Hidden – #writephoto

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I wish I could have spent the last ten days hidden among the wild things along the bank of the stream behind my home. Having been confronted by a terrible tragedy that can happen to any of us as we make our way out in the world, it’s made me wish for the greenery of summer to hide me away and the babble of the brook to keep my ears from hearing.

A severely impaired child and a grown-up young man lost their mother ten days ago. A man lost his wife and almost lost his own life. That little girl almost lost her father as well. A family lost a daughter and a sister. The world lost a beautiful woman. A community lost a friend and a participant. My street lost a neighbor and I lost one of my next-door neighbors.

We lost her to a traffic accident. A severe one and something that could happen to any of us. It was violent and her death was instant. In the blink of an eye, so many lives were affected and her life was snuffed out forever. We don’t realize how our lives affect so many others.

It’s made me do some real thinking about the fragility of life and how we take our lives for granted. We waste time, days, even hours and minutes, that we shouldn’t waste. My neighbor walked out her door never dreaming she would never be back. I’m sure much was left undone. Things she wished she’d said and done. She didn’t know time was coming to an end for her. Most of us don’t. Many of us procrastinate doing the important things. Telling people we love them. Making arrangements for people we care for. Spending more time with our friends and family.

There are things in life which you wish you could unsee and unhear. I wish I could unhear the news about my neighbor. I wish I could unsee the look in her husband’s eyes when I saw him today. Still in shock but with pain deep inside. So many people’s lives will never be the same.

As for me, these are the first words I’ve written since I heard the news. My fingers and my mind have been frozen. I think of the poem called “The Peace of Wild Things” by Wendell Berry and wish I could be at that babbling brook behind my house and that I could unhear the terrible news about my neighbor.

I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief… For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— “The Peace of Wild Things, by Wendell Berry

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#weekendcoffeeshare – 11/3/2018

Good morning, everyone! Thank you for joining me for our #weekendcoffeeshare this week! It’s cold outside today. I hope you can make your way through all the fallen leaves on the ground. You can see a picture of our fall color above. Those trees are in my backyard! We measure leaves in the fall here by the foot! Please come in and fix yourself the hot beverage of your choice. I have several kinds of coffee and tea, so pick your pleasure!

I haven’t had a #weekendcoffeeshare for a couple of weeks and I apologize. It’s been a very busy time at my house. I try to find four or five hours to write every day, which is sometimes difficult, and then the rest of the day is taken up by a million little (and sometimes big) things. The most important thing is always my writing, but sometimes, the most pressing thing is Tucker, my eight month old Cardigan Welsh Corgi.

Oh, Tucker! That boy not only requires, but demands a great deal of time. He looks like a grown dog, but he’s still a baby with a puppy brain. When I look at how big he is and how much he looks like an adult male, it’s hard to remember. Tucker is now 35 pounds which is very close to the size he should be at maturity. Cardigans don’t mature until they are two or even three years old so I shudder to think of his size at maturity! 🙂 He’s very sweet, but he requires a lot of training. You can see a picture of Tucker, my yard long dog, above!

Now, down to business! I am still working on characterizations and settings for my novella that may actually become a novel. I have no way to know at this point. Novellas are usually around 40,000 words. Above about 60,000 words and you are approaching the word count of a novel. Since the public’s attention span seems to be getting shorter all the time, the word count of novels is getting lower. So I don’t know what I’ll have when I’m finished!

One interesting setting I’m developing is New York City, circa 1943. I need to develop two settings, one in Brooklyn where I’ve never been and one in the middle of Manhattan, where I have been but obviously not in 1943! Manhattan is surely proving to be the easier of the two. I’m having to do a deep dive into research to find much about Brooklyn in the middle of World War II. This is a novella (novel?) full of different settings so I’ll gradually mention a lot of them! Both my protagonist and antagonist are traveling around a lot.

Traveling is another issue I’m having to deal with. Travel in 1943 and today are completely different. My antagonist has travel provided. My protagonist does not. I’ll talk more about this next week.

