Sunday, February 27, 2011

ROW 80, by a nose.....or a foot.

Something.  Anyway, after one week of the trials/tribulations of feet in tennies, no compression sock, and various and sundry gadgets invading our house, the story is as follows.

1000 words on the WIP, barely.  And, all tonight.

No poetry, some major time spent giggling my bottom off at the below post/link - Food Network reviewers with an ax to grind getting their funny pens out...

I've written the basics of some key scenes - there is major word-vomit - oodles of words - probably too many by a third.  However, anyone who decries this story will do so for reasons other than a 'paucity of detail.'  My main and supporting character have bonded, a few plot pieces make more sense, and I may have answered as many questions as I've engendered.

But, I didn't let anyone get amputated in tonight's session.  I've hinted at things darkly, and grimly, but nope.  No stray feet tonight.

If I had to guess what is "left" to write in the story, I would guess that it's between 5 and 8 k more.  That puts me at about halfway.  I also would guess there are at least 1000 useless words to pull out (is there a find-and-replace function that covers crap dialogue??) and some stuff that may just have to be re-written, just because it may not make sense. 

And then it has to be edited.  Harshly - with the red pen of doom.  And then, and only then, can I let a few fearless friends read it and tell me where I need to remove more crap dialogue, what is pointless telling-not- showing, and what is too much scene setting, what is exciting but TOTALLY chaotic, and what is undoubtedly (ahem) Duller than dishwater!

There we have it.  That's where we stand on my Very. First. Short. Story.  Which, as a very first short story, is undoubtedly crap.  And may never be more than slightly polished crap, but it will be FINISHED.  And then these annoying little brats in my head will be gone and I can go back to the slightly saner world of poetry.

Now there's a sentence you don't read every day.....

Share the love with my fellow ROW 80 challeng-ers....Check out what they are doing.  Chances are good you'll run into someone you may really want to read!!! I know I do!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Derailed by the funniest short writing I've ever seen.

Go here, read the recipe, and at LEAST the first 10 reviews.

These people can teach you something about the art of humor.'s a different Orchid House! Where's my ROW 80? ;-)

Good morning!

(yes, it is. It isn't 20 below, not even close.  Cloudy maybe, snowing, NO!)

For the past two days, I've been in high gear getting back "in the swing of things." I am still really, really slow at steps - I find them still fatiguing, and our place has three staircases that we use all the time. There's a lot of stiffness in my foot that's not going to go away soon at All, so I just really need to pace myself.

But, I'm totally back on my normal household routines, and they do take a little longer than they used to.  Happily, they have me caught up on houswork now, so I'm back on track to resume naptime writing :-) You wouldn't believe how much more gets done when a shower takes 8 minutes rather than 20!

So, no new action on the short story.  Or poetry. Normal writing activity to resume this afternoon, and I'm still pretty confident about making my goal for the week - 1100 words by Sunday.  That isn't a huge amount, but considering how much I end up deleting/rewriting along the way, it will end up being more like 1500.

Big challenge, but I could still get close :-)

I hope everyone has a good weekend coming up - I think everyone could use one.

Take care everyone!!!

Blog hop below to see what other ROW'ers are up to :-)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"The game's a....foot". Or, is the foot FINALLY GAME!!!

Firstly, happy snowmygawd the second to all of you. Anyone wanting a record snowfall is welcome to come here - the drift on my deck is significantly higher than my hips and bellybutton, and that's a heck of a lot of snow, even short as I am.

Special shout-out to my fabulous, NEWLY engaged, and always-missed cousin James - I've been off the midget-sticks for 3 weeks, pal, how ya doin' on the cigs? ;-)

I have a few competing thoughts here - I've finally seen Sherlock Holmes (Downey and Law) and love it love it love it. so much. Gonna watch it again at least 10 more times, that's about how many times I've read the stories :-) So, yes, the title owes something to Robert Downey Jr.

