Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday Twosomes -- Winding It Up

I've kept to my 1,000 words a day minimum plan for nearly a month now. I'm pleased to say that not only is the story nearing its end, but stuff actually happens in it.
I'd been concerned for a while because my characters didn't want to do anything. A cold, hard look at it told me it was one character gumming up the works. I could move the story along if she got left behind.
I did.
Serves her right
Two from Dead Broke:

"It was lazy here, lazy in the good way that warms you and makes you feel good about everything. It was like a perpetual Sunday morning, but without having to go to chuch."
I need more Philip K. Dick.
I read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Del Rey Books, 1968) and didn't want it to end. There's something compelling about his dystopia that hauls me in and holds me at laser tube point. I hated to leave, but I had to know how it ended.
The book was the inspiration for Blade Runner. Much as I loved the movie, the book is leaps and bounds better.

Two from DADOES:
" 'What were your instructions,' Eldon Rosen asked, 'if you wound up designating a human as android?'
'That's a departmental matter.' "
Thanks for being here. For more or to get in on it, please see the Women of Mystery.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Gratitude Monday --Garden Fresh Edition

The best part of this time of year is the garden harvest.
I love fresh veggies and am grateful that I have a small garden in the back. I can collect a few peas and carrots now and it is wonderful.
Peas straight from the pod can't be beat and a carrot is best when the dirt is barely off it.
While the peas and carrots-- nature's perfect veggie combo--are mine, the corn is from southern Alberta.
It's Taber corn and it's about the best ever.
We were worried this year as the flooding in the south this spring set growth back a few weeks. It just arrived late last week and the fellow who sells it from his truckside stand said some producers may not have any. It's their livelihood. I hope they survive to plant again next year.
Meanwhile, who wants to shell the peas for me?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Photo- Finish Friday -- My First Penguins

Hunkering down with the Gentoos in the Falkland Islands in 2009.
This was my first time seeing penguins in the wild.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Way It Was

It was never the way it used to be.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Two Sentence Tuesday--More Words

 Where are my characters taking me?

I've added plenty of words to the manuscript lately. I'm starting to get an idea of where the characters want to go, but they're still being coy. I'd threaten to walk away and leave their stories untold, but we both know I can't do it.
They have me, at least for now, and they know it.

From Dead Broke:
"The being on my left twinkled his eyes toward me. He had a 20 year old's face framed by long white hair, and a gentle smile that took my troubles and threw them over a cliff."
I've been blessed to have plenty of reading time lately. The smoke from hundreds of fires in B.C. settled over us. Much as I like the smell of woodsmoke, it got to be a bit much so I stayed indoors, writing or reading or even  housework when my eyes needed a rest.
It gave me time to lose myself even more in what I was reading. I'm reluctant to come up for anything when reading, but last week I read The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold  (Little, Brown, and Company, 2002) and I fought back every hint from my body that it was time to do something else. Whatever it wanted, I turned a page instead.
Two sentences:
"Every day he got up. Before sleep wore off, he was who he used to be."
Thanks for being here. Two Sentences Tuesday is the brainchild of the Women of Mystery.
Check 'em out. You'll be glad of it.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Gratitude Monday --Another Good Day

I woke up not dead.

I looked out the window. No bears.

The rest is gravy.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Photo-Finish Friday--Steamy

Steam rises from the super-heated water in the ground at Yellowstone Lake.
So much is vented that at times it obscures the magnificent huge, blue lake right behind these trees.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Reaching Out

This magnificent old tree in the square in Sancti Spiritus looked like it was reaching out to us.
It had a great deal of character. I wish I could have spent more time as it looked as though it had a wonderful, painful, joyful story to tell.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Get It Straight

A woman says, "My best friend is sleeping with my husband."
I say, "If she's sleeping with your husband, then she's not your best friend.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tuesday Twosomes - Apparently Stuff Happens

