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!

Writing Challenge Day 2

Yay, I accomplished 49 minutes and a poem not counting this blog entry.  🙂 I’m joining Teresa Barker and Ronel Janse van Vuuren on the productive writing challenge. Now, you’re probably thinking what’s so difficult about writing, you just do it. Easier said than done. There are so many other things that need to be done every day in a house with a messy Marvin husband and three moving hairballs. ( aka Purryl, Yeats, and Macavity, our four-legged family) The distractions are endless and I feel guilty letting everything sit while I stare at the page.  At least, I do.

A good friend said, “People go to work daily and when they come home they tackle the stuff that’s essential and get to the other stuff whenever. The problem with you is you’re not thinking of your writing as your job.  Or maybe writing isn’t to you? ”

Dang it, he’s right. 😦  I put my writing second to everything. That will be changing. 🙂

So this morning with every attention of writing for 90 minutes,  I sat for the allotted time and found myself getting lost in my thoughts before a poem came together for me. I briefly did get distracted by my surroundings and that stinker Macavity, who is mighty insistent but I did persevere.

My Life in Moments by Lyn Crain

Droplets of water on glossy leaves
and fragrant petals glisten brightly.
My plants joyful for their reprieves
from  Mother’s Natures antics 
savor these moist moments.

Birds singing sweet melodies
and squirrels chattering away.
Each sure, they have the remedies
for the making of a perfect day
create new musical moments.

Coffee cup sitting to my right
while my pencil scribbles on paper.
My thoughts wander as I write
and soon my images blur I’m
clearly lost in the moments.

My youngest kitten nudges my hand.
 He startles me out of my daydream.
 I happily agree to his insistent demand. 
His playful antics are a show stopper
highlighting our magical moments.

I discover something new to embrace
in life’s evolving door of mystery.
At my age, I cherish each place
that gives me the opportunity to
celebrate my life in the moments.

 

“When you are here and now, sitting totally not jumping ahead, the miracle has happened. To be in the moment is the miracle.”~Osho

“Forever is composed of nows.” ― Emily Dickinson

“Be present in all things and thankful for all things.” ― Maya Angelou

If you have the opportunity check out these dear ladies blogs and see how their productive writing is going.  Have a great day. 🙂

I’m off to the treadmill the other promise I made to myself to get back on track.

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/56405964/posts/6137

https://ronelthemythmaker.wordpress.com/2017/05/07/interview-with-the-authors-of-the-herolost-anthology-mysteriesofdeathandlife/

 

Let’s have coffee together

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Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Evening… I think I have everyone covered.

I’m on Round 7 of the Mandala Madness. Phew. Round 6 had some interesting quirks that hopefully, I won’t be repeating the same errors. No worries, it’s not with the pattern at all. It was totally my yarn choices. I chose my light turquoise yarn to do the shells in Round 39 which was a huge mistake because in Round 41 you are using the back loop of Round 39.  You’re probably thinking so… well the turquoise wasn’t a Caron or a Redheart yarn which hold up very well with more complicated stitches. The turquoise was a Bernina product and it was very disappointing in this case. It kept splitting apart and stretching which means I had to work slower and pick up a lower stitch behind it to help reinforce the back stitch.  😦

I decided after this frustrating round I would read ahead instead of simply following the video. Esther is great but I need to plan so I am not stressed with my work. It defeats the whole meditation process if you’re frustrated.

http://www.crystalsandcrochet.com

The designer’s website provided me with all the tools I needed to plan ahead. Wow, it’s not a lap size blanket as I originally thought to glance at the videos. It’s 7 feet, okay I’m working on a queen size bed project. I can do this.  It’s 111 rounds. I can do that too.

Then I got thinking how to best maximize my color usage. I decided on 18 colors that would give me the vibrancy I am looking for in the finished product. These colors are very prominent in nature and in my home. That’s even better. Eighteen colors means I will be repeating the colors 6 times if I want to have a color balance throughout the project. I can do this.

Since we last discussed colors introduced I added white to my mandala because I wanted innocence to be among my meditative journey. As I completed the white round and was moving on to the next round I remembered how quickly as a child I lost that innocence in my life. I was only nine when my father decided to steal my childhood from me.

 I saw her nine-year-old trusting eyes

trying to cope with her father’s lies.

Her cheeks streaked with silent tears

whenever he tossed back a few beers.

She felt the guilt inside her swell

her young body revolted with the smell.

Needless to say, my color change became abrupt in the next round from white to black. Just like in my life, innocence shattered so did the colors in my mandala.  Unfortunately, so did my peaceful crocheting experience.

I wrote in my journal and wrote 2 poems discussing the abuse I faced as a child. Overall, it became a productive writing day and helped me get back on track for my next color choice which is gold.

I chose gold because I know how important it is to strive every day to be your best. It’s often said that change is the only constant in life. Yet humans are evolutionarily predisposed to resist change because of the risk associated with it. I feel change is essential to our existence, granted there will be the moment of relapse as I had yesterday but it’s important to recognize that you can’t linger in the painful memory you must move on.

When you’re finished changing, you’re finished. -Benjamin Franklin

I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better. -Georg C. Lichtenberg

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. -Maya Angelou

Be the change that you wish to see in the world. -Mahatma Gandhi

Thank you for joining me on this journey.  Crochet on… Write on

 

Just Lyn

 

DSC_0443 A spunky girl

No one really understood

All the carry-on ordeal

Where she once lived

Being her was a full-time job

but now

Meet the new powerful monarch

her wings are

radiant

and

her hair

is blue.

Intimacy Denied

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For a brief interlude 

two bodies
entwined,
each dissembling dissonance
with the need 
to create
deliberate obfuscation, 
in a sweet moment
of contentment. 
The twinkling stars 
bear witness.
 the wind imitates
the rub of limbs.
Their intimate moment betrayed.
The boundaries
established once more.
Legs, arms declare
personal space
while  lyrics of love
face doom
as the distance
grows
and the bedding
yawns.©

 

 

 

 

Inside a Poet’s Mind

 

back-porch-2What is beautiful is easily lost

among my rambled thoughts

as I sit on the porch,

sipping my hot coffee

 waiting and watching.

  I study all the made up faces

from a bad dream glooming salon

 all futile reminders of the chasms

on the pages, I know exist but lie

on an altar dignifying the God of chance

as if it were some kind of wonder

in this poet’s mind.

I attempted a cento which is using lines from different poets work to create a poem of my own. Cento is a latin word that means patchwork. Homer and Virgil were famous for this style of poetry.

I studied all the made up faces ~ Toast by Leonard Nathan

What is beautiful is easily lost ~  The Altar  by Charles Simic

An altar dignifying the God of chance~  The Altar  by Charles Simic

from a bad dream glooming salon ~  The Altar  by Charles Simic

as if it were some kind of wonder ~  A Spiral Notebook by Ted Koser

Thieves aka Writers

 

 

thief

I am grateful for my keen listening skills and my visual awareness for they are an awesome tool set to have as a writer.

Proudly a Thief

I stole a

scrap of conversation from an unsuspecting passerby

a flower or two from someone’s neglected garden

a photograph, mine or yours

does it really matter

I captivated a heart or two

My story, your story

the ideas simply  merged

so I spun  my own twist

and wrote it

my way.