musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the category “quiet”

time out

I have a lot to do.

I have a lot on my mind.

So this morning, Toots and I took a breather, and just played in the sunshine. I think it helped me to not obsess quite so much, sort things out a bit.

It’s also our last day of Toots only. Tomorrow, we retrieve Mr. Cynic and Captain Comic. Mayhem will return to its usual full capacity.

“Don’t take my picture, Mommy!”

“I said, stop taking my picture.”

So for now, some quiet girl time.

quiet & things

Back from camping, this week was mostly much needed downtime. 

My writing group had a lunch meeting after a hiatus period due to travels of each, and surgery of one. We had a logistics meeting discussing where we all were at the moment in writing, how we want the group to function, and dare we invite some new blood in after loosing two members to moves somewhat cross-country in the past year. We all agreed on new blood, some of us moaned about the current transitory state of publishing world, the other members all recently submitted works and are in that sea of rejections and non-responses. I ended up being the cheerleader to keep them all from quitting writing, and thankfully it worked. They are all too good to not be read out. 

One had to remind herself of why she writes besides trying to publish. I not so eloquently put it, “If I’m not writing, I am miserable to be around. Might as well shoot me it the head.” And the rest, thankfully, recognized that in themselves.

Speaking of writing and rejections, I saw a bit of an interview last night in which the author of The Help claimed to have received 60 rejections over the course of three years. Now she’s a best selling author with a highly anticipated film on its way to release. 

So there’s always hope.

I had one good writing session this week. Polished up another chapter. I am hoping to get more in this week, especially while the boys are out of state with their father. I really want to knock this revision out and get it in the same state as my writing group compatriots. Although, if I feel as hopeless as they did before my cheer session, maybe not. Who am I kidding? I want to get the book out of my hands and into the public. And I have other starts and ideas to work on.

It’s quiet. Too quiet. I find it disorienting, though it is what I loved most about my pre-motherhood. I really loved just curling up with a book because I felt like it and no one interrupted me for anything darn thing. Or just going outside for a walk to clear my head. Not that it needed much clearing then. And writing for endless hours because my head had empty rooms to wander around in.

Now I want to be interrupted. Curses.

I miss the boys. I miss my grown up talks with my really perceptive teen. I miss Captain Comic yelling and stomping through the house because I am ruining his life or crushing his dreams because I won’t buy him a real movie camera. Hm, just Googled, looks like that would run me about $67K, used. I would sooner replace Big Bertha, my rusty year 2000 minivan, and the fence. Or maybe try to put in that second master suite to the house.  Or sock it away toward the kids’ college educations, half of one of them anyway. I miss how he always makes me laugh.

Other than that, I have been battling weeds and squash bugs, a Normandy style invasion of which destroyed my beautiful squash plants, again. And Toots and I have been having fun with each other and with friends. 

So this Saturday is an extra quiet one, and I almost – note almost – feel a smidge ho-hum. 

lazy sunday afternoon

After Saturday night’s storm, Sunday couldn’t have been more perfect weatherwise.
I parked myself under the wisteria with an interesting non-fiction read that I have renewed at the library for the third time. It’s fascinating, but I can’t or don’t sit down long enough to just read a good chunk of it. If you’re curious, it’s called Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation by Mitch Horowitz. I was familiar with a lot of the material he covers, but I really like how he puts it all together and shows a real chronology of the history of faith in America in all of its complexity.
Honey came out and joined me for a cuddle on the chaise for a bit, as Mr. Cynic mowed the front yard. Then Honey went in and woke up Toots from her nap. She came out for a cuddle with me, too.
Toots then got busy playing all over the yard with her daddy and I looked at the wisteria’s wild dreadlocks, and decided to tame them a bit. I got out the ladder and string and started climbing and pulling at vines. While I was up there, someone came to chat, kind of.
Captain Comic: Hi Mom. What are you doing?
Mom: Hey Buddy, I’m fixing the wisteria. Whatcha been doing this afternoon?
Captain Comic: Stuff.
Mom: What kind of Stuff?
Captain Comic: Supercool Stuff you wouldn’t understand.
Mom: What kind of supercool stuff – drawing comics? 
Captain Comic: Groan growl.  
And he circle paced around once more and headed toward the trampoline from where I heard squeaks and jumps as I went back to the business at hand. 

