Monthly Archives: May 2012

Because I’m so…um… Forgetful? Lost? Talented?

I prefer the last one.

Do you?

Even if it’s being applied in a mostly sarcastic sense, we’d rather believe compliments regarding ourselves and our actions.  We’d rather not hear negatives such as Forgetful.  And neutrals such as Lost come with a lot of potential risk…

Beware longjumpers and forgetful people...

Beware longjumpers and forgetful people… (Photo credit: Ben Cooper)

Talented seems so much happier.

But really, I’m just forgetful.  And a little lost.

And yes, I am talented, but that’s not the point of this post.

This is my ROW80 check-in where I say: “I’ve done diddly-squat!”  It’s not completely true, of course.  It’s also not completely false.

The best falsehoods do tend to hold a grain of truth after all.

As I posted in my “mini-update’ on the Facebook Row80 page, I dropped the ball completely on Story A Day.  By Monday I’d managed to catch up with two more short… um… things.  (It has occurred to me for a while since starting this challenge that I am not really writing “short stories” but more vignettes or scenes–pieces that are definitely a part of something larger.)  I’ve also dropped the ball on 750words.com only logging in twice since last Wednesday’s check-in.

Losing that 230 day streak was both freeing and very devastating.  I’ve not recovered my rhythm since.

And since this is the very end of the school year before we begin homeschooling the Boodle, I’m in a bit of a tizzy about “closing doors neatly” so to speak.  I’ve been escaping into Torchwood novelizations when I get a moment to breathe.  Probably not the most productive use of my free time, but it was a necessary catharsis.  And since I just received four of the books I ordered…  I may be cathartic for a while.  😉

I’m supposed to be starting the JuNoWriMo (and by that token also June’s CampNaNoWriMo) on the first.  My head should be clearer by the 7th…  I may not set any speed records for the first week, but I will write.   50,000 words should be child’s play, given all the things I want to work on.

That’s what I’m intending.

A missing Tuesday Snippet

But, since I’m forgetful and I also missed my Tuesday post and snippet.  Here is it is… a very short one today:

She found ‘Listii and ‘Mara in the dining room talking more than breaking their morning fast. ‘Mara looked at her in surprise. Of course she’d said she was going to break her fast with Val.

She shrugged and took the seat ‘Listii drew out for her. “I’d forgotten his final meditation starts today. I’ll talk with him later tonight at prefast.”

Her son nodded and passed her the tea. “Well, fair morn then, Mother.”

She smiled, trying to make her expression lighter than it likely was. She looked sideways at ‘Listii who’d begun playing games with his cherry stems. Noticing her gaze, he withdrew the one he’d been nibbling from his mouth and grinned mischievously. The stem, which had been filleted, now lay twisted in well tightened knots around the bare pit.

She blushed, then with an impish afterthought, sent past his shield a scold of ~Tease!~

He set the denuded seed on her plate and chuckled. “Who says?”

Despite the fact she was happy to find a break from her grim thoughts, she felt acutely on display here. She glanced at ‘Mara who was at the moment studying his portaviewer, seemingly oblivious to his uncle’s games. Before the younger man looked up, ‘Listii was once more studiously attending his meal.

As if nothing had happened.

She sighed and helped herself to some meal and fruit preserve. Then, as another afterthought, she took a handful of the cherries. Two could play that game.

“So we wait another day…”

She paused mid-nibble of the fruit in her mouth and blinked. She’d actually managed to put the thought of Val’s meditation out of her mind for a brief moment. She gave ‘Listii a brief smile of gratitude for his antics.

“Well, yes. As well as tomorrow and the day after that…” She sighed, looked at the cherry in her hand and noticed she’d begun picking apart its stem as ‘Listii must have for his gift to her. She placed it in her mouth for a few more select bites, then plopped it on ‘Listii’s plate, smiling face, frizzy stem and all before she finished answering her son.

