Getting Myself Prepped for NaNoWriMo

There are so many things to establish in the background to assure continuity in a book that hadn’t crossed my mind until I began this undertaking. It made me appreciate all the authors I’ve read in my lifetime. Wow!

I feel reasonably comfortable with my conflicts and my protagonist. I have several minor antagonists and one major one who will definitely make his handsome presence known. Putting pictures on my character trait list did help. I found looking at them and imagining how they would handle different complications enjoyable. Yesterday, I worked on my antagonist, oh he’s  handsome and dangerous. I looked at a lot of pictures of men before deciding I really like how Patrick Dempsey looked in all black, I could easily see him as my Thanatos.Thanatos1

Now, I’m working on an outline I’ll be comfortable working with over the next month. Who knew there would be so many different types– Snowflake, 3-point,  5-point, 8-points, traditional bullet point, Vogler’s, Campbell’s, pure summary, skeletal outlining, flashlight outlining, free writing, visual mapping, contextual prepping and of course all the different software for outlining. Yikes, it’s confusing.

I’ve been reading Vogler’s Writer’s Journey and Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces. Some days I feel like I read more than I write because it’s all part of the process of fine tuning my craft. And naturally, everyone has a different take on successful writing techniques.

My setting was pretty easy I’ve created a fictional town in Maine called Bayhollow, the next town over is a college town called Stone Lake with a university called Kampden University. There’s an active military base about 10 miles away in a town called Deadzone. All of these locations are very near the Canadian border.

On WDC they have prep challenge which thus far has kept me to the task which I’m finding helpful because it’s all new to me. Also, there’s the lingering dread 50,000 words hovering too. I find comfort in seeing familiar names pledged to do NaNoWriMo. Misery does love company.

I was reading Theresa’s blog this morning and thinking about how I overcome writing challenges. My go to is my camera when nothing else works. There is something about looking through the portal of small space that makes my muse happy. My perspective is different and very targeted.

The other day while I was creating my setting I had been gathering all the logistics like population, restaurants, and businesses. (world building) I took a break and caught up on reading blogs. Yes, I’m guilty of reading and not always leaving comments. But in this instance, Theresa had drawn a fence on a white background with shading to give the impression of winter or even a sandy beach. I took it as winter in my mind and I saw my protagonist breaking down on a back road and trodding along this seemingly endless fence. The timing was perfect for my muse because it sparked another opportunity for frustration in what seems like mountains on her journey to better her life. Thank you Theresa.

Another way I open my mind to writing is cutting the newspaper into shreds, readable shreds. I grab random titles and move them around I create a poem or a line that fits perfectly in what I’m working on that may have never crossed my mind.

 

The first poem could easily be part of a conversation my protagonist has and the second could be a fearful moment added to the scene in the cemetery.  Muses work in interesting ways as Barber Adagio for Strings by the London Philharmonic Orchestra plays in the background.

I do enjoy having dark classical playing in the background. What can I say my muse is a bit twisted.

My compost bin enjoys all the snippets of paper when I’m done so everything has a purpose if you open yourself to the possibilities.

Thirteen

Thirteen by Lyn Crain

Thirteen toads, lizards, and bats
Hear my spell unfold and obey
Into the smoke slither away
Rally all of your friends
The time we waited for is ours
Exhume the bodies of the dead
Exile has ended, we are free
Never a ghoul or goblin again

Thirteen witches in a circle
Hear my spell unfold and obey
In a flash fly to the four winds
Raise havoc on humankind
The time we waited for is ours
Exhilarating pleasures to be had
Evil glares no more
Never be a witch again

Thirteen vampires rise from your coffin
Hear my spell unfold and obey
Intrigue and conspiracy everywhere
Reconvene covenants from the past
The time we waited for is ours
Excitement and anticipation
Experience the daylight of your youth
Never be sentenced to darkness again

