Monday, June 30, 2008

Monday Poetry Train #52

by Joy Renee

Tearing eyes
Blink spasmodically.
Fire kindles in the throat.
Breath labors.
A haze blankets thought.
Will lays low,
Awaiting the cleansing

I pity and pray for the firefighters battling up close the fires in California whose smoke is reaching us here in the Rogue Valley of Southern Oregon. The misery I'm feeling must be multiplied many times over for them and they haven't the luxury of laying low to wait it out.

I found the picture at and it doesn't say where or when it was taken. But it gives a fair idea of what our area must look like from above right now.

My prayers are with the families whose homes are in the path of those fires. As well as with all the animals wild and domestic.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunday Serenity #62

Today was all about recovery from yesterday's Read-a-thon. I didn't quite make it to the finish line--9 AM. I made to a few minutes after 8 if you count the time I clicked publish on my last update to yesterday's Read-a-thon post. Last October I came across the finish line still flying high. But this time I went into it too sleep deprived already. Part of which was due to the excitement and anticipation. Part due to visiting too long with my niece the night before.

I couldn't believe that I could not make it that last fifty minutes. I am famous for my 24-48 hour days. I have many 'revive me' tricks. But I had to start using them at 9PM Saturday and was just plain done for by 8 this morning. My eyes would not focus. I was getting a headache and was nauseated. I think was even hallucinating over the last ten pages. I'm going to have to reread at least that much as I can't really remember how everything worked for all the characters. It didn't help that the novel itself was writen in a surrealistic style.

It was't the Read-a-thon I planned on having but I still had a blast and no way am I sorry I did it. It was much different for me this time because in October I was pretty much holed up alone in my room the whole 24 hrs. Ed joined in between getting home from work about 5PM and then crashing around midnight. I participated in a lot more mini-challenges that time and did more visiting of participants.

This time I was doing it with my 14 year old niece and the whole day was more social. We changed our reading station about every two hours or so which took time away from reading. We kept interrupting each other's reading to read paragraphs we had just read aloud. (I may have to pick up Lovely Bones, the book she was reading, next!) We were distracted for an hour by a lightning storm.

I lost an hour of reading in the afternoon to a visit with my MIL when she got home from her 50th high-school reunion. But I don't regret that one bit. Listening to her reminiscing about high-school here in Phoenix OR fifty years ago was fascinating. Not to mention seeing another side of my MIL was enlightening.

The heat was enervating both indoors and out. The heat coming off the laptop keyboard was so obnoxious I just couldn't face it which meant I posted updates less often and gave up on the mini-challenges around noon.

My niece finished her book--the first one--at 4:30AM and gave up. I was so tempted to give up then too. But I did dishes first and then spent another couple hours plugging away. I finished my book just before 8AM, wrote a couple sentence update announcing that I was finished. I was already asleep before I was laying down.

I woke up at noon to a nasty hot room and a headache and sore throat. I thought for a few minutes that I had done myself in, bringing on another virus. But it turns out the sore throat is from the smoke filling our valley from the California fires just across the border. It is bad. Bad enough to make it hard to see a block away.

The heat isn't quite as bad today but the humidity plus the smoke makes the high nineties pretty uncomfortable.

My niece woke soon after I did and we spent the afternoon until her dad picked her up rehashing the day and the books and talking about anything else we could think of. I can't think of a more serene way to spend a Sunday.

I knew she was disappointed that she hadn't gotten to any of the other books in the stack she selected off my shelf yesterday. So I told her to choose three to take home. She took three Alice Hoffman. Two of her YA and Practical Magic. She is going to be back for a July 4 bbq here and then spending another weekend here the following weekend so she can bring them back then. She said she felt bad taking them away from me in case they won't renew at the library for me next week but I said I had plenty to choose from. Besides, speaking of what's fair and what's not, I feel like I'm hogging Hoffman's books having checked out 10 of them to choose from for this event and then not even getting to any of them because I hadn't finished the book I started last weekend before the Read-a-thon started.

What I need now is sleep and lots of it. That would be pure serenity.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

My Brain on Books II

I'm off an running. As soon as I post this. As as I did for October's Read-a-thon, I will be updating this post for the duration. I know this means my updates won't be caught by the feed. But I also know that if I needed to make new posts each time, I wouldn't post nearly as often. So my updates will be stacked under this paragraph in a similar manner to blog posts--with the latest on top. Be sure and check in with Dewey frequently for the latest updates, mini-challenges and drawings.

7:55 AM: Finis. Just turned the last page of Messi@h. Only one more hour to go. But I can't do any more.

5:44 AM:
I am, I believe, still awake. I have twenty pages left to go. But I've been on the last five pages for over thirty minutes. Not auspicious. In fact I just caught myself with my eyes closed and I think I need to re-read the last two or more pages to make sure that what I think I read was really on those pages and not on the back of my eyelids or my dreams doing a riff on the story. Messi@h is so surrealistic it is hard to tell the difference between it and a fever dream--or a sugar, caffeine, sleep deprivation induced hallucination.

My niece finished her book an hour ago and then crashed within ten minutes. She said she had reread the last few pages about fifteen times. I think she was exaggerating some. But maybe not.

I don't know if I'm gonna make it this time. I think I'm going to take a break to get the few dishes we used washed up. Maybe getting active will help. And it has to be done before I can go to bed anyway.

How I would like to be able to at least post the update announcing that I had finished Messi@h.

2:55 AM:
Coming up for air. Been reading pretty solid for the last two hours. Have fifty pages to go. My niece has twenty to go in hers. We've both hit a rough patch in the last half hour. Droopy eyes. Yawns. The Rockstar energy drink Ed got me at 11PM which I sipped slowly over the next two hours has worn off suddenly. If I don't snap out of it in the next thirty minutes I may switch to The Roald Dahl Treasury and spend an hour with his charming irreverence which is of a different caliber of irreverence than Andrei Codrescu.

Or I could stop reading for awhile and do some cheering on of whoever is left in the trenches out there. I haven't checked on anyone or any of the challenges since noon. I've been so intent on finishing this ONE book. If I don't finish at least this one book which I didn't even start Saturday morning but six days before that, I will be a tad bit frusturated. Especially after all the hoopla I made about the stacks of short novels I brought home from the library just for the occasion. Sigh.

We've been sitting on the front porch since shortly after 9PM and it is actually starting to feel chilly. The thermometer reads 65. A long drop from the 102 or so it hit Saturday afternoon. My niece would like to move back in the house but I discouraged it because I didn't want to take the fifteen to twenty minutes to move in the books, laptop and lamp and put the porch furniture back in place. I'm sure it would take a full half hour or more to be completely resettled in the house. But on the other hand. Maybe the activity would revive us. I may rethink it.

12:50 AM:
I didn't mean to wait so long to update. After the last update, I read for another hour and then my niece and I stopped to make a salad together out of arugala , portobella mushrooms and tomatoes. While we ate a lighting storm began and went on intermittently for the next two hours. We turned off the PC just in case of a power outage and I was planning to go back to my room and do a quick update and then power down the laptop too. But I got distracted by something. Between 8 and 9 PM we were both reading silently again in the living room.

