Coffee and Conversation: When Life Goes Ker-plooey…

Grab a cuppa and a comfy seat, and let’s chat a while. It’s time for Coffee and Conversation.

When I was six, my family was driving on a highway late at night. Streaks of headlights and taillights painted the dark. For the first time, I realized that each car held people living lives as important to them as mine was to me.

I wanted to know what those lives were, and to share my own..

Hi there! Today is my forty-fifth birthday, so it might seem logical to expect me to want to talk about that. And I will – sort of.

I spent the weekend sick – ickily, violently sick, unable to hold down even water, unable to stay awake or asleep for more than an hour or two. I’m not particularly prone to getting sick, but food poisoning in the form of a bad grape proved tougher than I was.

It was far from the way that I’d hoped to spend the weekend. My plans included mowing the lawn, hometending, writing, blogging, hanging out with my kids, and making the load a little lighter for my Accomplice in Mischief, Chef Bluebeard, who worked extra hours preparing food for weekend parties.

Camp Sweet Camp!

I couldn’t do any of that. Had the kids still been small and needing someone to tend to all of their physical needs, I wouldn’t have been able to meet their needs.

Nope, it wasn’t fun to be so sick and helpless…

And maybe that’s why I love those other weekends, like the one before this one just past. The ones that are full of connection and simple everyday magic; the ones that we can hold to when life takes an unexpected turn for the worse, and all of our plans get tossed aside in light of the new reality.

Lovely Camping Chaos.

I won’t spend time dwelling on the weekend just past. I’m feeling better, although it might be another day or two until I find my pace again. Better to let this weekend go, fade into the mists of time (except those parts which I’ll be using as research for a plot line rolling around in my head; I’m a writer, after all, and everything is potential story fodder).

These are two of her favorite things….

Instead, I’m sharing some more images from Unschoolers Rock the Campground – this time, our temporary home at campsite S28. There’s something about tent camping that I find both deeply challenging and deeply cathartic. It’s a lot of work to set up and maintain; many things aren’t as simple and thoughtless as they are at home.

Portable living room!

When I was growing up, camping wasn’t part of my life. I might be different, if it had been. I think it will be, for our children, who’ve been camping since they were not-quite-2 and 5 years old.

Camping requires more care; more attention, and more presence. It roots me in the moment, and centers me in the rhythms of nature.

And, somehow, that can help carry me through those other times- the weekends that don’t hold the same magic, even those when I’m too sick to do much of anything except survive.

Campsite S28.

So, as my birthday draws to a close, I’m happy we made the effort, that we lived this way for these few days, that I can hold to that as a buffer against a birthday where the plans I’d made to get together with a dear friend for physical activity, a tasty treat at my favorite cafe, and conversation that can span nearly a lifetime of sisterhood all had to be set aside, because I’m not yet up to them.

A simple, potent message. Our car wears it proudly, and I strive to live it.

It made a difference, too, in the way I approached the necessary business of this day. I needed to renew my license. I’d thought I could do it online, and so I put it off until late Monday, only to find that I needed an eye test – and the easiest place to get that was at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

I managed to get a healthy lunch!

Yes, it was a mundane and potentially unpleasant task, but I took a bit of the campground within me, and, on the way, I belted out songs from Jewel‘s Spirit album; windows down and sunroof open, enjoying a rare cool late-July day. At the DMV, I chatted with people – an elderly man with a walker, who was worried about his even more elderly mother, having surgery in another state; a woman and her son, who needed to get his new car registered so he could attend college in North Carolina; a man and his granddaughter, also there to register a new car; a young woman who turned 21 today, and wanted her updated license before dark, so that she could celebrate in an adult fashion not legal for her before now.

And then, with Jewel as my companion, I took the long way home, and enjoyed the fresh air and the ability to be out in it, after days spent indoors.

It was a good and happy birthday. I hope your day was happy, too!

What about you? Do you store up memories of magical times, to hold you against those that aren’t at all what you hoped for? Do you enjoy camping? Being in nature? Gathering with like-minded friends? Something else?

I’m not quite up to doing more than sipping my cuppa, still – but I’ve provided music, and I’ll be happy to serve you, and chat!

Campground Still Life.

Coffee and Conversation/Wordless Wednesday: Unschoolers Rock the Beach!

Grab a cuppa and a comfy seat, and let’s chat a while.

It’s Monday again – time for Coffee and Conversation.

When I was six, my family was driving on a highway late at night. Streaks of headlights and taillights painted the dark. For the first time, I realized that each car held people living lives as important to them as mine was to me.

I wanted to know what those lives were, and to share my own..

Didja miss me?

