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Wednesday Whimsical Weirdness October 6, 2010
I used to write poetry. Angsty poetry that reflected my angst years. I stopped writing poetry when life got happy. Good thing cause I’d rather write books about two lost souls finding each other and discovering home.
I used to scrapbook a lot. Like I have an entire album dedicated to Disneyworld. Not kidding. Now? I use scrapbooking supplies to make cutesy jars for the quarters I am going to reward myself with whenever I achieve my writing goals for the day.
I used to be uber school volunteer. I helped other people’s children learn. I went on field trips. I organized teacher gifts. I helped the drama department. Now I put all my volunteering into my writing organization and any drama I have goes into the plots I write.
I used to go to church all the time. I was “church lady” and I had the wardrobe for it as well. I lead bible studies, sang in choir, helped with children’s worship, prayed at the altar for others, was part of a prayer ministry. Now I avoid the twice weekly grind and rejoice in God’s miracles wherever I see them. In beautiful sunsets, in flowers, in birds flying, in butterflies, in windy hugs, in sunshine warming my face. I’m still a member of a prayer circle. Praying is like writing to me. It’s like breathing air that sustains my soul.
Perhaps I am still a poet as I write my words. Perhaps I am scrapbooking pieces of people’s lives into my stories. Perhaps I am teaching other people that life is full of possibilities. Perhaps I am
Today the sun is shining. The skies are blue. Birds are singing outside my office window. Later I’ll go outside and walk. I’ll let the gifts given me sustain me. I’ll pray. I’ll plot. I’ll feel a spirit of joy invade my soul because I am doing exactly what God intended for me to do.
I am living a life of purpose. Of love. Of hope. And I’m praying that my stories with all their sassy, sexy, fun, serious people will resonate with my readers. Readers who may be searching for hope, for love, and for a life filled with purpose.
On the Road Again September 30, 2010
Today my writing friend and I embark on another trip to Georgia for the GRWA Moonlight & Magnolias Conference. Once more we will plug in that idiot Tom Tom, listen to him tell where NOT to go, and look at a Mapquest Map with puzzled eyes. We will probably get lost and scare a few innocent drivers. But we will arrive in GA with our writing notebooks, our thinking caps, our brains (okay–maybe not our brains), our laptops, and our hopes.
I have packed the following:
*too many outfits and shoes
*the ridiculous binding foundation garments called Spanx (yeah, spank this!)
*sparkles and bling
My briefcase contains:
*wine (just kidding)
*chargers for my NOOK, cell phone and laptop
My heart contains:
I’ll keep you posted about the trip. We will drive carefully. We will arrive. But I have no idea about Tom Tom. He’s a mystery to me.
Wednesday Whimsical Weirdness September 29, 2010
I’ve been thinking a lot about theme and premise and voice and … and… connectivity of my writing to whoever is there who might publish me.
Voice. I have one. Or so I have been told. But is my voice the “right voice?” Who knows. At times it is. At times it isn’t. But if there is one thing I’ve learned this year as a writer it is that I have a voice that is unchangeable despite my years of developing craft.
In a way, I wonder if that is good or not. But it is what it is. I have a passion for certain things and for life and for virtues. I have a weird duality in my voice. Why? Oh, I know why. I need to marry my natural inclination to cover pain with humor in real life with my writing. That’s HARD. Very hard. And I know some people who may think what? She has pain? How? She has it all. And that is also hard. For just as my heroines, I know exactly what they hide. If they were to reveal it all. The depth would be too much to convey.
But then I laugh. Ha. What the heck is my Vietnam? It’s nothing compared to the real heroes. The real heroines. Who the heck am I to complain? What is it that I have to gripe about? I couldn’t possibly have any real pain. But then ha. What does anyone know? Really? Not much unless they have been privy to the true, non-funny, oh-shit-this-sucks-side-of-life of me. (note: I have used hyphens and probably used them incorrectly. Don’t judge me). And then that is what permeates my characters. It is part of them. I can’t help it. It is what it is. Hence the duality of my writing. How can I make that duality connect? I don’t know. I will continue to try.
So I know my premise. Two lost souls find each other and discover home. Can’t change that. But what is really weird is the bizarre connectivity I find between all my manuscripts. I find boxes. Lots of boxes. My people are always in transition, moving, clearing out the past, making room for the present. I find secrets. I know. I have them. I don’t share them easily. Or willingly. There are few who know my secrets. And I have moved a lot. I have often said I have written two stories while sitting in a box.