Then at 9PM my niece went outside to check the thermometer on the porch and came back saying it was cooler outside. So we moved back out to the back yard where we could hook Merlin's leash to his stake out there and take advantage of the bright sodium vapor lamp illuminating the trailer park's pool area behind our yard.

We had no sooner got settled when Ed and his folks got back from the races, over an hour before we expected them. Turned out they had had the lightning storm worse then we had and it knocked the power out at the track and rained hard enough to lay a quarter inch of water on the clay track. They had sat out there in the dark for over two hours and then were told that the power would not be back on before 10PM so they were all given rain checks because the events had never started.

Ed came out to the back yard to tell us all about it and while he talked the lightning started flashing again and he suggested we better move back to the front porch. There was way too much distraction there what with the TV on just inside the door and Ed talking excitedly about the storm and the heat trials and the blown down trees they saw on the way home.

It took Ed two hours to wind down and he chattered constantly. Not always to me but still in that two hours I only advanced about ten pages.

I'm still reading the same book I started with. So is my niece though I think she is very close to finishing Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. That was the book she chose out of my stack of library books. I was a bit nervous about that, her being only fourteen. But she is a completely different order of fourteen than I was in the 70s!

I have 80 pages left in Messi@h. This wasn't the way I'd been planning my Read-a-thon but I'm not really sorry. It is a story worth taking time over and very much worth spending time with.

4:44 PM:
Ed and his parents left for the dirt track races about 2:30 and shortly after that my niece and I shut up the front of the house and turned on the cooler. A few minutes later I was lost in my story and barely looked up again for over ninety minutes.

And I'm anxious to get back to it. Not to mention anxious to get back to the cool front room! My room is like a sauna and the laptop seems to be funneling the heat of hell. I suppose I should move it into the other room. Maybe I'll take the time to do that on my next break.

1:40 PM:
I can't believe my good fortune. I just won another prize. Yesterday I won the coffee mug in the drawing. I just won my choice of book off the prize list. I chose The Maternal is Political which I've wanted ever since I read Dewey's review and our library doesn't have it.

I wonder if my fortune has anything to do with the symbolism of the Wheel of Fortune in Messi@h, the novel I am reading. Kinda spooky. But I'm not dissing it. :)

You can assume I'm still reading Messi@h until I say different. I just passed the half way mark which means I've around 180 pages to go. In a good hour, with prose as dense as this with POV popping in and out of a cast of dozens, I am lucky to read 30-40 pages.

My niece and I have moved inside in front of the fans. It is only the fans that make it bearable inside a tin box on day so hot. I was afraid to look at the thermometer on the porch. I'm sweating inside my glasses. eww.

12:12 PM:
Still reading Messi@h. Will be for awhile. Came in from the yard for a drink of water and to check my comments and the hub at Dewey's and visited a couple of readers. I've spent way longer than I intended and the heat off the keyboard is becoming enervating. I'm heading back out to the yard under the shade from the neighbor's tree where there is a teeeensy breeze yet. But I have a feeling we're going to have to move indoors soon.

At least I got my tongue and lips disorder under control without the help of duct tape. :) My niece and I have been reading silently for nearly the whole of the last hour.

10:45 AM:
Still reading Messi@h of course. And only advanced about forty pages. I would blame it on my visual impairment except that it probably has more to do with a tongue and lips impairment this time. The kind of impairment that could be cured by a strip of duct tape. :)

My niece and I are sitting out in the back yard reading. It is cooler out there for the moment. Although it is already in the 80s. We are expecting 100s this afternoon. UGH!!!

9 AM:
I am kicking things off with Messi@h by Andrei Cordescu as described in last night's post. Not an easy or short read at all. But I didn't get it finished in time.


Friday, June 27, 2008

No Friday Snippet

I guess that's not coming as a surprise. I said in my update to last week's snippet that I didn't paste in until Wednesday (sigh) night that if I hadn't squeezed another half a K out by Friday night I was going to skip the snippet this week. I can't be having that hanging over me for the Read-a-thon tomorrow. And Sunday? Well, do I have to spell it out?


I was starting to work on the snippet this afternoon. But then my niece came over. The one I've mention here so often. She is fourteen now. She loves story as much as I do. She is spending the weekend here at her grandparents and is going to join me in the Read-a-thon. So we knew we would have to get all our visiting in today.

I'm afraid I'll have to duct tape my mouth tomorrow. I keep thinking of things I want to share with her. She had a heavy school year so we hadn't had a good long visit since October the week before the last Read-a-thon.

You'll who enjoy my snippets have her to thank for it. She read my story, Rag Doll Babies and Million Dollar Maybes, two years ago when she was twelve and her reaction blew me away. She said, "Joy, you have to publish this. I can't believe I know the person who wrote this." At that point I'd not written any fiction or poetry for close to five years due to the trauma of loosing my files (both paper and electronic) and my computer in our 2001 move.

About a year before she read that story, I'd finished typing into my in-laws computer the 100 pages or so of manuscript that had been in the portfolio I'd brought on the bus when we fled the Silicon Valley in the wake of the Tech Bubble popping. We never got to go back down after the stuff we left in storage.

I've not finished the novel I have been reading this week as I'd hoped so I guess I'll be starting off with it tomorrow. It isn't one of the short, easy reads that I collected over the last two weeks for the event. I'm hoping I can finish it in under six hours. I'm tempted to set it aside but then remember what happened when I did that with The Historian last year.

So this is what I'll be reading for the first several hours. Andrei Codrescu is also a poet and his prose reads much like a dense poem. The story is dense with metaphor and reference to myth and other stories from around the world. Storytelling itself is practically a character in the story. It takes place in New Orleans and Jerusalem in the year 1999 at the height of the millennium fever. End of the world cults and so forth. I can't do it justice in a short thing like this needs to be. So I'll leave you with the link to Messi@h's page on Codrescu's site. The first chapter is posted there so you can see what I mean about his prose reading like poetry.

I must get to sleep! As it is, I won't have a full eight hour sleep before heading into this 24 hour marathon reading session.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

What Kind of Flower Are You?

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

"Many people think you are just a little bit odd, but you consider yourself just a little eccentric. You find new experiences exciting and fulfilling."

Actually I know i'm more than a little odd. I am also change phobic and except for rare exceptions the only new experiences I find fulfilling are those in books and movies.

I've never heard of a Nigella. It's pretty though. Cuz it's blue!

I've no idea how these quizzes calculate their answers from the questions they ask but I still find them irresistible. I don't always post them though. This time I thought the site was worth looking at. Especially if you are interested in gardening.

Plus I just needed something quick and easy to post tonight. I've gotta get ready for that Read-a-thon.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #92

I just realized this is my 777th post. There seems to be something magical about that number. I've always loved the number 7 for some reason. And I especially love numbers that show up as twins, triplets, etc.