I know, I know! I generally post Coffee and Conversation on Mondays…or, sometimes, Tuesdays. Late into the night on Wednesday is a first…

This is partially a Coffee and Conversation post, and partially a Wordless Wednesday post….because, after all, this is the home of Lovely Chaos! =)

I was camping with my kids and a wonderful group of fellow unschooling families.

I could spend thousands and thousands of words writing about the goodness of the weekend. But, instead, I’m going a different route.

Over the next week or so, I’ll be sharing images of various aspects of our weekend. If a picture is worth a thousand words, there’s a story held in these.

Let’s start with Friday, at the lake.

These aren’t all the images or moments; just a few of the most sparkling instants I captured with my little blue Canon point-and-shoot.

Have you ever had an experience that seems too big and rich to be reduced to language, or even pictures? Where was it? Who were you with? Want to chat about it?

My friend Sylvia, the consummate Jewish mama, even on the beach, baked yummy chocolate chip cookies for our pleasure!

WIPpet Wednesday: A Taste of Sole?

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move their WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date. It is hosted by the lovely K.L. Schwengelmaven of bad boys, stock dogs, and flying monkeys!

Hi there! This month, I’m participating in CampNaNoWriMo. I’ve finished one WIP, The Stars are Fire,and have made it to the halfway point in another, Perchance to Dream. Neither of these are ready for public consumption, yet, so…

I’m continuing with snippets from my Story A Day May Challenge: Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction exploring the interspecies relationship of T’Pol and Trip, in a project titled The IDIC Romance.

Disclaimer: T’Pol,  Trip, and all the rest of Star Trek are property of Paramount; no copyright infringement intended. I just want to play with them, and I’m careful!

A bit about the challenge:

Story a Day is just that- a story every day in May. To make the challenge more interesting for myself, I used all of the prompts offered throughout the month.

The stories are roughly sequential, with various tones, POVs, and voices, due to the particular prompts that were in play during the writing.

For those keeping track:

This is the first installment of Story #4, Tigress T’Pol . The prompt for this story

was to write a story of exactly 2000 words. An additional guest prompt from Heidi Durrow invited us to explore passion in this story.

WIPpet Math:

Today is July 9, 2014.

Today’s math…

  • 16 sentences, adding the month and day.

This snippet is told from Trip’s point of view. The wounded Klingon, Klaang, had been abducted from Enterprise. In an attempt to find him and bring him home, Captain Archer has ordered them to Rigel 10 – the first populated alien world Trip has been to. It doesn’t help that he’s paired with T’Pol, who clearly knows her way around, and seems to think she’s in charge. And then there’s that little matter of the odd history they’ve shared…

This is an add-on scene for the pilot episode: Broken Bow Part 1. I‘ve done my best to extrapolate without violating series canon.

“Hey, T’Pol, how long are we going to pretend that nothing happened between us?”

I was a little shocked at myself; I’d planned to wait her out, see if she ever brought it up. But then, I had a long history of sticking my foot in my mouth, and I was apparently hungry for the sole of my boot.

“I know of another merchant. Stay with me, and attempt to restrain yourself.” T’Pol acted like I hadn’t said anything, or maybe like anything I said was beneath her notice. Where was that alluring temptress she’d been in Fusion? She was as full of surprises now as she’d been in that club – I’d give her that much. Too bad they weren’t at all the ones I’d been hoping for ever since she walked into the Capn’s Ready Room.

Maybe she’d forgotten all about that night – but, if she had, why had she looked at me that way when she first came in? For a second or two, it was as though we were back there, with the music flowing through us. Even now, I could feel it – a deep awareness of her, more than physical desire, something I’d never felt before. I wanted more.

But maybe she just wanted to forget. She was as damned arrogantly superior as all Vulcans, like she knew more than any human ever could. Probably thought it was way beneath her to do something so primitive as to feel desire, or anything else, for some human male she saw in a club.

Will Trip get a reaction out of T’Pol? Will he regret it, if he does? Who’s really in charge here? Will they find the missing Klingon? Come back next week for the next excerpt!

Story A Day commentary…

Full version of the story…

These posts are the seeds of a project that will germinate over the next months, so input is especially valuable. Already, new stories are weaving themselves into the fabric. No need to feel shy; I’m a friendly sort, and will keep my phase pistol on stun ..for the most part.

Want more WIPpets?

 

Coffee and Conversation: ROW80 Round 2 Retrospective

 

Grab a cuppa and a comfy seat, and let’s chat a while.

It’s Monday again – time for Coffee and Conversation.

When I was six, myfamilywas driving on a highway late at night. Streaks of headlights and taillights painted the dark. For the first time, I realized that each car held people living lives as important to them as mine was to me.

