Tag Archives: fear

a snippet of my latest

Nothing is quite as intimidating as….

THE BLANK PAGE

It’s there, empty waiting. You can fill it with something great (or a little less than great). It holds all the potential of untold stories, unsaid regrets, proclamations of love and friendship. You name it, it’s all there waiting somewhere.

When I open a new document to start a new book, I stare at the page for a while. It’s a little scary.

It’s white

Clean

Pure

What if I mess it up?

and then I remember, that’s what editing is for.

November is NaNoWriMo  (National Novel Writing Month). I know I’ve mentioned it before. Probably numerous times. So far I am on track with my word count. My editing on my other book (I originally thought I’d do both at the same time) is a little behind, however. I didn’t intend to do NaNo this year. But I had an idea and after it rolled around in my brain for a bit I found myself staring at a blank page.

And I jumped.

This came out (see prologue below). It’s not great. It’s not polished (this is a 1st draft after all). But it intrigued and surprised me, and I decided

I want to read this story.

So now, I’m writing it.

It’s been fun to see where it takes me, and I’m excited to see where I end up. I get a little writing intoxicated. It’s hard to put down the book sometimes – which is why I try to only write when the kids are in bed. I think the amazing thing about writing is that it comes from me. It’s something I created. I get a little in awe of that. And what is really neat, is to see my kids start to love writing too. That part is awesome. Probably the most awesome.

Prologue*

I love the ocean. The scent of it, the sound of it, the frothy feel of it, even the tang of salt on my lips. My dad often teased me that mermaids left me on the doorstep. That story ended the day after my fifth birthday when my panicked parents found me at dawn asleep on the beach waiting for the mermaids to claim me. After that we moved to a landlocked state in the middle of the corn belt. I wasn’t even lucky enough to end up near one of the great lakes. Mom was convinced the family curse had found me.

Mother claimed my love for the ocean came because of my great grandfather, Ezekiel Horn. He was captain of the Grey Lady which was lost at sea when he was thirty-seven leaving his wife and six children to fend for themselves. She said the sea cursed our family for his nefarious deeds which is why, until now, we never moved back to the ocean. It took all her fingers and toes to count the family members who died a watery death. And now, I need one of my father’s to count them all. Mom died when I was thirteen, a freak accident plunged her car into a river.

Father doesn’t believe in curses, which is why, when his dream job offer came along he jumped at it, even though it was in the tiny town of Newport, Oregon. I wasn’t thrilled about the move, but a chance to be by the ocean excited me. I never thought the move would force me to face my own watery death. Perhaps I should have believed in curses after all.

*(In general I hate prologues, so imagine my astonishment when I realized I had written one. I was both mortified and intrigued. I suppose prologues aren’t so bad after all… as long as they’re short. ha ha 🙂 )

Oh – and posting this was REALLY scary. I get a little nervous sticking my writing out there for everyone to read. Blog posts are one thing, but books (especially when you aren’t published) are entirely different. I mean, what if it stinks? ha ha. Anyway, to all those who hold back like me – listen to my husband’s very sage advice:

“Post It.”

Take a deep breath, and take the plunge.

No adventures are ever gained if you refuse to step out the door.

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No Husband, Late Nights, and an Imagination to Boot

I tend to have an overactive imagination. Usually it doesn’t kick in until the kids are in bed, the husband is gone and all is quiet – but not quiet.  My spidey senses kick in and every creak and groan of the house is magnified. I manage to combat the spooky creeks with movies to a rather late hour – between 11:00 and midnight.  Usually by them I am gauranteed to fall asleep rappidly so my imagination doesn’t get carried away as I lay in a big bed all by myself in a dark room.

So a week or so ago, Friday evening came along and I was watching an old musical when I heard a loud thumping at about 10:30 that even the movie couldn’t mask.  I immediately recognized it for what it was – Jacob was still goofing off in his room.  I went back to check on him and caught him pearing out the window.

“I someone out my window.”

Immediately my mommy radar kicked in. Did he say out or at?  And vivid images of a face smashed up against the window peering into his room plagued my brain.  I looked out the window nothing was in sight. Logic told me her heard a car driving by, and peaked by curiosity looked out to see some people passing by on the sidewalk a ways out from our house.  Logic told me that he had probably just seen his reflection. Logic told me a lot of things – but my imagination rarely listens to my logic.

I asked him if he wanted to say a prayer and he nodded his head yes. So we knelt and prayed for protection while daddy was gone. After that he hopped in bed and snuggled down for a nice pleasant sleep.

I check on the the girls, made sure the house was locked up tight and returned to my movie.  Between it and my computer I managed to keep any vivid imagings at bay until I was falling asleep in my chair and it was nearing 1:00 in the morning.  I checked the doors and the kids once more and headed to bed.

My brain just wouldn’t turn off. I even tried reading some Nancy Drew books to get me to think of something else. I chose Nancy Drew as I knew they wouldn’t capture my attention so much that I would want to read for hours on end. Finally between 2:30 to 3:00 I bit the dust – thankfully my prayers were answered and I managed to avoid any nightmares that would have had me gasping for breath and charging into my children’s rooms to check on them.

