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That Weird Writer Friend

I am that weird writer friend, the one who sends out cards (and will even to people they don’t know!). Recently, I leveled up my game.

In my defense., I’d been thinking about it for a minute or two. And I did message her before doing it. Essentially, I created a character to write a letter… to a character that entrances and bedevils my sister from another mother. If you’d like to see what they’re up to, Rie posted about it on her blog which you can find here:

If you’d like to learn more about Jo and her companions, you can find them on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, to name a few (I originally had links but spaced and lost them! Oh no! Look up Rie Sheridan Rose, you’ll thank me? She has lots of different types of stories, including Jo’s escapades. Want poetry? She writes it. Horror? Yup. Fantasy? She has you covered!)

If I had a nickle for every card I wrote, it’d be a lot of Nickles! This one was different– Ive written poems in cards, or short short stories for kids. But creating a character to write to another character was a new one for me. Not sure what made me do it, bit I’m glad I did.

And extra happy that I have writer friends who roll with it!

Book Review: Creatures: A Novel

Hello my lovelies! Today I thought I’d talk to you about Creatures: A Novel by Crissy Van Meter. It’s the first physical book I’ve read in a while. I’ve read on my Nook, and physical magazines… but books? For enjoyment? Not so much.

On that last trip to Barnes & Noble, I found a couple of tables with “Buy 2 Get 1 Free!” Normally, I just walk on by. I enjoy reading on my Nook. It’s convenient. I can adjust the font size. But there is nothing quite like holding a book in your hands and smelling the pages as you read.

I picked up this one in particular because of the little sea creatures on the cover, and the setting being close to the sea (an island, so. Yah). The voice captured me, drew me in and held me even through the parts I hate.

And yes, there are things in this book I normally skip right out of. Drugs—especially parents using a lot of drugs. Van Meter handles it in a variety of ways. Time flows like the ocean, back and forward. The academic questions and answers regarding whales that explore Evangeline’s relationship with her dead father, who looms just as surely as the dead whale out on the beach. The innovation in the way the story is told, including an insert of the very far future (and only one! I wanted more!), is beautifully done. It comes organically from the story– which we all know means that Van Meter put a lot of effort into it. It was worth it.

Overall, the character’s voice drew me in and kept me, even past the time where I knew the subject matter wasn’t what I normally read. I was engrossed. I was rooting for Evangeline. Creatures is the perfect example of why it’s so important to find the right voice for our stories. Because that voice will carry even the most reluctant reader through.

En Bloc: Magazine Review

Hello! Welcome back, my lovelies! It’s Magazine Monday… a day early LOL

I really enjoy literary magazines—although the price can be off putting, getting the right one can feel like you’ve found a magical unicorn. When I go to Barnes & Noble, I generally only buy my magazines there. I mostly read on my Nook. Once upon a time, the selection at any given B&N would be relatively the same. Not so this last time. I don’t know if they are selling out, or if the different stores carry different magazines. Also, sometimes the publish date seems like it was a long time ago, but with the ramifications of Covid across so many industries, I’m willing to hold my piece on this.  However, this is an interesting conundrum: I have one near my work and one closer to my home.  If they carry differing magazines, I need to figure out when the ones I like come in at each one. If they are the same and just selling out quick, well. That makes life So. Much. Easier.

I am not going to subscribe. I don’t like reading magazines on my Nook, and the US Post Office has dropped the ball. When Covid hit, I subscribed to 2 magazines. One of them I didn’t get 3 issues of. And  it’s bi-monthly! So half the issues! Yes, they sent them out to me, but really? Once things started opening up… I want to go and browse.

Today I want to talk to you about one of those browsing finds. This is from the Momcation trip to B&N. I found a little imported Literary Zine called En Bloc. It is imported from the UK, and so is one of the ones in the US that has a little bit of a hefty price tag.

The cover is eye catching and fun, a mustachioed popsicle sticking out its tongue. I am happy to say that the insides are also eye catching. The Letter from the Editor(Samuel Leach) has a large chunk of it that has a line drawn through it, and then he begins. Again. Kind of like the last bit of life has been for us.  This magazine has photography, an interview with Bill Plympton, poetry and of course the fiction that I loved. Both the for the enjoyment of reading the story, and for the techniques.

Because I write too. It’s always awesome to find writer’s excelling at telling stories in a different way. “Baby Brownie” by Ian Cowmeadow tells the story both in the past and future. It is handled really well, with the reader (me) never getting lost, and still engrossed in the story and not just geeking out over the writing. “Elanor’s Party” by Dave Gerow is one of the few stories I’ve read in Second Person perspective that really does grab you into the story and not let go.

The issue I found at B&N was the first issue. The second issue looks like it is out, based on their website (link below). I can’t wait to find it in the store.

