A Garden of Delights

Posts Tagged ‘dismay

I gave all my money to a cult today.

Well, technically I had lunch with my husband and son and paid the tip with all the cash I had on me, but we didn’t realize that the restaurant we’d gone to was run by the Twelve Tribes.  Which is weird…  I’d looked up their website several times before we went (we live in a very rural area, so finding a decent selection of local eats beyond the local grocery has been a challenge, especially since our favorite pizzeria burned down two years ago), and somehow missed that bit of information.

To be fair to the group, they weren’t hiding anything, on the web or in the restaurant (look up the Yellow Deli in Oak Hill if you’re curious, and before you ask… yes, the food was yummy and the restaurant was beautifully decorated, but no, I don’t think we’ll be going there again, not even for those pictures of the place I’d wanted to take).  I was just somehow dense or blind.

But something about the place felt odd, and after a lot of discussion with hubby (who usually is pretty good at finding out creepy stuff and somehow didn’t either), I looked again and suddenly finding the nasty stuff was easy peasy.

But no matter!  This post, being my weekly ROW80 check-in, is about more than my weird lunch…  it’s about my writing goals and my (debatable) progress.  I could have wished for a more productive week as far as my goals had been planned.  But I accomplished a huge amount of unplanned-for stuff that needed to be done on short notice.

Specifically, I didn’t do much weeding out of extra paperwork; if anything, I added a bunch with all the notes and research that filled this week.  In doing so, I read two books from my research stack, Radium Girls by Kate Moore and The Honor Code by Kwame Anthony Appiah, and got ¼ through The Faithful Executioner by Joel Harrington.  Oh!  I got some incredible answers for some worldbuilding conundrums I’d been trying to figure out.  (And I did get rid of some extra fluff.)

So win in my book…

The rest of my goals need more due diligence this upcoming week.  I did write every day, but only three days involved new story.  My walking schedule was equally sporadic, and often devolved into stepping in place before bed because I missed the goal all day. But best for last… my house-cleaning goal has been a resounding success even with the busy week, with tons of laundry, vacuuming, dusting and closet-clearing achieved. 😀

And I even took some awesome pictures of our week of fog, the mini-maker faire my son was involved in, and some lovely baby horses at a nearby farm, like the two pics in this post.

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Round 3 of the ROW80 actually started last Monday, but…  well, this just shows one of the awesome things about the Round of Words: one can jump in at anytime, and I just wasn’t ready last week, physically, mentally and especially emotionally.

However, after several chaotically busy weeks (good ones, mostly), this Saturday I received a bit of a wake-up call when I nearly lost all my archived photos and stories (and music…  lots of music) to a failing harddrive.

What had happened is mostly my fault… a case of I’ll deal with it later that refused to wait for “Later”.  Luckily, the chance of this particular combination of distractions and diversions being repeated is less likely than my winning the NYS Lottery…  despite the fact that I never buy lottery tickets.  😛

This round, however, I intend to reduce my use of Later.  As a result, I also intend to clear out the many years of fluff files and duplicates that I’ve accumulated through years of shifting electronic stuff from one machine to another, then to another (with two backups per shift).  That’s a lot of fluff since 1991…

So, here are my goals for Round 3 of the ROW80:

  • goal 1) clean out my electronic house
  • goal 2) everyday Test Mile of 5 Sentences or 250 words
  • goal 3) clean out real house…  excess paperwork first
  • goal 4) walk a mile daily

It’s a small list, and I may add temporary/weekly bits here and there as needed.  Small, in this case, is huge…  Goals 1 & 3 are multi-layered affairs.  For example, this week, I intend to gather up old magazines for goal 3 and either recycle or donate them as makes sense.  For goal 1, I will be gathering together all of my archived disks (some are even 5-¼ floppies still) and moving whatever data is on them into our server where I can start sorting through what I want to keep and what I don’t.

Sounds like enough for one week, eh?

Life in limbo

At least, that’s how things seem to be lately.  I mean, yes, I’ve been doing things…  lots and lots of ‘things’.  Most of those things involve time and activities with the Kidlet and the Hubby.  And paperwork…  lots and lots of paperwork too.

Emotionally I am in a bit of a funk because I realized (with some chagrin) that I’ll likely never achieve my dream of becoming a citizen of the UK.  Want doesn’t really play a part in it…  I mean, I want to very much.  But logistically, I am not in a position to do such a thing and probably won’t be for so long that the feasibility of such a move goes down the toilet.

