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Friday, August 8, 2014

READING AND WRITING (August 1-7, 2014)

I did read the final fifty pages of The Fires of Alexandria. It did answer the central questions of the book while leaving room for further stories. The central character, Ada/Heron, is engaging.  Go for it!

I read a second book this week, Breeders, another first book that felt like the first one or two episodes of a TV show, but nonetheless one that pulled me to read it in one book. (only 100 pages).  Sci fi future thriller, where the heroine has been chosen as the "breeder" of a specific gene. She even loses her name, and becomes "Breeder 107."  A take on genetic engineering.

Now I'm reading Felix Francis's continuation of his father's one continuing character, Sid Halley. So far his books haven't quite lived up to his father's standards (Dick Francis is probably my all-time favorite author). But, any Sid Halley story is bound to be good.

I'm up to 41% on An Apple for Christmas and 63% on Runaway Love. Slowly but surely.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

POETRY ZONE (July 30 - August 5, 2014)

The Granada Camp for Wayward Poets has officially ended.

Here is my final camp poem. The assignments was a "three-legged race," three stanzas long, where the final words of one stanza are the first words of the next. My words took inspiration from Tolkien and The Old Rugged Cross.

On a hill faraway
He was nailed to our cross
Please forgive, his prayer
In His death, our sin lost
One King will rule us all

Rule us all? I think not
I refuse to bow down
Your wide nets cast for naught
Till in sin’s sea I drown
Long He sings to find us

Find us? While He waits
Ripened fields I will reap
Prayers for souls carry weight
Sowing seeds I will weep
Unseen wings bring us all
To His home eternal

Now we are writing on our usual schedule, and this is my poem describing my muse:


Once upon a time my muse was black
Her brand’s harsh heat marked me hers
Coal-dark eyes lasered my memories
Rearranging slices of pain as art
Red spilled down her ebony arms
Her lifeblood filling my pen
Raven tresses wrapped around me
The cocoon a safe place to write and feel

I emerge from my cocoon to find my muse has changed
My golden years have turned to silver                              
Black cotton threads are now shiny silk
Her dress, a metallic sheen, robes her crooked back
Beauty and strength shine from her shrunken form
Poetry drips from silver-tipped fingernails
Painting images formerly frozen as prose
Penny dreadful words now polished utensils

Finally, here is the poem I wrote about turning sixty.

One life, divided by six tens
Each decade shorter than the last
First day, first year, so much to ken
By ten years old, so much amassed
The teens I changed from chick to hen
Plans set in stone, my future vast
At twenty-two, I hit first wall
My music studies caused to halt

But thirty found me satisfied
A husband, children, and a church
By forty, perfect life proved lie
Divorce and illness made me search
My story world escape supplied
Secure while day by day I lurched
Half century my life span climbed
At last my books had found their time

The last ten years have brought more tests
My daughter died, and then my Mom
But new life flourished in its quest
To place grandchildren in my palms
My prayer, the years ahead my best
My final words, a praise-filled psalm
Will I reach seventy or more?
Or spend that day on heaven’s shore?

Friday, August 1, 2014

READING AND WRITING (July 25-31, 2014)

Good, steady progress this week. Phew, wipe my forehead with relief.  I figured out that I didn't need to write quite so much every day to meet my goals. What a relief! 

So, I have reached the 55% of Runaway Love and 26% of An Apple for Christmas.

A piece featuring my story is going to appear in the local paper soon. I'll publish a link when I have one (if it's online), but until then, here are the pic from the interview:

I have almost finished Fires of Alexandria, and find it as complex and compelling as from the beginning. Now I see it's the first of three books. I hope this isn't one of those books that leave important questions unanswered at the end! I'll let you know next week.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

POETRY ZONE (July 23-29, 2014)

This week I jumped back into the month-long poetry camp. 

This first poem was inspired by a 3-legged race, where each stanza began with the end of the previous stanza. I named it "A La Tolkien." Tell me if you can guess why.

On a hill faraway
He was nailed to our cross
Please forgive, his prayer
In His death, our sin lost
One King will rule us all

Rule us all? I think not
I refuse to bow down
Your wide nets cast for naught
Till in sin’s sea I drown
Long He sings to find us

Find us? While He waits
Ripened fields I will reap
Prayers for souls carry weight
Sowing seeds I will weep
Unseen wings bring us all
To His home eternal

The next poem was written for "At Your Service," when the campers visited a nursing home. I wrote about the differences I have noticed between adults and children who come to visit.


