musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the category “serendipity”

tell it like it is

My life, in a nutshell, or rather two fortune cookies:


I’m at the library. I’m driving myself nuts.

I am working on a really tough chapter to edit, trying to condense and strengthen an important scene. It’s a kickball game, a hovering bullying threat, a lot of misplaced emotions and misdirected kick in the head.

You would think it would be easier to write than this. I’ve rewritten it dozens of times already.

Summer camps have let loose their wards, about the same age as the characters I am editing, in the stacks. They wander in small gaggles and pairs, some individually. It’s like they all know I am right here and each has to walk within a foot of my work area.

I nearly gave up and packed it in for home, then I realized most of the noise was in my own head. I am too distracted these days. It’s a painful process to be editing this same chapter yet again. But I read it, and it only works about seventy-five percent. The idea comes across, but it’s a little flat. Until the kick in the head. I really need to build the emotional pressure a bit more concisely so that when the kick happens, it explodes like a ripe tomato thrown at a wall. Figuratively speaking, of course. There will be no murders in this book. But there really needs to be spike of the pressure that has been building through the book up to this point. This kick is a minor pre-release to the main confrontational event. It is a nail in bike tire, not the whole crashing flat that comes later.

I am definitely having a moment of why am I still working on this, but it will pass. It kind of is now, as the summer campers appear to dissipate enough that I can hear the air conditioning working overtime against the heat.

Back to it, Cath, that’s it.

But first, I want to share something I read before I left home today to edit. It’s an inspiring account of personal endurance. Grab a cuppa your favorite beverage and settle in. It’s a tad long, but it’ll do wonders, I promise. It inspired me to stick with this manuscript, to stick out this editing session, to stick out writing.

And that’s the least of the inspiration. This is big Life Stuff. Thank you, Max. Vineman 7.3 2011

mountain adventure

I arrived home with West Virginia mountain soil ground into my skin, everything smelling slightly musky and very smokey from rain and campfire and feeling more alive than I’ve felt in a long time. Hot, sore, soaked, dirty, smelly and utterly alive.

Honey and I have this little thing. When we’re in sync about something, any little thing, we have kind of a slide-five, confirmation of everything right between us. We did that a lot more this trip than we have for a long time.

I had dreams, amazing dreams of people far away but near to my heart, as I slept with my head in a Civil War trench on a hilltop, in a damp tent, surrounded by RV city. One friend currently working, far from his family and friends, in Argentina. Others in a far off land…I think it’s called Wisconsin. 😉

This is who I am. I am of the land, mountains, rivers, sea and sky and night fires. This is where I am happiest, most content, completely myself.

And I haven’t been camping in over 20 years. Now, I know why I feel such discontent. It’s not the suburbs. It’s not my family circumstances, or other minute aggravations of the day in day out or the lack of writing time to myself.

It’s that I haven’t fed my soul the way it loves to be fed most in such a long long time. A lifetime. A roasted marshmallow soul under the moon and stars soul. A sun on my skin, rain on my hat, kid in a backpack on my back soul. A dog leash carabiner’ed to the backpack soul.

This is the seven year old Cathy, who when my family couldn’t call me in from dinner so easily, my mother sent my brothers out to look up the nearest tree for me.

But I seem to be starting at the end here, rather than the beginning. and this is probably going to be a very long blog with lots of pictures. So maybe I will leave the end here, at the beginning, and give you the beginning to the end tomorrow, and maybe the day after, and again, after that.

I am happy, my family is safe. I love my spouse, and my daughter camped for the first time. Her favorite part was ‘camping’. Parental translation: sleeping in the tent with Mommy and Daddy and Lucy.

“Can you see the real me, doctor, doctor?”

Honey and Toots at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers

I obviously need to do this more. The boys are coming next month.  Life is good, go for hike. Roast a marshmallow over an open fire, under the moon.

