care about my characters.  I don't sit down, and dwell in the uncomfortable emotions, my tendency is instead to glide above.  And I need to let some pain show through.

   I like having the over-all structure, the story down, but nothing set, nothing fully done, because the books I'm reading tell things that offer me the opportunity to look at the story in a new way.  My tone, my atmosphere is light.  But I've realized with Fountain of Swans how it could be Gothic instead.  How the elements are already there, and it is interesting to look at the same story through this other lens and see if it might be better.  When I was considering changing it to first person (still haven't decided) I was upset because then something that happens to the character will be a mystery for us just like it is for her.  And for some reason I felt like that couldn't be so.  But now from doing this reading, I realize that it would heighten the sympathy and the tension in the story if the reader shares the characters feelings, in not knowing why this thing is happening.  Then the mystery to be solved can be one reader and character share.

   Now I don't know if I will or will not do that (make it Gothic, make it a mystery), as I have said I haven't been working directly on my writing (because I am a wimp) but I love the fact that I am engaged in thinking about the stories in new ways.

    Well October is nearly over.  I know my focus should be on editing Echo.  I do feel like a failure for failing to do so. But I am seriously considering signing up for NaNoWriMo again.  Why?  Because it fosters daily practice.  It promotes bum glue. It helps me to tap into the energy of many moving forward together. My goal isn't to finish.  But Fresh Oranges has long been neglected, and I could hash out parts of that story.  The deal with myself being three hours a day, either I write Oranges, or I edit Echo.  The only way to escape doing one being doing the other.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


  I don't know why it is so hard for me to write here now.  Time is of course an issue but....more than that, I think it is emotional.  I was very brave (for me) at the Writer's Conference last March, I raised my hand, and I stood my ground.  I also revealed more than I had intended, via a spontaneous writing assignment, and had my other submitted work more harshly ridiculed than I had expected.  All of which has resulted in my being more insecure about my writing, and generally feeling more vulnerable and exposed, which doesn't lend itself well to blogging. 
    I am like a me of the past.  One who has a restless unsettled feeling at night, not of things undone, but of being haunted by foolish things said or written.  Things I know that the people I wrote or said them to are not bothering with thinking about.  But still how easily I can torture myself over it.  I am only 100% safe in things I say to my husband and my son, anything else said to anyone else can be used to make me nervous.
    Actually that is partly now why I am going to strive harder to write here more regularly, and to work on my novel (though I am scared to do so). Because I need not to torture myself over little nothingnessess of thoughts shared.  If I am going to make myself uneasy well it should be over bigger mistakes. Stuff more worthy of the stress I attach to it.
    It is so pitiful to stress so over the mundane, to feel my legs shaking as I attempt to walk down the steep steps of my son's high school, because I raised my hand to ask a question at parent night.  A simple question: if they preferred to have papers printed rather than emailed?  They need to be printed.  Why on earth such an exchange should lead to my shaking, I don't know. I kept my thoughts about it rational, but minutes later my legs wobbled freely in accordance with something outside my conscious thoughts. I do hope I can stop being flustered for no reason; I've allowed myself to become all tilted and windblown in the absence of any storm. It is time I right myself.  And on the occasion when I do find myself all tousled and tossed about, at least let it be from having actually braved to walk through a storm.

