Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday Serenity #104 Whew!

Am crossing two finish lines today and the sense of release is as much like serenity as anything I've ever called serenity.

I finished NaNoWriMo.

Whew!


And I'm reviewing the last of my selections for the Herding Cats challenge. Though this is more like a little friendly chat than a review.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kid

This story has all the elements that make a coming of age story so enchanting. A young girl must confront hard realities and choose whether to be kept imprisoned by them or to fly free into the wide world and into her self. She must learn to walk through the despair and heartbreak of betrayal and guilt into a place where forgiveness is the key that opens the long locked door to a world limned with love.

Lilly has been raised since a toddler by her father who is a man full of rage and contempt. He informs her on the eve of her first day at school that she had been the one who shot her mother in the gun accident when she was three. He punishes her for the typical childhood infractions by having her kneel in a pile of uncooked grits for hours on end.

The incident that sets her free from her father's home is one in which she must choose between obedience to arbitrary rules set by her father and the deep south culture of the late sixties and submission to her own inner compass that points to a Justice constrained by compassion and mercy. The black Nanny who has raised her since her mother's death had gotten into an an altercation with several white men when she went into town to register to vote. By fighting back and mouthing off she had sealed her fate in that town--essentially a death sentence. Not an official one through a court of law but rather some kind of 'accident' was bound to happen to her while she was in custody for the assault charges. When Lily's father said as much to Lily in response to her pleas to get Rosaleen out too on the ride home from the jailhouse where he'd had to come pick her up, she realized rescuing Rosaleen would have to be up to her. And when he dropped her off at home and told her to sit in her room contemplating the consequences of her actions that day until he returned from the orchards for dinner, she did so but only long enough to realize that rescuing herself was also up to her.

So she doesn't wait in her room like she'd been told. She packs a duffel and walks back into town and breaks Rosaleen out of the hospital room she had been sent to after a 'fall' she'd taken at the jail after Lily had left. They hitchhike to a small town, the name of which had been on a mysterious picture of a Black Madonna that had belonged to Lily's mother, where they discover the home of three black sister's who sell honey and beeswax candles with labels featuring the very same Black Madonna picture.

Lily and Rosaleen are taken in by the calendar sisters--August, June and May. It is a magical interlude but trouble is stirring. Not the least of which is the repercussions bound to follow once the news that a young white girl is living with the calendar sisters and has been seen riding alone in the truck with Zach, August's hired hand. Arguably a worse breach of the local codes than Rosaleen's flaunting of the fact she was headed over to register to vote had been.

I can't say much more without giving spoilers so I'm going to hush now. Except to add that it has been a uniquely inspiring experience to have been reading this story while still embraced in the afterglow of the 2008 Presidential election.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Deadline Looms...

I is workin what u want?
more animals

NaNo NaNo NaNo NaNo NaNo NaNo NaNo NaNo NaNo NaNo

There 10 wurds. Can countz?

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday Forays In Fiction: NaNo Homestretch

There's 49 hours left and I have just over 4K to deliver so it looks like I'm going to make it. I don't want to spend too much time dithering here obviously. See yesterday's TT post for a mini overview of my novel as it stands. I just wanted to report my status. But I also wanted to open a discussion--mostly with myself--about the pros and cons of doing NaNo.

My husband groaned during the last week of October, expressing for the first time how he had come to dread November because of what doing NaNo did to me. So I made a conscious effort to keep my stressing and obsessing to myself and not to put NaNo work ahead of opportunities for us to do things together. I also tried real hard to graciously share laptop time with him on weekday evenings and weekend mornings. I haven't asked him for a 'report card' on how well I succeeded in keeping my stress from spilling over onto him but my sense is that I did fairly well except for between the 16th and 19th as I was coming out from under the worst of the cold I came down with on my birthday, finding myself over 20K behind.

I discussed elsewhere how I figured out how to make it up by switching from standard scene writing to 'journaling' for my characters--giving them a forum to rant or ramble in their own voice about whatever was bugging or jazzing them. I posted a snippet of one of these last Friday that had surprised me by being near story quality.

The rest is pretty much a mess though and I feel a bit guilty contemplating counting it. But after all it was one of the pep talk letters from Chris Baty where he talked about 'word-padding' by having characters quoting full lyrics to songs or even sections of the phone book, and using all your 'sprinting skills' that gave me the 'journaling' idea because the closest I ever come to sprinting in writing is while journaling where I've often made single entries topping 3K and even on occasion 5K.

Then I figured if quoting lyrics and phone books was OK then so should going into my own journal and blog archives for the rants and rambles related to economics and politics to find some ready made content for my character's thoughts. A part of me still feels like this is 'cheating' though. Because even though they are my own words they weren't composed in November. Yet, it kept me in the game after coming so close to quitting.

It kept me intensely engaged with my story and as the days go by in which I don't miss a single one, the intensity escalates. If only I had reached this place in mind and spirit the second week of November so that I could look forward to two more weeks of this. Now, I fear the same thing will happen to this novel as happened to the last two of my NaNo novels--both of which I was equally enthused with by the last few days and both of which I let drop soon after. Two years ago I never opened the files for Storyteller's Spouse to work on them again. Last year I did keep working on Spring Fever at a much less feverish pace through January and into February because I was participating in 70 Days of Sweat challenge concurrently with NaNo. But then it fell by the way as well.

Both of those novel's files are a sloppy mess as Mobile Hopes has become as well. And this is the conundrum. Working under the pressure of writing challenges leads to messy files that I start to avoid like creditor's phone calls but working without the encouragement and motivation associated with the challenges leads to, well, mostly empty files or at least little more then prissy word counts of under 1K per week.

I didn't catch the announcement for the current 70 Days challenge until it was several days underway so I didn't sign up this time which means that I am on my own after midnight Sunday night. One of the things I'm asking myself is if the challenges are crutches that I should wean myself off of. But I don't think it is as black and white as that. I know that one of my issues is a perfectionism and insistence on control that pretty much strangles the muses. That is why the intensity of NaNo always gifts me with the makings of a story that shimmers and glows in my mind but sits in my files growing like penicillin in a petrie dish--a proliferating mass, a grotesque mess.

So I don't think bowing out of challenges is the answer. But I do need to find somewhere, the motivation and discipline to stay with the story after the challenges end--to finish a first draft and then face the mess and wrangle it into something readable, something like a novel.

But since there is no challenges to keep me in line now I think maybe a substitute is in order: A publicly stated commitment to stay engaged with Mobile Hopes as close to daily as possible until July 4 2009 at which time I will reassesses. I will report here each Friday as to my progress and post snippets occasionally. But I will have little to say about word count.

Progress will be measured by other criteria. Like the number of days in which I spent a minimum of thirty minutes engaged with the story files; how many days in a row I engage with the story files without missing one; level of enthusiasm; the mini-successes of breaking through a block or untangling a snag.

Not every Friday Foray will be focused on Mobile Hopes but those that are not will at least have an update tacked onto the top or the bottom of the post.

And while I'm at it, I will make another commitment: to concurrently return to Crystal's story and work toward a finished draft of it as well. Her story has been percolating in my psyche again since early October and I resisted reengaging with it because of NaNo. I definitely don't want to wait until after July to get back to her story. What I am eager to try is to take the character journaling concept into all my WIP beginning with Crystal.

