I’m going camping…

Camp time

…at Camp NaNoWriMo, that is…in case you hadn’t heard…like, because you’ve been in a cave or something…goodness knows, I’ve mentioned this enough.  I found out  who all  I’ll be sharing a cabin with…several ladies, all around my age, so we shouldn’t be having any late night wild parties…or maybe we will, who knows?  It’s nice to have a built-in support system…not sure who all has participated in past NaNo events, but I did see that there are a couple of published authors in my cabin, so that’s pretty cool!

I’m just ready to get started writing and super-excited about the whole thing…umm…like you didn’t already know that, right?

So, if you don’t hear from me quite as often, you’ll know it’s because I’m sitting around the camp fire, telling spooky stories, roasting marshmallows, and, oh yeah, writing…starting early Friday morning!!  Yes!!

Short short…story

Bedroom

Bedroom (Photo credit: plasticstalker)

It’s dark, middle of the night dark.  No street lights out here in the boondocks, no moon tonight dark. The little girl is startled out of a deep sleep. What is that?  Is somebody in here?  The girl stops breathing in an effort to be quiet enough that whoever is in her bedroom won’t be able to find her. She has her eyes wide open, trying to see who is in the room with her.  Even so, it’s  still too dark to see anything.

She gasps as someone reaches out and grasps her hand.  She struggles to free herself, but can’t get loose.  She whispers, “Daddy, someone has me and I can’t get away.”

Suddenly the light comes on.  Daddy is standing in the doorway, ready to protect his little girl from the intruder.  The girl is almost too afraid to look at whoever is holding her hand, but she finally gets up the nerve to face the monster.

And then she sees…the hand holding her right hand so tightly…is her left hand…

 

Unhappy at work

English: Book and apparatus for writing. Engra...

English: Book and apparatus for writing. Engraving (prints). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m still struggling with the changes that have been made where I work.  I’m trying my best to work through it, to remain positive and continue to do my job.  But oh my goodness, is it ever difficult!  With the changes that have been made to my schedule, I am not given the time to actually do my job.  And that stresses me out, knowing that the things that I’m supposed to be doing, the things in my job description, aren’t getting done…

Thank goodness for my writing!  Honestly, that has become my saving grace.  I work all day (or night, or mid-day…whatever…the schedule is different every day), come home feeling like I haven’t accomplished anything, but am able to sit down at the computer and write away my troubles.  I can get wrapped up in my short stories, my book, or my blog and leave the stress of work behind.  And for that, I am so grateful.  My writing has managed to keep me from falling into a pit of depression, has given me hope that things will get better.

However, writing hasn’t been able to tell me if things are going to get better where I am, or if I’ll have to make a change in order to find some measure of happiness at work again.  At least, my writing hasn’t told me that yet…maybe, if I delve deep enough, I’ll  find even those answers in my writing…who knows?

NaNo questions

Nanowrimo Hell (also computer shot for Chase)

Nanowrimo Hell (also computer shot for Chase) (Photo credit: Ingrid!)

Hmm…are you thinking I may be a tad bit excited about this whole Camp NaNo thing I’m getting ready to dive into?  Well, you’d be right.  I’ve done a bit of preparation today since I had the day off work.  But I do have a few questions for you more experienced NaNo participants, if you wouldn’t mind sharing your knowledge with a first-timer…

Did you set daily goals for yourself, taking into account your work schedule…or did you just write as much as you could every day and hope for the best?

Did you use any kind of writing software?  If so, what did you use and would you use it again?  Pros and cons?

Were you alright knowing that some of what you were writing was, well…crap…and that you’d have to do major revisions to get your work publishable?  Did you just keep writing no matter how it was turning out?

Any words of wisdom you’d care to share?

The more I think about this challenge, the more anxious I am to get it underway…but I’m not actually starting my writing until Friday, because…well…that would be cheating, right?  And no cheating allowed…seriously, what’s the point if you don’t follow the plan? At least that’s how I view the challenge…and isn’t the challenge for me??

I think this is going to be fun, nerve-wracking, enlightening, motivational, and just an all-around awesome experience!!  I’m ready for camp!

 

Am I ready for NaNoWriMo?

nanowrimo

nanowrimo (Photo credit: evilnick)

Ready or not, here it comes!  I signed up for this after one of my blogging buddies (hey, Patti…yes, also named Patti!) completed it the last time around.  I thought it sounded like a pretty cool challenge and a great way to get me writing consistently on my novel.  I’ve been loosely outlining it for the past few days.  Tomorrow I’m going to try to assemble all of the pieces so I can focus on writing starting June 1.

