Tag Archives: writing

Travel journal: Port Angeles, WA, US

Beach fog with kayak enhanced

Beach fog with kayak text enhanced

Prismacolor pencils

I want to thank my followers for staying with me while I took a long break from blogging. I fell off a ladder & roof shoveling snow last January and injured my back so that movement was painful for several months. Then in July I had my appendix removed, followed by a month of abdominal infection and drains. Didn’t feel much like blogging and was mostly not very conscious for a couple months. As soon as I could walk around a block and didn’t have to use a stool in the shower I ran away – road trip to Port Angeles, WA, where I lived for a long time. I’m pretty well healed now so I hope to get back on schedule with writing and art for the blog and reading all your new posts. I really missed my blogging community.

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Delila state of mind

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They always said DeLila daydreamed too much; she needed to pay attention to her work.

They always said DeLila was rather spacey . . . drifty . . . flighty . . .

Some said DeLila’s imagination was too fantastic; she wasn’t grounded in reality.

One said DeLila would never amount to much.

Another said she was likely to one day just flit away and never come back.

You know what, that’s just what she did.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge:  State of Mind and reposted today for Magic. I wish more people would, if just for a portion of their day, use a state of mind more like DeLila, who I invented here. We could just pop ourselves into a bubble and let the breeze carry us somewhere else. I have no doubt many bloggers practice this way nonetheless. I used this photo recently in another post but it felt appropriate for this week’s challenge. I love the weekly challenges, I ponder them all week and look at my world through a different lens because of the themes.

By the way, after I composed this flash fiction I made a quick internet search for the name Delila which I chose for no good reason. I found this story and songs of Delila, a Kurdish song writer, drummer, protester, warrior woman who was killed by a Turkish soldier. She was not at all like the character I invented here. Her music is delightful and mesmerizing, though I don’t understand the lanuage of her lyrics. 

 

Dear Spinning Planet

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Eastern Tiger Swallow Tail feeding on Comfrey

Dear Spinning Planet,

Thanks for turning me upside down these couple of weeks. All in all, it’s good to go topsy-turvy now and then and look at the  nature of life from the flip side. It gives me an angle to see that I am only a small part of nature. I’m not alone in going upside down to find my provisions. Misery and providence, isn’t that the point Mr. Hugo wanted to make?

So my kid’s in jail and I won’t go her bail and she gets herself out soon enough – yet again. And it’s the blame game – yet again.

So 4 friends die or have memorials in as many days and I can’t get to all of them. I feel like a refugee trying to keep my balance as they all fall down.

So my van gets clobbered by a hit and run driver after one of the memorials.

So my old rescue dog gets attacked by a pack of 3 pit bulls and when I give her permission she clobbers them well enough to give a slight window of time so their owner can pull the lead dog away with many bites to his arms. And the gang follows the leader. We make our get away escaping the unrealized massacre.

So he apologizes lavishly yet denies that more than one dog was attacking and we will let the judge hear us and decide. And that’s a big disruption in my schedule. And it’s what a multitude of residents and dog owners ask me to go through. And I will.

And I discover I belong with a local, national, and international community  that supports me in more abundance than I would have felt had I not tumbled over in this short avalanche of unfortunate events.

Now, tell me, Spinning Planet, that you will relax for a while and steady the current just for me so I can regain my harmony and shift my attention to the butterflies who have arrived in my gardens and the mule deer in my back yard who gave birth to twins just here and now. I still have strength to peer through disorder and flow with nature. And I remember that I am only a small thing, all in all.

Very sincerely yours,

me

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Central Bumble Bee on Comfrey
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Mama mule deer with twins to the right of the pine trees

 

About Eastern Tiger Swallow Tail

About comfrey here and here

About bumble bees and other pollinators here and  here 

About mule deer

 

 

 

 

Take a stab at it

“There’s the idea of fiction as a safe laboratory for exploring ourselves in our world, for experimenting with a persona or character in social organization, for trying on costumes and running a social model until it breaks down. There is all that. One positive aspect is that maybe this awareness and recording will lead us to live more interesting lives. . . . We’ll develop the ability to imagine our lives in finer and finer detail. . . If nothing else, maybe learning to write will force us to take a closer look at everything, to really see it.

What if some writer comes up with a new way to tell a story, a new way to live?”

