Friday, November 13, 2009

In which I keep writing, and I get a little LUCK in the mailbox

Today is Friday the 13th, and look what showed up in the mailbox today:

His name is LUCK, and he's a gift from BootsandSaddles4Mel. I stopped at the mailbox on the way out to run errands this morning, and there he was, waiting to go with me!

Isn't he just about the cutest little thing? I swear I must have kissed that sweet nose every time I was stuck at a stoplight. Then I brought him home and wrote him even further into my NaNoWriMo novel (21,319 words so far)!

Here's today's excerpt. A few days ago the novel was starting to stagnate, and it desperately needed a crisis so I pushed a supporting character down the stairs. Today, the main character tried to figure out the significance of the little sheep toy. Good luck, lady.

Or should I say, "Good
LUCK" because that is, of course, our little toy himself in his very first cameo appearance in a novel?

“It's just really intense” she told Isabelle that evening as they chatted by phone. "Here’s this big, perfectly-capable adult man being watched every second by an over-protective eleven-year-old. No, “intense” isn’t the right word—it’s almost frantic. That kind of manic look you see border collies get when they watch a flock of goats that are bound to do something outrageously foolish at any moment.”

Isabelle considered. “Well,” she said, “the kid did just lose her mom. Maybe she’s afraid to lose her dad as well?”

“Yeah, I thought of that,” Libby said. “Except that she was the same kind of frantic about her grandmother until.” she paused, remembering the chain of events, “until she gave her grandmother that little toy, the sheep thing. That little girl looked like she was ready to explode when the toy fell, and she only relaxed when we ducted-taped the thing to Katherine’s shirtsleeve.”

“You didn’t duct-tape a stuffed animal to Katherine’s shirt really, did you?” Isabelle asked, sounding appalled.

“Well, yeah. I mean, the medics had a roll of the stuff right there, so I borrowed it. And as soon as the sheep was secured, the kid was okay, like she had unplugged the worry machine. It was really weird.”

Now, back to writing the novel. It's a good thing I've got LUCK right here. He reminds me to quit dawdling around with the blog and write another 1,000 words before dinner is ready!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

In which I heed a friend's very good advice, and I Shut Up and Ride

Sometimes, even in the rainy season, it's better to ride than it is to talk about riding. So that's what I did yesterday!

I've included three short videos of some trails through the Pilchuck Tree Farm, one of the best local places to ride: lots of trails, lots of logging roads, and lots of wildlife. The film quality is not always the best, but it will give you a little taste of our terrain.

Let me take you with me on a few of our trails:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

In which I continue writing like a madwoman, and ponder gifts

NaNoWriMo continues to dominate my social calendar this month (word count: 18,170).
I had a breakthrough this morning and pushed a supporting character down the stairs, thereby gaining myself more than 1,000 words once I got the granddaughter on the scene, the volunteer medics on the scene, and the stuffed animal back where it belongs. Whew. Here's an excerpt from the story (before grandma's encouter with gravity):
Her dad was down in the kitchen, making waffles. “Hey, kiddo,” he greeted his daughter by lifting up the hat and plunking a kiss on her forehead, “you are just in time for the best waffles in the whole world!”

“You say that every Saturday,” she told him solemnly.

“I do say that every Saturday,” he agreed with her. “And every Saturday it is even more true than it was the Saturday prior. Isn’t that an amazing coincidence? Maybe we should call the record books or something.”

“Yeah, Dad. Sure,” she said, trying to sound sarcastic, but smiling at him shyly instead. She had actually always loved her dad’s Saturday morning waffle routine.

He had kept up the waffle routine for her even when her mom swore off waffles for life, (“I can’t ride with all those carbs, Michael!”) and he made a point of waffle-Saturdays even after the divorce. Then, he would pick her up early on Saturday mornings at her mom’s house—or sometimes, at her mom’s barn where they’d spent the night after a long week of clinics and lessons with visiting trainers—and drive her back to his apartment to make waffles and plan their weekend together.

