Writings of the White Rose

Walking in the deep, and strolling on the shore

Life and Interferences

Sometimes the unexpected happens. Perhaps you were going places in your career and had big plans, but then a parent got sick, and you had to take the first job available to pay the bills. Maybe you planned to see the world- but then your first child came along, and your dreams were buried beneath his smiles and cries.

I had plans- work to do, community obligations to fulfill, home tasks to complete…blog posts to write. But then came life.  The spasms have lasted a week so far, my lungs heaving and my diaphragm clenching and releasing for hours on end. Turns out Lymes is wreaking havoc on my brain and body – and there may be more, too, but only time will tell. So, you’ll have to excuse me if it’s a few days yet before I return.  As I said- only time will tell.

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Loot

Well, how have you been? I hope you celebrated the Fourth with  scads of booming, dazzling fireworks.

I had a wonderful vacation. The cabin got flooded by a giant rainstorm, and it knocked out the electricity and water. We drove into town, and saw powerlines down, some hanging from trees, other trees roots-up across people’s yards and homes, and everywhere piles of leaves and broken furniture. So we came home, and basked in the sun and searched out some history and ate. Alot.

One of the biggest moments of my vacation – I know, you thought the storm was the Big Moment – was stumbling upon a used book shop inside the library of the tiny town we attempted to vacation near. Books were roughly a dollar. Oh, the books I bought.

Among the loot: “Songs in Ordinary Time” by Mary McGarry Morris, a brand new copy of Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road”, “A Room of One’s Own” by Virginia Woolf, a brand new copy of “Love in the Time of Cholera” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Carson McCullers’ “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter”, and tons of intriguing titles I’ve never heard of before but can’t wait to dive into.

I do love a giant book find. Any finds of your own in this last week?

Hiatus

I am on vacation this week.  I will return comments and resume regular posting upon my return.

-whiterrose

Hidden in the Deep

Well, I told you I had many things to share today, and I do. So, I won’t spend much time just talking here, I’ll only remind you that I’d love to see some of what you’ve been working on. And if, like me, you’ve been afraid to put it out there, because it still might have a typo, or one character’s voice doesn’t seem right, or you’re afraid someone will think less of you – put it out there anyways.

A sampling of this week’s work:

 

Hidden in the Deep:

She walks in grace

and lives in beauty,

She looks for things unseen.

 

She sighs and sleeps,

and waits awhile,

waits for dreams to dream.

 

And as she wanders,

she sees and wonders,

And pauses to cry now and then.

 

She looks to the sky, then the earth beneath

And somewhere finds the secrets there

Hidden in the deep.

 

Short Story Excerpt, “Until We Part”:

Neil held the glass and stood watching the moonlight filter through the trees in the front yard. Moisture slipped down the sides of the cup, and his fingertips were cold. He thought about Sophie; her colorful jeans, her wit, her wild hair, and her joyful smile. He thought about the way she talked about falling in love, and the things she had told Amber.

He turned from the window and saw Lila sitting curled up on one side of the sofa under the pool of lamplight, reading. Her head was bobbing, and the dog was nestled into the crook of her legs. The light caught the flecks in her smooth golden hair, and Neil remembered how that was what first caught his eye when they met – her hair, and her gift for making things come out right in the end.

For a minute he imagined what this night would look like if Sophie was there instead. They’d have music playing, probably loudly, and all the lights in the house would be on. She’d be laughing, maybe dancing, probably asking him to join her. Then the picture of Sophie faded, and he saw Lila again, her head now fallen forward onto her open book, her arm stretched before her for a pillow.

And finally, a flash fiction piece based on historical events, this one set in Henry the Eighth’s England:

Sweat slipped over her brow and into her eyes.  The little boy thrashed miserably, and Constance changed the cloth on his forehead again.  The disease was everywhere.  The king, off in his palace, was too busy marrying and murdering wives to worry over the illness sweeping away his subjects.

The little boy’s eyes opened suddenly, and his hot, thin hand grabbed hers tightly.

“Are ye an angel, miss?” he asked. Constance shook her head, tears pooling.

“No, lad. Only a companion.” she said gently. His fevered gaze locked on hers.

“I love you, miss.” He said.

His eyes closed.

 

A More Simple Thing

It’s a full week so far, and I have much to share with you on Friday. But for today I will simply tell you that I’ve been trying many new things.

My writings always seemed to, by nature, drift toward the novel. Shorter things never felt complete. And then I went through a very long phase in which I didn’t write anything, couldn’t write anything. It was after college graduation and pre-career, and I think that without knowing who I was, I couldn’t fathom what it was I would say.

I eased back into writing again, after that time, and found that my style, my words, even my approach had changed. I’m braver now than I used to be. Willing to crash and burn.

Of late, I’ve written three short stories, and five flash fiction pieces based on historical events. I’ve written a couple new poems, and begun two new novels.

I know.

We’re supposed to work on one thing at a time – or at least that’s the wisdom I’ve always been given.

But I’m willing to explore more now. I don’t mind the idea that most of what I create won’t “go anywhere”, won’t morph into a massive epic that astounds. I’m putting the words down for the sake of themselves, and the pleasure of seeing them there.

I think sometimes we like to make writing a high and lofty thing, and I don’t mean to say it never is. But sometimes, too, writing is just writing.

Keeping the Stars Apart

When is the last time you read something that stole your breath away?

These things are few and far between. For me it’s rare that it’s a whole novel – I believe the last one that transported me was “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter”.

It’s usually just a phrase – a line, a set of words, an image that won’t go away. A snatch of something captivating you repeat to yourself all day.

