Wednesday, October 27, 2010

without winning and losing

Sunday afternoon I received an email that I was the lucky winner

So, today when I received another email with the subject line
WINNERS ... I made that horrible assumption before I opened it
that I was one of 85 that won something from a writer's contest.

Well, I didn't and I intend to write the coordinators
to find out if they will share some feedback
as to what it was lacking that the other 85 winners had.
I don't like not knowing.

So for those of you who were curious about my entry read on ...


Sam awoke shaken in the dark. Frantic to record the vision’s details before they faded from her mind. Sheer exhaustion had allowed Jacob to draw her into his surrounds, his reality, without him even trying. His psychic abilities grew stronger as his birthday was rapidly approaching. As it had been for generations in Samantha’s family, at conception a telepathic bond began between mother and child. However, the bridging ceremony must be performed soon otherwise; the link would end between them at the age of four. Could Sam find him before it was too late?

Jacob had shown Samantha something tangible to help locate him. Slowing her breathing as she closed her eyes, Sam concentrated. She was enraptured as a whirlwind of red and orange leaves danced about the dust bowl of a yard near a rusty Ford pickup. The very one Jacob disappeared in. The funnel of leaves zigzagged toward the spot where bucket-of-bolts lay resting. Mesmerized by the license plate swinging back and forth in the brisk breeze, Jacob giggled as it flew off. Sam held her breath as the dilapidated yellow-orange-colored plate whisked by the cabin’s window. It read simply RETYRED.

Sam fought back the tears that threatened to blur her sight. Groping for her cell phone, she knocked over the end table’s lamp. Though her fingers knew Chief Johnson number by heart, she wanted to be sure she called him and only him. Anyone else in North Cedar wouldn’t believe her. Wouldn’t understand.

Sam’s world came crashing down around her the day Maggie MacEntyre’s men had found them. As her mind played out the memory of Jacob’s kidnapping, sobs burst forth. Without warning the backfire made Jacob jerk away from Sam at the park. Curious as ever, he ran towards the decrepit truck. Falling over a tree root, Samantha screamed as Jacob was hoisted up into the cab. Grandma MacEntyre warning hit her full force; there was no place they could go she wouldn’t find them.

“Chief Johnson here,” Waiting for a reply all he heard was a woman weeping.

“Sam is that you? What’s happened?”

Samantha managed to choke out, “I know where Jacob is. He’s at MacEntyre’s hunting cabin in Battle Creek.”

*********** End of short story - copyrighted by Amy L. Heffernan/Amanda Campbell

Yes, that's it... that's all I could pour out in a day, on a Saturday full of kids' activities and such.

So, any thoughts... or feedback?

Monday, September 27, 2010

without ripping lattice from the deck

The challenge how much of the wooden lattice skirt around our deck
could our pups rip off from the deck before we have to replace it...?

Amazingly for the amount of slats we took from them
over the last seven months you'd have thought there was two layers!

So before they attempted to munch much more I started looking
for a non-wooden alternative. I found something called rabbit wire.
Unlike it's cousin chicken wire, rabbit is not too flexible;
in fact it's more ridged and retains it's memory.

I picked up two rolls just in time on Saturday,
because Sunday morning somehow both our girls...
Red (60 lbs) and Maeve (70 lbs),
found themselves stuck under the deck with no way out.

So I had to rip more lattice off to allow them to come to me.

As soon as I had them out, I checked them over like old mother hen
making sure they weren't hurt... then I scolded them.
I brought them inside so I could prepare for the new challenge at hand...
Wrapping our deck skirt area with rabbit wire.

I began to gather my tools and the new rabbit wire rolls.
The first side I tackled had no bushes or stairs near it.
It was by far, the easiest of the three I covered.
The second side had two bushes at either corner and a 10' wooden beam to move.
I was still pumped and making progress.

I let the girls out to see what they would do with the new obstruction.
They though had other plans.
First Red tried to casually walk off with the other roll of rabbit wire.
When that didn't work, she ran up on the deck
and tried to snatch the box of special U-shaped nails...
specially made for attaching wire to fence posts.
So she spoiled it for her and her sister, and back they went into the house.

