Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye Dairy

In an effort to beat the migraine, I will be saying goodbye to dairy.  So today I say farewell to 2011 and my good friend cheese. 

Adios, Sir Queso.  Perhaps it just wasn't meant to be...you will always be my guilty pleasure.

Well, so much for that.  Charlie and I are off to the movies - We Bought a Zoo.  No 3-D for us.  Though terribly disappointed that we missed Hugo.  Can you believe it is already out of the theaters?  We could take the ferry to the vineyard to see it but that just might be overkill.

Happy, safe NYE.

(New adventures?  Maybe.)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Beyond Dissatisfied - With Bright House Network - Livid

So much so that I can't write.  But I will.  Presently I am left speechless by inadequate customer service and apathy.  And that is putting it nicely.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Nothing. Between Falmouth and Woods Hole

I don't really have anything specific to write, but know that I should at least write.  So here I sit, yes I am sitting again, with nothing in the title and a blank mind.  Long shadows darken geometric patches of the back yard, wind rushed through the leafless trees, the occasional leaf tumbleweeds across the still-green grass, clothes turn in the dryer, with a rare zipper on metal door connection.  The tree that reminds me of Africa is bare.  Let me see if I have a picture so I can show you why it reminds me of Africa.

No.  But here is this - Contrast.


There is a bike path not far from the house.  It runs along the sea.  This picture is from the summer before last.  I love how nature is able to create such contrast all within one plant.  Vibrant and natural.  Thorns and beauty.  Able to withstand the weather from the sea.  One side of the path is beach.  Not an ordinary beach.  One of sea-rounded rocks, shells, sea glass.  Between Falmouth and Woods Hole.  It's magical.  And the slower you go, the more you see.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Analysis of Work - from Scattered Prose to Plot

It's always a good idea to take a step back every once in a while to see how things are going.  To take inventory.  And that's what I've been asked to do for this course.

Originally I decided to register to take yet another creative writing course because I wanted a reason to write.  Motivation.  Also in the back of my mind is always the hope in finding a mentor. 

The first assignment was to write a poem.  I scribbled out an angst filled poem on my troubles with writing a poem while still sitting in the parking lot at CCCC.  It worked, I was writing.  Those were the days when the weather was beachy.  I took my notebook to the beach and wrote.  My poem was less like a poem - more scattered prose.

Next, the short short story.  This proved to be problematic because I had highly developed characters, symbols, and whatnot, but no plot.

Then the short drama, the one act play, that came on savant-style and left me with nothing left to say.

Assignment number four was creative nonfiction - to write a feature article, which I feel is good, yet far from really being finished.

After the feature came the query letter, in which I pitched my feature to an editor, but never sent because it (the feature) is so far from perfect.  This seems to be a theme with me - a struggle with perfection when in reality I am so far from it.  I mean, I know -"Nobody's perfect."  But...

That same week I reviewed the Gotham Writers' Workshop Writing Fiction book and turned in a hard copy of that, as well as recommending it to the class with a few reasons why.

The final project was the most broad.  It was to write 3,000-5,000 words.  It could have been a collection of poems, a story, a drama, you name it.  I turned in a plot treatment.  It was an expansion on the short short story from earlier in the semester.  But still I struggled with plot.  I began writing scenes without knowing how they might fit together, only that they did, or would, somehow.  I flushed out the characters.  Developed theme, symbols, that sort of thing.  It's a great start that needs to be given the chance to grow.

Then I focused on the final journal entries.  Some, just accounts of the mishaps of my days.  Others, ideas that I was planting.  And others still, responses to the GWW book.  All writing.  All assisting me in my goal to write.  I guess most of my writing is to see what I need to be writing. 

For me the horizon is overwhelming, just give me my little plot of land and I'll figure out what to do next, but give me the world?  Oh, no.  There's only so much land one can till.  It's hard work.  Slow going.  But plot by plot, I'll figure it out.

fin. (la fin).

The End.

Yup.  It is the end of the semester.  Tonight is my last class.  My notebook is together, but I think I am going to run up to Staples so I can get some page dividers.  I have printed out my journal entries - all 50 of them.  Gathered my rough and final drafts.  Now all that's left is the one-page analysis of my work.  That comes next.  Eh, later...

So what then?  When the day is done?  The copy editing course starts January 18th, I think - is that a Thursday?  And that will be good.  Different.  Not necessarily going to get me writing though.  Keep me writing.  I like having little mini goals.

I think the next step will have to be to take my "final drafts,"  which are more like less shitty "first drafts," and keep going with them.  Specifically, Ain't Life Grand.  But that clown thing is enticing.  And could there be a story in the octogenarian writing group riddled with Alzheimers, canes, and memories?  There is a good possibility.

The next prompt in the Gotham Writers' Workshop book is to think of a character, some kind of performer - actor, singer, magician - who has hit middle age and is finding that his career is now mostly faded glory. 

Easy, right?  I mean instantly the character comes to mind.  But there is not much invention in that.  Maybe the art in it is infusing it with invention, like a few blogs back where I came up with a list.  The next directions were to see how the best idea might be worked (or reworked) into an idea that eventually might become a story.

Ideas are easy to come by.  Sticking with an idea long enough to make it sing, now that's the hard part.

So, this may be the end, but it's certainly not - The End.

fin.

Monday, December 12, 2011

JE 50 The Final (and Rad Racer)

I guess it is time to post the final Journal Entry.  This does not mean however that I will not be posting any more on this blog - I will.  Only not for credit.  Just for me.

If you are paying attention you will see that I have not posted since Thursday.  Friday and Saturday was the Nutcracker performance and yesterday was building a pinewood derby car.  Charlie made such a cute design in just a few minutes - too bad that was the easy part.  But luckily we had help.  His cub scout leader decided to have this den meeting in his woodshop.  We learned all about saws - which I accidently kept calling knives and swords - maybe cause my boy was wanting to wield them as such.  But no matter we came home with all our digits and a rough cut of the car.  Maybe I will take a few pics and post.  Charlie and Grandpa are going to do the rest.  Sanding.  Painting.  And who knows what else.  We even cut the head off a nail for the mini steering wheel.  It's gonna be one rad racer.

This Wednesday is my last writing class.  The last of my external motivation to write.  What does the future hold?  Guess we will have to wait and see.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

JE 49 Charlie the Wantabe Clown

So this idea has been forming in my mind since the chance encounter with the clowns on Saturday.  My father has forged a friendship with Rollo and my son, well, he just likes clowning around.  He brought his red foam clown nose to school on Monday.  How did I know?  It came home in his lunch.  He knows that bringing things from home is not allowed but I guess he slipped it past me.  It wasn't the first time and I am sure it won't be the last.

Just last night when I suspected some funny business, I discovered my suspicion was correct, although I thought Charlie brought a candy cane to bed.  Nope.  He brought his DSi to bed.  Imagine an extra hour and a half of video game time on a school night.  Video games are prohibited on school days in this house.  When giving him a second kiss for the night I discovered and confiscated the contraband after my suspicions grew stronger as the boy feigned sleep.  Your mama's no dummy Charlie boy.

But back to the clown business.  It's the one, of the ten-ish things, that makes me buzz.  It's an idea.  And it's been growing.  Getting pushy.  Shoving some of the other guys out.

So at this point I wonder - do I set aside the story Ain't Life Grand, the one that's hard to write because it is close to home and develop something about clowns?  That's the way the GWW book is leading me.  I guess we will see. 

Have you heard of Grub Street writers?  It's in Boston.  Think I need to check that out.



Two pictures of one of the clowns who inspired the idea.

JE 48 The Fog Has Lifted

It has been four days since I've seen the sun.  The foghorn blaring day and night.  But the fog I am most relieved to see dissipate is that which settled in my mind.  I've had a migraine since Sunday - today is Thursday.  To be without clarity for that amount of time is disturbing. 

Not only does a migraine bring physical pain, but with it a shroud of sadness, an almost hopelessness. 

So much of my life has been stolen, and I want it back.  You can have the days gone by, no point in worring about them, but I want my future. 

I need direction, I feel as though I have tried everything.  In spite of my fear of needles I became a human pincushion in the hope of finding relief.  I've been to neurologist after neurologist.  Chiropractors. And natural medicine.  The problem being I don't feel well, enough days in a row to help myself feel well.