“However, I’m going to get my business with Alanii done today rather than sit around. The sooner, the better.” She paused as ‘Listii cleared his throat lightly. “Hmm?”

Her lover shook his head. “Council today, Atyr, and Alanii’s overseeing it for a time.”

Her brow rose without her permission to do so. “Why isn’t Daryl overseeing things?”

“He’s on Alentrii with a woman he claims he wants to marry. He was due a vacation anyway.”

“A woman he claims he wants–”

‘Listii interrupted her before her disgust found free rein. “Alanii thinks he’s serious enough to have given him a nine month leave and have approached AJenna Amantii about the diplomatic considerations.” The man shrugged. “Having seen Daryl with her, I’d say he’s serious too.”

“Oh.” She let the matter drop. She wasn’t fond of Alanii’s law-born son, but the man was still a person like any other. Her likes or dislikes didn’t change the fact that he would live as any other man.

She shrugged. “All the better then. I know Alanii well enough that I’m sure he’ll grasp any chance to escape that, even if it just the anticipation of knowing he has to be there. And it means we can have dinner or something in Toriliis, in public.” She gave both men significant nods. “I’ve got to admit. I don’t feel that assured when Alanii asks me to visit with ‘no expectations, nassil.’ I’d feel better if there are others around.”

‘Listii frowned. She didn’t know if it was her denigrating words toward his sovereign or something else. ‘Mara nodded with a much relieved expression covering his face.

It was ‘Listii who replied. “If you insist. I’m leaving in a glass. You are welcome to come with me.”

“A glass?”

“I’ll drop you off at Katsdaniis for the morning and bring you back after Council. It save ‘Mara ordering an extra car since his sister already took the House car for the weekly shopping run.”

So that was why Mirielle wasn’t at breakfast. And with Vantosa in Toril. Valary married… But still, a glass? “Are you going to Toril early? I would like to see Vant, if he’s not teaching.”

The younger twin of her beloved smiled with an expression of fond bemusement. “No. I’m going home for a few glass myself. I’ve got to gather paperwork from Valir and see my children too. I don’t get leave that often myself.”

*

‘Listii stayed at the table only a bit longer, pleading a need to ready some things before he left. As he pushed his chair in he looked at the cherry with its nibbled-in face and tousled stem hair, its suggestive wink. He frowned, picked it up and finished off the flesh before some busybody servant started talking about things that weren’t their business.

As he finished climbing the stairs, he paused to wonder why he was annoyed by the idea of bringing Atyr to see Alanii. Surely he wasn’t developing his brother’s bad habit of seeing danger in every encounter Atyr had with the man.

As he closed the door of his bedroom to the world outside, silence answered. No, it wasn’t fear of what would happen between Atyr and her ‘tianii. It wasn’t even Atyr’s accusations of his friend’s intentions.

It was silence. It was privacy. And it was his choice to say no to the woman when she had asked if she might come home with him to Yiira and say his to his family.

It was last night when she’d touched him, shared her thoughts with him, and he’d come so close to asking her to take his family as hers to escape the loneliness.

He fell back on the bed and stared at the ceiling, letting his thoughts touch that place where his wife’s spirit had once lived within him, worrying it like the a cavity that slowly devoured the tooth around it. It hadn’t been long enough to forget her. Likely, it never would be.

He should have listened to Val when it was happening. He should have listened to her. Now Riia wasn’t here to listen to anymore. In all likelihood Val wouldn’t be soon.

And it had been such a little thing. A promotion, a grading he didn’t even need. His tutoring position in the Guard paid enough to support the two of them. His governorship had provided a comfortable supplement and helped in their children’s and grandchildren’s support.

Maybe Riia’d been right when she’d said he’d only wanted more chances to see Atyr. The woman had known him better than he’d known himself most of the time. Too well he still heard the shrill, angry taunt…the last thing she’d ever said to him…the one thing he’d refused to hear in over twenty years. Back then he’d walked out the door to hide in his duty. Now his duty was all he had.