From Chuck Palahniuk in Stranger Than Fiction

Well, Chuck, I say more than one writer has done just that, found a new way to tell a story. I recently discovered Kevin Mowrer, a Steampunk world creator who tells stories on a variety of formats for print and elctronic media in which the reader or audience gets to interact with the story. He calls his new way to tell a story meta-story and defines it quite differently I did when discussing Neil Gaiman’s technique of talking about the story within in the story. Mowrer says 

“Meta-story is the craft of developing a story and/or narrative so that it treats many of the different media formats as one seamless storytelling canvas.

. . . Interestingly, we live in a rapidly changing age where the audience often seeks to expand their contact with a story that is meaningful to them by looking for it in multiple forms. They read the book and want to spend time every week with the characters they’ve fallen in love with on TV. With those stories that have deep and unique worlds, they want to explore them for themselves beyond the linear experience of a book, a movie or a TV show through deep online worlds and other forms of gaming and site-based experiences.”

Kevin’s intent is to create or expand stories “organically and authentically” to fulfill this new “contiguous story landscape”.

“The media narrative forms, in all their varied richness, are quite alive and evolving at the edges and audiences are redefining what it means to adopt and experience meaningful and deep stories.

Stories are different than direct conversation or debate in that the storyteller is making a contract with the audience to willingly suspend active exchange and profoundly immerse themselves within our narratives and worlds in the hope and belief that we, as creators, will move them with an unexpected and nuanced truth and narrative insight.”

As a reader and writer, I want to explore what Chuck and Kevin express here about the craft of creating fiction. I love reading Steampunk stories. Do I want to write one? Maybe. Do I want to craft a story for a game or web site or movie? Maybe. Chuck Palahnuik challeges each of us to write fiction.

“Instead of wasting more time or money on another crappy book or movie, how about you take a stab at the job? I mean, why not?”

 

I’ve been nominated by incahootswithmuddyboots for the 3 Day Quote Challenge. Check out her blog. Impressive photographs! My first 2 day’s quotes are also about writing or story telling, by Neil Gaiman and Susan Strauss and Chuck Palahnuik. See them here  and here, along with who I nominated yesterday.

The rules to this challenge are:

  • Post on 3 consecutive days
  • Post one to three quotes per day (They can be much shorter than mine!)
  • Challenge three different bloggers each day

Today I nominate these bloggers for the 3 Day Quote challenge. Check out their blogs!

https://lynnborton.wordpress.com/     She’s a reflector, showing us what’s in our lives.

https://amusing2writenc.wordpress.com/     He’s dedicated to writing, a thoughtful crafter.

https://lumar1298.wordpress.com/     Such stunning photographs! Quotes would be just perfect with some of these images.

Real life beats imagination cold

“My pet theory about the success of Fight Club is that it provided a structure for people to be together. People want to find new ways for connecting. Look at American Quilt and The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood and Joy Luck Club. These are all books that present a structure, making a quilt or playing Mahjong, providing a structure that allows people to be together and share their stories. All these books are short stories bound together by a shared activity.”

“The world is made of people telling stories. . . . Any long story, any novel, is just a combination of short stories.”

“Instead of wasting more time or money on another crappy book or movie, how about you take a stab at the job? I mean, why not?”

From Chuck Palahniuk in Stranger Than Fiction, a collection of essays and journalistic pieces that prove that real life has imagination beaten cold in the strangeness and wonder departments.

 

I’ve been nominated by incahootswithmuddyboots for the 3 Day Quote Challenge. Check out her blog. Impressive photographs! My first day’s quotes are also about writing or story telling, by Neil Gaiman and Susan Strauss. See them here along with who I nominated yesterday.

The rules to this challenge are:

  • Post on 3 consecutive days
  • Post one to three quotes per day
  • Challenge three different bloggers each day

Today I nominate these bloggers for the 3 Day Quote challenge. Check out their blogs!

https://thestorytellersabode.wordpress.com/     This blog is full of flash fiction and stories galore!

http://behindthewillows.com/     What an interesting look at things many of us do on any day, of family, of good books to read. Quotes are just perfect for her blog.

http://tishfarrell.com/     She calls herself a writer on the edge. Definitely a reflective writer and a careful photographer. Quotes are perfect for her blog, too.

Winter Walk

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Walk with me on a sunny January day in the Rocky Mountains.

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Contemplate a place to meditate next to the creek. Think of spring when iris blooms over the grave on the slope. Think of summer when you sway in the hammock strung between the trees.

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Spy on unwary quail that live beneath snow and branches.

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Discover a chickadee’s pantry where it has stashed seeds from your feeder.

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Let it show you how it cracks a black sunflower seed open for lunch.