I've been clipping right along with the manuscript. I've managed to keep to my 1,000 words a day for nearly two weeks now. I wonder what will happen when I finish the raw writing of the manuscript. I may have to design a self-hypnosis induction to tell myself to stop.
Despite the 50,000+ words as of yesterday I'm still not clear on the point. I know it's an awful admission, but it's the truth.
Other manuscripts have  started with an idea or a scene in my mind and fell together as I wrote. This is sort of doing the same, and stuff does happen, but the characters are unwilling to grow or give much of themselves to me. Perhaps, I tell myself, it is destined to be such a long manuscript that developments must be parceled out carefully.
Underneath that is the strong hint that I simply don't have a clue what I'm doing and the characters are using this against me.
No matter what the reason, each day as I add to the file they take me somewhere. I suppose that's all I can ask for now. It is only a first draft.

Two lines from Dead Broke:

"I did the equivalent of a hard swallow.
'Someone will come to you and ask a little favor. Not too much, a little something such as you've done for us already perhaps.' "

I had the pleasure of reading Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club (Ivy Books, 1989) last week.  It quickly took its place as a favorite. I think I'll be reading it every few years to savor the language, the characters, the story, and the strong spine of rich emotions that holds it together.

Two lines:

"For many years I could not remember what I wanted that night from the Moon Lady, or how it was that I was found again by my family. Both of these things seemed an illusion to me, a wish granted that could not be trusted."
Thanks so much for being here.
For more or to get in on the fun, please see the Women of Mystery.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Gratitude Monday -- Morning in Wyoming

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

My husband and I went on a road trip a few weeks back that took us through Yellowstone and south to Jackson.  It was wonderful. I wish we'd had more time, but I am still grateful for the trip and the gorgeous scenery.
We left Jackson before 7:30 Sunday morning. It was already warm with fog low on the ground, especially over the Snake River.
This is from a pullout and looks back toward the toward the town.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Photo-Finish Friday--Does It Toll For Thee?

Bell tower in a town square, Cuba.

I apologize for forgetting the name. It was probably Sancti Spiritus.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010



This elephanthead was already losing its full summer leaf a few weeks ago. I found it along the lake edge at Twin Lakes. Its colour and its character caught my eye.
It has a short season thus reminding us that summer is fleeting. It should be enjoyed while it is here. I've done what I could to make the best of what the weather offered.
I noticed something else. When I saw it enlarged it reminded me of  Ganesha, the elephant-headed Hindu deity. Ganesha is looked to in several areas including wisdom, success, as the remover of obstacles, and writing.
Do you see it, too?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Twofer Tuesday -- A Grand Plan

As I wrote in this post last week I've commited myself to 1000 words a day. So far, so good. It all started early last week when I noted my word count one day was 932. Well, I thought, that's just a few ands, ifs,  and thats away from one thousand. Maybe I should make it a target.

As a bonus the story which was not moving is now crawling forward. One of my characters did not wish to grow, change, or do anything, despite taking some drastic action to get to where she  is.
On the good side she's not my main character. She was going to be a second MC, but if she insists on stagnating, then her role changes.

I have been reading over what I've put down so far with special focus on the first chapter. I introduced a few questions back then that it's high time I got around to addressing. I'm working on it.
I'm happy to say that during some sessions, like yesterday's, the words gushed out, like this:

 Old Faithful, Yellowstone

and I was happy.

But there are still days when the session is more like this:

and I gnash my teeth as I write, but I am still happy.

I suspect Dead Broke will be one on those manuscripts. You know the type. The one that comes up in the queue and must be written to get at whatever's behind it. 
I could be wrong. But right now I don't think I am.

