Short Story – Aethyr

This is not flash fiction. I mention this because it was supposed to be. Someone in my writing group posted a picture prompt (saving me from having to) and it sparked an idea. The picture was of a woman made of smoke. It almost looked like an X-ray. Actually it was hard to decide if she was made of smoke or if the smoke was just rising from her body. Either way, it was beautiful and brought my muse out of hiding.

This is the roughest of rough drafts. I’m posting it now because I could spend days either fixing it or expanding it and my fantasy novel needs my attention.


Aethyr

Laeryn’s time was short. She lost more of herself every day and wouldn’t be able to hold her form for much longer. Soon she would become one with the Aethyr, but she held herself back. Before she left the ordinary world she had much to accomplish.

She thought back to the day the priestess came to her. Laeryn sat in front of the fire pit in her family’s common room. In shock she watched as her very essence rose like smoke from her lifted arm. Comparing her disappearing aura to smoke was unfair. Her personal colors were not a dull gray but ranged from the blush of pink to a fiery red, a sure indication she was Aethyr bound.

Her surprise was complete. She’d always thought of herself as ordinary, certainly not worthy of this honor. A good seamstress, but at only nineteen summers of age she had little experience. Her mother claimed she was Goddess gifted but Laeryn never believed it.

Now as she lost a little more of herself each night she acknowledged her mother was correct but not in the way she had assumed.

Laeryn pushed her thoughts aside and got back to work. She carefully sorted everything in her wedding chest, then mended anything requiring it. By tomorrow she would no longer be in her home so she needed to finish her tasks. She worked until dawn. When she was done she went to her sister’s room and dragged the other girl’s chest back into her own room. Lanae would switch rooms once Laeryn was gone.

Her sister came in and sat on the bed. “Will you watch over me once you’re … up there?”

“You mean part of the Aethyr? Of course,” Laeryn replied. “Don’t be sad,” she added when she saw tears forming in Lanae’s eyes. She moved to hug the girl and let her cry herself out.

“I’ll miss you.”

“In a way I’ll always be with you. It will be in a different form but still me. Besides, your life is going to improve now. As First Daughter you’ll be able to marry higher, maybe even the lad Iain if he ever gets his head on straight!”

They laughed together until their parents awoke. Lanae left the room quickly. Laeryn wasn’t surprised. Both girls knew what their mother was going to do and she didn’t blame her sister for escaping when she could.

As expected her father stood stiffly in the doorway as her mother questioned her. It started with an examination of her wedding chest and ended with her tearfully begging Laeryn to change her mind and stay with them. Mother knew there was no going back but she couldn’t seem to help herself.

Laeryn let her work her way through it all before wrapping her arms around the grieving woman. “I can’t stay but I’ve made sure you will be taken care of and I’ll be as an unseen guardian. Always know you’ll be under my protection.

“I know, and I’m sorry. I’m so proud you are one of the chosen, but I’m sad to see you go. If I’ve judged how much of your essence you’ve lost, after tonight we’ll never see you again.”

“Yes, mother, tonight.”

A twinge of guilt struck Laeryn. She didn’t want to upset her family but she had little choice. When the priestess entered her home a week ago to explain what was happening she could have decided against becoming one with the Aethyr. Once the need was explained to her things changed. Without the Aethyr and the joined souls, the people of this land could perish.

Until that night she hadn’t known the Aethyr was weakening. No one knew. You couldn’t tell with the bare eye, but the priestesses could. Then the old woman gave her the information that convinced her. Laeryn was the youngest person with the potential to join the Aethyr in centuries. Sure very ill children with the wasting sickness became a part of the land’s protection but they weren’t born to become Aethyr like Laeryn was. For her to be called, the need must be great indeed. So she made up her mind.

Now as she hugged her mother, she felt more resolved than ever, despite the guilt. Without her sacrifice all her people, including her family could die and she had it in her power to keep it from happening.

“I love you mother.”

“I love you too,” the woman said as she moved away to allow her husband to embrace their daughter.

He said nothing, just held Laeryn tight for a while before nodding at her and taking her mother away. She silently thanked him.

After lunch the priestess came for her. There was one more tearful but silent goodbye. The moment was the last they had together and no one wanted to spoil it with more words.

The two women started the long walk through the city and up the hill to the temple. As they walked by the familiar old buildings Laeryn let the sadness wash over her. It was the last time she would see this place. Many of her neighbors stood at their door and nodded to her as she passed them.

They eventually reached the part of the town she had never seen. The strong class divide had kept her from entering the more prosperous areas. Now, all the noble and rich had respect in their eyes and perhaps a little pity. She thought they suspected how much she was needed.

