Shifting — a ROW80/WIPpet post

A new month, a few changes in direction and understanding…  and need.  Because of this, the ROW80 check-in comes first today.  For those here to only read the WIPpet, click here to skip to the end.

ROW80

ROW80LogocopyHappy September!  For some people it is “Back to School” time.  Even here, with our part homeschool, part private school setup, we’re going through changes in schedules and patterns.  The changes are gradual.  The choice to go to school a few days a week was our son’s, and so he’s probably even more careful about making sure he gets to bed on time so he can wake up refreshed for his first day of school next Tuesday than I am.

I’m already missing him though.  The creative streaks that always came around 10pm are fading now–so are the cool discussions that we’d have as we were both settling in to the peace of night.  His thoughts are less on things involving his dad and I…  now they involve his friends from school and his excitement at seeing them again after a summer away.

So to move with his shifting interests, to be available, yet not too intrusive, I’m also shifting.  My new schedule for the blog represents and element of that change.  As I haven’t been spending a lot of time with photography this summer*, I’m dropping the Friday Photo series completely for a time.  I’ll, instead share a photo here and there, as I always have, in my regular posts, which will include a renewed Sunday post each week.

Little pieces

Little pieces of Past and Present

I’ve also noticed another shift in my writing as Swan Song calls me back from my fan fiction world.  Today’s WIPpet comes from the third book of the series; although my recent Five Sentences additions have been to the first book in the series, Courting the Swan’s Song.

My writing goal from now until the end of ROWnd 4 is to finish Courting and have it sent to beta readers in January.

And while I’m at it, I will be working on my edits, beta reads for other people I’ve committed to doing, and lots of reading.  My newest in the “I’m reading this now” pile is The Dreaming Game by Philip Kundhardt, Jr., a memoir about his mother.  Along with my reading of I Shock Myself by Beatrice Wood, I find myself once more drawn back to the amazing women of the early 20th Century.

I find myself wishing I knew more about my great-aunt Pearl, about my grandmothers, wishing I’d lived up better to their dreams that I’ve so often shared….

And realizing I still can.

And that’s something I didn’t write in my check-in last week.  I guess I needed a week or so for the epiphany to sink in fully.  But I realized after the challenges of trying to bring my husband into the joy that our son and I find in the Unschooling Conference each year and watching the joy our son shows towards his approaching time at school with his friends that I’m not obliged to make everything in our lives about “us“.

While increased family connection is one of the perks of, and even one of the reasons we chose, homeschooling, there is no rule that says I cannot do things for myself, alone if need be even.  All my choices don’t have to be dictated by a “is this right for the Boodle or for our family”.  I won’t do anything to hurt them, of course, but I can also do things for myself without feeling obligated to weigh the  potential benefits for everyone else.

This sense of us all being able to share something and yet each have our own specialties seems to fit this cool video that my son and I just watched on Youtube because of his love of the Smothers Brothers and their song “Chocolate“….  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did:

It’s like my childhood all over again.  That time when I saw the wonders of the world and was convinced I could go forth and take them all into myself.

Have you experienced a personal revelation lately that is changing your outlook on life?  If so, what are you doing about it?

*the massive virus scare of a few months ago that destroyed a good portion of my software kind of dimmed my passions there and I haven’t worked on it enough to rekindle it yet, though it is slowly rebuilding

WIPpet

Hi, fellow WIPpeteers!  If you read the ROW80 check-in section, you already know that my writing focus is once again shifting back to the Swan Song series.   I chose today’s piece because it reflects the sense of inner and outer changes I have experienced.  It involves Alanii during his first command mission.

In celebration of our new month of September, the ninth month, I am including nine (smallish) paragraphs from the third book of the series.  Right now I’m calling the book “Ensemble”, but that probably won’t stay the title.

A full breath, two passed, then the man sighed. “You… shifted, sir.”

Alanii stared at him. He knew what shifting was—or rather what it was supposed to be. As far as he knew the shifting ability had died out of his people generations ago. No one had (rightly) wanted their children to pass along such wild blood, and the few shifters that had ever been seen were often slain in the cradle well before his own great-grandsire’s birth. “Don’t be daft, man. I don’t have that ability. No one does anymore.”

Wolf and shadow

The senior Hastor shook his head. “Clearly someone in your family did, sir.”

Alanii didn’t want to accept it. What would it mean for him to be the child that survived the cradle? He didn’t want to accept—but he did.

