Shifting Sideways: Tree Watching

Shifting sideways is my own little experiment. They are all fairly short— and fairy odd. They capture my quirkiness completely. I hope you enjoy.

Because you’ll have one every Sunday!

Shifting Sideways: Creativity, Life and Love

Tree Watching

Most people have memories of laying on the grass, picking out shapes in clouds. It’s an activity that explores the boundaries of imagination and creativity. My son? He has never done this particular activity. Instead, he will have memories of picking shapes out of trees.

We drive a lot of country roads. A lot. The joke is that it takes 30 minutes to get almost anywhere, and 20 of those minutes are getting out of the country. California doesn’t have a whole lot of clouds right now, thanks to the draught. But trees? Trees we still have.

It started about four years ago. On Highway 88, between Eight Mile Road and Harney Lane, is a lovely tree that overhangs the pavement. Once I saw a dragon head in it, I could never unsee it. Quickly, it began providing entertainment on the drive home. The moment we drove near our new landmark, the Princeling would shout “Dragon!” He fought that dragon, conquered it, rode it across the mountains to visit Auntie in Reno. We drove through its fiery breath (“ewww… stinky!”), engaged it in battle all in an effort to stay out of it’s belly.

None of the other trees are quite as magical as that first one. However, it’s still exciting every time we add a new one to the mix. There’s a chicken on Austin Road, larger than life and ready to cross the road. On Harney Lane, there are two trees that look exactly like a cow, right in front of… a cow farm. On Jack Tone Road, a magical portal awaits us, ready to take us to another land. One filled with dragons, and knights, no doubt.

Cloud watching is dependent on the weather. Tree watching just requires a tree and a small shift sideways. No shapes in your trees? Find all the shades of brown, of green, how the light dapples through the leaves.

Your inner child will squeal in delight.

## End##

Copyright 2015 Wynelda Ann Deaver

Flash Fiction (Essay) Challenge

Do you read/follow Chuck Wendig over at Terrible Minds? Love the guy, love his quirkiness to bits. On Friday’s he posts a Flash Fiction challenge. This week… it’s not fiction. Yay! You can read his original post here

(PS Chuck, you said to drop the link in the comments, but… the comments aren’t open. Insert Sad Face).

Write an essay on the topic of: Why I Write.

This is something that I’ve been struggling with lately. I’d love to make my living writing, but that currently isn’t happening and it doesn’t look promising. I want to support my son and myself, by my writing, but it’s not in the cards right now. It does remain in the realm of dreams.

So. Money isn’t the reason why I’m writing.

I have been published, and I loved the accolades. When people tell me that they loved it, ohhh… my heart shivers. I haven’t made much money (see above), and I have received some wonderful reviews, but…

That isn’t what keeps me writing.

Not for money. Not for accolades. Both would be bloody brilliant, don’t get me wrong. I won’t lie.

I write because words have power. We can shape our worlds, and make sense of that world, through words. When I was writing fiction, I almost always work out a problem in my fiction. Something that’s been on my mind comes out in the theme of the story.

Still has my quirky voice,tho.

I liked fiction because it gave me a buffer between my feelings and what I was working out. Sometimes I need that space, the step back from the situation that fiction gives. In Dragon’s Champion, the heroine saves herself. And when she finds her voice… oh, the power she wields! In The Golden Apple and Other Stories, there were lots of strong women saving themselves… as they dealt with love, death, family and the perception of others versus reality.

Not everyone needs saving.

Except, perhaps, me.

I write to save myself, to save my soul. It’s how I pray, how I connect myself to… myself. It enables me to get the junk out and cross it out decisively and then get to the meat of the matter. I took a step back from fiction, and have been writing a lot of nonfiction and poetry, trying to realign myself. Essays mostly, some a micro shot of life as I see it. (One is scheduled for tomorrow, my shifting sideways series. Whee!) They are all full of my weird quirkiness, a lighter slightly twisted version of myself or the deep, dark and twisty. Apparently, my writing is like the water I love so much. Some is nothing more than a babbling brook—entertaining and will cool you off and refresh you. The other half is the middle of the ocean, deep, dark currents pierced by light.

I write to save myself. Because when I don’t write, I can feel it calling to me. Even my nine year old can tell when I’m not writing. A line of poetry that grabs hold until I write it down. An opening sentence will grab hold of me and won’t let me go until we go exploring down the rabbit hole.

