Welcome to my world and beyond...

A collection of snippets of the books I write and, occasionally, my life and the things that inspire my writing...

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: July 1st, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday is a blog hop with a linky list  here. You can find the six-sentence-posts by other talented "sixers" (writers) by clicking on the link.

Another week. It was a scorcher here.  It was actually nice to hide inside--in the air conditioning.  I felt no guilt leaving the great outdoors after saying, "I'm going inside to edit for a bit."   :-)  How was your week?

My six this week, from my WIP "Across The Night Sky",  picks up exactly where last week's left off:  At the request of a volunteer counselor, Marissa is keeping a journal. She struggles accepting that her dreams are not really memories of two missing years of her life--and a missing newborn.

I know this week's post runs long, but next week it will shift out of Marissa's journal into her real world.  To maintain flow, I included the extra sentences, bringing this journal entry to a close.

"Sometimes in the evening, when daylight dims and windows shine full of light—welcoming everyone but me and my kind—the homeless, I’m so afraid. No, not afraid of the people who walk the night, and not afraid of the other homeless people.  I’m afraid to close my eyes and dream.  This world, this other place across the night sky? It’s foreign and frightening, but I’m drawn to it; I need it, like I need the air I breathe.  I don’t know…Rayanne, I just don’t know.  Which is the more terrifying possibility?  That I might be forced to discover that my missing two years and my missing baby will turn up in the middle of my crazy dreams?   Or that they won’t’?"

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday June 24, 2012

This week, my daughter and I chatted about my writing.  She told me that the first book I ever wrote (unedited, unpublished)  is my best by far.   Honesty, I so appreciate it.  It made me realize something. And that something I have feared might happen, has probably happened.

We each have a unique writing voice. In my first story, mine was compelling, full of emotion--and lacked any stiffness or shallowness brought on by the learning curve of this writing craft.

She asked me if my writing, since, has been for the passion of the story, or trying to adhere to a prescribed writing process? She senses me holding back, mincing words, and not fully fleshing out my characters.  My voice is different... and not in a good way.

Just when I think I've figured something out, I discover that I have at least part of it wrong.

She posted this on my facebook wall.

“I need you to do more than survive. As writers, as revolutionaries, tell the truth, your truth in your own way. Do not buy into their system of censorship, imagining that if you drop this character or hide that emotion, you can slide through their blockades. Do not eat your heart out in the hope of pleasing them.”
― Dorothy Allison

So, I have redirected my focus.  And will now take a deeply emotional journey back inside the story my mother so loved--the same story I sat and read a quickly typed ending (the fourth book in the series) to her while she lay nearly motionless and wordless, during her ten final days spent in hospice.

WIP--working Title: Across the Night Sky

Opening lines:

“Love transcends all…death, distance, time.  It captures a soul as surely and as silently as time captures the stars… 

May 19th
My volunteer counselor, Rayanne, thinks that trying a different approach than the doctors and therapists tried might make a difference.  She wants me to keep a journal--this journal, of my dreams, and the thoughts and feelings I have about them.  That by putting it on paper it will help me to realize I was never abducted by aliens, that the dreams are not memories of where I was for two years, and not the answer to my missing child.  I think she’s the only real friend I have.  She wants me to take control of my life so that I’m never institutionalized again."

This will be my story until its rewritten, correcting POV issues and overwriting issues, but maintaining the passion that flowed from mind to keyboard in the original draft.

Tall order?  :-)  You bet.  But I feel good about it.

Visit other talented sixers, here

Book Review of Whale Song by Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Oh my, I'm not sure where to begin.  So, I'll just plunge right in.  This book is wonderful.  It was free on Amazon, and when I checked the reviews before downloading, I saw that after 95 of them, it was STILL standing at over 4 stars!

The link to Whale Song's  Amazon page is here: http://www.amazon.com/Whale-Song-ebook/dp/B003NX7LSA/ref=cm_rdp_product

I had to find out why.  So I read it. In a day--and it was a workday.

I am going to paste my review from Amazon and Goodreads.

"I have read other reviews, and its all been said. My words fail me--to articulate a unique thought. Yet, I am compelled to add to the heap of praise for "Whale Song".

It has it all. The love of family, coming of age, the pain of loss, the bitterness of blame, and the healing miracle of forgiveness.

All this played out among characters so fully developed and fleshed out that I could visualize each and every one of them.

The story made me laugh and cry, made me angry, and made me rejoice.

And if you aren't looking for a good story, then read it for Tardif's prose.

I will be purchasing a print book for my library, and I don't do that very often anymore. :-)"

Tardif's prose is beautiful...absolutely beautiful.  The Indian folklore added a magical element to the book, and the characters were incredibly real; I felt their pain.