Classic case of catch 22.  It's easy to say, "well, I will just do it" when I am feeling good, it's when I feel as though someone is cleaning my brain with a pipecleaner that the motivation is low.  I just wish I could figure this out.

So that's my bring you down speech - sorry about that - but, this is me.  Headaches and all.  Am I more than my headaches?  Of course.  Am I limited by them?  Absolutely.  Is it fair that Charlie has a Mommy with headaches?  No way.  But as my mom used to like to remind me, "Life isn't fair."  Kind of a shitty mantra.  My retort, usually in my head, was "Life sucks and then you die."  But it isn't true.  Just look outside.  It is a beautiful, crisp clear day.  The sun is so bright and the sky is so blue and the rays of that sun in the bright blue sky warm my arm as I type.  So I am not without hope, in fact I am hopeful, hopeful that one day I don't have to plan to be unpredictable - that my fate will not be determined by migraines.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

JE 47 I Hail from Bethlehem

Pennsylvania that is. 

Like the Moravian star, and Bethlehem Steel.

Hear it's nice there this time of year, the little town of Bethlehem. 

It has strings that pull at me.

JE 46 Alice

Lewis Carroll used to get migraines.  Maybe that is why he made such fanciful stuff.  He had to get away.

I just did an internet search on migraines and Lewis Carroll and came up with some interesting stuff.  Maybe I won't delete my - oh my aching head - blog and actually start blogging on it.

Sent a quick note to The Daily Headache to say - I feel your pain.

I'd like to expound but it's my head that's doing that instead.

Off to acupuncture.  Sure would like to get back to yoga soon - back is getting better bit by bit.  (I will have to tell you about doctor nightmare at another time, but what it amounts to is I am PCP-less.  Thankfully I still have Brigham and Women's, the Faulkner, and the Headache Clinic).

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

JE 45 Character Development and Meeting People

The next chapter in the Gotham Writers' Workshop is about the above title - creating a character so real that he or she casts a shadow.

I tend to be good at character development.  It's the moving along of the plot that tends to give me the trouble.  But according to this book - and others I have read - desire has a lot to do with it.  You must ask yourself, "What does he/she want?"  In other words, what is the character's motivation?

A few things I marked in the book in reference to character -
"Good writers create a sense that their characters are people ... letting the real world recede and be replaced by the fictional world you have created."

And in regards to desire, "A character should want something.  Desire is a driving force of human nature and, applied to characters, it creates a steam of momentum to drive a story forward."

And that is what I have done with my final project - the plot treatment for Ain't Life Grand?

Oftentimes I find myself sad at the end of a novel because this is where my relationship with the characters and author ends.  This is why I went to the library this afternoon to check out Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - to continue on.  Unfortunately it was checked out and I had to order it, so for tonight, I am Potterless.  Boo.

Monday, December 05, 2011

JE 44 Promising Ideas + Hard Work = Good Fiction?

The Gotham Writers' Workshop believes that this alone is not enough.  Craft.  Knowledge of the craft.  Lucky for me I love to read.  I read about writing, I read about reading, I write about reading.

Here is my blog about books, though I tend to neglect it:
http://idiosyncrasiesofme.blogspot.com/

It's all very interconnected, but it is my belief that this is a process.  And short of having a mentor, I am thoroughly engrossed.  Part of my personality lends itself towards the inclination to analyze.  I will watch a film numerous times.  Take notes.  Observe.  Figure it out.

In fact that is a class I would like to take, only not next, next is copy editing.

Found It

Here is a link to the post on the imaginary friends:

Charlie Bean

JE 43 Sign

The next GWW prompt.  A bit about freewriting then this... "Sam wasn't sure if it was a wonderful sign or a sign of disaster but Sam knew..."

...

The instructions say to be free.  To write in a white heat.  There is nothing white heat about me today.  Typing one-handed on my HP Mini as it stands like a greeting card on my bed is about as white hot as it gets.  I am not ambulatory, nor am I upright.  Between steak knife stabs to the brain, words let themselves be written.  (And some don't - this is a second attempt at this post - the first lost in cyber space). 

But Sign does bring to mind something.  It is the name of my son's third imaginary friend; the first two being Humpty Dumpty and To Market.  While the first two seemingly juvenile names derived from nursery rhymes bring forth black and white checked memories, the third does not.  Sign is a witch.

A witch called Sign, which I thought was brilliant when he introduced her a few years ago.  He couldn't have been older than four.  I am sure I referenced it on his blog - Charlie Bean - though not sure where. 

Maybe I will read on to see if there is a more moderately paced prompt in which I can participate.

JE 42 Rollo and Legs

The Shriners Clowns.

That's the one.  The thing that happened within the past week that makes me buzz.  It has story written all over it.  And Charlie - the boy who was born to be a clown.  The mason connection with my dad.  The anniverary lunch.  Clown school.  Everything. 

And that's how it works.  Things happen.  They make sense.  Everything falls into place.

If you are lucky - you are aware, you pay attention.  You listen.  Things tell you stuff.  If you are not too busy.

I guess that is kind of what a migraine does to me - knocks me on my ass, makes me weak, then opens me up to the thought of something new.

Headaches have a pattern.  Skip the first part as I don't understand the triggers as it's more like chemistry, and go to the next: denial.  It is always, "No, this isn't going to be a migraine."  (Pop an allergy pill).  But after that it's usually down hill.  Fast. 

I was hoping the steroids I took for the back would help to "reset" my body, as the neurologist had suggested. I held out hope. 

Enough about my head.

I may have something here with the clowns.  I am going to go back to my GWW book and read to the next prompt and see where it takes me.

JE 41 Back Outta Wack or Head on Straight?

The finale?  Migraine.

Shoulda known.  It's a let down migraine, and I've been known to get those too.  A double dose of migraine Rx has me in a stupor.

Strange dreams last night.  Something about the headache being a beacon.  Or maybe I have been reading too much Harry Potter - his scar brings a pain and foreshadows danger.  Either way, I had to swear to my sleepy self I wouldn't so much as dial the phone while in the car. 

Can't really think straight but I wanted to get that down.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

JE 40 Charlie and the Shriners Clowns

It has been a busy weekend.  Met Santa at the dock.  Had an anniversary lunch at the Coonamesset Inn.  Met a couple of clowns - literally.  Nutcracker practice.  Had Charlie's Birthday party.  Contemplated - for a second - attending the town's tree lighting and Christmas stroll but went with the two pass driveby.  More realistic.

And that was just Saturday.

Today was even more Christmas fun.  Brunch at a friends.  Followed by marching in the parade with troop 43.  Charlie pulled the chuck wagon.  And most excitingly - Charlie met up with his clown friend Rollo, the rollerskating Shriner clown, and got his picture taken behind the wheel of the clown car.

What a weekend!

Hmm. Clown school?

Thursday, December 01, 2011

JE 39 Ten Things From The Past Week

Hmm. They can be microscopic - but they need to be ten. 
1. the lego tree
2. the untruthful beggar and various similarities
3. Rudy with a limp
4. acupuncture
5. planning a party
6. hawk
7. the loiterer in 7-11 and the one dollar pamphlet called the enterprise
8. christmas at highfield
9. ten million text messages
10. cancelled chiropractics

Now choose the one that makes you buzz.
Hmm. Let me see.
Ding. Ding. Ding. The untruthful beggar and various similarities.

List several ways in which it might be turned into a fictional story.
Change the antagonists physical description entirely.
Do the same with certain details.
 Bring them back from the dead and relate them to someone else.
Change the setting.
Change the circumstances.
Find the universal truth.
Discover the desire.

Nah - too abstact.
Let's try again.  List ten things from the past week.
1. steven king acupuncture experience
2. the lego tree
3. random man at 7-11
4. spy jon
5. alternate writing - texting project to myself, typing above my head
6. hawk
7. wendy/windy and cliff
8. eyes roll back in your head stabbing leg pain
9. meditations
10. a marked absence of yoga

Nope nothing.  Maybe two weeks in bed has sucked the creativity right out of me.  I will try again later.

