A Moment of Mulch – Writing 101 Day 14

Shovel. Shovel. Fling. I heft the hay fork over my shoulder and the mulch deposits in the trailer. One shovel full after another.

How many wheelbarrows are in a trailer load of mulch? How long have I been doing this? I ask myself as another scoop falls into the trailer.

I mean, it could be worse. It’s a gorgeous day, and the sun is shining in a November sky. That right there is an oddity sometimes. Usually there is fog. Thick fog that never burns off. Okay, I might be exaggerating there a bit.  That kind of fog waits for December.

So here I am on a crisp clear day, doing something I actually like. But boy do my shoulders not like this.

There I was this morning with my sister asking me what I was going to do today. “Oh, I don’t know,” I said casually. I really didn’t. But then I started thinking about the dahlias needing to be covered in mulch for the winter. We are trying something new, so well, I need to get the mulch.

So out of nowhere I ask for my father to hook up the trailer and I’ll load up mulch to pile under the pine trees for the winter.

That was one load ago. Now my shoulders are so tired and I’m feeling that wobbly motion that comes when I’ve over done it. My inhaler is wearing off, and my breathing is more labored. And I’m sure the soup is boiling on the stove. And I have to cover plants tonight. And I can feel the cold breeze starting as the sun has shifted down lower and its not hitting me as much as I would like.

But, now I have two loads of mulch. Not bad for a day that started off with no plan but to be outside. Maybe.


I have no idea if this fits with the ‘rules’ of day 14. But I’m not terribly worried. I’m not even sure what I was going for. It is semi autobiographical since I did think most of this, and most of this happened today. So…..


Let’s Have A Cup Of Coffee And Catch Up – Writing 101 Day 11

steaming cupTrying to catch up my readers seems a bit redundant. I feel like I’m forever updating on current projects, or lack of projects, but let’s see what I come up with just an overview. Or if we were sitting down to coffee, I’d tell you all this. I’m not really up for a conversation, poetry, or interesting piece. Mind fog.

First off, I’m second week into Writing 101 and it’s exhausting in it’s own way. I love it, but I wonder if it’s really helping me. Does this make my writing better? Well, maybe because it has required me to have focus. Sort of. And not really come up with my own ideas. I mean, sure, the basis is mine, but there is a general theme of writing well. And it has helped me take time to practice using social media to promote my posts. I don’t know why I didn’t know how to do that before in WordPress, but I have some of it down better. So, there is some structure. I think.

I’m week two into the Poem a Day Chapbook Challenge, and feeling further and further behind. I have written seven and a half sonnets… or three half sonnets as well. It’s kind of odd. If I could finish those three I’d be further along. I still struggle with the iambic aspect. I get pentameter. That is seriously no problem. But unstressed/stressed still makes me groan a bit. I wouldn’t be surprised if I start thinking in iambic after a while of this though.  But I am having to play catch up constantly. I’m not following the specific rules of the PAD challenge, considering I can’t seem to write a sonnet in 24 hours and move on to the next one. So it’s day 17 and I have less than half completed. Sigh.

My month has kept me busy with life changes, from it suddenly being our family business’s down time, sort of, to health problems, and family health problems and going here and there for such things. I’m so exhausted it’s not even funny. But I have finally started to recoup a bit on my anemia. I spent the summer being anemic and I’m finally into a safer zone but still not out of the water yet. The low iron made it impossible to keep running, which I wanted to do for health reason. But when your doctor says ‘stop running’, you do what he tells you. Maybe next year, because I cannot run in the winter in the mountains. It’s too cold.

I was thinking and semi talking with Caterpickles the other day about a story I sent the 8 Year Old when she was more like the 5 Year Old. Gads time flies. I wrote a picture book and turns out the 8YO still loves the story, and obviously can read it herself these days. I need to seriously sit down and consider a query letter or more to some agents and see if one might accept it. I had hoped to have the book published before Jules’s kids were out of grade school and the 8YO was still only 6. Clearly I am far behind that plan. So onwards and hopefully agent wards…

Does anyone else find that sometimes they get really annoyed with other people that are trying to publish and are telling about all their challenges?  There is one blogger I follow who is working to publish juvenile fiction and it annoys the heck out of me about his methods of submitting and working through Twitter and various other social media aspects. Does anyone else ever feel annoyed with other publishing authors? Or is it just me.

I looked into submitting a short story to Readers Digest after my grandmother read the story and said I should. Unfortunately, because of the high volume of stories RD gets, it’s like next to nearly impossible. So, I’m putting them on the back burner for now, but the short story needs submitting somewhere. I had tried Glimmer Train, Tin Roof, and The Meadows literary magazines, and all rejected my story after an 8 month wait. It’s okay though. I had three magazines read my story.

