Friday, May 26, 2017

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Where's My Cow? by Terry Pratchett, a book review

Where's My Cow? by Terry Pratchett is my first experience with a children's picture book to which I could easily assign the term 'plot twist'. Nothing about the cover or title prepared me for the way the story would turn and the change in the art within.

Melvyn Grant is a really talented artist. He created art for this book that looks so real as to look almost like a photograph at times, yet he also pulls off great more typical children's picture book illustrations. I dislike the garish reality of some of the picture-like illustrations later in the book. In fact, I dislike them so much that I'm beginning to think maybe I should prescreen children's picture books to make sure they are acceptable because at least three of the illustrations in this book were such that I didn't want my two youngest to see.

Together, author and illustrator won the Children's Winner of The Ankh-Morpork Librarian's Award.

The story is good. It's very much like something my husband would do with a story… changing it to entertain our children. I can well imagine the fun the baby in the story had at his father's antics!

The art is amazing. Even though I didn't like the presence of a few of the portraits, they are still masterfully executed.

Have you read Where's My Cow by Terry Pratchett?


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

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writing life: why I write what I write…

Have you ever felt compelled to do something? Like… it was just part of what you were here on earth to do? Like… if you didn't do it, there would be some humungous part of your experience lacking and you would fall short of heavenly expectations if you didn't do your best to do… whatever it was you felt compelled to do?

That's why I write.

I could end there, but I have so many more words to share on this… probably won't say anything more illuminating than the above. It wouldn't be like me to be so very short!

Growing up, I heard often about journal writing. I think my first journal hales back to when I was five or six years old. What a treasure to have… only to me, but still!

My Mom was early and often impressed with my writing prowess. She has and likely ever will be my number one fan… though, when my two oldest girls found out I considered her so, they decided they were in some sort of race, vying to be my number one fans. They are pretty funny. Unfortunately for them, my Mom has… like… 30 years on them! So, it'll take some pretty fantastic feats for them to overtake her.

As my number one fan, my Mom has been sure that I would and should be published for a great many years now. She has been sure FAR longer than I have! In fact, she has known and believe it longer than I even really thought much of my writing. See, how can anyone beat that? I mean… sheesh! Anyone else is jumping on the wagon that I've decided I should actually drive! Can you imagine… I mean, she's held on during all the time I wasn't driving… and now, when I'm still learning to drive and she's still stoically encouraging… I think, probably, sometimes wondering if I'll ever get this thing managed. I sure wonder, myself.

My genre isn't hers, yet she encourages me and roots for me and applauds my expressed plans and hopes. She loves historical fictions. I'm pretty sure she probably likes mystery as well. I know she reads plenty of 'self-help' type self-education books. She has only started to get into fantasy because my girls adore it and she wants to understand what they are reading and interested in. So, maybe by the time I have anything actually good written, she'll love part of my genre. Since I'm pretty solidly writing in the genre “speculative fiction,” the fact that she's beginning to enjoy fantasy is definitely a good thing.

I guess the above only illustrates that I wasn't really directed or led to my genre by my Mom's reading choices and interests. I started reading fantasy (and romance) because it was the easiest way to escape the doldrums I considered my life. Imagining other worlds… and aliens… and what it would take to make it there… and what ifs… that was exciting to me!

Now, I still feel a good bit of excitement about those things. Yet, I feel more desire to share what I see (in my imagination and otherwise) by way of a story that maybe could be… sometimes. Other times, I just want to share truths by way of a fantastical story that as far as I know really couldn't happen. Maybe those truths will be easier to understand in the context of the fantastic. Maybe not. Maybe in my stories, they will simply be one of the eight times our silly human brains need to actually GET something!

Either way, I'm doing something I truly believe Heavenly Father has directed. And what greater joy can there be but to live out His plan for our lives?

Monday, May 22, 2017

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Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne, a book review

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne is well written and very easy to read. This story follows a group of children who are stranded as a series of natural disasters begin. Thankfully, they are safe in a large Walmart-like store. Their experiences are interesting and I was hooked quickly and read it through in less time than many other books.

I recommend this book only for older teens (maybe eighteen and older) and adults. There is one scene with nudity and various characters use profanity throughout. Additionally, there are a few pretty gruesome experiences and descriptions. My children will not read it any time soon. I, however, am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Have you read Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne? What did you think of it?

Friday, May 19, 2017

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What Can You Do With a Rebozo? by Carmen Tafolla, a book review

What Can You Do With a Rebozo? by Carmen Tafolla is a wonderful story about the uses of a rebozo. I thought rebozos were predominantly used in natural birth settings and with babies, so this children's picture book was wonderfully educational for me.

Amy Cordova created illustrations that perfectly support and clarify the story, which is what every children's picture book author hopes for in their illustrations, I think. The colors are bright and bold and convey a strong Hispanic flare. They keep young children's attention relatively well in my household.

Have you read What Can You Do With a Rebozo? by Carmen Tafolla? What did you think of it?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

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my thoughts: on the Mandelbrot Set

Pretty recently, I made a comment about a possibility pertaining to the universe in a group for members of my church. The only person to respond to me directly was exceedingly unkind and taunted my comments. Basically, he acted like a bully and made fun of my thoughts. The most surprising thing about him, to me, is that he did this unabashedly AND he's old enough to be my Dad. Seriously.

I responded that he was acting in a manner that was beneath him. He responded that his reaction was completely appropriate because of the ridiculousness of what he understood in my comments.

The thing is, I didn't deserve to be taunted, laughed at, and made fun of. That was all about him and how intolerant and unkind he is. In the moment of reading his unkindnesses, though, I didn't feel the truth of what I know! How true it is, this thing I've taught my children: the devil loves to manipulate our feelings and drag us down to misery by them!

So, anyway… as a result of that most disagreeable interaction with a stranger who should've known better, I feel the desire to share about the Mandelbrot Set here.

This most amazing mathematical set is not just a fractal. It is one of many ways of understanding the world around us.

This set is believed to represent the skin where order and chaos meet. If we consider this for a moment in human terms, what would that “skin” be? The mind, heart, and spirit of human beings, of course. Our minds, hearts, and spirits are the place where chaos (the devil) and order (God) meet. We are where they win or lose.

In a regular fractal, we see the fruition of sacred geometry, as it is considered. And it is beautiful, as is the Mandelbrot Set. However, in the MS one can move into it (zoom in, as it were) and the picture changes. While this is also true of other fractals, I'm not sure the end of the zooming is also. You see, in the Mandelbrot Set, when you zoom in far enough, so long as nothing has changed in the original, you'll eventually return to the exact same image as where you began.

Which lends a relatively good segue to the next point: The Mandelbrot Set is a picture of a pretty organic looking amoeba or paisley-type thing. On the outer edge of it are various size repetitions of the same shape. On the same outside line of each paisley on the outside of the main paisley are more of them… and on to infinity, it is supposed. If one changes one small (even the smallest thing we could change) on any of those paisley shapes, the whole picture changes.

This mathematical picture is awesome to me because it is a representation of us! First, as I already shared, I believe it shows our mind/heart/spirit as the place where chaos and order meet. Second, we see that no matter our path and life's experiences, we will continue to come round to the same exactly thing… unless the third thing happens… a change. If we change one small thing in ourselves, our perception of the whole world changes. If we change (as one small part of the world), the whole world also changes in actuality.

Ghandi taught it by saying, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Jesus Christ taught it in many ways, with particular focus on forgiving others.
Awesome, right?

Can you see what I see? If you want to know that I'm not the only one who sees it this way, please watch.