Feel free to stay and finish your beverage. Thanks for stopping by. I’ll hope to see you next week!

 

Thanks to eclecticali

 

 

 

#weekendcoffeeshare -10/13/2018

Good morning, everyone! The picture posted above of the ocean is in memory of the Hurricane Michael victims.

So glad you could join me here at my home and have coffee with me this morning! I have set up a coffee and tea bar in my kitchen for your drinking pleasure. I wish we could have coffee on my deck, but fall has come to #Kentucky and it’s too cold. So grab whatever beverage you want and let’s go to my writing studio!

Kentucky was still hot and in the midst of full on summer until about four days ago. That’s pretty unusual for this time in October. Then, four days ago, the season suddenly changed, cool weather arrived, and fall is here. I’m glad! It was the most humid summer in Kentucky that I can ever remember. The cool weather is so refreshing!

If we were having coffee, I would ask each of you how your writing is coming along? I also hope just the general course of your life is going wonderfully. The world, at least in the U.S., seems to be an increasingly difficult place in which to live. I hope it’s being kind to you.

A few weeks ago, I promised one of you who was reading my #weekendcoffeeshare, that I would talk a little about my use of Scrivener in writing my novella, so I’d like to fulfill that promise.

For those of you who don’t know, Scrivener is a very powerful writer’s software program. It is very detailed and complex, but you don’t have to use all the functions. You can, of course, write your entire manuscript on Scrivener which I will try in the future. Since I’m not familiar with it or wasn’t until this past week, I’m going to write my manuscript for my novella on Word, but use some of the functions of Scrivener for specific things.

I mentioned last week that I’m developing the setting for my novella. Scrivener has a cool way for developing your setting. You can develop multiple settings and insert them into your manuscript when they are needed. I’m using the setting function because my novella does indeed have multiple settings. Since I’m writing historical fiction, I have to research each setting and Scrivener is a good way to summarize each setting and save all my notes. Then, as I write the manuscript using Word, I can refer to those notes in Scrivener.l

When I get bored with developing the various settings, I switch over to developing my characters. Scrivener also has a very nice interface for character development. You can develop characters with deep attributes and have your notes at your fingertips. In historical fiction, I have to find out the way each character would have spoken, the clothes they would have worn, how they would have reacted to current world events of the time, and much more. I can keep those notes on Scrivener and refer to them as needed as I’m developing my characters. I can develop each character on Scrivener, with prompts, and accomplish, I think, more complete character development.

In checking out the Scrivener software program, I found that if you type your manuscript in Scrivener, there is a function that converts it to Word. I also found that Scrivener will put your manuscript in the format necessary to self-publish on Kindle publishing. I will report more on Scrivener as I use it more. I’d love to hear what each of you think of this program?

On a personal note, I’m home on top of my mountain this fall. The leaves have not really started to turn yet so it is a very late fall. It will be beautiful here when they do. My plans for the fall and winter is to write and finish this novella. It will be a race to get it done, but this is my goal. I try to write 4-6 hours per day. My puppy, Tucker, usually has something to say about that, but he’s starting to get better. He’s 7.5 months old now. I just realized that I don’t have a current picture of him, but I’ll post one the next time I write a #weekendcoffeeshare. I’m going to try to write the occasional blog post just to change things up for me.

I’d love to hear your stories. How is everything with you and what are you doing this fall?

Thanks to Eclecticali

Brett Kavanaugh: Men – It’s Not About You

Judge Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed as the newest Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States this weekend. After Dr. Christine Ford’s testimony and Judge Kavanaugh’s follow-up testimony, I’m disgusted for many reasons. One of the reasons is that men seem to be making this issue all about them. It’s not. It’s about the victimization of women since the beginning of time.