OK enough off topic rambling.

This week I'm repeating the theme from my last week's TT. It's another list of the books I've stocked up on for Saturday's 24 Hour Read-a-thon. And this doesn't even exhaust them. I could just about make a third TT list. Can you tell I'm excited about it? Excited? Obsessed!

There is no way I'm expected to read 26+ books in 24 hours. I just wanted a really good selection and the Read-a-thon came up just as I was feeling drawn to a fiction binge. I'm planning to continue the binge in the weeks to come.

I was hoping to knock off 5 or 6 though. That's why I included so many really short ones and so many YA and children's books. But I learned last night that we're expecting a heatwave to move through here Saturday. Temps in the triple digits. Hopefully just a nudge over 100 degrees. There is one triplet digit I'd hate to see: 111 degrees. Shudder. Heat makes me drowsy!! And sweat gets in my eyes.! Ugh!

Haven't heard of the 24 Hour Read-a-thon? Get on over and check it out! You don't have to commit to the whole 24 hours. Or you could be a cheerleader instead of a reader. Or donate prizes for the contests, mini-challenges and drawings. Or sponsor one or more of the readers who are reading for the charity Reading is Fundamental.

In case you missed it, there are links to the Read-a-thon info scatter throughout this post. The TT header itself is one.

If you do sign up let Dewey know you heard it from me. That will give me an extra entry in a major drawing she is holding. Of course you could also enter the drawing. What drawing? Well you'll just have to head on over and check it out. Can't miss it.



13 More Books in My Read-a-thon Pool

1. The Reader by Bernard Schlink--218p
2. Ten Little Indians by Sherman Alexie--243p
3. Into the Green by Charles de Lint--249p
4. The Museum of Dr. Moses: Tales of Mystery and Suspense--229p
5. More than Allies by Sandra Schofield--174p. This is a local author and some of the story takes place here in Southern Oregon. I just pulled this off the library shelf Monday.
6. Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman--225p
7. Turtle Moon by Alice Hoffman--275p
8. Green Angel by Alie Hoffman--116p
9. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie--302p. I sent for this one because I read a review on a WG participant's post last weekend. I forgot to save the link to the review. Whoever you are, I'm grateful. I may start with either this one or Alice Hoffman's Ice Queen which was on last week's list and which I also discovered through a WG blogger's review the previous week. I have that review to thank for sending me straight to the library's online catalog were I noticed how many of Hoffman's novels were under 250 pages and got the idea to dedicate the Read-a-thon this time to short novels, short stories and children''s stories. And then went nuts ordering them.
10. Still Summer by Jacquelyn Mitchard--307p
11. Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold--328p
12. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory--155p & Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator--165p by Roald Dahl. These two are in a single volume. The first would be a re-read for me. They are both highly illustrated also as is:
13. The Roald Dahl Treasury--444p This book contains 'complete stories, extracts from longer fiction, rhymes, and memoirs, as well as unpublished poetry and letters.' (from the jacket blurb) These last two items are intended for the homestretch--the last three to six hour when I may need lighter weight but still highly engaging material. Plus the fonts are quite readable!!! And the pictures are charming.

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!


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Weekly Geek #9: Challenges

This week's WG assignment was to organize your challenges OR if you aren't already participating in any to join one. This came with perfect timing for me as one of the things that caught my attention as I browsed the WG blogs for the scavenger hunt was all the challenges and I started collecting links to challenge info pages.

There are several I am very interested in joining in time. But I settled on Herding Cats for my first. It caught my attention first by its name. I love that saying. I used it a number of times in the first couple years here on Joystory while talking about my two cats Merlin and Gremlyn. Before I lost Gremlyn a year ago, getting the two of them on their leashes from the room to the backyard was an exercise in herding cats. They seldom wanted to go in the same direction at the same time. Our antics were often comical to view I'm sure. I related in last night's post about what can happen when you are trying to get just one cat to go up the porch steps and into the house. Imagine that scenario with two cats playing cat's cradle with their leashes around your ankles.

So the name caught my attention right off. Then I found out how the challenge actually works and I was hooked as thoroughly as I am by Merlin's claws when he's demanding attention.

Participants contribute a list of ten of their best loved books. They can include both fiction and non-fiction. Post the list and then submit the link of that post to bottle of shine the creator and host of the challenge. That list will be folded into the master list. Then between May 1st and Nov 30th this year read a minimum of three books off that list (or off the posted lists found at participants blogs) and post reviews for them and submit the links to those posts to bottle of shine.

So then. Here is my list:

1. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
2. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
3. Tidewater Tales by John Barth
4. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
5. The River Why by David James Duncan
6. Three Junes by Julia Glass
7. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
8. The Dancing Wu Li Masters by Gary Zukav
9. The Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
10. Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson v.1 of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever (There are two trilogies and a third in the works set in this epic fantasy story world. I haven't started the third trilogy yet. I might wait for the third book to come out. But I think of the first two as nearly a single entity. I listed this one not because it is the best of the six but because it is the door into this magical world. I've been contemplating re-reading all six for some time now.)

All 10 of these books were more than just good stories for me. Every one of them had a huge impact on my concept of life, story and/or writing. Every one of them caused a huge shift in consciousness for me. They all would bear re-reading.

I just finished #2 last week and am still working on the review. I've linked #7 to my review of it. I have a review for #6 posted at Joyread I'll hunt the link down later or better yet re-post it here and then link it.

I've done nothing with Joyread or Joywrite since the summer of 2005 when news of my Dad's impending death turned my world topsy-turvy. Then that fall Ed's Grandmother's health went down fast and I was pleased to find myself able to help the family cope with it and keep her in her own home until the end. But meanwhile I'd lost my tentative grip on working with HTML. It was so much easier to just post to Joystory.


Monday, June 23, 2008


I've been awake since 4AM which would be enough by itself to have earned feeling tired. But I also made the walk to the library again today. That was the second time since the flu knocked me flat in March. The first time was last Monday. It took as much if not more out of me this week as last week. Maybe because I was walking with Ed and trying to keep pace with him. Also talking and walking. I also developed a nasty blister on my little toe which had me limping the last fifteen minutes which threw off my stride and could explain some of the joint pain in my hip and knee. But I don't know how to explain the terrible pain in my neck this time. Last week I blamed it on the fact I was pulling the wheeled bag full of books but this week Ed pulled the bag and yet I got hit with pain and stiffness in my neck that is much worse than last week's.

It was in the mid eighties again this week and possibly a degree or two warmer this time. Or it could have just felt that way because there were fewer clouds and I had direct exposure to the sun for several blocks. Not long enough to cause sun burn but it sure heated me up. And to make matter worse, I forgot to take my water bottle. Last week I was able to unpack the books right after arriving home and have their bib slips made or hunted out of the file and the books shelved. This time the books are still sitting in the bag.