I think the fact that I’ve been thinking about this book for a long, LONG time should help me with the writing.  I’m a little nervous about committing to this challenge.  It consists of a lot of writing in one month, probably more than I’ve ever done in just a month.  But challenges are good for me…there’s just something about challenging myself that motivates me to meet my goals.

I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to post the short stories I’ve been writing during the month of June.  Hopefully, by the end of the month, I’ll have the rough draft of my first novel completed though…and that would be a huge accomplishment.

So…anyone who’s done NaNoWriMo, got any tips or encouragement for me?  Were you able to complete the required writing for the month-long challenge?  Was it…fun?  I don’t know how fun it’s going to be, but I’m definitely looking forward to the challenge.

Outlining your stories

Outline for article

Outline for article (Photo credit: hawkexpress)

Do you?  Outline your stories, that is.  I’ve never really sat down and plotted the beginning, middle, and end of my stories…not really.  I mean I’ve always kind of had an idea of where I was going (okay, honestly…I haven’t always had that idea…there have been times when I just started writing with no planning on my part), but now I’m thinking about trying to write with at least a loose outline.

Sometimes I think I know exactly what my characters are going to do and then they surprise me by taking the story the way they want it to go.  And that direction is usually much better than what I had planned.  It’s possible that I was concerned that an outline would hem me in, but isn’t that a silly thought? Just because I plotted it one way doesn’t mean I can’t turn around and take a different path, does it?

So, that’s going to be my lesson for the next couple of stories I write…we’ll see how this works out.

What’s your writing style?  Do you plan everything out before you start or do you let your story flow freely?

Teaching children

English: Children of migrant cotton field work...

English: Children of migrant cotton field workers from Sweetwater, Oklahoma. Eight children in the family. Note the housing. Near Casa Grande project, Pinal County, Arizona (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, another Sunday come and gone.  It wasn’t like those Sundays in the past, when Joe was still around.  But it was a good day in its own way.  Esther took the children out in the woods where they gathered a basketful of poke weed, pulled some wild onions, and found a good berry patch where lots of the berries were bigger than Esther’s thumb, big and juicy, just right for eatin’ fresh with enough to make a nice cobbler too.  The kids sure did enjoy that.

She showed ‘em the elderberry bushes, not quite ripe yet, but loaded with flowers that would soon become berries.  They’d have to fight the birds for ‘em, but it’d be worth it.  Looks like they’ll be able to get plenty for jelly later on.  They also walked under several persimmon trees.  The tiny fruit on those trees wouldn’t be ripe until fall, but it sure did look like there would be lots of it.  They all had a good laugh when Joey told the younger kids about him eating a green persimmon one time…wooeee, if that don’t make you pucker, nothin’ will.

While they were out in the woods, Esther smelled an old ripe cucumber smell.  She knew what that meant and knew it was up to her to teach her kids what it meant too.  She told ‘em all to stand still, right where they were at.  Then she asked ‘em if they could smell it.  When they all figured they could, she told ‘em what that meant out there in the middle of the woods.  Nothin’ to be too scared of, no need to take off runnin’, just be sure to notice it and keep still.  When ya smell that old cucumber smell out in the woods or fields, it means there’s a copperhead around abouts somewhere.  Usually a copperhead will be more scared of you than you are of him.  Just stay still and give him time to get away from ya and you’ll be okay.

Later that evening, after the kids were in bed, Esther was sitting at the kitchen table remembering the day.  She was thinkin’ about how the children all paid attention to what she’d told ‘em and that now they all knew what to do when a copperhead was around.  Yep, Joe, trying my best to teach our kids what they need to know to get along in this old world.  Sure do wish you was here with me.  Every kid needs a daddy, that’s for sure.  But I’ll do the best I can to be momma and daddy both to these kids.  I sure do miss you, Joe.  Miss sittin’ here talkin’ about the day after all the work is done and the kids are down for the night.  Miss yer quiet laugh when one of the children did somethin’ funny.  Miss sharin’ the work with ya, and the good times too.  Oh Joe, why?  Why’d ya have to go and die on me?  Sometimes I just don’t know if I can do this without ya, but…I know I have to…if you can hear me, Joe, just know I still love ya, we all do.  And I’m doin’ the best I can.

Esther leaned over the table and blew out the candle.  Wiping a tear from her cheek, she slowly made her way to her empty bed.

I give up!

Purity, coconut milk and nail polishes

Purity, coconut milk and nail polishes (Photo credit: J. Gimme™)

Really, I just have to give up.  I’ve been trying to be more frugal, not spend money needlessly, buy less expensive products.  But I’m drawing the line on my facial cleanser.  I’m 50 something years old, isn’t that too old to be getting pimples?