At least I get to live there vicariously for a few weeks at the end of this month.  🙂

But dreams of England aren’t the only things I’ve considered.  Dreams of story are too.  Trying to find them again, trying to reconnect to worlds that seem to be happy to fade into a distance of paying bills, planning budgets, driving, shopping for heavy-duty archeology trowels…  and other people’s stories.  Oh, that last one is actually a killer.  I once thought I needed to read and see what others were writing and doing to fill my head with ideas and options, but… no.  The more I immerse myself into the worlds of others (often without much enjoyment even), the harder it is to connect with my characters.

They’re like cats that way.  They don’t take snubs well, and they don’t seem to get the idea that I’m just spending time elsewhere so I can be a better writer of their stories.  I’m not even sure they care if I write their stories, just as long as I am dutifully enthralled by them.  There’s a reason I used to think that Alanii’s alter-ego with feline.  He’s corrected me on this matter many times, but…  my cats are more like puppy-dogs than he is.

Which is why I took so long before setting out my ROW80 goals (today is officially the first day of Round 2 and I am just getting around to writing this post up)…  I am still not sure what my goals are.  I know how to set my goals, how to make them S.M.A.R.T., but I don’t know what I actually want to focus on or even achieve these days beyond get the “next thing done”.  There seem to be so many next things, that I am driven to distraction just trying to get through a day.  And when I do have those free moments that I once would have used for Those Five Sentences, I don’t write…  I space out.

So, at least for this week (the nice thing about goals is that they can be adjusted), I have ONE goal:

Make a list of  ten things I dream of doing and prioritize them by how much I want them, how long they will take to achieve and what steps I will need to follow to meet each one.  And one caveat here…  no “pay bills” goals here.

We’ll see where that gets me.

Trying to resume a regular pattern for this page, I have one of my “semi-regular” features for the day: Book Review Monday, which as you my remember, alternates weeks with Your Inspirations, a feature that highlights those creative sparks that “work” for people in the world.

Before I give my opinion piece on Diane Ackerman‘s One Hundred Names For Love, please allow me to introduce a little “house discussion” here. Read the rest of this entry »

A little upkeep is needed here, with a few announcements.

  • First there are some wonderful upcoming features coming up including a review of Diane Ackerman‘s eloquent One Hundred Names For Love (May 14th) and a delightful guest piece in Your Inspirations by Barbara Chepaitis (May21th)
  • I’m in the process of merging both this blog and Many Worlds, but the process is becoming far more emotionally stacked than I would like it to be.  Please stop in occasionally for updates.

For the moment, please allow me to share a piece with you I’d written for the  StoryDam Writing Challenge prompt this week

Spring time is about new beginnings and with new beginnings you have choices. We often are so excited to see the first days of spring turning into warmer days of outdoor fun, new projects, gardening, home improvement, new outlooks and decisions that have to be made if you want to start something new. Is there a doorway you always wanted to go through but allowed something to hold you back? What great adventure might have been waiting on the other side of that opening?

Dam Burst Prompt:

Write fiction or non-fiction, tell us what lies on the other side of the door. Will you take door number two or door number one? What magical wonders are just waiting for you to step through?

Despite writing this piece on the 30th of April, I’ve been unable to do anything with it until today….  It’s fairly raw.  Still I hope you enjoy it.  Sometimes life simply “is”.

——————————————–

Two doors… Where do they lead?  Choices, choices…

Watchman

A watchman stands at the door to the left.  With promises of the stable life, the known life,  everyone else seems eager to enter that door.  Get your papers in order.  The watchman–or watchwoman, depending on how you get here–deals with this every day.  Just pass the information over and let him do his job.

He, or she will compare your papers to a checklist they keep.  (Be careful–these guards all seem to have slightly different checklists!)  It doesn’t matter what the little variation might be….  Child out of wedlock, too many job changes, a tattoo in a noticeable location… There are countless numbers of little things the guards check for.

After perhaps five strikes you have your papers handed back to you, and guard turns you from the line. There a few ways to get through the door even so.  Perhaps you have a bonus supply of money or good looks or chutzpah… even talent can be used as currency to bribe the guard.  If you have a surplus in some area, you still might get through.  You can be one of the ones who has it all.

If you are smart, you may go over your papers on you own . Once you are in line, you’ve made you choice and unless the guard urges you out of line, you have to go through that door.  You really have to mess up once you are on the other side to get sent back out to try again.

Ipsden: inside the church porch Entering the 1...

At least that’s what every one around you in line says, whispering in low, horrified voices, the sheer weight of ostracism held in each letter, each atom the air that is exhaled from their lips. They look askance at the ones that stand in line at the other door… Its blackened, muddied, peeling surface, dented and warped just enough that occasionally a whiff of “something” that doesn’t set well on your stomach escapes it. They have made it quite clear that you don’t want to enter that door.