As if all that isn't enough, I took Merlin out to the back yard and sat with him for an hour while he ate rose petals and chased bugs in the grass and watched the rowdy kids playing in the park's pool just on the other side of our fence. On the way back in the house he darted between my legs as I was opening the back door. There wasn't room on the tiny porch for both of us plus the door. At least not until the door is fully open. He knocked me off balance and I pulled the door across the top of my foot. My bare foot. The corner of the aluminum strip along the bottom of the door sliced across the top of my little toe. The same toe with the fresh blister. The cut missed the blister which is up by the nail but it continues a tad past the base of the toe onto the top of the foot. Between the two--blister and cut--I won't be wanting to put shoes on again for a few days.

And there I was chattering away on the walk home that I would make the walk back on Thursday to pick up the rest of the books I'd ordered for this Saturday's Read-a-thon selection pool. Among those I left behind are several very short children's novels and a Rold Dahl anthology--a four-hundred page book containing several of his shorter works like James and the Giant Peach, some poetry and letters and excerpts for the longer stories like Matilda and the Wily Wonka stories. I was counting on those for the homestretch--those last three or four hours when vision and brain power are wavering. With a cut and a blister on my toe I'm not sure I can make that walk again so soon.

Turns out though that Ed may be more than willing to do it. He finished one of the books he brought home today already! Now he is afraid he didn't get enough to last him through next weekend. Our branch is open only Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. He has tomorrow off again. So maybe.

He should be joining the Read-a-thon! He finished a 300 or so page book between 5pm and 10pm, with breaks for dinner, news and visiting. Imagine what he could do with 24 hours. But he won't give up the races for it. Plus he has never been too keen about giving up his sleep. Whereas going without sleep often seems as natural as breathing for me.

Early in our marriage I used to try to keep him awake by keeping a conversation going only to discover that he'd been asleep for awhile--often as long as an hour or more. His eyes had been open and he'd taken his conversational turns. In fact he'd often have more to say. But oh my! The content. It began to have the flavor of dream-logic, phantasmagorias of fever dreams.

The first time it happened we had been trading ghost stories and he had transitioned from repeating old classics to telling of encounters with ghosts and other bizarre phenomenon in the first person. He told about half a dozen of these. The next day I asked him a question about one of them and he had no idea what I was talking about. Those stories are still quite vivid and skin-crawly for me nearly thirty years later. He remembers none of them. I wish I'd been taking dictation or recording that discussion. I used to tease him that he was as much of a storyteller as I was.

I think I long passed the zone of rambling into the zone of babbling. If I don't stop and post this, I'll be writing in my sleep...

One last note. The above helps to explain why I've still not posted a snippet into the shell I put up Friday. That plus the fact Ed was using the laptop all day Sunday and then I fell asleep at 8pm instead of writing my snippet and poem as I'd planned. Then this morning I wrote and posted the poem and instead of going on to finish the snippet I went visiting the other Poetry Train riders until it was time to get ready to go to the library. I'm hoping I can wake up in time to work on the snippet before noon as I've promised Ed use of the laptop for the afternoon as he loses access to the PC when his Mom get home from work. But I won't have my wits about me in time if I don't get to sleep.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Monday Poetry Train #51

A Bear Ate
by Joy Renee

A bear ate a
scavenging a garbage bin
and went galumphing
through the suburbs,
and berating
the moon
met up with
a beret attired
scarfing a garbanzo bean
and lentil soup singing
to the burps and
beer attending

A bear ate a
a beer attired
and slurped garbanzo bean
and lentil soup, slinging
a beret at
the moon.


I've no idea where this came from. Except that I couldn't keep my eyes open last night as I started to work on this post and I closed them and lay down without even closing the laptop lid, turning off the lamp or the TV tuned to XM 7 playing 70s hits. I remember thinking it was no use berating myself and besides I'd just write garbage if I tried to think with such a fatigue vibrated brain.

I woke at 4AM from a dream in which someone, laughing hysterically was saying "A bear ate a vibrator...."

OK, so sleeping on it didn't help much.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sunday Serenity #61

This picture reminds me that sometimes there can be astounding beauty in an assembly of creatures gathered together to lift their voices in praise of their Creator.

Sometimes I do terribly miss the Sunday's that used to be.

Since I excommunicated myself from the assembly I was raised in, my desire to be in community again struggles with my fear of having my mind and voice smothered into submission as before. But I begin to suspect that I have enough confidence in my hard-won integrity of mind and in the habit of speaking it which this blog has helped engender, that I can trust myself to maintain it even as I willingly join hearts and hands with others in service of community.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Snippet 49

Apparition of the Face of Aphrodite
by Salvador Dali
print for sale at

Update 6/25/08: Snippet pasted in. It's soooo late. It's soooo short. And it's all description. I'm struggling with the action I have planned for this scene. I have a lot of trouble with transitions. I'm also having a tug-o-war with that part of myself that is itching to start editing and rewriting. But that wasn't the deal I made with my muse when I began this project. This whole exercise is an attempt to see if I can keep the harpies at bay until I get a completed draft of a story. The idea is to stay playful and to resist the temptation to start reworking it and second and third guessing every move. But I expected this to be a short story--under 10K and it is already several K past that and still less than half way to the climax I envisioned and the threads are tangled, stretched, and threatening to snap.

Anyway. I'm going to try to squeeze out another half K of words by Friday evening. If I don't manage that then I'm not going to post a snippet at all. I can't have the shell gambit hanging over me during the Read-a-thon and its aftermath.


This is a shell again. How surprised are we? I'll paste the snippet in sometime this weekend. At least that is the current plan and I've only been later than Sunday night twice in fourteen weeks. My excuses aren't that good this week. I got caught up in two obsessions. Reading fiction and playing the Weekly Geeks Scavenger Hunt which is over as of tomorrow. Yesterday, I fully intended to spend today working on my snippet though. And was foiled by the temps going up unexpectedly. That is one serious drawback of laptops. The heat coming off the keyboard on warm days. If only I could take it outside. But I can't read the screen in daylight. So I've been taking books outside with me and since Tuesday have read the last hundred pages of The Historian, the two Nancy Yi Fan novels and the August Wilson play, The Piano Lesson.

I went outside after dinner this evening and didn't come in until after midnight. I was reading at first but had to stop when it started sprinkling. But couldn't bear to go in. Ed and I then started a conversation about nine-thirty that lasted until nearly one. And since I've been sleeping nights all week that pretty much wraps up my day. Tomorrow is my 'home alone' day as long as the dirt track races don't get rained out. I do need to do some laundry but other than that and breaks to fix my own meals I'll have from 2:30PM thru 10:30PM to designate how I see fit. I will work on the snippet for part of that if I have to use pencil and paper and then type it in after midnight or the cool of Sunday morning.


You can catch up or review via the links to the first fourteen parts available below.

The entire thing is closing in on 12K. So much for it being a short story. Based on the scenes yet to be written which I know about, I estimate I'm 1/3 to 1/2 way there. That won't be long enough for a novel either. sigh.

But then I hadn't planned on it being a novel. I have enough novels in progress in this story world!