I find hospitals. I find this odd. I do remember these odd times in my life. I fell. When I was four. Hit my head hard. Bled. Got stitches. The experience was overwhelmingly scary to me. I had doctors with masks, no parents, a tarp over my head. I was alone. I also remember surgery. On my knee. I remember the nurse waving the baggie with the needle they’d extracted from my knee in front of my face. Ha ha. So funny to her. But again. I was alone. I remember a miscarriage, the surgery. Again I was alone. I guess I see hospitals as metaphors of my own loneliness. They invade my writing.
I find betrayal. On all levels. I find deep seated anger. I find people who are supposed to love that go out of their way to hurt. But the people they hurt grow up to be funny, to laugh, to cover their sadness and angst with tough stuff. I also find quirky people. Misfits. People who don’t fit the norm. Wow, what a shock. I find people who yearn for connection, for love, for home.
I find my premise again and again.
Two lost souls find each other and discover home. That is the depth of me. But at the same time these people cover their loneliness and fear with humor and anger and hope and false bravado. If that is not going to “connect” with an agent or an editor — well I guess I am cooked. But at least I am honest.
Donald Maass said to be true to who you are as a writer. Then I will be true to my audience. I have mined the depths of my soul for my writing. I have opened up veins for my story. I have tried to show the complexity of being a funny, brash, fierce person with heart. I have no idea how she/he resonates with the reader.
I only know I am doing the best I can to honor the gift within me.
Come Visit Me at Romance Magicians Today September 12, 2010
I’m blogging about the mastering the art of living on Romance Magicians today. Hope I see you there.
Wednesday Whimsical Weirdness September 8, 2010
Last week I started a story and I asked people to guess Delainey’s age. Today I shall continue the story and give you the answer. Please note: no editing or planning is going into this free form discovery phase.
Nancy turned to her niece Delainey and said, “Now sweetie, you know your daddy hasn’t been able to carry you on his shoulders for a long time. You’re much to big for him now.” And too old. Delainey had turned twenty-five just three days ago.
“I know that, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting it.” Her niece’s blue eyes filled with tears. “I want my daddy to be like he always was. He used to be happy and laugh all the time. Now he’s sad and he’s tired.”
Nancy’s throat tightened, but she kept her tone even, not wanting to upset her dear niece. “He’s still the same man on the inside. And if he could carry you to the county fair on his shoulders again, he would do it in a heartbeat.” She picked up another piece of corn and began shucking the husk off one strip at at time. “How many more ears of corn do we have to clean, Sweetie?”
“We have one, two, three… I don’t know. A bunch.”
“Well we best get back to work then,” said Nancy. Delainey always did like having a task to do. It calmed her niece, made her feel like she was contributing, smart even. And that’s what her brother and sister-in-law cultivated in both their children.
No excuses. Everyone pulled their weight. Even Delainey. Though at first they’d worried about her. Yes, they’d expected her to have problems. After all the doctors had warned them when Mary was pregnant with Delainey. But in addition to her mental abilities being affected, the Downs Syndrome also created a myriad of physical problems. At times it was touch and go, but Delainey was a fighter. She’d done more than survive, she’d thrived.
And Nancy’s brother Matthew had always been proud of his blue eyed, blond haired little girl with her moon shaped face and that dimpled whenever she broke into a smile. Nancy remembered the first day Matthew had taken Delainey to the County Fair.
“Sweetie, what kind of pie did your mamma bake the year she won her blue ribbon,” she asked.
“Peach,” answered her niece. “My favorite.” Delainey grinned, her face shining with pride. “She said she won cause she made my favorite kind.”
“Yes. She did.” Nancy picked up another ear of corn. “She won the blue ribbon for her chili recipe the same year.”
“We had a big party.”
Nancy stripped off the husk and ran her hand across the silken hairs left behind. “I think your daddy was ready to burst, he was so excited.” That day had been a golden day, a day full of hope and promise. But they were younger then, braver, not ravaged by the losses time would bring to them. The losses time would eventually bring to all families. First her sister in law had passed, a heart attack. Sudden and swift. Then her nephew, Delainey’s brother, eight years older when she’d been born, had gone off to join the marines. He’d been on several tours. Sometimes Nancy believed Michael had gone to fight battles overseas because he couldn’t face the ones he had at home.