When they reached the temple she was led straight to the main altar. The priestess left her there, having already given her instructions. Laeryn spent the rest of the afternoon in prayer and deep thought. She prayed to the Goddess, then to the people now part of the Aethyr. She figured the Goddess didn’t mind since she created the Aethyr.

As night fell acolytes entered the room and lit several torches. They did little to light the room but it was enough Laeryn could see her essence leaving her body. After a few minutes the old priestess entered with a very old woman holding onto her arm for assistance. They went to the altar and she helped the elderly woman onto it before signaling Laeryn to approach. She left the two alone.

Once she reached the top of the steps her eyes met the other woman’s.

“Are you frightened?” the woman asked her.

“Yes.” Laeryn whispered.

“I was too when it was my turn. Don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt but a warning. You seem determined but once you join the others will try to overwhelm you. It’s a bit of a test, but if you’re strong they will stop. Otherwise your mind gets stamped down. If you want that then don’t fight. You understand?

“I think so.”

The old woman laughed. “You don’t, but you will. Lay here beside me, I can see it’s almost your time. Your aura is solid red now, it will be only minutes.”

Laeryn climbed onto the altar and lie down. She was shaking. The other woman grabbed her hand and immediately her nerves calmed. She turned her head and smiled.

Only moments later her final transformation began. Red streams of light and smoke rose from her and her body dissipated. The cloud of her essence hovered in the air above the ancient woman before entering her body. When the process was complete she was much younger and looked a bit like the woman who’d sacrificed herself.

Laeryn sensed the others’ thoughts. Not only the current ruler’s but all the previous Aethyrs’ as well. Before she could make sense of it all her consciousness was embroiled in a debate for who would control the body. The current ruler absolutely refused on the grounds she had ruled for 300 years and deserved a rest.

Most of the others expressed the same lack of desire and a few indicated they would be willing, as long as it wasn’t for too long. The most recent Aethyr suggested letting the new girl do it, focusing all the attention on Laeryn.

She didn’t want to lose herself but she damn sure didn’t want to BE the Aethyr. She assumed she would become part of the whole, not the one in control! There was no way she was ready for the responsibility. As the Aethyr had warned her, the other minds began overwhelming her as they bickered back and forth listened to nothing she said. Laeryn was their best chance to avoid being the leader of the people again.

Finally, in frustration, she agreed to rule, as long as they helped her learn how. She could feel the smug satisfaction from each.

She opened her eyes and sat up. Looking to her side she saw the other body was gone. She left the altar and walked down the steps. The head priestess entered and knelt before her.

“I am Aethyr,” she said. The priestess nodded and led her to her rooms. Laeryn Aethyr was forced to rule her land for almost five hundred years, through six sacrifices, until she finally refused another term when her body failed again and got to rest for a time.

 


I know there are many flaws. I used the word ‘woman’ a whopping eleven times for example. However, as previously mentioned, I have other work I need to concentrate on. This story just kept growing. The plan was a few hundred words. I quickly realized that wouldn’t be enough so planned for 500. I ended up with 1,533. This was before I could go in and add description!

When trying to get the thoughts on paper I ignore details like setting, description, etc, and put it in later. If I do it with this story I have no doubt it will keep growing. Hair color and what the building look like won’t be enough. I’ll want to describe the previous Aethyr’s wrinkles and go into great detail on how large the altar is and how far apart the torches are spaced. If you’ve ever read a post from me then you know I am wordy.

This story had the potential to become a much longer story, maybe even a novel. So I’m reining in my muse. She likes new projects but it’s time to finish the old one. The conversation between me and my muse is a lot like the debate the Aethyrs have every time they need a new body. Except I want to be in charge, and will be!

Any comments or suggestions are welcome and appreciated since I will eventually revisit it. Be gentle, I don’t want my muse to get scared off again. Writer’s block truly sucks.


WR

Random Observations (A Ramble)

If you don’t like meandering ramblings then this post is not for you. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

I’m sitting in a Starbucks. It’s not my normal writing spot but for some reason I felt the need to change it up. I hear people say either this place has the best coffee or the grossest brew. I don’t really care because I get hot tea, English Breakfast, which is nearly impossible to mess up. I’m here for the atmosphere and the aroma.

If you know me at all you know I despise the flavor of coffee but adore how it smells. Something about it improves my creativity.

Anyway, I ordered my tea and sat down. As I pulled out my laptop and my spiral I overheard a short conversation between two men dressed in business suits. They were talking about work when suddenly one changed the subject.

