Brevity Is…: Potential Wit for WIPpet Wednesday

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date.We’re led by the capable fingers and nimble mind of Emily Witt.

I have a confession to make.

That’s how I started my last WIPpet Wednesday post, and it fits today, for different reasons. Then, I was preparing for the onslaught of birthdays and death anniversary and camping.

Tonight, I blame Shakespeare, because we all went to see a free performance of Romeo and Juliet at a local park. The play began at 6, so I’m running out of day now.

And so I’ll keep this brief in the spirit of the Bard, so I can post before a swift-approaching midnight. I’m taking a break before going back to Sea Changes, and sharing a bit from An Unspecified Project. Points for anyone who can guess what, who, where, and why?

WIPpet Math:

  • Today is August 3, 2016
  • Two sentences. Why two? Because “Brevity is the soul of wit.” And these are brief.

No. Honestly, I’m more interested in the guy in the bathroom.”

Want more WIPpets? You can find them, and even add your own date-related excerpt if you’re so inclined, by following the little blue froggy from WIPpet to WIPpet to WIPpet!

Tucked Beneath #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 holiday memories….

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

I didn’t post last week; family stuff and the first stages of planning my April CampNaNoWriMo novel too me over, as well as the end of my Accomplice’s vacation.

But, now, a week later, it’s time for my next snippet from A Splash of Red” , which I’m serializing here. This surreal fantasy story is the child of my own life and dreams, with a generous dollop of imagery and a big dash of creative license…

More on the story after the ten-sentence snippet.

Context, such as it is…A woman is attempting to win the trust of a little girl in a red dress, while hawks wheel above…but just who are these two to one another? Are the hawks the only danger they face?

When we left last week, the woman had tripped and fallen. Upon recovering, she spots a splash of red.

Given the surrealism of the story, punctuation is a bit creative, so be warned!

Tucked Beneath

The red of our hated bedroom carpet, of sumac leaves changing, of my hands after sacrificing them to the blows of the Whippin’ Stick, of the blood the hawks would shed with their rending talons, their shredding beaks.

The red of a little girl’s dress.

I’ve found her – found myself, too. The hawks wheel, vivid with sharp menace, feathers brighter than the changing leaves.

“Don’t move – please don’t move,” I pant in a jagged whisper. I pry myself half up from the ground, digging slipping fingers desperately into the powder-rotten log, and I remember the cookie dough we’d made only once, and the way my hawk-mother attacked when the egg broke too soon in my hands and slithered down to land on her bare toes.

Sharp hawk-cry, a dive, blocking the sky, immense – every feather outlined, even in shadow, mouth open, still screaming rage and menace. I cringe, duck my head from the sight, feel her cowering into her hiding place, shaking.

The hawk plummets – rushing wind shoved ahead of its drop.

Gaze catches at a small heart-shaped pebble, tucked beneath a curled, red-veined maple leaf.

Previous “A Splash of Red” snippets:


Is the pebble important?

Will the child flee again?

Have the hawks given up on them?

Can they heal together?

Come on back next week to find out more!

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. Until then, may your week be delightful! =D

Want more #8Sunday?

Still Nameless: Sea Changes (Kifo Island Chronicles Volume 1) for WIPpet Wednesday

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date.We’re led by the capable fingers and nimble mind of Emily Witt.

Happy Wednesday once again!

Today, my Accomplice went back to work after a very pleasant vacation. Our son is officially closer to fifteen than to fourteen. And I’m back with the first official snippet from Donovan Nash in Sea Changes. I’m excited about this, because Donovan is definitely one of my more intriguing Kifo Island characters. He’s appeared in all three of my previously drafted Kifo Island stories, often with a major supporting role. And now, he gets his own story (well, shared with Karina, and maybe someone else, but still, he’s finally the star he was meant to be!)

For those who’ve forgotten, or are new here, the premise:

In advocating for a dying girl seeking emancipation from controlling parents, can an overburdened young woman and a lonely young man find a future together?

Note:

This passage is NaNo rough. My plan is to begin creating a revision plan this month or next. That said, any input is gratefully accepted!

WIPpet Math:

  • Today is March 2, 2016
  • I added the month and day for five paragraphs, then added the one I shared as last week’s teaser for good measure.
  • That makes six whole paragraphs of Donovan. =)

Context: Donovan has just left his best friend Corinne’s pottery studio, Still Nameless, where he met Karina Karanova, who was working with clay and hating it. She’s clearly in a state of emotional overload, and eventually rushes off. Donovan has another obligation, and that’s where we reconnect with him.

Still Nameless

Donovan pulled his golf cart up as close to the cottage as he was able. It was midmorning on Kifo Island, and, warm already for mid-October. It had all the hallmarks of another hot, sultry, and potentially deadly summer.

He held his umbrella outside of the little vehicle that was the only one allowed for general use, and opened it before checking his shades and snugging down his bucket hat. He’d applied more sunscreen before leaving Still Nameless, at Corinne’s sweet but insistent urging.

He told himself that it wouldn’t have mattered if he hadn’t – the lovely and obviously troubled young Russian woman had taken off as though he were some malignant tumor she hoped to outrun. She wasn’t going to let him get closer, at least not now. She was spooked, and clearly had more than enough on her mind already.

Whether or not he stayed to put on sunscreen was, as Corinne had gently put it, ‘beside the point.’

Still, he wished he could have learned more about her – even if only her name. All Corinne had said when she called him was that there was someone in the studio who looked to be having a very hard time of things, but that the woman hadn’t opened up to her. That was usually the case, when she called him unexpectedly – Corinne seemed to have an almost supernatural ability to judge what would help someone to release the stranglehold they held on their emotions. Her need to do so was much more easily understood, but no less powerful –

“Be here, now.” He told himself this before every appointment, every interaction with the guests on Kifo Island. Whether they were dying, or here with someone who was, every one he’d met had abraded emotions and immediate needs. A little presence and sensitivity, he’d found, went a long way toward soothing some of those edges even when he couldn’t meet their needs.

Where is Donovan?

Why is he here?

Will he see the young woman again?

Can he be here, now?

Some of these questions may be answered – and others will certainly be posed- next week, so be sure to come back then to learn more of Donovan’s story.

Just to be sure people can go back and read Karina’s scene, if they’d like, here are all the links:

Want more WIPpets? You can find them, and even add your own date-related excerpt if you’re so inclined, by following the little blue froggy from WIPpet to WIPpet to WIPpet!

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.❤

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!