Plotting Over Coffee: Weekend Coffee

If we were having coffee, I’d be compelled to tell you that I’m participating in Just Jot It January all month, and that I’m using the prompts, because I like the way other people’s ideas shake up and stir around all those ideas in my head, so that I never quite know what’s going to come out. It’s like sprinkling adventure into my mind, or playfulness…

I’d also be compelled to tell you that today’s prompt is the word compelled, which comes to us from willowdot21…why not pop over for a chat with her when you’re done here?

If we were having coffee, I’d meet you at the door, and tell you that this pot is fresh. I’d let you pick your weapon of choice (that’s your mug), and your ammunition. We’ve got coffee, of course, but also an eclectic selection of bag teas, the hot cocoa packets my daughter prefers, and sweet water from beneath the ground, drawn up from our well…you passed that when you came in, although you might not have noticed it, because you were probably as astounded by the green January grass on our snow-deprived front yard as I am. I’d be compelled to mention that I kind of wish, for the first time in my life, that I lived a couple of hundred miles further south on the Hudson River, so that my girl could fulfill her compulsion to play in the snow we’re not getting this year. Last winter was a banner year, and we were thrilled to have Oregon family to escape to for ten days…this season, I think they’ve had more snow there than we’ve had!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’m feeling an urge to make this post (and this cuppa) a short one, because I’m compelled to write. At the very end of December, I learned about this short story contest, and the deadline is swiftly maybe just a bit too swiftly approaching. I had less than the glimmer of an idea on January 1. Today, with just over a week to go, I’m adding the musculature and beginnings of the circulatory and respiratory systems to the skeleton outline I finished in Saturday’s midmorning hours, before I finally admitted that I’m a corporeal being, and therefore sometimes compelled to sleep!

I’d be compelled to add that I’m excited – it’s so much more of a story than it was even several hours ago. I’ve got the first four scenes fleshed out, and next I will do the last four – leaving eight in the middle, as the bridge that binds it all together. I’m hoping to have a rough draft before I sleep again. (Update: It’s Sunday, nearly 5:30am as I’m typing this. Ten scenes are fleshed out, with six to go, and it’s much more a story, with subplots and insights popping left and right and reminding me why I love my open-ended plotting system so much!

If we were having coffee, I’d be compelled to show you how clean and decluttered the kitchen counters are getting – but I’d probably resist that temptation, since you didn’t see the shambelized version, and therefore would be less appreciative than I am at the emerging order in that formerly lost space. Maybe next week, it’ll be done, and I can share it…

If we were having coffee, I’d say that it’s just about time for me to go put another log on the fire, because, even though there’s no snow to speak of, it is cold. I’d make sure you were well bundled, and offer you a travel mug to take another cuppa with you, so you could keep your hands warm out there – and I’d show you the door. Because I like sharing coffee and conversation with you – but I’m a writer, and sometimes I need to listen to the people in my head who are clamoring for their stories to be told….it may be a compulsion, but it’s a happy one, for me.

If we were having coffee, I would remind you to check out the other Weekend Coffee Share posts at Part Time Monster. I hope to have more to say next week, by which time my completed gem of a story should be polished to a lovely lustre, and off to take its chances in the Big Wide World!

Until then, I leave you with my daughter’s tribute to what was the most magical moon of her eleven and a half years…

And, of course, I’d wish you all a week full of the very loveliest of chaos!

 

If We Were Having Coffee…Coffee and Conversation Changes its Spots

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that this is the first time I’ve tried this, and I’m both excited and a little nervous. I’m coming to you experimentally, on a cloudy, sleepy Saturday evening, with a sweet hot cuppa sitting beside me. The house is quiet; my Accomplice (otherwise known as Chef Bluebeard), is at work. My son is in his room, watching videos. My daughter is showering. She turned eleven and a half yesterday, and I’d tell you that she’s growing up so fast – they both are. And yet, there are still these endearing, precious-because-I-know-they-can’t-last moments where they’re both still little enough inside to need Mommy the way they did when they were younger.