Monday, May 15, 2017

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Dangerous by Shannon Hale, a book review

Dangerous by Shannon Hale is an awesome sci-fi tale about a one-armed girl who saves the world. Because we homeschool, I particularly like that Masie and Luther are homeschooled, at least in the beginning. The story is engaging and interesting. I started it in the morning and finished it before I slept for the night.

This book is free of curse words, even to the extent of the main character (who is the narrator) bleeping out curse words of other characters. I like that very much.

There are a couple kissy scenes and one that goes farther than just kisses, but Masie stops things and basically explains why both to the reader and the boy she stops. I like this very much. Especially because she is presented as a very smart even intellectual character, so her reasons are real and factual.

My eldest daughter read this book a while back and since my second daughter is older now, I'll probably let her read it, too. I definitely like it and I'm sure she will since my first did.

Shannon Hale has a number of other published books. I've read a few (and will re-read to review) and have enjoyed every one of them. I do highly recommend Dangerous.

Have you read Dangerous by Shannon Hale? What did you think of it?

Friday, May 12, 2017

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There's an Alligator Under My Bed by Mercer Mayer, a book review

There's an Alligator Under My Bed by Mercer Mayer should be familiar to me, it seems, since it's been in print for more than 25 years. I do not remember reading it to any of my siblings. Nor do I remember seeing it at all before now.

A little boy is certain there is an alligator under his bed. His parents don't find it when they look, so he takes matters in to his own hands and rids his room of the alligator. Find out how and where the alligator is relegated to by reading this fun children's book.

I think this is another case of author is also illustrator, which I love. The pictures in this children's picture book are fitting and helpful to the story. They are also very child-friendly, which I'd honestly not really even considered before I read one particular book. I like the way the illustrations move readily with the story.

Have you read There's an Alligator Under My Bed by Mercer Mayer? What did you think?

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

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writing life: how and where do I sit down to write?

Sometimes I do have to make myself write. Okay… when I write, I've made myself sit down to it. Mostly, it's difficult for me to open the computer to write my story because I know there will be many stops and starts and that is exhausting.

When I have had the luxury of writing continuously and only stopping because of bodily functions and to feed my face, I had a much easier time sitting down to actually write. Life doesn't provide such luxury much any more. And that's okay. I just have to make myself sit down… and that's good for me, right? Working on that little thing called self-mastery. I obviously struggle with it (or I wouldn't carry more than 100 pounds on this fabulous rolly polly bod of mine!). I digress.

So, when I write, I have procrastinated a good bit before-hand. Usually doing necessary (but overmuch of the necessary) platform work that I do. My favorite distraction when I have enough signal is Pinterest. My second fave: working on things for my children's business. Of course, there are all the other parts of my “platform” including, but not necessarily limited to: Facebook, GoodReads, LinkedIn, Twitter… sheesh. It's a full-time job just to keep those succers up to par. I guess that's why they aren't. Up to par, I mean. Sorry about that, by the way. I have been working on being Mama more than ToriForReal, I guess.

Today, I'd hoped to work on my current main creative writing project. I have, at least, 20 stories I want to write and at least half of those have starts on my laptop (and backed up online somewhere). Instead, I've been working on book reviews. I like doing them, though admittedly mine have been pretty lame for the last while. That will improve eventually… I hope.

Incredibly, since I have been so focused on this necessary distraction, I completed six or seven youth fiction reviews and around four children's picture book reviews. So, yeay for lots accomplished! Boo for distracting and procrastinating. grrrr #sigh# Well, I did get a lot done! Oh… and this post. And maybe another one or two. So, that's a pretty good use of a few hours spread out over the course of the day.

I think I write best when I sit at the table. It feels more formal and I tend to be more focused. However, I might be able to write more (with fewer children coming to talk to me) when I sit on a bed in one particular part of our house. It is not nearly as comfy as it sounds, I promise. Right now, I'm writing at the table. Maybe that's why I've gotten so much done today!?




Monday, May 8, 2017

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Ungifted by Gordon Korman, a book review

Ungifted by Gordon Korman is an enjoyable story about a boy who is mistakenly transferred to the gifted and talented academy instead of suffering the consequences of an accident resulting from a bad choice. I enjoyed this book quite well at least partially because it was completely free of any intimate scenes and curse words. Even though I found this book in the teens' area of my library, I will let my two eldest daughters read it if they so desire.

One thing I particularly enjoy about this novel is the change the main character goes through as a result of his transfer. I also appreciate very much how one of the teachers considers all the things he could say to his students about the main character, which, in effect, teach the young reader about the character traits lacking in the main character. This is definitely a bonus and a huge plus in my mind because I think many youth are not being taught character quality traits like integrity, honesty, and so forth.

The story telling shifts between characters, which I thought was interesting, though confusing when I wasn't paying close attention. Each and every chapter title begins with a word that starts with 'un'. I found that slightly distracting because of it's negative connotation, especially when the overall message of the book (to my way of thinking) is a very positive one. Still, I really liked it and do recommend it highly for all ages.

Have you read Ungifted by Gordon Korman? What did you think of it?

Friday, May 5, 2017

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The Word Collector by Sonja Wimmer, a book review

I was really looking forward to reading The Word Collector by Sonja Wimmer simply because of the title. What a great title to and for any author/writer. While this is a beautifully illustrated children's picture book, my first reaction was that this must have been done by an illustrator to showcase her art.

My main reason for thinking this book may be an artist's way of getting her work in to the world is the difficulty of reading the story in the beginning of the book. If the artist was hoping the pictures would take center-stage by the weird placement and difficulty of deciphering them, this was not accomplished with me. I had to go back and look at the pictures in the beginning of the story to remember anything about them because I had to focus so intensely to discern the words and correct ordering of them. This problem does, for the most part, remedy itself a little way in to the story, thankfully.

I actually really like the story itself. It has a very good moral and is presented in a way so as not to be preachy. And the illustrations are beautiful. However, the way the story was presented in those first pages made it difficult to decipher and enjoy either. I have seen a few children's books like this and I sincerely hope it is not the way picture books are going, generally.

Have you read The Word Collector by Sonja Wimmer? What did you think of it?
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twas the day after Mother's day A POEM

Twas the day after Mother's Day when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The children were all nestled in their spots with great care.
Not a bit of the mess did they touch, to my great despair.

The stuff they'd told me not a finger to lift
Was still where it was, left there for me through it to sift.

When I, only moments ago, felt well-rested and ready to go.
Now I once again faced a too well-known old foe.

Away from Peace my mind swiftly jumped
As my Mama-heart raced and angrily pumped.

My heart scrabbled and scraped as I yearned for the Peace
of yesterday's Mother's Day figurative feast.

Heart lost this battle as my voice sounded off
A banshee soon sounded, don't you dare sit and scoff.

My voice bellowed loudly as that anger ignited.
My children moved quickly, with that I was delighted.

No words could be formed, no words were needed,
The noises I made communicated and were heeded.

Tears streaked my face as I blubbered and blew
And my children quickly cleaned for they already knew.

That the gift they'd yesterday so graciously given and told me to rest
When it was only delayed work for me, was far from the best.

When I had calmed down, and staunched the flow of tears from my eyes,
My children approached me with sweet treats, hamburgers, and fries.

Peace slid right back into place in my heart
And slowly made its way to my mind, at least in a part.

This time the ending has smiles, it's true.
Hopefully next year there will not be a repeat to rue!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

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my thoughts: on politics

A friend told me she looked at my blog to see if I'd posted anything about the political situation just prior to the election in 2016. She was also sorta checking to make sure I was okay since we hadn't chatted in a little while. So sweet, right?