“I love my wife but she calls me at work about the kids and it drives me  crazy. I mean I’m at work, how does she not get that. She never even asks if I can talk. As soon as I say hello she’s all ‘blah blah blah blah,'”

The other man nodded then talked about an app that tracks everything for his baby. Diapers, feeding schedule, everything. So he and his wife were on the same page and she doesn’t call him at work. Though she does text.

I had several thoughts as this conversation unfolded. First was why on earth had I tuned into this? Second was that the first guy was a moron and the second guy was smart. I get it that when you’re busy with work it’s rarely good to be interrupted with a personal call, especially when it happens often.

However, why hasn’t this guy done something about it? Perhaps a conversation with his wife would take care of the issue. Ask her to text or something, get the app, don’t answer unless you are able to talk, etc. Also, I hate it when people piss and moan about their significant other. It’s disrespectful and crappy.

The other guy handled this issue in a much better way. He and his wife got an app, probably had a conversation and he never said one negative word about her. His nod to his coworker indicated he understood and that was enough.

I’m feeling pretty judgy right now but he struck a nerve. I never gripe about my husband to anyone and he never complains about me to anyone. We respect each other enough to keep out mouths shut, even when we’re angry or irritated with each other. Well, to be honest I have complained that my husband never puts himself first but I don’t think that one counts as negative. It’s okay if you think I’m a hypocrite lol.

To change the subject, let’s talk writing. I made an important connection this morning while at the gym today. I was on the elliptical and thinking about my fantasy trilogy. Yesterday I started having new ideas for the first book. They came out of nowhere during physical therapy and grew throughout the day.

I woke up today with even more ideas and I was thinking about them while working out. I made a plan for what I wanted to write today and it hit me. Exercise. It was the key to unlocking my sad case of writer’s block!

Since coming home from vacation I had only gone to the gym once until Tuesday. Once I restarted my gym habit my muse came out of hiding. She’d poked her head out a bit for a writing prompt but not much else for a month. Now ideas are flowing easily. I almost have too many!

My writing was always easier and better after working out but I never realized I had inadvertently trained my muse to almost need the exercise first. When I look back to when the block started it all makes sense. It began with me getting into vacation mode. I was still working out but as it go closer to time to leave town I slacked. I wasn’t really writing much but it was fine because I was gathering stuff and making lists and generally preparing (excuses all).

I told myself I’d get work done on the plane or when there was down time at my in-laws’ house. It never happened. Then I came back home and I don’t know what came over me. I went to physical therapy two days in a row that week and it kicked my butt. I went to the gym once after that and my tooth disaster wrecked any chance of me working out again until this week. If you’ve ever had an abscessed tooth then you understand why I stayed home and felt sorry for myself. Also, no writing happened.

So on Monday school started and I had a PT appointment after dropping my daughter off. I told them I was done. I wanted back in the gym and they previously didn’t want me doing anything other than cardio while in their care. I plateaued a long time ago and at this point I was only making them money and getting nothing out of it.

On Tuesday I worked out, and yes I was careful not to overdo it. Or so I thought. I was so sore but I felt great. I went back to PT on Wednesday for one last time and asked a lot of questions about what I could and couldn’t do in the gym. They had me do all my exercise a final time, including some alterations so I could do some of them at home. I was almost done when the random idea struck. I must have had a dramatic physical reaction because when I came out of my writer’s trance several therapists were staring at me haha.

My husband had come with me so he had to listen to me babble about the idea all the way home. I was so excited that I don’t think he minded too much. He knows how I’ve struggled and how disheartened I’ve been about it.

This morning I went to work out again. It was hard! It was amazing too. Almost the entire time I was making stuff up, just like a writer should! It was even about the project I want to work on.

There are still issues I have to work through of course. For example. I came to Starbucks to write all these ideas down but instead I eavesdropped on someone’s conversation and decided to write about it. I’ll have to find a way to push distractions away. Writing a blog post isn’t so bad but other things need to be ignored.

I am a creature of habit so once I reestablish my routine, or come up with a new one and get used to it I’ll be good. My plan is to always write after working out. If I’m able to write again after lunch then I will. My muse likes structure so I will give her structure!  I will go to the gym daily to at least get on the elliptical for a while. I’m not sure what my schedule will be for the weights and machines yet but I’ll figure it out quickly.

The best thing about working out today is at this moment I feel no pain. I might wreck that by sitting here writing but I’ll find my way.