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Wonder if it was a fox or cat that left its tracks along the creek, up the hill,

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beneath the pine, across the field, over the show covered chair, under the Elderberry brush,

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across the puddle (those are my show shoe tracks next to the animal trail), between strands of barbed wire,

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into the forest.

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Breathe deeply along the creek.

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Feel like you are being watched.

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Take your time knowing a pair of Red Breasted Nut Hatches.

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Catch a bubble and float away.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Optimistic

 

 

strike

Strike

Sudden blow     bundle of muscles and feathers

A swift  punch                   a severe and  unexpected calamity

How I wish to collide violently with myself

The shock of the strike                  the assault or unexpected injury

Impact with vehement feeling or expression

Shoved in my mouth

When an electric current passes through all or part of the body

a talon in the chest wall                 stammering heartbeat

to create strong internal stress

A claw in the heart          limp corpse in the hand

And what is myself without wings

A means or instrument of flight, travel, or progress

Will you collide violently with me

Will you inflict a harmful and obsessive influence on the mind

Shove my blood into your mouth

A bundle              unwrapped and uninvited

The shock            jar          impact                 

Collapse

Strong blow to the sense of decency

And I want to root for the Beast

For it must live by plunder

Taken by robbery, theft, or fraud

It knows no other way                   seized and devoured

 

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About this poem

This morning I heard a bird hit the window. I looked for it and saw this hawk tangled with its prey in the deer netting strung around my garden. My camera was upstairs in the loft. I got two quick shots, then ran downstairs to get closer. When it heard me on the deck it had recovered, was resting, and then alarmed by me it flew away into the pines with its prey. I can’t tell if it took a quail or jay until I snow shoe to the scene and look for feathers. A jay and a pair of nuthatches in the pine were telling me all about the excitement.

I opened my e-mail and read the Poem a Day sent from Poets.org. Today’s poem is a new format for me, it introduced me to invoking and intervening using dictionary definitions in the text. Definitions are set off in italics. The inspriration came to me from here.

The predator and the daily poem, they just seemed to belong together and so inspired me to create this composition.

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Look below the branch this nuthatch is on and left of the trunk. It’s mate is peeking out.

I write because

first letter

Why do I write? I consider this question several times a year. Why do I write now when I’m not getting paid for my work? And writing is work, regardless of how enjoyable it might feel.

Today I write because it takes me away. Whether fiction, poetry, or nonfiction in those moments while I am writing I’m not here; I’m somewhere else. Something of a meditation, writing pulls and pushes, sorts, brings forth and reveals thoughts and feelings. It’s cleansing. Writing sets me right with myself, puts things in order in myself.

Today I write because my readers respond. Your feedback inspires me. Your appreciation of language encourages me to keep writing, keep exploring ways of using language. Everybody likes praise, right? It’s like applause for a performance, the interchange between musician and dancer, the interaction between writer and reader.

Today I write because I can construct worlds, places, characters, and events. I write to clear my heart and my heartache. Most of my writing doesn’t get read and usually that doesn’t matter. The act of creating is stronger than the need for showing. But, oh, to have audience and feedback, that matters, too.

Today I write because I love the art of language. I love the challenges of using nothing but language to express a scene with sensory images, to show a vignette or a feeling.

Today I write to explore genres, to bend and reshape genres, to break the rules. I write for the trial. I write to keep my mind in practice and focused.

Today I’m not writing to be published; I’m not writing for pay. I write because I can communicate with those people who will take the time to read, who have enough endurance to stay with words and ideas. I write because Uncle Clarence and my grandparents wrote letters to me since I was a child and they read my letters and responded, as if what I wrote was important, as if it mattered. Connecting with people, with family and strangers, that matters.

I write because it matters.

This post is my response to today’s writing prompt in the Writing 101 course, challenging me to write a post a day. The photos are my contribution to this week’s photo challenge: connected. The poetry magnets poem is “connected” to my fridge and more words connect my guests with me as they leave unique word arrangements for me to find after they’ve gone. The hand written letter is the first of many that my grandfather wrote to my grandmother, courting her during World War 1. I started a story stimulated by the series of letters, the Cat Rock Letters. I haven’t progressed very far with that project but I hope to get back to it this month. 

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a blogger, a writer. So tell me, please, I want to know why do you write?

And then

And then

ideas began to emerge

like tears in the bottom of her

eyes

they flooded and pooled and spilled

over the rims

soon words

and

phrases

ran down her cheeks

and

dripped off her nose

she sniffed

she snorted

ideas

words

sentences

streaked her cheeks

in enormous loud sobs

like winter runoff streams plunging

over boulders

rushing

in the melt

pools of paragraphs drenched

the page

and then

the story told itself.