With my big kids, December 2015.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my life is paradoxical. As I sit in my study, I can see both cluttered chaos and clean organization – it’s like that throughout the house, but it’s getting gradually tidier, as the kids grow and get better at seeing how leaving things scattered can have an adverse effect on life. Someday, maybe, I’ll have a house as clean as I dream of, where clutter is the momentary sign of a flurry of activity, swiftly swept back up into its proper homes to await its next use…but, then again, that would likely mean that I wouldn’t get to live with three fascinating people I love dearly, and who mean a lot more to me than a clean house ever could…

Saturday in my study, with coffee.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I stepped away for a bit to make us a cozy fire as the winter dark sets in, and to put lotion on my daughter’s back, and that now my hands smell like fresh berries. I’d tell you that we giggled and listened to music, and that now I’m back, with a faint smile lingering at the corners of my lips, listening to my deep-voiced teen, the muted sounds of a Minecraft Gangnam Style parody from the bathroom, the ticking of the clock, tapping of the keys, and the chiming music of my phone timer, telling me it’s time to get up and move – check the fire, do some dishes, and then come back…

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that this is a peaceful home – and that there are many gradients on our scale of peace. Sometimes, like right now, it’s a calm and slumberous peace that makes me think of The Napping House. Other times, it’s a loud, boisterous, active peace. Its mood can change in an instant – but the peace remains, running beneath, like a pulsing rhythm. I would tell you that that simple fact amazes me…it’s so foreign to what I knew, growing up, and yet so essential to my happiness. I would tell you that building a relationship with my children is so much easier than attempting to control them ever was, and that it’s infinitely more useful. I would tell you that I’m awed every day at this life, and these children who won’t be children much longer. I’d tell you I’m still gobsmacked to have a son bigger than me, and still growing; a son with a man’s voice when he shares his profound thoughts when we chat alone together in the deep of the night, watching Finding Your Roots and COPS, and discussing…well, anything and everything that comes to mind.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I awoke to the sounds of my Accomplice on the roof, patching for the umpteenth time, and that we hope we can manage to replace that roof, in the next year or so. I’d tell you that he brought me my first cuppa, and that we chatted about this and that, and that I still love kissing him goodbye even after nearly 19 years together, and that I’m eternally grateful that he’s been willing to take so many leaps of faith, trusting in my intuition. I’d rhapsodize about the way he earns a living so that I can concentrate on the children and writing. I’d say that he’s funny, warm, sensitive, and that that blue beard of his turns me on more than a little, because it suits him so well.

Me and Chef Bluebeard. <3

If we were having coffee, you’d discover that I like to talk, and listen. You’d maybe see that there’s something at once far off and inwardly focused in my eyes; you might guess that I’m in a new-moon creative mode, and that stories are unfurling in my mind, claiming a good deal of my attention. If we had a second cuppa, you might learn who the stories concern (if you didn’t know me well enough to not even need to guess, that is…).

If we were having coffee, you might’ve just seen me nearly spit mine on my keyboard, because my daughter, who wanted to tell my son something, said, very naturally, “I’ll text him.” His room is only 20 feet or so from where she just set up her Littlest Pet Shop game; she doesn’t want to get up or yell through the house. I’d tell you that the technology that’s so naturally a part of their lives amazes me more than a little.

Natural technological aptitude!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you it’s time for me to go, and direct you to Part Time Monster’s Weekend Coffee Share…via the link or the little blue froggy! And I’d wish you all a week full of the very loveliest of chaos!

The Shadows of Hawks: Something New for #WeWriWa #8Sunday

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors’ Eight Sentence Sunday!

It’s the weekly hop for everyone who loves to write! We’ve got a variety of genres and talented writers just waiting for you to come sample their wordy wares. Come read one, or all, or pick a few like leftover New Year’s treats….

And, if you’re inclined to share your own 8-10 sentence snippet, follow the link and sign up. It’s a great community to be a part of! =D

This week, I offer you nine sentences of “A Splash of Red”, a surreal fantasy story, the child of my own life and my dreams, with a generous dollop of imagery and a big dash of creative license…

More on the story after the snippet.

The Shadows of Hawks

She stops circling, and stares at me. I keep my gaze open and soft – I want her to feel safe here. But there are the shadows of hawks in her eyes as she shrugs. “Gravity still happens.” Through her fierceness, the single quick ray of amusement at her own joke. “And it was you who upset my balance. All of a sudden, just when I needed to focus on the hawk, you were here.”

I feel the words, heavy with meaning, like the heaviness in the air before snow, like the heaviness of the hawk wheeling in the hopeful sky, vivid with sharp menace. She goes back to her own circling, watching me warily, as though she thinks me the hawk.

