A Garden of Delights

Archive for the ‘instincts’ Category

Weaving through mountains

Weaving through mountains

It’s Friday.  I looked over the Flash Fiction options today and my eyes just glazed over and my brain …which is set on some temperature well over 100 degrees at the moment…  just stopped.  So, I’ll forward on the lovely prompt that L.S.Engler posted for her Five Minute Getaway piece.  I’m going to give you the link for Chuck Wendig’s frighteningly detailed assignment for this week.  I’m going to apologize to myself (and Albert) for not even trying to start the Flash Fiction February challenge.

And I’ll send you over to my writing process blog Many Worlds From Many Minds for the opening of a story line I’ve played with for some time.

I am also putting out a request for guest bloggers.  The topic will be “What Inspires Me”…  The posts don’t have to be writing related only.  In fact, I’d be delighted if they were not.  We’re all far more than the accumulation of our words.  Contact me via email at mouse(at)sff(dot)net or @Kymele on Twitter if you would be interested.

Hopefully tomorrow after some sleep I will feel energized enough to finish my photography posts (at least one of them).

Oh, and to add silliness to more silliness…  I’m adding yet another online challenge to my list of to “get done”s.  This one, of course works wonderfully between the two other reading challenges I’m involved in: 50/50/Me and Telling Tales 2012.  I’m not sure I could pull it off well if it didn’t.  This one is called The Bookmark Break Challenge.  It’s to encourage me to finish all those half-red books I was enjoying then got sidetracked from for some strange reason.  You should check it out and spend a bit of time looking over Aubrie Anne’s earlier posts.  She has some amazing tidbits hiding in there.

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First off, let me say a very warm welcome to everyone who chose to click that little “Follow” button–old friends and new:  Evan at The Better Man Project, Coral Russel at the Alchemy of Scrawl, Elizabeth Anne Mitchell at Leavekeeping, Shan Jeniah Burton,  Janeen at Words By Design, Natasha Guadalupe at My Novel Writing Adventures & Other Words, Miss Elsie at bowerdiaries, and Studio Brow.  Thank you!

Today I’m mostly in the mood to talk about books.   I just started one you see–Knees Up, Mother Earth by Robert Rankin.  I’m not sure why…I think it was because it was the only thing on my immediate shelves that called itself fiction, at least without me having to get out the key for my paperback collection.  (I use and old VHS tape cabinet for most of my paperbacks; CDs go in the doors; it’s an odd system, but it works for me).  I don’t have a lot of fiction anymore.  When we moved to our present house, I weeded down my book collection to my few favorites and the books I assumed I would need for research.  I thought I would use the local library more than I have.  I used University of Albany‘s library and the Albany Public Library regularly when I lived there.  It didn’t work out, and that’s a long story in itself.  Suffice it to say, I understand the passion books can incite in one, but a librarian should be more welcoming of the idea that people may want to actually taken them off your shelves and look at them; and the library should be open more hours than two days a week for three hours in the afternoon (that actually has changed in the ten years we’ve been here, but habits have become what they are, and I tend to get my books from other places now). Read the rest of this entry »

Disclaimer: I have not spent days looking about Associated Content and reading reviews and pages they host.  I am simply noting my initial reactions to the site based on the fact that I saw it listed among some of the better online sites to write for.
I’ve been tossing around the idea of actually trying to write for pay for quite a while.  Scary thought, I know.  I barely keep a consistent blog.  Whatever would I do with an editor waiting for my next clip?

I actually work better with a sense of a deadline.  From what I’ve read, a lot of people work well this way (these nifty writing sites use the technique:  NaNo, ScriptFrenzy) .  Deadlines and expectations add to one’s priorities (and allow one to learn what really matters to him/her).  A deadline also give a sense of completion, whereas a project such as a novel can seem ongoing with its many revisions and submissions.

But take an article or an assignment and go past the deadline?  For good or ill, the deadline is gone.  (Yes, I know that deadlines aren’t always craved into the bedrock of the earth for all time.)  Yes, there might be a sense of success or failure for making the date or for missing it, but there is always another assignment out there.  And someone out there is probably doing work on the same topic you are….  So you miss a by-line.  Someone else gets one.  And the world moves on.

So I haven’t been moving too fast on the idea of writing clip-sized pieces.  While I do read a lot of articles and snapshots, I read them with the goal of learning that little extra that will add some depth to the characters, worlds, and scenes in my fiction.  Alien worlds are both becoming more, and less, alien from our own.  Often I find it easier to suspend my own disbelief in a story the bigger the “bug” eyes that are in it.

(The newest version of Battlestar Galactica with its reworking of the Cylons plays on this well.  And it’s cool to see stories that are getting into my head finally in the same way that Dr. Who always did by having aliens who are human…and not.  I want to write the types of fiction I enjoy watching and reading.  Doesn’t everyone?)