About this poem

This writing responds to the first prompt in Witing 201: Poetry, a challenge to write and post a poem a day for 2 weeks, using the given prompts. The topic is water and the device is similie, comparing with “like” or “as”. I skipped the form Haiku on this prompt. I used tears, flood, stream, and pools for the water theme. The whole thing is rather a metaphor, and it uses similie. So far I haven’t posted a poem a day, but I’m sure to catch up this weekend.

The ideas and words came to me while I was on almost the last day of sewing 16 Robin Hood costumes for children’s theater. I was working at the cutting table. I keep a journal with me when I’m engaging my hands in projects because that’s when words often come together, when I’m in the artist’s zone, the other half of my brain. Do something unrelated, then the ideas and words can free themselves from my overthinking about them.

Write more of that

“You know that part of your writing that you question – that’s weird and doesn’t fit neatly into a genre or a mold? Write more of that. Please.” Richard Thomas

I needed to see this advice, or permission, today. I wouldn’t say I have writer’s block, more like writer’s ennui, boredom. Fear of starting or moving the story or poem further. Fear of critics?! Eeeee gads! My local writers group convenes monthly to share our writing and “give and get support, constructive feedback”. I’ve decided to take a break from the group precisely because I am exploring writing that is weird, that doesn’t fit the mold, and – they don’t get it. They coach me to stay in the mold, don’t stray outside the familiar. To me, when I am exploring, I don’t want “moldy” writing. I’m not submitting my exploratory drafts to a publisher, for Pete’s sake. I’m just “messing around” with ideas, words, voice, style, and yes – bending genres and molds. My local writing group doesn’t advise me or permit me to explore. Today I use Richard Thomas’ words to give myself permission to explore. Advice to explore, even.

I’m bored with most of the structured traditional forms and content in the writers group, maintaining tight formula beginning, middle, and end, explaining everything for the reader so he or she doesn’t have to, or doesn’t GET to, imagine any details. Teaching literature and structured writing forms perhaps has shown me too much formula in basal readers that students can analyze and use as models for their compostions. Creative writing classes have diminished dramatically in American schools in the last five years.

That local group of writers may be right when they remind me that most people don’t want to think very much about their reading, they don’t want to reread a paragraph or section, even a sentence, to get the meaning, or deepen the meaning. Readers, they say, don’t want to imagine what Harv looked like or how he dressed. They want the writer to tell, or show, them details, details, details. I believe it. ELABORATION is the key to getting higher scores in state standardized writing assessments. And layering ideas is a bonus, too. I am happy to see the Common Core state standards across the nation demanding that students read literature with more complexity and stretch themselves with their writing. Sure, we still use models to teach reading and writing, but now we encourage readers and writers again to try writing “that’s  weird, that doesn’t fit neatly into a genre or mold”, to find their voice. I taught verbally gifted or talented kids and I thought all kids should be taught to think about their reading and writing in more depth. To try out new ways of showing their ideas. All kids, all of them. All of us.

 The local writing group has no tolerance for my writing where I ask the reader, or listener in storytelling, to use his or her own imagination, where characters and settings, like in Harv, are not always elaborated with details. Another reader, not in the group, said everyone knows a Harv. Don’t describe him, let us imagine the one we know. That’s storytelling, the oral tradition genre, using stock characters liked Raven, Coyote, Hercules, and Harv. Everyone has their own image for stock characters, whatever their names. My local group is uncomfortable with my writing where forms are not fully formed like the spirits emerging through the portal, through the veil from their mystical world into our mortal material realm in the beginning of my LaWrynn Stories.

 Today is as good a time as any to write without questioning what’s weird and doesn’t fit a genre or mold. Edgar Allen Poe is known as the “Father of the Short Story” and Walt Whitman is known as the “Father of Free Verse or Blank Verse” poetry because they invented new literary forms, unfamiliar to their contemporary readers. Bram Stoker introduced the setting and  mood in “Dracula” by showing the reader unformed forms in his beginning pages. It takes courage to read unfamiliar literary forms and more courage to draft it.        tff

Harv

man walking away on prairie

In the Depression Harv moved around. He didn’t have his own home. Harv stayed with different relatives. He’d stay on one ranch and help them out. Then he moved on to another kin’s place and helped them do chores and fix things. He tried to be handy, but he was more in the way than useful. He stayed a couple of months usually. He wasn’t always appreciated, but he was family, so folks let Harv live with them to help him out. For a while. Harv made the rounds living with one brother or sister, then the next, and that’s how he got by in those days. After several rounds of putting him up,  Fred had had enough of his mooching brother . You see, Harv drank a lot and wasn’t at all helpful.

