Round One, Week Five — A Better Week

Cod. Bodmer 49, Fondation Martin Bodmer

Last week, I hoped that this week would be better, and it was much better in many ways. I am still not sleeping, but I have essential oils arriving tomorrow that I am looking forward to trying. I also picked up a few books at the library on Saturday that will keep me from reading on my phone when I wake up at 2am.

The day job is running at between three to four meetings a day, not my favorite sort of thing, but I am wrapping up six different administrative writing projects and hope that there are not any more on the horizon!

However, there is good news from last week. I posted a WIPpet on Wednesday, a First Friday Photo on Friday, and a video of northern lights, also on Friday. Eden helped me iron out some plot points and directions with the story when we met at a local coffee shop on Friday. Clearly, I was wrong that these characters only talk to me when I am rested–or maybe they just got tired of waiting.

I also worked very briefly on the non-fiction sabbatical project at the coffee shop, but then went home and worked on it for seven more hours. I took yesterday off, but worked on it for 8 hours today. There is a nice synergy starting between the non-fiction and the fiction that is exciting. I am having fun with the non-fiction in a way that I haven’t felt in a long time. So yes, it was a much better week.

How are you doing at this point in the Round? Need to adjust to a slower or more challenging pace? I’d love to know how everyone’s goals are going.

Have a great week, everyone.

ROW80, WIPpet Wednesday

RoW80 check-in and WIPpet Wednesday

Illumination from Morgan Library MS 775

While I haven’t fallen completely off the wagon on RoW80, I don’t have much beyond a WIPpet to offer for my check-in, but I’m happy that I have that at least.  It is very rough, but I decided to put it out there rather than continue to worry about it forever.

WIPpet Wednesday is hosted by Emily Wrayburn. The rules are quite simple–the length of the snippet has a mathematical connection with the date.  For example, for 1/10/2018, I am adding all five numbers in the date, which add up to 13. I am posting 12 sentences because I couldn’t make 13 work. This snippet follows immediately the one I posted in mid-December. It is set in 14th century Paris, where Christine, a widow running her own copy shop, has received a message.

Anastasia was continuing to amuse the other workers with what she had seen of the poem, but Christine turned away to hide her reaction. She strode briskly toward her desk in the corner with the best light, unfolding and smoothing out the parchment. It bore not just a poem, but a ballade, the verse form made famous by Eustache himself. “O douce suer,” it began. Christine smiled to herself. He doesn’t act like I’m his sister, sweet or not.  Reading quickly through the first verse, she stifled a laugh, then looked up quickly to make sure no one was observing her reactions, at least not obviously. So the master poet portrays himself a slave, craving her knowledge, learning at her feet? What could he possibly learn from her–well, a different view on women, but she wasn’t sure he wanted that. She read the refrain again. “‘Above all in France’–stuff and nonsense. Ridiculous old man,” she said, as she folded the parchment carefully and put it in her gown.

Feel free to jump into RoW80 here  or into WIPpet here.

ROW80, WIPpet Wednesday

Round Four, Check-in 22 and WIPpet Wednesday

I disappeared for a few weeks from the Round of Words, due to finishing NaNo (and winning), followed by illness and accompanying overwhelm. Today, I woke in full curmudgeon, having slept badly and not long enough, and essentially grumped through my day.  Some who know me well are thinking, “What’s new with that?”  and I must agree.

The difference is, as I tidied my office at the end of the work day, I was flooded with the urge to write. After days, and weeks, of forcing myself awake in the morning darkness to put pixels on the screen, I carefully fed the kindling to the flame and enjoyed the warmth of the words flowing through me. I do not often write at night, but I am now, and the feeling is simply glorious.

I have been writing prompts and thoughts and just about anything that comes through my mind with the abandon of someone first acquainted with the ability to transcribe one’s thoughts into words. I don’t know if this lovely feeling will last, but it is reminding me of why I get up in the dark to squeeze words out of my brain.

My last post about my goals was about some baby steps I was taking, leaving my comfort zone. I am going to take another baby step today, by posting an excerpt.  I used to contribute to WIPpet Wednesday long ago, and will post something for it here. I hope to continue to write snippets for it.

WIPpet Wednesday is hosted by Emily Wrayburn. The rules are quite simple–the length of the snippet has a mathematical connection with the date.  For example, for 12/12, I am adding all four numbers in the date and posting 6 sentences. This snippet is set in 14th century Paris, where Christine, a widow running her own copy shop, receives a message.

Christine came into the shop to a buzz among the copyists and illuminators, quickly dulled when they noticed her in the doorway of her office.  Anastasia brought over a folded sheaf of parchment, written in a dense hand. “A new poem from Eustache Morel, on a familiar topic.” Christine glanced at the pages, seeing her own name in the verses. Her mentor would not debate politics with her, but had sent a poem of praise.  Her irritation at being seen as a woman was shot through with the warmth accompanying being seen as a woman.

If you want to read more snippets, go here for the links. Also, if you are a writer, consider joining the group, who are supportive and helpful folks.

As for my RoW80 goals, I am doing reasonably well on the health and organizing goals, but not so well on the writing goals. The day job should calm down a bit, as it is finals week, but I am traveling before Christmas and may be doing all my writing longhand and not online.  I will share in the next Round, I promise.

Writing Goals:

Write one blog post every week. Nope

Write three pages of fiction every week. Yes.

Write five pages of nonfiction every week. Nope.

Health Goals:

Walk forty minutes a day. Yes

Use the standing desk at least three hours a day. Yes.

Keep up with medical appointments. Yes, although it really is unpleasant when the medication makes one sick!

Organizing Goals:

Create project folders for each writing project. Yes, with projects multiplying like wire hangers behind the closed doors of closets overnight.

Create a coloring book profile for each character in the novella. Yes, and beyond!

I’d love to hear how everyone is doing in this space between holidays and sliding into Winter Solstice. I myself can relate to my Celtic forebears begging the sun to return.

ROW80, WIPpet Wednesday

Back from the tired

A rare Wednesday check-in from me, totally due to meeting Eden who (kindly) informed me I was going to write and post tonight.  I needed that accountability, and here I am.


Until today, I hadn’t written anything outside of the day job.  I have been exhausted and needing to fill the well for over a month.  I now understand on a cellular level that good stress is as debilitating as bad stress, because moving into this lovely new house and neighborhood has beaten me to a pulp. I come home from the day job exhausted, and do nothing but play computer games and read.  

The good part?  I do spend a lot of weekend time going through boxes in the garage.  It will be a nice, efficient, welcoming house when I am done. The bad part? I’m not writing. I have yet to find the correct configuration for my office that allows me to retreat without guilt. It doesn’t help that it has been one of the hottest few weeks I’ve weathered here in the past four years. I wake up thinking I’m back in north central Florida.  Well, I’m tough, and I will persevere!

Please visit the other RoWers here if you have a chance–the accountability is a key piece of the challenge. If you are interested in joining the RoW80 challenge, this FAQ will give you all the details. Feel free to jump in anytime.

WIPpet Wednesday 

After a long absence, Eden made me write this scene this afternoon (thank you, Eden).  I added the 8 + 10 + 2 +1 + 6 for 27 sentences, and one more that had to be there for sense.


Carol leaned across the table. “So, how are things with Johnny?”

Linda sighed. “Even from across the room, he’s cute. Strong and silent.  Just my type.” She smiled at Helen.  “So, give! When is his platoon coming back?”

Helen sighed as well, not wanting to talk about it. “It’s called a flight in the Army Air Forces.”

“You say tom-ah-to, I say, well, to-mah-to.  When are you going to see him?”

“I’m not sure I’m going to see him again.”

“What?” Carol gaped at her.

Linda asked, “Did he dump you?”

“No, things were just going a bit fast.”

“I like fast.” Carol grinned.

Linda swatted her arm. “This isn’t about you.” Turning to Helen, she asked, “Did he pull that ‘I could die tomorrow, so sleep with me tonight’?”

Helen shook her head. “No, nothing like that. He was just getting too serious.”

Carol asked, “But isn’t serious good?”

Linda laid her hand on Carol’s arm. “Not always.”

WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop where writers share part of their WIP here. The only requirement is that the length have something to do with the date, hence the maths above.  Feel free to read, comment, or join in!

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ROW80, WIPpet Wednesday

What? Yesterday was Wednesday?


As the lateness of this post attests, things have been crazy lately. I have to be content with baby steps right now.  I am writing every day, even if some days it is only a handful of sentences.  I am continuing to discard, pack, and plan for the move, in the face of having to travel for several days next week.  I have donned my hiking boots to scale the mountain that lies between today and two weeks from today when the trip will be done, the old place will be empty and the new place will be festooned with boxes and possibilities.  Until then, I can only plead sleep deprivation and stress have robbed me of any interesting developments to offer my readers.  All my words are going into my writing, it seems, so here is a small offering.

WIPpet Wednesday

I have 12 sentences for this snippet, 6+(1+5)=12. It follows right after the snippet from last Wednesday.

I shook off the worst of the disappointment—I could cry in my beer later.  “I needed an honest answer, and I got one; I can’t complain.”

She put her hand on my cheek, turning my face to hers, as I had done to her earlier.  “I do love you, Johnny, I just . . .” her voice died away.

“It’s okay, really.  Let’s not spoil the evening.”  I pulled her into my arms, burying my face in her hair, breathing the scent of her, praying that she wouldn’t disappear.  I didn’t regret asking; I couldn’t have spent another hour with Helen without asking. “I won’t badger you about it, I promise,”  I said, although I wasn’t sure I could bear to ask her again.

Helen pulled away just enough to reach up to kiss me; she had no idea what she was doing to me, but I was amazed that my heart didn’t explode or just stop. I had grown up among people who lived hard lives, and romance did not prosper among such arid conditions.  Yes, there was love, but it was hard-won, worn smooth by adversity.

Want to read other works-in-progress?  Want to share snippets of your work?  WIPpet Wednesday is hosted by Emily Witt here  Check out the other offerings here, or add your own.

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ROW80, WIPpet Wednesday

RoW80 and WIPpet Wednesday Still Writing

Where the magic happens
Writing Desk


It is Wednesday, and therefore time for a RoW80 update. Life continues to be crazy, but also provides an object lesson.  For years, I would have said that a crazy time like now would make it impossible for me to write–clearly I had too much on my plate.  This year, after being reminded by this post, I realized that I chose all sorts of tasks in the past that made excuses for my not writing, when  I could have chosen writing.  Am I perfect and writing 10K a day?  Far from it, but I am writing at least 5 days out of 7, slowly and in little pieces, keeping the well primed.  I can also recommend inner dialogues with one’s characters while packing dishes, clearly a task from some lower circle of hell.

There are a few blog posts in that paragraph, but I will write those a bit later. Please go encourage the other RoWers, who are sliding into the home stretch here.  What is RoW80, you ask?  It is an accountability group, with flexible goals and good companions.  If you’re interested, check it out here.

WIPpet Wednesday

My contribution to WIPpet Wednesday follows immediately after last week’s cliffhanger.  Yes, I was evil. My math is 6+8=14, so 14 sentences.

“That I’m falling in love with you.”

Over the pounding of my heartbeat in my ears, I said, “I loved you before you even looked my way.  Marry me.”  Those last two words were unexpected, but now that I heard them, I would never take them back. Helen’s face stilled. Her body froze.  I prepared myself for her rejection and perhaps even her anger.

“I don’t know.  Let me think about it.”

Well, she hadn’t handed me my head, but the axe had certainly nicked me.  Even while telling myself that she hadn’t gotten mad, or turned me down flat, I felt my heart shrink from the hurt.  I couldn’t hide my disappointment from her, either. It mattered too damn much.

Helen smiled wistfully,  saying softly,  “I’m sorry. “

Want to read other works-in-progress?  Want to share snippets of your work?  WIPpet Wednesday is hosted by Emily Witt here. Check out the other offerings, or add your own.

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ROW80, WIPpet Wednesday

RoW80 and WIPpet Wednesday Plodding

Honestly, I don’t have a lot to update in RoW80.  I’m plodding along in the writing, and actually signed up as a JuNoWriMo rebel.  I have a couple of scholarly articles I want to work on, as well as this rebel piece, so I don’t want to go down in flames. I’m not complaining, trust me.  I am delighted that the words are still coming and the characters still talking to me.

I am steadfastly working to pull back from the day job.  I have the bad habit of working through lunch and breaks, but want that to stop. I did have Monday off, and got most of the china packed–an impressively intricate and slow job!

Please go encourage the rest of the RoWers here.

And for WIPpet Wednesday:

My last two snippets have been from the point of view of my female protagonist, but this is from the male POV.  There are 7 short paragraphs (6+1) of dialogue between the main characters, a very few dates after the earlier snippets:

“You haven’t said much of anything about what you want to do with your life,” I said.

“Oh, I haven’t thought about it very much.  I suppose the usual, husband and family.”  

Suddenly, she began to shiver uncontrollably.  I thought she might be cold, even though it was rather mild, so I gathered her into my arms, but only close enough to warm her.

“I’m not cold,” Helen muttered into my chest, so I let her pull away.  

“But you’re shaking.”  She wouldn’t look at me, staring at the ground, or down the street, anywhere but at me.  All of a sudden, I realized she was scared, and said so.

“Yes, I am.”  She still would not look at me.

“Of what?”  I tipped her face up with a finger so that she had to look at me.  I was searching her face, her eyes, trying to read her expression.  The understanding hit me the second before she said it.

WIPpet Wednesday is curated by Emily Witt at Keyboard and an Open Mind. If you’d like to contribute, or want to read other offerings, they are here.

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ROW80, WIPpet Wednesday

RoW80 and WIPpet Wednesday I’m writing!


There’s not a lot to report on my goals these past few days.  I have dived face first into getting rid of stuff in my cube at work, which is immensely satisfying and mindclearing, but it wasn’t on my goals.  That’s okay, since it will help with goals in the future.

The packing has slowed slightly, because we have filled up the garage and our smallish storage space with boxes and things we want to sell or give away.  We are borrowing a garage from a neighborhood friend which will be available this weekend, so we should gear up again for that.

I have two assignments and two quizzes left on my course, so I will be shut of that soon as well.  Then I can turn my attention to my non-fiction project again, which will be good. My World War II story goes apace, so that in surprising succession, I have yet another offering for WIPpet Wednesday.  

This is 12 sentences (5+2+5 for the month and the date), following a few sentences after my American has asked his English dance partner to take the air outside:

And we talked—my word, we talked for hours.  We talked about music and books, life and dreams.  Something about him made me feel so comfortable that I found myself telling him about my life,  even my adoption, although my parents had been completely wonderful to me.  Even though I noticed my friends calling out good-night, and asking if I was okay if they left, before I knew it the sky was streaked with the coming dawn. Johnny,  Lieutenant John Malone, of the Eighth Air Force, that is (‘but my friends call me Johnny”) walked me to my car.  I was hoping for a kiss, naughty me!  And I got one—and what a kiss. Except for the hand cupping my face and those lips on mine, he was a perfect gentleman, barely pressing against me, but warmth poured through me as though we kissed passionately, and had before, had shared even more intimate moments. That feeling threw me so completely that when he broke off the kiss, I felt faint, and he wrapped his arms around me so that I wouldn’t fall.  Me, sturdy me!  I laughed off my embarrassment while he dug in his pockets for something to write my name and address on.  He ripped the paper in half so I could take his name with me—not that I needed it.  After repeated attempts to part from one another, and a promise to meet him again in two days, I drove off.  He stood in the road looking after me, which made my heart beat a little faster, as did the fact that I was driving all over the road, watching him in the mirror.

I will leave you with the link to the rest of the RoWers. Here is the link to WIPpet Wednesday, as well.
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ROW80, WIPpet Wednesday

RoW Check-in, WIPpet Wednesday Chugging Along

I now have a new regard for people who pack for moving companies.  Packing is incredibly hard work, although I suppose some of my problem is that I am doing a lot of thinking as well.  Keep or donate?  What room will it go in the new house (which has rooms, like offices and dens, that we don’t have now).  And should I separate the pleasure reading books in a box for the den, and the writing books for a box for the office?  Luckily, the move is far enough off I can make these fine distinctions.  The time will come soon when things will be swept into boxes labelled “dreck” and “scheiße,” in the heat of the moment.

On to RoW80 goals. I had to catch up on a course I am taking for the day job, which manages to be boringly simple and yet a lot of work. For a discipline that was originally based in Schools of Education more often than not, Library Science has a lot to learn about pedagogy.  I therefore haven’t had the breaks to sprint and get my words in as often as I would like, but I do sneak in a few minutes now and again.

I missed the Sunday check-in, sadly. I have to hold on to the fact that there will be more time and emotional space next Round when I am unpacking boxes in the new house. I will continue to strive for consistency in checking in and responding to comments.

Please go check out how all the other RoWers are doing here.

For WIPpet Wednesday, I offer more of a piece that I put up last week.  I realize the previous offering came rather in the middle of things, so I will give you the beginning of the story.  Here are 23 (5+18) rough sentences from the scene where the main characters from last week meet.

There is something about a man in uniform, so I was delighted when I walked into a party filled with GIs.  They all acted as though they hadn’t seen a woman in months, the way I had to fight my way through them. Most were respectful, and I was enjoying the attention, looking about at the manhood on display.  I noticed a tall American is his lovely olive green uniform, medals parading in tidy lines across his chest.  Even at my encouraging smile, he hung back–shy? Uninterested?  I was intrigued, as always, by the one who didn’t fall at my feet. My attention caught by him, I failed to notice a drunken soldier shouldering his way through his friends.  “Kiss me, honey! I love you English roses!” assaulted my ear, meaty hands closing around my waist as I was spun toward the new arrival in my coterie of admirers.  Before he could finish his drunken cry, or get anywhere near my lips, he was picked up, still pursed-lipped, and efficiently and firmly removed to a safe distance by the tall American.

“Do you want to dance?” my savior asked. I felt a warm victory that I had not lost my touch–he was shy, not uninterested. He grabbed my hand, and steered us through the press to the dance floor.  “I’m not very good,” he said. “I’ve not had a chance to practice in a while.”  His baritone voice was warm and soft, flowing over my skin such that I would have sworn I could feel it. His hand enveloped mine so completely, my long fingers felt small and delicate in comparison. His other hand spread across the small of  my back, so warm that I could imagine its imprint leaving a mark upon my dress. He was leading me efficiently, skillfully guiding us through the crush, avoiding most of the people bent on stepping on me, and putting paid to his claim of not being a very good dancer.  He was perfectly proper, but his hands sparked nerves all the way down my arm to my chest, and felt like an intimate caress at my back.  The crush on the floor soon turned the entire dance rather more intimate than planned, as we were slowly pushed ever closer and closer till I could feel his heart beating, and moving in the dance steps was becoming, well, a bit improper.

He bent down so that I could hear him, unconsciously stirring me with his warm breath in my ear, “Let’s go outside for some air.”  I went up on my toes to answer in his ear—all’s fair in love and war—“yes, please.”

There are a cadre of WIPpeteers here who would love to have you join them.

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ROW80, WIPpet Wednesday

Row80 Checkin and WIPpet Wednesday

My Row80 check-in is below, beginning with the blue RoW80 goals. My WIPpet Wednesday offering is below, beginning with the green WIPpet Wednesday.

For the past week, I have been a packing fool. Well, actually, a recycling, pay-it-forward fool. I have rid the house of enough paper to insulate a small house, given away enough too-small clothing to endow a village, and sent enough yarn to my niece to keep her knitting for a couple of years. How does it feel? Like the weight of twenty boxes of books have been lifted off my chest. I greatly appreciate all the advice I received on my last post to let go of things (I’m looking at you, Karen!) I do think I was ready for this divestment, because I am finding it easier to let go of things I have hung onto for years. I am finally looking at what works for me now, not what I wanted to have around me twenty years ago.  The treadle sewing machine?  It can delight someone else; my in-law’s bedroom furniture will be a perfect fit for someone else’s tastes more than mine. I am keeping small things–a few pieces of my mother’s jewelry, my father’s wedding band–evocative in ways that other things are not.

Although I have been madly uncluttering, my writing is not far from me. I feel I am creating space for it, in a way I have not been able for several years.  My younger son asked to have my writing desk, and I feel it offers us both a new start in the new house. I am looking forward to creating a space that will be calm, inviting, and inspiring.

For WIPpet Wednesday, I dusted off a piece that has been dormant for more than a year.  I have been trying to get into the head of my English war bride, not very successfully.  I’m still telling more than showing, I fear.  Here are 16 very rough sentences from a scene where the main characters have been dating for a few months.  John asks Helen about her plans for the future, after the war, and she responds with “a husband and children.”

Suddenly it felt as though my heart shifted, literally shifted place in my chest, as if someone had reached in and settled it more firmly in place. This man, this husband, this father of my children.  It rose up from someplace deep within me—my heart, my soul, I do not know, but I felt the surety of it, and it scared the hell out of me.  I wasn’t ready for this.  I started to shiver like I was in shock.  John folded me into his arms; I felt so protected, so safe, so loved.

“You’re cold,” he said.

“I’m not cold.”

“But you’re shaking.”

Yes, I was shaking, but I could not tell him why.  I could not even look at him, afraid that he would see my heart in my eyes, and somehow everything would change.  I wasn’t ready.

“You’re scared.”

Damn it all to hell.  There was nowhere to hide. “Yes, I am.”

So, RoW80 goals. I am in the boring part of the non-fiction piece, checking footnotes and  compiling. all the various files I have created through the years, so although it isn’t new writing it circles the writing and gives it space and context. I continue to be utterly horrible at check-ins. I first typed I didn’t know what the problem is, but I do. I am so busy with things that are not creative, but I suppose I should concentrate on how it is all clearing space for creativity. Even so, I struggle with feeling I don’t have much of interest to say.

Please go check out how all the other ROwers are doing here.

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