About Face…

Thanksgiving day, and families were gathered in warm cozy dining rooms across the city. They were feasting on traditional meals complete with traditional revelry. They had no concern for those left on the street, discarded as worthless flesh. A cold loneliness settled into her soul as she walked the empty streets. With a sigh, she watched as a family, arms loaded with packages and food rushed from their car, up a few steps, and into the welcome of a home. From where she stood, she could hear their jovial greetings.

Sighing again, she turned into the shadowy alcove of a vacant building. Inside, gathered around their sternos, sat her family. Cans of food were passed. Each took a precious bite before passing it on. This was a real thanksgiving…

wc: 129 – I’ve gone over and I don’t care.

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here. This week’s photo has been graciously donated by: Roger Bultot.

Threads and such…

Today, Abigail decided to pull out decorations and spruce up her home for the holiday season. It’s a few days early, but she just couldn’t wait a moment longer. So, out came the holiday decorations. After setting out her snowman collection, she took a short break. Abigail decided to take a ride on her favorite toy, a wheeled horse. She rode around the tree and visited Mr. Gnome, and Mr. Chris Mouse before sitting beneath the tree with Boy Elf. They shared Christmas memories and had a good time.

After the house was decorated, Abigail pulled out her sewing. She’s been working on some embroidered Christmas Ornaments out of a new magazine her human purchased,”Just CrossStitch: Christmas Ornaments 2021″. While her human worked on an elaborate ornament designed by Liz Almond ( http://www.blackworkjourney.co.uk ) , Abigail chose a simpler design by MTV Designs ( http://www.mtvdesigns.com ) .

Abigail loves the Liz Almond design with it’s different threads and intricate patterns. She’s not so sure about the gold thread work. It’s not so easy to use. She did like the little beads. She can’t wait to see who gets the finished ornament for Christmas.

So, Abigail was so happy to spend the day with her human that she pulled out her own little bit of fabric and thread to make herself an ornament for Christmas. It’s very simple compared to the other, but she likes simple things. Hers will make a nice Christmas pillow for her to nap on, she thinks…

It didn’t take more than a few hours of sewing while the pot roast cooked for dinner. Abigail is pleased with the outcome, though she wishes she had had the antique colored linen to work with. That’s okay, she can still tea stain it before she puts on the maroon piece of fabric to the back. She liked sewing the extra long crosses in the middle of the trees. They added a special little bit of eye-catching detail. Maybe, she’ll even make another to give as a gift.

Then, together with her human, she made a nice “Merry Christmas” designed one. It was designed by Patricia Ann Designs ( http://www.patricia-ann-designs.com ) Now that they’ve made a few, they look forward to making a few more. What a heartwarming gift they will make for the season.

Here is Abigail’s Snowman collection…

Circles upon Circles…Infinitum

I sat and stared. Circles. All I could see was circles.

Each was unique within itself.

Then, I began to see patterns, endless seas of patterns played out.

And the patterns began to coalesce, to merge with seamless clarity.

And, in them, I saw the grand plan, the connection of atoms,

The Circle of life, and of living.

wc: 58

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here. This week’s photo has been graciously donated by: Dale Rogerson

ScrapHappy – November 2021

Happy November ScrapHappy Day! Wow, that’s a mouthful, isn’t it? hehe! It’s November 15th and so to start this happy little post from the center for chaos exploration, I give you ye’ old log cabin-ish scrapaghan. I was given a small bag of small balls of yarn in tan/brown shades. To it, I added a wee bit of leftover varigated to give it a little color. It is by no means done as I’ve acquired some more scraps of yarn in brownish shades that will be added to as time progresses. End goal is a manly little lapghan, unless I get some more yarn enough for a twin size. At the moment it’s about 20in X 24in.

Keeping with this season’s theme of yarn… Here are a few Granny Squares I’m putting together in order to make a large blanket. I’m just starting, but I have the outer border, smaller squares all done and sewn together. There are 4 blocks of 4 blocks that are then crocheted into a larger square. In the end, there will be three larger squares of the small small squares around a very large center square. Not sure what the finished size will be. At the moment, I’m still using scraps. However, upon reviewing the instructs, I am a good 10 or so skeins short of the complete pattern. At the moment, I have one skein of each color. Totally addled on my part… though, in all honesty, I do have a right to be. We just lost our baby who came far too early into this world. It’s been difficult to do anything for a few weeks.

Sorry for the sideways shot. Anyhow, this is a scrappy skirt I’m working on. I’ve decided that gores (the dark tan part) are definitely not my forte. The pattern has them inset after seaming the individual sections. Tried that… several times (hence all the wrinkles) and failed horrendously. So, I took out the top seam, sewed gore in to place on one side, picked up the piece I’d just unsewn (french seams at that!), and sewed it into place. As you can see, not much progress. I’m only on gore two… ugh! They fabric came out of a bag o’ scraps I picked up at a thrifty on one of the rare days it was open during the pandemic. The lighter tan piece had about 2 1/4 yards to it. I was surprised to find just the right amount for this skirt with very very little left over. I dropped the scraps into my crumb bin because of course ‘waste not, want not’. When that bin gets full again, I’ll make up some more crumb blocks. yeah!