Does the child think the woman is a hawk?

Is she right?

Can the woman make her feel safe?

And what about the hawk?

Come on back next week to find out more!

Did you like what you read? “A Splash of Red” was originally published in the 2014 inaugural edition of World Unknown Review, which is edited by L.S. Engler. Since I retain all rights beyond first publication, I intend to revise the story and use it as my own initial self-publishing experiment.

That being said, I’d love any and all input and criticism you’re inclined to offer!

Want more #8Sunday?

Some Things About Socks for SoCS (Y’KNOW- SOCS!)

This post is part of Linda G.Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday meme -an unedited stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt: the word ‘socks’, used any way we think to. 

Coincidentally, I wrote a good bit about socks earlier this week. Socks as the Magi’s gift, sort of…and sort of not. I make no apologies for that – as the Vulcans might say, “kaiidth’. What is, is…and I had a lot of fun writing that poem on Christmas Eve Eve, and in sharing bits and pieces of it out like stocking stuffers to my family.

So, stuff that in your sock and….oh, sorry. Christmas tends to bring out the little kid in me, and last night my Accomplice and I were reminiscing about those kid sayings, because I actually heard him say, “I know you are, but what am I?” to our eleven year old. I know they were teasing each other, and I giggled at him, and he liked that, and she liked teasing Daddy, so it was just fun. When I was a kid, it was a weapon to be hurled at someone – usually when I’d been hurt by them, and usually when I felt powerless to do anything meaningful about it.

I liked this better. I like my life better, and the life we’re giving our kids, a life where words are fun, or meaningful, or toys to be played with – but almost never weapons.

But that doesn’t have much of anything to do with socks, now does it?

Here’s a bit of trivia about me: I don’t wear socks unless I’m going to work out. Not even on the coldest days. If you see me tromping through the snow, you can be sure that my feet are bare inside my snow boots. You see, I’m very sensitive to certain textures, and the friction between layers and different materials. Skin on sock on inner side of footwear on sole of footwear on flooring or ground is generally too much.

I make an exception with sneakers, though – and, oddly, that doesn’t bother me…hmmm….well, I never said I make a lot of sense.

Socks can destroy heterosexual committed relationships, sometimes. My Accomplice, like many male type people, had a tendency to leave his balled up and everywhere. Nearly nineteen years of cohabitation, and they stay (mostly) contained to the area beside his half of the bed (a space I seldom enter for Various Reasons; mostly having to do with self and marriage preservation!). So, once or twice a week, the laundry will contain a small mountain (that’s a foothill, right?!) of his gathered socks. Takes a lot longer to fold the laundry on those days, but I like folding laundry, so that’s OK.

Well, that’s about all I have to say about socks, except:

  • Sock monkeys!

  • The Clintons once had a First Cat named Socks.

  • BJ Hunnicutt and the argyle socks he washed but never wore.

  • Sheldon Cooper classifying his blue argyle socks.

  • Bobby Sox to Stockings.

  • My daughter owns a pair of bacon knee socks. She never wears them; she has textural sensitivities, too – but she loves them.

  • Stuff a sock in it; I’m done.

Have you tried stream-of consciousness writing? Come join in – there’s just a few simple rules. Check out the brand-new #SoCS hashtag, or Get more SoCS right here! 

“Indescribable”: #SoCS for 11/14/15

This post is part of Linda G.Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday meme -an unedited stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt: ‘indescribable’, as a word or a topic…I opted for both.

It’s been a busy day. I shut down my computer a bit after 6am – the new moon had me writing through the night, and I’m now only five scenes from the end of my first draft of Sea Changes (KIC#3). I was up at 11, to take my daughter to her cousin’s zorbing birthday party. Soon after I finish this post, I will be heading out to my friend Lizette’s house for a NaNo writing party (and I need to remember to stop at the store for something sweet to share).

Amidst these varying facts, my thoughts are whirling and circling and moving in intriguing directions…which led to today’s SoCS writing….

 

Indescribable

I’ve felt it all my life, as a current that runs beneath the surface, where most people look, listen, and live.

There’s something under there.