Fred liked to get up early and get at the chores. There was a skating rink in the town and Harv would go there every night and drink himself blind. He came home, Fred and Letha’s home, when the joint closed and slept it off until late in the morning. Every day. One morning when the shadowed edges were beginning to darken into things we know, Fred took Harv’s knife while he lay sleeping. He walked to the chicken pen in dim lantern light and selected a young hen. He twisted her head until he felt her spinal cord snap and then he cut her throat with the blade. Then he plucked out her feathers , dressed her out, and sliced her in pieces. He dropped the pieces in a pail hanging on the side of the hen house. He tossed the slick innards into the hog pen. And then Fred carefully slipped back into Harv’s bedroom and put the bloody knife back where he found it. Letha came humming across the yard to the hen house swinging a basket for fresh eggs, the way she did every day. She folded up the bottom of her apron forming a pocket and held it tightly in one hand. Then she picked up the bloody chicken parts and dropped them into the fold. She carried the flesh into the kitchen, rinsed them in the sink, and put the pieces in a bowl in the ice box next to the new eggs. They’d have chicken dinner tonight.

When the sun was well up, Harv sat in a kitchen chair waiting for his breakfast the way he did every day. Fred poured a cup of weak coffee for each of them and looked down at his brother. “Harv”, said Fred as he set the cups on the embroidered table cloth, “Were you at the skating rink last night?” “Sure I was” said Harv. “Every night.” Fred looked at Harv for a long silence. “Harv, the Sherriff was here this morning. He wanted to talk to you. Said there was a fight at the skating rink last night and a fellow got stabbed. He didn’t think he’s gonna live. Sherriff wanted to ask you if you saw the fight, if you know anything about it.” Harv looked at his steaming cup for a long silence. He didn’t remember any fight the night before. He didn’t remember much at all from last night. Harv left Fred and Letha’s ranch that day and he never came back. That’s the way Aunt Jewel always tells it about Harv.

About this story: Duree Shiverick, Eagle, Idaho, told me this story in her shop January 22, 2015 while she replaced the string attachment cord on my antique violin. I was wandering the shop examining imaginatively carved fiddle heads while she spoke. And then I sat on a beautifully upholstered chair opposite her while she worked and gave me the tale. I asked her permission to embellish the story and use it in my storytelling bag. Harv’s name is real but I created the others. After telling the story several times it will change. When I am telling stories to an audience, that’s often when the language emerges by itself and makes a better fit. Repetition of words and phrases like “every night” is common in storytelling. I tried to keep the language simple and straight forward. I am putting more dark or magic or mythical elements in my story making since taking a writers workshop last year in a http://www.mccallarts.org/cabinfever program sponsored by the McCall Arts and Humanities Council, and in anticipation of the Horror Writers Workshop in Transylvania this summer.

How this story originated. After I published this story I was contacted by Miki Odendahl who says she is the original author. She says she wrote it in a high school creative writing class. Duree, who gave me the story, is her mother. I put my own storytelling style to it and the tale above is the result. Stories change over time when they are passed down orally. I want to give credit to the young lady who first composed the plot. She owns the story, though her version is much different from this. I am grateful that she came to me and set me straight, and allows me to publish it here.

In the original author’s words:

Duree is my mother. I grew up in Eagle, Idaho–first on Pimlico Drive, then in the cul de sac on North 2nd Street where she now lives with my 96 yo grandmother, Velma.

The story about Harvey was originally written for my creative writing class at Meridian Senior High School, about my own rabbit in the guise of another, and was a tribute to my friend, Valerie Harvey’s, brother who drowned when we were in grade school at Eagle Elementary. Yes, my mother can spin a yarn, and does so often, especially about me (according to her, I’m a serial killer, too), but this particular story was entirely mine.

Your story was forwarded to me by one of my childhood friends, who knows this story well.

About this photo: Someone took this photo of my nephew on either his family ranch near Sweet and Ola, Idaho, or in Wyoming. I adjusted curves and gave it a shape blur in Adobe CS4. I think it gives a ghostly image illustrating Harv leaving that day, although it’s a sunrise shot. Memories and stories retold have a blurry quality, rather dreamlike and that’s the mood I was trying to capture in this photo.

Invitation to Horror

I am thrilled to get to partcipate in the horror writers workshop in Transylvania this summer! I get to visit Bran’s castle and have a bite at Dracula’s house (lunch). I invite you to take up the challenge, too.