And lastly, a small project I’m working on knitting. It’s not technically scrappy, but I am proud of it. When I started working on this 18th century stocking, I was following the patter of CO53 stitches divided around 4 DPN’s. I knitted up the ribbing and about 5 inches of the stockingette, then thought it looked kinda too small to slide over my knees (These stockings are tied just above the knee and folded over at the top.) So, I decided to try it on. I was right! It was so small it wouldn’t go over my calves.

Grrr… I growled, I spent $18 USD on the pattern, which is a large sum for me as I only make 5-10 USD a month taking garbage out for neighbors. So, I picked up the pattern to read it thinking I must have misread something… and that’s when I spotted the special note. The pattern had been “modernized” for our larger yarns these days. So, got out some “modern” (#4) yarn and knitted up a gauge swatch, and wouldn’t you know that I had the wrong sized yarn! ACH! I wanted to scream… in fact, I think I did! So, I was ready to give up and call the company where I got the pattern for a full refund when I decided to give the special “options” notation a read over. The note was about using thread style yarn (which is what I have), and that CO was 105 stitches… that’s a huge difference from 53, eh! So, I cast on the required stitches and did a few inches of ribbing, tried it on, and walaah! It fit perfectly. So, off to knitting I shall go. I’ve got both stockings done to the end of the ribbing. The ribbing only piece (done on smaller needle) is set aside at the moment, while I knit up the part with the larger needle. I’ve still got most of the stocking to knit up so it should keep me busy through the end of the year.

I’ve had to be in bed most of the last several weeks, so working with yarn was the way to go. I was gifted a small little “reborn” type baby doll in condolence and it came without a wee blanket. I found a skein of yarn in my bin and have decided that it needs a blanket before I tuck it up on the shelf. Our little girl will never have that. Her wee bit of ashes are now tucked between her Grandmother and Great Grandmother where I know she’ll be look over and cared for in heaven.

That’s all I have for ScrapHappy this month.

Nano WINNER! YEAH!

I DID IT! WOW! Oh, how my hands are hurting and my brain is fried extra crisp… but, I DID IT!

Now that the stress of meeting a particular goal, the “real” writing begins. Now, I go back and tackle that scene that had me stymied. Now, I start reading what I’ve written and making necessary corrections. Oh, and I need to add some bridgework here and there to tie it in with its sister manuscript “Gateway East”.

It is said both that the past has no bearing on the future, and that it is the past that makes the future. In “Gateway East” the war ended, the monuments were dedicated, and life moved on. In “Where Honor Lies” we see the true toll of war… that it affects those involved for a lifetime – or longer.

When all is said and done, these two novels should work together seamlessly while at the same time remaining completely separate from one another. And, the mantle will be passed onto a new generation, on a new world, filled with hope of not repeating the past that they were born into. We’ll see what happens.

In the meantime, this very tired and sleep deprived author is going to go home and tuck into a nice warm bed and crash for a few hours. Then, tonight, I’m going to take myself out for a celebration! I still have my birthday gift card, and it’s just enough for me to get a meal.

G’night! and happy Nano-ing to ALL!

Sea Birth

The little tin box was no bigger than her hand, its contents even smaller. She clasped it to heart as if she could once again feel it beginning life within her womb.

As she looked out over the rail, she saw the beauty of the mountains in the distance and knew it was time. Reaching her hand out, she let the box drop, and with it her heart and soul.

wc: 70

In loving memory of Sarah Elizabeth, October 15-October 15, 2021

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here. This week’s photo has been graciously donated by: Ted Strutz

Ps. My current word count for Nano (National Novel Writing Month) is: 48, 605.

Nano – Day 9 Wow!

Well, for the most part that picture is true. The exception is when I’m writing about a serial killer… hehe! Seriously, though, I do have a “serial” situation of the ‘stalking’ variety in my novel this Nano. The ‘serial’ part is like a supporting character to the main plot… a little “niggling’ type thing that spurs on a larger type thing, that leads to a really huge thing. Ach, isn’t that the way of ‘serials’… one thing leading to another.

If any of my readers remember the “Gateway East” story from a few years ago, then you’ll get the picture. This years story is a bit of a spin-off from that. A story wherein ghosts from the past (I know its a dreadful metaphor, but if it fits…) conglomerate to wreck havoc in the present life of my main character. This havoc creates a bit of a catharsis for my main dude and nudges him towards a precipice where he must make a major decision to move forward or suffer the consequences. Now, if I have you confused… welcome to the club.

Such is the challenge and enjoyment of Nano, eh!