I might as well add one more commitment: to reengage with last year's NaNo novel Spring Fever at the research level by the end of January. One of the reasons, if not the primary reason, I let that one fall away was because I had made the story dependent on a dozen or more things that I had only a vague or shallow knowledge about. One of my Friday Foray posts before the end of January will delineate the needed research and map out a study plan.

This thought is just now occurring to me: I wonder if anyone else would be interested in a self-designed fiction writing challenge along similar lines. If so, I could create a Linky for these Friday Foray posts. I now have the ability to have multiple Mr Linky. So if I hear from even three who would be interested in joining in I will do that. Your post doesn't have to be on Friday's. Any post in the week before or after my Friday post goes up that discusses a fiction WIP in terms of commitment, progress or even dismay would qualify as would snippets or outtakes. And by fiction I include short stories, plays, and screenplays as well as novels in any genre. The point is to have encouragement and accountability.

So much for not dithering too long at this post. : D

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #114

THURSDAY THIRTEEN

Thirteen Things About My 2008 NaNoWriMo Novel

  1. It is set in a mobile home park. The title is Mobile Hopes to reflect the hopes and dreams of these families as they climb or fall off the ladder to the American dream.
  2. The timeline of events (except for memories of the past) is sandwiched between July 4 and November 4 of 2008 to reflect the birthday of America and the presidential election.
  3. Each family is faced with challenges and crisis that are caused and/or exacerbated by the current economic crisis.
  4. At the beginning every family is isolated and the individuals within them as well. Despair rules. Families and lives are disintegrating. By the end they have found hope, courage and a sense of community.
  5. It will be woven out of many short stories and vignettes narrated in the first person by each character in turn. Some may have multiple turns:
  6. Gerta must move in with her grandson Carl and his wife Lucy after the house her husband had built over forty years before is auctioned by the state for back taxes. Agustus, her husband, died just a few years after building that house but he has never left her side. Is he a ghost? Or just Gerta's vivid imagination? (see a snippet of Gerta's story here.)
  7. Una and her son Juan, his wife Maria and their four children Querida, Bianca and Raul and Xavier all live in one single-wide two-bedroom trailer. The family runs a roadside Mexican food diner out of a van.
  8. Nailah, an Iraqi woman, was given sanctuary with her three children in America to protect them from retribution while her husband works with the American occupation. Their three children are: Emir, Ieesha, and Khalid
  9. Hunter and Fletcher are two brothers whose yards are back to back and who have been feuding for over a decade. Hunter is a Vietnam Vet. Fletcher's son is serving in Iraq. Both are alcoholics. They constantly throw trash into each other's yards and invectives over the fence. Cops have to be called every six to eight weeks to break up their late night altercations.
  10. Drake is the live-in-boyfriend of single mother Wanda whose two young sons Trenton and Owen are not his. Drake and Wanda grow Marijuana in the shed and cook meth in an RV parked in the driveway. Drake's arms, torso and scalp are covered in tattoos most of which reflect his white supremacist views. He carries an eight inch hunting knife on his belt and loves to pull it out and sharpen it. Wanda's mother who is dying of congestive heart failure has moved in with them.
  11. Paul and Velma are a black retired couple in their sixties. They've lived in the park for over twenty years and have been park managers for nearly ten. Paul is dying of cancer. They have three dogs and three cats. There son has been in prison for five years and about to get out but a condition of his parole is that he live with his parents. Their daughter drops her kids off to be watched nearly every day. Velma is a nosy busybody who knows every family and all of the skeletons in their closets--and yet remains well enough liked by all that they keep on 'sharing'.
  12. Yvonne is a real estate agent whose large suburban house has gone into foreclosure and she and her teen daughter Ivy must move into one of her rental properties in the trailer park. Ivy plays drums. Yvonne has two yappy lap dogs she takes on walks on leashes and occasionally in a neon pink pet stroller.
  13. Zephyr is a cat who was abandoned when his master was moved into a nursing home and now wanders from home to home in the park. He is beloved by every family and is one of the catalysts that move them toward community.
That's just eight of the possible twenty-some families. I've got that many more imagined with their crisis and quirks but haven't given them names yet.

OK so that should have been thing number fourteen.

Oh Well. Might as well make it fifteen: I've got 8480 words to go and only three days to do it.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!




The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Blessings

print for sale at art.com

May Gratitude O'er Take You and Grace Embrace You

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Giving Thanks


Thanks to Jamie for this most recent photo of Mom she took at my brother's house in the past year.


Thank you everyone who has sent prayers and blessings since I announced my Mom was going into surgery yesterday for a broken hip.

I just learned at 11AM today that she came through surgery without complication and was sitting up in bed this morning.

This year Thanksgiving has a MOST profound meaning for our family this year.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday Poetry Train #66

I don't have it in me to do poetry right now, having just received the news that my 77 year old mother has fallen and broken her hip and will be having surgery around noon today.

So I'm going to do a little photo essay with some of the pics of my Mom I have on my hard drive. I don't seem to have any more recent than August of 2005 from the last family reunion 7 weeks before my Dad died. I'll post the reunion pics below since I've not posted most of them before but for the other pics I'm just going to include the links to the two photo essays I did featuring Mom this past year.

Click here for the photo essay with poem that I did for Mother's Day.

Click here for the photo essay of Mom's life which I did for her birthday last January.

Please send blessings to the surgeon's hands and mind that they be steady and sure.


This is my Mom and Dad on their wedding day, August 7, 1955. It was a double wedding with her twin sister but I don't have a picture including both couples.

Below are the two couples about a week before their 50th anniversary. This was the last one for both couples as my Dad died September 24th and my Aunt (in the polka dot blouse) the week after Thanksgiving. Both after several years battling cancer.


The twins Maurine and Margaret
My parents on a different day of that same reunion. We spent a three-day weekend in a vacation house near Bend Oregon.

Mom and Dad on the road towards Bend that week.

>>>>>>>>>>
OK now that is beginning to look and feel like a memorial and I don't want to leave it with a morbid tone. So I'm going to tell the story of how Mom fell. She (77 mind you) was showing off to her big sister Catherine how she exercises with her balance ball. I'm not clear what move she was demonstrating but it involved a chair and since this was at Catherine's house in Rocklin California, it wasn't the chair Mom was used to using and something went wrong. Catherine says she fell hard and then couldn't get up.

Now I guess to those who don't know my Mom that doesn't sound amusing but my sister could not erase the amusement in her tone as she told the story to me on the phone. I hope we are still able to feel the amusement a few days from now.

My sister reminded me that Mom is a trooper and told how she had learned of Mom's fall of 2001 when she tripped on some stairs exiting a building and broke her knee. She had called Carri from the hospital and broke the news with a perky "Guess what?" Like a kid about to announce her acceptance on the cheerleader squad.

I could not help but remember when she allowed herself to be coaxed onto a the neighbor boy's skateboard when I was about nine and then fell and broke her elbow. She had to wear a sling and was not allowed to lift my baby sister--then about 9 or 10 months--I learned to fold diapers and change them that spring, among other things to do with laundry and meal prep and housework.