Don’t you think we know that there are good men in the world? In fact, most men are good men. Someone, however, is attacking one out of every three women, aren’t they? But that is not the issue and if you think it is, you don’t understand the problem at all. First, the issue is that the justices on the High Court should have spotless reputations. We already had Clarence Thomas on the court who was accused of being a sexual predator by Anita Hill during his confirmation. We don’t know if he is/was or not. Now we have Brett Kavanaugh and regardless of what you may say, there is no way, now, that we will ever know if he is a sexual predator. Allow me to explain.

The explanation involves the second issue. A woman simply would not put herself through what Dr. Ford went through if there was not something to her story. She did not tell her story at 15 years of age because she was frightened. Frightened of her parents, her school, her attacker, and so many more things. She tried to put it behind her and move on. She couldn’t and went into therapy. Then, Kavanaugh was nominated for a position on the Supreme Court.

An investigation ensued or so President Trump told us. Trump not only did a disservice to Dr. Ford. He also did a disservice to Justice Kavanaugh because now, because of a sham of an investigation, we will never know if Kavanaugh is guilty or innocent or if Ford was telling the truth. This wasn’t a trial so the rules of innocent until proven guilty do not apply. A large percentage of the population will always wonder about Kavanaugh just like we wonder about Clarence Thomas. Trump could have allowed the FBI to either clear Kavanaugh’s reputation or prove that Ford was correct.

Don’t we have to wonder why he didn’t?

#weekendcoffeeshare – 9/29/2018

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Good morning everyone! Thanks for coming to my #weekendcoffeeshare. Please grab a cup of coffee or tea, your choice, and join me. I have some news for you today! I’m looking forward to sharing it with you and getting some of your comments.

If we were having coffee, I would want to know how each of you are doing? How is your writing going? Is the muse with you? That muse is sometimes hard to capture, isn’t she? I hope she is by your side and that you are doing well. When that happens, it is so gratifying.

I’ve not been blogging as much as usual. I’ve had a lot going on personally and I’ve been doing some dog training. My corgi, Tucker, is now seven months old and he’s been a difficult pup. Some days, I think he’s getting more difficult rather than less! But, seven months is a tough time for corgi pups, so I will be patient.

Now for my news. I’m going to be taking a bit of a break from this blog. I’ll be back off and on and will try to at least write this #weekendcoffeeshare on a regular or semi-regular basis. But, I’m going to dive headlong into a novel and I find, as I get older, that I don’t multitask as well as I used to. I just turned down a lucrative consulting contract because I very much want to write this novel. Writing the novel and taking care of the rest of my life is just about all I can handle at this point in my life. I may post some chapters off and on for you to read, but I won’t be blogging any flash fiction for a few months.

My novel, just to whet you appetite :), is historical fiction set in World War II. I’m lucky enough to have primary research at my disposal. It is romantic fiction and I honestly don’t know if it will turn out to be novel length or a novella. Publishing is changing with short fiction becoming ever so much more popular and serialized fiction even more popular. I’m not going to serialize this novel, but I may serialize my next book. Our audience is different than it used to be with shorter attention spans and busy lives. Instead of buying books, they tend to read on mobile devices.

I’d love to hear your comments as you are my writing buddies! This won’t be a complete sabbatical from this blog and I’ll hope to see you here on my #weekendcoffeeshare, but I will mostly be banging the keyboard on the novel. Please keep in touch. I would love to hear from you at any time at my email address which is carlson.rosemary@gmail.com. You can also reach me through my Facebook Author Page.

I wish all of you the best in your writing projects and life.

 

Rosemary

 

Thanks to eclecticali for hosting #weekendcoffeeshare!

#SoCS – 9/1/2018

 

I’m always ranting about property development around where I live here in the Daniel Boone National Forest. I think it should be much more limited than it is. I tire of hearing heavy equipment instead of the birds singing. Increasing numbers of houses and people drive away the birds and wildlife.

I wrote a post a few months ago in which I mentioned that I had not seen two of my favorite specimens of wildlife this year and I was afraid they were gone forever from my little corner of the world. One was the fawn. Since I’ve lived here, I’ve seen single fawns with their mothers or sets of twin fawns every summer. The other was really a favorite – the pileated woodpecker. It is an increasing rare and rather large woodpecker. You don’t see them everywhere, We were lucky enough to have a few here.