JE 38 Work of Fiction

I am to choose a work of fiction that I cherish.  I'm reading Harry Potter, so let's say that - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. 

Why do I like it you may ask - for its fancifulness.  JK Rowling created a realistic society in her head, granted they are witches and wizards and there is magic all around, but she made the place so real you could picture yourself approaching the castle in Hagrid's shadow.

She does this by neglecting nothing.  Careful planning. 

Before she had written the first book she had the series all mapped out.  How admirable that she was able to think so big. Grand.

She had a huge cast of characters, an entirely fictional setting - she created a culture, complete with sports, books, you name it.

Maybe she thought how wonderful it would be to create a world where anything could happen - well, it was, and it is.

JE 37 Gotham Writers' Workshop Writing Fiction - The Book

Focus on Journal Entries.  Seeing as this is number 37 and I need to be at 50 by Wednesday, I think I will be blogging a bit more over the next few days. 

The book I reviewed for my course was Gotham Writers' Workshop Writing Fiction, which I love because it is a practical application of instruction and example and assignment.  This format works well as a writing journal.

One of the most popular bits of advice for writing is simply to write.  That is the thought behind these journal entries and this blog as well.  Anne Lamott speaks of "shitty first drafts," which I am all for - getting it out of my head and down on paper - where it can exist, because when it is in my head, only in my head, it can get lost.  Forgotten.  How many forgotten novels do we have buried deep within our brains?

For me - this is an escape route.  A thinking outloud.  By no means is this a polished, publishable piece, but maybe it is a nugget.  Something.

This morning my son's friend, Adonis, took a tiny Lego piece out of his pocket and tossed it into our front lawn.  Charlie seemed offended and told me what had just happened as if I had not seen.  I told them, "Maybe it will grow into a Lego tree."  We spent the next few minutes waiting for the bus thinking up all the wonderful parts this tree could grow.  Little Lego people.  Cars, boats.  Handcuffs.  I said that I thought Lego handcuffs might not work too well as they could just unsnap very easily, but my son assured me that there were Lego handcuffs and that they don't come apart.  Okay.

So this - idiosyncrasies of me - is my Lego tree.  I am tossing out parts to see if anything grows. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

JE 36 Thank Me Later

Turned it in.  Not completely satisfied, but turned it in anyhow.  And so I move forward kicking and screaming.  Seeing as I am my greatest obstacle, that I provide enough internal conflict, and my body does the rest, I've decided to do the opposite of what I desire.

Anxiety threatens to overturn everything - do it anyway.  At this point I should hate myself for nagging and pushing.  But, maybe I'll thank me later.

JE 35 Wild Ride

In just a few more hours my final project is due.  So I'll be working on that again in a bit but I first wanted to tell you about this morning.

I went to see an acupuncturist.  You see I have heard for quite a while and from various sources that acupuncture just might help with my migraines.

Despite my fear of needles, I decided to give it a try, I mean I have tried just about everything else, right?  So I went in for a consultation and ended up with a complementary session that took me on one wild ride.  Wild ride.

First off - I did feel the needles.  But it wasn't painful.  Migraine pain seems to dull all other discomfort anyway. 

I am uncomfortable trying to sit at the desk top so can't really get into it but - I felt like I was twisting, or untwisting.  I saw lights and felt as though the table was a gravity table and that I might fall off if it wasn't.  Strange right? 

I kinda felt a little Steven King-ish.  Thoughts of needles melting into my body and dissolving, the thought of a sensation of being "done" turkey roaster style as the needles pop right out...  Weird.

I know I am not articulating this very well as I am hunched over the computer - attempting to get it out.

Well I will stop - gotta go get my laptop, lay down, and type over my head.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

JE 34 Plot Treatment - Grand (or Ain't Life Grand?)

It seems that what I am developing is more of a plot treatment than anything else.  Everything that I am writing applies to this one story, but the story isn't ready to be written just yet.  (How's that for the dog ate my homework excuse)?

It is big.  Too big for me to wrap my mind around yet.  So I am writing down bits and pieces.  And this is what I think I have decided to turn in.  It is what Anne Lamott had to do to get the inner workings of one of her rejected manuscripts flushed out. 

Themes.  Characters.  Scenes.  Symbols.  Setting.  Conflict - that's the part that'll move the story along.  That and dialogue.  But they aren't talking to one another yet.  There may even be a few stragglers - latecomers to the party.

JE 33 Progression

I've had the idea for my final project since the second assignment - short short story - when I crammed a whole bunch of information into 1,500 words.  I seem to be going through a complicated process to get the story out.  I write a bit, hash some more out in my head, take some notes. Think about themes and symbols.  Get to know my characters needs and wants.  Their fears, expectations.  Their flaws.  Idiosyncrasies.

The plot is proving more difficult.  I have scenes, but they don't fit together, at least not yet.  I wonder if my mind knows something it's not telling me. 

The main character is most like me, making it difficult to write.  And impossible to post.

But I keep clicking away...

JE 32 Bad Back and Standing Up Thanksgiving

Have I mentioned that I have lordosis?  I don't think I have.  It's no big deal.  It just means that I have a pronounced curve in my spine.  I also have trouble with my sciatic nerve.  Sometimes it causes this burning or stabbing feeling in my right leg.  But not all the time.  I have found relief with stretching and yoga and, most recently, with Thai yoga massage therapy. 

But then I went to a chiropractor and things got worse.  I don't know what I was expecting, but not this.  I went once and I was fine.  After the second visit though, it was all bad news - woke up the next day with a "lateral shift" which apparently only occurs in 3% of the population.  Then again, I'm not your average girl.  The absurd happens to me. 

I can't really get into it as I am holding my laptop above me as I tap at letters on the keyboard, let's just say, writing has been a challenge.  I did manage to text myself the first 1,000 words of my final project.

In the past few days I have seen some improvement.  I took Charlie and Rudy to the bike path and I managed to corkscrew my way down to Trunk River where the boy skipped rocks.  Yesterday I made it down to the beach at the end of the road.  But what a thing!  As if migraines weren't enough.

Too bad for me that I haven't been able to make it to yoga, or to volunteer at Charlie's school, or the many number of things I usually try to do when I don't have a headache.

My arms are getting tired so I will just post this bitch fest.  But I just wanted you to know why I have been a lame poster.  It's difficult - but I'll manage.  Somehow.

At least I am through with the steroids.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

JE 31 Difficult Answers to Easy Questions

On which side of the bed do you sleep?  A seemingly simple question, but I have a tendency to make things more difficult - to overthink them.  Questions such as these pose a problem to my brain.  Maybe it is because I am a visual thinker but aren't there two ways to answer this question?  When laying in bed one can say on the right, when looking at the bed would the answer be changed?  Would it be opposite.

In film and theater, stage right and screen right were invented out of the same necessity were they not?  I know, who cares what side of the bed one sleeps.  But it's the principle of the matter isn't it?  Do I sleep on the right, the left, or bed right? 

It may not matter to you but it matters to me.  Plus this is only an example of a seemingly simple question with a thoroughly frustrating absence of an answer.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

JE 30 Verification

Just got back from class.  Next Wednesday the rough draft of the final project is due.  The following week the Final Final Project is due and the following week is when I need to have 50 journal entries.  Putting me on track to complete my writing journal on time as long as I post a journal entry a day.  As you can see I have posted 3 or 4 today after an absence of 3 or 4 weeks.

But sometimes life just gets in the way.  And there is always composing in your head.

Got my eyes dialated today - it was as awful as I remembered it to be all those years ago - only this time the doctor put reversing drops in my eyes.  But they were not fast acting.  I was sitting in my car, blinded by the light on this rainy day in Cape Cod, at 2pm waiting for them to kick in as I listened to my latest book on CD, And The Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks by William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac.  The doctor assured me I should be okay to drive as only my immediate vision was affected, long distance was not a problem.  And it wasn't.  Light was a problem.  Seeing my phone.  Myself.  Driving to Hyannis in the rain at dusk - problem.  It was kind of like driving with a thin film of vasoline covering my eyes.  But I made it.  And I made it home and obviously my eyes have returned to normal as I can type this in moderate fashion.  Feeling only that fine sand or coarse salt has somehow affected my eyes.