Perhaps I neglected my civic duty when I chose not to share any thoughts about the election. I think not, but I certainly could have. Nonetheless, I digress. (I'm good at it, eh?)

That season has passed and I am glad. I did not vote for our president. I did not vote for Hilary. Make your guess as you may.

What, then, is the purpose for which I write now? To share my thoughts on politics, of course!

We live in an age of broken systems. I could fly on a tangent about any number of them. I will focus, for now, on politics.

Our country was never meant to be split in two. We were not meant to have mere two parties from which to choose. The powers that be, and not of the light, have orchestrated things such that this is what we seem to have. This is what we have if we focus only on what is easiest to know, learn, and see. There are still other options, but because we don't have enough “regular folk” who learn about those options, we are defacto stuck choosing from the primary two options.

Politicians were never meant to run this country. One reason I have had a relatively easy time accepting Trump is that he is not a politician and has proceeded to attempt to keep his campaign promises. Add to that, his acceptance of only $1 salary for the job… I might think he's attempting to be a statesman… yes. Yes, I might think so.

Statesmen/women are meant to lead this country. I hope (used to believe, but not sure I do now) that there are some statespersons in the system or trying to get there. But those who have been working in their current office for longer than, say, eight years… yeah… almost for sure they are not statespersons.

My definition of a statesperson is one who is ready and willing to put aside their own preferences to ensure God is the true leader of the nation and execute the will of the people (so long as it is in line with the former). This might seem like it doesn't jive with politics as they are. If you think so, you're right. Our political system doesn't involve God in things. That is, surely, a huge part of why things are falling apart as much as they are.

Our forefathers included God. They started their discussions with prayer. If I remember correctly, they concluded them with prayer as well. I believe God's involvement is the only reason so many men of such varying dispositions and beliefs could come up with and agree on The Constitution.

Of course, I could be wrong….

Anyway, the system that comprises our poolitical parties and so forth is absolutely broken. The first thing that should be done is salary cuts for members in both houses. Then, term limits for all (not just the President). The final of the first changes I wish I could make is two parts. The first would be to reduce the laws on the books and verbiage of them and ensure that future legislation would have to be equally direct and simply worded.

I would love to see lots more folks who care about their cities, states, and this country run for office. The learning curve would be steep, but I think our country would move in a better direction.

Monday, May 1, 2017

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Forward the Foundation by Isaac Asimov, a book review

Forward the Foundation by Isaac Asimov is interesting. Unfortunately, one silly difficulty of not having internet connectivity at the time of reading from this series strikes again: I read what I've read of the Foundation series out of order by a good bit. I've missed a few of the books as well.

Within the pages of this book, we continue to follow Hari Seldon as he strives to bring psychohistory to fruition. A few sad spots arise along the way. He begins to lose people near and dear. One of those losses was rather surprising to me. By the end, and this is a potentially unsurprising spoiler to any who have also read this series, Hari dies a very old man who has basically succeeded in his life's endeavor. Would that we could all be so accomplished!

I like that Wanda, his granddaughter, is among the founders of the second foundation. I also like the way she meets the guy who is like her. It seems like coincidence… which is often, at least in my life, what small miracles look like in my life.

However, small miracles would probably be an affront of a description to Isaac Asimov, if I were to hazard a guess. I'm pretty sure, if his views on cosmology and theology are at all illustrated within the series, that he was a staunch atheist. I wonder if he's changed his mind since dying.

My children will not read this series until they are older at least in part because of the adult handling of the subject of God. The series is relatively philosophical and my girls philosophize plenty on their own. I'm relatively certain the bent of their thoughts would not be improved by reading from this series, at least not in their youth.

Any intimate scenes are handled very smoothly. Not giving details, yet providing a basic understanding of what's transpired.

I like this book and the series. One interesting side effect is that I've been dreaming about the story and characters since finishing Forward the Foundation. It's been rather interesting. I wonder if it's something many experience?

Have you read Forward the Foundation by Isaac Asimov? What did you think of it? Did you have dreams about it and the series when you finished it?

Friday, April 28, 2017

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The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson, a book review

The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson is a children's picture book that is very quick to read with big bold pictures. The text is modeled after nursery rhymes like “This is the house that Jack built” and especially inspired by the author's favorite: “This is the key of the kingdom”.

The story goes from small to large and back again. It has a good tempo and very easy to enjoy illustrations by Beth Krommes. The only color is yellow watercolor and black and white resulting from scratchboard work. The illustrations are bold and lovely. My children, especially the youngest, are able to pay attention to the whole story and enjoy the pictures.

This book is a Caldecott Medal winner.

We like The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson. Have you read it? What do you think of it?


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

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writing life: other social networking outlets

The last couple of posts have been trying to explain how I use three different social media hubs.  Honestly, I don't know if I'm doing any of this right, but it's what I'm doing... it's my work... and I want to share with yall what I'm doing.  What takes my time in this writing effort.

The three I've already mentioned were my primary focus in the very beginning.  I've branched out a little here and there since.  Again, I don't know if I'm using these outlets to their fullest or best purpose, but I'm using them!  Working hard to get followers, subscribers, likes, and etc... because that's what the publishing houses want and what I need should I go Indie.  We'll see!

In addition to those others, I also use Pinterest, LinkedIn, GoodReads.  Instagram and Snapchat are on my To Do list.  That list happens to be super long at the moment, so I'm not sure how fleshed out those two will be for some time.

Pinterest is particularly enjoyable.  I have been lost in there before.  Not so much in the past couple years... but for a while.

GoodReads is still relatively new to me.  Silly since I've been a fan of reading for ages.  I guess I didn't feel like I could handle another thing for a while.  I'm pretty sure I'm missing some vital facts to understand how to enjoy this particular hub, but I'm sure I'll figure it out before too long!

LinkedIn is another one that baffles me.  I keep trying to stay on top of it, but I'm not sure I'm doing the right things there at all.

If you have any suggestions for me, I'm definitely willing to hear them!

Do you use any social media outlets for anything other than connecting with friends?

Monday, April 24, 2017

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Voices by Ursula K. LeGuin, a book review

Voices by Ursula K. LeGuin is a continuation of Orrec and Gry's story, but with the focus on a new character, Memer who is a result of rape and the daughter of a member of the strongest house in a war torn and sacked city.

This story covers a great many years quickly. It is interesting and packed full of history of this fictional people such that they seem to surely have exited somewhere that we could meet and talk with them. Orrec and Gry have been traveling seventeen years when they meet Memer. Orrec is now a story teller of great renown. Gry is still Gry. They still have the horses they left with and now also have a lion as their protector.

What happens in this story kept me reading through the night. I started this book one afternoon and finished it during the night. I will probably let my eldest daughter read it, but my second daughter will probably have to wait. Mostly because of the rape issue, but also because of the war situation in general.

I do recommend this book for middle age teens (level of maturation relatively high) and older. My second daughter is only ten, thus she will wait.

Have you read Voice by Ursula K. LeGuin? What did you think of it?

Friday, April 21, 2017

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Piggins and the Royal Wedding by Jane Yolen, a book review

Between his first appearance and Piggins and the Royal Wedding by Jane Yolen, it looks like he may have lost some weight. He just doesn't look quite as rotund in this, a sequel to his first book.

Once again, the piggy butler solves a mystery and saves the day. This time, he saves one of his employer's kits from accusations of thievery and enables the royal wedding to proceed. His powers of deduction are simply spectacular.

