Sunday, April 26, 2020

Apple Juice and Other Updates - New Sample

Seven chapters drafted, the writing life continues. What does your desk look like? Mine looks like my dining room table. I spent the entire day cleaning yesterday, and felt so much better and ready for a fresh start last night. I had my moon lamp nearby for inspiration. Had to clean apple juice off my writing journal and laptop this morning, but we persevere! It's a side effect of my working conditions. 

Here is another sample for you, hope you enjoy. (Remember, this is a first draft. Although it has been proofread, it is far from perfect and may or may not exist in the final manuscript.)

     The night was even colder than the previous one, since the clouds had lifted and nothing held in the warmth of the day. The stars shone brightly like ice crystals hanging above the bare branches of the trees. A thin crescent moon smiled at her on one side and a nearly full one began rising on the other side. There were hardly any noises except the leaves shuffling on the gusty wind and the branches creaking against the cold. Ylva wore the same leggings, tunic, and hood as earlier, but she added a fur shawl that she clipped in front of her chest with a silver circle pin that reflected the moonlight like her eyes.
     The forest was alive, the energy snapping like electricity around her. Most people feel that the cold season is a dead one, but there is plenty of life, coursing below the surface, holding on to the energy of the sun until it is needed again. In a few months, when enough of that energy has been stored up, everything will bloom in full and the result will be a new burst of life, an explosion of energy, a new beginning. It reminded her of a woman with child. She holds her inside, still and quiet for many months. As she grows and grows she feels more and more drained, she moves more slowly and her pain becomes climactic in labor. Then with a burst of energy, her life is split in two, she brings forth a new being, full of vitality, ready to begin the journey. Anyone can see the energy shining from a yearling, as she runs nonstop, spying, exploring, experimenting, learning. The life is pouring out of her in waves of laughter and shrieks of anger, and all after a season of dormancy when her mother absorbed all the energy of the galaxy to fuel the tiny life protected inside of her. That was how life began, again and again.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Primal Mom

What is it about the motion of a toddler's cheeks and the adorable chewing sounds they make when they eat? I get such joy out of watching that little jaw bounce up and down, and those little lips pucker to keep the food in. She so carefully brushes the hair out of her face with her palm and tilts her head left and right to shift it into place. Those eyes could melt steel if they tried hard enough. They get wider and wider as she gets ready to smile, and those little teeth peek through at just the right moment. When she takes a sip there is that inevitable sigh at the end, as if she just got that first crisp flavor of a new bottle of wine. Then with crumbs on her cheeks she pushes her little hands together, fingers pointing in, and says, "More?" I love how it always sounds like a question. And if you don't respond right away, she tilts her head and says it more slowly, trying to make sure she was clear. When another treat is presented, the eyes widen once more and her grin pushes aside those impossible cheeks.

What clever primal adaptations make these things so valuable to us? How ingenious to make it a timeless joy for us to watch our little ones fill their bellies. It is such a wondrous miracle that I can get pleasure from watching her take food. Even though it will land in large portions on every surface within a ten foot radius. Even though the cat will later choke on a chunk I missed, that is if I even had the time to clean it up. Even though she goes through days of starvation when I clearly haven't made enough food since those two pieces of cheese toast and two bowls of yogurt were obviously just a snack. Even though she will refuse to eat for three days after since she no longer likes that. Oh primal instinct, you clever little devil. You make the most difficult experience in my life be peppered with little sprinkles of joy that I will never forget.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Time Travel

After finishing chapter 5, I can confidently say that time travel is a serious pain in the neck.

Make sure you get everything right the first time people.

The End.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Rewriting the Novel: 3 Paragraphs

I have been working hard today! I successfully completed my first three chapters of the rewrite. Here are a few paragraphs from chapter 1. Will they make the cut? Only time and endless revision will show! (Yes there are some weird spots, but I couldn't wait to share!)

     Ylva dropped her heavy sacks on the ground and stretched her arms over her head. She let out a yawn and closed her eyes, soaking in the sunlight on her cheeks through a clearing in the branches overhead. Her eyes scanned the nearby trees, searching for the right pair. She needed one small enough to get her started, but it needed to be close enough to its parent tree that she could jump across and continue climbing until she was above the canopy. This was how she plotted her journey now. Ylva spotted the perfect pair and did a few squats to warm up her legs. She wrapped them around a soft white trunk and began to scale. Her muscles flexed with heat as she reached higher and higher until she arrived at the crossing of the branches from the larger tree. This was always the scariest part,

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Stars and Moon

Did you know that Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star was written by a woman? Jane Taylor was a novelist and poet and she is believed to be the author of The Star in an 1806 publication called Rhymes for the Nursery. Today we know it by its new name. When my son was little I was delighted to learn, through the expertise of Pete the Cat, that there were many more verses than I knew. It is such a beautiful poem and I began to sing it to him with the "missing" parts. I encourage you to read the poem in its entirety. 