Now that Summer is over

this is the song I play when I wake up each morning

Sunday, August 1, 2010

    Summer is going by so quickly.  I want to settle in and savor every moment of August, but fall keeps nipping at my heels.  There is one month, before I am the mother of a high schooler.  I am always losing time.  Always wishing I could hoard it, storing it up, to spend how and when I choose.  To decide myself the times that seem to extend on forever, and those that go by in a flash. 
    I spent so much time planting this year: new plantings, transplanting, dividing up my plants and putting them in areas previously the domain of weeds.  The digging of holes by the hundreds. Well at least until mid July when tired of it all, I took a pack of zinnia seeds and just wind tossed them over a section of dirt. Perhaps I will see one or two of them. I have very little good to say about matting and mulch, weeds grow in it, and it is a pain to cut through as your plants expand and need more space, and when I need to make new spaces for other plants. 
    It is raining now.   It was so dry here our grass was brown and felt like straw. I have never been so happy to see rain as I have been since July 10th. It was raining that day as we were leaving for vacation, my mother thought I might be upset about the lousy weather.  I was thrilled. It takes me two hours to water the plants around back, and two for out front.  So if God waters the plants twice a week, that saves me 8 hours of standing out in the yard with a hose.  
    I have been surprised that my eye is changing (what I consider to be visually pleasing).  Which is the reason for all the rearranging of flower beds.  Since I have spent little time working directly on my writing, I am hoping this is a sign that things are changing and shifting somewhere deep down within.  That art, to whatever degree it resides in me, is growing, being refined.  I think my mind, my plantings and my writing, have been more chaotic, a toss up or in, of whatever interests me, too much, and with disorganization, favored over the possibility of leaving anything out.  But this year, the plantings looked messy to me.  They lacked impact.  Too many different things.  I wanted rows of a kind.  I wanted the impact of groupings of one color.  I noticed where my scale was off; where things needed to be bigger or smaller. I looked upon the same beds I saw last year and took them in differently.
    I don't even feel like my flower garden happened this year, with so many things being moved, and plunged into transplant shock.  I've been gardening this year for next. I like that about it though, flower gardening is like dreaming, and it involves faith.  I bought four purple salvias for a dollar each two days ago.  Inexpensive because they look a minute or two shy of dead.  But I look at them with hope and possibility, I will plant them, and tend to them.  I expect nothing of them this year, except that that which lies below the soil stay alive now, and sleep nicely dormant over winter, and then happily burst forth like new in Spring. Gardeners dreaming, gardeners faith.
    I do hope when I read my writing, my stories, that there too, I will now see where things look messy.  How I need to change things to create impact, rather than throwing everything that occurs to me in.  There is so much writing work to be done that it scares me.  I only take the smallest steps forward.  Which is sort of stupid as at this rate it will take forever, and just drag the most uncomfortable parts out.  But at least I am taking some steps.  And because of the reading about writing I have been doing, I am noticing more when I pleasure read.  I notice choices being made, when this or that is done for impact.  And now I realize I was never a careful reader.  I don't write well with commas, semi-colons, periods, etc., because I don't take the time to truly read them as written. 
    So, it has not been the big writing summer it was supposed to be, and yes I am disappointed in myself....but.. 

Thursday, May 6, 2010

    Brian (the husband) weed-whacked my poppies and several other perennials on the side of the house.  True it wasn't a well established bed, and certainly is less so now. I may have, possibly, called him at work screaming and yelling, and then slipped into violent tears.  Prompting him later to say that he had been concerned that I might actually be losing my mind.  But gardening is partly dreaming of the future.  I planted these from seed three years ago.  The first year I saw nothing.  The second I saw some plants but nothing bloomed (save for one hollyhock, the only hollyhock out of a whole packet of seeds.)  So this year, was going to be THE ONE, the year they bloomed. But then he mindlessly came along and whacked them down to their ankles! Yes, yes, yes, only plants, but I spent three years dreaming into them. And now my hopes for them must be pinned on next year.
    At least by now he knows to stay away from my other beds.  My salmon poppy tucked beside the stone steps is finally safe. He got that one two years running, which is why I can't believe that he so unwittingly massacred these.  By now he should know, leave the fuzzy leaved things that look like weeds alone.  He kept saying, but there weren't any flowers.  Yes, and now there wont be.
    Bygones.  I do have other plants. That is what May is for in my mind, planting.  And Brian can't complain about my buying ones to replace those he chopped.

     The good news of late is that the boy, about to turn 14, has finally decided to take up bike riding.  I really never thought I would see the day when he would ride down the street.  And now we all get to go on family bike rides together.
    The bad news of late, is my writing progress.  There has been none.  I am reading A Dash of Style about punctuation, and that is going well.  Though I am not attempting to employ any of it yet, it makes sense to me.  But the rest of the grammar world is still a foreign language which leaves me feeling confused and stupid. I feel like there is no point in working on my draft to try and make it better when I lack the basic grammatical competence necessary to do so.  So I don't know.  In a week or two I will be done with planting.  And I will have to force myself to sit in a chair, and keep trying different ways to learn.  I hate feeling this stuck.  I hate feeling this unable to communicate.  I hate second guessing every sentence I write, to anyone about anything. But that is where I am.
    It will be okay that I was stuck here for a while, as long as I find my way through.  I could and should end up in a better place because of it.  But I am scared.  Scared that I can't learn, and that I will become so frustrated and full of doubt that I wont be able to write at all.  And because I am afraid of that happening, it's hard to push myself forward to a time when I could reach that conclusion.  I'm going to have to keep a pep talk in my pocket all June. I'm not the sort to keep trying when I fail.  I am the sort to slink quietly away.  But I am still dreaming, in gardening and in writing. Dreaming of the future, of how it could be.  Those poppies wont bloom this year, like me they've been whacked down to their ankles.  But we are all still alive, and we have woven within us a code that wants us to bloom. Something that wants us to strive, to go on, to reach forward to a time of blooming. And no matter how many years it takes those poppies on the side of the house, or me, of trying, of watering, and weeding, being fertilized, then wilting in the hot sun, then rebounding to be chewed on by insects, no matter how many times we get weed-whacked, and go dormant then start to grow again, I am choosing to believe it is in all of our destinies (eventually) to bloom.