So for now dear sailors, I must say adieu, au revoir, and whatever sailors say.

Signing off..

JE 29 Final Project

The time to begin thinking "Final Project" has come and gone for Final Project is due next Wednesday.  Whether this is Rough Draft or not I will have to verify.  I think it is Rough Draft.

The assignment - write 3,000 words in a genre of your choice.  But here I have simplified. 

It seems I am behind on my writing journal.  I am pretty sure at this point I should be in the 40s.  As you can see I am not.  But have faith - I will get there.  Just you wait and see.

My writing class meets on Wednesday nights.  One of the grades, in addition to attendance, is to meet with the professor to review one's portfolio and talk about anything that might be of concern.  I used this time with Professor Kershner to talk about the possibility of What Next?

He suggested that I might take the Creative Writing course again with a different professor.  But then I mentioned that I have this ability to catch errors.  Copy errors.  With this he suggested that I take the Suffolk University Copy Editing course offered on the Cape Cod Community College campus.  That day I walked into the Suffolk University office and spoke to Ann Miller, who was very helpful in brainstorming with me ways in which I might be able to pay for this course.  You see a 3 credit course at SU will cost close to $2,000 and that is before buying books.

This new development - finding Copy Editing - is a beacon.  Accidently I am good at this.  Words are my passion.  Since I have been diagnosed with Chronic Migraines and cannot predict when a migraine will dawn this new possibility is my light house, my marker, the point on which I must set my bow.

JE 27 - Skip a Step

It seems in my haste I skipped journal entry 27.  I sort of knew I was as I was doing it but did it anyway.  Maybe that's what makes me the true rebel that I am.  Though more telling is that I could not let this clerical error get away.  Although my sense of order is juxtaposed by this misstep.  I will forge on.

JE 28 Looks Like Rain Today or Sunshine on a Rainy Day

I said it.  It looks like rain today.  And this - does not make me happy.  At all.  You want sunny disposition?  You gotta show me sunny.  No sun, no smile.  Well, this is a bit of an exaggeration but not much of one.

For the past few months I have been seeing a massage therapist to help control my migraines.  But let me tell you she is so much more than that.  The past four times I saw Denise it rained.  No matter.  She has a sun machine.  One 90-minute session with my friend and I always come out smiling.  She is my sunshine.  What more could you ask for?  Sunshine on a rainy day.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

JE 26 Feature - Proud Warrior - Notes

Rough Draft of the feature article is due tomorrow. 

Yesterday I went back to the doctor because my sinus infection did not go away after 10 days on antibiotics, so now I am back on for another 10.  This antibiotic is extra hard to take for a cheese lover like myself.  No dairy two hours before or one hour after taking the medicine - or was it the other way around?  Oh and DO take with food.  Hope a couple of crackers will do.  Basically I need to find a 4 hour window with NO cheese but WITH food, a tall order for this vegetarian.  But - none of this has anything to do with my feature.

It is about yoga.  And this fabulous teacher I discovered.  She teaches at St. Barnabas church in the parish room, among other places.  I first heard of Carmina from a poster on the wall of Coffee Obsession in Woods Hole.  It took me a year or two to actually go to her class, but once I went, I was in love.  Happy, blissful, yoga love.

In the meantime I started taking classes at Blooming Lotus Yoga Studio (BLYS) on Main Street where I found one instructor I really enjoyed, Skye.  After I had been to Carmina's class a few times I asked Skye if she knew of her.  Of course she did - and loved her!  I think she may have even been so inspired by her to decide to become an instructor herself.

This is what she does for people, she inspires them.  She talks of prana and downward dog, but also breath and honoring it.  She is a breath of fresh air.  Someone who makes you appreciate taking in a deep breath of fresh air.

The class I attend is restorative and it is filled with ladies my mother's age and older, of course some younger as well.  Many of these women are so incredibly nimble and healthy and I have to believe that Carmina and her yoga have something to do with it.  I can't tout it the fountain of youth but drinking in that restorative breath creates a room filled with strong women, proud warriors looking in.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

JE 25 Map of Africa

I should be better at geography.  I am visual, absurdly visual, so you would think maps I would be okay at.  Not so.  Street maps are embarassing.  I have to orient my body - and map - in accordance to things around me. 

Since I have had Africa in my mind for the past 3 years, I thought I should verify that the map in my head does in fact coincide with the map in reality.  It does not. 

For one, on my head map Tanzania is way farther north, not right at the equator.  Although I did have Zanzibar right in position with it.  In case any if you are like me - here is a map of Africa courtesy of worldatlas

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

JE 24 Can't Read it Days

Today happens to be one of those - can't read it days - unfortunately today is also final draft one act play day.  Little changes and a print are going to have to do.  This mornings retweak went poorly.  I didn't feel like reading the dialogue.  (Must be some blow me over stuff, huh)?  Made changes to the stage directions that disgusted me.  And gave up.

Maybe it's the rain.  Maybe it's the fact that my friends are in Tampa living their lives and I am here living on the moon with my parents and my son.  Or maybe it's the fact that Saturday I will be another year closer to 40. 

Usually yoga helps.  Irregular yoga helps more than no yoga at all but today nothing helps.  The thought of NaNoWriMo has me thinking failure.

So instead of wasting your time and reading this post, do something productive because as you can see - I am not.  Maybe in a bit I will kick myself in the ass and get out of my own way but for now I will stew in my PMS and bloat.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

JE 23 Headache

It's hard to want to write with a headache.  Yesterday one built all day with every activity culminating in this morning's migraine and rescue medications which I try to avoid taking as they make me feel altogether unhuman.  So here I am in my zombie form after drugs, caffine, sugar, and more carbs.

I blog in a few places - yesterday was on my son's blog involving pictures and a brief description of the day's activities.

This week my one act play is due.  I have three days to finish.  You may have read it - unromantic.  I need to add stage directions and possibly rework scenes 2 and 4.  Or of course I could scrap it altogether.

But first - I need to feel better.  The thing about taking migraine medicine is that it makes you feel as though you are losing brain cells at an alarmingly fast rate - which in fact you probably are.  It makes language slow.  Not a good thing, especially if you fashion yourself a writer.

So for now I think I will go regain composure and some words.

Friday, October 14, 2011

JE 22 Pocket Treasures

Often I find things in my son's pants.  I've come to call them pocket treasures.  Mostly they are discarded items.  Erasers. Beads.  Or natural items.  Sticks. Mulch. Rocks, plenty of rocks - crystals. Pebbles.

He's sentimental about things too - doesn't like me to throw things out.  I have to sneak the McDonald's Happy Meal box into the garbage half the time.  I am not allowed to throw out the directions to the Happy Meal toy... the list goes on.  And on.  We have stick collections by the shed, a rock collection by the recycle bin, and I have a box dedicated specfically for pocket treasures in the junk drawer.

Pocket treasures has expanded into back pack treasures - every evening I unload all the numerous pockets, why so many pockets?  But I unload them into the box or the appropriate collection.  Each day one or two more items get added.

My question is am I perpetuating this behavior? Should my clean out go directly into the trash?  But I don't.  I put these pocket treasures in their respective corners and just deal.

Maybe it goes like this - he started it but I finished it.  More like I continued it...maybe because I want to see where these pocket treasures will fit into the mosaic of his life.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

JE 21 Response to Reality

The prompt for today over at NaBloPoMo - Between your mother and your father, who are you more alike?


I'd like to say neither but in reality it's both.  Leaving anything physical out of it - anything biological, I'd have to say Dad.  I get mad the way he does.  Though as a teen I butted heads most with my mom, maybe because we are similar, or because we're both strong personalities, but so is my dad.  (Much strife).

Dad and I like some of the same things - funniest is that we sit and watch Bachelor or Bachelorette (even Bachelor Pad!) together and comment about the contestants choosing our favorites and singling out the bad guys.  Mom walks through the living room and groans about what low lifes we are for watching such garbage, but we love it anyway, despite the groaning - and watch Dancing With The Stars because it is her show of choice even waking her up when her favorite, Derrick Hough, comes up.

I don't have my mother's height or my father's toes, but what I do have is a childhood that I am relearning about now as my son and I reside again in their house.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

JE 20 All It Needs Is A Good Edit

My ass.