Now her brother lay dying of cancer and her niece relied upon Nancy for guidance. “Sweetie,” she said, “Let’s get some water poured on these ears of corn and put them on the oven. I’ll start the hamburgers.”
“Okay Auntie,” said Delainey, picking up the the heavy pot.
They walked inside the sprawling, country style kitchen Matthew had installed for his wife two years before she’d passed. Nancy turned on the tap and filled the pot with the cold water, salted it and put the lid on top. She turned on the gas stove.
As she worked on the hamburger meat, kneading it and forming it into balls, her niece fluttered about the clean, oak shelved kitchen opening drawers and gathering cutlery. “I’ll set the table.”
Nancy continued forming the patties in her hand. She thought she’d put the buns in the pantry, but then had found them later in the laundry room. Odd. But then she’d been forgetting little things lately. Nothing major. But silly things happened. And that worried her. A lot. After all, Matthew didn’t have long and she’d promised her brother she’d care for Delainey, but she didn’t know how she’d cope. One day she’d pass and then what? She couldn’t ask Michael to come home. He had a duty to his country to perform. But she wished. Now where did she put her apron? Oh, there, she grabbed it from the top of the fridge and tugged it on.
She might not put things back properly, but she remembered her brother dancing with is bride as clear as a bell. And the way he tossed a football to Michael on a hot summer day during his playing season. Oh, and his pride, his shining joy when Delainey went to school on the yellow school bus just like all her friends. Oh, she remembered it all as if it happened now. A slow winding film reel that she played over and over in her head.
“Auntie,” cried Delainey. “What are you doing?”
Nancy snapped out of her reverie. Flames licked out of her frying pan and threatened to hit the ceiling. “What the devil?” she asked, then she saw her mistake. She’d put the hamburger’s meat casing into the frying pan and tried to cook the plastic and foam.
After she’d put out the fire, cleaned up the stench and focused on fixing dinner again, Nancy sent up a snippet of prayer. She needed help. She didn’t want to worry her brother with her own problems. But she desperately prayed for His intercession. Promising to keep Delainey had been easy. Keeping her promise seemed impossible now. She didn’t even know what to ask. She only knew that Jesus, in his mercy, would intercede for her.
She prayed again. For her brother. Her niece. And her strong nephew. She couldn’t ask Michael to give up his life for his little sister. But she had to pray he would want to change it.
Question: Why is Michael so unwilling to come home during his father’s illness?
Wednesday Whimsical Weirdness August 31, 2010
Okay, I am trying something new. A theme in my blog cause I feel like I need to get somewhat … well… less erratic. So here it goes. My Wednesday Whimsical Weirdness. I plan to post little odd snippets of writing, not book blurbs, but just my own little pieces of unpredictable thoughts. Feel free to post your own Whimsy and Weirdness, or just comment on mine.
“Everyone keeps telling me to pray,” Delainey said.
“Well darling, that’s cause they want you to have peace of mind,” her aunt replied. She tossed another shucked corn cob into the pot.
Delainey twisted her long hair into a knot. “I don’t care about peace of mind. I just want my daddy to get better.”
“So do we, but we don’t know what the Lord wants.”
“Well, He should want what I want,” Delainey pouted. “And I don’t want my daddy to die.”
“Honey,” her aunt said, “it’s not our place to tell the Lord what we want. We have to accept His will and seek comfort in His word.”
Her aunt wrapped her arms around her, but Delainey pulled out of her embrace. She didn’t want to hear more hocus about the comfort of the Lord. She only wanted the deep pain growing in her belly, sprouting in her soul and making it black with anger, to go away. And the only way that would happen was if the doctor said her daddy wasn’t sick anymore. Tomorrow she’d know if her daddy could run and play with her again and not lie around in his bed for hours on end as he grew skinnier than her cousin Billy’s old barn cat.
Her daddy used to laugh and his eyes used to crinkle whenever he smiled. Now his lips were dry and chapped. His deep blue eyes had lost their sparkle and had turned into pale rheumy orbs. Her daddy wasn’t even strong enough to sit up.
Delainey picked up another corn cob and ripped the husk off of the pearly yellow kernels. “I won’t feel comforted till God makes daddy strong enough to swing me onto his shoulders and carry me to the County Fair.”
How old is Delainey?