The point being: my Mom loves to tell these stories ever after. Not as from the woe-is-me standpoint but from the 'let me tell you about my wonderful adventure'. Here's hoping she is telling this story in her perky, bright-eyed wonder-filled voice this time next year.

They were supposed to pick me up on their way back through the Rogue Valey on next Monday and I was planning to spend a couple weeks with them and continue work on scanning the family photos into my computer in preparation for creating a digital ablbum for the entire extended family. I started this project last December and that is where most of the pictures in the photo essays I linked to above came from. The reunion pics on this page came from my sister-friend Jamie's cell phone.

Assuming all goes well, it is still unlikely Mom will be able to travel by car inside of two weeks so I probably won't be going up there to visit until after Christmas now. Since Ed wants me here for Christmas. Which is only fair since his family celebrates Xmas and mine does not.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Serenity #103



I'm reading The Secret Life of Bees right now. I would love to see the movie so I hope our library gets it when it comes out on DVD.

The discussion about the theme of this story in the vid below relates to the point I was trying to make in my review of The Lovely Bones in yesterday's post. Family, connection, love, hope...all have more weight, power and truth than the ugliness created by mean-spirited souls. In the end it is about where you put your focus, energy and faith that determines what you create of the life you are given.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Lovely Bones
A Novel
by Alice Sebold
(c) 2002
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Pages: 352

In preparing to write my own review of The Lovely Bones, I went looking online for reminders of the character's names and plot events etc because it's been weeks since I finished the novel and I've read several more since then. I noticed a pattern in that the ones most likely to appear in 'respectable' publications (as opposed to blogs or book talk forums) tend to take issue with the way Sebold chose to end her novel. Their problem seems to be that it's too 'feel-good'.

Take this review by Laura Miller who sees the ending as a failure of will on the part of Sebold to maintain a clear-eyed, unsentimental willingness to track, in the words of Sebold's protagonist, "the real article, the true story" and instead succumbs to "prime-time-style inspirational confectionary" ala Touched by an Angel and Seventh Heaven, which Miller seems to accuse of being 'middle-brow' fare created for those who are 'perpetually jonesing for synthetic hope."

Now it is hard to know what specific event(s) at the end the novel is so objectionable to Miller and the rest as neither she nor the others clarified it. I suppose because it would have involved spoilers for those who hadn't read it. But the feeling I get from their circumlocutions and metaphors is that they find the happiness itself the problem and the outcomes in the various survivors lives contrived to bring about that happiness. Assuming I'm correct in assuming this then I have a problem with their problem. For I see nothing at all contrived about any of the resolutions at the end. They all grow organically out of the story.

Of course it would be hard for me to support that thesis without providing spoilers myself nor could I do a good job of it without rereading the novel to harvest the supporting evidence. So I'm just going to leave that hanging there to provoke thought on the part of anyone reading this review who may have already read or be planning to read this book. I would love hearing any thoughts along this line you might have--either in comments or via email.

The Lovely Bones is a coming of age story narrated by a young girl who is watching her family, friends and community cope with the aftermath of her murder. 14 year old Susie Salmon was brutally raped, murdered and then dismembered and stuffed in a safe which was then dropped in a sinkhole. In the weeks, months and years that follow she watches from her personal heaven the devastating impact of her loss upon her parents, siblings, grandmother, close friends, classmates, teachers, neighbors and the detective who headed the investigation. Each of these must internalize the meaning of what happened to Susie for themselves, must learn to move through the grief and find a way to say Yes! to life again.

There is her father who smashes all the ships-in-a-bottle which Susie had helped him construct and then withdraws from the family to sit in a chair in his office where those ships had been built and displayed, staring out the window onto the field where Susie had died. There is her mother who withdraws into herself and eventually across the country. There is her sister, two years younger, who resembles Susie to such a degree that she takes to bathing in the dark so she won't catch a glimpse of herself in the mirror. There is her brother, not quite five, who finds comfort under Susie's bed. There is Ray, the boy who left a love note in Susie's notebook during class, a note which Susie had not known existed until ribbons of it turned up along with shreds of her biology notes in a nest that fell out of a tree. This note made Ray, briefly, a suspect. There is Ruth, the girl who was sure she had felt Susie's spirit whoosh through her on its way past as she stood in the school parking lot on the edge of the field where she had died. There is the biology teacher whose own daughter is dying of cancer, the neighbor lady whose dog brought Susie's elbow home, the detective who adds Susie's picture to the stack photos of missing or dead girls and women whose cases have gone unsolved which he carries in his pocket.

And there is the man, a neighbor, who was her murderer. Who she learns is a serial murderer.

The impact of her death and its brutality caused fissures to open up in the hearts and lives of her family and friends and it would have been utterly understandable if any one or all of them had succumbed to despair and allowed those fissures to widen into an abyss into which they could throw themselves. But none of them did. Oh, they seemed to be headed that way at first. Their initial response of withdrawal into their grief was the catalyst for disintegration within each heart, the family unit and the community.

It was only when they reached out and entwined their hearts and their lives once more that true healing began. And once it began it spread as surely and inexorably as the despair had until everybody was drawn back into community. (Well, everyone except Susie's killer.) Is this, I wonder, the problem the reviewers I discussed above had? That everyone ended up stronger in the end and able to access the joy of life again? Was this the betrayal of the 'literary' bent of the first 95% of the story they speak of? Does a true 'literary' story have to emphasize the ugly, give more weight to despair than to joy in order to have perceived 'gravitas'? If so then I have a problem with their definition of 'literary'.

>>>>>>>>>

This is the second of my three contributions to the Herding Cats challenge.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Forays In fiction: NaNo Snippet


I finally have a snippet from my NaNo novel I'm willing to share. To set it up here is the synopsis I posted at NaNo:

Set in a mobile home park Mobile Hopes features the lives of a dozen or more separate families through the summer and fall of 2008. Each family is living its own crisis that is impacted by the current events of July through November. From the immigrant family hoping for citizenship to the family forced out of their foreclosed home in the suburbs hoping for another chance at the brass ring, they epitomize the American Dream and breathe life into the headlines.
The concept is to create a novel out of a collection of short pieces--short stories, vignettes--so that a weaving together of a community is witnessed through the eyes of at least a couple dozen individuals. Each individual is undergoing challenges and crisis that are exacerbated by the current economic crisis.

My snippet is an internal monologue from Gerta who is 97. Born on the 4th of July around 1914, she is old enough to remember when women could not vote in America. She has been widowed over thirty years and has just recently had to move in with her grandson and his wife after the house her husband built for their family was put up for auction by the state for back taxes.

Note: this is still very rough and unfinished. I have never shared a fiction piece that was this raw and relatively unedited before. I don't know why I'm so eager to do so now.

I Don't Know Why
by Joy Renee

I don't know why I'm here. It's too hot. It's too crowded. It's too noisy. All those pops and whistles. The yammer yammer. And all those kids running and yelling. The mouths on them too. Land's sake. It's like they got not much more than a four word vocabulary and the first three are Me, I , and You. My skin wants to crawl right off me. I don't know why I can't just go home.