So, where am I? Hmmm, I’m sitting in front of my laptop… Oh, you mean that you want to know where my word count is??? I am happy to say that I’ve crushed the halfway point, and began the morning a little over 80% of the 50k goal. My current count is sitting at: 47909. At this rate, I’ll probably finish after tonight’s writing session.

Is it time to stop??? NO!

I will continue to write through the end of the month on my expanded writing schedule. Then, I’ll take December off. I’ll tuck away November’s words and ideas for a month of stewing before I tackle the editing phase in January. That’s how I roll with Nano. So far this year, I’ve managed to keep my writing within one genre and one manuscript. That said, I do have some inspiration for some side writing that shall not count towards the 50k goal.

So, off I go now to see if I can top out the next 3k to the goal line. Wish me luck and a strong battery. 🙂

Happy Nano-ing to ALL!

Nano – Days 6-9 – We be JAMMIN!

Good morning Everyone! It is a GOOD morning!

I am now over the halfway hump! YEAH! After a couple of days of no inspiration whatsoever, I found my groove again and laid down several thousands words yesterday. So, it’s time for a little victory party with my favorite “lift me up” song. Sorry, I didn’t purchase the plan that would allow me to plug in the video directly, but here’s the link: https://youtu.be/kbyjaUJWWmk

Oh, btw, my current word count is sitting at a blissful 30,936 on “Where Honor Lies”. No, I still haven’t written the scene that was such a hangup. Maybe, the story doesn’t need that particular moment… yet. Or, maybe I still need to sit with it a bit longer. It will happen in it’s time and place. Until then, as they say at the circus, “The show must go on…”. And so the circus is now at it’s midpoint, and I’m feeling pretty darn good about it.

For those of you (My Friday Fictioneer friends) that know of recent health issues, yesterday’s doc visit was the best that could possibly be. NO CANCER! And for that, I am truly thankful. And, for that, here’s another favorite “lift me up” song… https://youtu.be/d-diB65scQU

Nano – Day 5… When all that’s left…

When all that’s left is nothing… The writer grinds her teeth, hisses, and turns the page.

I’ve written myself into another proverbial dead end alley. UGH! It happens, but it’s frustrating all the same. Being stuck on that particular sub-plot, I move on to another. To say that my manuscript appears to resemble “Cat’s Cradle” by Kurt Vonnegut would be putting it mildly.

I was trucking along just fine, then an inspiration struck and I opened another file to start with a blank page. Bad girl that I am! Ha! That option afforded me 2749 words yesterday afternoon on an entirely different plot line. Good for the word count, bad for the manuscript that I really want to add to for Nano. So, I’m sitting here with close to 3k additional words and I’ve written myself out of a story already. Sigh….

So, it’s back to the main piece I’m working one where one of my two MC’s is still caught in the middle of a tight combat situation and is about to find himself faced with one of those “measure of a man” moments. I know I need to write this… to get it down on paper or screen…. but…. I’m procrastinating. Maybe I’m just pressuring myself too much over this particular character. I WANT to get this part of the story RIGHT! If comes out of real life… well, the life of a “brother” who shared his Vietnam experiences with me over several decades. So, I feel that I must honor him in this story… I must stay “true to the facts” as much as is possible, on some level.

Ohhhh, that I could visit him and bounce off what I’ve written and what I want to write… to get his perspective again, to experience what he experienced in a way. Alas and anon, that will not happen. My ‘brother’ is gone… covid took him across that eternally long bridge. His spirit and soul are at peace now. No longer will he wake up in battle mode, or in fear. That is a blessing, and I am on some level happy and envious of him for that peaceful solace. Doesn’t help me with writing “his” story, but it is okay. So, I’m trying to pull on his proverbial khakis and get into his mindset. It’s hard – very hard in a way that it has never been for me before. So, my plot line is sitting here staring at me, and my muses are daring me, and my soda is full… and, yet…. (hangs head with a sigh).

“Okay, you little word genius, get your freakin’ write on!” I hear his voice in my head urging me to continue…

Current word count for Nano: 21,759 and counting…

Nano – Day 4…

Nano, day 4, the day when the muses decide to skip out on their own and leave you bereft of inspiration.

Face it, folks, it happens. I’ve spent the day happily contemplating my next scenes without jotting down more than a few words. It happens, and I’m okay with that. Why? Because the scene I’m working out in my head is going to be a real show-stopper, so it requires a bit more thought. I’m okay with that, too.

This year, I’m taking Nano one word at a time, choosing to write quality over quantity. That said, the last three days have really rocked with the word count, so I do have that small bit of a buffer for days like today. My blank page is sitting beside me, my blank file for today is open and hanging out on the utility bar just waiting to be clicked on. And I’m sitting here writing this entry and contemplating life, the universe, and my next plot twist… in that order.

I hope your day 4 is more productive. And I hope you’re still filled with musings and whatever snacks are within reach. If I eat these “Nerd” candies will they enhance my brain power and give me the inspiration I most desperately need? Such are the questions on a writer’s mind once they are sleep deprived and snack laden.

Happy writing, All!