He could plug his ears. It didn’t stop the voice from speaking, from screaming, in his head until all other memories of her, the soft murmurs when they’d lay together, her bright-eyed smiles after playing with the children, her rich warm laughter….

All vanished to corners, hiding from the red-faced, raging, teary-eyed demoness he’d last seen. The woman who’d accused him of deserting her, of lying to her, of betrayal far beyond his crimes.

Even if she had been right and he had been lying to himself all those years…. He winced and rolled on his side, cradling his pillow against himself. In the end she had been right. He had deserted her, had lied and betrayed her.

No, not betrayed yet. Not that it mattered now. She wasn’t here to care.

Okay, that was a bit longer than planned.  I think it added something by including the second piece.  Don’t you?

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When in ROWme Do as the ROWmans Do

Well, this is getting to be a very bad habit here…  the missing of Sunday check-ins that is.  I seem to remember having a similar problem right around this time last ROWnd (perhaps even a bit earlier even).  It would be nice to say that I’m getting better at organizing my time, but if one makes a point to bring up the whole “A Writing Challenge That Knows You Have A Life” part about the ROW80, it means I’m doing something definitely wrong here.

Violinist Joseph Joachim and pianist Clara Sch...

Or, it means, I’ve been sick.  which I have…  Sunday became Catch Up Day, laundry and the sink full of dishes and conflict.  So much conflict…  I’m counting down the hours till this school year finishes, and the less said about that, the better.

Sunday was GOOD!

I did have a wonderful time with Elizabeth Anne Mitchell at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall on Sunday evening.  The very last of the Albany Symphony performances this season, this was more an eclectic mix of chamber music and soloists from the orchestra than not.  A wonderful performance that surprisingly also included the band and chorus from the Doyle Middle School in Troy as part of the Symphony’s Music In the Classroom program.  The students composed and researched their own concert pieces.  It was quite impressive.

I’m sorry their parents brought them home after their part was over instead of letting them experience the last four numbers.  I suspect, given the energy and enthusiasm that these kids had approached their project with, they would have enjoyed seeing the other young composers’ creations.  There is something empowering about seeing what can be done, or even what some people have tried, just so they might be willing to test new limits.

Goals were NOT…

As psyched as I was after last Wednesday (and oddly enough, I was psyched, about writing, NOT about being on the computer), everything fell apart on Thursday.  Between having the weirdest “ick’ (still not sure what it was since it seemed to incorporate food poisoning, a migraine and throwing my back out) and my father “helping” me buy a car at the NY State Auction…  Basically I crawled into my bed at 1:30 in the afternoon on Thursday and only dug myself out on Friday morning because I’d promised my son that I would go to see him at school for the last “Morning Meeting” of the year.

This means two things…  I ended up NOT getting anything done for Story A Day or my sponsor posts until Saturday.  I also ended a 230 streak at 750words.  No Pegasus badge for me…not this year.  😦

It also means I have another POS car in the driveway to rant about in future posts.  😉

So my challenge for this month Story A Day is technically a bust.  I was hoping to use the weekend to catch up on writing in the stories I’ve handwritten.  I’m probably going to have to save that for later, perhaps in July, since I do intend to do the JuNoWriMo (really happy about the “not new story concept part” about the June Novel Challenge).   I’m still handwriting my stories…  these last few have not been very good, ihmo.  When I do type them in, we’ll see if any are salvageable.   So far they all seem to be something from a larger work.

Failure shouldn’t be an option

Clearly I need to spend some time developing my technique for the short form.

And until then,….

I will do as other ROWmans do–put my butt in the chair and make words flow.  There really is no other way to go.   The Writing Challenge that knows we have lives exists because we want to live as writers.  So I missed a bit this week.  It’s not the day-to-day, or even the month by month…  It’s the long haul.  And in that, I can still say I’m Rockin’ the ROW80.  I’m still writing, I’m still posting and commenting and learning… and I’m still ROWing.