I don't know why that looney Lucy picked this dress for today. Too fancy. Don't see no need for fancy on such a hot day. A day like this Augustus would say no need for a dress atall. We would walk about in our birthday suits inside our house. The house we first lived in 1932 the year we married. And every house after that. There were four more in three different states before the house he built with the help of his brothers and my father that hot summer of 68. The house the sherrif took away from me last month. I don't know why.

I don't know why I can't just up and walk on back over there. It's not that far from here. I used to walk tween here and there all the time especially on hot days like this. Bringing the kids on down to the creek to wade and splash. But that was before they put in this trailer park and the malls and all those streets and painted lines on them and put up signs and signals. Stop Go Cross Don't Cross. If Agustus were here he'd say it was time to move on. House or no house. He'd build another if he had to. In another big field with acres separating us from neighbors. I don't know why he had to go.

I don't know why I don't just join him now. It were up to me I'd a been there before now. If that looney Lucy would drive me back home I could at least be in the rooms where we used to be together. Our house had big wide windows everywhere to let in the light and the breezes. Only airconditioning we had 'sides that was a few old fans. Didn't get the new fangled cold air blowers til sometime round the time that Bedtime for Bonzo guy got to move into the White House. Remember thinking How'd a guy with a dirty monkey get to move into that nice house. Agustus would have been gobsmacked by it but he was gone by then. I don't know why I hooted and pointed at the TV that day and told Agustus to look at that monkey's uncle now.

I don't know why looney Lucy won't let me go outside. Its too hot she says. What does she know about hot? I can see those trees moving. She can't tell me a breeze like that under the wide sky wouldn't be better than the stinky one that box in her bedroom window blows through this big tin can. I just might go anyway. I can wait until she is sitting on the floor in front of that ridiculously big TV with her nose trying to sniff her own butt crack and I'll say I'm going to the bathroom but I'll go out the back door. I don't know why I need permission from a looney Pee Lotta Teas teacher anyway.

I don't know why she doesn't cut that hair of hers. I've told her and told her til my teeth bout fall out that hair like that begs to be grabbed like a rope and swung. I tell Carl nearly every night he needs to take and drag her back to the bedroom with it. I offer to cut it for him if he'd only hold her down for me. I don't know why all he does is grin and say "What a card you are Grandma."

I don't know what he thinks he knows about cards. Now his grandpa. He was a card. That man would put worms in a peanut butter sandwhich and serve it to one of the kids. Tell them that eating worms was how fish got gills so they could breathe under water. Only kid who ever fell for it and actually took a bite was Carl. The last of all our babies and grandbabies. He wasn't yet three that summer. I don't know why Agustus didn't wait til he was near about Kindergarten age like with all the other kids.

I don't know why Agustus couldn't watch his mouth around the babies. I don't know how many times I told him if I had to soap one more child's tongue for something they heard him say, I was going to stuff the bar in his mouth and make him chew it. Wasn't it that same day he gave Carl the worm sandwich that I came closest to doing it too? It was the summer we were building the house. It was the day Agustus dropped the roof beam on his foot. I heard him yelling clear out to the garden where I was picking green beans for lunch. I yelled back "What do you want Agustus?" and Carl who was swinging on the tire swing hung from that tall maple yelled over to me, "Grandpa says 'Frost my balls' Grandma." I don't know why I didn't drop that basket of beans.

I don't know why these teeth won't stay in my mouth. When I fall asleep in this here chair, my head hanging tween my collar bones, I often wake to find them gone. Then the great denture hunt begins. Found them tween my titties once. Found them tween the cushion and chair arm many times. Once looney Lucy found them in the cats' water dish in the kitchen. I don't know why she thinks I put them there just to get her goat.

I don't know why she dotes on those three cats like they was her own born babies. Now Agustus he liked his dogs but I never once saw him kiss one of their noses. Nor hug on em like they was one a his grandbabies. He wasn't much for cats either. Said they were too fulla themselfs. Said they held thier noses so high cause they were so fulla of it and couldn't get their noses outta the stink. Speaking of stink. They used to keep that litter box right beside the toilet. No matter how much gagging I did while in there they couldn't be convinced to find a better place for it. Not until the day anyway that I lost my lunch along with my teeth right into it. I don't know why they couldn't find a better place to move it then the floor of their room right under the window the cooler sits in.

to be continued...

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

My Birthday Present


HP Deskjet F4235

Yep, it was the knell of doom for that most stalwart of my defenses against having to take the next step in my apprenticeship as a writer--submitting to editors, agents and contests. I've been without a printer since August of 2001 and I confess it had been something of a comfort zone for me.

I've written here a number of times since the birth of Joystory November 2nd 2004 about my extreme aversion to self-promotion stemming from a melding of the temperament I was born with--profound shyness--with the emphasis the religion I was raised in had on self-abnegation along with the rigid boundaries on the roles of females that denied them any AUTHORity out from under the umbrella of their father's or husband's authority.

Even today more than sixteen years after daring to take back full and unfettered responsibility for my own mind and conscience, I still struggle daily with every occasion that requires me to 'put myself out there'--from initiating a conversation at the dinner table to insisting on having my own way at those times when that involves a matter of personal integrity.

So you can imagine what that implies about putting my writing 'out there'. The putting up of my first web page in 1998 was a conscious attempt to push out the edges of my comfort zone. I confess it has been a wobbly walk along this path. And many times I felt as much relief as frustration when one key tool or another--computer, Internet access, printer, personal library, public library service--were lost for a time. These occasions provided comfort by releasing me temporarily from the reckoning I must eventually confront if I want to be more, as a writer, than a dabbler, a hobbyist.

Sure, one might imagine a scenario in which I write quietly for myself for whatever time I've got left in this life with recognition coming only after I'm no longer on the mortal scene. Something like what happened to Emily Dickinson say*. But even that is unlikely if the bulk of my work exists only on hard drives, floppy disks, flash drives and random servers.

I noticed a shift in my psyche about eighteen months ago. The prospect of submitting manuscripts in the traditional fashion had become less anxiety provoking, less likely to trigger the spasms of shame associated with nearly all forms of 'calling attention to myself.' I began pressing for a printer and Ed, who is the tech savvy one of us, began watching for one in our price range.

Now I have it. Now the ball is in my court. My intent is to put something in the mail within six months--a poem, a short-story or an essay. I know better than to expect myself to have a novel manuscript prepared by the end of May but there is no excuse for
waiting any longer to send some of my shorter pieces out there. I am publishing this intent so as to be held accountable; so as to raise the specter of a shame as powerful as that triggered by 'showing off'--the shame of failing to keep my word.


*Not, mind you, that I'm in any way comparing my own self or talents with Emily's.

Read more...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #113

Be sure and check out the three book giveaways still open:

The American Journey of Barack Obama
Gods Behaving Badly
Lost and Found.

Well even tho my chances of winning NaNo are about the same as me getting one of those bailouts I'm still plugging away at it so it's time for another one of those silly author/title combos from that eleven page list someone emailed me several years ago. We're breaking out of the Hs into the Is...