Horror is not my best writing genre, but then I don’t really know because I’ve only peered into it. This workshop will immerse me in the craft. The author teacher, Richard Thomas, is one of the best. (More about him in the link at the end of this.) I’ve been assured that exploratory writing will be just the ticket.

When I wondered if my writing is up to the challenge, the Program Director, an accomplished author herself, Tausha Johnson gave me this to think about. (She’s in the link below, too.)

“Writing a Horror Story

Every story is, in its tiny way, a horror story. Horror is about fear and tragedy, and whether or not one is capable of overcoming those things. It’s not all about severed heads or blood-glutton vampires. It’s an existential thing, a tragic thing, and somewhere in every story this dark heart beats.”

She said, “Yes, Kay, horror is very open and covers a lot of ground, such as dark fiction, dark fantasy, gothic, noir, psychological horror, weird, supernatural, surreal, grotesque, suspense & thriller, slipstream (crossing lines with sci-fi and fantasy), etc. Then there’s the horror I write which is more literary horror. Flannery O’Connor & Shirley Jackson often fall into this horror sub-genre. Whatever our style or genre of writing, there are elements to the genre that can help us create suspense and unique, original stories.”

Roots, photo from The Storyteller’s Abode at https://thestorytellersabode.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/roots.jpg

In my LaWrynn stories (in the menu at the top of this blog) there is much fantasy and darkness. She arrives in our world from the other world, the Celtic idea of where we are when we are dead or where the enchanted beings live. She enters our world through a portal on Samhain, the Celtic celebration when spirits can enter our world for 3 days, then go back to their world. It occurs at Halloween time and celebrates the end of the old year and beginning the new with festivities and community bonfires. Once in our world, she lives in the dark underground, Badger’s hole, and encounters life on this side, including dangers and horrors as well as light mischief and fun. She’s trapped here for a year because she didn’t get back through the portal at the end of 3 days. Her horror is having to live in this world. There’s magic and fantasy and lots of room to add darker elements. LaWrynn is mostly living in a real notebook with me for now. I need to prod myself to get more of her stories into this blog.  You can read the draft of her appearance here. https://skybluedaze.wordpress.com/lawrynn-stories-fantasy-and-celtic-lore/

And I have more ideas for dark stories. My new neighbor might be a pyromaniac and he’s obsessed with sealing wasps out of his house. For real! Wasps really scare me!They attack me every chance they get. I feel like their target. His house was abandoned for several years so wasps moved in and I don’t doubt ghosts abide there, too.

In my https://skybluedaze.wordpress.com/the-cat-rock-letters/, I plan to animate the stone formation, a cat that overlooks the river and section house where Frank lives. In Celtic lore rock formations have powers and can change and cause changes. But this set of stories is not so dark and maybe I’ll leave them as they are.

I have other ideas in my journal, too, so maybe horror writing is not that far off for me. My fiction writing is more like dark fantasy than gore. But the horror genre seems to be experimental and flexible these days, according to the instructor’s podcast. http://www.thisishorror.co.uk/tih-025-richard-thomas-on-the-dos-and-donts-of-short-story-writing/

Dracula’s Castle

I like the ravine in Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine.  I long to produce a play adapted from Poe’s “Mask of the Red Death”. I love Stanley Kubrick’s directing in the suspenceful movie “The Shining”. Nicole Kidman’s performance in the ghost story “The Others” convinced me. And I could not put down Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk even when the snow outside was the best ever on my vacation. He wrote Haiku in the story! Poe also wrote poems in his stories like https://skybluedaze.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/haunted-palace/ in “The Fall of the House of Usher”. Shakespeare’s stories showed ghosts and seers and tragedies. Mythology is full of tragedies. I got this!

Farewell Bonfire

If I never wanted to write horror, and never contrived a place I’d like to be when I write it, and people I’d like to be with…well sometimes I just need to be spontaneous and go with the demon when it stretches its claw toward me. With a generous scholarship offer from the workshop director, Tausha Johnson, I am 93% sure I am going to be in in Transylvania in July for the horror writer’s workshop. I’m looking at travel costs before making 7% more commitment. I’m sure I can do it! Just do it for no good reason. Going!

