I don’t post a lot on this blog, and I next-t0-never publicize it. I created it as a place where I could think out loud, blather, do some writing exercises, and then go back to Real Life. Well, Real Life has a way of changing, morphing from one period of mayhem, to lethargy, and on into some new period of mayhem. In my more positive moments, I call these various phases “adventure”. Just now, it’s called “stuck”.

I’m working on a book where a girl lives in a world where everyone has the ability to manipulate one of the five elements. Her problem is she can’t manipulate any of the elements and is considered an unproductive member of society because of it. Her family treats her badly and her greatest wish is to do something that will prove her significance to the world. Something that will prove that she isn’t just a waste of space. Sound somewhat familiar? That’s because it is. A similar concept has has been done before, and recently. Though I haven’t read the book(s) myself, I know they exist because my son has told me. Also, my writing partner has told me. And my writers’ group members have told me. I think that even a fifth-grader has told me (which shouldn’t be a huge surprise, because it’s a middle-grade book series). I’m actually chatty Facebook friends with the author of the series, and I admire him and the way he reaches out to other writers to help them and encourage them along. I’m not going to read his series because I worry about having some of his story sneak its way into my book. On the one hand I feel I’m missing out on an interesting read that I’m sure I could learn a great deal from. On the other hand, I feel like I have my metaphorical fingers in my ears and I’m yelling, “I CAN’T HEAR YOU! I CAN’T HEAR YOU! NANANANANA!” Don’t tell me what I don’t want to hear.

At any rate, my book is Young Adult, not Middle Grade, and though I know it’s different, I’m having a difficult time convincing my muse to help me move it along. I sit down to write and find myself stuck somewhere in the middle just before what is supposed to be the climax scene. But part of me thinks maybe this is not actually the climax. Maybe this climax sucks eggs and doesn’t even belong in my book. Actually part of me knows this. Even as I write these words, I realize that the climax I’d planned and even partially written, does not work in this book. I will have to write something different. I don’t know what, I don’t know how. But it appears that the time has come to set aside the loose outline I had planned and just write and see where these characters end up taking me. At least I must for a while, until somewhere along the lines of text, I recover my writing mojo and enthusiasm for this book. I’ve been reading through some of the parts I’ve already written, and although far from perfect, it’s not as bad as I’d been thinking it was. There are in it seeds for something good.


Waking Up for an Early Morning Run

When my alarm goes off, the sky glows with a blue hint of the morning sunrise. Turning off my alarm, I moan internally, wishing for just another hour of sleep, but I roll out of bed anyway. The morning run is part of me now. It is important to the person I am and the person I am becoming. I dress in my old blue t-shirt and exercise pants and tell myself that I must buy better running clothes soon, but not yet. I’ll wait a little until I’m thinner, and faster. By the time my teeth are brushed and I’ve had a drink of water, I’m more awake and ready to head out. Stepping out the door, I realize just how cold 40 degrees is and I’m tempted to turn around and go back in.  The air is cold and still smells of last night’s rain. I convince myself that by the time I’ve gone a couple of blocks, I’ll be warm again and that when I get home there will be the triumph of completing one more run. I can do it. I am stronger than my bed and the cold weather and I’ll be back at it again tomorrow.

What Matters?

The fallout from the news is sad, the tragedies replayed over and over. The distance makes my imagination expand fear. I look at my children and wonder, is this the world my generation will leave for them?

But as the rescuers sift through the rubble of earthquakes, tsunamis, and explosions, they find sparks of life, dim, but still glowing. Like a small flame they are cared for, nurtured, and carried to a place where they can recover and grow stronger. The rescuers too, are sparks, bringing hope in the washed-out, shaken-up world. They brace their faith and their courage to face smells, unstable rubble, and mud. They keep going, retrieving bodies, dead or alive, for loved ones who wait and wonder.

The drift from the explosions floats on the wind, and anxiety travels with it. But everywhere it lands, we again find sparks; people who say, “we can survive all this, we have done it before.” The sparks of reassurance feed the small flames of faith and hope inside of others. These small flames grow to become fires that fuel a desire to reach out and help one another. The fire of hope works as a “back-burning” tool, helping us to stand up and let our work be counted to make an effort to make a difference; if not there, at the heart of the current disaster, then here, at the heart of our communities, in the hearts of our neighbors.

A world that acts from the heart. I hope this is the world I can leave to my children. Isn’t that in the end, what really matters?

Mark 12:30-31 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.