The wisteria on the fence is still a bit wild, but at least she doesn’t look like Coolio circa 1994, or Weird Al Yankovic, for that matter. She smells a lot better, too, I bet.


The rest of this week won’t be, so this morning, I am enjoying the quiet.  Then the mayhem will resume.

but for now, I can finally load photos again, so here are the purple mums from my front yard from last week:

I couldn’t decide which view, so here are two that are very similar.

Gone writing

I have this week to myself by day, except for Toots, of course. 

Grandma has left town.

The boys have been out of town long enough to get over the ‘what am I to do with myself besides miss them’ feeling.

Between Sesame Street in the morning and the prayed for naptime in the afternoon, I may actually be able to work more on edits on the manuscript, and with some consistency, so that’s my plan.

Sorry, it’s not very entertaining, but it is a good plan.

 Wish me luck!  Especially considering Toots is now actively potty training.

short and not so sweet

Tomorrow the boys leave for a month away at their dad’s, who lives several states away.

Today we pack.

They’re both holed up in their rooms this morning, doing who knows what, I seriously doubt packing, but it’s too quiet for me already.

A month without mayhem.  How will I ever survive?

Should I be careful not to wish for some mayhem?

I doubt it.

But I am hoping to use the quiet time to do more edits on the manuscript and continuing to write the new story.

I miss them already.

ain’t no cure for the summertime blues

Please bear with me as I continue to get the hang of the macro setting on this point and shoot style camera. I do hope to one day own a better camera again with good lenses, etc. I miss my old Pentax-K 1000 from my studying photography days, but it has been a long time, and I entered digital camera age kicking and screaming.
These marigolds came out with some nice up close and personal details.  I like the shadow in the second one.  A little too: in the hot bright midday sun, possibly.

I love how the itty bitty baby basil turned out.  Funny, same time of day, different garden plot. Light completely different.  These leaves aren’t even a quarter of an inch long.
As much as I’d like to claim a title such as Dreams of Jasmine, honestly, I really wanted to focus on the  blooms, not the base of the stem and glossy leaf.  This camera is a fickle one. 

sometimes nothing is better than a mouthful of words

Duck, NC 1.8.2010

The Writers’ Retreat in the Outer Banks, NC

I don’t know quite how to talk about my experience at the Writers’ Retreat. It was rather life, or at least book changing. We got right to it, after a brief lunch on Thursday afternoon last week and settling in. We are six women children’s authors all in a writing group together that has now officially been dubbed Tidewater Writers. We wrote on average, in silence, for nine hours a day. We all felt like if we were in our usual environments we would not have accomplished the things we did or maintained the focus for so long. We did only because five other women were doing the same thing. As for what I accomplished: I nitpick edited my way through three turns of the book, most specifically to get my verb tense consistent throughout the story. I surprised myself with a few new scenes where previously I had described situations. I figured out that I need to meld two characters. This both saddens and exhilarates me. I really love one character I am going to get rid of in the process, and his appearance really defines the family dynamic in the manuscript. Here are some pictures of where we stayed in a little town called Duck.

I took the above from the screened in deck almost as soon as I arrived. The drive was easy and made easier through conversation. I probably talked J’s ear off out of necessity, as I anticipated the silence to follow. I’m a talker by nature, and just knowing there would be other adults to talk to who wanted quiet was going to kill me if i didn’t get it out of my system. My apologies to J, if she sees this post. The water surface was frozen, hard to see from this shot. It was about the coldest weekend the Outer Banks had ever seen. Think about it: frozen salt water body.

A handful of hours later, after we’d been working, and I had fidgeted and moved around too much, battling my own distractions, I looked out the window to a beautiful golden sunset.

I watched it more than I wrote for a while. Below’s picture is blurry, there was a lot less light, and a lot more color. Because of the darkness encroaching, my shutter stayed open too long and I have a shaky hand, so sorry about the blur. Amazing color, not amazing camera, you can see the ice patch better here in the lower quarter of the photo, blurry as it is.

