Friday, March 16, 2018

Once Upon A Time

Remember the Speculative Fiction workshops I mentioned I was signing up for? Well, I had the first one this week, on writing fairy tales. I’m with a great group of people and I think we’re going to have a lot of fun over the next eight weeks.

Anyway, I’ve been wanting to revive my Fiction Fridays for a while now, and I figured what better way to start that sharing the piece I wrote in class?

During the class we were asked to write an interesting thing about ourselves. Then we handed them in and the instructor passed them out again at random. The exercise was to write a fairy tale based on the incident we received. We had about 20 minutes or so to write. This was mine (unedited):

We lived a simple life in the wide ocean, and when I say simple, I mean boring. When you’re a mermaid, and a thirteen year old mermaid at that, it’s tedious to be confined to the grotto, or to only be allowed to swim back and forth along the edge of the kelp beds. under the watchful eye of our parents of course.

My sister Sonia was the first to rebel. We’d all heard stories of the little mermaid of course, and how she traded her voice for a pair of legs. So we knew the magic was out there. Sonia decided she was done being a mermaid. She wanted to walk on the shore, bask in the sun, feel the wind in her hair.

“It’s only a story,” our mother tried to tell us. “And in the original version she didn’t find her prince, she turned to sea foam.”

“Every story starts with a grain of truth,” Sonia said stubbornly. So certain was she that she stopped eating. She would rather waste away to nothing than live the rest of her life under the waves.

At last our parents gave in and took Sonia to the Hermit of the Sea. They came back alone.

“Where’s Sonia?” my sister Tanis and I cried.

“She’s gone where you cannot follow,” our parents said sadly.

Of course it wasn’t long before Tanis and I wanted to follow Sonia. After days of arguing my parents realized it was no use, and we were taken to the Hermit as well.

Now the three of us sisters live in a cottage by the sea.

After a few years I found I missed swimming and tried it as a human, but it was never the same.

I can't wait for next week's class - Steampunk!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Passion For Poetry - Dansa Poetry Form

Not only do I have a new poem to share today, I have a new form as well! Be still my heart - can the end of the world be far behind? LOL

Today’s form is the dansa, which is an Occitan verse form developed late in the thirteenth century by the troubadours in southern France. It’s actually fairly simple, which makes me wonder why I never tried it before.

It’s short, only three verses. You start with a one line refrain that’s repeated at the end of each verse, so the first verse has five lines and the other two verses have four. The rhyme scheme is Abba(A) bba(A) bba(A). Easy peasy.

Now, having nothing more to say about this form, here's my example:

Mythic Wind

The wind has blown a myth to me.
He came to me within a storm
I let him in one early morn
He was the fairest man to see
The wind has blown a myth to me.

With cloven hoof and curling horn
He was not from a human born
His eyes they held a silent plea
The wind has blown a myth to me.

His sweet embrace was oh, so warm
A night with him I was reborn
And now we dwell beside the sea
The wind has blown a myth to me.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Lap Top: A Sad Story

I love my Samsung lap top, it has served me well over the last..umm...many years. But nothing last forever, especially in this day and age. And let’s face it, things just aren’t built to last anymore. It really doesn’t owe me anything - I think it’s actually lasted longer than it should have.

But alas, it’s starting to feel its age. It’s taking longer to boot up, a few of the letters are worn off of the keyboard (which tells you how much use I’ve made of it), and it’s starting to slow down. In fact, as I type this post I have to keep waiting for the letters to catch up. And this is after I gave it a rest because it was all but frozen earlier.

So a couple of weeks ago I started looking at other lap tops. Having worked in tech support at one time, I’m not a fan of Dell or HP. And it’s a sign of the changing times that most of my research was done online.

Though our town has doubled in size since I was a kid, it’s still relatively small. Which means there aren’t a lot of places to check out computers. At any rate, I had it narrowed down to three: Asus, Acer, and Lenovo.