He looked down at the small scar that now they could all see on his chest. Perfect alignment for his heart… He’d had it for as long as he could remember, and no one he’d asked had been forthright with answers as to how he’d gotten it. He swallowed and looked back up to the Hastor.

The man nodded. “The men are upset with your father, my lord. Not you, but I know you can sense their discomfort.”

That broke through his shock enough. Alanii coughed slightly. “My father made the choice he felt was best. The men have no say in it.” Nor do I, for that matter… “If they wish to express their disapproval, they can address it to him directly. But they’d best find a way of not reminding me how much they wish he hadn’t kept me for the rest of this trip.”

The Hastor’s, both Hastors’ eyes, as well as the cook’s. Vartanian opened his mouth as if to protest, then shook his head. “It’s not that at all, Alanii.” The man’s expression turned as fatherly and nurturing as he’d seen at times when the man was dealing with family. “Not at all. We don’t mind what you are. We mind that it was kept from you. Without your knowing what you are, your father put you and all of us in danger. I—We understand why he wanted to hide it from the other Houses, but hiding it from you and the Guard was foolishness on his part. It’s lucky that we found out here where none can tell.”

Alanii had to agree with the man’s logic on that. He understood the strength of the Guard’s Oath well enough to know his secret would be safe among them. His father’s actions… Had Vartanian really called Father foolish? Oh, they were foolish, but… Alanii sighed. “I understand. What… what do I do now?”

As always, a huge “Thank You” to to K.L. Schwengel at My Random Muse for her hosting of WIPpet Wednesdays where writers post pieces of a draft (Work In Progress) that somehow relate with the date for commentary and consideration.  Feel free to comment here, and visit other #WIPpeteers at our linky.  We love company, comments…  even gentle critiques.

And how about you?  Have any grand changes become part of your life lately?

Photo credits:

  • Little Pieces  cred. Eden Mabeee
  • Wolf and shadow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

24 responses to “Shifting — a ROW80/WIPpet post

  1. I really like this. Flows nice, characters are starting to emerge…the only thing is the first sentence of the eight paragraph. I think something got lost. “The Hastor’s, both Hastors’ eyes, as well as the cook’s. “

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    • You’re right about that line, Kathi. This is a first draft piece (not even edited for anything beyond spelling gaffs) so I’m surprised that it come off as well as it did. Maybe it’s because I really love writing Alanii’s character.

      Thanks for the looksee and the kind words.

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  2. Ooo! I like this one a lot! Finding out you have feared, forbidden, magical-ish powers would be a shock, but he accepts it (I assume) because he’s always known it about himself, even if he never let it sink in. 🙂

    We homeschool, too. Our schedule shifted big time this year because we actually took summer off. (It was the hottest, sunniest summer Alaska has seen since 198? coming in on the tail end of the longest winter on record. I could NOT make my kids sit inside, or even outside, doing school work while that sunshine ebbed away.) 🙂

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    • Yes, ReGi! I’m glad you mentioned the fact that Alanii has always known “something” was wrong with him because of that scar (I actually didn’t see him knowing it so much as not really being that surprised when he finally puts the scar with the discovery together). He does accept it. He kind of has to since it’s not the first time he’s found out his talents are not accepted by most of his people.

      As for homeschooling… I can hardly blame you for relaxing this summer. Grab at the beauty and joy when you can. In our case, sending my son outside is actually harder than getting him to sit down and read a book. The making on our end involves getting him to go out and enjoy the summer while it’s here.

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  3. You have a beautiful writing style, I really enjoyed the flow. I was hooked from the first line, “A full breath, two passed, then the man sighed. “You… shifted, sir.” What exactly does shifting mean, and why does no one want that gift passed on? I dig this kind of thing. There was a book I read, “Shadows on the Moon” or something like that where a girl had the ability to shadow-weave, which was creating illusions. A secret gift that she had to be very careful about. It was a great story, and this one reminded me of it. I’m intrigued!

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    • Thank you, Sarah. I can only wish that all my writing comes off as well as this one. I sincerely believe it’s because I really felt myself “with” Alanii in this scene. He’s a fun character to write in the first place and then writing about him being in a bit of a fix makes him so much more fun to play with. (Though I’m not sure he’s having as much fun as I am. 😀 )

      Shadow-weaving… ooh, I’d be interested to know more. I can see so many ways that could possibly be done, I’d be interested in knowing how the author did it.