The illustrations in this book are just as good as the first. The first two and the last two are quite similar, so if you have both books, your children may enjoy comparing the similarities and differences between them. Many of the characters reappear here and we also see new ones.

We like this book and enjoy the illustrations.

Have you read Piggins and the Royal Wedding by Jane Yolen? What did you think of it?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

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learning to burn, part 31

Start HERE if you haven't read this story before.  If you have, you know the drill.  Basically, this is a mess.  It's the basic, bare-bones story... mistakes and weird notes to myself included.

Shabred leans against the wall of the building a step behind them and the rest follow his example. “This shop gots the best meat pies, it do. Finnigal, he make 'em new every morning, he do. I like the kind he makes, I do. I be hoping Rumier knowed it, or he might get the wrong thing, he might. We just waits and sees, we will.”
A few moments later Rumier comes out with a bulging brown bag. “I didn't haggle with the fellow. His prices are more than fair, especially for the size of these pies. We might not be hungry for lunch if we each eat a whole one. Perhaps we can each split one and bring the rest to the littles back at Gablehaven.”
“That sounds great for the girls, Rumier. But I think Ofonode should have one to himself. Don't you think so Binia?”
“Yes. Yes, I certainly do. I think that boy is getting ready to grow a few inches. He needs as much food as he can eat.”
Ofonode quietly stands against the building, listening to the two ladies, feeling thankful that they are so generously covering for his crazy tummy.
“Well, that's fine with me. Shabred and Oseratin, do you want one to yourself, my good men?”
“No. I's thinking it be good for me to wait to eat until noonsies.”
“I was just thinking something very much the same, Rumier. I'll wait.
“I think I'll join you two. We'll end up with even more to share with the littles that way. That sounds perfect.” Rumier passes a meat pie to Eminghare and one to Ofonode. Eminghare splits hers with Binia.
Before Eminghare can take a bite, Ofonode speaks up, “Maybe we should say a blessing?”
“Yes! I'll say it.” Binia replies. She blesses the food and they begin eating.
Between mouthfuls, Eminghare says, “This is delicious! What in the world is in this thing? I mean, I know there must be some sort of meat, but I've never tasted anything so good!”
Rumier smiles. “Finnigal butchered some peacocks for a wedding and received a few for payment. He was very pleased to tell me that the peacock in these pies is even more delectable than pheasant of the hills, which are renowned in our city.”
“Oh. Isn't that interesting? Have you ever had anything so delicious, Binia?”
“I have lived much longer than you, my friend. This is delicious, for sure. Yet, the food on my planet in comparison is heavenly in a way I cannot manage to put into words without feeling as thought I might cry right now.”
“We don't want anyone crying, now, do we.” Oseratin interjected calmly.
Ofonode finishes his whole pie before Binia and Eminghare.
“Aren't you the hungry one, Ofonode?” Rumier notes.
“Binia said he was getting ready to grow a lot, didn't you hear, Rumier? Growing requires a lot of energy, I think.”
“Too true. Well, let's be on our way, then.”
Ofonode hangs back to walk behind everyone else in the group. He is careful not to think anything at all and just focuses on walking. He notices that Eminghare looks back at him periodically, but she doesn't say anything.
The group finishes gathering all the items they can before arriving at the central market. Shabred seems very excited and the rest, feeling his anticipation, feel excited, too.
“How about we all go to different tents and choose some food, then gather at the fountain and share what we've collected. That way you'll get to try a wider variety of foods regularly made here in THE NAME OF THE CITY.”
“Good to me. How do we pay, though. I don't even know what kind of currency you use here.” Ofonode is excited to choose some food, feeling very hungry again.
Rumier considers a moment, “Currency would be too limiting. After you choose your food, ask the price. Once you know, tell them to charge it to Lady Grace. Make sure to tell them that you will tell me the price they quote you and that they will be paid as usual. If we do it this way, you are free to get as much food from whichever tent you choose.”
The members of the group separate and wander around the court area. Ofonode finds a barbeque tent almost immediately. The listed portions and serving options are almost more than his gurgling tummy can take as he stands in line looking over the options and smelling the delectable aromas.
When he has the deep dish he's selected full of sweet baked beans, 6 fluffy buns, and mounds of moist brisket with pink around the edges and barbeque sauce smothering it, Ofonode makes his way to the central fountain. He finds Shabred waiting there. “You were even faster than me! How did you manage it, Shabred?”
“The best stall is over there, out of the way-like, it be. At the end o'the day it be empty of folk, but still full o'food, it were. Some day it won't be so easy to eat so well, but today they still had plenty, they did.”
“And it looks quite good. What is it?”
“Fried veggies, biscuits, and gravy for dipping all of it, it be. And mighty good in the mouth, they are.”
Just as he finishes describing his choices, Eminghare and then very quickly after her the rest of the group arrives. Rumier is carrying food in front of him and something under his arm. Oseratin has something under his arm as well. Rumier sets his food down near Shabred and then sets up a table. He takes another from under Oseratin's arm and sets it very near the first. “This way we can all eat from the table like civilized folk. I even have small dishes so we can serve ourselves from the main dishes.”
“Very good thinking, indeed, Rumier. I'm very glad. I was wondering how we would manage to share food in some semblance of order and avoiding too many messes.” Oseratin looks pleased as he commends Rumier.
February 17, 2017
Shabred puts his dish down and wanders away as everyone else situates themselves. When he reappears, he carries two chairs.
“Splendid idea, my good fellow! Now we'll all be able to eat without everyone reaching over everyone else.” Oseratin had been sitting farthest away from the tables. He rises and sits opposite the rest, next to Shabred who also sits in a chair.
“I would like to share what I chose and hear what everything else on the table is. I'll start and we can go around the table.” The others nod their heads. As he suggested, Rumier starts, standing as he speaks, he begins passing food out to each person as he describes his choices, “Mine is a variety of veggies sauteed in smoked sesame seed oil. The potatoes are cut thin and fried and then white truffle oil drizzled over and pink salt sprinkled on top. These are the best potatoes on this planet, I'm sure. The meat is thin cut loin of a gargar beast which was first marinated in a sweet sauce and then slow roasted. This is my favorite food from the market.” The food he chose was completely passed out and only his plate left by the time he finished describing it. He served himself and sat down to eat what he had on his plate.
Oseratin stood and also began passing out food as he begins talking, “I've only been here once and none of the purveyors are the same as those I experienced before. However, the same family owns and runs the little fish stand right over there.” He points to a stand far across the square. “I am excited to see if the items I've selected taste the same as they did on my last try! I chose the pila fish fried wraps, smother berry dipping sauce, and buriburin veggies sauteed with guriguri butter. I hope I got enough. I wasn't sure how hungry everyone would be.” He realizes as he seats himself that he neglected to put food on his plate and rises immediately to rectify the neglect, which leaves nothing remaining in the dish he had filled.
Binia rises and begins serving, “I have been here more frequently than Oseratin. The family who vends ba few tents away from the pila wrap tent has also been using the same techniques and recipes for generations. I feel confident that what I have chosen will hold true to what I have enjoyed in the past. You will enjoy what looks like small sweet rolls. They are sweet, but they are stuffed with a blend of ground guriguri with banbani and zukie veggies. In my opinion, these rolls are best when dipped in the very light shuriban sauce. In fact, because it is so thin, I will simply serve the sauce right over the rolls. They just are not the same without it. I also chose some binbin fruit mixed with shiria paste. It's almost like a cookie, but neither the paste nor the fruit has been touched by heat. So, they are in their wonderful delicious raw state. The binbin fruit is very juicy, so be aware that it may dribble down your chin if you're not careful.” Binia retakes her seat and eats the food she's served herself.
Eminghare rises. “I have never been here before and it took me a while to choose. Basically everything I passed looked wonderful. I may have finally stopped just because I was so hungry. But these little dumplings are just way too cute to pass up. And I saw a few people standing around outside the tent eating them and those folks looked like they were in heaven. So… I chose these gangan stuffed dumplings. I'm sure there's probably more than just gangan in it. I just don't know what it is. The dipping sauce is made from portotelun fruit and smoked sesame oil. They might have added some soopy berry, at least I thought so by the smell. I also chose these slices of sauteed shimby veggie. I think there may also be some zuke and marzoon mixed in as well. I think it smelled absolutely divine in the tent. I hope everyone likes it!” Eminghare sits and tries the sauteed veggies first and almost melts into her seat with the pleasure. She definitely feels like she chose well with those.
“The food yous all choseded is very good, it were. It be fancy and filled my mouth with new wonders, it did. I feared yous might not like my plain choices so much, I do. But I choosed the best fluffiest biscuits with fried veggie, I did. And there be a thick gravy for dipping, there is. Yous should take some iffin you like to, you should.” Shabred served everyone some veggies and buscuits, but didn't serve the gravy. He takes his seat, his head hanging.
“I think this gravy is divine. It has gargar beast sausage in it, doesn't it, Shabred?”
Shabred raises his head, looking less downcast, “Yes, yes it do, Rumier. The tent that sell it raise them their gargar beast themselves, they do. Some of the best in the market, I says!”
“I think you may be right. I'll have to tell my mother so she can be sure to look into their gargar beast for Gablehaven.
Shabred sits taller and smiles widely.
“I'll serve now if anyone is still hungry.” Ofonode stands.
“I be hungry still, Ofonode.” Shabred offers first.
“Me too.” The rest say.
“I probably stopped at the first tent I went to. I chose this barbequed brisket. I don't know which beast it came from and didn't think to ask. I guess I was feeling so hungry I wasn't thinking about getting details about the food. I also chose these fluffy buns. Sorry that they have the barbeque sauce on top and bean juice stuff on bottom. I'm sure they packed the dish this way so the meat would stay out of the beans. I don't know if anything is in the buns. I guess I should have asked, but it didn't occur to me, honestly. The beans are shuri-sweet striped purple hine beans. I had no idea they would grow so far away from home, but if they are like the ones my Aunt and I grew, they will be very creamy and delicious. And, of course, shuri bugs make the most amazing sweet goo… so, I'm sure the beans will be almost like a dessert.” Ofonode sits and eats his choices, feeling well satisfied and pleased that everything tastes as good as he thought it would.
He finishes eating before anyone else and sits back in his chair, wondering if he could eat more if there were more to eat.
“There's a little left in that dish, Ofonode. Why don't you finish it?” Eminghare suggests.
Ofonode sits up, thinks a moment, “Does anyone else want more?”
Everyone else shakes their heads and pats their stomachs, so Ofonode serves himself the rest of the food left in Eminghare's dish.
As he is finishing, Oseratin begins gathering the dishes, “What do we do with these, Rum"ier?”
“It is time we get along. Yes, we should place all of these dishes in the basket over there.” Ofonode looks and find a loosely woven rope basket resting in a secondary pool, which is lower than the main fountain. Water from the fountain pours slowly into the pool and falls on the dishes. “By the time the owners collect them, they are quite clean. The fountain statue is made of sharzuma… and you should know that extremely small particles of it can be found in all the fountain water. In fact, this fountain feeds every building that has running water. So, our whole city is nourishes by sharzuma water. We are healthier than most other NAME OF THE PLANET NATIVES?”
“That is mostly true, but not entirely, my good fellow. You will know more as you travel and see the world.”
Rumier blushes and ducks his head a little. “Well, let's get on our way. We have a couple more stops to make and I would like to get home to help finish the dinner preparations and share the meat pies with the little ones!”
Everyone stands, Shabred disappears with the two chairs and tables and rejoins the group as they make their way out of the square.
Rumier acknowledges Shabred service, “Thank you for taking care of those things, Shabred! You are such a helpful kind-a-fellow!”
Shabred smiles widely and walks taller.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