When I read the poem I felt Taylor's sense of awe and admiration for one of our greatest natural features, our stars. It almost sounds like a Thank You note written to the stars. It was this that inspired me to write my own poem to show my thanks for another celestial beauty, our moon. 

Round and smooth
You shine on me
You are not always here to see.

Your path across

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Fantasy Writers Q and A

I recently interacted with some writers during the Fantasy Virtual Con: Short Fiction Panel on Reddit. Many good questions were asked, and many thoughtful answers provided. To view the thread, visit Reddit. If you don't have an account, consider one. This is a great site for sharing ideas, exploring topics, and following current events (and also for lots of memes and live feeds of cats). 
     I have been interested in composing short stories for some time now. A little over two years ago I started reading short story collections and doing an author study on Ursula K Le Quin. My motivation has grown and grown but each time I look over my story seeds, I see whole novels staring back at me. That fear just keeps coming back to limit me. But this Short Fiction Panel sparked my new energy. After reading just a few responses and asking my own question, I joined the Insecure Writers Support Group (which I had been aware of for months but too insecure to join...the irony), established this blog, and started writing. 

Want to get involved and help inspire me? Comment below with a topic, just a word or a sentence will do. Maybe it will be that push I need to create a new fantasy world that anyone can enjoy. I will share some of my new creations right here on Tea, Sigh, Create.

Monday, April 13, 2020

The Spirit of a Cup of Tea

Did you know that each time you boil the kettle and forget to make tea, that a spirit is released into the world with the sole intent of blocking inspiration? The only way to trap this spirit is to complete the intention, make the cup of tea, and consume it while it is still more than warm. Use caution. If you forget the tea again, especially while the tea bag is still in the cup, the spirit will use your cup to reproduce, thereby increasing the chaos that prevents meaningful progress in all manner of artistic endeavors. I will note, if you then add ice to the tea and convince the spirits that this was your intention all along, they may be satisfied and disperse without committing harm. I am still working on a ritual that will help banish these troublesome spirits to a realm where they will be harmless, I just need to find the right sacrifice...

Sunday, April 12, 2020

My First Novel

Only those closest to me know that I have written a novel. I wrote the first chapter before I had any children, or even a husband. It sat in the documents of an old tablet device along with a few others. A few years ago, I picked it up and was inspired to finish it. I did so over a number months, mostly over the summer between school terms. A school district takeover left me without a job and I was unsure if there would be another position waiting for me in the fall, so in essence I had nothing to lose. A huge "What if?" circled around in my head as I built a universe, fell in love with characters, and thickened the plot every day while my son was napping. I read it out loud to my husband each night before we went to bed, and my confidence grew with each chapter. This book is going to be amazing! I thought every minute or so. I'll retire early as we always planned, then I'll get big comfy sweaters and fifteen tea cups so I can never run out, and I'll watch the sunset over something beautiful while I let my fingers dance over a keyboard. Even better, someone will want to turn it into a Netflix original series or a Prime Movie and I'll be set for life. That happens. I read about it. Yes, I knew this was a fantasy, but who cares? Shouldn't I live in a fantasy every now and then? It's not like I drink or use drugs; I have to spice up life somehow.

     Well, obviously, after months and months of waiting I received a

Saturday, April 11, 2020

It's me again...sort of...

While scrolling through google photos, in a vain effort to clear up space on my very old phone, so as to avoid purchasing a new phone, I came across a friendly little bubble titled 7 Years Ago. When I clicked on the bubble I was hit in the face with images from a past life. There was my beautiful, yet tiny, backyard. It was fresh with Spring. My new micro-farm was glowing from a freshly painted, lime-green raised bed, my bee hive was buzzing with the smell of honey. Flowers burst in every hue and my dogs rested lazily in the dappled shade.
     So what happened? First hint:  my oldest child will be 6 next month. Second hint:  For the past four months, I, along with my two children, husband, and cats, have lived in a two-bedroom apartment 1000 miles away from my dream garden that I worked for years to perfect. Sigh.

     So much change, so much darkness, so much accomplished, and this is where I am; this moment. I no longer