The Next Thirteen Silly Author/Title Combos

  1. Hunger In America: Heywood Jafeedme
  2. Hypnotism by N. Tranced
  3. I Beat Bobby Fischer: Jess Player
  4. I Can Fix It: Jerry Rigg
  5. I Can't See The Difference: Sam Ting
  6. I Didn't Do It! by Ivan Alibi
  7. I Hate Monday Mornings by Gaetan Oop
  8. I Hate the Sun by Gladys Knight
  9. I Hit the Wall by Isadore There
  10. I Like Fish by Ann Chovie
  11. I Like Liquor by Ethyl Alcohol
  12. I Like Weeding Gardens by Manuel Labour
  13. I Lived in Detroit by Helen Earth


Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!



The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Read more...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Book Giveaway: The American Journey of Barack Obama

Hachette Book Group has authorized me to give away 1 copy of this amazing from the editors of LIFE magazine.

And a reminder: I've got two other giveaways still open: One for Gods Behaving Badly. The second for Lost and Found. The deadlines for all three are the same--December 6--because NaNo and then a trip out of town are keeping me so busy I wanted to push back the drawing and notifying tasks to a less over-committed day.

The rules for a qualifying entry to this drawing are at the bottom of this post. Please read them carefully.

The American Journey of Barack Obama covers the candidate from his childhood and adolescence to his time as editor of The Harvard Law Review and his Chicago activist years, culminating with the excitement and fervor of the historic 2008 Democratic National Convention. The unfolding drama of Obama's life and political career is cinematic in scope, and never has it been presented so compellingly.

In addition to a powerful array of photographs that were taken by many of the country's greatest photographers (and some that were snapped, in the quiet moments, by Obama family members themselves), this book also includes a Foreword by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, an incisive narrative biography and original essays by some of our finest writers, including Gay Talese, Charles Johnson, Melissa Fay Greene, Andrei Codrescu, Fay Weldon, Richard Norton Smith, Bob Greene and several others. Many readers will find a new understanding of Obama. All readers will feel that they are bearing witness to a singular, undeniably American story.

I received my reviewer's copy a week ago and it truly is a spectacular book. The photos range from the typical family pictures from his and Michelle's childhood and courtship to those taken by professional photo journalists from the beginning of his political career in Illinois through to the 2008 Democratic Convention in Denver. The candid shots of Barack with friends and family are riveting.

Rules:

  • Leave a comment in this post expressing your interest in entering the drawing.
  • Provide an @ by which I can contact you in case of a win. Either in your comment or in an email to me at joystory AT gmail DOT com If you email your @ be sure to connect it to your entry. If I do not receive an @ your entry will be disqualified.
  • If, in the case of a win, you would like me link to your blog in the winners announcement post, provide your URL in your comment or via email. This is not a requirement for entering nor do you have to have a blog yourself in order to enter.
  • If you blog about this giveaway, send me a link to the post and your name will be entered a second time.
  • Deadline for entering is NOON PST Saturday December 6, 2008. I will select the winner with a random number generator using www.random.org
  • Winner must provide a US or Canadian mailing address. No PO Boxes.

Read more...

Monday, November 17, 2008

NaNoWriMo Woe

How to do NoNo in your sleep:

cat
more animals


I'm at that point where desperate ideas are occurring to me. Like quitting. I lost three days to being sick and the last two to inertia and catchup of the 'really' important stuff. I'm so far behind it is probably nonsense to continue. Talk about the audacity of hope!

I should take that NaNo widget out of the sidebar. I stopped updating my wordcount several days before I stopped writing. And I stopped checking on my word count a day or so before I got sick. I'm afraid to check. I know it's under 10K.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Serenity #102


I went looking for something featuring autumn foliage and found this. I loved the pics in the slide show but I also loved the music and had never heard of Lake of Tears before. So I clicked on another. This one:

because it was blue and had 'blue' in the title. I'm partial to blue. I happened to also like this song but neither that nor the 'blue' factor is why I'm posting it.

I'm posting it in honor of my nephew who is serving as an army medic in Bagdad. He is totally into dragons. He has just completed his first full year over there and gets to come home for a few weeks soon but then has to go back.

After that vid, I clicked on several more that were not so much to my liking--too cacophonous, too much screeching of voices and instruments. I eventually saw one where the band was identified as Heavy Metal--ah, so that's why I'd never heard of them. Who knew I would like any songs by a heavy metal group?

Let alone three.

I love the melody of this one. But I'm posting it as much for the awesome landscape slideshow it is accompanying.

Music and scenery are two access points to serenity for me.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Writers Helping a Writer

Pssst! Help Zette.

I'm still not feeling up to writing or putting together a major post but I remembered this from a Holly Lisle newsletter awhile back that I meant to post about at the time and forgot. Mea culpa.

Lazette Gifford has given of herself unstintingly to run the Forward Motion writer's community for free. Thousands have benefited from her efforts. Now she needs a little help to get through a cold Nebraska winter. A leaky roof, broken water pipe and dead furnace among other things is making that a challenging proposition for her family.

Holly set up a way to help. Please click on the picture above to find out all about it.

At the very least you could pass on the message. Holly is hosting the image and provides the code for it on the page it links to. So click over at take a look.

Read more...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sick Day

Humorous Pictures
more animals

NaNo not going so good neither. I should be halfway to goal by this time tomorrow and I'm not even half way to half way.

Read more...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #112

THURSDAY THIRTEEN

Today is my birthday and I'm sick with a cold. Bleh. Ed is sick too so I'm not expecting anything special to happen today. Maybe this weekend. So I'm entertaining myself with glowing memories of birthday's past.

Thirteen Birthday Presents That Still Glow In My Memory

  1. 3rd birthday: The lacy, gauzy yellow baby dress with a slip my mother made for my doll. Five years later my baby sister wore it on a few Sundays when she was around three months old.
  2. 5th birthday: a set of doll dishes made of aluminum and stamped with pictures of Bo Peep and her Sheep from my Aunt Margaret, my mother's twin.
  3. 7th birthday: The angel food cake decorated as billowing skirt for the doll standing in the center hole. I think my mom made the cake for the doll that was from her twin sister.
  4. 9th birthday a small china fawn given by an older cousin about sixteen then who herself still glows in my memory
  5. 12th birthday: a Monopoly set and a dark blue cable knit sweater
  6. 13th birthday: a portable Underwood typewriter about two years older than I was. I had taught myself to type on my Mom's typewriter at age eleven and I think I had begun to monopolize it. But the sense that I got that my parents were encouraging my writing was the essence of the glow its memory still holds.
  7. ? birthday: a bracelet made by my younger brother. It was a silver-colored chain with a half-dozen or so marbles in shades of blue attached that he had frozen and then dropped into a cup of hot water. The marbles were threaded with tiny fissures that made them look like something out of a dream. I'm fairly sure this was for one of my birthdays after I entered Jr. High but well before my 17th birthday.
  8. 16th birthday: a leather-bound, palm-sized Bible containing both Old and New Testaments from my parents. I still have it and still love it though I have to have a powerful magnifier to read it anymore.
  9. 16th birthday: a bracelet with a Sweet Sixteen charm. Silver in color but not real silver. From my Aunt Margaret
  10. 18th birthday: a floor-length dress, with autumn colored leaves scattered on green background. It was picked out by my Dad and was the first dress I had that was styled more for a woman than a girl.
  11. 40th birthday: the blue office chair with adjustable height and arms that rolled. bought jointly by my parents and siblings. Again as with the typewriter at age 13, I saw this as their willingness to encourage my writing.
  12. 41st birthday: the baby doll my husband bought me. I use to collect baby dolls and will again probably when we have our own home again.
  13. 42nd birthday: the Avon Complete Works of Shakespeare in one volume from my husband


Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!