Each night we took turns making dinner. I was shamed by my cohorts. I like to think I am a good cook, but mine was way homier than the presentations by the other women. Even if my spaghetti sauce was homemade. After a couple of hours of work on Friday morning, I wasn’t getting very far going crosseyed trying to edit and was fidgeting. I kept thinking about Toots and that I should be home. I saw J getting restless, too, so I approached her as quietly as possibly to see if she wanted to walk down to the water to clear our heads. So we bundled up and hopped the boardwalk over the dune to the peers and Currituck Sound. At least I think it was Currituck. I’ve looked on a couple of maps and a few sounds and a bay all seem to converge right about where we were staying, on the western shoreline. Again, all these white caps? Not moving, not gently rolling into the shore. Frozen. Solid. The wind was quite brutal.

We wanted to walk out the long peer, but found it blocked by this:

Even though we were renters. So here’s a view from below the peer at about ten in the morning.

We didn’t stay out for long, the wind was really taking our breath away. I heard some form of wildlife rustling on the dune in the grasses and brush, but didn’t catch sight of it. Below is the view of our house from the boardwalk. It was huge. It had a pool, closed, and a hot tub. The hot tub became a vital part of our retreat and writing process. We gabbed about writing bumps and curves, drank wine, and soaked, while the water steamed up into the cold cold night around our heads, and up to where the stars shone brightly.

Saturday, J and I decided, as cold as it was, there was no sense in our coming all the way to the ocean, mere yards away across the main road, and not see it. If you’ve been reading my blog at least since this summer, you know by now my particular affinity for the ocean and beach. We drove down, parked and walked over the dune around four in the afternoon.

If we thought the wind was cold the day before, it absolutely bore through us on the way up the dune. Below is the view from the crest of the dune as the wind began to tear through my left ear.

We walked southward down the shore with the wind at our backs, but still seriously braced against the cold. My Red Sox cap was the wrong hat for the job. I found tons of cool shells and even pieces of bone of small animals, washed ashore. The shells were bigger than any you can find in the summertime at Virginia Beach or Buckroe, my current usual haunts. I’ve been collecting beach detris since I was a little girl growing up on Long Island Sound, and all the beaches my parents trotted us to all up and down the East Coast growing up, and any beach I’ve been on since. I picked up a nice couple of pieces of driftwood on Saturday, along with a pocketful of shells, two whole crab carcasses (two types) and the jawbone of something, I still don’t know what, but it still has teeth!

I soon realized we really needed to turn around if we weren’t going to freeze to death on the way back to the boardwalk by the car. J agreed and I’ll tell you, my mother’s old expression ‘cold as a witch’s titty’ does not even come close to the wind that whipped our faces. The seagulls below stood shivering away from the water’s edge until I pulled out my camera and approached them.
They gave me some serious WTF expressions as they headed toward the water to get away from me.

By the time we jumped back into J’s car, I knew my ears were in serious trouble. I looked in the visor mirror and they were stark white. That is not a good sign. They continued to tingle and hurt two days later, after I’d been warm inside even back home for twenty-four hours.
By the look of these pictures, it seems I spent a lot of time gazing at sky and sea, but really that was a brief respite. The main thing I did all weekend was write. Well, even then, mostly edit, but it was much needed and not something I’ve been able to stick it out and do with all the home interruptions and easy distractions. I feel refreshed and exhausted. refreshed from all the sleep and hot tub that I don’t get at home, ever. Mentally exhausted because I finetooth combed my way through my whole book, and wrote additional scenes. I can’t wait for next year’s retreat!
I am posting this a few days later than I wanted because I came home to a sick cat, and paying attention to family needs. We’re still waiting on test results to find out what is going on with Babette, and I am absolutely drowning under laundry duty, among the usual mayhem.

Happy New Decade

It’s not terribly early in the morning. Toots is sleeping in and so are Honey and Grandma. The boys are with their father and but for my usually waking and Lucy who wanted out of her crate for her morning business, the house is quiet.

The route road that runs behind my house is quiet.

I’m enjoying my coffee in relative peace.

No one has to be anywhere under duress. No shoes to find before a bus.

Ah, that didn’t last long. I hear Toots stirring.

Well, I hope your New Year and New Decade bring your hopes, desires and the goals of your work. And remember, the goals aren’t necessarily as direct as they may seem, like a paycheck. They involve your dreams.

Here, Mother Nature is blessing us with a wee bit more rain, and I will relax with my coffee a moment longer before I make the Hoppin’ John for prosperity in 2010.

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