In other news there is a nerdy convention this weekend. I’m trying to decide if we’re going. It’s also my husband’s birthday on Saturday. He’s into the same stuff I am and I know he wants to go but with my unresolved (and expensive) dental issues we don’t know if it’s feasible to go to this thing. He says we shouldn’t do it just for him. I say we should. Now it’s in my hands. I need to decide soon but I haven’t heard back from the dentist about my insurance and price.

Okay, this is random but some guy just did one of my biggest pet peeves. It ranks up there with people complaining about their spouses to their coworkers, friends and family. I live in Texas, in a biggish hub city surrounded by many farms and ranches. This means there are more trucks on the road than small cars. There are some smaller trucks but I’m talking F150 and bigger.

This guy in an overly large Ford (a 250 I think) pulled into the parking lot here, deliberately taking up several spaces and actually blocking another car. My car. He’s lucky I’m hanging out for a while! I mean come on buddy. I know the truck is big but it can fit in ONE space. Or if his driving is so sucky he could have taken up two spaces further way from the door, where people don’t normally park. He was only here for a few minutes but still, he and his truck are not so important they should have the right to do that. What a dipsh…nevermind.

20160825_101018 I’ll just leave this here.

Okay, rant over. Time to get to work. I’ll post a writing update soon. I hope to have a lot to say!

 

 

Write Anything Wednesday

Write Anything Wednesday – August 24, 2106

You know the drill, write something. Why? It’s a great day to write and I say why not? Write absolutely anything. Try your hand at flash fiction or write a poem. Make an outline or character sketch. Write a chapter, or as many chapters as you can. Nothing to write about? Try making a list of ideas or free-write. Make Wednesday your weekly no-matter-what writing day. If this isn’t a good day then pick another. The important thing is to simply write.

If you feel stumped grab a timer and do ten minute sprints. The first time you do this might not garner great results but the more you do the more you get used to it and your muse will shine.

If you would like a prompt:

  • It’s back to school time! Write about someone’s (real or imagined) back to school adventure.
  • Why did her parents have to name her William?
  • What would you do if you were conscripted to join the Space Force?

Happy Writing!

Everything Update

Everything Update – 8/22/2016

Writing: I’m writing! This weekend I went to two different writing things. The first was on Saturday. The leader of the Nanowrimo group in my region sets up a write-in once a month throughout the year so we can all keep in touch beyond November. Sadly, I’ve missed every single one, until this month.

I thought I would have to drag my friend but he wanted to go as much as I did. Sometimes I need a little push and the fact he wanted to go insured I went. I’m not saying I haven’t wanted to go in the past. In fact I would have loved to go but life conspired against me. Severe back pain, a couple of major surgeries and a hellish recovery put a stop to most of my extracurricular activities.

There was a point where I decided the pain wasn’t going to strip me of my writing anymore. So, in spite of the consequences, I went to my favorite writing spot (I’m there now) and wrote for as long as I could. What ended up happening was I was so sore from my stubbornness that I couldn’t handle much in the way of extra outings. As I eventually joined a new writing group and went to it every Sunday, the write-ins were off the table.

Now, all these months later, I’ve gone through physical therapy and while I’m not in perfect condition, I am much better and more determined than ever.

The result of making up my mind was unexpected: writer’s block. For a while I thought it was more writer’s funk but nope, I was fully blocked. I have a couple of stories completely plotted and the writing part should have been easy but the tank was empty. I did write a bit but it was all crap.

I tried changing projects and it didn’t work. I came up with something new but then stalled quickly. Writing prompts were a bust. Even my well of undeveloped ideas gave me nothing.

The new idea was slowly forming. When I say slow, I mean slug crossed with sloth slow. It will probably be my project for November at this rate.

Then something sparked. Someone in my writing group posted a picture prompt. Within minutes I had the most ridiculous bad story idea. When I say bad, I mean deliberately bad, because it was funny that way, well at least I think so. Click here to read it. It was the first thing I wrote in weeks.

After I was still not coming up with much but tiny ideas were sprouting. I went to the write-in and after bouncing ideas off my friend and listening to suggestions my new story started growing. I’m still not ready to write it but I’ll develop it a bit and shelve it until November.

Yesterday at the writing group meeting the second spark occurred. Someone saved me from having to give the group a picture prompt by offering to post one. I was thrilled because I would have over thought it and agonized about which picture to use. She found a photo and posted it to our Facebook group right away.

I looked at it and was instantly intrigued. I’m not sure how to explain it. It’s a person, somewhat androgynous made of smoke or more accurately: going up in smoke. My muse metaphorically clapped in glee and my first idea formed. Then the second took over. Next the two ideas merged and a story was born. I’ll be working on it today, maybe for several days.