Thirteen spells set us free
Hear me now and obey
Illicit pleasures for us all
Raise havoc on civilization today
The time we waited for is ours
Each spell better than the last
Eternally from this Halloween night
Never be ignored again©

177 words, 32 lines

The Skeletal Corpse

DSC_0957 (2)_LI
The Skeletal Corpse

 

Eyes flare bold red inside the extended dark head
with a huge glistening white-toothed smile.
Wispy smoke swirls hide the body in front of the
pentagram etched in a brazen satanic style.
My neck hair stands up straight in protest to
the sound of nails raked across the granite.
Ew, a smell of rotted meat and cheap perfume
I can’t imagine what created this nasty cesspit.
The earth shudders as the moon briefly appears
from behind the dark sky. The brittle and decayed bones,
what’s left of a  body is so close
clearly in my view.
I try to back up, but my feet are frozen.
His bony fingers clench my left ankle painfully
I scream frantically, I hope someone hears me before my
throat gives out. I tug, twist and kick to no avail,
My ankle is firmly in his grasp, I sense my end is near.
A deep, gravelly growl suddenly breaks the eerie silence, I whisper
Help me. His painful grasp loosens as he contemplates his new prize.
 I tug myself free. I’m so exhausted I can’t move.
The low growls are so close, I step back, it’s hard to stand.
Gravelly voice whispers to me, run when I command thee.
Blood-curdling screams, a moan filled with annoyance, and loud thuds
made it so hard to hear the raspy voice as the battle ensued.
Run, Run, run fast and don’t look back
I stumble several times before I make it to the house
I lock the doors and wonder when it will end.
Tick, tick, tock, tick, tick, tock damn, I hate that clock
Knife in my hand, hidden in the darkness I wait
Tears trickle down my face, I am relieved to be free
but a sense of dread lingers as I await my fate.

Evolution of the Jack-o-Lantern

Write a story or poem from the perspective of a pumpkin getting ready to be carved into a Jack-O-Lantern.

Evolution of the Jack-o-Lantern©Lyn Crain

12066-illustration-of-a-jack-o-lantern-pv
Big, or little, oh my, each a different one,
Pick me; pick me, I hope
From one to the next, the excited children run.
The unlucky ones left behind will surely mope.
Because I’m the pumpkin a child chose.
Oh, what will kind of a face will I be?
So much better than being left for the crows
Will it be happy or scary? I can’t wait to see,
what the children create with their knife.
Once a simple pumpkin in the field
One very special moment I will come to life.
A jack o lantern, my true glory will be revealed
as I shine boldly from my special place.
Creating the magic of Halloween night
I am radiant in my chosen state of grace,
happy to have a Jack o Lantern’s exclusive right.

Prompt inspired poem

Take a quote (funny, inspirational, insightful… it’s up to you) and turn it into a poem. Please include the quote and who it’s by at the bottom of your item. ~ Poetry

Telegraph, Telephone or Circulate

A Lie Gets Halfway Around the World, Mate

Don’t be humble, you’re not that great.
I swear, I know the time I won’t be late
Did you say we’re going on a dinner date?
I can’t believe she puts up with so much hate.
Who let the dogs out? Shut the gate?
Did you hear, Winston said, I’m great?
The decorations are so dang ornate.
Let me write it down while you dictate.
I thought I’d lie on the floor straight
writhe in pain for a bit while I wait
Are there cookies on the plate?
She said something about her heart rate
Is she always so sedate?
Do we have time to ice skate?
It doesn’t really matter, it’s fate!