I wanted to know what those lives were, and to share my own...

So, what about that ROW80 thing, anyway?

A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80), is the creation of Kait Nolan. It’s “the writing challenge that knows you have a life”. Rather than an intensive writing marathon with rigid rules, ROW80 divides the year into four 80 day segments, with breaks between. Each writer devises their own personal goals, then gives an accounting once or twice a week. If the goals aren’t working, they can be changed at any time.

It’s an idea that’s brilliant in its simplicity and flexibility. Through it, I have learned a great deal about myself- as a writer, and as a person. More, I’ve found a supportive community of fellow writers at all levels – I can learn from those who are further along the road than I, and offer support and advice to others, as well.

It’s break time now; Round 2 is over, and Round 3 begins on July 7. So, it’s a good time for me to take account of where I stand, in order to get a sense of what I’d like to do in the next round.

For 2014, I’ve set annual goals; each round, I make steps toward these in the form of smaller, incremental goals. Some of these goals will be somewhat altered for the next session, since I have a better idea of what I can accomplish at the midpoint of the year than I did at the beginning.

Curious? Click this icon!

So, without further ado, here are the goals I addressed in Round 2, and their status:

2014 Blogging:

Focus on layout and design aspects of my Blogging Action Plan.

  • Mostly, I set this aside, for this round.

Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.

  • I did fairly well with regular posting, and with answering comments.

  • As far as queues and sharing, not so much.

Brainstorm what I want in a website; move The Unfettered Life to a spiffy new home.

  • I have a better idea of what my eventual website will look like.

  • As for The Unfettered Life, it will be incorporated, in some form, into that website.

2014 Writing:

Complete rough drafts of To Be or Not to Be, The Stars Are Fire, and Perchance to Dream.

  • TBONTB complete.

  • TSAF nearly complete at 138K (it’ll need some cutting in the edits, for sure!)

Draft two more novels in the Trueborn double series, as NaNo projects.

  • I’ve got some extensive basic notes on one character’s story arc for one story.

Explore my gestating Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction novel concept, as well as the Last House story collection concept, in the form of short pieces or flash fiction, during April and May. (Overstrike; completed!)

  • The Last House concept was renamedKifo Island Chronicles, and will be developed as a series of novellas.

  • The Enterprise fan fiction project was named The IDIC Romance, and will be offered freely online as a serial project.

2014 Editing:

Complete first revision passes for Chameleon’s Dish and Bounded by a Nutshell; make pre-revision notes for Blood and Breath.

  • Chameleon’s Dish in revision; set aside for most of this writing round.

  • Pre-planning notes for Bounded are complete.

  • Blood and Breath has had a read-through.

2014 Hometending:

Continue physical and virtual hometending plans – resetting rooms, cleaning files, and inhabiting my study.

  • Progress made in resetting rooms (but a slow process!) and in the study.

  • File cleaning was more organic; with the introduction of a snazzy new computer.

2014 Lifetending:

Stretch and find new ways to blend the facets of my life with intention and awareness.

  • I got together with some friends I hadn’t seen in longer than I wanted.

Seek out playful new ways to move and challenge my body.

  • More thought being given to fitness and related goals.

Do you set long-term goals? Do you enjoy moving toward them as part of a group, or are you more of a soloist in that regard? Or, like me, do you prefer a blend of personal attention and group accountability? Please pull up a seat, and I’ll pour you a fresh cuppa while we chat!

 

Creativity, Exponentially: ROW80 Update, 6/22/14

Curious? Click the icon!

Well, hello there, and welcome to another ROW80 Sunday update!

Ever been so creatively charged that it almost feels that you are breathing your creative expression? That, even when you’re doing something else, you’re still creating, beneath the surface?

When I last reported here, I had about 6,000 words toward my JuNoWriMo total.

Things have changed, since then. In a big, happy, word filled way! And, better yet, I’ve had time for other things, too…

In other news, Wednesday will about finish out this round. I’ll make my final accounting on Sunday, with some thoughts about what I’d like to be doing until Round 3 starts on July 7. I’ll likely post something on ROW80 days over the break, because I like keeping that rhythm.

Where I often feel a lull at the end of a round, I’m definitely in a surge, just now. I’m going to keep this short, so I can get back to the storyweaving! =D

My focus for the remainder of this month:

2014 Blogging:

Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.

“Blogging Maintenance”: Post regular features; answer comments; make return visits. On target.

  • 3/3 weekly posts.

  • No comments answered Saturday; but caught up till then. I made lots of blog visits this week.