The length of this one is undetermined. At this point I think it will be flash fiction – 500 words or so, but it has the potential to become a longer short story. Perhaps even a novel. It’s hard to know because I’m in love with the idea. For all I know this could be like a rebound relationship after being dumped. People always jump into them and it rarely works out. That’s probably a bad comparison since my muse took me back after dumping me and watching me suffer for a while. Believe me, I appreciate it more than I ever did now!

If the short version of the story doesn’t suck I’ll post it when I’m finished. Wish me luck, I think I might need it this time!

Physical Therapy: Today I told the guy working with me I was done. I’m not giving up, it just isn’t doing anything for me I can’t do on my own. I’ll admit I feel like they were willing to keep me there as long as my insurance paid, which was for an astonishing 30 visits, whether I needed it or not. Don’t get me wrong, it wouldn’t have been bad for me but if it’s not helping then it’s silly to keep milking the insurance.

I said it nicely and the guy was disappointed but understood. He wasn’t my regular therapist but I work with him a lot. He told me he would talk to my therapist and on Wednesday I’ll go in and talk about what exercises I can and can’t do.

Crunches are out of the question and anything requiring I lean back or twist are a no as well. I know I can’t do anything requiring I lift weight over my head, but I can do ones where I pull down. Basically anything forcing me to put a lot of pressure on my lower back needs to be avoided. I’ll bring a notepad and ask a lot of questions.

My biggest concern is I want to tone my arms but some of the best arm exercises affect the back too. I still won’t be able to do a ton of cardio but if I’m patient I can build into it.

I still have pain but not constant. I know what makes me feel better and what doesn’t. Sometimes I might push it too far but I’m learning to live with it. The surgery didn’t completely fix me but it certainly helped. So I’ll figure out what daily life is going to be like now.

Everything Else: There isn’t anything to report. I drew an awesome dragon and I’ll eventually work on coloring it in. I haven’t done any photography related activities since my vacation but I will soon, unless writing takes over (fingers crossed this happens).

I have an abscessed tooth and need a root canal. I was in agony last weekend but they gave me antibiotics so I’m okay now. I’m just waiting on the insurance company to say yes and figure out how much it’s going to cost and how I’m going to pay for it.

If this update had been written while I was still in pain it would have contained a lot more whining.

Shockingly, since I’m a big wimp with pain, I went to my writing group last week even though I was miserable. This new-found determination is disconcerting haha.

I’ll post the story and another update when I have something to report.

Saturday Six Minute Challenge

It’s another busy weekend but I hope you can find at least six minutes to write. Squeeze it in where you can. Write while you’re eating breakfast. If you take a daily walk or run, use your phone to dictate. Cooking dinner tonight? Write while you’re waiting for water to boil or something to finish up in the oven. Write-stir-repeat. Pretend you don’t have ten shows on your DVR to catch up on and work on a story/poem/outline/blog post/etc instead.

Sneak into the bathroom, assuming you’re left alone at a time like that, and write on your phone. Got little ones? Write during nap time. Better yet, schedule a ‘quiet time’ every day where everyone in the house does no noise activities for thirty minutes (or however long you can manage), such as coloring, reading, etc.

I’ve been known to sit in the parking lot at the grocery store and hand write for a few minutes before or after I do my shopping. You can also dictate using your smart phone while driving.

If you have nothing you are already working on, then free-write for six minutes. If you’re lucky, maybe it will turn into an hour. If you already have an hour – set a timer for ten minutes and write as much as you can in that time. Keep doing this until your hour is up.

The point of these tips are you have more opportunities to write than you realize. Take advantage of these times and the words will add up.

Good luck and happy writing!

 

Write Anything Wednesday

Write Anything Wednesday – August 17, 2016

You know the drill, write something. Why? It’s a great day to write and I say why not? Write absolutely anything. Try your hand at flash fiction or write a poem. Make an outline or character sketch. Write a chapter, or as many chapters as you can. Nothing to write about? Try making a list of ideas or free-write. Make Wednesday your weekly no-matter-what writing day. If this isn’t a good day then pick another. The important thing is to simply write.

If you feel stumped grab a timer and do ten minute sprints. The first time you do this might not garner great results but the more you do the more you get used to it and your muse will shine.

If you would like a prompt:

  • In honor of my current nightmare, write about a character who is having major tooth pain.
  • How did little Timmy get into the Magic Grab machine anyway?
  • A flood is coming, at least from the ladybug’s perspective…

Happy writing!