The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Read more...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Book Giveaway: Lost and Found

Hachette Book Group has authorized me to give away up to five copies of:

Lost and Found
by Carolyn Parkhurst

I believe this is for the mass market paperback edition. Click on the book cover for more details.

See rules for qualifying entries at bottom of this post.

Blurb:

A suburban mom, her troubled daughter, divorced brothers, former child stars, born-again Christians, and some young millionaires have all been selected to compete on LOST AND FOUND, a daring new reality show. In pairs of two, they will race across the world to compete for a million-dollar prize.The only question is not only who will capture the big jackpot, but at what price.

Carolyn Parkhurst is also the author of the bestseller The Dogs of Babel.

Critical Praise

"Parkhurst treats the game show as an opportunity for the contestants to decide, as the producer asks of them, 'What have you found?' The answer for readers: heart and wit to spare."
Publishers Weekly

"Given the high-concept premise, Parkhurst has avoided the pitfall of simply engineering a joyride, and written a funny second novel that surpasses her first."
Kirkus Reviews

"A deeply affecting page-turner . . . Parkhurst endows each [character] with complexity and pathos, even when she doesn't approve of the choices they make. What emerges is less a satire than a straightforward character study— one that we're reluctant to put down even after the last contestant crosses the finish line."
—Rebecca Marx, Elle





The following is copy/pasted from the previous post because it all holds true for this one as well. I would add that I intended to post the two giveaways a week apart so this one is actually on my original schedule but I'd hoped to create a scavenger hunt of some kind as part of the toll for entering this one. It seemed so apropo because of the story but I just didn't have the time to figure it out or devote to qualifying the entrants. So to repeat yesterday's post which I'm actually creating side by side with this one:

I've known about this since October 27 but have been so busy with NaNo (and I must admit pre and post coverage of Election 2008) that I kept putting off getting the post prepared. Partly it was because I couldn't decide on the deadline to impose as I really don't want to take time out from my NaNoWriMo work to do the business of the drawing and all that follows. And I might be leaving town a day or two after NaNo is over for a couple weeks stay at my Mom's in Longview, Washington.

Shoulda thought of all that before I jumped on board huh?
*banging head here*

But I was caught up in the enthusiasm for it after reading the excerpt and I wanted a review copy which is part of the deal offered to me for hosting the giveaway. So I'm going to set the deadline for the Saturday following the end of NaNo which is December 6. I should have arrived at my Mom's a few days before that and had time to rest and catch my breath. I will have limited access to the Internet while there but I can manage the drawing and notifying the winners and then Hatchette.

Read the rules below carefully. I explained in wordy detail in my second and third giveaways why I had to establish the first three on the list. The sort version is that conducting the drawing and notification took me over six hours that time. I did have to disqualify a few entries last time and it made me sad so please read carefully and comply. Hachette imposes the mailing address rules so my apologies to my overseas readers.

  • Leave a comment in this post expressing your interest in entering the drawing.
  • Provide an @ by which I can contact you in case of a win. Either in your comment or in an email to me at joystory AT gmail DOT com If you email your @ be sure to connect it to your entry. If I do not receive an @ your entry will be disqualified.
  • If, in the case of a win, you would like me link to your blog in the winners announcement post, provide your URL in your comment or via email. This is not a requirement for entering nor do you have to have a blog yourself in order to enter.
  • If you blog about this giveaway, send me a link to the post and your name will be entered a second time.
  • Deadline for entering is NOON PST Saturday December 6, 2008. I will select the winners with a random number generator using www.random.org
  • Winners must provide a US or Canadian mailing address. No PO Boxes.
I am hosting another Hachette giveaway in the post immediately before this one. Anyone is welcome to enter both.

Read more...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Book Giveaway: God's Behaving Badly

Hachette Book Group has authorized me to give away up to five copies of:

Gods Behaving Badly
by Marie Phillips.

I believe this is for the trade paperback edition. Click on the book cover for more details.

See rules for qualifying entries at bottom of this post.

Blurb:

Being a Greek god is not all it once was. Yes, the twelve gods of Olympus are alive and well in the twenty-first century, but they are crammed together in a London townhouse-and none too happy about it. And they've had to get day jobs: Artemis as a dog-walker, Apollo as a TV psychic, Aphrodite as a phone sex operator, Dionysus as a DJ. Even more disturbingly, their powers are waning, and even turning mortals into trees-a favorite pastime of Apollo's-is sapping their vital reserves of strength.

Soon, what begins as a minor squabble between Aphrodite and Apollo escalates into an epic battle of wills. Two perplexed humans, Alice and Neil, who are caught in the crossfire, must fear not only for their own lives, but for the survival of humankind. Nothing less than a true act of heroism is needed-but can these two decidedly ordinary people replicate the feats of the mythical heroes and save the world?





I've known about this since October 27 but have been so busy with NaNo (and I must admit pre and post coverage of Election 2008) that I kept putting off getting the post prepared. Partly it was because I couldn't decide on the deadline to impose as I really don't want to take time out from my NaNoWriMo work to do the business of the drawing and all that follows. And I might be leaving town a day or two after NaNo is over for a couple week stay at my Mom's in Longview Washington.

Shoulda thought of all that before I jumped on board huh?
*banging head here*

But I was caught up in the enthusiasm for it after reading the excerpt and I wanted a review copy which is part of the deal offered to me for hosting the giveaway. So I'm going to set the deadline for the Saturday following the end of NaNo which is December 6. I should have arrived at my Mom's a few days before that and had time to rest and catch my breath. I will have limited access to the Internet while there but I can manage the drawing and notifying the winners and then Hatchette.

Read the rules below carefully. I explained in wordy detail in my second and third giveaways why I had to establish the first three on the list. The sort version is that conducting the drawing and notification took me over six hours that time. I did have to disqualify a few entries last time and it made me sad so please read carefully and comply. Hachette imposes the mailing address rules so my apologies to my overseas readers.

  • Leave a comment in this post expressing your interest in entering the drawing.
  • Provide an @ by which I can contact you in case of a win. Either in your comment or in an email to me at joystory AT gmail DOT com If you email your @ be sure to connect it to your entry. If I do not receive an @ your entry will be disqualified.
  • If, in the case of a win, you would like me link to your blog in the winners announcement post, provide your URL in your comment or via email. This is not a requirement for entering nor do you have to have a blog yourself in order to enter.
  • If you blog about this giveaway, send me a link to the post and your name will be entered a second time.
  • Deadline for entering is NOON PST Saturday December 6, 2008. I will select the winners with a random number generator using www.random.org
  • Winners must provide a US or Canadian mailing address. No PO Boxes.
I am hosting a second Hachette giveaway in the post immediately following this one. Anyone is welcome to enter both.

Read more...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday Poetry Train #65



The Scope of Hope

by Joy Renee

Hope: the path
Forward my feet trod
In joy shod.