I went to class today with two copies of unromantic. in my 3-ring binder.  Armed and ready.  A little embarassed by what I had produced, how little time I had spent.  I read three others plays as they read mine, one girl and I have mutual admiration, by the end of class I wanted to ask for her phone number or something but felt dumb.  It would be nice to have a writing partner or a writing group not made up of dirty old men or aging ladies with dementia.  (No offense, none taken - which I am sure would NOT be the reply).

I left a copy with the professor, rode home in silence reworking the thing in my head.  What I came up with? That I needed to add more stage directions.  I am unsure if the second and fourth scenes work the way I need them too.  I am not sure if any of it works the way I need it too.

But since it is late I think instead of taking another look at the script, I will find something I feel like reading.

Been thinking that I need to read The Great Santini, though not tonight.

unromantic.

Cast of Characters
Him:
Her:

ACT I
Scene 1

He and she are on stage, comfortable, in mid
discussion. She is sitting down, legs resting up
on a table or desk, disinterested looking at her
nails, a magazine, the wall. He sits or leans
against a table at an angle from her - not a face
to face - so as not to be confrontational.

HER
You run into a lot of interesting teaching school.

HIM
Yeah. That why you quit?

HER
I quit because I felt like a sham.

HIM
Everyone feels like a sham - you’re the only one who
goes and quits because of it.

HER
One kid told a story so real reading it made me feel
like a carnie in Gibsonton in his paneled trailer
sharing a bathroom with his sister and the rest of his
family. It was disgusting. And it was
beautiful. Stark.

HIM
Sounds it.

HER
You don’t understand.

HIM
I guess I don’t. Make me understand.

HER
It’s not who I am. Not who I want to be.

HIM
Who do you want to be then? You were good. One of the
best.

HER
Ha. That’s laughable.

HIM
You don’t give yourself enough credit. You never
have. --Guess that’s why I like you.

HER
You like me ’cause I’m hot.

HIM
Yeah, there’s that.

HER
And funny.

HIM
Mmmhmm.

HER
Sexy as hell.

HIM
Goes without saying.

HER
Ha - but seriously. I’m lost.

HIM
You’re not lost.

HER
I’m broken.

HIM
You’re not broken.

HER
Well - I’m something.

HIM
You are certainly something.

HER
Thhaa. You’re no help.

Scene 2
Her, on the phone with someone else, not him. In
the kitchen on the wall phone sitting on the floor
in the doorway feet up on the doorjamb.

HER
I don’t know. It’s so much pressure. I don’t like
pressure. I don’t do pressure. You know that.

HER
I know, I know. I just don’t know if I can.

HER
Okay.

HER
I gotta go.

HER
I love you too.

Scene 3
Him and her, in the kitchen, talking more about
it. Him, probing and her, trying to avoid it
altogether.

HIM
You gotta give me something.

HER
But really I don’t. You can walk out of here today,
having gotten nothing from me, and still be
okay. Perfectly fine.

HIM
That’s arguably untrue.

HER
Is it?

HIM
Yes.

HER
I’m not sure that it is.

HIM
I’m not even sure I know what you are asking me to do.

HER
I don’t know if I know either. I used to know.

HIM
Look all this talk about nothing - it’s making me
frustrated.

HER
Maybe if you could see it my way, be on my side for
once...

HIM
Be on your side for once? I am always on your
side. You push me away and I am still on your side.

HER
Maybe if you could see me for me.

HIM
I can only see what you show me.

HER
You only see what you want to see.

HIM
What the hell are you talking about?

HER
See? Now you’re getting all pissed.

HIM
I am not getting pissed. I’m... okay I’m getting
pissed. But pissed doesn’t mean leaving. You keep
pushing but I’m not going.

HER
...yet.

HIM
What’s that shit? Haven’t I proven myself enough times?

HER
Maybe.

HIM
It should be yes.

HER
Maybe is easier.

HIM
Maybe is a cop out.

HER
Maybe counts.

Scene 4
She, on the front steps on the phone again.

HER
I guess we’re just too different.

HER
Yeah, but the problem is - he wants to fix it.

HER
I don’t know. I guess.

HER
All right. Bye.

HER
Yes. I love you too.

HER
Bye.

Scene 5
He and she are in their original locations
continuing their conversation. As the
conversation progresses he gets closer to her.

HER
I wasn’t expecting you to be all romantic and sweep me
off my feet or anything but I thought at least you’d be
sentimental.

HIM
I admit it, I went about it all wrong. My words got
all jumbled up and, well, I froze.

HER
It just makes me question what we’re in for.

HIM
Whatever we’re in for, we’ll do it together. It
doesn’t have to be you against the world.

HER
That’s what I’m good at.

HIM
I know.

HER
So you tell me I don’t need to be strong, that I don’t
need to go it alone. But what if I AM broken?

HIM
I told you, you are NOT broken.

HER
But what if I WANT to be broken?

HIM
Then I’ll be broken with you

HER
Hey babe.

HIM
Yeah?

HER
What do say we head down the courthouse and get that
thing taken care of?

HIM
Absolutely.

CURTAIN

JE 19 The Sandwich of Time

With every step forward we are closer to who we're striving to become,
farther from pain, from anger, from hurt. 

We are not where we were,
not yet where we think we ought to be. 

Today is what matters. 
Today is what counts. 
Without today there is no tomorrow. 
On top of yesterday, we put today. 
In the sandwich of time, in the very middle goes today.

Do yourself a favor don't rush today to get to tomorrow,
because soon enough tomorrow will have it's day to shine.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

JE 18 Sick and Sicker

As I said, last Tuesday and Wednesday I had a fever, by the weekend I was coughing like crazy and surmounting Sunday with a red eye, stuffed ears, and a sore chest.  A Columbus Day trip to the walk-in clinic has me on antibiotics and frustrated that no matter what - I always seem to get the sickest.

Yes, I take vitamins.

I am tired of missing things because I don't feel well.

My next assignment?  To write a one act play.  Last night while Charlie was in the tub I started to write one - checking out my scriptfrenzy software, Celtix - love it!  And I actually managed to sit down and write a one act play in an evening - before and after Dancing with the Stars and Castle.  By 12:30 it was done.  It may be stupid.  But it is done.

The library doesn't open until 1:30 today (or was it one?) so I will have to wait until then to get my research going as I like to do, but at least I have a starting point.  It feels good to have a deadline on Wednesday and to have the thing done on Monday.

Maybe all I needed was a little bit of sick of being sickest.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

JE 17 Between the Harbor and the School

National Blog Posting Month - NaBloPoMo
Here is the prompt for this months theme, between:
List two things (however close or far) that your current home is between.

My house is between the harbor and the school, the Island Queen and Friendly's, my Grandma's house and the BBC on Heights Beach.

The harbor where we keep the boat and the school where my son is now.
The Island Queen that sounds three swift toots every hour and a half and the red and white Friendly's building that may or may not have been shut down - another victim of chapter 11.
My Grandma's house where my mother was raised and my brother and I spent many vacation weeks and the bar on the beach that we hardly even noticed as children, but where my brother and I now spend some time sharing stories of those summers.

My house is between Florida and Canada, John and John, the Vineyard and Plymouth
Florida where I keep my house as something to go back to and Canada a country to which I have never been - not counting two hours in Victoria (with a migraine)
John who has two sons that play with Charlie when they occupy their summer house and John who comes and goes enjoying conversations with my son
The Vineyard where brass rings are gold and Plymouth where history in reality is underwhelming.

JE 16 A Feverish Deadline - Between Assignments

Since I last wrote I've been up and down.  That is my temperature has been up and down.  I have been reading short stories in bed...

Well that is as far as I got on yesterdays post before I got back in bed.  I did manage to get to class at 6:30pm and I did turn in a short short story that was pretty disappointing.  I find that I am good with character and short on plot.  How can this be?

I think I may need more writing practice.  Presently I am reading The Best American Short Stories 2010 edited by Richard Russo and cape cod noir edited by David Ulin and getting ready to peruse The New (hahaha) Milton Cross Complete Stories of the Great Operas.  The hahaha is inserted because of the age of the book - copyright MCMXLVII aka.1947. Plus a little Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.

