Wintry, Sunday thoughts…

More White Stuff…

100_3643.jpegWoke up to another day of snow this morning, as this winter just keeps rolling right along. We can get out if we need—or want—to, so it’s not as though we’re “snowed in.” Today, however, it will just be easier to stay in and not have to navigate the streets and roads in and out of our small town. Living out here in northern Illinois, surrounded by open fields, we get a lot of blowing and drifting. Thus, the roads are often more treacherous than those closer to cities and larger towns and villages.

I don’t have a problem with any of this, by the way. It’s OK to be tucked inside today. After all, I have many long-neglected writing “chores” to attend to, and there’s really no place we have to be today anyway. So I’ll launch Scrivener, knock the cobwebs off my work in progress, and spend a few hours seeing if I can make some headway on the revision/rewrite of a story that just continues to hang on and beg to be finished–for better or worse!

Recently, I have read a couple of very good blog posts by blogging friends that have rekindled my desire to “hit the keyboard” again. There’s nothing quite as nice as reading how others cope with getting their writing jump-started. A special word of thanks goes out to Francis Guenette at her wonderful blog Disappearing in Plain Sight for her inspirational posts.

After spending time writing away the morning and into the afternoon hours, and after this current snowfall abates, I’ll go out and see about clearing the driveway and sidewalk. The current temperature of 25°F isn’t so bad, and the wind is minimal. The fresh air will be good. For now, though, let it snow, and let my fingers find the right words on the keyboard!

A Great Read…

On another topic altogether, I’ve been reading—and enjoying—Bob Drury and Tom Clavin’s book, Valley Forge. I suppose, given our current weather, it’s quite easy to “get into” the overall tone and point of the book about that miserable winter of 1777 George Washington’s Continental Army spent there. But it would be truly unfair to compare anything of what we have to “endure” today with what these people suffered through during our Revolutionary War. Under supplied with food, clothing, ammunition, and shelter, they still managed to hang on and do what was necessary to achieve what they were fighting for–our independence.

The book is very good at illustrating how critically close to the brink of extinction Washington and the whole of the revolutionary forces were. As students and readers of history, we often gloss over the entire picture of the struggles and perils the Continental Army went through. Read this book to re-connect with the overall truth of that moment in our history. And even though I’m warm and snug as I read it now, it doesn’t hurt to have it cold and snowy outside—as a sort of tribute to those hardy souls who persevered–starved and half naked–at Valley Forge.

What’s Ahead…

Other than our seemingly daily battle with the on again-off again snow, we’re at a pretty calm period of the year. It doesn’t look as though an annual late-February trip to Florida is in the offing this year.

I guess I can live with this, given that we had a marvelous January cruise to and thru the

IMG_5095.jpeg
Enjoying the sunshine on the Lido Deck in January

Panama Canal. The memory of those glorious warm days of shorts, short sleeve shirts, and sandals will have to suffice until spring arrives around here in late March/early-April. I had hoped to take in a spring training game or two this winter down there in the Florida sunshine, but I’ll have to plan for that next year.

Time spent right around the old homestead is never a bad thing, and that’s where I’ll be. Happy rest-of-winter to everyone. Until next time, stay warm, all!

 

 

Off to that make-believe world…

It’s early morning—still dark out. Up early, coffee made, and the need to write coursing its way through me. Music from Internet Radio’s Cinemix plays softy in my ear buds, providing the background soundtrack to my writing efforts this morning.

I’ve been up since shortly after five. I checked the iPhone for any overnight e-mail or texts (not much to talk about there) and a quick scan of Facebook. Frightening just how greater the divide in this country is becoming!

Even so, I will try to shut all of that out while, at the same time, immersing myself in a world of fiction, where characters act and talk and think, hoping to move my story along to a logical and good conclusion.

The beauty of writing make-believe stuff is all about control. We control everything that happens in that world, and, ultimately, the outcome and the actions leading to that outcome. Were it so easy in the non-fiction world!

After a couple of hours, when the writing stint is finished, I will come face to face once more with that non-fiction world where my usual tasks and errands await.

Sadly, my time with my characters and their story won’t alter any of the growling and griping by so many people (of all political persuasions) who are bent on ripping and tearing this country apart!

The first light of the new day is showing itself. I like to believe that there are still promises of good things ahead on this day, beginning with a visit to my make-believe world with my make-believe characters. And that’s where I’m off to now…

Here’s to a good day to you all!2015-09-15 06.34.40.jpg

That unexpected happening…

IMG_0140Something unexpected happened yesterday, and I’m kind of hoping that the same thing will do so again today. Of course, then it wouldn’t be unexpected. But enough of splitting hairs.

I have been struggling—for longer than I care to even think about—with the novel, Birchwood’s Secret, which I began years ago. It is to be my third book published, and a continuation of the lives of the two main characters, Rick and Karen Brenson, who performed so bravely in Black Wolf Lodge. That one came out in 2010, after many starts and stops along the way.

This current adventure in which Rick and Karen find themselves involved was actually begun long before Black Wolf Lodge. For whatever reasons, I simply wasn’t enthused about working on Birchwood’s Secret and pretty much abandoned it altogether. The rough outlines and ideas remained tucked away in the depths of a manilla folder, in the depths of purgatory in my writing file box. It was then that I plunged into writing Black Wolf, a couple of short stories, “Hobo Willie” and “Pinewood Farm,” and a very fun book titled The Good Luck Highway.

What was I going to work on next? About that time, November rolled around and NaNoWriMo reared its beckoning head and drew me in. And then it hit me that I had a wonderful opportunity to finally do something with all of the notes, scribblings, outlines, etc., still serving out their sentence in the confines of that manilla folder. Thus, the beginnings of my current work in progress began to come together.

At the end of the month, I had accumulated well over the 50,000 word target, but the work itself was scattered, unorganized, and full of problems too numerous to even mention here. Suffice it to say, I was once again ready to re-commit this whole thing to the darkness of the writing file box and some out-of-the-way abyss in a Scrivener Projects folder on my Mac.

But that didn’t happen. I actually went back to the beginning of the novel and began to rework it and attempt to develop it toward some kind of logical and satisfying conclusion. As before, though, that process didn’t go as I’d liked, and the frustration and inability to write much of anything grew and grew.

From the very beginning, I’ve always known what the main premise of the story is all about and who the main characters and the roles they’ll play are. It took me a very long time, however, to know how the thing would end. And that’s when yesterday’s “unexpected happening” happened!

Yesterday, as I try to do on most mornings, I sat down at my Mac and opened my Birchwood’s Secret Scrivener project and re-read what I’d written just a few days before. And for whatever reason, I suddenly knew that a couple of characters needed changed as to their roles in the story, and that another major character (main villain) would have to be worked in.

English: A stereotypical caricature of a villa...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Realizing this, it became clear in my mind how I could finally build things to the conclusion and outcome that has been eluding me for a long, long time. And I was able to crank out well over two-and-a-half hours worth of writing, the words seeming to flow as they hadn’t in such an extended stretch of time. And, to be honest, it was a wonderful feeling!

Now, as I wrap up this post, I will pour another cup of hot coffee, jump back to dear, old Birchwood’s Secret, and hope that yesterday’s magic shows itself once more.