It's 8:05 PM PST
November 4, 2008
and I'm crying as if my heart is breaking.
But the feeling is the opposite of grief.
It is joy. It is relief.
It is like a mending of the shattering--
the gathering and fusing of the parts,
of the many scattered shards
of my heart.

This freight of dreams we must
remember--for posterity's sake--
long time coming, swift appears to exclaiming
cheers, but the feeling is ephemeral, brief.
It is joy. It is relief.
It's a commending to our hands, for sheltering
against extinguishing, this precious spark
now shared among scattered hearts,
this our hope.

Inspired hearts
Conjoined in hope
Effect change.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I reworked and expanded the piece I began in the minutes after the election results were announced last week. In order to balance out the opening haiku, I added to the ending the haiku that I wrote months ago and have had in my sidebar for awhile now.

While I was looking for images to post with this, I ran across the following video of Will I Am which expresses exactly the same thing I was trying to above--that the exultation of the moment, wonderful as it feels, is only the beginning. We must continue to invest the same energy, cooperation, imagination and hope that was put into the campaign into the work that is before us for we are the change we have been waiting for.





Hop on the train.

Read more...

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sunday Serenity #101

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

I have misplaced my camera's USB cord and thus can't get the pics I took of my mini-tramp off the camera. So when I saw this on LOLcats I thought I'd substitute it. I had a good, vigorous workout on Saturday afternoon--over forty minutes with ten of them involving lifting my knees nearly to hip level. The effect was that of climbing stairs. I can't do that yet without keeping my hand on a something grounded like the handle of the BBQ on the porch. But a month ago I couldn't lift my feet clear of the surface at all without starting to teeter. So huge progress!

It even started to sprinkle almost immediately after I got out to the porch but I persevered. The cloud burst held off until I stepped off the tramp nearly forty minutes after stepping on. I find the warm-up and cool-down minutes durning which I gently sway from side to side very soothing, invoking serenity. If it hadn't been raining I might have continued the cool-down another fifteen minutes. I'm looking forward to another session this afternoon.

Read more...

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Mama Knew What She Was Talking About



Don't Swallow Your Bubble Gum!!!


OK, wipe the beverage spew off your screen and keyboard and get back to work. Go! NaNoers Go!

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Friday, November 07, 2008

Friday Forays In Fiction: NaNo Status



I hope not to take to long of a detour here tonight as I just, in the last couple hours, got back into the word gushing mode on my NaNo novel, Mobile Hopes. So I took a quick screen shot with which to head this brief update. I'm way behind in word count but in spite of what yesterday's post might have implied, I refuse to panic. I know I tend to start slow on any project I engage. And I know what happens if I stick with it.

The screen shot shows the windows of the application I am using. If you right click to open it in a new tab or window you'll see more details. The right side shows the topic window currently selected. I could type and edit directly in that window but I only do that for small edits and dropping a copy/paste or a link.

When I am writing more than a few lines I work in the editor window which you can see peeking out there at the far left. The editor window can have multiple topics in a tabbed arrangement that I can bounce back and forth between. They can be from any of the dozens of WhizFolders I've created but when I'm working on Mobile Hopes I try to keep only topics from the novel's WhizFolder open. Though I do occasionally have some topics from my Story Garden WhizFolder open in the editor for ease of referral.

Story Garden is my story play ground for incubating stories and where I collect advice and inspiration from other writers on the writing life and the theory of fiction: plot, theme, character, setting etc.

The left side of the WhizFolder windows show the topic lists which are nested in a hierarchy that I control. I can move any topic around the list at will too. I have most of the parent topics closed so as to fit them all into the picture. If they were all open you would see some of them going three to five levels deep.

As you can see also, I am able to color code the topic names. One of the benefits of this is to see at a glance where the material that qualifies for the word count is. I gave them royal blue. When it is time to see where the total count is, I just select all the royal blue topics and then go to the tools menu for the word count tool. For counting words in single topics I just use the F6 key.

We're supposed to be at 11,669 words by the end of day seven. I'm still under 5K. Sigh.

Read more...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Where's My Word Count?!!



That little go-around between Family Guy's Stewie and Brian is a perfect depiction of what it is like inside my head right now. This being day six of NaNoWriMo and me having zero word-count since Sunday that tyrant (Stewie) side of me is raging on that wimpy, dreamy, excuse-making (Brian) side of me. Substitute the words 'where's my word count' for 'where's my money' and the rest about sums it up.

Never mind that the power went off here Sunday night for over five hours right during my prime work session. Never mind that all sides of me seemed to be in agreement Monday evening that I should just accept that I wasn't going to stray out of earshot of the TV for the duration of the election so I might as well relax into it. Since it was research for my NaNo novel after all. Never mind that I woke with a near migraine Wednesday that didn't lift until late Thursday. All I get is WHERE'S MY WORD COUNT? from the tiny tyrant delighting in playing gotcha with me after suckering me into believing he was cool with me taking a day off Monday which has now turned into three and probably four unless I can make something happen tonight.

But the wimpy side of me is whining about how the day after a headache leaves me depleted of IQ.

Excuses, excuses. So many excuses. On days like this I wonder why I bother to participate in NaNo. On days like this I wonder why I would still be contemplating doubling down by joining the forth round of 70 Days of Sweat SIMULTANEOUSLY with NaNo! On days like this I wonder why I want to be a writer in the first place.

Bring on the blowtorch Stewie.




Is there a Word Bank somewhere that I could make a withdrawal from? Does it possibly have an ATM?

Never mind. It would just confiscate my card anyway.

Read more...

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #111

Thursday Thirteen


Thirteen Memorable Moments From Obama's Election Night Speech

  1. If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
  2. It’s the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.
  3. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House.
  4. But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to – it belongs to you.
  5. [You supporters, organizers, volunteers, voters] proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.
  6. I know you didn’t do this just to win an election and I know you didn’t do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime – two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.
  7. The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there.
  8. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it’s been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years – block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.
  9. This victory alone is not the change we seek – it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.
  10. So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other.
  11. Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long....And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn – I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.
  12. And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.
  13. This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:
  14. Yes We Can.



Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!



The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Read more...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Scope of Hope



Hope: the path
Forward my feet trod
In joy shod.

It's 8:05 PM PST November 4, 2008
and I'm crying as if my heart is breaking.
But the feeling is the opposite of grief.
It is joy. It is relief.
It is like a mending of the shattering--
the gathering and fusing of the parts,
of the many scattered shards
of my heart.

Read more...

Monday, November 03, 2008

Monday Poetry Train #64



I've talked about Lawson Fusao Inada here a number of times. He has been Oregon's Poet Laureate and an America Book Award winner but that isn't my main motive for continuing to bring him up. He was my creative writing professor in the late eighties when I attended Southern Oregon College in Ashland Oregon. (Southern Oregon University today.) I am bringing it up again today because I've got a DVD of him reading his poems and talking about his childhood in the American internment camps checked out of the library. Not the one above but What It Means To Be Free.

Lawson Inada was the one who woke me up to the power and potential of my own unique viewpoint and pointed toward the way to develop my own voice. We studied and practiced both poetry and fiction in his class. Before doing the poetry section with him I had never considered poetry to be part of my path as a writer. I wrote for his class the first poem that I continued to like as time passed. I see Soul Mirror as one of the first true things I made out of my own heart and knowledge. It still speaks to me in startling ways to this day.