So, okay, I guess I have something to talk about, right?

For some, this is not terribly interesting, but others might find it helpful. Is there anything you, dearie would like to add?


After Paris – Writing 101 Day 10

It’s a cold Sunday afternoon, two days after Paris. Two days after tragedy and the news is still reporting on everything

“the attack is an act of war by isis terrorist army” says French President Francoise Hollande….     “cities around the world are lit up with French flag colors” says another news station.  “the death toll is now at 132” says an online news service.

We are tuned in and plugged in to any new detail. Twitter, Facebook, CNN, Foxnews….. Check the updates. Stare in horror. Try not to cry.

And yet life seems so ordinary as pans of jars are on the stove chattering away awaiting being canned with something. It’s fall, it’s Sunday, it’s a normal day. But it’s not a normal day. It’s normal for us so far from tragedy. It’s normal for this time of year. But everything has changed.

Had you asked me to sit quietly and observe for twenty minutes two days ago, I might have come up with something terribly different. And I can’t think of anything else that would affect me like coming home on Friday afternoon from an ordinary day out, shopping for pants, to seeing Paris. Paris in chaos…

Paris, my dream place. My one destination that I have dreamed about visiting since I was about 12. I dream in French sometimes.  And it is the one place I have hoped to visit.

Life is kind of ordinary right now as a Fast and Furious movie is on tv, my sister is banging boards and pans as she works on the dishes, and the kitchen is cluttered and full of vegetables and pans for the canning.  It’s noisy. It’s quiet. It’s just home.

Nothing terribly exciting ever happens around here, not that I mind it much. I like being home. I like the quiet chaos of a home. I mean, when I say it’s quiet, I mean compared to cars and trucks and the endless beeping of the backhoes as they put in new water pipes for the town, Monday through Friday, 7am to 4pm. Right now it is relatively quiet. Though I could probably do without the noise of the movie on. You don’t realize how loud a film is until you are in the other room trying to concentrated.

Home is safe. So for those where home is safe…. What is Paris now to those that call it home? Is it safe? Is it even home? How does one go on in life when a tragedy has hit very close to home. For some, right next door. For the man that helped people off the roof of the Bataclan  as terrorists shot people below. So close to home how do you walk outside and even breathe? How does one go on?

I have never been in the middle of a tragedy, nor do I ever want to be. So I can’t understand. I see it from a distance.  Roseberg, Oregon and the shooting there a month ago was as close to a  tragedy as I can think I have ever been. Everything else is far away. It makes you feel a little distant, literally and figuratively , when you think about it.

What is it like to have it a part of your life? I hope I never find out as I live an ordinary life and pray for those who have lost loved ones…….. And I pray for those in Paris……


Down Time, Not Writing Time – Writing 101 Day 9

When I’m not writing. Well, that’s pretty much just my life.  I get up, I take care of the house, I fix meals, I garden/farm… I exist.  Life is rarely me going from one point of writing to the next. It’s more of a “Oh, yay, I have five moments of time in between what I need to do and what I have to do.”  Right now, as I type, the timer just went off reminding me to swish the hand laundry. The delicates that have been piling up for way too long and all us girls in the house are completely out of favorites. It’s a desperate time. It really is quite traumatic when we run out of that favorite blue thing…

There, I have eight more minutes to type before the timer goes off again. My life has down time, for sure, but it’s sporadic. Right now, because it’s cold and wintery, I have evenings as my down time. I don’t take the daytime as I am usually rushing to get everything done before 4pm when I have to get outside to cover rows and rows of plants growing still, and finish up taking care of the chickens for the evening. Basically I have an hour and a half of time shot every evening…. Pardon me, there goes another timer for the washer…… And today it will be even worse as it’s supposed to be even colder, so everything needs a bit more cover tonight.

But when I do have down time and I’m not writing, I do have some other things I like to do. Usually they relate to writing, or reading. I read whenever I can. Right now I have about five books started and very little hopes on finishing any of them. I have a hard time finishing books now because 1. I write more than anything so books get put to the wayside; and 2. I don’t like half the books I start. The one exception this year was the Vampire Academy series and The Lady In Gold. Other than that, I can’t think of a single other thing I finished from the library.  I did have my book review books.

I visit the library whenever I can, but I haven’t taken much time to sit down and just read there lately. I get caught up visiting the ladies and I don’t sit down and read. Granted, it was summer mostly so I couldn’t take the time earlier this year. But I love to browse the shelves of the little library. Shelves I know so well. I could close my eyes and you could put me on any isle and I could tell you what was in front of me. Most likely. I might be a little off since they changed the shelves a little and moved everything over one shelf.

