Hatching a Story

After these many months of posting here, hinting about writing a book, I finally have a storyline. I will divulge nothing about the plot. However, if any of my readers know of good resources about the Big Thicket during the first half of the last century, please send me the link, title, writer.  I want to supplement my second hand lore and childhood impressions with other sources.

I did tell my daughter about the plot and the inspiration. She immediately told me of my responsibility to paint a vivid picture of my protagonist.  I will have to demonstrate the character through realistic scenes to make her believable.  Otherwise she will seem too extraordinary and not inspire empathy or sympathy.

I purchased a couple of notebooks to start the first draft. I type these posts on the keyboard.   It is not my favorite method.  I prefer to write in my journal.  I use approximately 5×7 size unlined hardbound sketchbooks for my journal.  I keep a similar size spiral for lists and temporary notes. In view of these preferences, I purchase similar sized spiral tablets.  They will feel familiar.  They are lined pages.  I don’t think that will make a difference.

Time to write. I don’t want to waste time trying to figure out the opening line.  In fact, the story may start in the middle and I will need to work on the beginning after I see where it goes nearer the end.

I picked up a tablet to work on the non-fiction piece I have in mind. It may be more a series of short essays with some recipes and “how we used to do it” descriptions.  That will be fine.  It is the kind of book I like to read.  I don’t want to lose all of the heritage from my mother and grandmothers. I already have forgotten things that a photograph or something brings to mind. I don’t know if I will recall clearly.  No doubt others near me will recall more clearly.  But, they can write their own book if they don’t like mine.

I am slowly but surely eliminating the excuses. Now to push aside the fear.  A phrase I have on a card.  “Keep feeling along the wall for the gap.  When you find it, just go on through. Even if you drown.” I wrote this after I awoke from a dream seeking a gap in a cliff wall.  I did find it, go through and woke up as the water rushed around me.  But, that was better than standing at the blank stone wall, waiting to die slowly.   Powerful images for powerful feelings.  I intend to use those very feelings to get the letters into words into sentences into paragraphs into chapters into a story.

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A Room of My Own

Recently, we have worked on making a space for me to piddle. I needed a desk and storage space close at hand. I also needed a spot for a small book case.

This is a big house. But, I needed a spot that could be private and closed off when visitors come. I didn’t want to have to pick up a mess in the middle of a project when having company. I didn’t want to worry about supplies being where little hands could come to harm. I need our bedroom serene and our public rooms uncluttered. I need the guest room clear of messes. His work room is too full and too chaotic for me to share with him.

There is a large pantry, or utility room, as Mother called it. I call it the wash room. Washer, dryer, second icebox, upright deep freezer, small sink, a closet with deep shelves, a built in storage pantry. Lots of room for a desk, too. I now have a spot. I am enjoying the space very much.

I am surprised at my response. It was with some reluctance I decided to try out my idea. He has been nothing but supportive and helpful. He helped bring home and put together the desk I found at the second hand store. I am typing this sitting here at the desk. Listening to the rain outside. The lamp sitting up high providing soft light to work.

I also share this room with our puppy dog. He has not bothered anything in here. I did have to move his kennel bed out. I will store it in the shed in case of emergency. We retrained him to sleep on his blanket in a different spot in the wash room.

I don’t have all my things sorted and set up quite yet. I am taking my time and arranging as I go. I would also like to get my iPod loaded up with music and have a speaker hook up to listen. I need a no-tick clock, too. I have a digital clock to put in here. But it is on the back porch. So I need the no-tick clock for the back porch when I move the other one in here.

I am hopeful this new arrangement will lead to greater creative expression. Both with words and textiles. With paper or canvas and color, too. I have things to work on. Now, I have a place to work. Oh, no. That means I have fewer excuses.

I am working through a book about developing creative expression. I have worked the book previously. It was about five years ago. I have golden memories from the first time through it. I am expectantly hopeful to have an even better experience this time through.

For anyone interested, it is Finding Water by Julia Cameron. She is better known for The Artist’s Way. I have it also. Finding Water was better for me. Although I confess it has been a long time since I explored The Artist’s Way.

So many projects in my plans, so many books to read, so many things to study, so many words to write. I am trying to keep at it. Keep showing up. Do the work. Let go of outcomes. Let Him work out what He wants me to learn. Creating with the Creator, Himself, watching and encouraging. Awesome feeling. Even when it is just a simple stitch or a few paragraphs on a blog post. Even when it is just my old coloring book and chest of crayons. Maybe is it simply the quietness that allows me to hear His still small voice. “Here, child, have an orchid.”

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Books……..

I love books.  Not simply reading, but books.  I love the physical presence of books.

I have a Nook.  I use it sometimes.  In fact, it will be my companion on my upcoming trip.

But, my books are my treasures.  Not every book on the shelf, but several are among the items I would load up if I had to evacuate.  (Living where we do, that is a consideration.)

On my shelves are non-fiction books from the thirties through the sixties.  I have a title called Orchids On Your Budget by Marjorie Hillis and its predecessor called Live Alone and Like It.  I got the second to go with the first.  I love her writer’s voice as much as the format and content of the books.  They are copy written in the thirties.

I have a 1947 Good Housekeeping’s Housekeeping Book.  I found this book at the university library over 30 years ago.  I couldn’t recall the title, so I faithfully dug through piles of old books at resale shops over the years until I hit pay dirt.  I paid $3.00 for it.  I would have dropped $20.00 for it without batting an eye, so much did I want it.

Sixpence in Her Shoe and How to Be a Successful Mother also hold high status on my shelves.  M. F. K. Fisher’s works are there alongside a book about folklore and customs of pre-WWI England.

I have some modern titles along the lines of keeping house and lifestyle or fashion.  My family also supplies me with books about things of the Pacific Islands.

I have always admired the Hollywood costumer, Edith Head.  I always look for the costumer’s name in the credits and am pleased when it is her.  I had picked up a book at a resale shop a few years ago called The Dress Doctor.  I thought it was simply illustrated by her.  I finally picked it up while tucked in the house out of the cold rain we have had these many recent days.  What a find!  It is written as her in first person talking about fitting and costuming the legendary ladies of what is now considered Old Hollywood.  I am loving it!

Having recently seen Gloria Swanson in Sadie Thompson and Clara Bow in It, I was delighted to read about what they were like.  They are “new” in my experience.  Mae West was another I have only just recently had an opportunity to see in film.  She is another one Ms. Head writes about who is remarkable in what she would do for the effect she wanted.  Strong women with a strong sense of who they were and what they wanted.  If they had fears or reservations, they held them in check and moved forward.

My love for old books has linked up with my love for old movies.  I am particular and odd in my tastes.  But, being “different” is one of my favorite things about me.  Now to get my fears and reservations in check and move forward as well.  My treasures provide inspiration and hope for me.

Less than half of my treasure hoard:

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