It’s the only sure way to comfort myself, make my soul nice and tight with the world. If others get saved along the way, that’s a blessing. But I have to save myself first.

Breaking Rhythm: Tribe Tuesday

I thought I’d introduce you to one of the tribe members, Melanie Rogers. I’m only a little late…..

I love how she is able to mix photography/art and poetry, coming up with a visual poem with a huge impact.

Enjoy, my lovelies!Breaking Rhythm

Just in case it doesn’t show up right, below is the text of the poem:

Breaking Rhythm
A teasing bit of iamb sets the style,
enticing in simplistic words. Your pure
and unadulterated page endures
no verbiage on the cotton.  To defile
such innocence with mediocre words is vile,
yet whispers come to sway the insecure.
Sophisticated confidence allures,
premeditated flattery beguiles…
You listen and obey…chaos ensues.
Attempts to tame the cadenced lines fall short,
until a valiant battle with your muse
allows you victoriously thwart
the silent struggle with an inky bruise:
Pentameter parameters abort.
Melanie J. Rogers

Cluttered

So my very good friend and mentor, Rie, has a great blog called Here’s the Clean. In it, she is incredibly honest about what she’s trying to do, and it inspired me.

Sometimes, I need to clean. Either because I have a ton of anger to get out or because I need something mindless to do while my brain declutters itself.

Oh my goodness, was my brain cluttered.

And, maybe not so much inspiration to bite off all at once. Next time, I’m going to dial it back.

My son’s room was first. Always messy. But more than that, his special lego builds were being destroyed which just made him mad. They were first thing when you walked in the door to his room.

IMG_2248 IMG_2247 IMG_2249

The boy’s room before.

Me being me, I clean a bedroom by getting everything up on the bed or near it.

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Then I started moving stuff around. Got it most of the way where I wanted it, then got stuck. Could not move the bed any more at all. I had it mostly in place, but not all the way.SIGH. Onward!

To the garage!

Before

Before

After

After

Again, only so much I could do in there, until I find someone to make a dump run for me… but it’s a great start!

The boyo’s father came over, and he finished moving the bed into place, so now his room looks all nice and shiny and comfy cozy…IMG_2259IMG_2260  Ta Da!

Obviously, I had some stuff to work out. And I did (more on that later this week, I just shook the words out and I’m still trying to find out what they want to say and how they want to say it). Part of it was that Dad is now home (YIPPEE!) and we had to change where the legos are… and I wanted to look beyond what looked good and went into how his room works for him.

We’re not going to the place right now, where everything has changed and not just where the Lego’s are hidden.

Actually, I kind of enjoyed taking the before and after photos. Concrete proof of what was accomplished. As a writer, so much of what’s going on is happening in our own brains… It’s hard to convince someone that you’re working on something.

But as for me? I really enjoyed collapsing into my own bed!

Tonight, I made dinner for my family, and we ate around the table. And life is good.

More soon!

And Daddy Prayed

I wrote this in response to a conversation with my dad on the fourth of July. I intend to submit it to Chicken Soup, whose submission page states that we can submit items published on our personal blogs. It’s very different than my fiction. and most of my other non-fiction. This is the second piece I’ve written regarding spirituality. I seem to be holding to an eclectic voice even in this. Hope you enjoy.!.

And Daddy Prayed

             Even before the stroke on Mother’s Day, my 89 year old father wondered: Why am I still here? What purpose do I still serve in God’s plans?

Then the stroke happened. It was thankfully fairly mild, and he came home after a week. After one or two days at home, he went back to the hospital. Unfortunately, the effects of the overdose of medication has not been mild. We just celebrated the Fourth of July, and hopefully he will be home soon.

Throughout this, there have been times where he didn’t know what was going on. At one point, he gave up. It was in the tired planes of his face, in the droop in his shoulders, his voice that lost its fire. The “rehab” he was in, while modern and nicely furnished, crushed his independence. This old war bird, proud Navy man from World War II, Korea and Vietnam, was reduced to needing the help of churlish and neglectful people. It took its toll in both body and spirit.

When he was transferred from the “rehab” to the hospital, he started coming back. He still had health problems, still tired out so easily, but was starting to be him again. When I was told he’d be going to a different rehab, I was terrified. Indifference and incompetence had almost cost us our father— would this place finish him off?