Flash Fiction – The Street Lamp (AKA a really bad story)

Someone in my writing group posted a picture prompt today. Normally these type of prompts don’t work for me. I guess I’d rather come up with my own visual. This time it did work but in an odd way. I’ll explain at the end of the post though.


The Street Lamp

Sara pulled her hood lower to cover more of her face. Fear rather than the cold snow made her shiver. The street lamp near her home shone brightly but she knew it didn’t matter. Perhaps tonight it would happen.

The vampire had been stalking her for weeks. She’d heard he liked blondes so she knew she was a potential victim. It hadn’t stopped her from walking home from work every night though. With her car broken down and no family in the area she had no choice.

She thought she could feel his eyes on her but didn’t know if he followed her or was lying in wait somewhere. As she turned the corner onto her street she tensed, preparing for the worst.

The light went out.

Sara froze with only a slight gasp escaping her lips. Then…nothing. Again. She pulled her hood down and glanced around. With the light gone she could barely see enough to make it the last few steps to her door. Her gaze swept the area one more time and she sighed before going in.

Around the corner, perched on the street lamp, the vampire chuckled as he screwed the bulb back in for the fifteen time in as many days. He knew he shouldn’t tease the girl but he couldn’t seem to help himself. Damn Twihard, she really did bring it on herself. She was so obvious it sickened him.

One day soon he’d show her what vampires were really like. He might even let her live, but he’d never be her Edward, Edwin, or whatever his name was.


The picture was of a snow-covered street with one street lamp. I don’t feel like looking up who it belongs to so I’m not posting it. So when I first saw it I thought “oh crap, I’ll never come up with anything.” Partly because picture prompts don’t normally work for me and partly because I’m in the throes of a bad case of writer’s block.

Then my muse giggled maliciously and this story formed, the bitch. I wasn’t looking for a mocking story, or a bad one but it’s what I got. So I went all out on the bad part. It amused me and in the end that’s all that matters.

I’m not even going to polish it up, although I did search for spelling errors because I’d rather die than leave a misspelled word there!

Rough Draft 265 words.


WR

Saturday Six Minute Challenge

It’s another busy weekend but I hope you can find at least six minutes to write. Squeeze it in where you can. Write while you’re eating breakfast. If you take a daily walk or run, use your phone to dictate. Cooking dinner tonight? Write while you’re waiting for water to boil or something to finish up in the oven. Write-stir-repeat. Pretend you don’t have ten shows on your DVR to catch up on and work on a story/poem/outline/blog post/etc instead.

Sneak into the bathroom, assuming you’re left alone at a time like that, and write on your phone. Got little ones? Write during nap time. Better yet, schedule a ‘quiet time’ every day where everyone in the house does no noise activities for thirty minutes (or however long you can manage), such as coloring, reading, etc.

I’ve been known to sit in the parking lot at the grocery store and hand write for a few minutes before or after I do my shopping. You can also dictate using your smart phone while driving.

If you have nothing you are already working on, then free-write for six minutes. If you’re lucky, maybe it will turn into an hour. If you already have an hour – set a timer for ten minutes and write as much as you can in that time. Keep doing this until your hour is up.

The point of these tips are you have more opportunities to write than you realize. Take advantage of these times and the words will add up.

Good luck and happy writing!

 

Everything Update

Everything Update 8/12/2016

I’m back from vacation and recovering. It’s weird to think about the need to recover from time off but you know what I mean. Vacation can be a great time but can exhaust you. For me this was doubly true.

We flew from Texas to New Jersey, which started the tiring process and was no fun for my back. I was excited to go visit my in-laws but I was terrified. Before we boarded the plane I realized I’d forgotten most of my prescription medication. The muscle relaxer I could have dealt with but the nerve med was another story. Not only is it a medication you should never stop taking all at once, it also meant the toes in my left foot were going to be on fire in a few days. I had enough to last for three days.

If I’d noticed earlier I could have asked someone to bring them too me but by the time I figured it out it was too late. The pharmacy in NJ was willing to give me a three-day supply but I would have had to skip a dose a day and lower the dose of the remaining two times each day I take it.

Through lots of phone calls, tons of hassle and the efforts of the most amazing woman on the planet (my mom), it all worked out.

Vacation: Now the fun part of my time away. Two days after we got to my in-laws’ house we drove to Philadelphia to visit my husband’s brother and have some adventures. We went to the Philly zoo, the art museum and the aquarium (over two days). The last time I visited a zoo was when I was thirteen and I’d never been to an art museum or aquarium. Each was fun and interesting, plus I was able to take a lot of photos. There was so much walking though!