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my thoughts: on comparing

Comparison.  Comparing yourself with others.  I hear all over the place that we should not compare ourselves to others.  What do you think about that?

In my life, I have done many of the difficult things I've done because I've known someone that did it and felt inspired by their accomplishment.  So, I did it because I compared to inspiration.  Isn't that the thing.  If we compare to desperation, we just shouldn't do it.

But we can change how we compare.  Compare to inspiration, not desperation!

Monday, April 17, 2017

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Gifts by Ursula K. LeGuin, a book review

Gifts by Ursula K. LeGuin is an interesting tale about Orrec and Gry with the former being the main character. Orrec is born to the leading family in his area. The leaders of this place are such because they have a strong manifestation of the gift of their line. This story is all about Orrec's effort to manifest his gift AND what comes of it.

Gry has a strong manifestation of her gift, but refuses to use it for the purposes others desire and require of her.

I like this story. For one, it's a tale of giftedness, which I enjoy. Somehow, though, most of the gifts are quite different from the norm, which I also enjoy a great deal.

My two eldest daughters will be allowed to read this because intimate scenes are basically nonexistent and there is no foul language. Yeay! This story is definitely appropriate for all ages as far as I'm concerned.

Have you read Gifts by Ursula K. LeGuin? What did you think of it?

Friday, April 14, 2017

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Piggins by Jane Yolen, a book review

Piggins by Jane Yolen is a children's picture book and winner of the Parents' Choice Honors award. An enjoyable tale of aristorcratic animals turned mysterious. It's a little big funny. A good simple mystery for little ones. The butler, Piggins, solves the mystery of the pilfered jewelery and saves the day.

The illustrations by Jane Dyer are rich with detail for littles ones to enjoy as their parents read to them. The attire of the animals is sumptuous and exotic to us because of its antiquity.

I like the story and the illustrations.

Have you read Piggins by Jane Yolen? What did you think of it?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

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learning to burn, part 30

Remember, this is the very first draft you're seeing here!  Herein you will be able to read this story's first breath of life... which means there might be weird notes to myself when my memory doesn't work so well.  Also, spelling and grammar (even more than Shabred's) mistakes galore!!  If you haven't already, please make sure you go back and read from the beginning.