(there, pep talk number two of the thirty thousand I will need.)

(oh and I am deleting any comments left in other languages, as I have no idea what they might be saying.) (oh, unless that other language is English grammar speak.)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

So much work to be done, everywhere I look.  Mulch to be removed from the bases of roses, pruning to do.  Perennials that need to be freed from last year's dead growth, so they can eagerly grow again. And all the plants need to be fed. I love Spring.  Everywhere I look I see something amazing happening, to me the tips of tulip leaves poking through the ground will never be less than magic.  Every day something else is pulling itself into being, making itself known, waking from dormancy to life.  The closed and withheld, opened and expressed. What was under the ground unfurls into a life in the sun wind rain.
 There is a lot of cleaning to do too.  Spaces want to be aired out and unencumbered by was left over from winter, or some other earlier manifestation of being. The rooms want to be reborn, want to be able to grow something new.

Last weekend I was at a three day writer's conference.  There is still some collateral damage from attending.  That said I do believe the over effect of the impact will be good.  It just didn't feel that way when I crashed.  I went hoping to feel inspired, hoping to pull more energy into my work, and to carry that motivation with me through times of doubt.  Instead my own ineptness was glaringly presented.  I didn't like looking at it, and I still don't.  How far, how far I still have to go.  I know I must have made some progress because I started so long ago, and I remember the beginning, and I know I am no longer standing at it. But I feel like my goal is centuries in front of me.  I might need to be reincarnated and have a whole other life to get there from here.  
My own attitude can be a problem at times, I get annoyed with what I should do. Though first most definitely I know, I need to fully learn it.  But even once I have, I like to write in other ways.  I don't want there to be commas in between the sun, wind, rain. I don't want to put an and in it either, the sun, wind, and rain. I want them to sit together as one entity.
There were of course inspiring moments and positive things to take away from the conference, and I will talk about those, just not today. Today I am going to sit with, um that which I must figure out how to go around, or go through, so as I can come out the other side.  The one is grammar, evil villain once again.  Yes I know it is a tool, yes my friend, helps me to express myself, gift of words. If I was evil then words should be my henchmen, sent out to help me achieve my goals. But instead grammar feels like my foe, like something in the way of my saying what I mean to. And my inability to grasp and use it, results in a mangled mess.
Yes it was unfortunate to be told how badly I was doing it.  She calmly lit a match and set the page and me, on fire. I still feel the heat of it, the burn, the scorch, the ash. How obviously I think that I can write but that I can't.  And she was indignant, there was the assumption of laziness, and of not caring about craft, which cut the flames deeper.  I have tried to learn, I do care; so I was left with only the recourse of feeling stupid, and unable to learn.  It was horrible living there, like death.  Or no, because there wasn't yet nothingness, it was extreme pain, and knowing that nothingness was the only release that awaited.  But there will be no nothingness.  No death.  There will instead be more pain, as I must endure and go on and try and try and try again, one way, and then another, until I figure it out.  Stupid plague of inadequacies I will be sweating it out my entire life. But I will survive and I will become stronger, and I will learn.  If it takes me halfway to forever, I will learn. No matter how small each step, there will be steps, and I will take them.
The other comment that really got to me, was the one I had not expected.  Unemotional.  My writing, unemotional. Hhmm...that is very bad.  I mean that much I thought I had.  My craft I knew sucked, but I thought the passion for the story under it, would be felt.  I thought it would be more of an, if only she could master these other skills, how incredible this story could be. In the moment, in that moment, it made it all seem pointless, having no merit or value at all.  Why bother, clearly I should give up.
But, it is Spring.  And I just can't manage to do anything, but be resolved to being better.  Be resolved to transformation, new life, new birth, and opening,  unfurling, releasing into a life of sun wind rain.  No matter that for me it wont take mere weeks, like the transformation of the Spring world.  How amazing it is, how quickly it goes from barren to lush beauty. It does so by design.  Everything, the blueprint tucked inside, it just needs the right conditions outside to release it.  Something divine in such science, in such magic. I must remember the same divine design lives in me.  And I do believe is what calls me to be a butterfly hunter (aka an artist, a writer), that is another post for another day.
There is so much work to be done.  I need to improve and learn so much. And it is Spring, and I am smiling.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I'm supposed to be working on page one of Echo, which is due for submission next Thursday for the conference I'm going to in March, for the purpose of tearing it apart, and rebuilding it better. I started there, but have strayed, and am working on Fountain of Swans instead, or rather researching flowers so as to fill in details, which appear as ____ in Swans.  I really need a book which tells what flowers existed (where common, and in what form) in which countries, during particular centuries.
In my defense, sort of, the reason I switched over to research is, that as I was working on Swans, I had the great desire to fill in people's names, but I couldn't remember Spain's real name off the top of my head, and if I get up to find the notebook I wrote it in, I know I will instead go watch the movie I rented, and not be working at all.  Oh but that doesn't explain, why Swans instead of Echo, that, oh that is because I don't know what the heck I am doing. I don't know how to fix it.  (and anyway, the first page of Swans is also due for the conference for the same purpose, only difference is I wont need to submit that page till the end of March.