One of them is even set in this same motel. And someone you've already encountered in this story is a POV character in it. You learned her name when Crystal did in part twelve: Brook the housekeeper. She was the protagonist of my first NaNo novel,
Majoring in Marine Biology.

Home Is Where the Horror Is
by Joy Renee

(part one; part two; part three; part four; part five; part six; part seven; part eight; part nine; part ten; part eleven; part twelve; part thirteen; part fourteen;)

With Garrison alternately humming and sucking on his thumb as he considered his next move, Crystal began looking around the room from her kneeling position to get her bearings. The portable crib was set against the back of a couch that was facing the draped window at the end of the long narrow room. The sheckles of light on the floor beneath the drapes indicated a large sliding-glass door behind them. To her right was the TV with a rocking chair in front of it. She could touch the edge of of one of its rockers and set it in motion if she reached out.

The long wall on her right was clear of furniture for most of its length except for a large cabinet next to the door she had entered. On that wall was a mural depicting an ocean scene. Although the bottom section consisted mostly of dark lines suggesting an underwater tableau, the top was filled in full of color and detail. the felt her jaw actually dropping, her lungs filling with awe, her eyes widening and for long moments refusing to blink.

On a sapphire sky under an overarching rainbow that contained more glowing colors than she could name, were a number of planetary bodies--scintillating jewels--in a surrealistic symbiosis with a plethora of marine lifeforms. A gray whale was breaching our of the center of a Galaxy. A hammerhead shark was cruising the rings of a large beclouded planet. An orca was arched inside the circle of a full moon creating the emblem of the Tao. In the far left corner a sun with a fiery halo was playing placenta for a human fetus woven of the fiery threads of the corona with one especially long and bright solar flare acting as umbilical chord.

In the center, leaping out of the ocean in a great spray of sparkling water was a dolphin and upon its back rode a laughing infant raising its arms in an attempt to grasp the rim of the rainbow. Crystal had not yet gotten a clear look at Garrison's face but she was willing to bet that was his face and this was his mother's work.


Thursday, June 19, 2008


Maybe. But feeling no remorse.

I still don't have the review for The Historian ready to post. And no backup plan for a post except to ramble about this and that.

I'm not feeling much remorse about the review because I've been having so much fun. On two fronts. One is with the Weekly Geek scavenger hunt. The other is with reading.

I've found half the keywords of the scavenger hunt. I probably won't find them all by the deadline but that wasn't the primary motive for me anyway. I have just thoroughly enjoyed exploring the WG blogs--mostly book bloggers. I've read dozens of reviews and added a couple dozen titles to my wish list and even ordered several from the library.

In the last two days I've read one full novel and half of a second. Granted the novels were written by a teenager and intended for children and have pictures on about every other page. But they are rollicking good stories and I'm enjoying them as much for the astonishment that the first was conceived by a ten year old and written, submitted and published before she was thirteen. And English wasn't her first language!

I am speaking of :

and Sword Quest
by Nancy Yi Fan

I was enthralled enough that I failed to notice the sky going dark as I read in the back yard this evening. I had expected to notice when I could not longer read but as the sun's light faded the sodium vapor light guarding the trailer park's pool behind us took over and I never noticed. If it hadn't been for the mosquitoes making a banquet of me I might still be out there.

These epic quest fantasies may not be the absolute best I've ever read but they are plenty charming enough and they showcase a budding talent that bears watching. The fresh spirit of their author informs every line. She is most definitely one for whom the audacity of hope comes as natural as breath.

You will excuse me as I pick up Sword Quest to find out how Wind-voice and his companions get out of their latest scrape with the minions of the tyrant Maldeor who is intent on finding the mythical sword before they do. For whoever wields this sword would be invincible. Maldeor wishes to rule the world with it. Wind-voice wishes only to free the enslaved and ensure freedom for everybird. Of course I know Wind-voice's quest succeeds because Sword Quest is a story from the ancient legends of the birds whose quest for freedom from tyranny was the focus of Swordbird.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #91

I'm stocking up on short fiction for the Read-a-thon on June 28. These are just a few that I have on the shelf right now. The last two are loaned by my niece, the rest are library books. There are more on the way from the library so I may not resist the temptation overcoming me as I handle the books while making this list to go ahead and start one.

Ummm. It is not that I expect to read thirteen or more books in 24 hours. I just like choices. Besides, I feel a fiction binge coming on. And since I struggled so hard with a long, complex novel recently I am going to treat myself to stories I can read in a day or two for awhile and the day of the Read-a-thon I am dedicating to fiction.



13 Short Novels in My Read-a-thon Pool

1. Keeper and Kid by Edward Hardy--294p
2. The Dangerous Age by Annette Williams Jaffee--171p
3. The White Castle by Orhan Pamuk--161p Recent Nobel Prize for Lit winner.
4. Missing Sisters by Gregory Maguire--151p A children's chapter book by the author of Wicked and Son of a Witch
5. Mr. Spaceman by Robert Olen Butler--223
6. Pay it Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde--288p Yes, the movie starring Haley Joel Osment was based on this novel.
7. Earthquake Weather by Catherine Ryan Hyde--230p
8. Incantation by Alice Hoffman--166p
9. Foretelling by Alice Hoffman--167p
10. The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman--211p
11. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman--244p The book came before the movie! This will be a re-read for me which is quite rare for me and I may not actually re-read it. I think I was bit by nostalgia for the enchantment of the first reading when I sent for it.
12. Seven Tears Into the Sea by Terri Farley--279p Loaned to me by my 14 year old niece who has been begging me to read it for over a year.
13. Impulse by Elen Hopkins--666p A novel in verse. Also loaned to me by my niece about a year ago. And like The Historian, I started it once last fall and got distracted. Thanks to my niece I've read two other of Hopkins' verse novels: Crank and Burned. See my post about Hopkins' work here.

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!


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

On Reading The Historian

I finished The Historian this morning. Finally. A full month after starting it. Or rather re-starting it. I meant for this post to be a book review but I'm afraid I left it until too late to be coherent about it. It's not so much because I've been awake since before dawn as that I'm still recovering from making the walk to the library yesterday afternoon as the temps topped 80 degrees. It was only the second time I have made that 30 minute each way walk. The first time was the week before I came down with the flu--the week before Easter. The walks to the old building and the temp building used to take about 20 minutes.

It was more than the heat that took it out of me. It was also the weight of the wheeled bag of books that I schlepped home. Because I'd been unable to get there for over two weeks, the books and movies that I'd requested had piled up. Plus on Sunday morning in the wee hours I had ordered a slew of short novels in anticipation of the Read-a-thon at the end of the month. I hadn't expected any of them to arrive by Monday but a half dozen or so did. I could have left them waiting for up to eleven days but once I laid eyes on them how could I just leave them? So I am paying the price today in significant joint pain. I got off light on muscle ache so far.

If I could have known that Ed was going to have today off and that he would go to the library...

