Flying, beginning, changing

This week I’m trying out the Trifecta Weekend prompt. This week it’s pretty simple–just a haiku. At least, I thought it would be simple! I haven’t written a haiku in years. It was a fun exercise. Here’s my entry:

 

I wanted to fly..

grow wings, spring up from the earth!

With pain, it’s begun.

 

Changes, even good ones, are painful. This week I’ve started a new exercise/diet plan and it is hard. I’m pushing myself in ways I haven’t in a long time. Even thought it hurts now, I know it will be worth it. I’ll never be able to fly, but being stronger and healthier will have its own rewards!

Happy weekend writing!

 

 

 

Still Here

beach 087

It’s been quite the two weeks. I moved and went on vacation and… well, I guess that’s it. But seriously, those are two really time-consuming things!

The move went as well as could be expected. Thanks to my amazing family and friends it wasn’t quite the disaster I was expecting, but when is moving ever exactly easy? For days afterward I was drained and lazy.

Vacation was exactly what I needed. I read book after book, ate more delicious food than I should have, and recharged my batteries. I’ve been going on the same vacation a few times a year for my entire life. The people change, and maybe we’ll do things in a different order, but mostly it’s the same. We go the same places, go through the same routines. Maybe for some people it would be boring, but for me it’s incredibly satisfying and peaceful. It’s comforting to stand on the same boardwalk I’ve been going to for 25 years and think that I’ve done this every year, and every year I’ve had different problems, but by the next year they hardly matter. In the larger pictures of my life, this one year doesn’t matter.

The tide comes in, the tide goes out.

Now that I’m back, I’m ready to make a fresh start. I let everything slack this past month, but now it’s time to get back to work! Today I started eating healthy and exercising again, and let me tell you, that month off did not do my any favors! I’ve gained back weight and exercising was a real challenge. I’m excited to push myself, and hopefully see progress.

It’s also time to push myself back into writing. I’m hoping to have the outline for Book 2 finished in a few weeks, and I’ve got a number of other small projects that I’m working on.

It’s good to be back!

The Hidden Past

This week I’m trying the Trifecta Challenge. This week the challenge is to write a story between 33-333 words using the third definition of grasp.

GRASP (verb)
1

: to take or seize eagerly
2
: to clasp or embrace especially with the fingers or arms
The Hidden Past
My mind drifted as I thumbed through the box of papers. I glanced at each of them, making sure they were in the correct place. Sometimes I felt like I had the most boring job in the office. People were often impressed when they heard I worked in the museum archives, but what I did was nothing special. My coworkers would be restoring old books, processing collections of never before seen letters, cataloging photographs–but not me. I was stuck with the numbers.

My fingers brushed against something unexpected–a notebook. It was small, and clearly older than the rest of the records in the box. I brushed dirt off the soft leather cover as I opened it.

It wasn’t filled with numbers. It looked more like a diary than a ledger. “April 4, 1906,” the small cramped handwriting read, “The dig continues on as expected. We’ve found six burial chambers so far, and I believe we’re well on our way to finding more of the town. But all of that will be recorded in the official field notebooks…

“H. continues to drive me mad. He constantly undermines me, telling the local workers that he is the project director. Yesterday he told them they could have the day off, knowing full well that I needed the help!”

I read on, hardly believing what I had found. The pages were full of field gossip and personal reflections, exactly the sort of thing I had hoped to find when I applied for the job over a year before.

Suddenly, I stopped reading, trying to grasp what the words on the page said. Goosebumps raced across my skin. “I shouldn’t write this down, but I need to tell someone. I’ve killed him. I didn’t mean to, but the deed is done. I’ve buried the body near the dig site. Lord help me if it is ever found.”

 

College days, reflections

Today I found my notebook from college. It’s a small, black notebook full of grid paper. I carried it around for years and I used it for everything. I took class notes in it, wrote down assignments, drew comics of my professors, wrote countless poems and journal entries. Paging through it is a joy and a sadness. There are so many things I wish I could tell my younger self, warn her about and reassure her.

The best part of reading through it is rediscovering my bizarre sense of humor. So much of my life now is serious adulthood and I can’t help but feel that I’ve lost something that I once had. Thinking about, I think in a lot of ways Twitter has replaced some of the purpose of the notebook for me. I would jot down funny short thoughts, and now those usually get tweeted.