Morning dawned and all was well. We spent a fun Saturday, and then the evening came and the nighttime nerves with husband gone began. It wasn’t as bad  – no little boys claiming to see people out the windows, but I still had to ban my imagination from taunting me, and while sleep came earlier, it still didn’t hit until about 1:30.  Those two nights didn’t make Sunday a very good day. In fact it was a disaster. Lets just say I really appreciate my husband and all he does.  I was so thrilled to have him home that night and finally get a decent night’s rest.

An imagination is great when you feel like writing stories – but late at night when you are home alone with your kids – it’s not such a good thing.  *shudder*

 

***  Totally off topic: I have started a new page called “Here’s What’s Cooking” – I am posting some of our family favorite recipes complete with photo as I make them. Feel free to use and enjou.

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Filed under Every Day Life, Jacob

Sounds in the Night

Deb wrote a really cool story (as she usually does) and asked what our scariest or funniest memory from our childhood was. I’ve written a lot of them already, so it was a bit challenging, but there was this time when . . .

I didn’t need horror flicks to spur my imagination, or put a face on my fears that lurked in shadow. I just needed an empty old farmhouse in the dark.

I was ten, maybe eleven, when I flipped the lock on the door behind my father as they headed out. I turned around and scanned the ranch style farmhouse. It was all one level with stairs leading down to the basement, where my bedroom was housed. I snagged my book from off the table and flicked on the basement/stair light. I looked down the stairs and into the darkness beyond, my imagination starting to tug at my spine. Taking a deep breath turned off the warm, safe kitchen light and started down the stairs. Thump *thump* Thump *thump* Thump *thump*. I froze midway and spun around expecting to see someone behind me. No one was there. I continued a little further. After every slap of my bare feet against wood I swore I heard another. Someone, something, was following me down those stairs. I spun around again, my heart beating so hard I thought I could see my chest moving with its force. Again, there was nothing. I quickly descended the remaining stairs, diving for the light at the bottom. Just as the basement sprung into brilliance I saw a tall shadow out of the corner of my eye. Looming, and then, I thought, it moved!

All intellectual thought fled from my brain as my terrified heart seized my body and drove me into my room. Slamming the door behind me I leaned up against it my panting the only sound in the awesome stillness. *Creek* “It’s just the house. It’s just the house,” I chanted to myself. *Creek* *shuffle shuffle* I squeezed my eyes shut. *Scrape Scrape* “It’s just the house. It’s just the house,” I prayed. I walked over to my desk and fumbling with the switch on my radio I turned it on and then cranked the volume high enough to drown out all other sounds. I grabbed the flashlight hidden in my desk drawer and turned on my lamp. After looking in my closet and under my bed, I crept into the safety of my bed and drew the covers over my head. My hand snuck out for just a moment, seizing my book and drawing it in. I flicked on my light and began to read.

That was how Dad found me when he got home. Basement light, stair light, and every light in my room on. Radio blasting, and me cowering under my covers, fast asleep with a dead flashlight in my hand, and a book laying half open beside me. He asked why I left all the lights on when I went to bed the next morning. I just mumbled something about, “footsteps on the stairs.”

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Shiver

Weekly Anamnesis #18

I was nestled in a cozy chair in a secluded corner of the public library buried deep in a book I had taken from off the tower of shelves. Suddenly the lights dipped and I jerked out of my book looking around, bewildered. The lights slowly brightened, “The library will be closing in ten minutes, please bring any books you wish to check out down to the circulation desk.”

I gasped and jumped out of my chair looking frantically at my watch. It was nearly 8:00. As I neared the glass doors I realized that the sun had long since retired and night had descended. I had arrived at the library at 3:30 with the intent to only stay for an hour or so. My family’s rule echoed in my head, “You can go where you like on your bike as long as I know where and you are home before dark.”

It didn’t occur to me to call; I just checked out my book and charged to my bike. My fingers fumbled with the lock as I tried to remember the combination and jerked it free. I didn’t notice there was no moon that night, and the lack of street lamps on the way home had never been apparent to me before. I hopped on my bike and began to pedal through the dark streets. It might as well have been in the dead of night the way my heart was pounding and the emptiness of the streets. I heard the crunching of gravel behind me and shiver ran through my spine fusing into my feet sending them pedaling faster. There were no headlights; images of all the possible things that made gravel crunch that close behind me filled my mind. I could feel it breathing down my neck, reaching out to grab my hooded sweatshirt. My shoes became flying feet of fury; the Flintstones had nothing on me! Too terrified to look behind and see what was following I raced on swinging around the corner unto my street; I zipped into the driveway. I hadn’t even stopped when my feet hit the ground running and I stormed into the house. I didn’t take the time to see that nothing was chasing me besides my imagination.

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Filed under Anamnesis, Writing, Youth