I took his contemporary literature class as well which introduced me to the power voices and stories of women and non-WASP writers. These stories opened the world up to me and probably helped prepare me in ways I can only guess at when the moment of my break with my childhood religion came in the early 90s. I cannot overstate the influence this amazing man has had on my development as an artist and a thinker in my own right. I first learned from him two of the techniques for tapping into inspiration (aka the right side of the brain or non-linear thought) which I continue to use: listening to music and gazing at art. Once we had learned how that felt, he taught us how to gaze at the world around us and see it fresh.

He gave me personally the assignment to describe something I saw on my daily forty-five minute bus ride to school every day. I described a woman I saw on the bus who appeared to be talking to herself or possibly performing on a stage only she was aware of--a woman with red hair down to her waist and a face that looked like a shelled walnut. That woman walked onto the stage of my first Faye story as Estelle Star in 'Of Cats and Claws and Curiosities.' Which story I also began as an exercise for his class. The story that grew to become my Fruits of the Spirit story world with a cast of dozens.

Because I'm busy with the kickoff of NaNoWriMo and at least partially because we lost power last night for five hours between 10:15 PM and 3:30AM, pretty much the entirety of my usual work session, I didn't get a new poem written for today so I'll just leave the link to my Poem Portal in which I try to keep links to all my poems posted in Joystory. It needs to be updated some. More recent poems missing from the portal can be found through the Poems by Joy Renee Lable below this post.

Oh, and I can point to the poem at the top of my sidebar under Obama's picture. That's one of my Haiku. And with that, I will take the opportunity to encourage all my American reader's to VOTE tomorrow. Whoever you favor, VOTE. It is the most solemn duty of every American. VOTE.

Since Rhian has been too busy to keep Monday Poetry Train running lately, Gautami Tripathy has taken on that task until Rhian can return. Find more passengers here.

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Sunday Serenity #100

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Who Knew?

humorous pictures
more animals


That cats are as full of s(urprises) as toddlers? Well I did actually. But why did my Merlin have to 'surprise' me twice in under two hours this morning--day one of NaNoWriMo?

I fell asleep shortly after ten last night without really meaning to. I didn't even turn out my full spectrum lamp. I couldn't believe after all the anticipation and prep work for that magic hour that I was suddenly having to pry my lids open two hours beforehand.

I don't know whether it was the light in my eyes all night or the days of obsession culminating in that last hour as I wrote up last night's post but my dreams were full of images, ideas and characters influenced by or related to my NaNo story. I woke at 5:22AM with several thoughts and images strong in my mind that I wanted to get recorded.

But I was also ravenous and needed my coffee so I chose to tend to that first. I got back to the room shortly with a bowl of oatmeal and yogurt and a cup of coffee and settled on the bed with them. I hadn't taken two bites before I heard a very odd sound coming from near the TV which was off. It was the sound of a nearly empty mustard squeeze bottle as you squirt out the last of its contents and get as much air as mustard. I rolled onto my knees to lean over to see and there was our Merlin in the litter box but with his butt hanging over the edge.

And it wasn't mustard coming out of him. Tho it had the texture of mustard.

It took me a good half hour to clean up the mess and by then both my oatmeal and coffee were no longer hot. But neither was my appetite.

Shortly after that, around seven, Ed left for work. He expected to be back well before noon as he would be going on overtime after 2.5 hours and did not have authorization for it. My plan was to have my 1667 daily NaNo quota by the time he got home.

I got the pillows and blankets piled behind me to support my back and the box that supports the laptop between my legs. I pulled the board holding the laptop and reference books and notebooks over onto that box. I slipped on my typing gloves--wrist supporters made of something like spandex with elastic straps (like ACE bandages) you wrap around your wrists and fasten with Velcro.

I was just starting to relax and gather my thoughts and was thinking that I just might still be able to recapture a couple of those strong images from the dreams I woke from when I felt Merlin pad up by my hip which was up by the pillows at the head of the bed. He started doing that turning in circles thing that he does in two places--when making a nest to sleep in; and when preparing to make a delivery in the litter box (or grass when outside). I turned to look, sure that he was settling for a nap. But there he stood with tail raised, making his delivery right beside my hip!!

Thank god it wasn't the faux mustard. But faux lemonade is not much more to be desired. Especially by the spot you rest your head to dream.

As if to taunt me he was standing on a library book with his front paws and as I yelled at him he took off. Without shutting off the spigot.

I was penned in by my desk but was able to grab some napkins, a paper towel and then a bath towel and stuff them in the general area. I had to strip off the support gloves and move my 'desk' back onto its cart beside the bed before I could deal with the mess properly. By the time I got the fitted corners of the bottom sheet and the mattress pad off and pulled them back it was already too late to keep the mattress itself dry.

So I had to strip the bed and put the sheets, mattress pad and two pillowslips in the washer. It was after eight before I got myself and my desk set up on the bed again. This time I found it impossible to relax. I was half pissed and half worried with Merlin. This was so untypical of him!!

So I started playing Spider instead of writing. And after an hour or so of that, I decided that I could at least go back to working on the prep material which I hadn't finished with yet and maybe that would get my mind back in the game. That's what I was doing when Ed got home from work at ten-thirty, grabbed a book and headed to the porch to read. That's what I was still doing when Ed came in at noon saying he wanted to lay down. I said we needed to make the bed first.

It was a good half an hour before I was once more set up at my 'desk'. This time with less elbow room and less support behind my back. I finally started working on something that could be counted as story word count about 2PM. I had about 400 words by 4:30. Slow even for me. I was doing more daydreaming than writing but it was the productive kind of daydreaming. It was dreaming the story.

I took a break at 4:30 to go out on the porch to 'workout' on my mini-tramp for half an hour. I did little more than five minutes of actual aerobics level exercise in that half hour but I got my circulation stimulated and my limbs somewhat limbered. I've only missed one day of some kind of motion work on my mini-tramp since I got it three weeks ago tomorrow. That was this past Thursday--the day that I walked to the library and back.

I got back to work shortly after 5PM and managed to clock in with just over 1000 words by the time I was called to dinner. Got busy again after dishes were done around 7. I wasn't typing steady over the next two hours. It was hard to get back in the groove. It always is. That is why I so hoped to be done before dinner. Waaaaaaay before dinner.

Sometimes I really miss the days when there was no one telling me when to eat or sleep on those days when I just wanted to sink into the story and not pull myself out until the story released me or sleep and food deprivation got a stronger grip on me.

Well at 8:30PM my word count was at 1640. I was tempted to call it good enough but made myself give it twenty more minutes before checking again. It was 1709. I headed over to the NaNoWriMo site to enter my word count. The site was busy or having problems and kept timing out on me. It took me until after 9:30 to get my word count updated. Last year when I updated after 9PM my new words got attributed to the next day. I don't know if that happened this time as I hadn't the heart to try to get back on to check on it.

So here it is after midnight. This is the middle of what is usually the most productive hours for me but tonight I'm ready to sleep again. No wonder?

And the clock is already ticking on NaNo Day 2. *sigh*

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