I am hoping that by reading some synopsis (synopsi?) of the operas I will gain better insight on plot - that or I will hop on over to a plot generator and see what I can whip up for the new assignment - write a one act play. 

Seeing as I am feeling WAY better, this should be fun.  You have one week - go.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

JE 15 Day Before Deadline

It's the day before deadline and though I have given it great thought I have written little more than I had for Rough Draft Deadline.  I've been mulling over ideas, changing phrases, and adding characters in my head.  Today I have a chunk of time carved to write. This afternoon - I plan to edit.  (I have tomorrow to write and edit as well).

The assignment is to write a 500-1,500 word short short story.  I'd like to write more and edit down.  Think I have given it enough time to simmer so that maybe I can go back with fresh eyes and knock it out.

We will see.

I will report back later.  Or not if I decide to hide my head in shame.

BUT - if I happen to blog hop, remind me to buckle down.  I have a tendency to get off track.

Monday, October 03, 2011

JE 14 A Red Dog Black Dog Sort of Day

One of the perks of living so close to family is having family around: mom and dad to watch Charlie, a brother and sister-in-law for some adult time, and fun family activities.  Yesterday was one of those days.

As early as we could manage we all loaded onto my father's boat, the Red Dog, and headed for the vineyard - no jackets required.  What was forecast to be a wash of a weekend turned out to be Divine.  After a late brunch at the Red Dog Tavern Mom and Dad headed back to the boat, while the kids strolled Vineyard Haven in and out of the various Red Dog shops - specifically three.



We had planned to pick apples off-Cape in the afternoon but seeing as we were having a Red Dog Black Dog sort of day time just sort of got away.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

JE 13 In Between

Been taking notes on the book The Anatomy of Story.  Finished reading Writing Down the Bones and looking forward to rereading Bird By Bird.  Anne Lamott speaks to me.  Natalie Goldberg unfortunately does not, at least not nearly as much.  As for Anatomy and John Truby... I feel they are trying to tell me something.  Something important. 

I have always been a good patient.  The doctor tells me to do something, to follow some protocol, I generally listen and follow orders - it's what's best for me, right?  Now I know one must be a self-advocate in order to get the best healthcare, and I am.  I pay attention to what is going on with my body and I am pretty self-aware.  I do my research - a knowledgeable patient is a good patient.

Maybe the same goes for books, specifically books on writing.  To me a book on writing is a gift.  Insight.  A key.  If not a mentor, at least a role model on my nightstand.

Friday, September 30, 2011

JE 12 See Things With a Writer's Eye

For as long as I can remember, people have commented on how observant I am.  I see things that others do not.  I see things in a different way - or maybe I look at things in a different way.

From my writing table I can see out three second story windows, two of which are casement windows with a crank.  The one directly in my sight line has always looked - to me - like the silhouette of a lady wearing an African headdress.




Like these - courtesy of - http://www.ezakwantu.com/


Right?  Or is it just me?
 
Okay - back to work.

JE 11 A Brand New Day

Last night thunder and lightning threatened cooler weather, and though the air does have a bit of a chill it seems that today is going to be a beautiful day.  My shades are up, but my windows are closed - at least for now.  Wendy and Cliff are outside blowing leaves and cutting the yard, and I am paranoid. 

I try to make connections whenever I get a migraine and one of the connections I have made is that when pollen gets in the house - I get a headache.  So, like I said, windows are closed for now.  I am not really sure if there is a connection there but I would rather not risk it.

Yesterday was another migraine day.  It started out as a dull haze slowly building to a full on ringer.  Often I put off taking the rescue medicine because of the side effects, I did this again yesterday to feel the headache out.  Is it just a stuffy head thing?  Wishful thinking.

I don't like to write about my migraines - looking back at my writing until very recently - it is one of those subjects that is noticibly blank.  Let's call it avoidance.  But maybe that is the wrong thing.  Maybe calling it out in real words can be my defense.

Migraines - go away.  I reclaim my life.  You have no power over me.  I renounce you - once and for all!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

JE 10 An Inability To Listen

I know many wives and mothers who will claim this same afflicion of their husbands and children - an inability to listen.  But honestly, truthfully, 100% I struggle to read and to comprehend.  Unless there is complete silence and no time restraints and no other distractions inside or outside of my mind, I can't read.

Do you know how horrible it is to be an English teacher who can't read?  If I focus all my energy on listening and am able to submerge myself in the words of the story, lecture, directions then I have a good chance at comprehension.

I know this sounds a little bit crazy - okay more than a little bit crazy - but it is true.  I have an language processing disorder.  Somewhere in my brain there is a disconnect.  And no I have not been diagnosed with this disorder - I am not even sure this is what it is called, but I am sure that this is not the way it is for everyone.  That this affliction is unique to me, and maybe a few other lucky fellows.

I detested school.  Any chance there could be a connection here?  My son is in first grade and he is distracted.  A space cadet.  If he is like me he is providing enough entertainment in his own head he doesn't need to tune in to what's going on out there.  And I don't want this for him.  He is a smart, charismatic boy.  I want him to feel this way.  To be this way.

I mention this now because today in class we played the game Speed Dating, where you sit across from a partner and are alloted a few minutes to read their work as they read yours.  You then have a few minutes to respond to their work, they then have a few minutes to respond to your work.  This game for me is nearly impossible. It takes my entire concentration to get to the end of the piece, which I then have to reread to be sure I actually comprehended it.  The timed element of this activity is like TNT.  And then - to make things worse, all at once everyone needs to talk to their partner about the story they just read.  This activity makes me feel as though I am autistic - the cacophany of "I liked it!", and "bwah wah wha wha wah wha" all but paralyzes me and makes me feel stupid.

JE 9 Success or Failure

I left the house disappointed in myself, my story writing skills, and my indecision.  And pissed at my migraines.  They steal so much from me.  Days. Words. Lucid thougths.  Playing catch-up - after a migraine takes four days and the medicine swipes two more.  But this is my story, my woe, and it is every bit a part of me.

Migraine aside - I was disappointed in my own inability to get a story together.  Or rather to make a decision that will lead me to a story.  I was ashamed to have to show my three pages.  (Posted previously - short short story)  But when the time came to critique our work in an activity called Speed Dating, the feedback I got was suprisingly good - of course we were all looking for the good to say about one another's pieces.

Upon getting home, I have reread and did not cringe in horror, but now sit in wonder, wonder at where to go from here.  Scrap the idea entirely?  Leave it alone?  Let it be what it is intended to be, a tiny piece of a whole.  Rework it, continue on?  That is the road I think I will take.  But another idea came to me in the shower before class - another part of the same story.  But the question is how to tell it.  These things are not easy to tell.  This invention does not flow freely.  At times my mind even blocks the meaning of the words I have written so that rereading becomes impossible - it's just fingerpainting.

Short Short Story - Rough Draft (Unfinished)

Grand
Things didn’t turn out the way Sara expected, nor the way her mother had planned. At no point did she think she would end up in her parents’ house again, at least not before they needed looking after. But here she is amid a second adolescence, upstairs from Mom and Dad, miles from civilization in remote and desolate Cape Cod, which is kind of like living on the moon.

She finds herself smack in the middle of multigenerational living, biting her tongue as she never had done as a child or a teenager. She’s got this impossibly adorable boy; she gets migraines that take her under and a dog to complete the family unit. She can’t decide if she has a mild case of hypochondria or just plain bad luck. Her parents, Jane and Archibald, on the other hand are exemplary, put together, with everything just so.

Her lineage, Perfectionists. Her favorite line, “In my family, you DO cry over spilled milk,” spoken to emphasize the “do” but also to add the humor, although humor can often be misread or act as a shield.

“That’s all right… These things happen,” says Archibald to a friend on the phone, which seems like a perfectly fine thing to say, only it’s regarding the loss of his mother-in-law, granted she was 97 and dying of Alzheimer’s. He’s never been one for self-expression or emotions.

The same could be said about his wife, Jane, though regal and stoic at times, she has an unexpected charm. She’s been known to run outside in a rain storm with her grandson, Spencer, to stomp through puddles. Archibald, though he might hate to admit it, has this side too. His daughter calls it stealth humor and his daughter-in-law refers to it as shock and awe.