Get me there…alive…

I’ve never traveled off the North American continent and I need a little guidance about making flight arrangements. If you can advise me, please reply! I can fly from Boise or SEATAC. Here’s where I need to go:

“We recommend that guests fly to Henri Coandă International Airport, Romania which is located 16.5km (10.3mi) northwest of the city of Bucharest. Once all travel arrival times have been confirmed, a shuttle will bring you from a designated meeting point directly to the hotel in Bran. Please be aware that travel time to Bran is approximately three hours.”

http://www.workshopwriters.com/

http://www.workshopwriters.com/us/

https://www.smore.com/y6es9-horror-writing-in-transylvania

The Leibster Award

 

Thanks so much http://photographywithwords.wordpress.com/2014/11/21/photographywithwords-the-leibster-award/ for nominating my blog for the Leibster Award! They thought my photography is awesome. Ah, gee. Goes to show you never know who is watching your blog and how your posts effect them. Leibster is German for lovely, appealing, nice, that sort of thing. I was asked to respond to 11 questions and then nominate other blogs for the award. Here are my responses and my nominations for more wonderful blogs.

1.) Why did you decide to start to blog?

I missed writing features articles for a newspaper and I wanted to share the culture and environments of both fabulous places where I lived, one in Idaho Rocky Mountains, and one on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula at the coast. I wanted to move beyond journal writing, notes. I have 45 or more journals. Like performing music, writing needs to have an audience some of the time.

2.)What is your favorite memory?

So many wonderful memories collage in my mind. I’m sure the outstanding ones place me outdoors skiing or at a lake or beach. Or maybe cruising the San Juan Islands on our boats. And doing everyday things with family like shucking huge open tubs of corn in my grandparents’ garage with my extended family.

3.) Who inspires you?

Uncle Clarence. He began writing letters when I moved away in 7th grade and we exchanged letters from then until he passed at age 90. He typed his letters on a Royal from the 1920s. I started keeping his letters in the late 80s and I have a wealth of his concise writing style and stories to share on my blog.

4.) What is your current goal in life?

I want to learn to say no to working except for small contracts that relate to my art and writing. I want to commit to stay focused on my art and writing. I want to clear out the clutter in my studio by using all the “found objects” and fabric until I have space to collect and use more. And to get some projects ready to sell.

5.) How would you describe yourself?

Calm, energetic, sincere, balanced.

6.)How much wood could a Woodchuck chuck if a Woodchuck could chuck wood?

Enough to stay warm all winter and share with others in need.

7.) What do you do for Fun?

Ski, kayak, hike, write, draw, photograph, lead kids in children’s theater, landscape and garden.

8.) What is your dream vacation?

I want to spend some weeks or months exploring Montana and really catching a fish with my fly outfit.

9.) What is your favorite Quote?

Anywhere you are, there you are.

10.) Do you enjoy running a blog?

sure

11.) What do you plan to do now?

After I finish the post I will read some other blogs, knit a while on a scarf, organize my studio for a while, and write the next piece for the Cat Rock letters on my blog.

Now it’s time that I nominate blogs that I think are fantastic, but they must have less than 500 followers. I scoured the earth for the longest time and found these unique blogs:

http://thecraftyladyincombatboots.wordpress.com/ A retired Air Force lady, her blog really came alive for me when she took up the photo a day challenge. Wow!

https://dwaycrafts.wordpress.com/ His crisp photos always surprise me. He makes a point quickly in his writing and photos. He shows me an urban nature I had not expected to see in a huge city. He makes me think. He makes me feel.

http://whiteoakcottagedotcom.wordpress.com/ I love cottages and cottage gardens. Hers are beautiful, and her photos and posts appeal to me on a deep level. She writes about sensitive issues and enlightens me.

http://cookingwithawallflower.com You’ll like her professional photos of food and recipes, plus her down home talk about her travels and her life. Waiting for a job as a dental hygienist, she might as well write an on-line cook book. Yum.

http://thestorytellersabode.wordpress.com/     A Fairy Mind lives in this blog. Quite creative and a photographer who posts photos of intrigue.

 https://cartervail.wordpress.com/ says she’s one wicked writer, dark and twisted. She has a love for the strange and unusual, as well as a curiosity for the unknown. She believes anything is possible. She blogs about sci fi, macabre, and fantasy.

http://behindthewillows.com/ I connect with her posts and photos about rural life. She can tell a story efficiently with appeal.

Triumph!

Triumph!

Big bright summer sunflowers!
Big bright summer sunflowers!

Triumph is the color of summer sunflowers in river bottom topsoil given me by friendly neighbors.

dog in creek
Sweet Jane wades in our creek her  first week home in March at 93 pounds.