I collapsed into bed after doing the dinner dishes last night. That was about seven. So I woke before six this morning. I set as my priority task today to finish The Historian and to write the review for today's post. I had just under 70 pages left and estimated 2-2.5 hours. It took 3.5. In order to minimize distractions--TV, laptop, Merlin, other books--I took Merlin out to the back yard with me and staked his leash where he was just out of reach of my legs. He spent the time eating rose petals, chasing bugs in the grass, eating grass, watching something super fascinating beyond the fence, trying to spot the yakking birds and alternately sunning himself and scooting under the table or chair for shade where he occasionally tangled his leash. Well once or twice maybe. The only time(s) I got up from my chair between 8:15 and 11:45 were to untangle him.

I suppose I should have gotten right to the review but I fiddled around with this and that--IM with my sister, watching news, browsing in the half dozen or so books coming due in the next week, . To prioritize, I told myself. But it was the thrilling sense of freedom to pick up other books at last that was the primary motivator.

It must sound like the novel was a dud seeing as it took me so long to finish. But I still feel it was one of the best novels I've read in years. Nearly all my difficulties with it are related to the physical aspects of reading it. Mostly due to my vision deficits. The print was small and I think there wasn't enough contrast between font and page color. I think the font was more gray than black and the page tinted off white. Then there were those long sections, often dozens of pages long, in italics to indicate correspondence. Sometimes I could not read those for more than five minutes unless I put on the visor with 3.5 magnification which I use for fine needlework. Reading with that visor induces motion sickness after awhile though.

I really loved the story. The prose was exquisite. The plot was intricate. The characters were complex. History itself was such a presence it was very nearly a character--it seemed to breathe on the page.

I'm not meaning to imply I had no problems at all with the story as such. I wasn't entirely satisfied with the ending, especially the epilogue. That and the last scene of the last chapter seemed tacked on after most of the plot threads seemed to have been wrapped up. The remaining questions I had were not answered by those ending pages and more questions were raised by them which leads me to believe Kostova might be setting us up for a sequel. But I am digressing into review territory here which is going to severely dampen any enthusiasm for writing a review.

I must admit, I sometimes feel bitter that I am unable to devour a large novel in a day or two like I once could. Especially on days when I watch Ed read a 500+ page novel in under 9 hours Small of me. I know.

OK. Time to pull out the gratitude journal.

And get some sleep!!!


Monday, June 16, 2008

Monday Poetry Train #50

Taking Daddy's Hand
by Joy Renee

When fear pushed
its ugly face into
my dreams
and rampaged through
imagination's hall,
bouncing its
shattering screams
off cracked mirrors,
I reached for Daddy's
hand and saw
fear's visiage disolved
like morning mist
at noon
then scattered on the
brisk breeze of his
stern voice.


Jump on the train


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sunday Serenity #60

Daddy introducing Joy Renee to sprinkler. Summer 1958

Today marks the third Father's Day since my Daddy passed. I will be honoring him with frequent remembrances (with gratitude) of his love, gentleness, dedication to family, faithfulness, patience, hard work, generosity and integrity.

Today, here in Phoenix, we are having a family BBQ for Father's Day. Ed will be manning the grill. All of his father's kid's and grandkids who live locally will be attending.

Today is dedicated to honoring our fathers and celebrating family


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Weekly Geek #8: Scavenger Hunt

This week it is a scavenger hunt. This is WG #8. Although it is only my second time participating, I used the edition number in my title and will in future as I think that will be less confusing over time.

For details see Dewey's post. The short explanation is that we are to hunt 50 keywords in the blogs of WG participants. Two ways to find participants are suggested in Dewey's post.

There is a prize for whoever finds the most keywords in the most blogs.

We are to list the keywords we find along with the link to the post we found it in. Being the eternal optimist, I'm going to paste the entire keyword list in this post and add the links as I find them throughout the week.

The Keyword list:

1. THE PRIZE is a subscription to Bookmarks magazines. Also the winner will be featured in Weekly Geeks #10--Dewey's Hidden Side of a Leaf

2. youtube--Cara's Online Book Club
3. war--Katrina's Reads
4. Sunday Salon--Blue Archipelago
5. Buy a Friend a Book--
6. BTT (or Booking Through Thursday)--Mog's Book Blog ~ Maree's just add books
7. omnibus--
8. Speculative fiction--Stuff As Dreams Are Made On
9. Short stories--Katrina's Reads
10. Ani Difranco (or just Ani)--
11. Printz--
12. Man Booker Prize (or just Booker)--
13. Newbery--
14. Mother Talk--
15. interview--Literary Escapism
16. history--A Girl Walks Into a Bookstore
17. glbt (or any other arrangement of those letters, or with a q in there)--
18. fantasy--
19. film--Biblio Brat
20. giraffe--
21. biography--Melody's Readig Corner
22. Geraldine Brooks--Chain-Reading
23. graphic novels--Out of the Blue ~ nothing of importance ~ Age 30 - A Year of Books
24. classics--nothing of importance
25. faerie--Melissa's Book Nut
26. Amelie--Out of the Blue
27. doo doo doo--
28. 24 Hour Read-a-thon--Confuzzled Books ~ Nymeth's things mean a lot
29. etsy--Chris' book-a-rama
30. poetry--Katrina Read's
31. Bookmooch--MYSTERIES in PARADISE
33. R.E.M.--
34. Bookworms Carnival--Maree's just add books ~ Adventures in Reading
35. library--Bybee's Naked Without Books! ~ Melissa's Book Nut
36. Lost (must refer to the TV series)--
37. Six Feet Under--
39. hedgehog--
40. pregnant--Melody announce she is expecting a baby girl tho she doesn't use the word pregnant.
41. nosebleed (or nose bleed)--
42. 42 (No, that’s not a mistake; number 42 is to find the digit 42.)--nothing of importance
43. herding cats--
44. Django Reinhardt--
45. A.S. Byatt--Stuff As Dreams Are Made On
46. Homer--
(The next three are suggestions from my son.)
47. ROFL--
48. cheezburger (must be spelled with Z!)--Chris' book-a-rama
49. d20--

50.-?: Each participant gets to put one keyword in the comments, so keep coming back to check on them if you’re trying for the prize!


Well I don't feel so off the wall now, Tiny Librarian had the same idea to post the whole list and add the links as she finds them.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday Snippet 48

Apparition of the Face of Aphrodite
by Salvador Dali
print for sale at

Update: the snippet is pasted in as of Sunday morning. It is short again. I'm taking baby steps with the scene, feeling my way, as Crystal is with Garrison.
I woke with a headache today and was unable to see or think well enough to work on the snippet. I'll do my best to get it pasted into this shell this weekend.

You can catch up or review via the links to the first thirteen parts available below.

The entire thing is closing in on 12K. So much for it being a short story. Based on the scenes yet to be written which I know about, I estimate I'm 1/3 to 1/2 way there. That won't be long enough for a novel either. sigh.

But then I hadn't planned on it being a novel. I have enough novels in progress in this story world!

One of them is even set in this same motel. And someone you've already encountered in this story is a POV character in it. You learned her name when Crystal did in part twelve: Brook the housekeeper. She was the protagonist of my first NaNo novel,
Majoring in Marine Biology.