The third and final side to be tackled presented to a formidable foe!
It had a bush next to the stairs at one end.
If it weren't for my youngest son, some of the task might not have been finished.
He crawled under the bush and help move dirt,
a extremely large log and the old lattice.

Once it was out, he helped me place back in an alternate to the rabbit wire...
as I had ran out (*GASP* the horror) and was stuck to put something, anything
there to cover a hold large enough for me to fit under the deck.

We finished though and what a rush of emotion over completing the task at hand!!!

Now what else can I fix...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

without losses and finds

This week has been wrought
with thoughts of losses and finds.

I do not think I've ever experienced
or ridden an emotional roller coaster
like the one I rode this week.

I received an email that has helped though to turn
the page of negativity over into a positive one.

I hope to turn my focus to fleshing out
Lost and Found...
my short story entry.
I intend to listen to the characters
as they have been sharing snippets
of their back story with me from time to time.
When I'm doing mundane tasks...
like folding wash, doing the dishes,
or walking the pups.
It's been wonderful to have my muse awakened again!

Entering the contest was just one small step
I needed to take to prove to myself
I have stories to tell the world.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

without the ticking clock!

I did it!
I beat the deadline!
I made it in!
And you can too!

Now I only have to patiently wait six weeks to hear the outcome.

I asked several fellow writers, friends and family
how I should fill that void...

Write Sam and Jacob's whole story!

Why did Grandma MacEntyre take Jacob?
Why would Chief Johnson believe Sam?
Who was Jacob's father?

So on Monday a new challenge begins...
Lost and Found!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

without taking on yet another challenge!

I did it, I entered a contest and paid the fee!

Now I have 24 hours to write a 900 word entry.

The catch, the contest has a theme.
Entrants must work at least part of the theme into their short story.

I'm trying, really trying... but the story is taking a turn
down a dark alley.
I don't like dark alleys. Never have.
I like to write happy-go-lucky...
similar to all those old black-and-white movies.
You know the ones with Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire
and the like.

Stay tuned for further posts about the challenge!

Meanwhile back in word processor page,
Sam awaits the writer
who left her shaken from a dream...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

time slipping through my fingers

Ok, so the room transformation wasn't completed.
I didn't fail though. Nor did I quit.
Time ran out the door and didn't give me a second glance.
I spent two days slaving away and I did make progress.
What I put on the curb on trash day is evident of that.

Additionally, I tackled another task and managed to find
many items while ripping down the prickly ivy
that encompassed a section of our back yard.
Three frisbees! Parts of the old swing set.
The peddle-go-cart my youngest child thought he'd
take apart and build his own "new" go-gart design with.
And lot of half-dollar-size spiders and ones larger! (UGH! EEK!)
In the end, though, I felt invigorated because I succeeded!

This week, I hope to make more.
But the return of school, sports, and scouting has me
wondering when I'll truly get to eek out time
to complete this project.

The other is revamping my website.
I've been reading, yes, Virginia writers read--
that's how they become better writers.
Years ago I had a degree in computer programming.
I loved being able to tell a computer to do something,
and it would do as I instructed.
Now with website design the sky isn't even a limit!

So perhaps, in a few weeks from now,
my office will be dining room.
Nor will my website won't look like a generic template
from a nameless-corporate-software-company.
And both will reflect my preference for colors
this time of year as does my blog...
hues of reds, oranges and yellows.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

without the need to transform a room's purpose

Challenge, to remove the contents of room
and transform it back to original purpose.

How many of us have done this?

How many of us have done it on a time limit?
Answer, again... probably several.

That's the challenge I've put to myself.

Convert my home office back to a dining room.
Time limit three and half days.

Questions that arise...
What to throw out?
What to keep?
Where to store it?
Where will work?
How to arrange the furniture?
Will it all fit?

Have you performed this task?
How it did you do it?
What advise would you give others?
Why did you do it?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

without Red

That is the name of one of our goldens.
She is a dark red Golden Retriever.

Every morning like clockwork
she starts barking before the sun rises.

Some days, like today, it is annoying...
I would love to sleep in until say 7.
Other days, I can handle it.

Today, though I did fold a load of wash,
pull the wet clothes from the washer,
and then start another load... all before 6 am.
By 630, I had half of the monthly bills paid.