So last night and this morning I took a stroll around the web after one of those ever present Examiner.com advertisements showed up on my Facebook screen.  I tend to not click the “Like” button or the little X in the corner of the advertisement without at least Googling it.  Some sites I’ve been pleasantly surprised by, and it costs me very little save a few moments of time to make a more informed decision.

As some have already written, using Examiner.com is little better than blogging.  There might be some money involved, but as you are also giving up your rights to to your work, it didn’t seem to be much to recommend it to me.  Not for the momentary glory of saying I’d gotten a by-line.

However, in reading some of these reviews, I found a few bloggers posting their own suggestions of sites they liked.  Associated Content was discussed several times (including this lovely note here by Anne Wayman which she also follows up on through her blogs).  I was intrigued enough to at least peek at the site.  Figuring that one’s blog is hardly a private project (though WordPress has some lovely privacy features built in that I have been using for some time), I started to reconsider my view on the issue.  Why not be paid to write things like this?

Well, it all comes down to Rights:

  1. In Associated Content’s Master License Agreement read section 2a. Exclusive License
  2. Read the Terms of Use (carefully), particularly section 4. Rights You Grant to AC

Still not completely discouraged, as many said AC paid well enough for their articles and knowing that some articles aren’t worth saving for another day, I decided to at least sign up.  If I never made a dime or even glanced at the assignments page, signing up at least game me comment rights to other people’s articles.  Since this really wasn’t about the money (yet), I chose “to learn something” as my reason for signing up.

It took me to the assignments page immediately.

The assignment list was short: 13 possible pieces, with several based on last week’s episode of American Idol performances and two on Steampunk designing

Since podcasts and videos would require more equipment than I have at the moment, I was able to eliminate five potential pieces immediately.  Then, as I haven’t actually seen a single episode of American Couch Potato, I was able to eliminate six more.  The other two pieces on Steampunk certainly had my interest, but as I’m just a Steampunk voyeur, I had to just sigh and close the page wistfully.

I did however take a moment to peek at one of the American Idol performer via Youtube.  Mr. Michael Lynche during a March performance

Not too bad, but really, not my thing.

But it might be just right for Marcus…..

A small note to a friend of mine inspired this…  She and I haven’t been that close of late, but today, for all the distance or time, miles, and disagreements, I feel so much closer to her than I have for a long time.

It comes down to trusting instincts.  It’s harder than it should be.  To trust comes hard enough for me.  I have trouble trusting myself, let alone most others.  The world seems so very big to me; I seem so very small…  It’s silly really.  I am really that small.  The world doesn’t care one toot about me.  Hooray for me!

I’m starting to see this as a good thing.

Bear with me.  My joy probably seems strange, but it’s real.

It comes from accepting that no one really should care about me either.  Nor should I care about them.  I can choose to care.  Others can choose to care.  Making such a choice gives me something, fulfilling me and my needs, gratifying my own self-interests.  Enlightened self-interest makes the world go around, so to speak.

What does this have to do with trust, or my friend’s note?

Well, I was considering why I keep trying to stay in touch with this friend of mine, even though we are so often at odds.  And the only answer that ever really comes to mind is that I really trust her.  She may piss me off, she may bore me, she may be off on another planet somewhere (figurative speaking — sort of), but barring some stupid crap in high school that all kids try to pull, she’s always done her best to keep her word.  And since I’m a stickler for justified faith ;-D , I like that in a person.

So, when my friend was having troubles with someone in her family — someone that she should be able to trust and feel secure around — because of her choices as a mother,  it brought to mind some similar issue I am having with my own mother.  And how I feel about my own mother….  (this is where instinct come in).

I don’t really like my mother.  My mom is a very standoff-ish type, with strong views on things that she isn’t afraid to forcefeed to you (for your own good of course) if she feels the situation deserves it, but mostly she would rather make faces and scoffing and grunting noises (somehow that just feels so much better to write than “shows her disdain).  But she is my mother.  And despite the unease she inspires in me, years of reinforcement makes me continue to try to build our relationship.

I say “try” here.  Truth is–I have to try to do it.  Otherwise, I tend to just forget she’s still alive.

I don’t forget my father.  For all my father’s flaws, I knew what to expect from him.  He terrified me, but if I ever needed help from him, he was right there fumbling alongside me (or at least offering advice over the phone).  With my father, I always had a sense that he wanted to do the right thing and the best thing, even if he didn’t know often what it was.  And oddly enough, I always knew I mattered to my father.  Or maybe it isn’t all that odd.  All the pictures of my childhood show Dad carrying me on his shoulders.

Or it could be that I’m a mother myself now and I see things in my own mother’s behavior that I’m afraid of in mine.

This is, after all the woman that chase away the horrid “lactation consultant” that I was given at the hospital, when both my son and I were so very frustrated by the “expert’s” poking and prodding and hovering.  My mom was at that point in time my greatest savior, and I was amazed by how she stepped forward and protected us.  Both Dan and I were too tired and emotionally battered by the whole experience (I swear, four full runs of Pitocin should earn a woman an Olympic medal, and her partner a bronze).  Nothing had gone the way we’d wanted, except that we had this beautiful little boy to care for, and this so called expert who had never nursed (let alone have a child) was giving me a guilt trip because she’d never dealt with size J-cups before….