Before the truth has a chance to get its pants on, Mate.
Are you sure you heard it straight? ©

free style 140 w/c  18 lines

“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”
― Winston S. Churchill

Life in a Nutshell

I’m on Round 73 with the Mandala. I added orange, pale yellow and red from earlier rounds to bring the colors outward. My inspiration for part 11 was the fiery sunset, the sky glowed intensely Saturday evening with the beginning of our heat wave here in Jersey. Thankfully, today is the last of this heat and air advisory. I don’t mind the heat so much but 95 is more than I enjoy.  I’m crocheting the Mandala directly under a ceiling fan or I’d be roasting. The picture doesn’t do the three colors justice but next to the blue is the orange, then its yellow followed by the cherry red and when I begin Round 74 it will be yellow again then the orange will end this part. The stitches are hdc, dc and dtr which are easy enough to do.DSC_0019

I did sneak in a mental health break and worked on a seashell hat and scarf pattern that I saw on Rhondda’s  Oombawka Design Crochet. I was very pleased with how it worked up. I’m not thrilled with the buttons I’ve come across yet so that part isn’t done yet. The brown button isn’t large enough nor does it contrast enough. The white plastic just looks cheap to me. Maybe it’s just me because I really wanted a seashell about the size of the white button but finding it thus far has been quite frustrating.

I’m inclined to have the lighter turquoise be the front versus the darker only because so much of the darker turquoise shows on the hat. This is the first time, I’ve tried Caron’s Cake skeins, I loved how the colors unfolded in this pattern. I still have a small ball of yarn after completing the scarf and hat.

If you haven’t checked out Rhondda’s patterns they work real easy with the clear instructions. I’ve included the link to the next hat I’m going to do for my grandson.

https://oombawkadesigncrochet.com/2017/06/just-my-style-hat-free-pattern.html

Writing challenge for the week wasn’t as much as I hoped but I still did accomplish 35 minutes a day with the blogging challenge I am doing on Writing.com and I wrote 2 poems that I’m still mucking with before I share them.

We’ve had guests at our home since last Tuesday until yesterday with the Airbnb part of our lives. Tuesday through Thursday, we had two writers join us because they were attending a writing conference in Princeton. Then we had a couple from DC up to watch their son in a soccer championship for the weekend. And the final guests were a one-night college couple that left a lot to be desired and encouraged me to change the details on my listing. Two of the three groups were awesome and we really enjoyed the conversations immensely. I was genuinely sad to see the DC couple leave.

After looking at Tami’s cinnamon rolls and broccoli alfredo I decided to make the alfredo Saturday evening for dinner, the lesser of the two evils much to Vic’s disappointment.  He’s not starving by a long shot. I made lemon cupcakes and apple brownies for the guests to enjoy and there were tons of leftovers. We had blueberry muffins and a lemon coffee cake for breakfast.  The alfredo, I decided to try a low-cal version with vegetable broth, flour, and a bit of olive oil instead of heavy cream with freshly grated parmesan and garlic. I added broccoli that I had sauteed with garlic and fresh herbs from the garden after the sauce began to thicken.  I love using fresh herbs. I grow rosemary, oregano, basil, thyme, chives, and sage in rail planters.   It came out so good, Tami, thanks for the inspiration.  But I can never cook just for one meal so, on Sunday, I decided to add chicken and mushrooms which definitely took it to the next level. YUM!

Yesterday, I made us grilled cheese with tomato and fresh basil on sourdough bread for lunch. It was simply too hot to eat anything heavier and besides we had a dinner plan that was a lot more appealing. We went out for an ice cream date with our grandson, Chris. I don’t know about you but when it’s 92 degrees ice cream is a perfect dinner alternative. He enjoyed having ice cream instead of dinner too.

I’ve been enjoying reading USA Through Our Eyes posts about Rochester, New York. I learned a lot about the city and saw some lovely glimpses of the area. Gabe’s digital painting is really good , you should check it out.

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/52885002/posts/1489123409

If you’re looking for healthcare info  I suggest you check out my better half’s blog Crain’s Comments.

https://vlcrain17.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/more-scandals-in-for-profit-medicine/

He’s a researcher and enjoys helping people be prepared for life’s unexpected nuances. If you have a question, he’s the person to ask, he’s really good at finding answers to health issues.

