Weekly Photo Challenge: Weathered…

“Weathered” usually conjures up images of water-worn rocks or sun-bleached wood or time-worn skin. But the howling winds of a New England blizzard can carve the snow like desert sand…

In response to this week’s photo challenge: Weathered

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First Lines…

Sometimes, hearing a well-known opening sentence can immediately conjure up the rest of a famous story for us. That’s all it takes. One sentence. For example: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,…” (Anyone NOT know what book that’s from?) Or how about “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” (Yes, I’m a Harry Potter fan!) I’m sure if we thought about it for a few minutes, we’d come up with plenty more examples.

Everything one reads on the art of story-telling stresses the importance of grabbing the reader right off the bat with that opening sentence. I’ve got both a novel and a children’s picture book manuscript in progress. One of them starts with the line, “R—-¬†kicked hard at the cardboard box that blocked her bedroom doorway.” The other starts, “F—– the Frog had nothing to do.” Hopefully, they’ll lead the reader to ask questions like Why was there a box in her doorway? Why did she kick it? Or Is something going to happen to the frog since she’s got nothing to do? Either that or they’ll lead this writer to ask How could I make these introductions a whole lot more interesting?? ūüėČ

Anyway, I’ve got two questions for you…and I’d love to hear your answers! First, can anyone tell me what children’s book starts with the line, “It was a dark and stormy night.”?¬† (A great book, by the way!) And second, can you share the first line of one of your favorite books? Let’s see if the rest of us can guess where it came from…

 

A New Year: Time To Dive In…

I’ve hemmed and hawed; I’ve bucked and snorted; I’ve backed away nervously. I’ve been silly. Today, I dove in and joined the already-in-progress Storystorm challenge. Thirty ideas in thirty-one days. Nothing to lose, but much fun to be had! I’ve got some catching up to do, but I’m EXCITED!!! Who knows what possibilities exist in 2018…

Tara Lazar is inspiring! Check out her blog here.

 

Rather Than Write…

Well, I haven’t posted anything here in over a year. Does that mean I’m not a blogger anymore? Or even a writer? On the contrary. I’ve joined local writing and poetry critique groups; I’m working on a novel; and I’m honing my skills.

But on a daily basis, it’s hard to make the time to write consistently. What do I make time for instead? Laundry, food shopping, singing, refinishing cabinetry, paying bills, taking walks, filling out rebate slips… So many things seem more important and more immediate. I tell myself just one more thing first. I know it comes down to a decision to put other activities aside and gift myself with uninterrupted writing time. I can see it in my future. ūüôā

So, I’m curious, what do YOU, fellow bloggers and writers, do instead of just sitting down to write? I think it’d make quite an interesting list! Tell me…

Today’s Choice

eagle-clip-art-781This morning, I took a walk. With a heavy heart of shame, embarrassment, and sadness, — shared by half of my country — I needed to feel the sunshine, the brisk November air, see the trees, hear the birds. And I had a talk with myself: Choose love. Choose to rise above bigotry, injustice, hatred, and judgement. Choose love, courage, and gratitude with every breath, every step, every action, and every word. Today and each¬†day. Choose love.

Come, My Spirit

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Come, my spirit,
we’ve been to dark places that seem to be the end.

Come, see the red-gold flutter of trees
against a blue enamel sky.

Come, hear the solid thunk-thunk of a woodpecker
searching; the crispy crunch of leaves shed
like so much dead skin.

Come, smell the spice of just cut grass.

Come, feel the cool breeze that sends
a quiver of living across your cheek.

The Path To An Empty Nest…Is Through A Revolving Door

 

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The house is quiet. Now. It wasn’t yesterday. It hasn’t been for the last few weeks. But today, I’d like to say we are officially “empty nesters”. Is this a permanent state? I have no idea! I used to think that this would happen one day and I’d be done — free to move on. But I’ve learned it’s not that simple. Is this just my personal soap opera or does it reflect a societal shift in this current climate¬†of overwhelming student-loan debt and high housing costs? In many cultures, multi-generational homes are the norm. We, as a society of independent, fast-paced, tech-dependent, and perhaps overly self-centered people, expect to¬†reach and maintain this plateau of an empty nest as our deserved reward for parenting well done. But, is it a realistic expectation? I think not.

Five years ago, on Labor Day 2011, we dropped off daughter #3 (kid#4) for her freshman year of college. Our middle daughter (kid #3) had already left for Australia for a semester abroad. Our oldest daughter (kid #2) was working at a publishing company in Manhatten and so was living several hours away. The house was quiet. Five days later, our son (kid #1) broke up with his girlfriend and moved back home.

College kids have a way of traipsing¬†home¬†for¬†the summer, for¬†school breaks, and¬†even for long weekends when they need the solitude and security of their old bedrooms. If there are no other kids still living at home then parents can get a small taste of an “empty nest” while they’re at school. But, it doesn’t last; they do come home.

In 2013, I remember posting a Facebook status that read something like: “It’s 10pm, do you know where your children are? I do. They’re all upstairs.” Kids #3 and #4 were home from college on winter break. Kid #2 had recently moved back from New York and was job hunting. Kid #1 was still here.

In 2014, kid #3, who had graduated from college in 2013, found a job and moved out, then relocated to San Fransisco. Kid #2, who had gotten a job and moved out, got married. Kid #4 was finishing up college, while kid #1 found an apartment with friends and moved out. Again.

In 2015, kid #4 graduated from college and moved home. She spent a year or so pursuing theater jobs which were more contract work than steady income. She switched gears this year to find something permanent in order to fulfill a promise to share an apartment with a college friend who wanted to move to this area for his graduate studies. With a little parental help, in the past month, she has signed a lease and accepted a full-time job. She has moved out.

Meanwhile, kid #3 moved back from San Fransisco with her fiance to a temporary living situation nearby. An unexpected creepy-crawly problem (I’ll say no more) prompted them to move in here while hurriedly searching¬†for a new apartment. They found one, signed a lease, and started packing.

As it turned out, at the same time, kid #1 was coming to the end of his lease and was done living in a tiny room in an old house with his friends. He and his girlfriend were ready for their own place. They found one. There was only a single small glitch: the new lease began four days after the old lease ended. They (and ALL their stuff) needed a place to stay, temporarily.

Yesterday, in the muggy heat of this strange New England summer, we packed up a UHaul truck and the back of my minivan and moved them out of our house and into their new apartment. Whew! Kid #3 and her fiance left this morning to sort out what had been moved to their new apartment so far, to get their gas and hot water turned on, and to presumably start living there.

So, I repeat: the house is quiet. Now.

Will it last? I have no idea!