For a time Mom and I were close, but….  maybe there was more unease there than I knew?  maybe because my son hadn’t had the emotional flash of joy and relief that I had he was better able to sense what I’d always felt before about Mom?  Whatever the cause, Marcus was never comfortable around my mother.  Yet, I still felt I should make sure they spent time together.  I tried to bring him to meet with her–he cried a lot whenever she was around.  I tried to let her touch him–he cried more, and I felt queasy.

Only a few months later…  my three month old son, my little snuggle boy….  At one of those little lunch meetings that were usually the only place I felt comfortable meeting Mom with Marcus, we were saying good-bye’s in the parking lot.  I was just getting ready to put Marcus in his car seat, and my mom asked if she could hold him for a moment.  He didn’t want to go and squawked to high heaven.  And after a few seconds, only a few seconds, of “oh, come now, let Grandma hug you” and “Shush“, she slapped him.  I was staggered.  I was horrified.

And worse yet, I knew in my gut that this was wrong, and all I was able to do was take him from her and set him in his carseat….  Heck, I didn’t even cuddle him, stunned little thing.  All I could think of was that I needed to get away from her, and the fastest way to do that was get him buckled in and say “Good-bye.”  I don’t remember exactly what I said.  I know it was along the lines of “I’ve really got to go.  I’ll talk to you later.”  No scolds, no accusations…  I didn’t really know what to say.

So, instincts….  I should learn to trust them more.  But even more than that, I want to write this because there is a woman who I’ve never doubted was a safe person to leave my son with, who in some ways, I trust even more than myself at times with him…

I wanted to write it for a friend.

I feel like a beginning programmer, writing my first 3 lines of BASIC. And with that, I have just dated myself for all the world to smile at. Go ahead. I’m smiling too. It’s funny how the older I get, the more I realize how wonderful what I have in life is…and how silly it is to get uptight about any of it.

Today is the first day of my life. It’s the only day. The past doesn’t exist anymore. What we call the past is a collection of memories and impressions, none of which truly match what had happened. And the future is nebulous, prey to the whim of a butterfly sneeze….

If only…

Plotting a Blog, saving myself for the future reading pleasure of those across the ether–I don’t know where to start. The one thing I do know I want to use this for is to explore my writing in a more public forum. I write speculative fiction, a variety of swords and sorcery meet nanotechnology and isolation labs. The world grew out of a high school fanfic obsession with Star Trek, Dr. Who, Star Wars, and Jayce & the Wheeled Warriors scribbled in wire-bound notebooks that a friend and I traded during classes. It grew, it evolved, it climbed out of the primordial sludge and grew wings. Lately I’ve been trying to catch it before it tries to achieve super-atmospheric flight and leaves me stranded. I like my world–technically worlds: There are several, and not a one, not a person in them, is the same as we wrote about in those tortured notebooks.

I hope I will be able to share them with the world and bring pleasure to readers.

* Just got a very odd email from that friend in question. We’ve gone on different paths in our lives, though we both still love to write. And every time we seem to write to each other of late, we seem to write in tangents or parallel to each other. The only connection seems to be the actual contact of the letter or email. Clearly I’m not phrasing myself well. The reverse is also true. Why does the world seem to require so many absolutes? And why do we accept this limitation by doing the same to each other?

I’ve done it myself too many times. I have a wonderful son, but too often I fall into the “I’m the Mommy, and I say X needs to be done” trap that creates a small war in our house. I can say it’s for the good of our whole family all I want, but at three, Marcus just wants to enjoy his time playing, reading stories and being hugged. He doesn’t want to pick up the pile of blocks that are strewn across the floor where others are trying to walk. He doesn’t want to keep his books picked up. And he’s the first one to cry and run for comfort when he trips over said blocks or books.

But he won’t clean them up when he’s asked. Not without the prerequisite of several hours of whimpering, procrastinating and delaying tactics… he gets hungry a lot, and he always wants a hug. The human beast wants its cake and wants to eat it too, whether the beast is a 40yr old mommy who wants a smiling child and lots of private time or a 3yr old who wants the security of discipline and rules and the freedom to run free.

My friend is Unschooling her two children. She finds the lifestyle works wonderfully for her. I confess myself both amazed at the life she is living and wholeheartedly terrified of it. I do know that the person I am at this point in my life is not ready to take that Leap of Faith. I don’t know where that leaves our friendship, but the years and the questions, the discussions have not faired it well. It’s both sad and a relief, but it is what it is for the moment. Life seems to go in cycles, a continuum of possibilities balancing on the pinpoint of a needle. Things start going one way, then they drift back… We never seem to reach equilibrium.

With love to you all.

Be well


First Friday Photo

Something to inspire

obligatory “What I Allow”

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