The stories caught my eye, kept me interested. As I am a fickle, picky reader this is a great feeling! While I did read every story (I skipped most in other magazines—which will remain nameless), however there were 2 that stayed with me.

Overall verdict, not only will I buy again, it is the sort of magazine I want to share with my friends so we can talk about the stories.

En Bloc

https://enbloc.co.uk/shop/

Momcation

I haven’t been by myself in a house for an extended amount of time in… Years. I always have my son (15) or my dad (95) around or coming back. It’s wonderful. I love my family. But….

I used to love living by myself too. I’ve always kept myself occupied– readings writing, television. I’m not one that gets bored and stays bored. The quiet is a friend of mine- it allows a moment of reflection, a deep sigh.

Thanks to Caltrans and my Best friend I just had that. A glorious Sunday through Thursday morning where I stayed in a house all by my lonesome. Caltrans closed the freeway that I need to get to work. (Not a work vacation, alas). My BF is travelling, and offered her house. I have to tell you….

It. Was. Glorious.

I wrote and sent out cards. I didn’t cook ANYTHING. Frozen all the way. And after work, I went to the real happiest place on earth, Barnes and Noble, and bought many wonderful magazines. One was brand new to me, called Oh, Reader and I read every single article in it. Which has inspired me– to do magazine reviews. Share what I’m loving. Maybe a few book reviews in there too.

The fact is that I miss blogging. I miss sharing the things I love, and boy do I love books and magazines!

I love my family. Of course I do.

But I missed myself, and didn’t even realize what had been missing in my life was ME.

January 2021

So January was a good one for the writing. Maybe — Maybe not.

I have a story being held for consideration (fingers crossed and good vibes). Which in terms of goals means that I am actually submitting my work.

My writing sister from another mother (hi Rie!) Challenged me to a poem a day for the year. I am missing few days, but I have been doing it. Which is funny because I don’t identify as a poet but….

But when I was pigtails young, I did. I wrote a little chapbook for the school book project. At some point I stopped– lack of confidence, one too many insults? No clue. But I did, and now I am flexing those creaking poetry muscles and it feels good.

And then the cards! I did another batch on cards for the retirement home, which is still on lockdown. 70 this time. I was only able to do it because my bff Linda came over and we cracked them off. AT the beginning of the pandemic lots of people did lots of things for those that were shut in. We need to remember them. So I did– we did.

Happy New Year-ish

So i have made lots of goals for 2021. Not resolutions, just a nod to things I want to do differently. I started most of them in December, at the very end. I just couldn’t wait.

One thing I’m trying to do is submit my work, my writing more. I enjoy writing, and I have several stories that need homes. I wrote 4 or 5 last year and while not a huge amount– it is still an accomplishment I am proud of. I’ve sent 2 stories out, hopefully to find a home.

I’ve started journalling creatively for 10 minutes before going to bed. It helps with story generation, and also working things out. A fire kitten may be making an appearance in a story soon.

One of my dear friends, my sister from another mother, challenged me to a poem a day writing challenge for the year. I don’t consider myself a poet, but it doesnt say anything about GOOD poetry LOL.

I bought an undated planner and am using it to tey and work out a story I am working on. The story has a lot going on and will probably be longer than most of my writing. I tend to do short and sweet, this needs room to breathe.

So that’s what I’m getting into for 2021. How about you? Any wild crazy plans? Or slow and steady wins the race?

Flash Fiction excersize

From the Rose Metal Guide to Flash Fiction… i took a class that uses this book.

Thought you might get a giggle out of this. I enjoyed writing them.

Describe a favorite place, encyclopedia style, but lie.

San Francisco has always leaned a little to the left. They can not help it, as they are on the left coast. This makes them susceptible to rocking and rolling, which can be seen in the way the streets rise and fall, always drifting to the left where the Bay is.

San Francisco is known for the Bay and its cable cars. The two perform an intricate dance, an admirable work of wonder. The tracks & lines are laid carefully and precisely so that when the cable cars make their loop, the end up going under the Bay into the Bay Area Repeating Train tunnel to loop around and start their route over again. Visitors often forget to jump off the old-fashioned trolley cars, going under the bay for a view that is beyond compare. Sharks are often caught peeking at these out of reach snacks.

Lumbar street is the spine of the city. Unfortunately, it is a crooked, cobbled street that the cable cars cannot access except at its cross streets. Tourists must trundle up and down its steep incline on the power of their own two feet. Those who have tried to ride down on bicycle or skate board have found themselves at the bottom of the bay after a wild ride, facing off with hungry, hungry sharks.

Write a second version, as a blog, Instagram Post, travelogue, etc.