2014 Writing:

Complete the JuNoWriMo Challenge: 50,000 words on The Stars Are Fire and, if applicable, Perchance to Dream. On target, and nearly caught up to where I ought to be, at this point in the month.

  • New Words: 18,689 -yup, you read that right! =D

  • Word Count to date: 25,074/ 50,000

  • WIP Stats: Scene 48/60; 113,524/~120,000

2014 Hometending:

Continue physical and virtual hometending plans – resetting rooms, cleaning files, and inhabiting my study.

Continue family room reset: Move computer desk and pantry to new positions. On target.

  • Slow progress on clearing the porch.

2014 Lifetending:

Stretch and find new ways to blend the facets of my life with intention and awareness.

Maintenance goal: 5 salads/fruit smoothies per week. Almost...

  • 2 of each this week, thus far…4/5 attained.

Evaluate other fitness and lifetending goals. Something’s gone amiss, and I think I need some time and attention to what that is, what I want to accomplish, and what might be a better way to get there.On target.

  • I’m feeling more positive and proactive, and I’ve got the beginnings of a plan of action for Round 3.

  • I visited some dear longtime local friends I hadn’t seen in years too long! =)

Sponsor Visits:

Yes, but I’m going to beg off on the listing of these, this time…words are callin’ my name!

Other ROWers ROWing!

The Phantom of Creativity : ROW80 Update, 6/4/14

 

Curious? Click the icon!

Well, hello there, and welcome to another ROW80 Midweek update!

So, I’ve had a few days away from Story A Day, but not from T’Pol and Trip. They’re still very much with me; I’m reading fan fiction, and watching episodes. It’s actually helping me to get to the kernel of my (unrelated) WIP.

Last night, Annalise and I shared The Phantom of the Opera together. It was her first “adult” show, at Proctors Theatre, one of the “grand old theaters” in our area. It was a gift to be with my almost-10-now daughter as she marveled at the décor, the staging, the music…she got the jokes, and snuggled in when the chandelier sparked and sizzled. She comported herself with admirable restraint for the Force of Nature that she is, and lavished fellow theatergoers with compliments on their wardrobes. I tend toward plainness, but she’s had a sense of style nearly since birth (as in, she was trying to grab jewelry and shoes in stores months before she could walk, and exhibiting definite wardrobe preferences, well before her second birthday).

And me?

I loved the soaring music even more live. I’ve been a Phantom fan since my teens, but I’d never seen it live. This was the staging from London’s Royal Albert Hall, and it was lush and evocative…and, during the masquerade scene, there they were again, whispering about how much they’d love a masquerade party, where a certain Vulcan could let herself go at least a little, with none but a certain complicit human the wiser…

It definitely added dimension to the show, and that scene is still tickling my imagination…

Our After the Show Glow!

About that WIP…

I’ve written thousands of words in the last few days. The vast majority have been meta-words – writing about the writing, trying to recenter myself in the story. I’ve had a breakthrough or two of a minor nature, this morning, so I’m hopeful that I’ll gain momentum when I return to writing later today (giving the thoughts a few hours to simmer, first).

One of the difficulties I’ve been having is that my POV character for this scene is lost and broken when we rejoin her. There’s very little, if anything, she’s certain of, at this point, and it’s been a little tricky climbing back into her skin when I’ve been dealing with two characters as definite as Trip and T’Pol are.

But we’re finding our way back to each other, gradually…with a little inspiration from Phantom, and a lot from Enterprise….

Have you ever found yourself unintentionally writing a story while at a play or a concert? If so, do you set it aside, or indulge it with secret fervor? Do you tell anyone that you enjoyed the performance in this way? Do you find the it enhances or detracts from the show?

Now, this session’s progress: I only update those goals I advanced during the current session.

Focuses for June:

  • Homeschool Reports (due 6/15)

  • Guest post

  • JuNoWriMo

Theatre After the Show

2014 Blogging:

Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.

Blogging Maintenance”: Post regular features and Sunday Post; answer comments; make return visits.Mostly on target- missed a post.

  • Sunday Post for June 1, 2014

  • 0/4 weekly posts.

  • Missed Monday; I got lost in rereading The IDIC Romance and other Enterprise fan fiction, and totally forgot I was writing a blog post! I could have worse problems, and far less pleasant distractions. =)

  • Comments and return visits were up to date Monday; more waiting for tomorrow’s session.

Build Features Queues: Add to Idea/Concept Files; develop post outlines; create posts; ship.On target.

  • Ideas developing organically; I’ll begin a list soon.

2014 Writing:

Complete the JuNoWriMo Challenge: 50,000 words on The Stars Are Fire and, if applicable, Perchance to Dream. On target; a slow start.