I’m going to close with Theresa’s challenge to write with our inner child creativity inspiring us to do something different than we normally write. That in itself is difficult to do because we’re just creatures of habit. At least, I know I am and writing differently sometimes makes me feel unnerved. I need my coffee cup and my pencil in hand. Even this blog entry I wrote the jest of it on paper and then copied it here on WordPress. I feel safe with my paper and pencil.

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/56405964/posts/6515

If you haven’t checked out Theresa’s Tattoo Girl, you’re missing an enjoyable read. I can’ t wait to see what happens next with Jaime and Corey.

 

“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced. ”   

Soren Kierkegaard

 

 

 

Featured Poet~Maria Wisława Anna Szymborska

On Death, without Exaggeration

It can’t take a joke,
find a star, make a bridge.
It knows nothing about weaving, mining, farming,
building ships, or baking cakes.

In our planning for tomorrow,
it has the final word,
which is always beside the point.

It can’t even get the things done
that are part of its trade:
dig a grave,
make a coffin,
clean up after itself.

Preoccupied with killing,
it does the job awkwardly,
without system or skill.
As though each of us were its first kill.

Oh, it has its triumphs,
but look at its countless defeats,
missed blows,
and repeat attempts!

Sometimes it isn’t strong enough
to swat a fly from the air.
Many are the caterpillars
that have outcrawled it.

All those bulbs, pods,
tentacles, fins, tracheae,
nuptial plumage, and winter fur
show that it has fallen behind
with its halfhearted work.

Ill will won’t help
and even our lending a hand with wars and coups d’etat
is so far not enough.

Hearts beat inside eggs.
Babies’ skeletons grow.
Seeds, hard at work, sprout their first tiny pair of leaves
and sometimes even tall trees fall away.

Whoever claims that it’s omnipotent
is himself living proof
that it’s not.

There’s no life
that couldn’t be immortal
if only for a moment.

Death
always arrives by that very moment too late.

In vain it tugs at the knob
of the invisible door.
As far as you’ve come
can’t be undone.

 

By Wislawa Szymborska
From “The People on the Bridge”, 1986
Translated by S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh

Copyright © Wislawa Szymborska, S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh

My apologies to chance for calling it necessity.
My apologies to necessity if I’m mistaken, after all.
Please, don’t be angry, happiness, that I take you as my due.
May my dead be patient with the way my memories fade.
My apologies to time for all the world I overlook each second.
My apologies to past loves for thinking that the latest is the first.
Forgive me, distant wars, for bringing flowers home.
Forgive me, open wounds, for pricking my finger.
I apologize for my record of minuets to those who cry from the depths.
I apologize to those who wait in railway stations for being asleep today at five a.m.
Pardon me, hounded hope, for laughing from time to time.
Pardon me, deserts, that I don’t rush to you bearing a spoonful of water.
And you, falcon, unchanging year after year, always in the same cage,
your gaze always fixed on the same point in space,
forgive me, even if it turns out you were stuffed.
My apologies to the felled tree for the table’s four legs.
My apologies to great questions for small answers.
Truth, please don’t pay me much attention.
Dignity, please be magnanimous.
Bear with me, O mystery of existence, as I pluck the occasional thread from your train.
Soul, don’t take offense that I’ve only got you now and then.
My apologies to everything that I can’t be everywhere at once.
My apologies to everyone that I can’t be each woman and each man.
I know I won’t be justified as long as I live,
since I myself stand in my own way.
Don’t bear me ill will, speech, that I borrow weighty words,
then labor heavily so that they may seem light.

 

Maria Wisława Anna Szymborska (2 July 1923 – 1 February 2012) was a Polish poet, essayist, and translator. Szymborska was awarded the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature “for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality.

 

Poets and Poetry, Writing Challenge and the Mandala

I will admit there is a smugness among poets because we try to use our poetry to make something happen or stop happening. We hang onto that thread of belief that what we wrote will shorten a nightmare, maybe even save a life. We find it unimaginable to not try with our writing.