That’s where those people go. You don’t want to be one of those people, do you? (They motion to their guard and say with pride “Why do you think we have to guard our door? Everyone wants to come in here. We have to be selective, you know.”)

And it does look so much nicer. There are flowers growing on a arbor over it. There is a light. Everything about their door is bright, clean. You once were near enough to catch the whiff of fresh clipped lawns and gentle perfumes as someone was let in.

Roses along a trellis, Interbay P-Patch (commu...

But as you stand in the crowd, knowing that you should decide, already starting to step forward toward the door with the guard, you see someone push the other door open. This person hadn’t even considered the flowered, guarded door. He stepped out of the crowd boldly, he even seemed to smile when he got to the door and found it was stuck closed from having been warped so much. He pushed against it with all his weight, making his body into a battering ram in his determination to get through that door. And behind him, you could hear others calling to him saying “No! Please don’t do this!”

Suddenly, the door opens for him, just as the guarded door is opening for someone else, and you see inside for just the briefest moment. You see the guarded door and the rows of neat little boxes, of neat, carefully manicured grasses and faces, the sameness of it all.

Your eyes take it in in a second before you look back to the unguarded dooor as it creaks closed against the boy who has ducked into its depths. You see a multitude of colors and glaring brightness amidst devastating darkness, You hear music. You smell flowers and refuse and you hear laughter and tears.

You know that it’s all the same then. And why should you ask someone else yo judge you fit to simply “live”

We know the end result of both doors. The long term end that is. The doors all end in death.  We cannot avoid it. Even if we were to try standing still and never move, we have chosen our exit from the world. And what a sad, desperate exit that is too. So what exit do we chose to use?

PHOTO CREDITS:

  • Watchman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  • Ipsden: inside the church porch Entering the 1761088 and closing the outer door behind you, it soon becomes clear that the porch does not have much in the way of illumination. Not having looked beforehand, I had to reopen the outer door so as to find the handle of the inner door. Here, we look back at the closed outer door, facing south on a bright sunny day as sunlight seeps in through gaps in the woodwork and under the door. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  • Roses along a trellis, Interbay P-Patch (community garden), Interbay neighborhood, Seattle, Washington. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s Flash Fiction Friday again.  And it’s also the day that my very first guest blog post!  If you’d like to check it out, head over to Everyone’s Story by Elaine Stock.  I’d love your comments, but please don’t stop there.  Elaine has wonderful guests every week, it might be worth some time to look over her past posts.

But wait!  That has nothing to do with Flash Fiction.  The Five Minute Getaway image that LS Engler used for her piece was lovely, but not the inspiration I needed.  So I went to the I Can Haz Cheeseburger site and found this great image (and Sharon Howard chose for her own for a delightful piece you should check out) and chose this one (isn’t it AWESOME?):

Illluminated Ice Palace, Schwarzsee, Switzerland via The Guardian

Ice Palace via The Guardian

Valistii grimaced as he looked over the barren expanse.  Dividing the Family like this had never been his intentions, but the way things had been between his brother and he…  He looked over at his wife, as she stood off by the excavating equipment, pulling the furs around her body closer.  She wasn’t looking at their soon to be new home.  She wasn’t looking at him.  She wasn’t even looking at her children.

She was looking, as always to the north and the  warm equatorial archipelago that formed his brother’s home.  Their old home…  Just because he couldn’t bear the thought of living there any longer didn’t mean, in her opinion, that she should have been forced o leave her home.  That Valistii had been able to convince her of the move at all only.  The sovereign had requested them personally as the new lord and lady of this new district.

This new district…  This wasteland of ice!

Why when he was finally old enough to be the lord of anything this problem land of nothing!  There were times he–

A burst of static broke through in his wrist com. |Sier!  We found something!|

Valistii allowed his binoculars to fall against his chest.  Something?  Out here?  He wobbled his way over the icy crust toward his step-son’s scout crew.  “Something?” he said as he slid the last few steps.

Lir waved a hand in front of him toward the rest of the crew.  “Look for yourself, Father.”

He needn’t have said so.  Indeed, Valistii hardly had heard the younger man.  He was too busy staring.  “Méykis bless!” he whispered.

To be the Lord of such a magnificent place!

So, the first three paragraphs were the only ones that fit in the 5 minutes.  New stories were just not flowing tonight.  But as I wrote it did get easier…  except that I still need to wake up around 6 am and it’s already 2am.  😛

I have other things I should be posting about such as updates for my Telling Tales and Bookmark Challenges.  Nothing doing tonight.  I’ll just leave you with a list of some wonderful Flash Fiction to enjoy.  Have a great night!

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First Friday Photo

Something to inspire

obligatory “What I Allow”

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