On the second day I started noticing my ankle was feeling odd. Not quite painful but close. We drove back to New Jersey that evening and by the time we got there I was quite uncomfortable. The next morning my ankle flat-out hurt and the pain shot up into my leg. To be honest, I wasn’t sure where the pain originated. My mother in law asked if it was my shin but I couldn’t give a good answer. I could feel it from the middle of my lower leg to down into my foot by mid afternoon and it hurt to walk.

We figured I twisted my ankle or something until I realized I could feel a little discomfort in my other leg. I still don’t know what it was but my mother in law had some herbal pain relieving massage oil that helped a lot. She originally told me to try arnica but that is a salicylate (which I can’t go near) so I had to settle for the next choice.

For two days we did very little and when it was necessary to get out I wrapped my ankle. By the weekend I was fine. It still hurt but I could walk without making it worse. I was even able to roam around the abandoned Boy Scout’s camp I wanted to see and take pictures. It was creepy and a little scary but I got some interesting shots. I also managed to avoid being attacked by all the poison ivy we had to stomp on to get to the cabins. My husband held tree branches out of the way so I could watch my feet haha.

Our flight home was on Tuesday. There was a ton of walking to get to our gate and then a ton more getting between terminals for the second flight but my ankle/leg held up. My back hurt from sitting in airline seats but I’ve recovered from that.

It was a great trip but I was so glad to sleep in my own bed. Plus make a demon hunter in World of Warcraft, since the patch allowing this landed on the same day we did.

Back Home: The first thing I noticed when I walked in the door on Tuesday was the kids had actually cleaned. It wasn’t perfect but effort was made so no yelling or mom looks were necessary.

My dogs each turned into Tigger, with their bottoms made out of springs. I didn’t get as scratched up as I thought I would but my husband did. Since we’ve been back the dogs hardly leave our sides.

Writing: I am still suffering from semi-writer’s block. The closest I’ve gotten was while we waiting for our first flight to take off on Tuesday. We were delayed because of a mechanical issue. There is a plastic ‘boot’ covering the wires connected to the inflatable slide on the main boarding door of the plane. This boot was busted and the wires were exposed. We couldn’t take off until they got parts (from a different terminal). There was a real danger of the slide inflating mid-flight if they didn’t fix it.

We took off an hour late and with little complaining from the passengers once they explained what was happening (after 30 minutes of sitting there wondering). Several people missed their connections but we were lucky. When we booked we had to decide between a 50 minute or two and a half hour layover. We chose the longer, just in case. So when we finally reached the Houston airport there was no rush. We got lunch and sat around for 45 minutes.

So, while we sat on the plane, not knowing anything besides there was a ‘minor’ mechanical problem, my muse tentatively raised her hand. Everything from pixies messing with the door to a dragon egg being found in the cargo hold were presented as reasons for the delay. Several what if questions led to a steaming suitcase, containing the egg (which was now hatching). We couldn’t very well take off when a newly hatching dragon needed heat right? The luggage loading crewman who found it would have known the absolute cold of the hold while in flight would have hurt the creature.

Then my muse went back into hiding and I prepared for take off. This consisted of death gripping the arm rest and my husband’s leg. I hate take off!

Drawing: A new category! I don’t know what made me do it but one day, months ago, I decided to draw something on the dry erase board we keep on our fridge. The contents of this board change all the time. Someone will draw something, then another family member will alter it. Then another, then another and so on. There have been some interesting results.

I’ve done this before, but will little effort. I never really thought I could draw, despite several art classes. The problem was I could duplicate stuff but only with a lot of effort. I didn’t think I had actual artistic skill. Just copying skill, not tracing, just redrawing what I see.

Anyway, most of the things I drew were ridiculous. A fat camel, a dog a child could draw, etc. But that time I decided to draw Kim Possible. If you don’t recognize the name, it’s the title character from a cartoon I watched with the kids. One of the few I could tolerate actually. It took me most of an hour and in the end you could tell it her but I felt like it looked like an older version or something.

Man that bugged me! I wouldn’t call myself a perfectionist but it irritated me that I couldn’t get it quite right. It didn’t matter that I was working with dry erase markers, I wanted it perfect! I put it on the fridge and waited to see how the kids would change it. They didn’t. The shock of who drew it must have been too much. So I added Rufus, the naked mole rat (also from the show) to it.

He turned out better. They still didn’t change it. By this point we had two dry erase boards on the fridge. So I grabbed the other one and started searching for other cartoon characters to draw. Nineties cartoons were either drawn very simply or too elaborately. I ended up picking a character drawn in the same style as my first attempt. Danny Phantom. I have to admit, of all the cartoons my kids watched, this was my favorite. If they watched it in the living room today, I’d probably sit down with them and watch a few episodes.