The travelers were informed that Shabred was waiting for them when they finished their breakfast, which they enjoyed after they helped prepare it and serve to everyone at the table. Lady Grace was absent, so the four followed a young girl to the room in which Shabred sat.
“I were excited to take you all about, I were. Sos I be early, I were. Do yous want to go around town, I wants to know?”
Eminghare stepped forward to speak for everyone, “I think we've all been looking forward to seeing the city. Thank you for coming to get us.”
As she finished speaking, Lady Grace knocked on the open door. “So glad to catch you before you spend the day with Shabred. Would all of you please take a seat for a moment before you leave? I would like to speak with you, if you would spare a few minutes.” Lady Grace stepped into the room and carefully closed the door.
Shabred immediately sat in the chair nearest him. It looked way too small for him and Eminghare smothered a giggle as she watched him perch there. She also took a seat and watched as the others, including Lady Grace, seated themselves.
“Please forgive this delay. I have just come from a meeting with my eldest daughter and feel an urgent desire to have things in order as a result. I suppose it could have waited until the evening, but what I have to say might influences your choices this day.
“You see, a few months ago, Sanelia came to me with a dream. We often dream dreams that become reality here, you see. As a result, we communicate vivid dreams to each other. My children have learned the importance of speaking their dreams to me. I felt impressed, though also disappointed and slightly afraid, upon hearing my daughter's dream. In her dream, she saw a few scenes which were seperated by darkness. In her dreaming language, that means that time passes between the scenes she sees vividly. She saw her future. She felt it was very near. I refused to believe it because it would inconvenience me to have it be so.
“Nonetheless, she is proved correct. You see, in her dream of the future, she met her husband. Before she met him, though, she saw what you, Ofonode lived last night when you met her face to face. In her dream, she met you first, then there was darkness of a short duration, then she met her husband, more darkness, but an even shorter duration than the first, she watched herself convince her future husband, and many who followed him to depart their home, another darkness of an even shorter duration, and then she watched as a large group of people began to travel. The dream ended at that point.
“As a result of living the beginning of her dream last night, we are both of the mind that she will depart with you when you leave here. She feels great urgency to begin this walk to her future and has convinced me that her feelings are to be heeded. I would rather not rush her away, but I think it better if I do. She will help far more than herself in so doing. So, I would ask you if you would take her with you wherever you go, Ofonode? Will you and Oseratin protect her? And Bineenia, will you be her companion with Eminghare?”
Just then, Rumier flung open the door and stepped in looking slightly disheveled. “Oh, it's good that I've caught you all together. I attempted to speak with you this morning, mother, but my duties prevented my waiting for your availability. I must join the party if Sanelia goes. I dreamed last night that I kept her safe from an unknown foe and I urgently beseech you for the right to fulfill my call!”
“Oh, my dear! This is dreadfully unexpected! Must I then lose my two highest trained and most relied upon children to this expedition?” Lady Grace put her hands in her face and breathed raggedly for a minute. Rumier went to her shoulder and rested his hand at the top of her spine.
Ofonode, Eminghare, Oseratin, and Bineenia felt concerned and frozen in their seats. Shabred moved to rise, but then stopped, almost sitting, but not. He seemed unable to decide whether he should go to Lady Grace's side or stay in his tiny seat. He began to stand more fully, but stopped as the Lady's breathing became steadily slower and then she raised her head. Rumier removed his hand.
“Please forgive my outburst. It is sometimes difficult to consider managing all I do without their help even when I have been mercifully prepared by our Father in Heaven as I have. Of course they must go where their path is revealed to lie. Will you take them with you, my new friends? I will outfit and provision them very well. In effort to make their company easier to bear, I will outfit and provision the rest of you as well as I may. Your journey from here will, I hope, be easier for it. What do you say?”
Oseratin looked at each of the others, then responded, “We will be happy to have them in our company. We would like to know when your daughter desires to depart?”
“Tomorrow. She asked to leave today, but Shabred was already set on taking you about and we dearly love him. We would not take from him such a simple pleasure. And because there is much to prepare, I ask you to take Rumier with you. He will take the list I have prepared and purchase all that we do not yet have. There is no need to have money with you, my dear. You know I overpay and have more than enough credit with all the shop keepers. You will be able to get anything you may need that I may have neglected adding to the list.” Lady Grace lifts a piece of paper from a pocket hidden in the folds of her dress and hands it to Oseratin. “Please look it over before we part and let me know if I have missed something.”
Oseratin looks at the list for a moment. “Lady, this looks like far more than we will need considering the journey from here to our destination. To take so much through the mountains would be cumbersome. I think we should reduce most of this by half or more.”
“Yes. I do know why you say it. I did consider such arguements. But I have had dreams of my own and I will not send less. You will have horses from my stable and a pony, so the burden will not be overmuch, I think. The urgency my daughter feels is real and there is no time to waste, though I have not dreamed enough to know the details of that. I trust her understanding. Also, you will not have long upon your arrival at your destination to collect supplies for yourselves. All that you carry will be plenty to get you there and back. You may, if you choose, leave a cache along the way before the mountains to reduce the horses' and pony's burdens through the pass.”
“I see. Then we will accept your gifts and prepare for the next leg of our journey. By your leave and Shabred's willingness, we will depart and begin our shopping efforts.”
“Yes, please. Thank you. I appreciate your flexibility.”
Shabred stands fully this time, “I be happier than a teelbird with a worm if yous still let me lead yous about, I would. Rumier, he knowed I can strike a mighty handsome deal with the salers, he do.”
Rumier nodded with a smile at Shabred.
“Yes, Shabred. How kind of you. We accept.” Oseratin said to him.
Shabred smiles broadly, bows to lady Grace, and then walks out. Rumier follows quickly and then Ofonode, Eminghare, Binia, and Oseratin follow as well.
Eminghare pauses and turns back at the doorway and asks, “Will you be all right, Lady Grace?”
“I will be more than all right, my dear. All will be well so long as your group departs early tomorrow. I am confident all will be well. So, I will be just fine. Life brings us difficult seasons, but we make it through. Thank you for accepting my children in your travels. I know larger groups complicate things, at times.”
“You're welcome. I have a feeling they will be more a benefit than a hindrance.” Eminghare walked away feeling even more impressed with the regal lady. I hope I may be like her some day, she thought forgetting Ofonode was able to hear her thoughts.
You are already very like her in many ways. I think she probably wasn't as she is when she was your age. Ofonode felt privileged and heartened when Eminghare communicated to him through the connection she had left open. He had no way of knowing she had forgotten their connection.
Eminghare felt herself blush and then responded by thought: Ofonode, you are so kind. I think your opinion of me is higher than it should be. But I thank you, nevertheless.
The group gathered at the front door.
“Where should we go first,” Eminghare asked.
Oseratin handed the list to Rumier, “Won't you and Shabred look the list over and decide our plan of action? We have no idea where we should go first as we do not know Riverton at all.”
Rumier brought the list to Shabred and red it aloud while holding it so the big man could look it over as well. The younger always mindful of the bigger man's lack of education, but hoping to help him avod the embarrassment of it being obvious. After reading the list, Rumier says, “We should start farthest from Gablehaven and make our way back, don't you think, Shabred?”
“It do make best use of ours legs to do it that way, it do. And if wes works it right, we will be in the market right in time for the end of noonsies. We'll get the best food for the least price that a way, we will.”
Right on, Shabred. I'm glad you're thinking about our next meal. I'd quite forgotten it in all the excitement. If we move quickly, we will be back in plenty of time for dinner. You'll eat with us, of course, won't you Shabred?”
Lady Grace won't mind, I thinks. She likes me to stay when I work for her all day, she do. So, yes I'll eat dindins here after taking yous around town, I will.”
“The little ones will love having you around. We all will, of course, but them the most. You are their favorite.”
Shabred smiled a tremendous stretch of lips and show of teeth. “I love the little ones mighty big, I do.”
BREAK CHANGE POV CHARACTER from Eminghare to Ofonode
UPLOADED ABOVE?
Ofonode's stomach grumbled before the completion of the first haggling and purchase of their excursion. He felt like they'd only just barely left Gablehaven, Lady Grace's home, and couldn't figure out why he felt so very hungry. He hoped no one heard it.
Much to his consternation, Ofonode's empty tummy continued to make noisy protest for the next two hours, growing increasingly raucous in it's protestations until one series of gurgles and groans that was so long and loud that the rest in the group could no longer pretend not to hear it. Oseratin looked away while Eminghare and Binia looked at one another and immediately began giggling before the noises from Ofonode's midsection ceased.
“I'm sorry, Ofonode.” Eminghare says between giggles, “But it really is funny! I mean, it's too loud to ignore anymore.” Then, more quietly, she says to Binia, “We really have to stop and get some food before poor Ofonode's stomach calls the wrong kind of attention to us.” Then louder, to Rumier, “Surely there is somewhere to buy a morsel?”
Rumier, walking at the head of the group next to Shabred slows and turns around. Confusion is all over his face, but he nods his head and says, “Sure. Are you so very hungry, Eminghare? We will reach the markets in only a little while.”
“You mean you didn't…” Eminghare stops herself a moment and then continues on a different track, “Oh, never mind. Yes, I'm very hungry. I must have something to eat as soon as possible!” Ofonode looks over at Eminghare gratefully. For her part, she has no idea how Rumier could not have heard Ofonode's stomach, but doesn't want to cause her friend more embarrassment than he seems to already feel.
“Then we will get some food.” Rumier turns to Shabred, “Should we take them to the corner bakery or the meatshop?”
“This time o'day the bakery be full to overflowing, it be. The meat shop be the better choice, I says.”
Rumier nods, they take a few more steps and then he leads them into a short alley. Ofonode is sure he wouldn't have even noticed the turn into the alley if he'd been out on his own. A moment later they stop in front of a shop. “I'll go in and bring some food out for everyone. This shop is very small and we might cause the owner overmuch hope, I think. I don't want him to think he'll have more business than he will. If I go in alone, he'll be well pleased with what I spend with him.”