(Hopefully I will remember to edit this post when the Linky goes live.  Keep an eye to A Round of Words in 80 Days for it so you can support other ROWers just in case.  These wonderful people deserve your support.)

Photo Credit

  • Violinist Joseph Joachim and pianist Clara Schumann. Reproduction of pastel drawing (now lost) by Adolph von Menzel, 1853. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  • Unknown, found here (a very good post that fits where I am perfectly)

A Mini-Mash and a Tuesday Snippet

Since tomorrow is officially the next ROW80 check-in, I’m not sure I should bother with a check-in now.  I have plenty of time to complain tomorrow…..  😉

One thing I should do, especially given the large number of nifty pages I have been acquiring in my Blog Mash folder is actually share these gems that have inspired contemplation and thought in me.  Every once in a while however, it seems prudent.  Besides, there are so many wonderful places on the web to explore, this paltry selection should encourage you to find many, many more of your own.

Mash-Up Mix-up, etc.

English: This is Saipradeep ravipati working a...

First we have, courtesy of my software engineer (translation: programmer, a.k.a geek) husband, an interesting rant/piece on what good design means.  Matt Simmons makes a very good point that sometimes what we think should makes sense doesn’t  mean it will work for the majority of people.  Or, that even if it does, that it’s a good idea, since it’ll be that one person that it doesn’t work for that will ruin things for many many others.  Good design tries to take into account how people act, not necessarily how they think.

Here’s a cute thing I intend to try one of these days, perhaps:  Merit Badger.  For one, I love badgers.  And two, it’s easier than trying to sew through the things (that backing is tough!).  And given how long I’ve been qualified for some of these, it’ll be just like scouts…  Or maybe not “just like.  I did sew on three of those badges.

For a topic that hit uncomfortably close to home for me and others, I found these pages on male infertility while researching any potential hang-ups that might affect certain characters of mine.  Granted neither ‘Listii nor Alanii are actually infertile (just strong affected by their Calls),  I began to wonder if sperm count is increased/decreased in a Called man according to connection with his ‘tianiel.  Since the connection of a Life Call something that can actually be diagnosed (and somewhat affected by chemical means (see ‘Listii’s situation in the Unnamed Story), I imagine there could be other symptoms of the connection.

For Atyr’s people and what might happen with both the Antianii and Wanderers after the Cataclysm and the Flight, I found this on Natural Gender Selection.  As far as it went, reading this made me think a bit sadly on the historical trend of infanticide that probably came from this fact.  Where males have traditionally been considered stronger and needed to pass on family names, put stress on the system so that more daughters are born, it follows that more daughters were probably destroyed.  😦  Sometimes the research I do breaks my heart.

And for your viewing pleasure…  This post full of wonderful links to artwork draws me back to it on a regular basis.  I could (and would) spend far too much time in a gallery that showcased these works.  I love art that allows me to look again and again while each time discovering a new multitude of details.

And because I’m completely befuddled by Copyright Law, with thanks to Shan Jeniah, I post this: Copyright 1, 2, 3, and 4 (and the series goes on…here is a list of the entries and podcasts)

And now a Tuesday Snippet

We rejoin Atyr and Val as they try to find some peace and understanding between them.

The priest came in to find them like that. When Val finally heard the man’s discreet footsteps, he eased Atyr away, murmuring a gentle “I love you.” Then he glanced over to the fi-Harnii who was now watching them from the bed with a benevolent smile.

“I pray you will excuse the interruption, but it is the first day of full meditation, Sier.” The man’s tone was honestly apologetic.

He sighed and allowed Atyr and the priest to help him to the bed. “Full…meditation?” He cast both of them a curious look.

Atyr frowned slightly as she wiped away tears that stuck to her cheeks and jaw. “Dreamwalking in the spirit planes, Val. You need to tell your priest about your call with ‘Listii.”