In the good-news/bad news dept., I had wonderful buddy time with a great friend on Saturday (I'm working my way down visiting my list of buddies that I miss terribly over this winter and this foot.) Sadly, the mega-calories I consumed between lunch with her and date night with Jon had something amiss, I was hideously nauseous, exhausted, and headachey all damned day long Sunday, and it took me the morning today to feel more normal. HOWEVER -

Part of the reason for my excess (and no, I don't even want to go into it - gluttony IS a sin for a reason!!!) is that I am celebrating standing on more than One foot!! I was able to stand in the shower for the first time since December! I've been in my tennies today and I know the feet will be fatigued tomorrow, but I can at least use both of them! Yesterday I couldn't even tie my right shoe, today it's knotted in a cute little bow. Our family may just be on track to get our normal lives back, and I, and they, are so Very ready for that.

It simply must be said. My husband is a friggen' ROCK STAR for the way he held the line here at home, plus his job, plus all the physical kid duties on the weekend, Plus driving everyone everywhere - Plus a Whining Wife!!! I am going to dig up his favorite foods, music, movies, shows, deserts - EVERYTHING for his birthday in March - I want him to feel Somewhat rewarded for his endless labors :-)

There's so much on my mind - to take the worry of electrical fire out of our lives, we made room in the budget for a brand-new coffee maker - yay! I found our food processor (requirement if I want healthy food to come to my family more often out of our kitchen!) broken, so we cleared room for a new one of those too! And, my pretty 'love letters' valentines blankie should be coming soon...

Between learning how to use my coffee pot and my new kitchen gadgets, it could be a kinda shrimpy writing week. On the other hand, if my gadgets save more time.... ;-) who knows?

Any way, I'm burbling.  I'm All kinds of happy over here - I truly hope your week goes beautifully too...

Sweet dreams, my friends.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

ROW 80 check in...almost did my 1000 here.....d@mn you, sexy IP@d, you

As predicted by one of the lovely Claires, the IPad did a mega-number on my writing schedule.

It does digital artwork Shockingly well, there's an odd picture that started as randomness that I persisted in turning into a portrait - mainly to learn how to learn 'Sketchbook Pro' - the best use of $2.99 I've had in a while.  Pic will be posted here later Sunday.

So, despite the addition of the nefarious and seductive little stinker, I did write this week.  The poem I gripe about below probably got the whole ball rolling, ill-timed or not.

And tonight, to reward myself for standing in the shower (a stunt I've not been able to manage since December), I sat down, with apologies to my husband, and wrote 857 words that mattered (not sure how many I chopped  are included in that total :-) to moving the story forward.

So, I reset the goal for next week.  To 1100 words - maybe I'll clear 900 :-)  And, if I can edit the poem, that may make an appearance here too.

To bed, to bed.  I saw "True Grit" for datenight, and am listening to "Prison Girls" as I finish this up.  Perfect ambience for the section of story I am at, actually.  Time to finish my wine and find a pillow.

What a great day - hope yours was the same!!!

(cheer on my fellow ROW 80-er's below!! Hop around!)


Friday, February 18, 2011

"and the next a$$hole muttering about you-know-who being in the details is gonna get punched".

How's that for a closing line of a poem?

I couldn't tell you what my muse looks like.  I don't know where she is, what her real name is, or which axe she'll be grinding next.

All I know is I'm trying to put the kids to bed, mentally revise my schedule to accommodate more on my to-do list, and settle down for the day, and Lo and behold, guess who shows up. 

At 10:30 pm, my kids room, they're still muttering and tossing, and Terpsichore's kid sister starts pouring her evening's grudge into my ear.

Forcing me (paperless and penless - AS USUAL) to memorize the damned thing for half an hour so I don't miss anything.

Finally, both babies are out (hold the comments on my lame-a$$ parenting 'till next time, pretty please? :-) cold, I bolt downstairs, answer one question for my hubby, plop down, and write for 3 pages and a bit.  It's rough, someplace between a bit ironic and heavily devout, and inclusive of dremel tools, bacteria, octupi, and rust.
And tornados.

And it has one doozy of a last line.

And no, still not on track to make my goal this week for the short story.  That will take an act of you-know-who.

sweet and muse-less dreams to you all ;-)


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A little inspiration

There is a woman in our community battling 3 different types of cancer. She is stage 4, and her name is Carolyn Kranz.  She has four phrases to get her through the day.