I enjoy puttering outside in the sun, but usually there is something that needs to be done so puttering is more of an actual job that needs doing. Yesterday it was spreading mulch and burning.  But when I can, I have my camera with me and I am busy snapping away for anything from the business, to my cards, to just fun. I enjoy getting up close and personal with things.

Life gets in the way of a lot of writing. The fact that I’m taking time out of my day right now to write is crazy. I should be vacuuming something or picking up something else. There is enough clutter right now to make a OCD person go completely insane.

But not writing gives me a chance to mull over ideas. Which I’ve said in the past. And usually after I do a bunch of writing challenges, I need a break. I should have probably taken a break after October and writing every day, but I liked the idea of a poetry challenge. And I liked keeping up the pace, even if I don’t post every day. If I just sit down and work on a sonnet, it’s still writing. So every day I’m trying to do that. I love it. And while sometimes I get a little burned out, it doesn’t happen enough to give up writing something every day.


Dear Mornings – Writing 101 Day 8

Dear Mornings,

I have given you up to sleep. Not that you have ever been much of a friend of mine, but you are sometimes lovely when I actually do see you. I find you hard to be around when I am so tired all the time and I enjoy the company of Night so much better.  I spent the summer in your company, when the Sun was hot and you were so bright. But at the same time, I had to endure you as I worked on days I didn’t want to. So you are a thing I love and hate at the same time.

When it’s winter, I want to sleep you away because you are cold, but there is nothing better than sitting up and your gentle quietness and enjoy your company with a cup of coffee…. or two. Your foggy days are chilly and moody, sometimes like me. But it’s your sunny bright days I love the best. When you shine with so much sparkle, it’s like a fairy tale.

In the spring you are heralding the day with birds and sun and flowers and warmth that is comforting. In the summer you blaze out first thing, like a puppy, ready to spring the heat on me. You can be delightful, but sometimes you are a bit tiring. You are too exuberant for me to want to be that excited to see you. And in the autumn, you are just right. You are cold and crisp, just enough to make me notice you. You smell of spicy fires and cold mountain air. You remind me of your cousin mornings in southern mountains. I like you best of all then.

But even at moments of liking you, I never visit that much because I spend more time with Night. He’s so much more appealing in my writing state. He gets me. He totally understands that I need his enveloping darkness to feel secure.

Ah, Mornings. I don’t know how often we will spend time together, but one day I hope I will be able to enjoy you more. At least you see me a bit more right now that Father Time has set his clock back.


The Girl who likes to sleep

Procrastination Moderation – Writing 101 Day 7

Ah, procrastination. My friend. I live with procrastination, and the internet is the main culprit to my issues with putting off writing. I am forever getting distracted by social media, ironically because I’m using social media as the platform to this post.  But it is something that is a part of me. I’ll never be able to lose the procrastination bug in me.

This would cause me serious procrastination

But does it kill creativity or is it essential. Personally, I think it is two-fold. It can kill it when you should be writing and you get so distracted you lose what you needed to say. That has been my problem in the past. I have something I need to write about, or look up for writing, and the distraction makes it so that I never get around to writing, so I lose the thought. Or idea.

But then, on the other hand, because I get distracted and put off writing, I can find some really cool things. Or see something out in life because I’m not writing. I think it’s good to have a happy balance to procrastination. If you have something you need to get done, do it. But if you are creating, sometimes not sitting down to write is a really good idea. Maybe going outside for a walk will inspire something that you might not have had had you been sitting at your computer writing away. Or if your creativity medium is something different, the same rule applies.

Basically, take everything in moderation. Even procrastination.



My Writing Space – Writing 101 Day 6

Where do I write.  It all depends on time of day, amount of distraction, amount of quiet, and whether or not I’m cold. I don’t actually have a place that’s specifically mine for writing, nor would I use it all the time if I had it.  Unless it was in my own personal office with all my books, and music, and couch setting. Like this

My ultimate writing room...

My ultimate writing room…

If I had that, I would never leave. I might even sleep in there. But right now I’m writing at the kitchen table while the news is on in the living room. Not ideal, but not as bad as being in the living room where I can’t focus at all. But right now the upstairs, where my room is, is too cold and uncomfortable because I haven’t been so good at keeping my desk clutter free to write.  And I have to write at home. I’ve tried to write at coffee shops and when I’m at the library, but I get so distracted by other things to look at or listen to, I never accomplish anything.

