Quote and NaNoWriMo update

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”~ Edgar Allen Poe

19,148 words thus far in Death and I, the story of Mairin, Bruce, and Death.

This weekend I wrote three found poems with snippets of the NY Times again. I had a great helper too. Macavity laid on the snippets and moved several which ended up being just what I needed. I used pieces of the different poems in my story with Mairin, too, so my cutting the newspaper became an exercise in creative thinking.

Phantom Threat

A family portrait for all humanity

blood, sweat, toil, and tears

unraveling racial hatred

prompts  crisis

in the darkest hours

of rivers and rituals

Happiness is for other people

those who stay

the once mediocre

seek some calm

apologize again

for them, it’s not discrimination

but

A war of words underway

The screaming just won’t stop

until

we seek our way to death.

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

An enlightened friendship

when coffee brews a different spirit

in all its realness

speaks

Sweetness with a side of sarcasm.

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

The metamorphosis

is an unwanted

brutal final indignity.

It penalizes what we had

in the

years of relying on what

no one knows.

The dots to greatness

remain unknown.

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Yup, he had a good idea. The coffee poem and the metamorphosis both improved with his help.

A quote and scraps of today

 

“The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has been before.” —Albert Einstein

I wrote 3295 words this morning. I got up at 6am and sat writing until noon. I didn’t move except to refill my coffee and to use the bathroom. I decided that I better move around some I worked on taking down Halloween and putting up Thanksgiving. It’s disappointing to me how few decorations there are.

Outside the house, all signs of Halloween have disappeared for another year. Hopefully, we will be living somewhere new by the time Halloween rolls around again. I’m looking forward to next the adventure. I put the scarecrows and the turkey by the front door. I hung a turkey on the storm door. The living room is packed up but that’s as far as I went today.

I decided to have raw veggies, some pepperoni and a cup of tea for dinner and work on the edits Raz sent back. I finished that and decided to work on some more writing. I lost all track of time, missed Grey’s Anatomy again. 😦 but I did churn out 3000 more words.

I haven’t re-read what I wrote yet. I’m happy with calling it a night. I’ll edit tomorrow. I just want to be ahead so I can some quality time with my husband.

I even started a crazy poem today that I’m going to use in my story Death and I

I toss another swig back

 feel my lips pucker and eyes bulge.

 I know there’s mascara streaks

 running down my face.

It hardly matters now.

I wish I’d known love

was cruel before

It played me like a fool.

I’m always wiser

when it’s too late.

 So liquor is my new love of choice

I drink your memory away

My friends warn me

drinking is a problem

that it will be the death of me.

Will that even matter?

who knew salvation’s possible

a sip at a time

 til bottle’s empty.©

 

 

Please use the following quote as inspiration

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-legged beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

~Scottish Saying

 

This is where my mind went with that saying.

A Prayer

Imagine having your own village ghost
Happily haunting your guest room
Joining you for a bit of wine and pot roast
But will you be safe on this night of doom

Imagine having ghouls rise from the grave
Chasing the unlucky ones until they scream
Beasties howling from a nearby cave
Joining their forces, they make a good team

Imagine hearing things go bump in the night
When you would rather be sleeping
Everyone knows Hallow’s eve is a demons delight
Come All Saints Day, will you be safe in Gods keeping?

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.

The Skeletal Corpse

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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.

Is There A Song For That

Is there a song for that?
The words say I can’t go there.
I need to find a way to be cool.
I thought I could touch this place
but instead, I felt like a fool.
Is there a song for that?
Ain’t no talking to this man!
What’s he trying to say?
He tweets before his brain engages!
My mother warned me about this day.
Is there a song for that?
The words say I can’t go there.
I need to find a way to be cool.
I thought I could touch this place
but instead, I felt like a fool.
Is there a song for that?
Lyric by lyric I looked for love,
I thought if I could only sing my way,
I would find myself in the melodies.
Don’t let me down, I’m too tired to stay!
Is there a song for that?
Ain’t no talking to this man!
What’s he trying to say?
He tweets before his brain engages!
My mother warned me about this day.
Is there a song for that?
Patti Griffin says yeah girl there is!
Don’t whine that you never get what you want
But… but it’s all my fault!
Girl, get ready for a new jaunt
Is there a song for that????…

 

The Lady Don’t Look Back!w/c 216  31 lines

The Painless Truth

There is a crazy contest going on Writing.Com and the prompt for the writing challenge was to write a dark poem answering this question Is death unpleasant?
This is where my mind went after remembering the question life asked death.

The Painless Truth

Is death unpleasant
To have no yesterday
no tomorrow
Sounds inviting to me
I know death is a distant rumor
to you who are young
But not for me,
I long
To forget time,
to forget life
to finally find peace
I’ve flown as high as I’m flying
Our lives will end the same way
Only a few mere details will differ
But you ask why love death
instead of loving life
Life is filled with beautiful lies
Death is the painless truth
and
Truth matters the most to me.