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

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writing life: writing as a mom, part 2

I promised to share a little of what it looks like when I sit down to write. There are good days, bad days, and middle sort of days. Aren't these the truth for any and everything? I think it must be so. I digress.

A good day writing:
I accomplish the basics quickly and sit down to write before one or two in the afternoon. I've already helped my baby take his main nap for the day, so he goes with the children to play. They play relatively quietly and continuously for between one and three hours. The times that they do come in and talk to me happen after I've been able to write for thirty to forty-five minutes. (Rarely do they spend forty-five minutes playing quietly, but more than ten minutes is really quite necessary for me to accomplish writing that I'm pleased with. Also, although I could write for less than an hour, I have been extremely displeased with the results. When I'm able to write for longer then two hours, the result is so much better than anything less!

A bad day writing:
I wake up later than I meant to. Baby GrA is teething or otherwise fussy and wants to be with me all the time. I sit down to write later than two in the afternoon and the children come speak to me about various things. The worst writing times are when I don't have even ten minutes all together to write and/or think.

One of the toughest things about the actual writing is not knowing whether I'll be able to write continuously or not. My fatigue level definitely impacts my reactions. And since my baby still nurses quite frequently through the night… well, I have been struggling to have a positive attitude.


Regardless of all that, I have to say that the most oft' repeated advice to write every day is sometimes unattainable, but totally appropriate. Even if the writing time goes poorly or I start late for whatever reason, it's a better day when I'm able to sit and write. Why? Because although secondary to my calling as Mama, writing is another of my callings. I believe very strongly that Father urges me to write and wants me to get the stories out that I've been working on. I'm not always sure why… but I sure do want to be obedient! So, I write.

Monday, April 10, 2017

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Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov, a book review

Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov was pretty good. It may have been even better if I'd been able to read the two books meant to come before it.

I like Arkady in this story. I thought she added a great deal of levity to a sometimes rather somber story. I also appreciate that she is one of only three female characters in a heavily male dominated tale.

I find it interesting that for entirely different reasons, the Mule and regular folk find themselves desirous of destroying the second foundation. The reasons for it, as presented in the novel itself, makes perfect sense. And so I wonder if this is similar to the desire some have of destroying God. Not that they can necessarily go to a place to do so, but seek to do it philosophically.

This kind of mental sci-fi isn't usually my favorite. I tend to prefer relationship-based action sci-fi. Yet I have enjoyed what I've read of this series and look forward to filling in the gaps in my understanding by going back and reading what I've missed.

The construction of the story itself is good and it's no wonder that Asimov has won both Nebula and Hugo awards… the daydream of every sci-fi writer.

I had pretty much guessed the location of the second foundation from the first book I read. It was gratifying to find, by the end of this novel, that I was correct.

Many thanks to a dear friend for the recommendation of this series. I am enjoying it.

Have you read Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov? What did you think of it?

Friday, April 7, 2017

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Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback, a book review

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback is a book I want for my children's book collection. It is a Caldecott Medal winner and a wonderful story of a man who lives out the Depression Era household aphorism, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without” and beyond. He uses it up and then makes something from nothing. I love it! Would that we could all be so good at recycling and reclaiming what seems worn out to make new what was old!

The art of this story is perfect and would definitely help new readers understand the gist of the story, even if they couldn't quite decipher all the words perfectly. Another case of author is illustrator and I love it!

Have you read Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback? What did you think of it?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

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learning to burn, part 29

Uncut, uncensored... you've got the first draft of Learning to Burn here, folks... as such, please be aware that this includes all strange notes to myself (because I forget things) and totally horrible grammar, punctuation, and so forth!

Make sure you go to the beginning to read if you haven't been following along to read weekly.