Like the Loch Ness monster, maybe, or a thermocline that offers up a sudden rush of warm water while I’m scuba diving. Like the little fish that nibbled my legs in the lake at Pinewoods Lodge Campground, last summer – or that brush of hard curved surface that brushed past my fingers in that murky, sandy water – was it a snapping turtle? We’d seen a baby one on the beach, the year before. I even have pictures. So, where there are baby snapping turtles, there must be mommy and daddy ones to fertilize and lay the eggs.

But I’ll never know for certain if that’s what I touched. The answer lies in the depths. Like in the time I heard a splash along the Firehole River in Yellowstone National Part, when we still lived and worked there, and had no children other than one fluffy little black and tan puppy with sky blue eyes.

I looked to where the sound had come from, and saw – nothing.

For a quarter of a breath or so.

And then my reality shifted.

Forever.

Indescribably.

I’d tell you exactly what I saw, and the emotions and shifting that it evoked in me – but I can’t. The experience is too high, too wide, too deep, too profound, too everything, to be put into words.

I can only fall back on language, because, sadly, I’ve yet to master the Vulcan mind meld, and I didn’t have a camera with me, only a puppy needing to pee. I’m not the type who can sculpt or paint or quilt what I saw –

So I painted the image with words, but it only touched the surface of what I lived, in that moment, when the surface of the water parted to reveal a new truth –

From my poem Firehole River Splash, written October 17, 2012.

Something rising from the water

Something alive –

The moment crystal and infinite

White feathered head

Yellow eye meeting mine without

Hesitation or fear.

I am the one who does not belong

Here.

Rising, rising, rising…

Shedding

Rainbows of water

Powerful wings spread and lift

Beak opens in a fierce cry

Away from the trees on the

Opposite bank comes

Eager answer.

Rising, rising, rising…

And now, the talons

Clutching the small, arching trout

Who could not avoid

The bald eagle

death

that

dove

out

of

the

sky.

Oh, yes. Those are pretty words, and they do evoke an image. Only thing is, like many of the most momentous moments in a life, it’s not complete, and can never be, I can’t give you the soul of this, any more than I can the exact impact of looking into the faces of my newborns, or knowing I was in love with my Accomplice, or how it felt to watch him cradle our dead infant son in his arms for over an hour, unwilling or unable to let him go, because that would mean never holding him again.

The moments that most change me always seem to be indescribable, undefinable, beyond what can be expressed in any human means other than the invisible, indelible, indecipherable ways that they change and shape me into something other than what I might have been without them.

It’s ironic, but I write to touch these moments and experiences, to attempt to understand them, crystallize them into something I can share, as though they are precious gems I can hold upon my palm….when, in truth, like a snowflake, they are swiftly gone, with my wordless memory of them the only record that they ever existed to begin with…

Paradoxical, that I use something as concrete and unbending as language in my attempt to fit the shape and scope of what lies beneath, and that I do it in the full knowledge that it can never, ever work…

Because sharing a glimpse of the indescribable, a tracing of its shadow, is still preferable to simply allowing it to pass by unnoticed and unremarked- upon.

Have you ever experienced the indescribable? Tried to give it shape and substance in the corporeal world? Did you find a way? I’d love to know!

Have you tried stream-of consciousness writing?

Come read more, or join in – there’s just a few simple rules.

Check out the #SoCS hashtag,

or click here!

The Not Sure What to Say Edition: Second Serving Sunday

A weekly peek backwards and a look ahead, from my little corner of the blogosphere…

Are you ready for a Second Serving?

Life Stuff:

Last Week’s Edition: Fertile Fall 

  • This week included the sudden onset of the potentially expected, yet still unexpected. No, I’m not going to say more now – matters are still unfolding, and we’re still processing. I will say that we’re all well, and the unexpected has already proven to be beneficial…so no need to worry. It’s just unexpected, not calamitous!
  • There’s been quite a lot of home and yardtending this week, since the weather’s turned cooler, with the promise of a more indoorsy focus in the offing.
  • ROW80 is  on hiatus until tomorrow. I’ve gotten my end of round and annual goals updates done, but haven’t yet posted my September goals update – hopefully, I’ll get to that later today  – the unexpected led to a bit of a writing and blogging backup. I’ll be polishing up my sponsor post during the day today, and sending it on to Kait for scheduling. Then I can settle on my ROund Four goals, and start tomorrow off right! =)
  • Story a Day is over until next May, and OctPoWriMo is well underway. I’ve enjoyed my first three poems, and today’s is simmering in the back of my mind as I type this.