Sometimes they would go fishing, sometimes they would go to the zoo, and sometimes they would just stay home and read books and watch movies. But always there were waffles.

“Maple syrup today, my dear? Or strawberries? Or…” he checked the contents of the freezer, “Yes, it looks like the blueberries survived the long and perilous journey across the state to the vast unknown wilds of this new and untamed freezer. Would you like to reward their tenacity by devouring them on waffles?”

“Yes, please,” she told him. “I’ll heat them up in the microwave if you want some, too.”

He nodded, and she carefully poured little frozen blue marbles from the bag into a glass measuring cup, and put them in the microwave for half a minute. Serving the blueberries this way had been the invention of her mo—um, her grandmother really liked blueberries served this way with waffles.

Yes, it was that same grandma who did the gravity check a mere two pages later. I am nothing but cruel to my supporting characters, and have never pretended otherwise.

I have also written in an unplanned character to the story, thanks to BootsandSaddles4Mel, who awarded me a Valuable Prize on her blog this week:

Isn't this just the cutest little thing? I've named him "Luck" and he will actually have a very important role in the next few chapters of the story. Thanks, Mel!

Now, can we talk about gifts?

The "holiday season" for ME is Hallowe'en and Thanksgiving and NaNoWriMo. After my mom's birthday on December 1st, I prefer to pull the covers over my head and sleep until the Pacific Northwest Endurance Rides' annual conference at the end of January. Don't bother me with Xmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa or Junkanoo, please. I will arise for a brief celebration on Solstice (days getting longer, hooray!).

Other than that, just leave a message and I'll get back to you in early Spring, right?

But there's this "gift thing" in December that is morbidly fascinating to me. I find it almost almost interesting enough to stay awake:

The Fabulous Useless Gift of the Year.

You've seen these: S'mores makers. Ice-tea makers. Anything invented by Ron Popeil, and anything advertised in hyperactively excited tones: But Wait! There's More!

Jim and I love to try to discover these unreal items by watching the newspaper ads (we don't do television or commercial radio, so I'm sure we miss stuff...but that's another post).

He's betting on this for 2009:Yes, you guessed correctly. It's a Food Tumbler. People are starving in the world, and somebody wants to waste electricity to marinate meat. Sigh.

I haven't found my entry for 2009 yet. I'm still boggled by this:

2008 Truck Antlers. >shaking my head<

So, what does the discerning Poet/Farmer appreciate in a gift?

Jim and Willy hit the jackpot at the lumber yard the other day:(HINT: Lumber yard= good place to shop for farmer gifts. Hardware store = even better)

Not only is this a nice-quality single-hand folding knife with a locking blade, it's PURPLE. And also GREEN. And also SHINY! I used it to hack up the jack o' lanterns so the chickens could eat them.

Now that is a gift.

Life is good!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

In which I learn important farming skills by telling an old folktale

On alternate Sundays mornings, I spend several hours at the radio station, broadcasting an eclectic mix of storytelling and world music as a host of the program Global Griot. (A "griot" is a storyteller).

Some days, I base my show on a theme. Other days, like today, I just share stories that get stuck in my head (like an earworm...but much longer and harder to explain to non-storytellers)

I learned the story "Sleeping While the Wind Blows" late last year, when Jim and I were looking at farmland and realizing that we might actually be able to buy the farm of our dreams...which, obviously, we did!

I told the story a lot last winter while we were waiting for the banks to do whatever it is that banks do. I wrote it down and sent it to people.

And then...I forgot about it.

Last week, when the rain was pelting down and the wind was gusting hugely, I remembered the story, and haven't been able to stop telling it. So, I told it on the radio this morning!

Now it's your turn to learn some important farming skills, by way of an old, old story.

Click to play:

If the player (above) doesn't work, you can access the story directly here.

Sleep well, friends. Life is good!