There are definitely some bad poems out there but for every bad poem, there is the one intellectual poem that will strike a nerve. As an author on more than one occasion, a poem I’ve written has surprised me with the end result being different than where I began.

This particular poem has engaged different readers in ways I didn’t anticipate. From how did you know how alone I feel, or I’ve been there or are you okay?

Undesired

I lie

withered beside

the road like

a broken little bird

to confused to fly.

My neglected state

is apparent

even to the most

oblivious of

the oblivious.

Anger and frustration

sustain me

initially

but even that

energy fades

leaving a pitiful wisp

of what I once

was.

Now, a memory

shuffled among

many, I’ve

lost value

over time

until all

that is left

of me is

dust.©

The writing challenge had a slight bump in the road, Monday, and Tuesday no matter what I began writing ended up torn into pieces in frustration. My poor pencil snapped at one point because I was pushing so hard into the pad. Course, having my migraine spike that the control meds didn’t take the edge off didn’t help. I decided to sleep,  read some and work on the mandala until the Botox injections finally kicked in and the migraine from hades dissipated. It’s been three days since the injections and I am still struggling but at least today when I sat down to write I wrote something I liked.

Marcus sent me back my critique on Death and I and unfortunately, his commentary was the same as Vic’s that with all the time I’ve been spending trying to emulate what other authors in our local writing group do I lost my own voice in the process. So today, I went back to the table with my beloved pencil and began again line by line.

Funny thing before I knew it three hours had flown by and a whole pot of coffee drank. Oops, sorry, Vic.  (I’m a serious coffee drinker unlike my husband, he doesn’t usually drink more than one cup whereas I am usually a pot and more. I sleep like a baby every night regardless what time I indulge.) For this week, Theresa, Ronel, Tami I have almost 5 hours accomplished, although 2 I really feel were unproductive.

I did get some blog reading done. I spent some time with usathroughtyoureyeswith Audrey, Tom, and Emma (their dog). I also tried finger crocheting without much success, Yolanda. I did enjoy catching up with your crochet posts. The sweater is gorgeous but she (Yolanda) is frustrated with the sleeves. My only crochet clothing projects were vests for my children when they were younger. I do hats and scarves quite often because I love the look of Tunisian stitches. I’ve avoided shirts because of the sleeves and the way they drape or don’t drape as she discovered. Misstalkaholic had an interesting post about the Wagah border I enjoyed in addition to her examples of baggy shirts and wearing options. I’m guilty of liking loose baggy shirts untucked and just hanging there but then I’m 61 years old and comfort matters immensely to me. Tami is trying out bloglovin. I wish you lots of luck Tami.  I blog on Writing.com, I don’t have time to commit to another site beyond here and there. I did see oceanoriginals is looking for pattern testers. I briefly contemplated that and decided not to stretch myself any thinner than I already am.

We’re on Airbnb now, trying to earn some much-needed money to finish the renovations in this stone fortress so I really need to stay on top of the house cleaning and not let my furballs get to out of hand.

Mandala update:

I’m on round 66, the most challenging row thus far I have encountered. The directions are a bit complicated and working with two yarns at once have definitely slowed my progress. I’m working with baby blue and royal blue in this section which is Part 10. The designer did note there are only two colors in this part.

Round 64 and 65 were a snap unlike 66. I have taken it apart now 3 times because I messed up the popcorn spacing and the changing of colors which shows big time if you don’t have it as directed. It didn’t help either that Purryl, our oldest tabby, decided to chew the yarn I had pulled out either. A migraine didn’t help either.

“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” ― C.S. Lewis

I’m taking my time and checking often now so I don’t have to take it apart again. Plus I moved to the table so the mandala did not lay on top of me because it is mighty toasty here. I could give in and put the AC on but I’m resisting. We’ve been shut up for so long I want to hear the birds sing, and even that crazy woodpecker who’s clearly not working for the government because I can see his accomplishments .:)

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” ― Aristotle

Have a great day!