Serendipity rides again

So after kind of complaining my way through the last post on this dreary day, I IM’d with a friend, Brittany Vandeputte who just bought a new home and is getting ready to move her family in a big way.

I finished up with her and her excitement, started to stick cheese toast in the toaster for Toots and me for lunch, and the next thing I knew, the opening lines to a new tale began in my head and I couldn’t ignore it to save my life.  So, now I am sitting here, writing a new tale, again, when I should be getting Toots down for nap and turning back to my manuscript which is in the midst of 2nd draft huge edits! 

I mean, I am excited about a new story, but boy do I want to finish the old one for real. 

But I have a new story and feel excited about that new writing fever I have now!

And my cold is hardly noticeable now, and the rain is pouring down outside the windows…and I must write!

Today’s plan

is to plant the phlox I bought yesterday.  They look lovely in the pots I purchased  strategically placed around the bushes and side of the house where I want them to be in the ground. 

But after last night’s spontaneous girls’ night out adventure loaded with laughs and friends, and making new friends and generally having a ball, after yesterday’s relatively perfect day of lack of planning leading to gardening and then some, I may just lay back down in the chaisse lounge out back with a book and my red sox cap pulled low over my eyes, after I settle Toots down for her nap.

(please settle down for nap, Toots, please, oh please oh please?)

I think I need one, too.  I was up way past my bedtime.

Proud Mama

My teen, K is a freshman in high school. Today I had a meeting with him and his guidance counselor to plot out his likely course load for the next few years until his graduation in 2013.

He’d already been tracked into the honors advanced classes in middle school, but now he’ll be starting AP courses in his sophomore year.

The Virginia state tests are known as the SOLs, which I find highly ironic since if you don’t pass you’re basically, SOL.

Anyway, the guidance counselor just threw out there for K to hear, “You were one question away from a perfect score on last spring’s test. I don’t see any reason why we can’t keep you going on the fast track to college credits.”

Then he pointed out options for just how fast that track can be. It gave plenty of wiggle room for K to decide to take just above normal high school load, the medium setting or the Einstein setting. By the look on K’s face, come springtime, I think he’s pretty confident about the Einstein setting.

Then the guidance counselor suggested K start considering extracurricular activities. “Now, I’m the last guy to suggest you sign up for five or six activities, but you really should be involved in at least one thing.” We ended up discussing K going into theater tech because, while all that brainiac stuff is great, having practical skills is even better. And it’s fun with plenty of hang out time with plenty of friends. “They just held auditions for Grease. You should talk with Mrs. M about doing backstage work.” K seemed receptive to this suggestion, as he had signed up for the theater tech class but was bumped to chorus because of lack of interest this year.

Tonight is his Chorus concert and he has seemed like he is really looking forward to it. That’s a big improvement over his past interest expressed in things. I am a proud mama, indeed.

Just a side note here: in my freshman year in high school, I was in a production of Grease, and I really enjoyed Chorus all the way through college. Now wouldn’t that be something if he followed my trail of bread crumbs? NOt that I’m counting on it our anything….but it would be fun.

Serendipity in DC

My son K is on a trip with his coming of age group. They have gone to DC, and one thing K was looking forward to was going to the White House and having a chance to see President Obama. Unfortunately, in the planning process they were unable to secure tickets ahead of time for their time in the area. When I was his age I remember just standing in line and walking on in, but we all know since 9-11, security in most public buildings is higher, such as not being able to go to the top of the Hancock Tower in Boston, but the White House is on a whole different level of public access. You can go, but only if you’ve been screened ahead of time.

Well, the other day, they decided to at least go look at the place from outside, even if they couldn’t get the tour. They arrived around 5pm, as everyone else was leaving and they were closing up the gates. As the gang slumped away in disappointment, the presidential motorcade rolled on up, and Obama looked right at them and waved.

They were thrilled.

I wonder if K was wearing his grinning Obama shirt, with the tagline “Chill out everyone. I’ve got this!” He had planned on wearing it to the White House.

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