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  4. Hey Eden, great post. Lots of depth, reasons to think, to reflect. Thank you, I don’t do that nearly enough. 🙂 So glad you’ve gained insights which have spurred you on. And you’re right, not every responsibility has to be to the exclusion of your own needs. Something everyone forgets who gives naturally. X

    Shah

    shahwharton.com

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    • Thank you, Shah. I wish I could say I think it’s great that I’ve been so reflective… I think it’s more a phase. I’m sure you have your reflective moments too–I’ve read some of your posts. And even if you’re not–you get out there and you live! You’re always off doing cool and interesting things. This is GOOD!

      But you’re also a person who gives naturally and freely of herself, so I thank you for the kind words about stepping back and taking some joy for myself. Sometimes we get caught in the the moment and forget all else… and for me, the moment is my family.

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  5. I haven’t watched the Smothers brothers for decades – thank you for a happy start to the day – I went to chocolate as well then onto poor wandering one/banjo duel because G&S one of my favs and that duel also – great start – thanks:)

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    • So glad to know I was able to make your day a bit sunnier, Alberta. The video I posted had three of the performing artists that Dad played regularly when I was kid (I sent him the video and he loved it). It’s nice to go back in time every once in a while and enjoy something that made things fun. Which of course got me looking up the Boodle’s other latest favorite song “Three Little Fishies” (we listen to the Kay Kaiser version off and on)… Interesting history out there on the name Ish Kabibble. 😀

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  6. This is a very interesting bit and I look forward to reading more. I second Kathils, it does seem like something was left out in this sentence: “The Hastor’s, both Hastors’ eyes, as well as the cook’s”

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    • Well, it seems everyone is in agreement about that phrasing being a problem. I agree, it could be missing information…. or too much.

      Thanks for stopping in, Christina.

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  7. I really like this Eden. Lots of intrigue about Alanii having the shifting ability that should have died out long ago – that’s great. You can really tell that you love writing Alanii and his character and thoughts come across beautifully in this piece. And just what does he do now…

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    • I don’t know about you, but I like reading stories where the past comes back to intrude upon the present somehow. I like writing stories like that too. And characters who are caught in the middle are always fun to write for me. Alanii, being as emotional and obsessive as he is, is great to write because writing him helps me really get into the heads of all my characters.

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  8. Kathi pointed out my one issue with the snippet. I read that sentence like 5 times thinking it was me and not it. I find myself feeling for Alanii, though trying to make excuses for his father.

    I totally feel for your shift in family. My son is now in middle school and it is a hard change that has come with lots of adjustments on my end. For example, I no longer wait with him at the bus stop (but, I do watch over him from my porch, just in case). He’s left with his peers and high schoolers, and I have no clue what they talk about around him or say to him. I can only watch. It is hard. Though, it is also a proud moment.

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    • Ack! Somehow this comment got lost in my spam folder, Gloria. I’m really sorry for not replying sooner.

      Anyway, sounds like a consensus. That sentence needs to go. 😀 (And I’m glad you are finding Alanii a sympathetic character. I want him to be one, as I also want his father to be sympathetic too, so that even when he makes decisions we don’t like, we know and appreciate that he’s really trying his best… Good to know that is coming through with him.)

      It does sound like a proud moment. In our case, I’m not sure there would be any difference if he homeschooled or private or public-schooled. He would be talked about… kids on the bus, neighbors, etc… I can’t say my son is “willful”–he’s apathetic about anything actually school related. Even the kids he calls friends… he can happily go all summer without noticing he hadn’t seen them. He will throw fits on a moment’s notice then recite all of Shel Silverstein’s Runny Babbit at the top of his lungs as if we were all required to be his audience. (At least when “school-work” is involved… It’s why I’d like to unschool the way Shan Jeniah does–unfortunately the Leadr of the Opposition Party [hubby] doesn’t approve of allowing the Boodle that much freedom.)

      So it’s change, but it’s also that lingering “wait for it” feeling… like something HUGE is supposed to be happening, but it’s already days late. :-/

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  9. I love that you’ve made this realization. I tend to come to it more deeply each September, when Jeremiah’s birthday is so close to the beginning of the school year. I’m happy that the only shifts in our rhythms are seasonal (except for those additional reports, but, really, they are a small price to pay for what they ensure for us).

    Our lives flow like four individual orbits, intersecting, and moving away again, dancing in different combinations. Some things are for each of us, or some of us, or all of us.