I’m happy to report that I finally saw a fawn. Not until late in August, which is very late for fawns to be around, but at least I saw one. The same day, I saw a large pileated woodpecker. Again, I saw just one, but at least I know they are still around, even if they are smaller in number. PIctures of both are at the top of the page.

Years ago, I had my property designated as a wildlife sanctuary through the National Wildlife Federation. Here are some of the beautiful animals that I have seen since then. Enjoy!

 

 

*Thanks to Linda G. Hill for providing the #SoCS writing prompt!

#weekendcoffeeshare – 8/2/2018

Hello everyone! Thank you for joining my #weekendcoffeeshare. I asked you to join me at the coffee shop this weekend instead of at my home because I have multiple projects going on at home and it is a cluttered mess! Maybe we can go back to my study next weekend. I’ve asked the manager to set up the coffee bar for you, so please help yourself to coffee or tea there. There should be a wide assortment for you.

If we were having coffee, I would ask you how your week was? Did you have a good week? Did you accomplish your goals? Here we are, suddenly, in early September! Where did the summer go? I’ve not enjoyed summer as much as I usually do largely because of the weather patterns here in the Ohio Valley. Instead of the beautiful, blue days we usually have in the summer, we’ve had beautiful blue days with extremely high humidity. This part of the Ohio Valley is always humid in the summer, but this year it has been exceptionally so. We’ve seldom had a day’s break from it. I’ve been reminded of the humidity in New Orleans, where, when you step outdoors, it feels like a heavy, hot, blanket has been dropped over you! I’ve felt trapped inside my house this summer!

For those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, you’ve been experiencing winter and I hope it hasn’t been too difficult. I find myself looking forward to fall and winter this year.

Oh, I have to tell you about a book I’m reading that I’ve fallen in love with and I don’t give book recommendations easily. I am writing a novella in the historical fiction genre; specifically set in World War II. The novel that I’m reading, called “Letters to the Lost” by Iona Grey is set in World War II in England. The author is masterful, She has wonderful characterization throughout the book and changes voice throughout. It’s a great novel to study those techniques, not to mention a wonderful read.

We’re still in puppy training mode at my house. I have a feeling we will be doing this for a long time to come! Tucker will be six months old on Wednesday! He is now a big gangly puppy, half again the size of the two Cardigan Welsh Corgis that I’ve had earlier in my life. He’s strong as an ox, sweet as a peach, and the most stubborn animal on the face of Planet Earth. 🙂 In some ways, his behavior is improving. We’re using all sorts of training methods to help him (and us!). I’m hoping that the slight improvements I see are the start of something good. He is still bouncing off the walls! He goes to puppy day care at our wonderful local kennel twice a week for purposes of socialization and he loves it. He plays with other puppies all day. At home, his best friend is a big frog who only comes out at night. They sit on our deck together. I’m desperately training to get a photo, but no luck yet.

I mentioned, in another #weekendcoffeeshare, that I was going to try #Schrivner when writing one of my books. Someone commented that she would like for me to post my comments about it, so I will. If you are a free writer – in other words, if you just sit down and start writing without much planning – Scrivener is probably not for you. It is writing software for the planner. If you are a planner of what you are going to write, then it doesn’t get much better than Scrivener, It gives you the structure in which to plan. I hope this helps.

Enough from here! How has your week been?

 

Thank you to Eclecticali Alli for hosting #weekendcoffeeshare!

#SoCS – 8/18/2018

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A few days ago, I got in my attic and started sorting through my mother’s things. She’s been gone eighteen years, so I thought it time, and past time, to dispose of her belongings. I should tell you that it was, perhaps, the worst decision I’ve ever made! If you’re wondering why, let me tell you my story.