"I will be grateful.  I will be joyful.  I will be humble.  I will be prayerful". 

They seem to help.  I will try to find the link to the message she gave at church, it was truly uplifting.

Many folks in my life have battled cancer - some have won, most have lost.  I wish I would have heard her words a very, very long time ago.

Thanks, Carolyn, and God be with you.

Omg. I have an IPad

I just might be utterly in luv.

quick progress update-post now, proper post later (probably:-)

hello Sunshine!  It's very bright and warm outside - I think it's the beginning of the Idea of Spring, here.  I'm in a ridiculously good mood today, which always helps, and also tends to fuel more good writing time. Which puts me in an even better mood. :-)

Last night, with the ever awesome Laurie from the Heritage Writers group, I focused on plot structure, and plot structure only.  Until we switched computers and read each other's stuff.  I got warm fuzzy's, she got shivers and chills. I think I got the better end of the deal.

So, in terms of story structure, I finalized what has to happen, and where in the story it has to happen (er, until I complete draft one). That should mean that I can open the WIP, decide what section I want to attack, and just write it. When there's nothing left to fill in, the trickier part (constructing segues logically from one plot point or plot 'cookie' to another) will hopefully not be quite as tricky as it seems now.

My process lately has been getting bogged down in questions that seem to need answering in the story, so it will be nice if 'finishing the plot' reduces that phenomena. And if not, well, it's not like writing is always that easy. Hard work hasn't killed That many people, yet. :-)

So, that's where we are at: Mission accomplished on the plot, and holiday time is over, so, hopefully my writing-time distractions will be at a minimum. I'm aiming for another 1000 words by Sunday, so let's see how close I can get.  There's only one other distraction, though.

Pretty sure we are buying a (used) IPad today ;-)


(Humorous update - the nice fellow we were going to buy the IPad from has hit a problem....apparently, his wife is not too happy about him selling it.  I'm wondering if he forgot to talk it over with her? :-)  Of course, I found this out today when I called Jon to tell him my excitement about the digital sketchbook software ;-) So, maybe we are not....)

Ah me.  Maybe I'll get one AFTER I finish the story, as a reward???

Check out our fellow ROW 80-ers below, and give them a Howdy!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

New one, another poem about Winter

I'm still mulling over Winter, Act 1 - got some tremendous feedback from a talented writer and if I put the WIP aside, I really need to re-work it. Or, why else get the crit? :-)

In the meantime, Winter is up to other business, see below:

Winter’s Love Letter

I smoothed it over for you, love.

Twenty miles an hour (gusting up to fifty)
Isn’t easy for half a day, at ten below.
But I’d always do it for you.

The canvas outside your window
Is picture perfect
To lay your dreams on, my love.

The hoarfrost took timing
Of course, but how else may
I shower you with diamonds?

I’ve long loved your pale
cheeks tinted with roses
But, then, I’m sorry for the bite

Every time.  Please forgive
A tired old man
His old-fashioned ways.

If I give you a new down
Blanket tonight
Would you come to me under the stars?

ROW 80 check-in #9 - chickens coming home to roost

....and those chickens are really good at eating time :-)

Sometimes it's handy to remind myself that if I don't actually take the time to "live" in my life, my life won't give me much to write about.  Kid parties, parent time, and a little more emphasis on family time all caught up with us. In other words, we're having a pretty good weekend :-)

The WIP is needing some focused time - a bigger chunk of it than usual - to map out wheat I've got, what I need, and how to get there.  Tuesday night our regular writing group time got hijacked by a Jack London lecture at our usual location -  the Library.  Jack London is the bees' knees in my book, but the need for writing time -  a full hour and a half, uninterrupted by cute little short people - is too good to pass up.  So, on Tuesday, I'm going fire up a huge decaf cappuccino, take my computer with me, and plot like a fiend with Laurie (another time-challenged writer and mom), while the rest of our group gets inspired and educated at the lecture.

Today is a coffee date after church with a good friend I've lost track of over time. Some window shopping after that, and doing what we need at home to get the house ready for the week.  The story has been there for six and a half years, it's not going to go anywhere else in a few days :-)

Have a great week, everyone!  (hmm, linky's are missing....)