    That part gets better and better each year, as the kids get older, and as we continue to negotiate equitable arrangements. We’re at a point now, almost, where I can invite the kids to come along somewhere, or not, as they choose – they can stay home alone if I’m not too far for too long…mostly, though, we choose to be together more than not.

    My revelation lately has to do with the use of common spaces in our home. As you know, this is an ongoing sticky spot in my life, but, since I attended Amy Bradstreet’s Making Space presentation at the conference, I’ve had a shifting in how I see things, which is affecting how I do things….and how others do, too – in a very positive way. I see far greater family harmony on the horizon.

    As for the homeschooling – well, again, you know us. =) We’re just here living our lives, which, just lately, have been filled with more stuff i can put on reports than I can shake a stick at….I’ll be writing about that, in the near future. People here seem content with being inside or outside, reading or talking or gaming, as they wish, and that works for me.

    And the story….

    I love Alanii. He’s not ‘Listii, but he’s very interesting on his own terms. Having read a lot about his later life, this is intriguing.

    And I, too, read the Hastors’ eyes passage as an incomplete sentence – twice. Just thought you might like to know.

    I want more of this one!

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    • You know a lot of my feelings on the whole school year thing (I just finished my edits for my IHIP today, which was complicated by the part-time school days the Boodle will be attending this year)… I had an amazing morning going our for a walk with M this morning, we talked about the different kinds of wildflowers that grew along the road, found some nice quartz crystals, one piece of crystal that looked as if it might be calcite, found a dessicated baby snapping turtle and studied the bones of another that had been hit by a car around July… We dropped rocks in the stream and listened to see if they hit the water at the same time. We talked about the clouds and the strange sounds the cows down at Boomhower’s farm were making (not very happy cow sounds, I suspect a bull was let loose in their field) even though we’d already walked almost all the way home when we heard them.

      To me, that way pretty idyllic. Then the spousal unit went out with the Boodle and worked some on the new playground. They mowed the lawn together, complete with jump-starting the tractor.

      Yet… there had to be worksheets?

      Yeah… *sighs*

      Glad you liked the scene, Shan. I am really enjoying writing these moments from the younger lives of my favorite characters. ‘Listii’s POV is hard to write, but I think I’m getting that too. Even Atyr… she’s almost more alien than ‘Listii. I never quite understood fanaticism. 😛

      Well, I’m hoping to have something reading for beta reading by the end of this year; I’d love to have your opinions on the piece.

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      • How could I refuse? Why would I?! =)
        I won’t be ready before next spring, optimistically, and maybe not for a year..with the exception of WIPpets, I don’t like offering rough drafts, so I will complete one revision cycle to my satisfaction.

        Once I have something ready (most likely Chameleon and Bounded), I will probably have things ready fairly regularly, after, as I learn which style of planning, writing, and revising work best for me, and in which instances….

        I’m also having renewed interest in The Last House premise lately, and plot tribbles are on the scent of the quadrotriticale.

        I may need a starship’s worth of beta readers! =)

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        • I never like to presume upon anyone’s interests or life situations when it comes to needing critiques or help with various personal projects. I would rather wait until I have a need and then ask. And I agree. I don’t like offering rough drafts either. I mean, these are not Response Folders…. 😀

          If The Last House is calling you, I’d certainly be happy for you to pursue it. I liked what I’d seen of it, and I loved the concept behind the piece.

          (Plot tribbles…. So that is what you call those beasties filling up my notes folders.)

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  10. I like this. I really want to know more about shifting and what exactly it means.

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    • Thanks, Adrian. Shifting is… well, becoming something else, shape-shifting. At this point even Alanii isn’t quite sure what he’s become though.

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  11. I enjoyed this snippet of a WIPpet and was instantly intrigued. I like things like this, but I enjoy as the Russians say “people puzzles,” when dealing with mysteries. They find Americans as inscrutable as we find them. I digress as per usual, but as I’ve been buried under laptops and only just re-surfaced, it’s nice to be back among my flesh-and-blood family. Wonderful post Eden. Wonderful lady!

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    • Thank you so much, Mary, for these kind words.

      You know, you’re not the first person to ask me if I was trying to write the great Russian novel. I wasn’t/am not, but I really love people puzzles too. Characters who have layers upon layers, both in situations as well as personality, intrigue me. I like to write them.

      Good to know you are back from the electronic abyss too. Being with with real people is almost always a good thing. 🙂

      (btw, have I ever told you how lovely you look in that picture?)

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