Home Is Where the Horror Is
by Joy Renee

(part one; part two; part three; part four; part five; part six; part seven; part eight; part nine; part ten; part eleven; part twelve; part thirteen;)

As Crystal approached, Garrison, who was kneeling in the center of a nest of blankets and stuffed toys, stared with wide, solemn eyes. When she had reached about three paces from the side of the crib, he pulled a blanket up over his head, holding it in place with both hands. She stopped and knelt down. "I see you don't want to see me yet." she said softly. "Do you want to see the juice Mama sent for you?"

Crystal waited in silence for Garrison to acknowledge her. There was no urgency that warranted swooping in and manhandling him into fresh diapers. Until he decided that the discomforts of his hunger, thirst or wet bottom outweighed the discomfort of not knowing her, any 'help' she attempted to force on him would be an infliction of trauma.

"Ju. Ju." Garrison's voice was so soft and muffled by the blanket he held taut over his head with clenched fists against each ear that Crystal knew he was talking more to himself than to her.

"Yes. Juice." Crystal answered him anyway. "It's apple juice, I think. And Mama said you could come out to the fridge to pick your treat after your diaper change."

It was impossible to know how much of what she said he understood. More important than the meaning of the words though, was the meaning held in her tone and in her presence. This Crystal had learned by watching Mother's way with the babies. She swallowed convulsively as her throat went tight and dry in response to a brief vision of Mother playing peek-a-boo with Winston at about this age. She mustn't let her thoughts wander there right now. Too bad there wasn't a blanket she could pull over her memories.

Instead of lowering the blanket, Garrison held it firmly in place as he lowered himself face down onto the mattress and stuck his thumb in his mouth. The vigorous sucking was audible from where Crystal still kneeled. After a minute or so of this he released the thumb and began again with the sing-song 'Mamamma, Mamamama, Mamama, Mama.' that Crystal had heard coming over the baby monitor in Brook's apron pocket. He was trying to turn back time and rewrite history she thought, smiling to herself. She knew that he could very well soothe himself back to sleep this way. She would not interfere if he did.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Weekly Geek

I learned about this new meme while preparing the post about the Read-a-thon on Tuesday. It is also hosted by Dewey. I was drawn to it because I thought it might help me apply boot to butt on a number of projects I've been procrastinating on re blogging. And it could help me tip the balance back toward books and reading here at Joystory where the emphasis on writing since last summer has about taken over. Not that I want to lessen that emphasis but writers MUST read too. It is of equal importance to writing as a regular practice and discipline.

I was also wary of taking on a fifth meme. On the other hand this one is a free floater; not attached to any particular day of the week. The assignment is given on Saturday and you have through Friday to post and leave your link with Dewey. That is a plus because I am often scrambling for ideas for posts on the non-meme days. Yet another plus is that you can still participate even if you don't get around to the assignment. You can just make your post about that.

One of the attractions this week was that the assignment was fairly easy. Or at least could be as easy or as complex as you wanted to make it. Now last week was a different story. If I had stumbled on this in the middle of last week and found the assignment to 'catch up on reviews' late Tuesday with TT looming on the horizon and no snippet ready, I wouldn't have given two minutes consideration to getting involved then though I would have made a note to check back on Saturday. A note that would have to take its chances with the bazillion other 'notes to self' floating around my head and hard-drive and workstation.

This week's assignment was to post photos. There was a number of suggestions to elaborate on that theme but the basic premise was to illustrate your post with photos. It seemed to be implied that you were to take the photos yourself but surely Dewey didn't mean to bar participation to those without digital cameras! I am confident of this based on the experience of last October's Read-a-thon--the rules are relaxed and inclusive to make increased participation the overriding rule. It's too late to check with Dewey to confirm my assumption.

Oh well, if nothing else this is at least a post about why I didn't do the exact assignment and might still appeal to the typical participants: mostly book bloggers tho blogs with other themes are not discouraged from joining in. (see? inclusive!)

It is not that I don't have a digital camera. It is just that I didn't get around to taking new pictures and now it is too late as the household is sleeping. Ed is just inches from my elbow as I type this. I thought about 'borrowing' pictures of our library from the two TT posts devoted to the before and the after moving from the temp building to the new building last winter. But that didn't appeal. It's old news.

I have to get back to work on my snippet for tomorrow's Friday Snippet post as soon as I get tonight's post finished so I was about to give up on participating in Weekly Geek this week. I set about to put up a quick humor post with LOL cats because I'd seen one on Ann's TT from last week that cracked me up. I went to Ann's to find it and trace it back to its homepage to get its embed code. While there of course it was impossible to resist clicking 'next' a few times to see more. And then I found one on a book theme and at the same moment realized that the one I came hunting for was on a geek theme and thought: why not? But I didn't like the caption on the book one so much. So I re-captioned it.

more cat pictures

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Hope you got a chuckle or two.

Check out Dewey's WG post for this week. She took pictures of and described several of the Bookmooch Journals she has created. I'd never even heard of the concept before. It is fascinating. Do take a look. Dewey is one creative lady.

Kathrine at A Girl Walks Into a Bookstore posted pictures of her own bookshelves. I can never see too many pictures of books and bookshelves full of books.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #90

For this TT I am nailing two tasks with one project. I haven't updated my Portal Posts since before NaNo started last November. So this week I'm collecting the links and titles for Poems I've posted since the last time I updated Poems by Joy Renee Portal which I created to stand as a table of contents to my poetry on Joystory.

The Idea at the time was to put the links to the Portal Posts in the sidebar to make accessing them easier. I never got around to that either. As I've never gotten around to revamping my sidebar--overdue for over two years now. Sigh. Another thing I never got around to was creating more Portals. I think it was Blogger adding the label option that took some of the pressure off but that isn't really an ideal alternative to posts in which poems, stories, book reviews and essays are listed by titles.

I could do a TT on the blogging tasks I've not gotten around to.

The TT header is a picture of my notebook and favorite clicker pencil standing at the ready along with my button-eyed Blue Mews.


Thirteen Of My Poems Posted In the Last Year

1. Thanking Evan (Written in remembrance of a SIDS baby we once babysat.)
2. Those Were the Days (Written to honor my Daddy on his birthday the first year we remembered it without him.)
3. Those Words "I Love You Honey" (This one was written when I was in Jr. High. Bleh. Juvenile. As most juvenilia is. But as far as I know it is the only thing that survived the loss of all my pre-college poetry efforts when I lost all my manuscripts and school papers in a 1987 move.)
4. Flying From Grace
5. The Reading Lamp
6. Haiku: Heart Agape
7. Joy Splashed
8. Haiku: One Taste
9. Haiku: Frozen Rose
10. Like Riding a Bike (This was an extensive rewrite and expansion of My First Bike)
11. A Mother's Day Musing (A photo essay poem with 20 +/- photos from my early childhood. Put together to honor my Mom on Mother's Day.)
12. A Ravishing (For lovers of story: books, libraries, research, history...)
13. Haiku: Beginnings

There were a total of 17 new links added to the portal bringing it up to 40. There are some more poems floating around Joystory but they are going to be harder to find as they were posted before I began participating in Monday Poetry Train and/or before labels or on non-MOT posts. Some of them were composed in Blogger so I've no other record of their existence. Some of them I may have even forgotten about. But that is a task for another day.