It’s not as pretty, as shiny new as the other. But it’s the people who count, and they make a difference. I know this to be true, because Dad is starting to come back. The things that make him uniquely him are coming back.

Including his ministry.

We were out on the patio: Dad, my 9 year old son and I. Dad I started a conversation, and it went as most of ours do. Wide ranging and far flung, we can talk about anything and everything. He started telling me of the people he had met in the rehab, and how he feels an embarrassment of riches not only because his family visits, but also his anticipated home coming.

“There’s a woman in the room right next to me,” he began. “Every night, she calls out ‘Oh Lord, oh Lord, please come take me home.’ All night long she cries out. In that other place, there were two who would do it. I need to tell you something, though.”

Tears thickening his voice, he continued on. “So I started praying for them. Not for me, but for them to have comfort, peace, a restful night. Every time I pray for them, keeping them in my heart, He answered. They were comforted. The woman next to me will call out, then find peace for an hour or two, then call again. Every time, He comforts her. Because I prayed.

“Their heads don’t think right any more. They’re broken inside. But deep down, you have to remember that they are human beings too. They need comfort too!” I grabbed hold of his hand as he cried, moved beyond words at the testimony my father had just given me.

Have I had the open heart, the courage, to pray as he does? Not yet. But I’m practicing it. A day before this talk, I would have been stewing in anger over my own lost sleep. I hope that with practice, I’ll be able to love a stranger like that.

To open up your heart like that, then be able to share the story. That’s a powerful ministry. So powerful that I could not keep the words inside myself. When I got home, I called my sister. Then I sat down and began to write.

And as I write, I pray.

Thank you, Lord, for showing Daddy and I how a little prayer can do so much for a person.

##The End##

Copyright 2015 Wynelda Ann Deaver

Poke Battle

I’m sorry, but it’s hillarious. There’s a gang of 8 and 9 year old boys in my house, having a Pokemon battle as I’m trying to write.

Oh good gravy, and my son thinks my stories are over the top?

Wheee!

We had some good news today. Hopefully (Fingers and toes crossed on this one!), Dad will be home on Monday! Yay! We’ve missed him horribly :(

So far this week I’ve written an essay on Dad, and also a snarky 5 rules to make it through sitting in traffic thingee. Not sure what the heck I’m going to call it, but it was kind of fun. I have a series of things that are kind of strange, I call it my Shifting Sideways Stories.

Things like tree watching and the Thirteen Nekkid Ladies pop up under that tag. Hmmm… should I post here? Not sure yet. But am still writing, writing a lot… but they are fairly short. I admit that

Of course, I have the attention of an adhd squirrel right now, so it fits. I have 2 notebooks that go everywhere with me, and I now have friends (hi regina!) who enjoy getting first dibs on what I write in them (after it’s transferred to a computer file).

So. That’s my day.

Poke Battle.

ROTFLMAO

They are soooo serious about it, too!  I just kicked them out, and I think my son walked some of his friends home. I say this, because he came back in the house holding his water gun as if it were real and would protect them from the bad guys.

OMG, I love being Mom to a boy!

Thomas Russell Trio

So a while back ago, I told you about not being able compete with my writing, and how it made me feel so horribly.  You can find that post over here. In it, I spoke a little bit about how some friends and I were starting a Facebook writer’s group, and I was going to try out for the paper and all sorts of fun stuff.

Well. Time for a little update.

I emailed some stuff to the Stockton Record, but still have heard nothing back yet. That’s ok. It would be great to get on board there, but there are tons of local magazines, websites and frankly other newspapers to submit to. The trick is going to be finding the ones that pay LOL.

The writing group, consisting of the Thomas Russell Trio, has been fantastic for me. Not only have they given me the courage to send the email above, but I am writing. I am writing a lot. They aren’t huge, long articles or anything. They are ranging between 300-500 words and that’s ok. I’m finding my voice in the nonfiction world. I posted a total of 3 last week, and am working on my second one for this week.

Turns out, it’s a lot easier for my twisted sense of humor and strange way of looking at things to be self evident in non fiction. I’m really enjoying writing without the buffer that fiction gives me. The deadline gives me something to shoot for, and I’m hitting on target regularly.

These girls saved my sanity in a lot of ways. Expressing how thankful you are should be easy for a writer, so here goes…

I hope your soul feels dappled by sunlight

I hope you get to have interesting conversations with a child.

I wish for you a million words, all bringing you joy.