Cheer on the gang below! They are writing their BOTTOMS off!!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

epiphany's at 20 below - for the creative process, anyway.

I did a lot of consideration today, on the background of my story, culture and how it happens, and music.

One problem I have in my creative life is that when I absorb an artistic influence, it needs months to tone down - be it the visual arts, poetry, probably prose, music, etc.  Partly because I don't go crazy for much, but if I like something, I Really, Really Like it. (On a side note, I've not read Lovecraft for 15 years, but I analyzed tonight's post, and hells bells, here I go writing like Howard Phillips Lovecraft, creepy weird fiction author extraordinaire.  Change that "months to tone down", above, to Years, people. Case. In. Point.)

I'm thinking that some of my short story was built from ideas or thinking about the song "Cat Faces" off the Ugly Cassanova album "Sharpen Your Teeth".  The song uses a lot of logging imagery (cat faces in the pines is a reference to scarring on a tree trunk) and it's a duet of sorts, between two male voices singing different and occasionally overlapping lyrics.  I don't know how they pulled it off, but it's really beautifully done and quite haunting - check the sample at under the album (Sharpen Your Teeth) song name Cat Faces -  it's beyond interesting,  it seems to hint at some sort of relationship, some fatalism, and an undercurrent of secrets and finality.  Partly I really like the higher harmony line sung by Tim Rutili, but I think the line "I lay down with the southern range" - which I initially mis-heard as "I lay down in sudden rage" really grabbed me.

I listened to this album all the time before I was pregnant with my son, and a few months after he was born, I started having these dreams about two teenaged ne'er-do-well boys gone missing, a stubborn and ambitious teenaged girl who goes looking for him, and the bad things - the fallout, I guess - that collects along the way.  I set the dream in the woods between all the small towns I grew up around.  The dream series had plenty of plot, but it's quite grim.  I know what happens (and got over writing some of the icky bits immediately, knowing they need work) and more-or-less when and how.

I'm stalling though, because I know that bad things happen to good, and not-so-good people in the real world too.  I have a story and something to say, but is the excuse to write it really going to be "but it was such a good one!!"?  I feel I need to go with the depressing, but highly realistic ending that I've written, but I feel like someone in the story has to be redeemed.  Or the greater good has to be preserved somehow.  I'm the kind of person who watched The Book of Eli, and wondered how many other body parts were going to get shot off - because I can only take so many amputations in one movie.  I write poetry, fer heaven's sake.  Okay, rat-infested, steampunkish on occasion, gin-soaked-floozy  poetry, with a little cute supernatural thrown in for relief, but, still, it's poetry, damn it. I don't like amputations in general, but hey - look who's got a story that even has one old pale foot missing the commensurate body to go with! And....I'm not entirely sure why. Damnation without redemption for the sake of a good story just seems...wrong for me.

So, I'll write all the squicky bits.  The faster, the better.  Then maybe I can find a way to play omniscient and
omnipotent being and tweak a few plot points, allowing at least one major character  a realistic way out of durance vile.
I hate writing the squicky bits.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

ROW 80 Check in #8 from the Orchid house


Writing time being especially precious, it's a relief when there's....something to write, after all!!!

I read a post today on 'raising the stakes' - about how we not only have to show, not tell - we have to also raise the stakes - that we have to give our main characters greater risk, so the reward carries more of an emotional payoff for the readers.

Well, hmm. I most certainly have risked my main and secondary character, and "done-in" the the minor supporting characters one gruesome way or another.  Frankly, I'm feeling like a little bit of a bastard about it,'s the story.  The story is a cautionary tale about, quite frankly, not straying off the path.  And the consequences for doing so are wretched.  So, in a sense, it's a completely realistic fairy tale - dreadful things happen with un-natural or supernatural or supernormal impetus, and the outcome is dire.

Sometimes, that's just the way it goes.

And, today, there are (finally) over 6000 words saying so :-)

Go me.

And, to the rest of you ROW 80 Challengers - GO YOU! Cheer them on at the link below :-)

- something awful out there..... and by the way, what's your favorite coffee maker?