This is why the rule of thumb in the Baron family has come to be, expect the unexpected.

When Spencer stepped off the bus and said, “My dad’s a jerk.” Sara, not missing a step asked, “Why do you think that honey?” To which he shrugged his shoulders, flopping his backpack to the driveway.

“Spencer, I can’t give you a daddy but I can give you men who love you.” And she hoped that would be enough.

The next morning Spencer proceeded to stir the house into an uproar, stomping, protesting and responding to every question with a prompt, “No.”

The thing about living in a house with three generations is that everyone needs their own personal space – a place to be ugly, mean, and alone – having this space allows for fits to be carried out in privacy, for the most part.

Then again the next day, Spencer, “I wish school was a choice – I’d say no.” And soon he was bringing home notes; for goofing off in the bathroom, for messing around in line, and he couldn’t pay attention in class.

Living with extended family means plenty of opinions, ideas on parenting, and figuring the delicate balance of roles within this reinvented family. Everyone is compromising something.

Jane is most proud of the beautiful home she has made. She prizes her possessions, one of which is the baby grand piano handed down to her from her mother. The story behind it being that Grandma married the love of her life in her family home in Winters, California standing before the baby grand piano that now resides in the Baron’s living room. Spencer didn’t know this when he scratched his Lego figure up the piano leg, he only knew he was mad and gritting his teeth and gripping that plastic and carving into the soft flesh of the wood made him feel good.

“Spencer! Sara!”

Jane was furious. She lost composure. She almost cried, as did Sara, and Spencer ran away cheeks red and tears running down his face. Archibald stepped in to yell a bit too. No one was happy in that house.

“Fine, Mom! We’ll leave. Is that what you want?” Sara yelled.

“Great, go.” Jane said.

“Yeah, get out.” Added Archibald.

And everyone stomped their separate ways. But leaving isn’t really an option, and it’s not what everyone wants anyway.

JE 8 - Distracted By My Own Distractions

The rough draft of my short short story is due this evening, so essentially I will need to get something together within the next few hours because once Charlie gets off the bus - me time is gone.  It is on to homework and shower and dinner - some of which will have to fall on Grandpa as Mimi is in Arlington looking after a sick baby Elle and I have to leave by 5:30 to get to my class in Hyannis.  (The roads and flow of traffic on the Cape amuses me.  I do not know of another place in the world where driving 30 miles takes 60 minutes.  Another argument for my need of a helicopter...)

So back to the story - I have narrowed down the possibilities.  I have 500 words of, well, crap, which is okay.  It is 500 words, and it is on the right track - more like a rambling of thoughts preceeding the writing of the story, kind of working it out in my head.  The problem seems to be I see this as something bigger.  But seeing as I don't do bigger - short short seems like a good goal.

Life - and writing - is all about goals. And rewards.  Getting that carrot.  If it ain't dangling off'a no string - I ain't runnin' after it.  (And I think we all know my thoughts about running.)

So instead of distracting myself with journal entries, blog postings, vacuuming, or phone calls if you don't mind I am going to excuse myself and do some short story writing.  Au Revoir!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Journal Entry #7 - Breakthrough? Or Blue Lipstick

I am not positive but I may have come to a decision last night.  As I was reading Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg I got permission to tell the truth in a fictional way.  The section called Blue Lipstick and a Cigarette Hanging Out Your Mouth started it by saying - do something different.  The next section, Going Home, hit home - entirely.

"It is very important to go home if you want your work to be whole."

Check.

Living upstairs from good old mom and dad is a going home.  Having my son live upstairs with me adds an entirely new dimension.  Often I feel this is a second adolescence - a chance to get it right.  Having my son grow up before my eyes in this house with me - gives me a new perspective.

Being so close makes it hard to say what I need to say, and maybe even see it.  But here is where I am, so here is where I will write. Afterall, I've gone home.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Journal Entry #6 - Short Short Story Stress

Wednesday my short short story is due.  Stress? Yes - the short of it - what story?  I have a half a zillion stories zooming around my head, one I am too close to, another I put away for so long I fear I may be too far from, one I have written in my head - the list goes on..

But the block comes when I try to get it out - something out.  Write a short short story.

Sure.

One time, she did this, and then he didn't like it so they got in a fight and things got really messy, but then, things turned out alright. (No not All Right - alright like okay).  The End

p.s. And by the way that was my 100th post.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Journal Entry 5 ... @ Bowerman Beach Club (Notes)

September 15 - Thursday

Wiley coyote fast sandpipers running in the surf
fog in the air touching my skin
run up - run back - run up again

sea-green waves crest and fall
crest and fall
comical sandpipers twit and chirp
two speeds all out run and stop

people in pairs walk the beach
looking down walking listening
carrying shoes water bottles keys
moments of sun shining through

in groups they motor - one by one they fly

the man who stands watch as his wife - in bathing cap - swims backstroke far offshore
(you're a good husband)
kind and loving
the watchful eyes
front crawl back
slide in some side stroke

the clouds are flying by
but right now
right now
the sun is all I need
it negates the wind
it warms my soul
it dries the damp

and she rides a wave in reminding me of my nana

Haiku Hike

hot September night
crickets in the thick of trees
chirping joyfully

4. Writing Journal...Three Copies - Writing Down the Bones

So - I have been using my spiral notebook as the writing journal when I am out.  I guess this means at some point I will retype the journal into this blog.  But for now I am attempting to edit my poem and having a really difficult time.  I don't like to write poetry.  I don't even like to read poetry that much.  My attempt at editing my list of beach scenes did not go well.  I went back to it and did not feel like even reading it.  I moved around a few lines and moved them back.  I highlighted another for deletion then ultimately did nothing.  So for now that is what I will do.  Maybe I will print it out so the hard copy can speak to me.  Somehow words on a computer screen are less alive.  Or maybe it's because I feel like I am gonna puke.

Our next assignment is to write a short short story.  I have many ideas swirling through my head.  But it is my nature to first research.  So I assume that Thursday will bring a trip to the library, a stack of books, and some long needed inspiration. 

Also due this week - read the first 100 pages of Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg, which I already owned but had never read.  Since the book is in my Florida bookcase I attemped to check it out from the library only to discover it would have to be ordered.  In the meantime I went to Barnes and Noble and repurchased it.  And then it came in two days later.  Leaving me with three copies of Writing Down the Bones - all in different locations.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Today is a Poem Waiting to be Written - Rough Draft

Silver glints off wind brushed seas
White spray over wet jetty rocks

Tattooed man with cigar in hand rubs his darling’s ankle
She sits upon the seawall looking toward the ocean

A family plays at water’s edge
Small girl squealing in the surf

The flag gently blows toward the sea,
White fluffy clouds paint the sky
Gulls nestle into sandy ruts
Coast guard chopper nears the coast

The outline of my shadow sits on the blue-lined page
Toes buried beneath cool sand
Waves crash behind me
A grey seagull walks close by – revealing the human in his eye

People tucked to the seawall, a barrier from morning wind
A good breeze blows the hot off my back
Red isn’t a summer color

Grasshopper on the beach, so near the crash of waves,
Clings to my soft cotton dress,
Green legs bracing fabric trapped between
Seeking solace up my leg

The cold the water leaves my skin,
A memory,
A splash,
Before reality sinks in

Bus 16 dieseling by
Soon – snack and backpack and how was your day

3. Writing Journal...Notes on the Beach


As inspired by Poemcrazy

Today is a poem
Waiting to be written

Silver glints off
Wind brushed seas
White spray over wet jetty rocks

First sunny September day
First Friday since school began

A tattooed man with cigar in hand stands rubbing his love’s ankle as she sits upon the sea wall looking toward the ocean

A family plays at the water’s edge – little girl squeals, mom holds a plastic yellow shovel. Dad nearby, walks out to the rocks.