Writing Challenge Continued

The rough draft of the poem I shared several days ago about life in moments and another one about wildflowers I took with me to my writing critique group. They enjoyed the imagery but the feedback was the cadence was off in both. One of the authors Raz Steel suggested I merge my poems into paragraphs with punctuation and see what comes to mind with it in a different format. This is both poems together with punctuation.

  Life in a Snapshot

This morning, I saw the droplets of water on the glossy leaves and fragrant spring petals. The plants bowed in the breeze, joyful for their reprieve from Mother Nature’s exploits. The birds sang sweet melodies, and a squirrel chattered noisily. Each sure, they have the remedies for the making of a beautiful day.

I sat with my coffee cup to my right while I scribbled with my pencil on paper. I tried to keep my thoughts reined in, but I’m enchanted at the moment. My youngest kitten nudged my hand startling me out of my musing. I happily agreed to Macavity’s insistent demand.

Unable to focus, I asked Vic to come dance with me in the field of clover. Our toes tickled the sweet fragrances free. I entwined garlands of wild flowers for us to wear as the bumblebees happily buzzed from blossom to blossom. The celandine and berries add brilliant color to the spring canvas. The birds sang magical notes as we strolled hand in hand back home as the sun faded behind the treetops.

At our age, we cherish every minute in this revolving door called life.

Life in a Snapshot evolved further with Raz Steel ‘s help. He hates adverbs and redundancies and I’m guilty of using both. Needless to say, he jumped all over them and immediately brought them to my attention. I’m eternally grateful for his editing prowess.

What do you think of Life in a Snapshot now?

Droplets of water beaded on glossy leaves and spring petals this morning. The plants bowed in the breeze, joyful for their reprieve from Mother Nature’s exploits. Birds sang and squirrels chattered, each sure they had the remedy for rendering a beautiful day.

I sat with a coffee cup and scribbled with pencil on paper, my thoughts reined in, but enchanted, nonetheless. Macavity, my kitten, nudged my hand and startled me out of my musing, and I agreed to his insistent demand.

Unable to focus, I asked Vic to dance with me in the field of clover. I entwined garlands of daisies and lavender to wear, as the bumblebees buzzed from blossom to blossom. Our toes tickled the sweet fragrances free, and celandine and berries added brilliant color to the Spring canvas. Magic guided us home as we strolled hand in hand, and the sun faded behind the trees.

*************************************************************************************

My writing was derailed again. Unfortunately, it was for bad news.  My deceased husband’s aunt texted me to let me know my ex-brother-in-law Jimmy had passed away.  Wow, He’s the same age as me. Jimmy’s health had been complicated with diabetes and heart issues for some time now. I’ll miss him but I know he is in a better place.

RIP Jimmy Osborne.

angel

               Don’t Cry For Me © Deborah Garcia Gaitan

Don’t cry for me,
I will be okay.
Heaven is my home now,
and this is where I’ll stay.
Don’t cry for me,
I’m where I belong.
I want you to be happy
and try to stay strong.
Don’t cry for me,
It was just my time.
But I will see you someday
on the other side.
Don’t cry for me,
I am not alone.
The angels are with me
to welcome me home.
Don’t cry for me,
for I have no fear.
All my pain is gone,
and Jesus took my tears.
Don’t cry for me,
this is not the end.
I’ll be waiting here for you,
when we meet again.

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/dont-cry-for-me

“I have come to know that it [death] is an important thing to keep in mind — not to complain or to make melancholy, but simply because only with the honest knowledge that one day I will die I can ever truly begin to live.”

—R.A. Salvatore, The Halfling’s Gem

I’m going to give a shameless plug too for my friend, fellow author Raz Steel. He has two published books available on Amazon. I’ve posted one link the other is easy to find.