Monthly Archives: April 2012

Words… words, words, words

There is a viral photo that makes its way around Facebook and Tumblr and probably every other social media site out there at least once every two or three weeks.  And it’s my turn to share it because it’s really important to me.

Always speak with consideration and purpose

This picture always jerks my heart-strings.  I’ve seen this exact expression on my little boy’s face before.  To my shame, there have been times I put it there.  I sometimes think I need to see this picture at least twice a day as personal penance for what I did to someone who deserves no less than the fullest expression of my love, but often receives my short temper and my frazzled nerves and my mental vacancy.

And because I have had my fair share of years in suffering for the words of others.  No matter how much I was told to “stop being such a baby” or to “grow up” (or the infamous “You think that hurt?  How about this?“–usually followed by some physically violent act), I know which injuries actually hurt the most and the longest.

Yesterday, my son said something on our ride home…  We’d been having a talk on respect because of an incident at school, and I was asking him how he would have felt if his father or I had done the same thing to him so he might hopefully understand how his actions were affecting others.    We seemed to have connected well at the moment, and rather than dwell on the issue, I tried to shift the conversation by pointing out a turtle I saw trying to cross the road in front of us.

“Is he* dead?”

“No.   He’s fine.  But this is a bad time for him to be crossing the road.  There’s a lot of traffic right now.”

“Did you run him over?”

“I was able to go around him, Sweetie.”

“Oh.  I hope the car behind us hits him and he dies.”

I just…  Well, a double take certain happened.  My normally gentle Boodle who still wants to cuddle and hug and sing “You are My Sunshine” with us in his little boy soprano before bedtime–how could he ever want to cause another living creature suffering?  I remembered how much he’d cried when, during a walk one day, we saw a dead rabbit along the road once, and he needed a huge hug.

And so I had to ask him again.  ‘How would he have felt if either his father or I, or any of his school mates, said that about our kitty Stimpy or about one of us….  Did he really think that was a kind thing to say?’

And maybe I tried to make my point too hard, because I saw that expression.  And he woke up last night from a bad dream, because he was sorry that he’d hurt the turtle, and he hoped it didn’t get hit.

Since I didn’t drive him into school today, I didn’t have a chance to see if the turtle did survive.  I confess, I’m rather glad.  What has happened, has happened.  And if I’d driven, I know the Boodle would have asked.  He does things like that.

*Yes, I know the turtle was very likely a female looking for a place to nest, but it seemed silly to argue semantics at the time

Now, for my ROW80 check-in:

Most anything I have to report fits into the SNAFU category.  Nothing particularly wrong.  Stuff is getting done, slowly.  I’ve actually made some great progress on my reading so that’s a bonus I had not expected.  It just feels like things are stagnating.

I’m experiencing a lot of personal resistance to the editing process for Release.  There is a part of myself that so desperately wants to just let the project die, and there is also that part that wants to do something with it.  I’m plying my mental energy on other projects while I try to figure out what I want to do.  I’m starting to think, if I am going to use it, a full rewrite may be in order, as well as a whole restructuring of all three parts of Parvenu (that Release is the first piece of–or rather used to be ).

Beyond that, I could go into specifics about the number of pages typed, the words explored…  Instead, here’s a link to my goals this ROWnd.  I’m ahead of everything except number of words of “new story”, and I’m not too far behind on that, even if it’s all in the wrong story.

So, any other ROWers here?  How’d your week go?

If you aren’t a ROW80 member and would like to see the blogs of some of our other amazing writers, here’s a linky for this check-in.  And here is a link to the main Round of Words in 80 Days for more on this writing challenge.

And lastly, here is one of my favorite Madonna songs: Words  because they DO matter.

Tuesday Snippet and the Gift One Gives One’s Self

Silver Bay at sunrise

Silver Bay at sunrise (Photo credit: nicholasjon)

Yesterday I put just under 350 miles on our poor old car because a friend was having some issues and just needed to talk them out.

Some might think that crazy.  A phone call, or maybe a Skype chat–surely something less horrid for the environment would have worked…  Wouldn’t it?

Well, not really.  Sometimes I need to actually be present in my interactions with other people.  Cues get translated via our posture, our eyes, our expressions…  Everything about our physical presence carries additional messages that can make (or break) a meeting.

And for the most complete experience for us both, I needed to be there.

I enjoyed myself immensely.  However, I had little clue as to the enormous rewards I would experience for choosing the long drive over the phone call.  From the lovely lunch and discussion of the photographs and paintings adorning her walls  to the great view off her deck as we discussed relationships, books, and those old school experiences, the few hours ended up being delightful.

Photograph of Champlain Bridge, connecting the...

Champlain Bridge in March 2004. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But I received far more from my trip than that.  If anything, I have to wonder what I did that was so special to be rewarded so much for the effort of spending time with a friend.

You see, the visit would have been great no matter what.  I like love people.  I can’t spend time well in crowds because I get overwhelmed with the input.  But one-to-one situations are emotional fuel.  I got a lot of fuel yesterday.