I loved everything about the Lenovo that Staples had, except the keyboard. But then I was looking at them online and found I really liked the look of the keyboard on the ThinkPad T580. I checked out the Asus and the Acer online too but I kept coming back to the ThinkPad.

Decision made, I went to the website and...they were out of stock. Figures. But I kept checking and finally they were back. I navigated the ordering system, ended up with two lap tops in my shopping cart, deleted one, and placed my order. The next day I was looking at my order confirmation email and realized I had deleted the wrong one.

So I called them up and you can’t change an order once it’s placed so I had to cancel it. Got the confirmation email that my order was cancelled and went back to the website and ordered the right lap top and saved enough money that I sprang for a wireless mouse and a messenger bag too.

Here’s where the story turns sad.

It says right on the order confirmation that your payment won’t be processed until the order is ready to ship. So when I got an email asking me to get in touch with their accounting department in regards to the second order, I figured it was because I used my debit VISA instead of a credit card. Until on a whim I checked my bank account and saw that they’d taken a payment out for the first order on the day I ordered it. And I guess they forgot to give me my money back when I cancelled that order.

Anyway, I talked to their accounting department this morning (only yelling a little), and everything is supposed to be straightened out now. *knock on wood* Now all that’s left is the waiting. And the crossing of fingers.

And if nothing else, at least I've got a good idea for my story for the Please Hold, Your Murder Is Very Important To Us anthology (about customer service) I've been invited to participate in.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Easier Said Than Done

As you can see by the lack of my wordage summaries, once again there was no joy in Wordville.

To be honest, it’s starting to get a little frustrating. I’ll open up my WIP and my mind goes blank. And the thing is, I know what’s supposed to happen next, I’m just lacking the words to make it happen.

I get lines of poetry appearing at random in my head, only to have them disappear as soon as I have a piece of paper in front of me.

And yet....I’m far from ready to give up. I keep trying because I know that sooner or later the words will be back.

To spur them on a little, I registered for a night school course. One of the local colleges (and by local I mean about an hour’s drive from here) is offering a whole bunch of interesting courses, but it was the one for speculative fiction that caught my eye. It’s actually a series of workshops - once a week for eight weeks, two hours long.

The workshops, starting March 14, are as follows: Writing Fairy Tales, Steampunk, Inspiration From Improv, Inspiration From Music, Adjectives and Adverbs, Writing Poetry, Writing From Dreams, and Alternate History. The way it’s set up you can take as many or as few as you like. I looked them over and there were a couple I thought were a little iffy, but I figured maybe they’d help me step out of my comfort zone so I signed up for them all.

I’ve taken a couple of night school courses in the past, a long time ago. One was at our local high school, run by a local author, and was pretty much just for fun. The other I took with a friend at a different college in the same city as I’ll be going to in a couple of weeks. It was a little more serious, although the instructor was not a writer herself. Still, I enjoyed both courses, even though I didn’t keep in touch with my fellow participants.

I’m sure I’ll enjoy these workshops as well. There’s nothing like being around like-minded, creative people to get your own creative juices going. And there’s always something new to learn, yes, even from the Writing Poetry workshop.

Wish me luck, and I’ll keep you posted.

Monday, February 26, 2018

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

As you may have already guessed, my health isn’t the only thing I’ve been struggling with lately. The writing, when it comes at all, has been coming in drips and drabs, scritches and scribbles. While disappointing, it’s not altogether surprising because it happens to me every year about this time.

December, January, February - they’re what I call my dark months. And I don’t necessarily mean dark as in the weather, although that certainly doesn’t help, I mean dark as in my mood. Every year I think I’ll be prepared for the dark months, and every year....I’m not.

People think I’m joking when I say I’m weather driven, but it’s really true. Or maybe I should say I'm light driven. I used to think it was the time change that caused it - it seems to start and end with “winter time” (as opposed to Daylight Saving Time) - but while the days during this period are naturally shorter, any extended period of grey/gloomy weather can bring it on.