It’s always emotional, I’m sure, to have to dispose of your parents’ things when they are gone. My mother clearly kept every piece of paper, card, picture, and letter that she had ever had. All the way back to before World War II. What I found was actually a treasure trove for a writer. Letters between she and my dad when he was fighting in WWII. A scrapbook she kept with newspaper clippings about the war. Letters from all my family, both sides, during wartime. The newspaper from the day the war was over. I’m currently writing a little historical fiction and now I have at least some of my primary research, but it was tough to read about that young, wartime couple who later became my mom and dad.

Then there were the pictures. Thousands of pictures. My mother had seven siblings, so on my maternal side, I have a lot of cousins. Most of the pictures that were not of me were of her brothers and sisters and my cousins, up to about the age of ten. It was a huge job, and an emotional one, to go through all those pictures and separate them cousin by cousin. I’m not yet finished. I’m determined to return those pictures to my cousins so they can share them with their own children, even though I’m not in touch with most of them any more.

Next was the really hard stuff. I think my mother had saved every drawing I’d ever made as a child, every report card, every single thing relevant to me as I”d gone through school. It broke my heart and made me cry.

I still have two large boxes to go through. No idea yet what’s in them and I’m almost afraid to open them. I hope to finish this task this week. I feel like I’ve just viewed my mother’s entire life, a little like a Peeping Tom, and have seen her most private possessions.

Getting old ain’t for sissies.

*The picture above is of my grandparents house and farm in Appalachia. I found it in my mother’s pictures.

**Thanks to Linda Hill for the Stream of Consciousness prompt!

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Jonathan Livingston Seagull(s)…Perhaps?

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A comment. Seagulls remind me of my mother. Even though most people see them as the birds who clean up garbage on the beach, my mother saw their beauty. When I was a very young adult, she showed me their beauty in the series of short stories published by Richard Bach about a seagull who seeks life outside the typical and flies off to seek self-actualization.

Our family took a trip shortly after that to Isle Royale National Park in the northern part of Lake Superior in Michigan. A seagull spent the week we were there sitting on the window seal of my mother’s motel room. No one else’s room. Just her’s. It was the time she was heavy into reading the “Jonathan” stories and books. Coincidence? Perhaps. I’ll let you decide.

I read the Jonathan stories even now. They help a non-conformist like me. Try them on for yourself! You can read about them here,

 

Thank you Priceless Joy for the wonderful prompt!

Photo Credit to wildverbs

#SoCS – 7/7/2018

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A COMMENT ON GENEALOGY RESEARCH

Off and on for a lot of years, I’ve been studying my family’s genealogy. Back in my 20s, I did a rough genealogy of my father’s family. One side of his family was from Sweden and I had to actually write the priest from the parish from which my family came and ask for family records. It took a long time, but I finally received some records from that priest. I felt like I had struck gold. I was able to put together some semblance of a genealogy of my dad’s family.

After that, life happened and it took me years to get back to studying genealogy. I’ve been playing with it for a year or so now. Since my first feeble attempts all those years ago, websites like Ancestry happened and the vast databases of information that you can access through them, not just for America but all across the world. I’m still learning to use Ancestry and similar sites, but I have some of my paternal grandfather’s information in place. Since he was first-generation in the U.S., it’s been fascinating to trace him back to Sweden. I’m almost ready to start on my paternal grandmother’s line.

Genealogy got more interesting when DNA testing came about. Not only can you trace your family tree, you can actually find DNA matches amidst your family tree if you and others have tested your DNA. I have made contact with several third and fourth cousins using this feature.

It has been a superb experience to not only see my family tree on the computer screen but also to get to talk with cousins I didn’t even know existed. Coincidentally, at the same time, a long-lost first cousin found and contacted me and that prompted the first cousins on my dad’s side of the family to get in touch with each other and even discuss planning a reunion at the place from which we all came.

In these days of social media and so many of us being relatively isolated from family members, I think this is a wonderful thing. I know I am so enjoying getting reacquainted with my close cousins and getting to know more distant cousins. We’re putting together quite a family story!