This drawing turned out much better. Well, the first attempt at it sucked, but when I started over it was good. The kids did eventually alter it. He gained then lost a mustache. His eyes became bloodshot and some impressive wrinkles showed up.

Since then I’ve drawn several more cartoons on the boards and two on paper. I look up “how to draw…” and duplicate what I see. The things I do on the boards sometimes get altered and other times don’t. Cosmo from The Fairly Odd Parents got some kind of disease leaving him with red spots.

The deliberately badly drawn dog eventually became a demon dragon thing. Eeyore didn’t get touched. The Last Airbender got some much-needed color and Squidworth was deemed too much of a masterpiece to be altered.

I did a few drawings on paper: Shego from Kim Possible, which was much harder than I thought it would be, Harley Quinn, a hatching dragon, a few flower sketches and a large dragon. No one was more surprised than me when I learned I could do it. Also, it’s much easier to fix flaws when using a pencil than the dry erase markers!

Here are my examples, and pardon the old beat up dry erase board:

Clearly there are flaws in both. You can see my mess-ups on Harley Quinn because I pressed too hard and erasers can only do so much in that case, also I know I can’t draw a circle haha. Still, I was able to make corrections and while it’s not perfect I didn’t get angry. With angry Ang, well, you can’t see how bad it was before but trust me when I say it is hard to get something right with a fat marker, stupid ears! The kids and my husband added the color and no one touched it afterwards.

I’m not a great artist but I’m getting better. In fact, I need to erase the instructions for while I was on vacation I wrote on the board and draw something new now that I’m home. I’m sure my children would rather see a drawing than what they have to clean.

Photography: I took about 1200 pictures on vacation. There is a shot of almost every animal we saw at the zoo, multiples of the super cute ones. I probably took fifty photos of sharks at the aquarium but maybe 10 turned out okay. I took macro shots at my in-laws’ house and a bunch at the abandoned camp.

I didn’t take as many pictures as I thought I would but at this point I’m happy with what I got. Last year in New Jersey I was only able to take about 20, including the selfie I took in the hospital before they took my appendix from me.

I’ll start going through them all tomorrow and probably post a few after. There is one from the camp I really love that I’d like to share.

Physical: I’m doing okay. As previously mentioned, my back was hurting from walking a lot and long plane rides but I feel back to my normal right now.

I went to physical therapy yesterday and it was hard but not unbearable. They told me I’ll be doing it through all of August and after that I have ten more visits covered by insurance if I need them. I’m impatient to be better but PT is a necessarily slow process.

I went to the doctor on Wednesday to check my thyroid levels as well. My prescription didn’t change and for the first time, possibly ever, I don’t have a giant bruise where they took blood!

More Writing: I keep thinking about the dragon hatching in the suitcase. I may have to write that story, hopefully today. My plan is to try to write some flash fiction over the next couple of days anyway. If I’m lucky this will break my block. I think half the problem was I was in planning/packing mode, then vacation mode.

It’s time to get back to work and I’m going try everything I can to coax my muse back out. I’d rather work on my trilogy but I’ll whatever writing I can get! I’ll post an update as soon as I have one.


Sidenote: I forgot I did one more drawing for the fridge before I went out of town. It started out as Stewie Griffin. This is what it looks like today:

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When I got home it said “butt rock, oc, do not steal” (no clue so don’t ask what or why) and the teeth were square. I changed it to say “bite,” made the teeth pointy and added the bottom tooth. I was told it went through many alterations before reaching this point.

It’s silly but it’s fun with my offspring and I love our weirdness. I say bond with your loved ones any way you can.

Other sidenote: Being this post is so long, I clearly have a lot of words in me. Now if only I can convince my muse to put them into some fiction!

Write Anything Wednesday

Write Anything Wednesday – August 10, 2016

You know the drill, write something. Why? It’s a great day to write and I say why not? Write absolutely anything. Try your hand at flash fiction or write a poem. Make an outline or character sketch. Write a chapter, or as many chapters as you can. Nothing to write about? Try making a list of ideas or free-write. Make Wednesday your weekly no-matter-what writing day. If this isn’t a good day then pick another. The important thing is to simply write.

If you feel stumped grab a timer and do ten minute sprints. The first time you do this might not garner great results but the more you do the more you get used to it and your muse will shine.

If you would like a prompt:

  • No one would believe the truth, so he came up with a better explanation.
  • Write about a family of monsters.
  • The tree was dying, and with it, the world…

Happy writing!