I so need to get a few things rolling.  My writing time is usually deferred to my daughters nap time on an every-other-day basis. Evenings after the kids go to bed need to be kept for me and Jon - what's the point of having an amazing husband who still makes your heart leap....if you don't talk to the guy? The kids get up early in the morning if they end up in bed with us - which today they BOTH did (need to watch what they drink before bed!! Early am potty breaks...just don't help.) so early writing sessions would be ideal....if we can avoid THAT problem.

My coffeepot (the scent of which wakes me from a dead slumber) is on the fritz and frankly isn't too safe, so I can't program it to wake me in the morning.  On that note - and I'm serious - PLEASE COMMENT with your favorite brand/make of coffee brewer - just click the cute little orange 'comments' link below the post. I almost bought the 12 C Cuisinart programmable coffee maker, and upon researching it, found that it has a nasty habit of bursting into flames, even at only 6 months old.  I don't have the patience to use my french press in the early am, and no-coffee is non - negotiable!  Post your preference - I'd rather get reviews from a few reliable sources other than Cuisinart's site :-), and I've found I don't have the patience for all 483 comments at Amazon (oddly enough...)

So, it's off to help kids with their morning stuff, harness up a Barbie horse, start the pot roast, and gear up for a (hopefully) solid afternoon writing session.  And then do the ROW 80 update :-)

Stay warm, safe and well :-)


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

spring in my step, where there aren't screws 'n bolts instead...

Okay, it's like 900 degrees below zero today, and sure enough, I bet I could pinpoint (heh - get it? Pins?! ok fine, I crack myself up, anyway) every damn piece of hardware in my right foot. Even the plate on the left has a mild...something going on, and that one's been installed for a year now. If this blogging/writing/art thing doesn't pan out, I think I've a fine future in meteorological prognostication. Holy cow I spelled it right on the first try. That means telling the weather when my dogs start barkin'.

Uh, anyone else know what language is coming up next? I am off the map today folks. arggg.
(okay, there's pirate. thar get the idea.)

We finished our parenting classes last night, and recapped what we got out of it. Basically : #1 You're probably doing a better job than you think you are. #2 Intentional parenting trumps accidental parenting everytime. Yes, that's pretty much common sense. But it's amazing how far from intentional you can wander when you don't remember to think about it. It's always worth considering the job, when your job is raising future adults :-)

I've reconnected with a handful of friends I lost touch with  a long time ago, through one mishap or another.  Life happens, and people get busy, but it's really nice to see that they all seem to be doing pretty well, and have lives of meaning and joy.

Today is not a writing day, it's a getting-things-done and setting-up-the-rest-of-the-week-for-good-days kind of day.  It's a day to think about making a cool valentine for my husband and kids, for making sure we get Vincent his valentines for school friends, and for actual meal planning.  And, some exercise. I can't do a lot from the couch, but I bet I can get on the floor and do push ups or crunches. I had a real epiphany this weekend about how down and unpleasant I've gotten from being stuck in the house, off my routines, and low on physical activity.  My husband and I've spent more time talking in the evenings lately, and that's been a really nice feeling - on the other hand, it's so good to concentrate on something other than my health that it's not Too hard to get giddy when I'm this happy.  Writing another 400 on the story yesterday, while deleting another 100 less than amazing words may also have something to do with this.

I know - what kind of a brainless ass goes around talking about how happy they are??? Probably ones that read all the classics when they were little, and forgot all about 'em when they got big!! Let's rephrase, and just say I'm feelin' grateful.

For all of you still battling cruddy colds and/or serious illness,  or 900 below zero weather, or just the serious blahs, hang in there. There will be one thing that makes some of this better.  Maybe not right this second, but something will change for the better soon. And sometimes the smallest changes can make the biggest difference.

Be well,


Monday, February 7, 2011

diving in again

Just turned on Sigur Ros, as I love the bigness of it for writing sessions. And the fact that Siena is the only one in the house who's actually able to sing along, and she's napping - no distractions there :-)

Watered the Token orchid yesterday (it's roots are up in the air, as if to say "I Surrender!!!! Don't hurt me!! Is it possible I've done something wrong with it's care??!!) and today is a re-boot day. I think I have to muse and type to keep the story moving, so one more trip upstairs, then muse and type I shall. Maybe I'll get another scene done. The poetry bug is biting pretty hard, though, so hopefully the story will swat it back for awhile.

