Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Downside to Writing - Life

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.

Ray Bradbury

I'm writing my second novel. For about six years now. Back in July, I isolated myself - Butt in Chair - for an entire week in an effort to recover and organize the work I had only touched a few times in the past few years. I had success. I whittled down 50,000 words to 36,000, organized my notes, made new ones, adjusted my characters' needs, wants, thoughts, and paths. Silenced my writing friend's swinging whip and sent off a new chapter by week's end.

With brief interludes caused by real life, I now have 46,000 (goal 80,000 - 90,000) words and a main character long past stuck in a wheat field in South Dakota. She's now in Montana, further entrenched. More important, I've figured out my antagonist's secret. Knew she had one, just wasn't sure exactly what it was.

I love it when my mind is in the scenes on my pages and the day sweeps by like only a few minutes. It takes so long to get into that mind frame, yet only a moment for it to go away and a complete disconnection to occur while my two worlds attempt to rejoin.

Stepping back from the lives I've created in my writing and running smack dab into the people I live and socialize with catches me off guard. Like I'm caught floating from cloud to cloud, dilly dallying the day away. In my world of fiction writing, my characters are bigger than life, where they do and say things I never would have the guts to do or say. When I live in their world, I am someone else.

The shift to Earth is not easy as words - in verbal format - fail me. Most often, they come out damn wrong. My real world becomes one I don't fit into - like getting a large octagon through a small oval. Makes me want to stay in my written world. Much easier when I'm controlling everything - if that makes any sense.

Ever feel that way? And not just in regard to writing?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Stations of Recreation

Pleasure is the bait of sin.

Around the second week of August, before Ian, aka Bama Boy, went back to school, we had some wind out at the lake accompanied by a faux rainstorm. My husband, Bama Boy, and I all sat in the living room looking out the window, thinking if it weren't so hot, 104 degrees, we might go swimming. Ian then noticed something large, that wasn't a boat, floating across the lake. We traded the binoculars to see that coming our direction was a renegade party barge. A Recreation Station.

Perfect. We were pumped. It was my birthday weekend. Oldest son Jacob and wife, Chelsea, were headed out to the lake for a special dinner. What could add to the weekend more than a place to sit, chat, slip off and swim, and float while celebrating?

The barge was due to land a few houses down at the point, so being the neighborly folks we are, Ian drove his truck down there and pulled it from the water as it hit shore.

Bob and Ian pondered their find.

Certainly they could stick it in the garage, clean it up, and next year put it out in front of our place like it was ours.

Or, we could anchor it out by our dock so that its true owners could find it while they swept the lake in search of their detached property.

Decided that was the more neighborly of the two choices. But we figured as long as it was anchored at our place, we could use it. Right? Make sure it stayed in working order?

Just as Bob and Ian hauled it out to the end of the dock and put together an anchor to secure it, a jet ski came up along the shore. The three of us swore, to ourselves, for surely these were the owners. Of course they were.

They pointed out where they lived down and across the lake and said we could come use the float anytime we wanted. We wondered if drinks and dinner were included, but we only nodded and retreated to the house, watching our Recreation Station bob along the waves back to its home. Our eyes teared up.

This past Sunday, the wind arrived at the lake. Big wind from Tropical Storm Lee. We had guests for the weekend and that night we spent our time on the dock, enjoying the cooler temperatures (92) offering relief from over 80 days of 100+ temperatures. White-capped waves crashed at the shore and the wind blew with wild abandon. One friend played the guitar and the rest of us sang along or drank our wine and talked. Over the wind, I heard my husband call out.

"Julie, look at this."

Lo and behold, guess what floated across the waves, directly to our dock. Recreation Station. You betcha - karma. We captured the beast and anchored it to the end of the dock, the wind tearing at the ropes. Secured. We glanced across the lake to the house where it lived. No lights. No one home. Cool.

Had to text Bama Boy to let him know our past effort wasn't in vain. That the party barge had returned to those who appreciated it. Fate now tied to our very own dock.

Through the night and all the next day the station rolled with the waves from the strong winds. When I woke up Tuesday morning, I found this scene. The winds gone and the Recreation Station still awaiting its owners to retrieve it.

Bunco Bitches are due here next weekend. Cross your fingers.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Our prayers for others flow more easily than those for ourselves. This shows we are made to live by charity.

With 80+ days of 100 degree + heat in drought-stricken Central Texas this summer, we welcome a breeze, although remain quite leery -- for good reason. Our area has become most vulnerable with our lack of moisture.

This past Sunday, Tropical Storm Lee brewed and dropped heavy rains in areas that may not have needed it, and also in places where rain was welcome. But not here. Central Texas received a ten degree drop in temperature, low humidity, and massive winds which created havoc. Quick fire.

Fueled by months of drought laden timber and countryside, fire spread throughout several populated areas. The wind continued just as strong on Monday as fires swept away hundreds of homes and forests. This video by Texas Parks and Wildlife shows how quickly the fire spread in Bastrop County. Can give you an idea of how little time people had to evacuate.

Very scary.

Our winds have died down. The firefighters have made gains on containment although danger remains and many acres in several different places remain ablaze. Over 38000 acres have burned. Over 650 homes destroyed.

Several of the smaller yet home destroying fires have been within ten miles of my home, but nothing right near us as we watch the sky and the local news. Many at my husband's work have lost their homes. One woman in my Book Club had fire come within 100 yards of her home. Many of her neighbors now homeless.

Those displaced have entered our hearts and minds as many still remain shut off from their homes and word has come that lives have been lost. Now, the community gathers to help put lives back together.


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