He noted she didn’t mention the talia he held with her, though it was possibly because anyone with a priest’s talent could detect such a link. More likely though she meant that he needed to confess he’d been harboring a mind talent all these years.

As if she’d read his thoughts, she nodded. “Go on, Val. It’s not as much of a secret as you might think. Alanii knows.”

He wasn’t sure he wanted to know how that scamp had figured it out. And she was right. The time for hiding the truth was long past. This wasn’t Tralan where admission of that family secret would have destroyed everything generations of his kin had fought tooth and nail for. He felt a gentle reassurance from the more spiritual planes where he’d been spending so much time of late.

He sighed and turned to face the fi-Harnii, who’d taken a dignified perch on the stool by his bed. The man’s patient expression belied the curiosity of the man’s encroaching thoughts and expectant pose.

“Silah?”

The priest continued to wait save for a small “yes?”

There was no pressure from this man. There never had been. A good man. He’d served with him for years, knew and trusted him as well as he did any man. This was still a big step of faith even so.

Well, wasn’t that what all this was about? Faith?

He smiled wanly. “First confession of the day, Silah. I’m talented in mindcraft. Enough to sense strong thoughts and sendings and to send myself, if I….” He coughed and accepted the cup of broth Atyriia handed him gratefully.

She finished for him. “It’s not a strong talent, Silah, but he’s developed it fully. If my guess is right, he’s been dreamwalking alone for the past few weeks already.”

He gave her a brief sideways glance then looked at the stunned expression on the priest’s face.

The priest sat silent for several moments then reached a hand over and wrapped cold fingers around his wrist. He felt his shielding pierced before he could bolster it. Natural reaction forced the man’s probing mental touch away and out of his head before common sense stopped him, suggesting that the priest had done this for a reason.

The hand holding the cup shook. Warm liquid splattered on his bedgown before the cup was lifted from his hand and both Atyr and the priest were helping him lean back on the bed.

His own defensive reaction had nearly depleted him beyond noticing. All he felt was gentle flows of energy from them and a soft urge to sleep. He opened his eyes with effort and looked at Atyr.

“Mouse?” He barely heard his own voice.

She looked at him curiously. “Yes, Val?” She’d begun brushing his hair back from his face with light finger touches. Her expression was serene.

That reassured him. If she wasn’t worried…. He closed his eyes and relaxed to the lull of rest their sendings encouraged.

*

Atyr watched as Val drifted into the dreamstate far more peacefully than many she’d seen before. She smiled knowingly at the priest. “I was right.”

The fi-Harnii had begun his preparations for sharing the meditation with Val, but he paused long enough to nod. “Yes. And that is no small talent he holds either. In such a weakened condition, I wouldn’t have expected him to have cast me out so swiftly, or easily.”

“Hmm?” She helped move Val’s arms into a meditative pose.

The priest shrugged. “You’ve clearly felt him use his talent before this–“

“Only once, last night. I’d never detected it before this.”

The priest nodded. “Think of the strength it takes to hide such a skill, particularly from a witch of your caliber, my lady. For a man to shield himself and his family for so long….”

Her gaze narrowed. “Come now, Silah. Val wouldn’t have kept that a secret from me.” Alanii’s words rang through her thoughts, now sounding ill-considered. She glanced at Val, his stoic expression revealing nothing even in his state of mental enhancement.

A flicker of his right eye lid–barely a twitch–and she felt something faint akin to an apology touch the back of her mind. No regret, simply an admission of the truth.

He had hidden the knowledge of his talent from her.

She sighed and drew back her hands to her sides. “When he comes out of it, tell him I expect to hear from him, Silah. I must visit Katsdaniis too though, and I might as well get that out of the way while he’s busy.”

The priest nodded. “Certainly.” Then, before she could say more, the man had taken a seat at the edge of the bed in contact with Val.

So, secrets upon secrets…  The Hastor are living up to their reputation it seems.