Add to that an amazing drive along 9N through the Adirondack Park up through Bolton Landing (and, because Google Maps gave me the “long way around directions, all the way up along Lake George through Silver Bay, Ticonderoga, Crown Point and across Lake Champlain)….  No, I did not intend to drive all the way up that far to get into Vermont.  I came home on the other side of the water, and while I felt rushed in both directions, the scenery inspired so many thoughts. Continue reading

Disjointed: a ROW80 check-in


Spring Break Cookies from above.Spring Break for my son’s (and many other children’s) school(s) ends today.  As usual, a private chaos overtakes the house, and me especially, when this happens.

There are, of course, all the preparations that suddenly need to be made.  Is the homework done?  Did I remember pack an extra set of play pants for the muddy playground times?  Signature on the Friday Folder?  Lunches planned for the week?  Did I remember to buy enough fresh fruit and veggies?

The last one doesn’t just affect us during school time, of course.  The Boodle is an impressive veggie eater, and usually it’s hard for me to get any fresh fruit if he knows that it’s in the house.    It’s just that when we aren’t trying to juggle the 45 minute (one way) commute to take him to school and are able to focus our energy on our needs as a family better.  Of course, that doesn’t mean I remember to buy the mustard my husband asks me to pick up any time.  Grocery lists are not my forté, but I do manage to buy tasty sushi that my son loves to share with me.

No, the end of Spring Break always feels wrong, and it has since we’ve started this school experiment (Winter Break or any kind of long weekend even have similar effects).  So many thoughts…  Is this right for our family?  Why do I miss the Boodle so much when he’s in school (I’m usually the one driving him, so it’s not as if I don’t have more time than my husband does with him)?  Am I throwing him to the wolves (he worries about wearing his pink stuff around other kids now after an incident at the school)?

Yes, yes, Mama Drama.

Fruit Breakfast

Fruit Breakfast (Photo credit: jaredkuper)

It’s my life.

It’s also part of why this week ended up falling somewhat flat for the check-in.

Simply put,  I fell almost flat since Wednesday.  Between fighting the forever rebooting PC (I have many reasons to love my computer; stability is not one of them) and the curse of migraines, I left out a lot of new writing.  I got my sponsor duties done; I wrote my 750 words; I even managed a fair amount of typing and editing.  But the creative spark?  Oh, that was on Spring Break too.

I did find some amazing stuff online to read, and the Mash-Up I could pull out of this week’s virtual journey could easily fill several blog posts.  I’m going to save most of those links for later.  Nothing is so news-worthy that it needs to be passed on this instant.  The truth is, it’s probably better to pass along these tidbits after the original posts have faded from their spotlight.  It’s nice to know that the things we write don’t fade from the ether after the week or month is gone.  (Yes, I know there is an amazing archive of everything posted on the internet out there, but unless you know what you are looking for, posts can stay lost forever.)

So for my “mini Mash-Up” I picked a few pieces that tweaked my creative side:

  • first we have Askers vs. Guessers from Wendy Cheng a.k.a. Xiaxue which inspired a whole bunch of story ideas.  Wendy really is an amazing blogger (there’s no wonder she gets the numbers she gets, although I’m sure a number of people will not like her style as much as I do), and I love her choices of hair color.  Really feeling inspired to make something a blu-ish green lately...
  • following that something that has been stirring in my mind since I started asking for opinions regarding people’s favorite character in the Tuesday Snippets:   Why are we drawn so much to Darkness?  I have to wonder, especially given the characters that I always hear are people’s favorites in my stories.  ‘Listii?  He’s an assassin.  Andy?  He betrays everyone he lives with.  Even in myself, I find I prefer to explore my “bad guys” (who are often my protagonists).  In last November’s NaNoWriMo project, my favorite secondary character was a prostitute who knowingly manipulates Alanii for  her son’s social standing.
  • And, because this is a check-in where the majority of the news was “No News“, I wanted to share this piece about Persistence.  Yes, Joanna  Penn’s focus is more on standing strong in the face of external rejection, but even that comes in more than one form.  Because, sometimes, like last Friday when the computer crashed (actually it just rebooted itself) in the middle of working, bad things happen–I lost three days worth of notes.  What did I do about it?
    1. I did not spend a few hours typing back in the story ideas that were still in my head, or finishing the blog post I’d planned, or so many other things…
    2. I did give myself about four hours of “pity time” and played Neverwinter Nights.  I played the game without any intention of playing well.   I cheat-decked my character by using the game editor to created some ‘extra powerful items for her so she could go beat up the bad guys in her “Teflon bikini’…  I just wanted to bash my way through the mission and not think about the stuff I lost, at least for a little while.
    3. And only after I had wearried of my depression and the house was quiet did I bother to reopen my browser and editors and try to recover anything I could.  I did still lose stuff, but I was able to accept it better then; and I was able to move on and create something different.

Question Mark

I still hate it when my computer acts up, but things like vehicle inspections, trips to see friends who need company, trips to Hoffman’s Playland with the Boodle…. Those are far more important than a few missing paragraphs on a harddrive.

If there is one thing that this week really taught me, it is that I cannot allow myself to be ruled by this machine (or even my wonderful laptop that never has a problem except that it is getting old and slow).

If there is one thing to regret not accomplishing this break, it would be the fact I did not take my day off from working on the computer.  I had all the excuses: with the Boodle home, I wasn’t going to get as much time as normal; I missed a full two days from feeling sick; I needed to look up something and since I ‘was already online”…  The truth?  I just wasn’t making time for me.  And that has to change.