  • Words to date: 1,107 / 50,000

  • TSAF word count: 89,800/~ 120,000

2014 Hometending:

Continue physical and virtual hometending plans – resetting rooms, cleaning files, and inhabiting my study.

Continue family room reset: Move computer desk and pantry to new positions. On target.

  • A little more porch-clearing.

Continue claiming my study: Clean and reset corner between work spaces.

  • Began clearing out the corner in question. Expect to have that step completed by Sunday’s update.

Complete and submit homeschool reports for both kids by 6/15. On target.

  • Jeremiah’s ELA and Library Skills sections complete.

2014 Lifetending:

Stretch and find new ways to blend the facets of my life with intention and awareness.

Maintenance goal: 5 salads/fruit smoothies per week.On target.

  • 2/5;both salads.

Evaluate other fitness and lifetending goals. Something’s gone amiss, and I think I need some time and attention to what that is, what I want to accomplish, and what might be a better way to get there.On target.

  • Giving this some thought; I have a few ideas, but none quite ready to share.

At Starbucks, Pre-Show.

Sponsor Visits (some belated, my apologies!):

You can check up on the other ROWers, right here!

 

Story A Day May 31: “Views of a Wedding”

Hello, and welcome to my 2014 Story A Day Challenge,Day 31(and done!)If you’d like to read today’s story without commentary,click here.

I am basing my stories uponStar Trek: Enterprise, and the intriguing interspecies relationship between T’Pol of Vulcan and Trip Tucker, who is very, very human.

Notes:

POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT!

This story is a fan fiction extrapolation of an unwritten scene based upon the  Star Trek: Enterprise episode, Home.

T’Pol and Trip are property of Paramount; no copyright infringement is intended.

Today’s Story A Day prompt is to write a story focused on “An Ending and A Beginning ”.

Home is a pivotal episode for T’Pol and Trip, as T’Pol is herded into the marriage arranged when she and her fiance, Koss, were children. She’s come to Vulcan with Trip, who remains to support her as she makes a choice that hurts them both.

On her way to kneel with Koss for the ceremony, T’Pol clasps Trip’s hand, pulling him back for a moment, so that she can stand on tiptoes and kiss his cheek.

I extrapolated a story that explores the ceremony and the immediate aftermath, and proposes that T’Pol gave Trip a small gift in remembrance.

The prompt was open-ended; the wedding itself is an ending, and a beginning…experienced by three people deeply affected by it.

This story is long – over 6500 words, and I think it wandered more than it will. I did some moderate revision, and know that it could have been 10,000 words or more, if the day had stretched longer! =D

It was a great place to end this story – for now. But I will be back, to begin the next phase, before too long!

And now,an excerpt of my story,Views of a Wedding”. For the full version, click the title.

A young woman knelt upon the pressed sands of her homeworld, her fingers lifting to cross to the precise center of the table. The man across from her mirrored the first posture, but their fingers hovered just at the range at which the bioelectric pulses could be sensed – the prelude to the joining. He felt – strange. Too calm; too still. She was required to meet the man’s blue eyes, but it was difficult to do so. She was aware of a deep, illogical desire to refuse, to rise, to flee…to burst into tears that would be understood by only one person here.

She was a Vulcan. She would not cry.

**

A little off, a man stood in borrowed finery, watching. He watched her fingers lift, in concert with the man. He wondered what she felt; was it different than what she felt with him? Was it better, with a Vulcan man – a man of her own people? He could only see her face in a thin slice of profile, made misty by the sheer cowl. She’d worn a cowl the first time he saw her, too – but he’d known. He was aware of an almost desperate need to charge across this damned sand garden, grab her, run away, pull out a communicator he didn’t have and demand a beamup from a ship that was 16 light-years away, in Spacedock. Instead, he stood there, and watched her preparing to sacrifice herself.

He was on Vulcan. He wouldn’t cry.

**

Aesthetically, she was beautiful. Almost, illogically, he could imagine that she had been sculpted by a master. He was privileged to have the chance to combine her genetics with his own. So his parents had declared, since they were children, and chosen for one another. He, however, was uncertain it was enough. Ought children not be raised in a home where a certain affection – or at the least regard? – existed between their parents, where both were available to them? He could feel the resistance, the distance, that separated them; she would never feel other than a stranger to him, and she wanted nothing more of him. In truth, she wanted this as little as he did. Perhaps he should end this, now, before the next posture began.

They were Vulcan. They must try.

You can find all of my May Challenge stories at my “official” Story a Day blog. My commentary on the process of creating these stories is here.

Interested in reading more Story A Day offerings?