Terlania Agnasia Molerandus. She went against her mother's recommendation and took my father's last name when they married. She's mostly known as Lani Spofferandus and has been for longer than I've been alive. At least, that's all I've ever known her to be called and what she says is her name.”
“Lani. Spofferandus, you say. There is something familiar in the name. I will consider and let you know if I remember anything, Eminghare.”
“Ok.”
Rumier leans close to Eminghare, “She has a difficult time remembering as her time nears for the birth of the baby. If there is anything to remember, she will make sure to tell you. It might take a couple days for it to come back. She is much older than she looks and has much to remember. And, of course, she has a lot on her mind now, too.”
“I can't even imagine. I mean, just with her family, but it seems like she does a lot more than that!”
“Yes. She is always working on something. Most of the work she does is in her mind. So, it's amazing that she's able to remember much most of the time.”
Eminghare nods her head.
Ofonode watches with slightly squinted eyes, trying hard to feel and think nothing he would be embarrassed for Eminghare to know.
Jander sticks a finger into Ofonode's side. The older boy looks at the younger, “What do you need, little guy?”
“I thought you'd want to know that your hair is glowing and lifting on the ends. And it's pretty obvious that you don't like my brother talking to your friend. You might want to do something about that before anyone else notices.”
“Yeah.” Ofonode laughs nervously, “I do want to. Thanks my little friend.” Ofonode grips some of his hair and focuses on the ends, imagining them their normal red, rather than the glowing electric red of hair with flame in it.
Leaning close, Jander says, “You did it faster that way. Looking at it helps, I guess?”
“Maybe. I've never tried it before. When I need to get the flames gone again, I'll try that way and let you know if it works as well.”
“I just think it's the coolest. And even though you said I shouldn't wish for it, I do. I'd love to light up like that. I bet there's all kinds of good stuff you could do with a gift like that.”
“Oh? What good do you think I can do, Jander?”
“I don't know. Don't you know? I mean, you could be a sort of night light for someone who's afraid of the dark, right? You could probably start a fire… even with wet stuff. And since fire is a manifestation of heat energy, there's probably way more you can do if you can focus really carefully. I'd have to think about it more. If I had your gift, I would think about it all the time and work on focusing the energy of my flame.”
“Well, I have tried, Jander. Before I left my village, I had no control of it at all. Actually, it only just started right before I left. I've been trying to learn to burn my whole life.”
“Oh. Well, that could be upsetting.”
“It was. I keep hoping I'll figure out what works every time. It's a bit embarrassing to not even know my hair has started floating because my flame is out of control.”
Ofonode looks back over at Eminghare. Rumier is laughing and Eminghare smiling. Ofonode sighs and turns back to Jander, “I'd like to know what you come up with… you know, what you think I could do with this gift, as you call it. Will you think about it and tell me?”
“Sure thing, Ofonode.” Jander lights up with a huge smile.
2-3-17
Ofonode quietly watches Eminghare for the rest of dinner. She and Rumier speak often.
Lady Grace finishes eating and stands. The gentle murmur of conversation subsided immediately. Lady Grace begins almost as soon as the silence begins, “Please excuse me. My back is troubling me and I feel very tired. If you are unsure what comes next, please speak to either Rumier or Sanellia. They will be able to direct you from here. Thank you for joining us, my friends. I hope you will sleep well and have an even better day tomorrow than you have, heretofore had.” She immediately slides from her place and floats out of the dining room as almost everyone watches her.
“Is she going to be okay?” Eminghare asks Rumier.
“Yes. She usually gets more easily fatigued at the end of pregnancy and needs more rest. I think it's pretty common for most women, actually.”
“I guess I never really paid attention to all that.”
“Well, you'll likely have opportunity to learn all about it for yourself, right?”
“Um, well… I guess. I haven't really planned on having children. I don't particularly enjoy other peoples' children. So, I think I would be a bad mom.”
“My mother said the same thing before she met my father! You might not believe it, but it's absolutely true. She never would have thought she'd have as many children as she has now when she was a student.”
“Okay. Well, I don't know if I want to get married and I definitely do not want to have children by myself. So, it probably just won't happen.”
Ofonode looked sharply over at Eminghare. She shrugged her shoulders, almost as if she didn't want his eyes on her.
“Why wouldn't you want to get married?” Rumier asked her.
“It doesn't seem like a very good idea. I mean, in my opinion, the only reason to get married is to have children and since I don't want to have children, I'd rather not deal with the burden of getting married.”
“You think marriage is a burden?”
“It absolutely is! Not to one person, but to both.”
“That's one way to think about it, I guess. I mean, there are times when my parents' marriage has seemed like a lot of work. I think about it in a really different way, I guess. To me, marriage is a privilege to be carefully sought out. Every privilege I've had, I earned by working for it. So, I guess it only makes sense to me that marriage would be work since it's basically the greatest privilege any man or woman can aspire to.”
“You actually believe that?” Eminghare had a strange expression on her face. It wasn't clear by her tone, inflection, or expression whether she was disgusted or otherwise impressed by Rumier's words.
“Absolutely. I think most, if not all of us do.”
“You mean, your brothers and sisters?”
“Definitely all of us, but no, I mean all of us who live here in THE NAME OF THE CITY.”
“Really? That seems… well, a bit unlikely. How could that be?”
“Like attracts like, I suppose, is the only real explanation for it. And my mother has cultivated the environment of our home and city to grow in harmony and unity. She is really an amazing being!”
“So, your mother is more like the Queen of NAME OF CITY? I mean, does she approve applications to live here or something?”
“No. Not at all. She doesn't actually have a title at all. Didn't she tell you she's just Grace? People just call her Lady Grace no matter how much she tells them not to. I think she's beginning to accept it. She's just who she is. Folks look to her for leadership, but she doesn't hold an office of any sort in the city.”
“That's pretty… well, I guess unusual is the only word for it.”
“Yeah. We've heard that before. We've also heard a few other words that aren't quite as neutral. I'm pretty sure those who thought more negatively don't live here any longer. It's difficult to continue here if you are determined to be negative in any way.”
“NAME OF CITY must be a really great place to live. If it is, why are there so many homeless here?”
“Just because a place is good, doesn't make it perfect in every way. Bad things happen to good people, Eminghare. Here just like anywhere else. But it really is a good place. It's probably one of the best there is.”
“Why ever would you want to leave, then?”
“My desire to travel and see what there is to see has little to nothing to do with my city. That's about my own desire to learn and grow and gain experience. You really should avoid generalizing and drawing such faulty conclusions without asking more questions. I might think you were less intelligent than I know you are if I were hastier.”
“I guess you already sort of told me that. Please forgive me if I have offended you. I didn't intend offense, for sure.”
“None taken. You simply revealed your thinking and because I would like us to be friends, I warned you. Generalizations are rarely a good idea in communication.”
“You're right. I will consider my questions… no, I will think more carefully about my words.”
Rumier nods his head and looks over at Sanelia. Two men and a woman who just finished the dinners were approaching her. Rumier stood up quickly and quietly and walked over to them. When he entered the conversation, Sanelia looked tremendously relieved and returned to helping the little ones on either side of her.
A moment later Rumier calls, “Ofonode!” and without looking at him, “Would you help me with these fellows?”
Ofonode walks over, “Sure. What may I do to be a help?”
“These two have large bags and their shoulders are bruised from their travels. Would you carry their bags for them?” Glancing up at his younger brother, Rumier continues, “Jander will show you the room these fellas will sleep in tonight.”
Jander runs lightly over. “I could carry one, Rumier.”
“No. These are a bit much for you. I'm sure Ofonode can handle it, though.”
The youngster looks disappointed, “Okay guys. We go this way.” Jander looks at the woman standing with the men, “Sanelia will take you to the women's room when she's finished eating. You can sit on the bench outside of that door right there.” Jander indicates the door almost right behind where Sanelia is sitting.
Before they move, Sanelia looks up and sees Ofonode for the first time. She gasps and grabs his arm, “Who are you?” she whispers.
Rumier and Jander look surprised at her behavior.
“My name is Ofonode.”
“Why are you here?” Sanelia asks him.
“I am seeking a people and believe I know where to find them. So, I'm stopping here to work and live until I can continue my journey to find them.”
“I see.” Sanelia releases Ofonode's arm. “You and I may not like it, but I will travel with you when you depart.”
“What?!” Ofonode's face turns hot in an instant. He's completely unsure how to interpret Sanelia's words and shocked that one of the most beautiful females he's ever seen has grabbed him, questioned him, and then spoken to him as she has.
Jander pokes an elbow into Ofonode's side. When Ofonode looks at him, the boy lifts the ends of his own hair.
“Perhaps we will have opportunity to discuss this further at some point in the coming days. For now, I was asked to help these men with their bags.”
“Yes, you must go. But there is nothing to discuss. I will know when you're leaving and will accompany you. It is a shock to see you so soon.” Sanelia looks away from him and turns her whole attention again to the little ones around her.
Ofonode feels the complete dismissal in her behavior. Jander walks ahead of him, inviting the men to come with him. Ofonode follows, silently thoughtful, out the dining room and through a series of hallways lines with doors. Jander is chatting with the men, but Ofondoe only hears their conversation as a murmur behind his confusion about the interaction with Sanelia.

When Ofonode returns to the dining room, only Oseratin is there. “It's time to go to sleep. I've already been to the room they have given us.”
“I hope you remember how to get there. It took me forever to find my way back here! This place is enormous!”
“It may well be very large on the inside, my boy. But I assure you, it is not nearly so large on the outside. What's more, I think it is only ever as big as it needs to be.”
“Os, I feel way too tired to think about any riddles tonight. Can you just speak plain for me?”
“I've just spoken as plainly as I can. Perhaps, though, it is more information that you need for now. That's all right. Let's just get to bed. We can talk more tomorrow.”
“That sounds perfect.”