Last week’s features:

ROW80:  The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have A Life.

Eight Sentence Sunday:  The Blog Hop For Everyone Who Loves to Write!

Mindful Monday:  Because Self-Awareness is Vital to My Joyful Life.

  • Going With My Flow:  When I honor my creative energies, amazing things happen. When I don’t? Not so much.

WIPpet Wednesday: Date-related WIP Snippets!

Coffee and Conversation: Grab a cup of something refreshing, and let’s chat!

  • Oops! Life got a bit sideways, and I didn’t sit down with you to converse over a cuppa this week.

SoCS (Stream of Consciousness Saturday): A weekly prompt to free the mind, and the words!

Story A Day September: Because once a year isn’t enough, and Trip and T’Pol won’t wait!

  • All These Thorns: Trip has armloads of thorny treasures, a waiting and grieving Vulcan – and too many questions from the Cap’n.
  • I’m not going to be posting more, now – but I have plans for later in the year, so stay tuned!

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OctPoWriMo: Poetry Among the Falling Leaves

  • Full Moon Clouds: Nighttime walks with my daughter beneath a full moon and a skyful of clouds bring present connection and weave the future.

What’s Next:

  • Round Four of ROW80 is nearly upon us. I’ll be sharing my September progress, my Round Four goals, and my first update, which will include my October goals.
  • OctPoWriMo brings a month of poetic exploration.
  • 2015-16 homeschool paperwork, and a minor fix from last year’s reporting.

  • A few other matters need tending. More on that when they’ve been accomplished.

This week, on the blog:

  • #8sunday: More “Mission Accomplished” from that delicious inter-species duo, Trip and T’Pol.
  • Mindful Monday: Embracing my inner poet in a time of some strife, and finding solace there.
  • ROW80 Updates: On Sunday and Wednesday, for the duration of the round.
  • WIPpet Wednesday: From The IDIC Romance; something different, and yet, kind of the same.
  • Coffee and Conversation: When we push anti-bullying campaigns on kids, and glorify adults who bully, what message are we really sending?
  • Stream of Consciousness Saturday (SoCS): A post based on the weekly prompt, TBA Friday. I’ll go wherever my wandering mind takes me…likely into poetry.
  • OctPoWriMo: A month long exploration of and celebration of poetry. I’ll be writing (and roughly revising) a poem each day, all month long.

In the Wilds of Internet-Land:

What Piqued My Interest This Week:

That’s what I’ve been up to, and will be getting up to.

What about you? Anything exciting happening in your corner of the world?

Any Second Servings to offer?

(Yes, I’m a little nosy. Writer thing.)

If you want to satisfy my perhaps inappropriate curiosity,

drop a line, a link, or an image into the rectangular receptacle below… 

or just pass around the serving platter!

the unexpected poem for #SoCS and #OctPoWriMo Day 3

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If you love to write poetry, you love a good poetry challenge, and you are missing April’s NaPoWriMo then you are in the right place. There are now multiple Novel writing months it is past time we added another Poetry month. October is a great time to challenge poets to a poem a day for thirty one days.

This October, I’m also focusing on gratitude, so each of my poems will use the daily prompt, and deal in some way with thankfulness. Come join me on this poetic journey – and feel free to comment, or link your own poems.

For October 3rd, the OctPoWriMo prompt is “Showing Up” – coming to the page even when you might rather not, because life is being troublesome. As it happens, life recently threw our family an unexpected wrinkle, and, while things might be rather less than delightful right now, it appears that the outcome will perhaps unexpectedly bring benefits we were struggling to provide for ourselves.

I transformed this angst into a poem – because the written word is how I process the unexpected in life….which is where the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt comes in – “expect/unexpected”.

Anyway, it’s now officially Sunday, so I’m going to go ahead and finish this belated post (life held the unexpected on Saturday, and I’m running late…). Click the links to read more poems or stream-of-consciousness posts, or add your own! =)

the unexpected poem

i

expect

life to move

expectedly

its trajectory

measured mapped charted

but sometimes my life

unexpectedly

throws in a

syllable

extra

or

wanders off

                           in directions

of its own choosing

                                                                 leaving me to hold

                                      for dear life to the

high-strung lifeline that

                                                                                  separates

what

                   i

expected

                     and

reality