Two lines from the manuscript:

"A bullet-shaped beige lump with a peaked cap smiled up at me and twinkled  its deep brown eyes. This is what my afterlife had come to: a dildo with glasses and a wanton fringe of hair offering his services."
What have I been reading?
Glad you asked.
I had the unqualified pleasure of reading Gregory Maguire's Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.
He did a magnificent job of bringing Elphaba to life and making us care about her. She may be wicked to some, but she loves fiercely, in the absolute, and on her own terms.
She who is perceived as wicked is frankly better and more honest than the good one who is corrupted by the perception of absolute good.
Maguire did a much better job of twisting around our sadly pedestrian notions of good and evil and of making us think than Salman Rushdie did in The Satanic Verses,  and he did it without Rushdie's self-important bloviation.
Two lines from Wicked (Harper, 1995)

"But Elphaba only nodded grimly. 'I couldn't agree with you more, ' she said.
'As for Shell-'continued Glinda, wondering what fresh pain she might tread upon."

Thanks for reading. For more Tuesday twos, please see The Women of Mystery.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Gratitude Monday --Moose Drool Edition

Ya gotta love a brew that calls itself "Moose Drool."

I sure do.
Yes, this week's gratitude post is about beer. I'm grateful that I can tolerate a bit of alcohol now and again and I am grateful that I had the chance to drink a bottle of this fine beer when we were in Montana over the long weekend.

It has top notes* of dark coffee and dark chocolate and a lovely finish with a wee hint of bitter. It is refreshing, entertaining, and goes very well with steak.

I'd seen it around at various spots in the state, but I confess to being initially put off by the name.  But on our way home on Sunday we stopped at a steakhouse and I decided to give it a go after asking the waitress what local brews were available.  She suggested this and let me see the bottle first.
I'm glad I tried it. I was so taken with it that the next morning I found some in a convenience store when we stopped for gas and brought a half-dozen home with me.
They're waiting in the fridge.

Nota bene, the Moose Drool makers, Big Sky Brewing Co., in Missoula, Montana have not paid me to shill for them.

*I have no idea if this is the right term for discussing the taste of beer.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Photo-Finish Friday --Cigars on the Hoof Edition

A Cuban farmer attends to his tobacco just outside of Vinales.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Just Ducky

It looks like a lovely way to spend a hot day.  These nearly grown ducks swam along the dock at Twin Lakes not the least bit concerned about the human with the camera so close by.
They swam right by me. Some continued on under the floating dock and wandered through the reeds close to shore.
Mamma Duck kept a close eye on her charges, but for the most part she let them explore and eat to their heart's content.
I watched for several moments and wished, for a while at least, that I could have been a duck right along with them.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Until I Try

An osprey takes wing near Gardiner, Montana.

I've been away from the blog for a few days. Okay, nearly a week. But I have two really good excuses, one of which is I was away for the weekend.
It was the Heritage Day long weekend here so my husband and went to Yellowstone. It was a wonderful trip and I am so glad I did it. I hope to get back to spend more time there.
The other excuse was I am conducting an experiment on myself. I've committed to writing 1,000 words a day.
I started this last week and did it three days in a row. The fourth day was the first day of the mini-vacation and we left at 5:30 a.m. Yes, I could have written the quota, but I needed my sleep.
I'm pleased to report that the writing sessions for those three days went well. I sat down and pounded out the quota and then some in one sitting. Said sitting was less than an hour.
Even though I haven't reviewed what I wrote, I am confident that up to 100 words each day will prove to be keepers.
I've done this for other manuscripts though never formalized it. This time I've made the commitment and I've made an hypnosis suggestion to make it so.
I've been a Transpersonal Hypnotherapist for 14 years. I've experimented on myself many times and was pleased with the results including the time I used self-hypnosis to cut down on the amount of potato chips I eat.
Last week I made a word quota suggestion on tape plus threw in the phrase "thousand words a day" at random points as I was relaxing myself.
Has it worked?
Well, I'll tell you this, I'm much too tired today to do anything with my manuscript yet I feel compelled to fire up a file and write. It's similar to the craving a smoker gets when she needs a smoke ( I'm an ex-smoker. I know of what I speak.) or a desperate need for good, dark chocolate.
It's too early to call it a success, but it looks good so far.
And, like the osprey in the photo leaving its nest, I won't know until I try.