Make your Monday a good one, it will cheer you up this week :-)


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Early ROW 80 Check-in #7 at the Orchid House

Well, after a danged dry writing week (and low humidity indoors, too, thanks to our brief deep freeze! Baaaad stuff for an orchid house!) I've gotten a little further ahead.

#1 - Did a proper critique for my poetry partner Julia
#2 - More slogging through the story today - the time was hard-won, as Not One Soul in this house knows what mama's version of quiet time is all about yet :-) Added about 450 words this week.....
#3 - An interesting draft of a love poem this morning - a genre I haven't written for a while.  Turnabout's fair play, so Julia, be ready!
#4 - Enjoyed an excerpt from Stephanie Beck's "How To Sweeten a Mother-In-Law".  Really need to figure out how to purchase an e-book/story to read on a computer, since I seem to be the last Luddite on the planet without an e-reader.  Check it out at Amazon for the Kindle edition - seems like Quite the fun and evil short read :-)

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Friday, February 4, 2011

Finally cracked 5000 words

I can't say they're all good ones, but tonights scene moved the plot along, which is good.  I seem to do better at writing scenes than connections between them - I see a few problems with this situation down the road though. :-)

I also (in a fit of frustration) hit the pause button on the story, and sought out the endlessly amusing "who do I write like' analysis.  It's no reflection on these authors, but in no particular order, various parts of the short story in progress appear to be written by David Foster Wallace, Dan Brown (grrrr), J.R.R. Tolkien, William Gibson, and Mary Shelley.

If Misters Wallace and Gibson should run across this, please note this is my first short story and will probably not be noteworthy enough for you to die of embarrassment by association.  Actually I would probably die of embarrassment before admitting this out loud.  I blame it all on the link at right and above - copy a bit of your last email and paste it in, and see which author you are ape-ing.  

Anyway, I will only get through this story one slogging step at a time, so, there, I wrote some sloggy bits and now am done.  To the shower, and, eventually, some wine, and sleep. Maybe, if I'm a good girl, I'll have some quiet time to write in the morning. Crossing my fingers now..... :-)

Sweet dreams :-)


Quick update - added more artwork

I just added two more pieces of artwork to the portfolio page, so if you are bored, you can check and see if it's something new, or something you've seen before.  I'll probably add a few more pages if I feel like making an actual digital gallery.  It's fairly boring presentation, but a good way to at least 'slap it up there'.

That's all for now, busy day today.  Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

ROW 80 check in #6 - Ooops, life happened!

Yes, my life is coming back to me.  I'm moving around more, almost zip for crutches (possibly not always the most brilliant move), cooking more actual food, and doing things I HAVE to do.  Parenting classes (I'll always take good advice in this dept. now, so I don't have to take as much later!!), parent involvement at school, adding more time to my son's violin practice (and having commensurately more playtime to make up for it with his sister), reconnecting with friends and family I've missed, more housework as I can, and trying to actually spend time in the evenings talking with my husband.

All of this is very good, normal stuff.

But all of it seems to take THREE TIMES LONGER THAN NORMAL!!!

Of course it does.

When you put your life on hold, for medical, emotional, or vocational issues, when you resume it, you will have to make up for what you missed.  Sometimes all at once.

So, where I left off:  The un-named WIP has had no attention from it's creator, so my two teenaged sociopaths are still out who-knows-where doing God-knows-what. Probably something foul and multi-syllabic.  My protagonist has acquired a conscience, and I've tipped the scales back from a story with a just ending to one with a realistic and cautionary ending.  I just think it's better writing, and when I find someone with a strong stomach, they can tell me which one works better. Having Not written the just one yet, I have a thin sense of which one it will be. I sent a new scene off to a friend for feedback on too-thin characterizations, or setting, or (hopefully NOT) Really Stupid Dialogue.

Having done all that, I'm ready for bed.  My regularly scheduled keytapping can probably resume tomorrow.  If I can get my bottom out of bed on time.

Love and sleep,


See others at the ROW 80 Hop Below: