Dormant to Thriving

Last spring I started my fern watching journey. Fascinated by the way a little fern—and assorted mosses—clung to the rough bark of the water oaks in my backyard, I snapped a few pictures every now and then and compared the different stages of the fern to my creative life.

This time around, I think the fern is trying to tell me something.

Winter has been beautifully colder than average. A month ago, after ice/sleet and multiple days of freezing temperatures, my resident fern looked like this:
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The weather has been steadily warming, but inside I’ve still been stuck. Dormant. Outside, the fern has a message for me: Wake up!
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The storm has passed!

Literally, because a mean display of thunder and lightning blew through about two o’clock in the morning and now it’s blue skies and a refreshing breeze. I need to get back to work—I feel it in the air.

But first, I think we need to name my enduring fern. Please leave suggestions below.

Selfish

After my last post shared a few things I’ve found during cleaning, but continue to keep on my desk through the decades, I moved to the next level of organizational hoarding: surrounding myself—literally—with books. Homeschooling my kids gives me a great excuse to collect more books than the average person. Here’s about half of the collection.
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My desk is behind it, nice and tidy.
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Outside, a winter storm is leaving ice and beauty across the southern landscape.
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The atmosphere—inside and out—makes my creative energy soar. Even though there’s a never ending supply of query letters to send, tonight I’m going to write something for fun.

FORTITUDE Saw Me Through

Another round of edits on FORTITUDE is complete and the story is on its way to the next round of beta readers. After these tweaks, it sits at over 67,500 words and has 310 double spaced pages. It’s an inch and a half thick—my largest story to date! 100_3560
I feel a bit like Charlotte, wondering if this is my magnum opus, or if I’ll have more stories bursting for me to tell in the future. Also, it’s weird not to be worrying about daily word counts, but it’s a much needed change of pace. Now, it’s time to update the synopsis, because Claire O’Farrell took this story to a different place than I had planned.

Now, cue autumn weather!

Photographic Evidence

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I’ve been playing hooky
Running away from stress
Enjoying the weather
And forgetting my whole mess

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I’ve been playing hooky
And seeking out beauty
That comes this time of year
While running after cuties

I’ve been playing hooky
I have my proof, you see
All that I’ve been doing
Is inspiration for me
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Hurricanes and Fortitude

 

Since the world is talking about Hurricane Isaac, I thought I’d post an excerpt from what I’m working on right now. FORTITUDE, set in 1898, is a story about sixteen-year-old Claire O’Farrell—a first generation Irish-American living on Dauphin Island, Alabama (which is currently without power and the only road to the bridge is flooded.) The following is taken from the first chapter, when Claire is returning home from a visit to town.

 

“Lose your sea legs already, Claire? You look a wee bit green.” [Pa asks.]

 I only shake my head and try to breathe. My bones feel hollow, as if they aged three decades in as many minutes. But the feeling passes as the miles from Mobile increase and the miles to Dauphin Island decrease. The silent shadow of a brown pelican passing overhead, the smell of low tide and all the comforting details of shore life revive me body and soul.  I am able to ignore Joe’s persistent gaze and relish in my pa’s quiet strength.

I decline Joe’s offer for help back to my house and enjoy the last few minutes of peace on my way past the cluster of village buildings bordering the shell mounds. When the palmettos begin to thicken, I slow my pace and veer down our drive.

Dauphin Island has wonderful trees–and one was the starting point for my story. May all the trees weather yet another storm.
For more cool trees and pictures about FORTITUDE, check out http://pinterest.com/wonderwegian/fortitude/

 

 

Alphabet Blog

I’ve taken this from writer buddy Stephanie, who took it from another friend, etc but I changed a few alphabet words to mix it up a bit.

A. Age: I’m a bicentennial baby. You do the math.
B. Birth Order: 3rd out of 4. Third is the nerd.
C. Chore that you hate: Cleaning tubs/showers. And bathing kids is my least favorite “mommy chore.” So glad they are getting older…
D. Dogs: They’re nice, but I don’t want to personally own one at this point in my life.
E. Essential start to your day: Alarm clock or kidlets.
F. Favorite color: Purple, with turquoise a close second.
G. Gold or Silver: Silver—or white gold.
H. Height: 5’12” baby!
I. Inspirations: Crisp, autumn-like weather with a nice breeze and music.
J. Job title: Which one? Wife, Mother, Writer, Daughter, Sister, Aunt…
K. Kids: Three kidlets.
L. Live: Mobile, Alabama… or is that live—I love live music! Concerts are the best!
 
M. Marriage Status: Married, with children.
N. Nicknames: Care Bear is the most common, from multiple sources.
O. Overnight hospital stays: Five times, three from childbirth.
P. Pet peeves: Dishonesty: lie, cheat, or hold back the truth and I will not trust you.
Q. Quote from a movie: “As you wish.” I swoon for Westley.
R. Right or left handed: Right, though I always wished I was a lefty.
S. Secrets: I’ll never tell.
T. Time you wake up: Whenever I’m needed.
U. UFOs: Possibly, but not necessarily with little green men…
V. Vegetable you hate: Canned red beets. GAG.
W. What makes you run late: Kidlets—1, 2, 3, or all.
X. X-Rays you’ve had: Neck, back, and that lousy right ankle—I’ve sprained it three times.
Y. Yummy food that you make: Cookies! Nothing fancy, just the basics: chocolate chip, snickerdoodles, peanut butter, etc.
Z. Zoos or Aquariums: I love a good aquarium. It feels like I’m in a time warp, in another world, and then the sun is SOOO bright when I step back outside—WHAM! Welcome back to Earth.
 

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Hope everyone had a magical weekend. Here’s a peek at one of our seasonal adventures.

On a side note, if you put both an orange and a vanilla flavored Tootsie Fruit Roll in your mouth at the same time it tastes like an orange creamsicle.
Autumn on the Gulf Coast came and went and came and… I hope it sticks around this time! The crisp weather of fall (if we’re lucky enough to receive typical seasonal weather) is invigorating. I usually get inspirational writing boosts this time of year but it hasn’t happened yet. So, I’m sitting at my desk with the table top fan blowing on my face, praying for the courage to step forward with my WIP. I haven’t made major progress on Corroded (because of other projects—and laziness) in at least two months. This blog is my jumping point to get back into the swing of things. I need to face the climax of the novel and conquer!
Even growing up in the also sporadic climate of coastal California, inspiration happened this time of year. I believe I began each of my novel length stories in the fall, starting at fifteen years old. The bulk of my poetry was written in autumn, with a generous helping of winter and some spring sprinkled in. Flipping through my poetry notebook I can count on one hand the poems written during the summer months. And speaking of poetry, I haven’t written a cataloged poem since I was pregnant with my oldest in 1998. Question to self: What’s up with that?!
But for now, I’ve got a terrifically awful poem to share. Remember, these poems are two decades old in some cases. Don’t hold it against me! This one happens to be from the autumn I started college, at seventeen years old.
Breath of Life
Days do ever pass Leaves turn golden and fall Attending our last class Is a walk down an endless hall
Sometimes it will seem Like it’s you against the rest But your light will forever beam You know you’re one of the best
So keep in touch With that strong sensation It will give you much Over-powering elation