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!


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Let's Get Together! Read! Read! Read!

Dewey has scheduled another 24 Hour Read-a-thon! Remember how much fun it was last October? Well, enough participants remembered and clamored for another. It is scheduled to start on Saturday June 28 at 9 AM Pacific Coast Time USA and run through 9 AM Sunday June 29.

This time there is an option for Readers in the challenge to raise money for the charity Reading Is Fundamental.

Read all the details on the FAQ here. And sign up here to be either a Reader, Cheerleader, Prize Donor, or organizing assistant to Dewey. Or any combination of two or more.

I just signed up as Reader. I aim to read the WHOLE 24 hours like I did last time, taking only very short breaks to post updates. This year ought to go much better as I got the MUCH needed new prescription glasses about a month after the last one. Plus this time I'm going to prepare by collecting some short novels, some books of poetry, some childhood favorites, some large print books and even some graphic novels and/or picture books. A few Roald Dahl and a big stack of Dr Seuss could make the homestretch a sweet glide instead of the gritty cliff-climb it was for me last time.


Monday, June 09, 2008



I found this at a site called Kiss My Floppy. There are hundreds more jokes and cartoons with computer technology themes. I went there looking for something quick to post so I could get back to work on Friday's snippet which is still not pasted into the shell I put up Friday night.

Sigh. I think the reason I chose this one to post was because I so quickly identified with the image. I am starting to feel like I've forgotten how to walk upright.


Sunday, June 08, 2008

Monday Poetry Train #49

Tree of Peace
by Josephine Wall
poster for sale at

Paired Haiku: Root and Branch (On Conflict Resolution)
by Joy Renee

On Conflict

Roots go deep--
Tangled stories in
History's soil.

On Resolution

Branching out--
Old stories weaved with
Common dreams.


Saturday, June 07, 2008

Sunday Serenity #59

Ideas In Flight
print for sale at

Sometimes I just love getting lost in thought. Daydreaming. Imagining. Ideas fly. Stories multiply. Hope blooms. And sometimes, that which is sought is caught.


Friday, June 06, 2008

Friday Snippet 47

Apparition of the Face of Aphrodite
by Salvador Dali
print for sale at

Update: I'm finally pasting in a snippet though it isn't much. Not a full scene really. This will be tacked onto the end of the previous snippet or the beginning of the next one once I allow myself to start rewrites. I am still holding myself to my promise to myself not to go back and rewrite scenes and to do only minimal editing of them before I have a complete draft.

That promise is getting harder to keep. I seem to be in a bit of a plot quagmire. I'm holding too many threads in my head. But I know myself too well. If I start fiddling around with non-scene work--outlines, notes, character sketches, research, time lines etc.--I could end up with ten or fifty thousand words of notes and sketches while work on the scenes themselves dribble out or dry up completely as with the twelve plus novels already plugging the FOS pipeline.

So for now, I'm working hard at staying playful and open with Crystal's story and pressing on even when I'm not quite sure where it is going next.

Well, I'm backsliding again this week. I blew my head start last weekend. I used the extra time to do laundry, fret over my sick kitty and watch the winding up of the Democratic Primaries, including hours and hours of the rules committee deliberations on Saturday.

I spent more hours getting sappy nostalgic over 70s music which I wrote about on my Monday post. That's the day I should have been working on the snippet but I couldn't turn off the darn TV (satellite XM 70s on 7 ) and I can't write while listening to music with lyrics in English. Instrumental, Orchestral or vacals in a language that I don't comprehend--so that the voice becomes another instrument but doesn't engage the language center--actually enhances a writing environment for me.

I had high hopes and exuberance to spare Tuesday night after the speeches etc. I had ambitions for getting both the snippet and TT ready by Wednesday evening. Then I woke up with a headache and the muggy brain that usually accompanies it. I've been jousting with that ever since.

So once again I'm putting up the shell sans snippet. There is a good chance I can get the snippet ready by this time tomorrow latest (late evening Saturday) as it looks like I'll be home alone. It hasn't rained for two days and there is no rain in the forecast so the dirt track races should be on (unlike the last two weekends) and since I got all the laundry caught up as of Monday that isn't on the agenda. Merlin is eating and grooming normally again, so if I can keep my thoughts off the other fret channels... And my hands off the remote...

You can catch up or review via the links to the first eight parts available below.

The entire thing is closing in on 12K. So much for it being a short story. Based on the scenes yet to be written which I know about, I estimate I'm 1/3 to 1/2 way there. That won't be long enough for a novel either. sigh.

But then I hadn't planned on it being a novel. I have enough novels in progress in this story world!

One of them is even set in this same motel. And someone you've already encountered in this story is a POV character in it. You'll learn her name when Crystal does in this snippet. She was the protagonist of my first NaNo novel,
Majoring in Marine Biology.

Home Is Where the Horror Is
by Joy Renee

(part one; part two; part three; part four; part five; part six; part seven; part eight; part nine; part ten; part eleven; part twelve;)

Crystal opened the door next to the desk as Brook slipped out the door they had entered across the room. So narrow was the room Crystal wondered if both doors could be fully opened at the same time without jamming each other. The room she entered was dim. Much dimmer than the room she had wakened in only an hour or so ago. There were only faint glimmers of light around the edges of heavy drapes at each end of the room. The sound of Garrison's babble was coming from her left and seemed very near but she couldn't see his crib or playpen.

She opened the door wider hoping the bright light from the office would help her find a light switch or lamp. Brook's instructions had seemed thorough, surely she would have included some for turning on the light if there were something tricky about it. Garrison had gone silent as the door opened and Crystal sensed him listening for the approach of his Mama. She didn't know whether to speak to him before he could see her. Would the sound of a stranger's voice frighten him more coming out of the dark? She knew she didn't have much time before he lost patience.

She felt the wall to the side of the door and sure enough there were two switches but, oddly, they were already in the up position and when she flipped them down nothing happened. No, not nothing after all. The room got even quieter and there was no more slight current of air on her cheeks and forehead which she had not even noticed before they vannished.

Ah. So there was likely two ceiling fans which probably had light fixtures that could be turned on and off with a chain. She flipped the switches back up and looked toward the soft whir to her right and spotted the twirling blades above a small table only a few steps away. The light from the office revealed a clear path. There were two chains hanging down. One for the fan of course. She pulled on the closest one and was rewarded with light.

Now she could see to the other end of the room where a portable crib sat under the other fan. Garrison was sitting up, his gaze fixed on her. "Hello, Garrison." she started talking as she walked slowly toward him. "I'm Crystal. Your Mama sent me."


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