93 w/c including title

 

July flew by on me

Writing Course- Write a Novel in 10 weeks

I just completed the halfway point of the course. Our assignment for this week was the first page of our book. 250 words maximum with the one margin all the way around, 12pt font size and in Times Roman with a header of our title and our last name.  Except, I don’t have a name yet, so I wrote TITLE and then my last name. I always leave word in the setting it comes with and apparently that’s not publishing standards so I had to correct that and the font size. Nor do I ever pay attention to the margins or indentations because typically I write poetry.  It’s just more things to remember to do before I write.

With that said, I wrote my first page and received positive feedback and I’m proud of you from the instructor. I read it to my husband Vic and a good friend who both agreed I had curiosity aroused immediately and they were invested in the character.

Theresa, I have averaged 25 hours a week this month. I have a twelve-page character traits list, three-page ordinary world scene set-up. I have a strange outline going but right now I’m not really sure how much I’ll stick to it. Mairin, my character has a mind of her own and she keeps surprising me as I write.

And if that isn’t enough on  I’m participating in two different writing challenges for the month of August. One I am leading is a virtual blogging trip through all 13 countries in South America. I’ve created activities and planned our lodging and food for each country and the bloggers have to write from those prompts. It’s a fun way to learn about different parts of the world.

Then there is a challenge where we form teams,  we review like crazy other writers work, and do writing challenges in hopes of beating the other teams. There are battles where the two teams pledge to do so many reviews and the winner during the set time frame wins extra points. It’s called Game of Thrones, kind of a play off the show. My house is Florent, there is a fox on our banner. There are 13 total houses competing with 10 people on each team for the whole month of August. Last year, we got bumped out of the top three where we had been for 3 years.

Crocheting Project

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This is one of the jellyfish I’m working on for my eldest granddaughter’s new apartment in Santa Barbara. She loves the ocean so everything in her apartment is related.

AIRBNB

Thus far we’ve only had 2 days off this month of insanity. Thankfully, no more broken pipes like we began the month. A company came in and removed the rug, what a disaster that was. They set up drying equipment and treated the area for mold. There was no way with my allergies could I handle removing the rug, I had difficulty breathing down there with the cleaning I did do.

We’ve met some fascinating people from around the world. We’ve hosted 3 different families from China, a father, and son from the UK,  two different German couples, a young man from India, a woman from Romania, a man from Italy, and right now a young woman from Bangladesh. And tomorrow we have a woman arriving from India and on Monday a man from Africa.

My scones are definitely a hit! Right now I have cinnamon chip scones and cookies I used to make my kids with Rice Krispies, oatmeal, and flour with shredded coconut. There called Ranger cookies. I always tweak them with different ingredients and these have chopped walnuts and dried cranberries.  If I get ambitious tomorrow I’ll post the recipe with a picture.

Garden 

I have peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers growing in containers on the lower level. Everything is growing very well in spite of the crazy weather we’ve had. I am amazed at how huge my cucumber plants are, guess they enjoyed all the rain, because they’re huge and covered with buds. I’ve picked three so far that were six inches long. I’ve picked about 20 cherry tomatoes and 2 huge green peppers and there are at least a dozen more almost ready for picking. The zucchini has been a bit slower but it does have buds finally. I did have lettuce but the dang squirrels dug it up. So to be safe I put bird netting on the rest of my planters.

Reading

I haven’t had as much time as I’d like to read all the blogs but after this intense writing course I will catch up.

I’m reading Octavia Butler’s book Parable of a Sower. “Lauren Olamina and her family live in one of the only safe neighborhoods remaining on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Behind the walls of their defended enclave, Lauren’s father, a preacher, and a handful of other citizens try to salvage what remains of a culture that has been destroyed by drugs, disease, war, and chronic water shortages. When a fire destroys their compound, Lauren’s family is killed and she is forced out into the world that is fraught with danger. With a handful of other refugees, Lauren must make her way north to safety, along the way conceiving a revolutionary idea that may mean salvation for all mankind.” I’m really enjoying the protagonist who is a self-assured young woman who instead of being defeated is taking life by the horns.

Real Life Writers and Critique Group

Now, this is definitely something new for me and the writing group as well, we’re going to an open mic in Philadelphia.  A bunch of us are going to present our work to a live audience. To be frankly honest, I’m scared shitless. I panic when I get on stage and there definitely is one there in the bar where this is going on.  Thank goodness I won’t be alone. Jordan, Dan, Marcus, are definitely doing presentations. The guys are so comfortable in their skin whereas I’m not. There are going to be about 10 of us going together to support each other. I wish Sara and Pam were in town, their part of our group but no longer live in this area. The ladies would rock at this. So right now it’s me and the guys.

By the way one of my poems was published in a local newspaper.

http://www.princetoninfo.com/index.php/component/us1archive/?d=current&Itemid=24

Imperfectly Perfect
People Saw It at The Time
Mismatched Yet Perfectly Paired
Idealism
And
Horrific Brutality
Up-close and Unsettled
Inspired by What Lies Beneath
Purposely
Seduced and Betrayed
In a Galaxy, Far Far Away
We See
Belief is Potent
Every Angle
Mismatched Yet Perfectly Paired
We Understand
The World
Doesn’t
Change
For Better
Or WorseLive

 

Enjoy!

 

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!