Sometimes I write with pen and paper, or notebook. My poetry has it’s own book and I like to write that with pencil. It’s easier to erase mistakes that way. When I write rapidly for novels and blogging, I don’t care how neat it is so I scratch out things and just keep going.

I like to write sitting against the wall in the kitchen where the heater sends up its warmth. I like writing in bed, usually late at night and half the time I get distracted. It all depends. I have to find time to write, though right now because of the time change, I can actually get writing done in the evening. A lot of writing. I have done so much writing in the past week and a half that it’s amazing I have not burned out.

I think if I had my own writing room, I’d have a hard time staying there because I like to see what people are doing. That is, unless I have a deadline I need to get something finished. If that’s the case, then I want quiet. I can’t even have music on. I tried music last night, and because it was Georgian chants and stuff that is similar, I was okay, but most of the time I can’t listen to music while I type. I need silence. I can’t have distractions. It can be aggrivating because I love music, but I listen to the lyrics and sometimes I just can’t find the write mix that won’t annoy me after a while.

So, part of this post is to direct you, dear reader, to my contact page. Because not everyone knows where it is.  If you look on any of my pages, in the right-hand column right under my sign up for the blog spot, there is my email address where you can reach me.  And then if you go to my About page, I have a contact form. You can reach me. And I do love to get any suggestions on what you would like to see. I can’t always go with the idea, but the ideas are helpful. So please, drop me a note. If you have tried to contact me in the past and I have not responded, it’s because I decided to have a different email address, then always forgot to check it. Bad idea. Really bad. So I apologize.

So let me know what you are interested in seeing more of.  Be it poetry, flash fiction, random unimportant posts…. Heck, even a theme.


Social Aspect of Talking To My Fictional Character – Writing 101 Day 5

Does talking to yourself in the voice of your fictional character count as being social?
Sometimes I get stuck inside my head and I don’t come out for days (Source: lovel-ylesbian)
So for Day 5’s assignment: hook ’em with a quote…… I had to use two because they fit together so perfectly.  I found my quotes on my Tumblr because I went through a thing where I posted all the quotes I liked in the month of February or March.  If you go here Daydream Writer’s Quotes you can see what I mean. There are a ton of great quotes there. Trust me.
So, is it really being social if you are talking to your characters?  Does it count if you are hearing several voices and listening in to their conversation?  I suppose it could be, if you are a slightly insane person, but at the same time, honestly, I’m not lonely that often. Oh sure, I would like to talk to people my age more often, and in person.  I would love to have a normal conversation with a real voice that isn’t some incarnation of my own. Again, that sounds really weird.
And I can get stuck in my head for days. Writing as I call it, but I’m sure others would just say it’s that daydreaming I’m known for. Can I help it if I find my characters vastly entertaining and interesting?  They rarely talk back and I kind of know them inside and out. It’s a strange feeling to know you get along with your own mind better than real people.  But it’s not that I would call myself an introvert. In fact, I think I’m much more of an extrovert. I love to be around people and I get a ton of inspiration from people. Sure, I can get stuck in my own head, but I find that also rather unhealthy too. I start over analyzing things if I am in my head.
I think writers are naturally in their own heads a lot of the time. How could they not be? They are forever creating and if we leave the confines of our mind, how do we create a world? It takes a lot of planning to create something from nothing.  I have actually sat there months after creating a character realizing that oops, that will not work if I want something else to happen.  I just did that the other day. I was trying to finagle one circumstance and it would not fit in my timeline. SO now I’m fudging one thing one way and ‘deleting’ another. I’m still not sure what I want to happen. And I’m terrible about writing it down, so it get’s filed in my brain under another folder.  I like to picture my brain like a library.  Something new goes into a different section.  I think Sherlock Holmes pictures his brain a certain way.  I vaguely remember it with Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock.
But I do feel very kindly to my characters. And some of them are rather adorable and feel like a best friend.  We go for coffee and chat………   :P

Daffodils And Almond Cookies – Writing 101 Day 4 – Flash Fiction


He knocked on the door, the bouquet of daffodils bright and cheery in his fist while the day was dreary and wet with low slung clouds. He smiled brightly as she opened the door.

“Henry! Those are beautiful. Are they for me?” Narcissus asked and held open the door for Henry to enter.

Henry nodded and  slipped in the door, slipping off his rubber boots before he tracked in water onto her pristine floor.  He thrust out the bouquet and was relieved when Narcissus took the flowers from him and motioned for him to follow her.

“Would you like some cookies? I just baked some almond drop cookies.  And I can put on the kettle for some tea.”