Triumph is Sweet Jane, the German Shepherd we adopted after 15 months in the “no kill’ shelter. She’s getting old, has thyroid issues, skin allergies, and forever ear infections. She lost weight from 140 pounds when her previous owner surrendered her to 71 pounds with good care. That she is alive and in a loving home is triumph for this animal. And she really is sweet!

Dog in river.
Sweet Jane wades in the mouth of the Elwha River.

Triumph is freeing the Elwha River from 2 dams that prevented historic 100 pound salmon from spawning. Sweet Jane romps in the briny water and on the sand spits created by the river.

2 dogs in van
2 dog car alarm – Sweet Jane and Ozette.

Triumph is just getting up in the morning for many people. I like this post about Triumph.

https://thestoryofmylifebyterismile.wordpress.com/2014/11/28/triumph-wordpress-101photo/

Home is an unpaved road

“Mom do you know how many signs there are to your house that say the road narrows?” This from my daughter on a drive to our Idaho home. I did not know. So I started at one end where our gravel road meets the highway and drove to the other end where it loops back to the highway. I found more signs than I am sharing, and many tree houses, too, along our route. For me, home is a sense of place, a sense of the wild in nature and in my life. I have lived in mountains, on a beach, almost on a boat, and in cities.

My feeling of home brings sounds of people chatting, laughing, and crying together. I smell aromas from family cooking together in our kitchens, the compost in gardens, and rotting seaweed on a beach. The sense of home would make a challenging photo series. Some feelings can’t be photographed.

I see me in a place remote from city sirens and helicopters, a place where I encounter wildlife and rocks and rivers and can walk daily in peace. I want to get off the pavement and journey up a dirt road, ever narrowing, to a home where I can retreat from the fast pace of life. A place to renew myself and my family and set us running back to pavement when the time is right.

Show Me a Writer Actively Practicing the Art

On a coffee break today, I reviewed my list of blog followers. I wondered when you each started following me and why. And I really want want to know who you are and how we connect.

I scrolled down the list and began exploring profiles behind the gravatars. Many of my followers are also writers and photographers. Alieen Hunt’s “about” page shows me a writer actively practicing the art. She lists her literary submissions and publications. She also has links on her “about” page, one for Tumblr. I know practically nothing about Tumblr so I clicked her link and found such a wonderful new experience, I want to share it with you.

The photos hooked me right away. Below them I became engaged with her list of 12 Essential Essays for Writers. I recognize the authors Joan Didion, Annie Dillard, Kurt Vonnegut, Stephen King, Elizabeth Gilbert, and many more. I can’t wait to read these essays and apply their wisdom to my own writing.

Today, I want to share Aileen’s “about” page and her Tumblr page with you. If you are a writer I think you, too, will be interested in the essays for writers. It will take more than a coffee break for me to read all the essays. I doubt I can understand how to create my Tumblr account over a cup of java, but it looks like it will be worth a try.

Here are links to Alieen Hunt’s “about” page on her blog, and to the 12 Essential Essays for Writers on her Tumblr account. 

Aileen Hunt’s “about” page.     http://aileen-hunt.com/

Aileen Hunt on Tublr       http://aileenhunt.tumblr.com/

12 Essential essays for writers.         http://tetw.org/Essays_for_Writers

The Haunted Palace

old shack near Lapwai
What is your vision of a haunted palace? Illusion, reality, memory? Photo by Kay Addington MacDonald

by Edgar Allan Poe

In the greenest of our valleys
By good angels tenanted,
Once a fair and stately palace—
Radiant palace—reared its head.
In the monarch Thought’s dominion—
It stood there!
Never seraph spread a pinion
Over fabric half so fair!

Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
On its roof did float and flow,
(This—all this—was in the olden
Time long ago,)
And every gentle air that dallied,
In that sweet day,
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,
A winged odor went away.
Wanderers in that happy valley,
Through two luminous windows, saw
Spirits moving musically,
To a lute’s well-tuned law,
Round about a throne where, sitting
(Porphyrogene!)
In state his glory well-befitting,
The ruler of the realm was seen.

And all with pearl and ruby glowing
Was the fair palace door,
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing,
And sparkling evermore,
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty
Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty,
The wit and wisdom of their king.
But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
Assailed the monarch’s high estate.
(Ah, let us mourn!—for never morrow
Shall dawn upon him desolate!)
And round about his home the glory
That blushed and bloomed,
Is but a dim-remembered story
Of the old time entombed.

And travellers, now, within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows see
Vast forms, that move fantastically
To a discordant melody,
While, like a ghastly rapid river,
Through the pale door
A hideous throng rush out forever
And laugh—but smile no more.