See, I have used Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple cleanser for several years and always had great results with it.  But my frugality had me looking elsewhere for effective, gentle cleansers.  Well…okay…yes, I can buy cleansers that cost a lot less.  I can even buy them with coupons.  But when they cause my skin to break out, I have to ask myself if they’re even worth the price I’m paying for them.  And the answer is a resounding “NO!!”, not if they’re not going to do the job.

I hear people say that all cleansers are basically the same, but the Purity is the only one I’ve ever used that doesn’t cause me to have break outs…really.  So…I’m done.  I give up.  I went online and placed an order for the super size bottle (which will last me at least the rest of the year).  And you know what?  I don’t even feel guilty about it.  What I do feel guilty about is buying these less expensive cleansers and then throwing them out halfway through the bottle because they’re causing issues with my skin.

So, that’s it.  The next time I’m trying to be frugal with my facial cleanser, would someone please remind me of this post???

Scrounging for food for the children

Some of the family eat Sunday dinner, on Sunda...

Some of the family eat Sunday dinner, on Sundays the two married sons of the Sergents, their wives and children often… – NARA – 541343 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sunday.  The one day of the week that’s different.  For one thing, the diner is always closed on Sunday.  As tired as she is, Esther appreciates having a day off, but that means no table scraps to bring home to feed the kids.  So Esther knows she’ll have to come up with somethin’ else to fill those little tummies today.

As she sits at the kitchen table in the quiet of the early morning, Esther thinks back to how Sundays used to be, back when Joe was still alive and they lived on their farm.  She still got out of bed early in those days.  Lots of cooking to do for a family of seven, that’s for sure.  She’d get her bread kneaded and set it to rise in a warm spot in the kitchen.  Nothing like the smell of yeast bread to get a mouth to waterin’.  Sometimes she’d put on a big pot of beans early in the morning so they could have beans and cornbread, but not on Sunday.

On Sundays, after taking the whole family to church dressed in their Sunday go-to-meetin’ duds,  they’d have fried chicken, mashed taters and white gravy, green beans cooked with bacon, corn on the cob, sliced maters and maybe a nice juicy berry cobbler for dessert.  Oh my, thinkin’ back to those meals sure did get her stomach to growlin’.  Esther shakes her head, places her hands palm down on the table and pushes herself away, knowing she’s got to get busy.

Today they’ll have that beans and cornbread.  Too bad there’s no ham to put into the beans and no butter for the cornbread.  Esther decides to gather the kids later and go out and find some poke weed to cook up for their supper.  Of course there’ll be wild onions to add to the beans.  And maybe, just maybe, they’ll get lucky and find some blackberries.  She might be able to scrounge up enough sugar to make a little blackberry cobbler in the old cast iron skillet, at least enough for a few bites for each of the young’uns.

Esther whispers a quiet prayer thanking the Lord that her children won’t have to go hungry today, trying to keep her faith strong in the face of life’s trials and tribulations.  It’s not an easy thing to do, but Esther knows that’s what Joe would expect of her. She asks the Lord’s forgiveness for not taking the children to church these days.  It’s just that she’s noticed some of the church women looking down their noses at her and the kids.  She overheard the banker’s wife talking to several of the women, telling them she didn’t think it was right to walk into the Lord’s house dressed in rags and not wearing shoes.  Esther held her head high that day, but the tears flowed freely once she got home and went to bed.  She felt such shame, shame that people would think that way about her kids, shame that she couldn’t do a better job of providing for the kids, shame that she hadn’t been able to hold everything together once she lost Joe.  No, she wouldn’t take her kids to any church where they weren’t welcome.  The Lord would just have to understand.

Hmm…Ashton Kutcher? To each her own, I guess

Ashton Kutcher

Ashton Kutcher (Photo credit: jdlasica)

Have you ever wondered how some of the male celebrities get their “hotness” ratings?  I know we all find different looks and attitudes appealing and there’s nothing wrong with that…But sometimes I find myself shaking my head in wonder when I hear grown women (I’m not talking about the little tweens who swoon over Justin Bieber…not crazy about him myself, but there you go) going all gaga over some guys.

I mean, Ashton Kutcher…really?  I just don’t see it.  He’s all right, I suppose, but as a 50+ year-old woman, I’m over the parties in Rio and the late nights at the clubs. I like to sit on the deck with the family and some friends, the grill doing its job, some music playing…and somehow I don’t see Ashton fitting in with that scene…

Tim McGraw, on the other hand, come on over…bring Faith and the kids…we’ll have a good ole time…

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