The flag gently blows toward the sea, white fluffy clouds paint the sky

Gulls nestled into the ruts of the sand

A coast guard helicopter scans the coast

People come and people go

The outline of my shadow sits on the page

Toes buried beneath the cool sand

Waves crash behind me

A grey and white seagull walks close by – close enough to see the human in his eye

People tucked close to the seawall seeking a barrier from earlier wind

Two ladies stand hands on their hips facing one another feet in the water

A good breeze blows the hot off my back

The reflection of me stares back from the rounded end of the beach chair, tan and blue, peace and tranquil

The urge to sink my head into the blanket – squishing the sand beneath

Red isn’t a summer color

Stolen escape

Two bridesmaids walking down the street purple dresses hiked slightly at the waist

Grasshopper on the beach, so near the crash of waves, seeking solace up my leg clinging to my soft cotton dress, green legs bracing fabric trapped between

The cold water leaves my skin, a memory, a splash

Bus 16 dieseling by, middle school drop offs, elementary next, time at beach drawing near, soon – snack and backpacks and how was your day

Before – the Island Queen passing through the Sound – the only keeper of time

Steam Ship Authority – time once again must be counted.

2. Writing Journal ... A Poem - and Perceive and Create

A poem, a poem
Oh, how I hate to attempt a poem.

I could talk about a fleck of dust
Suspended in a beam of light,
As has been done before.
Oh, the suspension of time.

Or perhaps I will lament the passing day,
Hour upon hour gone by.
Oh, the fleeing of time.

No, I think I’ll ponder the meaning of life,
And determine my place in time.


It’s not enough
To simply observe
One must observe
And then write

Perceive and create
Interpret, formulate
Get it down

Friday, September 09, 2011

A Poem - What I Believe by Michael Blumenthal

I believe that there is no justice,
but that cottongrass and bunchberry
grow on the mountain.

I believe that a scorpion's sting
can kill a man,
but that his wife will remarry.

I believe that, the older we get,
the weaker the body,
but the stronger the soul.

I believe that if you roll over at night
in an empty bed,
the air consoles you.

I believe that no one is spared
the darkness,
and no one gets all of it.

I believe we all drown eventually
in a sea of our own making,
but that the land belongs to someone else.

I believe in destiny.
And I believe in free will.

I believe that, when all
the clocks break,
time goes on without them.

And I believe that whatever
pulls us under,
will do so gently,

so as not to disturb anyone,
so as not to interfere
with what we believe in.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

1. Writing Journal

Just started a writing class at CCCC yesterday.  It meets Wednesday nights and I need 50 journal entries by December 14th.  Fortunately journal entries can be in the form of a blog.  Unfortunately I have three blogs, one on which I post nearly everything, one for books I have read, and one for things I have written. 

Our first assignment - write a poem.  Ugh.  Good poems are hard to write.  Bad poems are hard to read.  Many who write bad poems have a difficult time determining this, and they write more and more bad poems.  I dislike bad poems.

Today I went to the library to check out books on poems.  I got a few books on Keats' love letters and a book on poems.  Almost immediately I found a poem I really liked it started...I believe ____ but _____.  The repetition makes it poemy and the words and thought behind it makes it a poem.

Nice.  I will post.  After I get Chaz out of the shower, get him in bed, and read him a book.  In the case that I forget or am drawn in other directions - please forgive me.

Since this is six words short of 200 I will add this sentence – and then get my son out of the shower.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Character Needed

So here is the prompt from a magazine to which I subscribe - Writing prompt No. 9


A weekly writing exercise to get you started
By Heather Wright
Published: August 26, 2011

What is your character’s greatest fear? If your character doesn’t have one, create one and make sure that he has to face that fear at a critical time in your story. Think Indiana Jones and the snakes.

Heather Wright's work has been published in local and national publications and on the Web. Her column “Write Angles,” published in What If? Canada’s Creative Magazine for Teens, became the basis of her book, Writing Fiction: A Hands-On Guide for Teens.

500 words

Guess I have an assignment.



Friday, August 05, 2011

Old Photographs, New Memories

Old photographs of familiar scenes - just the way my son and I are spending the summer...thirty years later - friends on the beach.





   

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Celebrate

Turning 70.

Turning 95.

Parties.  People gathered.  Memories shared, gained, and captured.
The lost remembered.  The missing mentioned.
The air filled with flash, chatter, and aromas.

Birthdays saying, 'I am one year wiser.'
And, 'Thanks for noticing.
Now go on with the everyday.'

Living.

Advice

Monday's advice was on a fortune cookie, yesterday's was doled out at Starbucks with an otherwise forgettable Skinny Vanilla Latte.

Monday:

Tuesday:
Plant a garden.

Both unsolicited.  Will there be advice today?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Frigid



Yesterday's soggy surface is today's frozen tundra. 

3-3-11

As you can see my blog-a-day pledge has fallen short.  To say the very least. 

I must say I had the very best intentions, but then I fell short.  I did take this picture with the intention of this blog.  But I also intended for it to be posted on 3-3-11.

That didn't happen.

Well.

Twister?

Feel like a game of Twister?

This has been a weekend of old photographs.  My mom is turning 70 and everyone is reminiscing. 

Who invented this game anyway?

Sorry Kristen!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

In a Word: Spring-like


A Bit Like Spring

For the past several years - over a decade - I haven't had to worry about Spring.  It was, or became, a season that simply followed Winter because as everyone knows Winter in Tampa is just another word. 

It doesn't have the same connotation as it does in the northeast.  It isn't the reward - or glimpse of the reward - after months and months of (damp, cold) punishment.  The groundhog's activity in Tampa is inconsequential. 

But not here.  Not here.  Here Spring is like Santa, waiting for Christmas, or a fairy tale. 

From under the heavy white bows of Winter's snow the coming of Spring seems as fanciful as stepping into a wardrobe and coming out in another land. 

That is why soggy, unfrozen ground beneath my boots is a comfort.  For a Spring-like day to don the front steps of March says, "Spring is on its way!"

I welcome my newfound friend.


** A bit of a personal note

This month I decided to participate in NaBloPoMo, which basically means I vow to write a blog a day for the month, adhering to the theme, which I have done, though a bit unconventionally.

If you are a detail person, you will discover that this very first blog was not posted on the very first day of March, but I will have you know that it WAS written on the first of March, in the Starbucks in Mashpee between the hours of 5 and 6 as I waited for my son to be done with kung fu.  (Alibi submitted.)

It was also not a well-planned-out blog as you can tell from the above photograph.  It was written on the only piece of paper in my purse to be deemed writeable.  Sure I could have brought my laptop, but what's the fun in that?  I thought we should start out this little introduction in full on me mode.  (I am a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type of girl.)

So there you have it, my guilty little disclaimer.

Monday, February 28, 2011

In a Word

Just one word - to sum up your day.  This one word acts as the theme of sorts, a platform from which other words will follow.

It's a part of NaBloPoMo, if you'd like you can visit NaBloPoMo at: http://www.nablopomo.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network

Feel inspired?  Then get to it and write.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

When Is Enough, Enough?

About three weeks ago, I responsibly decided - after the peer pressure of my family - to snort up a near dead strain of the flu.  Within a few days I full-on had the flu, which lasted for a week and was basically an obnoxious head cold aggravated by the fact that taking cold medicine may bring on a flash migraine, which is a redundant way to describe a migraine seeing as freight train is really their only speed.

Then about a week later - give or take a few days - I came down with another fabulous new form of the flu which incapacitates you so entirely you become a slave to the bathroom - one pot beneath you and one sitting squarely in your lap.  This then lasts for about 12 hours before you entirely lose your appetite for 24 hours, followed by a feverish 48 hours set to about 101 degrees - just a little hatha - esque. 

But then you get to thinking, 'Hey, I must be feeling better.'  And you seem to be on the mend.

Until...

You cough.

Then you cough a bit more.

Then you realize the noise purring you to sleep at night is you.  Your body has become an orchestra of instruments, wind I guess.  In, one noise.  Out, another.   Varying degrees of sounds all depending on the position of your instrument and, of course, if your mouth is open or closed.

Your musical talent is accompanied by another few feverish days where you wait for the doctor's office to confirm that you are in fact - sick.

With what?  Pneumonia, of course.  With this stomach crunching antibiotic threathening to send me back to those bathroom days of yore.

Can you see my little white flag flying?

Monday, January 24, 2011

New Hair

Jeez - sure does seem like I am posting a lot of pictures of myself - and nothing else.

Here's another.


For news - bettter see Charlie Bean's Blog.  :)