I had heard the last few lines of this before, and I have a distinct recollection of hearing a voice saying the words slowly, with the impact they deserve, but I can’t find the memory in my mind. I found this, though, and the last piece has been with me all day today, in the midst of the frenzy and noise and tumble. I wanted to share it with you, because we all need something that reminds us of bigger things.

Especially on Mondays.

Image

What’s the last thing you read – book, lyric, line – that left you breathless?

Sharing Friday

Since Friday is the day universally acknowledged as being worth thanking God for, I thought it would be an appropriate day to be about bravery and openness.

I’m starting a challenge for myself, which I do hope you might like to join. Each week, I want to whip out some piece of writing – a poem, a short story, the chapter of a novel, something, so I can keep myself on track and be sure I’m always fresh. Yes, I do know this is a recipe for a certain type of disaster, specifically one rife with typos, misplaced commas, and hauntingly cheesy prose, but I feel it is a worthwhile exercise for me, at this point in my wending writing way.

I freely admit, I’m cheating this week: this is a brief excerpt from a short story I wrote back in December. Next week, I vow not to post unless I post dewy-fresh writing. If it makes you feel better, I haven’t edited this in the slightest since the moment the words appeared on my screen.

If you’d like to join me in this brave little venture, please comment below with a link to your post for Sharing Friday.

 

Semblance of a Whole

…The woman exploded. She swore in a fiery, furious string of anger, and ended with a  flourish of words Keira didn’t even knew existed. The woman sat herself hard in her seat again, her head down in shame. Then she looked at Keira, eyes full of tears. Keira froze. Not one more. She could not help one single person more that day. Keira had not asked the woman to sit beside her, and had definitely not asked for a window into her life. It was not her problem. She cut her eyes away and jammed her earbud into her ear, turning pointedly to look out at the swiftly darkening city.

The woman seemed to take the hint, in her peripheral vision Keira saw her rotate back and forth looking out the windows on both sides of the bus and anxiously peering out as if some passing snowbank could tell her what she wanted to know.

The fifteen minutes passed agonizingly, and Keira felt a twinge of relief when they pulled up to the 10th and Kensington stop. The woman pulled herself out of her seat and fumbled with her bags for a minute, managing to clock Keira in the side of the head as she swung her backpack up onto her large shoulder. The woman did not apologize.

In the absence of the irritation the woman had caused, the words flooded back into Keira’s mind, the conversation she’d been pushing back and back and back in her memory all day.

“I’m just saying, you’re a good worker, but not a great one. You don’t give a hundred percent, and that concerns me.” Bane had said, snapping the tab on his third Diet Coke of the day.

Keira had been flabbergasted. “What do you mean? I’m on top of all my work – I never turn paperwork in late, and I’m up to date on all my deadlines.” The fear had slipped out despite her efforts to appear confident.

“I know that. I get the reports every month.” Bane said. He pulled the cardboard tray out of the microwave and took in over to the formica table.

“But you don’t do the same as the other folks here. You’re one of the last ones to get here in the morning. You’re almost always the first to leave.” He jabbed a spork into the mess in the sectioned tray and looked disgusted. “You just don’t put in the hours like everyone else.”

Keira debated what to say next. She had thought it was nothing if not a sign of her efficiency that she could put in less hours and get just as much work done. It wasn’t even that she was late to work, or that she left so very early. It was just that everyone else came in at least half an hour early, skipped lunch breaks, and stayed well past closing.

“I can’t see giving you a raise in the near future – and a promotion is absolutely out of the question. What do you think it would do to the morale around here if the person putting in the least time gets the spot everyone’s gunning for?” Bane’s microwave dinner was gone already, and he was tossing the empty Coke can in the trash. “I’m sorry Keira. Your work is fine. But you’re going to have to show more dedication to the job if you ever want to get anywhere.”

Keira’s stop came at last, and if she squinted she could make out the shape of their car, parked directly under the streetlight as always. The snow reached her ankles when she stepped off, and the instant icy wind tore through her jacket as though it were paper as she high stepped her way to their Toyota.

Collision

I figured I owed you for the word dump earlier, so this poem is for you.

It echoes

the sound

the beautiful collision

of time and eternity.

The sweet despair

of the very end

painted with the early shadows

of onward and upward.

If deserts blaze

with life anew

precious and tenuous

real

The storm that destroyed

all that once was

can call forth life

from the barren remains.

It echoes

the sound

the beautiful collision

of time and eternity.

To read more of my work, visit http://figment.com/users/229114-whiterose.

Backstory

I realize that, as a rule, it’s a terrible thing to dump a great load of backstory all over the readers – so I won’t say much. Soon enough I should think my future words will speak for themselves.

I write. I try to say with confidence that I am a writer. I write irregularly, usually in massive bursts over brief periods, with long stretches of dormancy between.

I read. I read fast and I read expansively.

And, most of the time, I just plain live. I talk to people, I go grocery shopping, I pay my credit card bills – honestly, who bought all that stuff anyways?!, and I daydream in early morning sunshine.

The point of this space will be to let me track these times in my life – to share some writing, to share some reading, to talk about why I can, and why I can’t. And, to hear from you. To learn what works and what doesn’t. To find kindred spirits, who share that same silent, unquenchable flame, who sometimes mourn when they think the flame has died out, and both rejoice and curse to find it still alive.

I won’t promise regular posts, or regular themes. I’ve done those things before, tried to put boundaries in place, and they fall away after time. I’ll promise to be as real as I can be, to laugh over my ridiculous first drafts and overwrought characters, and to show you the pieces that make me feel as though I’m putting a piece of my soul on display.

I guess I said much more than one should in the beginning, so enough backstory. On to the real story.