2nd version different narrator

So, like, I went to San Francisco to see Lumbar Street. More specifically, I wanted to ride down it. They told me there were gnarly wipeouts, but come on! How hard could it be? #Adventure! Especially if I used a long board and rode it down… while sitting on the board. I mean, like, they SAY it leans to the left…and you’ll end up in the bay… but you have to be there. You don’t get it till you get it. #hungryhungrysharks

I went down Lumbar Street towards the bay like a bat out of hell. I even got air! #SweetMoves. I was wearing heavy leather gloves along with all the safety gear #helmetssavelives. I had thought, like, I could use my hands to slow myself down before launching myself into the Bay. Unfortunately, #IamaKlutz. I started to take my arms down from around my knees, the board wobbled and hit a rock, launching me into the air, over the barrier and into the Bay.

Thank you to the Aquarium on the Pier for starting #vegansharks #peoplearefriendsnotfood. Thank you for also calling #caltrans to come fish me out. I am really sorry about the dented BART car #sosorry. And thank you to SF General for the #topnotch care that like, really really touched my heart. And thanks for the tee-shirt #Isurvivedbeingsharkbait

Copyright 2020 Wynelda Deaver

Widow’s Walk

(I wrote this in response to a class assignment. It is inspired by a picture by Rob Gonsalves and the journey of a dear friend. )

Widows walk. They walk along the balcony, pacing out the nights. One step after another, chained to a mast that never comes into view. No skips, no hops for the balcony is dangerous. Weeping into the ocean doesn’t count if you are alone.

Widows walk alone, friends and family woefully out of step. They bear the isolation alone, watching the clouds skittle across the night sky, longing, wistfully, for a glimpse of the one who left them behind. They walk, they pace, they shiver and moan. Even among the crows, they are alone.

Widows walk alone into… . They carve out a path made of stone yet soft as sand. Night becomes day becomes night and still they walk their lonely halls of grief. Typhoons, monsoons, tsunamis break over them. The trick, the widows say, is to let them break. Let them rain down on you, absorb the fury and power of nature into yourself because otherwise it will burn you alive. The clouds on the horizon are puffy and white… or are they a sail in the wind… or will they change as they start to come in. Widows walk alone into…

The unknown. Once you are half of a hole (it’s wrong but it fits and oh how that hurts!) how do you become whole while only half of you is there? Once, you were whole all on your own. You didn’t choose to walk this walk, you didn’t ask for this you didn’t want this–never this– game of life that tossed the rules out on you– why did the rook take the queen– you didn’t know you didn’t want you didn’t mean in when you said you only wanted a minute alone youdidntyoudidntyoudidntyoudidnt

But still. Here we are.

Somber as a post.

Knowing.

Widows
Walk
Alone

Copyright 2020 Wynelda Deaver

2nd Half of 2020

So, we are in the second half of 2020. They year i wemt crazy and bought 3 planners. They all sit empty. Locally, there are more Covid cases exploding here than there were in March. But the local school board decided to do all in for the 2020-21 school year. All kids, all the time, unless parents opted for distance learning. No info on how it would work…

2020 is a bitch. If we had a naming contest for the year, I personally would vote for Cruella.

There is so much wrong with this year…. how do we make some good come out of it? Nt necessarily the huge,YouTube worthy videos (although those were great!) But in a personal way, that gives us joy and helps us through to that next day?

Personally, I write cards. I call people. I need that personal connection. My son has stepped up and learned how to cook my favorite eggs (thabk you kind people of redditt!). He is trying to help out, trying on who he will be as an adult.

In my writing, I have been writing literary stories and i miss magic. I’m in the last 2 weeks of the literary class, and i have learned a lot this year. It helped to have something to do instead of going to museums, the beach… all those places I long to be.

What about you? How are you coping with The social distancing? With not being able to go where you want? What sparks of joy have come your way, and unexpected sparkler i nadark night?

Nano 2019

So I attempted Nano 2019, with provisions.

There are always provisions lol.

It won’t be a novel, because I don’t write long anymore. It will be a collection of short stories. I can do this!

And then I cheated.

But that was ok, because I made up those words and deleted the rewritten story! I was doing this!

And then I got sick.

Call into work for 3 days, my poor kid making me dinner sick. (He’s 13, don’t feel too bad for him lol). It’s still lingering a few weeks later, and it’s kicking my hiney. Nano became no no for me.

So was it was a loss. Or was It? I wrote words…. lots of words that can be cleaned up and sent out. I learned that I work best in the early morning on Saturrday or Sunday, sitting out in mine and rays cave (more on that in a later post). I put my Christmas tree up Halloween night, and having the lights on with Christmas music playing on Pandora and the words just fly.

And I also learned it is entirely possible to finish one story and start another right away. No tears (well maybe a couple, it was a sad story).

Now I just need to get back into writing.

Ta, my lovelies!