The themes that this book took on were varied and written well.  Bullying at school, racism, assisted suicide, the right to die...and forgiveness.

Most of the story was set in the early 1980s as the haunting past of the MC, who was only 11years old when the story began.  Looking back, at the age of 24, she finally comes to recall the memories of the day her mother died--which had been taken away from her by "hysterical amnesia" due to the trauma.

I don't want to add more and chance a spoiler.  I will just let it go at this:  I have shuffled my list of top ten all-time favorite books, ever.  And this book is now among them. :-)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Movie Review: BRAVE

It has been a quiet week.  And, no news is good news.

The biggest excitement round these parts is that  Max, our 110 lb. rotty-mix, is having a heck of a time.  His world has been thrown into chaos by obsessive behavior (on his part).  You see, a young, stray, orange and white cat has made an appearance. Repeatedly.  And in the last two days, has dared to allow Max's humans to pet him--and then gets his purr motor going, loudly, adding insult to injury on Max's part.

Now, we must take extra caution when opening the door--because Max has already dashed outside in hot pursuit of the orange and white hobo who seems to be taking up residence here.

That aside, life has been quiet.

Today, Hubby and I took our 4 year old granddaughter to see, "Brave", the Disney/Pixar film.

We loved it.  I know these films are a risk due to gender bias.  You can easily coax a little girl to go see a superhero, but sometimes it's not so easy to coax young boys to go see a princess movie.

But...this princess breaks the Disney mold.  They are finally giving a good "princess" message to little girls.  And it does not distract from the story.  There was no prince charming saving the day.  You read that right.

The princess was tough, capable, and refused to be married off to a prince from a local clan.

There were consequences from her attempt to change  her fate, and she had to face them (there had to be a story)  but it's a good story...and made me glad that we took our granddaughter to see it.

Kudos to Disney for getting this princess stuff right!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Life: A lesson in Futility

A lesson in futility? Well, that came right from the garden this evening.  I've been thinking a lot about it lately-about futility, and about the transient nature of all things.  Somehow those two words--transient and futility, have become all garbled up in my mind.  And I blame it on the garden, mostly.

It started last week, one evening, walking up the lane to watch the sunset. Where the hedgerow dividing two properties comes to an end, the world opened up before me.  Off to the west, the vista is wide and far.  Off to the south, there is a hilltop where dwells the remaining twisted and gnarled old apple trees my grandmother planted--probably eighty years ago.

It was a large orchard, and by my best estimate of size and tree spacing of the remnants, there must have been nearly fifty fruit trees there. Then, big business, government, specifically West Penn Power, arrived and taught my poor old grandmother the meaning of eminent domain.  They cut down half of the trees to make way for progress.

And I thought about how nearly 37 years since her passing, the handful remain, scarred, bent, twisted and diseased. Oh my, such character they have.

My mind wandered as it often does, to how heartbroken grandma would be if she were alive to see what is left of her prized orchard. But, even in their dying gasps of splintered trunks, deformed fruit, and dead branches bleached a ghostly white, the beautiful part of that old orchard is that the robins still build nests in them.  And beneath them, each fall, the white tail deer still eat the  misshapen fruit that drops to the frosted ground.

When I was going to Master Gardeners' class, one of the teachers said, "I'm often asked by some well-meaning person who has inherited a piece of ground, 'I have this old apple tree.  My grandfather planted it seventy-five years ago.  Where should I start pruning it?'  And I always tell them, 'At the ground'."

I sat in that classroom, knowing that I could easily have been one of those well-meaning people.  But I was forced to learn something that day: everything has a time.

In the garden this evening, in solitude, just me, a hoe, and a flat of flowers, I planted, weeded, sprinkled my well-researched natural pesticide, and I sweated.

I griped a little, I'm sure. Something to the effect, "Damn, it's hot this early in the season. And those weeds! Will they never stop?"

And the answer was as plain as the nose on my face. Nope. The weeds will never stop.  And wild fruit brambles that ceaselessly encroach upon a little corner of dirt we endeavor to control will never stop.  And the tall trees will continue to grow and increase the shade where I yearn to grow sun-loving flowers and vegetables.

My husband often reminds me, when I complain about the vegetables and flowers getting chewed off by the wildlife, about the trees shading the small garden,  about drought, about rain, "It's nature, Reesie."

And he patiently runs a weed-eater several times each season.  And once each spring, he runs the old rototiller, staking claim once again to what little piece of earth we are going to command, to control, to force to our will.

A lesson in futility? Yes. And a fine one, indeed. 

And we are learning to accept it. It's all temporary.  Someday, our little secret garden beyond the corner left intentionally wild, will be much like grandma's orchard. A last gasp...and gone...save only for in the memories of the living.