Here are some highlights:

drdementor

A comic I drew of my math professor in college. My friends and I called him Dr. Dementor because he sucked all of the happiness out of life. For a while we had a plan to throw chocolate bars at him after the final, which of course never happened.  I drew many comics staring him and the ridiculous things he said, but this might be my favorite. He is saying: “In the age of technology actually knowing how to do math is useless” the computer next to him is thinking: “Mwhahaha, the math professor does not suspect our plan!” And the student (probably me) is saying: “I beg to differ, sir. When the computers rebel it will be the only thing that can stop them. When sir, not if.”

Here’s another fun one:

puppets

Dr. Dementor shouts “Derive my puppets! Derive!” While we labor away on Calc Island. The clouds say “Do not attempt to simplify”. We had some strange classes, I guess.

The best part of my notebook so far is a short story called Swans, Ducks, and Automobiles. In it, my roommate and I go visit the duck pond. It’s not a very good story, but it is very silly and at times absolutely hilarious. Here is my favorite passage, from right after the ducks start attacking.

“They’ve finally turned on us! After all these years of Chick-fil-a commercials and hand fed bread, they’re going to eat us, starting with the fleshy underside of your arm!” I leaned forward, pretending bravery. The ducks scattered and I yelled more. “That’s right, I’m bigger than you! You’re going down! This is a war! Schnell, m$%##$f#$#$#@! Schnell!”

Later in the story the army comes to rescue us from the birds. They tell us that “The terrorists have finally swayed the swans to their cause, and the ducks followed soon after.”

It’s a very, very strange story, and like nothing I would ever write today. It’s fun to see where I was then, and to think about how much I’ve evolved in the past five or six years. I’m not the same strange girl I was back then, but I’ve grown into a quirky, thoughtful woman. As much fun as I’m having looking back, I’m excited to move forward.

I wonder what I’ll think of all of this five years from now?

Something is better than nothing

Despite the chaos and stress that comes with being in the middle of moving, I’m still managing to get a decent amount of writing done. I feel like it might be my brain’s way of keeping me from going completely nuts. Instead of freaking out about how much is left to pack and how hazy the future is, I can work towards something that feels attainable and substantial. I don’t know where or when I’ll get a job. I don’t know where or when we’ll be moving again. I don’t know what will happen, but I do know that I can keep working at my goals. Maybe I’ll never get a full time job in a library, maybe I’ll never get my book published, but if I focus on that I’ll never do anything. My motto for the past few years has been that something is better than nothing. A part time job is better than no job, and writing a sentence is better than writing nothing. Any act, no matter how small, counts for something.

So I write pieces of stories, outlines for books, and blog posts. Maybe it will come to nothing, but it makes me feel just a little bit better.

 

 

We Remember

I wrote a bit of flash fiction over on the Flash! Friday blog today.  It’s been a while since I’ve done a quick story like this, and I had a great time with it! Go on over to their site to check out the prompt and some more fun, creepy, entertaining stories!

Here’s my entry:

We Remember

We hated being carried around in that basket. Other babies were held by mothers, fathers, grandmothers, but not us. It was always that damn basket, like we were loaves of bread. They say we can’t possibly remember it, but we do. That sickening swaying, back and forth. And the terrible creaking of the wicker. They say we can’t possibly remember the time they dropped us, but we remember that too. Sliding down the hill, the fear overpowering our tiny bodies. They say we can’t remember, but how else could we know that we were once three instead of two?

First Readers, second books, waiting

It’s been about a week since I finished my second draft. I keep thinking of things I should have changed before sending it out to my first readers. It’s frustrating, but I’m trying to put a lid on it until I’m ready to start the third draft. I need this story to go to the back of my brain for at least a few weeks!

I’ve sent it out to a total of 12 first readers… a few  more than I intended. I’m really looking forward to hearing from them. A few comments have started trickling in, which has been really exciting for me. They’re very positive, but confused about a few worldbuilding details. For me that has been/is/will continue to be the hardest part of writing a fantasy novel. I want to treat my readers like the smart people they are, but I also don’t want to skimp on the detail! It’s a fine line to walk, and I’m hoping I’ll do it a bit better in the third draft.

It’s hard to wait for my readers responses. I don’t have time right now to even properly look at them, but I want them in my inbox now! I’ve gotten feedback on my short stories from mostly the same group and I trust them to tell me when they’re excited, bored, or confused. I’m immensely looking forward to the day when I can sit down with a cup of tea, sit down with the responses, and figure out how I can make my book better. Throughout the writing process I went back and forth between loving it and hating it, and right now I’m on the loving it end of the spectrum. I love it, it’s good, and I can make it even better.

I’ve begun the outlining process for book 2. It’s fun to think about where I want these characters to go and what characters I want to add. I think that having a complete outline for this before I start on draft 3 of The Cooper Sisters Book 1 will be really helpful.