Oh, and I've already finished a cup of joe
before it got cold because I lost track
of where I put it.

So, without Red...
I would be snuggled up in bed
dreaming of all the tasks left to do.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

without characters talking to me

Long ago when I started down the path
of attending writing workshops
a speaker once said that some writers
could hear characters speak to them.
Almost everyone laughed when they heard that,
but there were a hand full I can bet that didn't laugh.

I was in that hand full.
Yesterday, after a long absence I heard one of my characters.
She wanted me to know more about her.

Usually, the characters wait until I'm doing some mundane task
to begin a conversation...
Nine times out of ten, my hands are wet and/or soapy.
Then I have to scramble to dry them, find a pen
and begin to write feverishly fast to keep up
with the dictation on some scrap of paper.

Yesterday though I was fortunately lucky enough
to be standing in a long line at the deli counter...
The character whom I have been struggling with
decided then and there to let me know something
about her... and then more "what if questions" came to me.

Before I knew it, the line at the deli counter
had dwindled down ... and it was my turn.
As soon as my number was called...
She ended our conversation, and I was left standing there
with a grocery list covered with notes...
wondering what I was suppose to order.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

pups, kids, and ANTS!

Ok, so here I thought that brown thing in the corner of the kennel was a leaf... NOPE! I was so wrong!
Thankfully it was not a former living creature either!
That's a story for my husband to chat about.

It was a brown paper bag they had somehow
reached through their kennels.
And they managed to pull apart, piece by piece!
There was about 25 to 30 pieces in all in just one of their kennels...
I lost count while cleaning out the other.

Kids, they too kind find interesting things to amuse themselves...
OR when they desire a sweet treat they tend to leave a trail
of dirty dishes behind!
Unfortunately for me...
dishes, spoons and ice creams scoops left over night attract ANTS!

Hordes of them...!!!

So, instead of enjoying a cup of coffee at 5:45am
while the pups go out...
I have to spend my first 45 minutes up this morning pillaging
the local peasANTS out of their new village!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

if I didn't count my blessing

Today I met a young man who made it clear
I should count my blessing...

I have three wonderful kids...
who are as different as can be,
but love similar foods, books, and tv shows.

Two pups who give me new challenges everyday...
how fast can *you* back fill a hole while we dig two more!?!
Apparently, *not* fast enough! LOL!

And a terrific husband...
who not only can cook, but bake too!
And do many other chores; while watching the kids...
all while I'm working.

If a soul looks lost, reach out to them...
for they may be lost, and need guidance back.

Friday, June 18, 2010

without needing to clean!

One thing I dread doing is cleaning...
most of the time I end up cleaning the house because company is coming!

Tonight we're having a few kids over to celebrate one of kids' birthdays.

So I must clean!

I started earlier in the week...
but work and evening activities have prevented major progress.

Now looking at the clock I realize, times ticking...

So I must clean!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

without my job

I'm one of the librarians for our towns two libraries... and I look forward to enjoying the peace and quiet.

However, this past Thursday was one of most interesting days. A patron came in to use the computer, turned on his MP3 player and logged on. The volume of his "easy listening" was loud enough that I could hear it, and so could all the other patrons. But since no one complained, I left him be. He stayed for four (4) hours, sharing his favorite music selections.

My first couple of hours on the desk were slow, and I silently wished the day would go faster. Let me forewarn you be careful for what you wish, because the next two hours of my shift found me swamped with patrons coming and going every 5 to 10 minutes.

Before I knew it my sons were arriving, as the school day had ended. Which meant I had only one more hour on the desk. Amazingly, the rate of patrons coming and going slowed again.

Hard to believe in five hours I assisted 30 to 40 patrons with their library needs... and I love every minute of it, even when the days are a little unusual.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

without kids and dogs!

Just when I thought it was safe to grab a snack...
two pups decide they needed to go out.

Just when I thought it was safe to grab a soda to go with the snack...
three kids decide they are going to start World War X.

Just when I thought it was safe to eat the snack and sip my soda...
two pups have completed digging a hole right outside the back door
deep enough that I see clay!

Just when I thought it was safe to blog... "MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"