Henry nodded again and trailed after her. He loved her house. It always smelled good, like her. Warm, sweet, and a little bit like vanilla.  She always had pretty flowers everywhere, but daffodils and narcissus were her favorites since they were her name.

“You’re quiet today, Henry.  What kind of tea would you like?” She asked as she reached up on a shelf in the kitchen for a square vase that was bright turquoise.

“Do you have the Woolong tea?” He asked and sat down in his favorite chair at her kitchen table. It faced the stove and he could watch her fix the tea.

The Oolong?” She clarified, and he nodded. “I do have that tea.  I just had a new tin arrive, so I’m dying to try it.  Why don’t you get the poppy teapot down.”

Henry grabbed the step stool and got the cream and red poppy teapot down from the top shelf and filled it with hot water from the kettle. He waited for the porcelain to heat then poured out the water. Narcissus scooped four teaspoons into the pot and Henry filled it again with almost boiling water. They worked together quietly and perfectly as they had been making tea together for a long time. As long as Henry could remember.

While the pot was steeping, she pulled out an eggplant colored bowl filled with crisp cookies that were covered in sliced almonds. They made Henry’s mouth water. She pulled out mix-matched plates and set them on the table next to the vase of daffodils.

Henry filled the creamer with milk and found the little spoons she liked to stir the tea, then she was pouring the tea into white cups. Henry leaned in and sniffed the steam, fogging his black glasses.  Narcissus laughed and he smiled.

She fixed her tea and he fixed his with just a little milk and a lump of sugar she dropped into his cup with the little tongs. She passed him the bowl of cookies and he took two.

“Now, Henry. Tell me how your days was.  Tell me what you learned in third grade today?”

“Okay, Aunt Narcissus,” Henry answered and took a bite of cookie before he started to tell her about the horrible fractions he was learning in school.


So the assignment for Day 4: a story in a single image.  This is actually an easy assignment for me to do because one of my favorite things to do is to take a picture and write about it. Any picture, though I didn’t really like any of the ones suggested with the assignment.  Fortunately they directed me to Unsplash where the pictures are completely free and high resolution. I urge you to take a look because license free images are not easy to find.

I do hope you enjoy this piece of flash fiction. I could have gone so many different ways with this, but as I wrote, I started picturing Timmy in The Sea is Blue where he goes to visit an older friend.  It’s one of my favorite books.  Sometimes I think I might make a good aunt.


One Word Prompts: Secret – Writing 101

5186_16e7I have secrets. I live with secrets. I’m filled with secrets. I love to keep secrets. I hate to keep secrets. Secrets are part of being a woman still living at home. Secrets are what make a writer considering we don’t have time, nor the inclination to discuss all of what is going on in our heads.

I exist sometimes on secrets. Things I have done that no one knows. Secrets I have shared with one person. Secrets of my own thoughts. I can’t share everything about me, nor do I want to, but when I have to, it’s very hard to keep a secret. Especially at Christmas or Birthdays. Then I feel like I need to explode.

In today’s prompt about a one word inspiration, there was a list of words to choose from, ‘Secret’ being the one I picked.   Then there was the suggestion :

If you like these one-word prompts, consider a Prompt Box: an offline well of inspiration that you can draw from on a rainy day. Andrea Badgley keeps prompts on slips of paper in a Chinese tea tin; I use an old jewelry box I bought from a market in Italy. In whatever vessel you choose, add slips of paper with single words, as we’ve practiced here. Short phrases work well, too.

I want to have jars of prompts. And jars of secrets. Jars of places I want to go. Jars of quotes  important to me. Jars of things I want to do with a man…. That’s where the secrets come in. A wish jar. Jars of wishes, hopes and dreams. Jars of secrets.

ce0623ea7abe8a8aebe6a5ba4384d8a0_2_largeIt sounds exotic and wonderful. A little bit sexy, a little bit naughty, and a whole lot of magical. Can you imagine if you, my reader could reach your hand into any one of these jars and pull out a slip and read what I had written? There would be all kinds of things you could find out. Thank goodness for my secrets.

My journal is filled with secrets. Things I would never tell anyone. My journal is dangerous and I would hate for it to get out. But at the same time, sometimes I wish I could share my secrets with someone. Ah, someday.

Secrets are a thing I like so much that I have several songs with the word in the title.  My favorite would be One Republic’s ‘Secrets’, and The Piano Guys cover of the same song.  Second favorite is Maroon 5’s ‘Secret.  That one. Whew… steamy.  But there are several others that have just hit me over the years.

One day I think I’ll have a row of apothecary jars filled with all my secrets. They will be lined up on a mirrored shelf, behind locked glass doors.  One can look and get a glimpse of the secret, but not the whole thing…..