Sometimes it’s not so bad if I can stay ahead of it, but once it gets its claws in me the only thing I can do is ride it out. November I was doing NaNo so I really didn’t have time to worry about the weather or my mood or anything else but writing, which is another good reason to do it. Then December I was so busy with Christmas, the baking and visiting and shopping, that I also didn’t have time to be down. But January, when I finally had a breather, I stopped to rest for a minute and couldn’t seem to get back up again.

I always start out the year with big writing plans that peter right out when the new year actually comes. Of course it didn’t help that I was also slammed with the mega-flu and a couple of bouts of mega-colds (I still have a lingering sinus infection from the last one). You’d think I’d just save myself the trouble and take January and February off from writing, but, well, hope springs eternal I guess. Too bad I couldn’t move to someplace like New Zealand for the winter months. LOL

The time change will be upon us in a couple of weeks, and already I feel my mood lifting. I stopped fighting my depression and just accepted it for what it was, and believe it or that seems to help. So do the glimmers of sunlight we’ve had over the last few days.

Instead of struggling to write things that just don’t want to be written, I’ve been trying to fill my time with other things so I don’t waste all my time on mindless games. This in no small part includes working on getting things squared away in my office. I’ve made some good progress in there, even the hubby was impressed. I have a new printer that fits on top of my metal filing cabinet like it was made for it, and my tea station fits nicely on top of a small wooden filing cabinet I filched from the hubby’s office. I even disposed of the big pile of books and junk in the corner.

In other words, if I haven’t been writing much lately, at least I’ve been working on my writing space. Which is almost as good. And reading more, which is always a good thing for a writer. AND I was checking out some night school courses at a nearby college (okay, not really nearby, it’s about a 45-60 minute drive) and one of them is a course for speculative fiction. It looks like it might be really interesting. At the very least it'll get me writing again.

Maybe I’m actually seeing a light at the end of that dark tunnel.

Monday, February 12, 2018


Is it just me, or have I spent more than my fair share of time being sick this winter?

This time it’s the Super Mega Death Cold From Hell. I think the worst part about this virus is how it sucks the energy right out of you. I have not even had the energy to read, let alone write these last couple of weeks, which is really frustrating.

It’s had its way with the rest of the family in varying degrees, but I think hubby and I had it worst. Supposedly it only lasts two or three weeks - I’m starting week three.

So hopefully I’m over the worst of it, and things will only get better from here.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Frogging It

I don’t really have any more to report this week than I did last week (which is why I missed last week’s post), but here I am anyway. :-D

As you may recall, one of my goals for the year was to spend more time doing crafts at night in front of the TV. There were two reasons for this. One, it keeps me from snacking, and two, it keeps me away from the mindless games.

The good news is, I finally sucked it up last weekend and went through my yarn stash. I have a long, red, knitted vest I like a lot, but it doesn’t go with a whole lot. So I found some textured yarn to try knitting myself one. Vests are simple enough, who needs a pattern, right?

I was going to do it in the garter stitch (which is just knitting every row), but after an inch or so I decided that looked tacky. So I started over in the stockinette stitch (knit one row, purl the next) and kept going until it was about 25 inches long. No, I didn’t get carried away, I do want a long vest.

This is where I had to decide how much to start decreasing for the arm hole and neck. I got the armhole looking the way I wanted to, but realized about six or eight inches later I was decreasing the v-neck a little too much. Which meant I had to frog it back, and not just a little, right back to the last couple of rows before the decreasing started because the textured yarn was a pain in the butt to unravel and at one point I even broke the yarn.

Now the point of this story is that this is what I’ve had to do with my current WIP. I’ve had to frog it back a couple of chapters so I can get it back on track. Like frogging back my knitting, it breaks my heart a little to have pretty much wipe out several weeks worth of progress, but for the story to move forward it has to be done.

And just like frogging back my knitting is going to make for a better vest, frogging back my writing is going to make for a better story. One of the hazards of being a pantser I guess, whether it be knitting or writing.

And I have to tell you, every time I hear the word frogging, this is the song that runs through my head. You can thank me later for the ear worm. :-D