Don’t go, our personal advice
The children will pull back, afraid
The nature place is much more nice
Preserve the beauty of the glade
They need us, Pastor Bob’s word swayed
Two lines from cabins one to four
Marched northward to the rest home’s door

One step inside our fears confirmed
The smell! The noise! The wheelchair bound
We hid behind the kids and squirmed
The mobile patients gathered round
The childish voices siren’s sound
A pat, a hug, a kiss or two
The young and old together grew

Their hearts saw past the li-ned flesh
Into a person, same as them
The games of childhood both thought best
Their laughs and smiles, no one condemned
Examples we should craft as gems
Our heads hung, the blow our shame
A lesson learned, our fears so lame

This last poem is not for the "camp," but a form called bokkektto.  It's a syllable-based poem, written about what I saw straight ahead of me.


Side by side, TVs divide
Our room in half, hers and mine
Hers the latch hook, mine the books
Two beds, two clocks
Twelve pictures between

Complaints in common—the food
Laugh together, ads and aides

Monday, July 28, 2014


Next Sunday is my birthday. I will celebrate, with so much has happened and that I hope to happen.

For this week, I will look back.

On my birthday, I said:

There is a sign in the nursing home that reads, "A hundred years from now, it won't matter what kind of car I drove or where I lived, but the difference I made in other peoples' lives." Mentally I add to the list, "how many books I wrote." 

This year I read a quote that helped me put my short time, and whatever success I have in my remaining years, in focus. It said something to the effect of, "Don't worry about the hundred people who read your books today, or even the ten people who will read them in ten years. Write for the one person who will read them a 100 years from now."

I have never expected someone to read my books in a hundred year. My goal has never been to write the great American novel, that will become required reading in classrooms. But. . .they are lasting. My first book came out nine years ago; it was repacked with the two follow up books this summer,
Colorado Melodies. Romanian Rhapsody came from my heart and while now somewhat outdated, it touches all who read it.

I also said:
My birthday greetings from relative strangers called me dear, sweet, precious, beautiful. 
This week, I posted a picture, asking people to describe me in one word. People said:
  • Overcomer
  • special
  • diligent
  • awesome
  • writer
  • steadfast
  • hard working
  • tolerant
  • perseverant
  • talented
  • friend
  • talented
  • saved
Each of those are qualities that I treasure.
I ended my thinking with:
But this one thing I know: God has me here, at this time and in this place, for a reason. If that reason includes daily pain and sleeplessness--so it does. He will comfort and speak to me in the pain, and He will use it to help others as well.
Daily pain? Pretty much, but not bad (except for bad knee pain this week, but that will pass). Sleeplessness, praise God, is pretty much a thing of the past.
And God has used me to touch others, close friends with a resident many consider irritating, an older sister to a troubled resident, a listening ear to someone who shuts herself away from most people. I have been here, for a reason.
Next week I will look more at the future--what it looks like at this point in time. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

READING AND WRITING (July 18-24, 2014)

Christmas Traditions Series
Progress at last!  I have reached the 20% mark on my Christmas novella, An Apple for Christmas; and I am almost at the halfway point (49%) for Runaway Love. Woo hoo!

The picture above is the entire collection including my book. See my single cover here:

I am busy reading The Fires of Alexandria by Thomas Carpenter. So far, it's a fascinating story of a woman passing a man to pursue the craft of a sculptor, an educated "Barbarian," and the mystery of the fire which destroyed the great library of Alexandria.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

POETRY ZONE (July 16-22, 2014)

Of the poems I wrote for the Camp challenge this week, I'm sharing the two that tell a story about me.

One of the lakes mentioned in the poem below is the place where our best friends from church lived, and where I was baptized.


The town of Winthrop, Maine boasts many things
Activities for all the whole year through
Of long, hot days at lakes upon a string
Cobboseecontee, Carlton, naming two
But most of all, their cooks compete to wring
The last, sweet taste of fish fixed in a stew
The lakes take part, but poor Maranacook
Must always lose to Annabessacook.

When we were challenged to write about camp food, I thought about the times Mom packed up the grill--and my growing admiration for all she did for me.


My mom would pack up grill and coals
And take us a site untold
At campgrounds at both streams and lakes
She lit the fires that made my days
For flames to flare and sizzling meat
Add icy pop, s’mores that can’t be beat
~I never bought a grill or coals~
One camping trip with Dad and kids
Made future tries ones I forbid
Marshmallows brown on gas stove top
Hot dogs burn black in the right pot.
I don’t cook out—inside’s my thing
But where indoors can children swing?