    I was called by some local ladies for a critique group, but though my time availability seemed to mesh with theirs, they haven't called me back.  Perhaps it was because I said my work is probably YA, perhaps it was because I sounded like an idiot on the phone. ?   Probably both. :)  Oh well, still working on it, just moving forward very slowly.  Feeling a little twinge of energy trying to uncurl from sleep and burst forth, it keeps saying, "spring?.....isn't it almost Spring?"  I keep telling it no not quite yet, I point out the enormous amounts of snow all over the yard, and the lovely windchill. But the voice is naive and wistful, soft and earnest as a small child's, and will not be dissuaded, not persuaded.

  Which reminds me, I know not to use alliteration, (or rhyme), I've been soundly told, it isn't part of "good" writing, not if you want to be taken seriously.  That's really just too bad (probably mostly for me, and my own ambitions), for being informed, doesn't seem enough to change me.  No, the sister of the voice that insists that it is indeed almost Spring, wraps her hands around such sentences, clenches her fists tight and wont let go.  She says that is what she loves best, that is why she is here to begin with, and that it will not be a matter of pulling them away from her kicking and screaming, for she is the one who will conquer in the end and take no prisoners, if I don't let her be. So, so far, I'm letting her be. And letting the alliteration be. And she smiles at me and shakes her head yes.

And that is an issue that I am dealing with in my attempt to edit my writing, it likes to be (what to my mind is) poetic.  I don't hold to true sentence all the time, I break off, I fragment, I go by feel, by those voices, and I don't want to surrender that. But I also don't want my work/me verbally massacred at the writing conference. (which is set up so that no one knows whose work is whose, so that they can freely verbally massacre our work, to more fully be able to help us.)

Friday, February 19, 2010

looking ahead


I don't usually share dreams, I mean the kind that take place at night, but this one still lingers.  I was to board a caboose.  Why? I don't know.  There were no cars in front of it, just the caboose. (sounds like me.) And there were no windows except for the the ones that looked forward in the direction the train/caboose was facing.  I went inside, surprised to see that from the inside there appeared to be a row of windows on each side, and in the back. I took my seat (lone passenger.) and as it moved through the snowy landscape, past trees, homes and farms, I watched the images moving on the windows, and noticed something odd about them, that what was happening on the right was a mirror image of what was happening on the left.  It made me feel slightly dizzy as I quickly looked back and forth trying to understand.  And I did, the windows in the front were true windows, all the rest were mirrors, though they didn't reflect me or the interior, they only reflected the forward view.  They did so from side to side, and also what I thought was a back window, looking to where I had been, that too was merely an opposite reflection of where I was going.

I hope this means that even when I feel like I'm making zero progress, (like now) that I am still moving forward, that it is all in essence, forward. 

Saturday, February 6, 2010

wow did I miss a whole month?  No January posts.  It was a stressful month familywise, with the 13 year old not being keen on doing his schoolwork, and not turning it in even when he did.

But that is all in the past now, I'll take the Anne of Green Gables attitude, February is a new month, fresh, with no mistakes in it yet.

I turned 40 this past week, and though I had been thinking about it for the past 6 months, trying to prepare myself, it still feels odd, and not quite right, not really true. 34 sounds good, more possible. 

I've got to wrestle the camera away from my husband and son, and start doing the picture and post thing again.