29 October, 2018

Halloween in Hiding

I didn't think I'd do Sunday Photo Fiction so soon after finishing the last one, but the story that was coming from me oddly fits the photo, and truly was inspired by visiting that site. So, credit where credit is due, I found my inspiration at  Sunday Photo Fiction!

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a story of less than 200 words, based on a photo prompt. To join the fun...
Click on this link

The current inspiring picture:
Image: Rick Spaulding

The jack o’lanterns were perfectly placed. Cobwebs delightfully drooping from the eaves. Aileen’s porch light was on to tell trick-or-treaters it was okay to come by, but just one candle in the front window. She didn’t really want a lot of visitors. A few trick-or-treaters would be fine, as long as no snoopy parents were along to peer in and down the hall. She had found it was easiest to maintain her privacy if she didn’t act like she was keeping herself private.

Her black-out curtains were pulled on the inside, lined with lovely lacy sheers for the outer world to see. Only her loyally selected “family” were present for the private doings.

One large candy bowl was placed outside, but there was a CCTV camera on it, to watch for kids taking too much. That just didn’t fly with Aileen or her private brood. 

Her nephew was placed where he could have one eye on the live video, but typically they heard the kids in time enough so that his concentration was on the séance in front of him. After they called his mother from beyond they could focus more on the kids outside.

 Words: 199

26 October, 2018

The Ghost of Flash Fiction

I needed inspiration after being sick a few days. That's a good time to check into the most recent  Sunday Photo Fiction!

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a story of less than 200 words, based on a photo prompt. To join the fun...
Click on this link

Last Sunday's inspiring picture:

Image: Fandango

“Shh… Mabel, more Living are coming.”

Mabel didn’t shush. “Oh, George, you act like they can hear us. Just don’t rock that rocker!”

The Living came into the ancient, decaying cabin, armed unlike any previous visitors. Usually Living meant hikers, tired, seeking a roof, holey as theirs was, to shelter from the elements. Or teens looking for a private place to do private deeds. Mabel hated that. She felt so defiled when kids screwed on her living room floor.

This was a group of three Living, carrying bulky cameras. 

One with black-rimmed glasses was scribbling in a notebook. Mabel moved closer to look over her shoulder. She was drawing intricate sketches of the old house. “Ooo… George, check this out.”

“I can’t move, remember?” the old curmudgeon grumbled from his seat by the fireplace.

“These are perfect,” announced the taller man wearing a jaunty scarf, as he placed each hand on the two rocking chairs. “They are the essence of this place. Kay, sketch them in situ, and then add them to the truck. I’m going out to look for the perfect piece of nature.”

And in moments, their chairs were gone. George cursed. He never cared about art.

Word count: 199

16 October, 2018

Maintaining Balance: Writing and Writing

I don't want my blog-writing to slip by the wayside as I get more into book-writing. That's why #AccountaClub works for me. I mean, okay, Isa-Lee Wolf posted the prompt on Friday, and that was three days ago, but I'm getting to it!

Last week, I finished the first draft of my second book. It's basically a steaming pile of crap for now, but it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. There's a lot to do, but it's out of my head for the moment. I think a good, clean, messy, edit will help. Later.

I signed up for NaNoWriMo last month, and I've been slowly working on the plot for that one, but I don't want to actually start writing the story until November 1st. I'm a purist, what can I say?

Until November 1st, I am practicing writing 12,000 words a week. I'm meeting that word count by working on a project my sister and I talked about:

Our dad started writing down his memories. He's not calling it a memoir, and he might just be doing it because he's afraid he's losing his memory, but he seemed kind of stalled at about the time in his story that we moved overseas. So we thought it would be fun if all five of us kids wrote some of our memories of life overseas. Maybe to jog his memory, maybe as a continuation of his story.

So that's my writing project for the next couple weeks.

As far as maintaining balance, I realized last week that if I'm going spend so much time writing, I can either work on A) my fitness or B) keeping the house clean. One or the other. 

I live in a country where the house is open to all the weather all the time, and we go barefoot in the house. Guess which will win - A or B? So I do my yoga, and sometimes a supplemental workout, but I'm not worrying about getting in a number of steps each day.

Maybe that's it: I can count words or steps, not both.

What do you give up when you take on a new project? Or are you one of the amazing people who simply adds an extra hour to your day?

11 October, 2018

Random Wednesday

Wednesday Medley with Terri D.
Today seems to hold quite a random mix of questions! Let's see if I can weave it into anything...

I appreciate someone just telling me what to write today. Between writing projects and now having my Mandarin class this afternoon (Thursday), I just can't think of anything to blog! So this keeps me going. Thanks, Terri!

1. This week is County Fair Week in my old stomping grounds.  The Fairfield County (Ohio) Fair holds fond memories for me, especially of the marching band show on the race track, in front of the grandstand, and of 4-H sewing projects.  Do you have a memory to share of a county or state fair?
We moved overseas when I was 10, so I don't remember Iowa county fairs, if we ever went. I do remember parades for every holiday, though. Our house was on the main street in town, so we didn't have to go anywhere or reserve spots near the action. Just take our lawn chairs down to the sidewalk and rake in buckets of candy!

2. If animals could talk, which would be the rudest? 
Hyenas. They are laughing at everybody! 

3. What mythical creature would improve the world most if it existed?  
 I think Dragons would be most useful. Think about transportation, forest fire-fighting, and the non-flying kind could be useful in farming or industry. 

4. What is something that everyone looks stupid doing?
Reading a map while out in a new city. Even staring at your phone's GPS, everyone is so focused, but their eyes are so clearly lost. Because if you're looking at a map, you don't know where you are. You can look great and smart as soon as you figure it out, but the only good way to look at a map is sitting in a restaurant out of the public pathways!

5. Is intelligence or wisdom more useful?
From what I'm reading, a lot of people seem to be equating "street smarts" with wisdom, and I disagree. However, I do agree that that is more useful than traditional wisdom. KNOWING THINGS is useful in a day-to-day world. If you have wisdom but ZERO intelligence, how would you navigate the day to and from the market, cooking your meals? You NEED a certain amount of intelligence. Not discounting wisdom, of course it is needed for the complex decisions of life, but you'd be dead before you ever got to a complex decision if all you ever had was wisdom.

6. Tell us something random about the rest of your week!
Random. I'm writing this in the interim between doing my daily writing and preparing for my afternoon Mandarin class. I better wrap this up so I can review the lesson! 

Well, I didn't weave it into a narrative or anything. What do you think? Everyone seems to be praising Unicorns, but what can they actually DO besides look pretty?

07 October, 2018

How is it October?

Now that I'm virtually retired, time doesn't fly by as fast.
The days blur together, but I fully realize that I've lived in Vietnam now for over FOUR MONTHS.
We are finally reaching a point in the year where my summer clothes aren't too hot. They are exactly right for the temperatures.

I've started to compare "today" with where we were at this point after moving to Beijing, rather than "this time last year". This time two years ago, we were full of excitement about our new home in Beijing. However, four months after we had moved there, we were desperately awaiting a legal return to work, and suffering cabin fever from being cramped in a tiny apartment with nowhere to go!

Four months after moving to Vietnam, we are in a larger space, with our own things to do, living almost as if we are retired! Mind you... 

...I've not furnished the house the way I envisioned it when we first moved in.
...We've STILL not yet begun cooking again.
...I know less about this city and language than I did with our move to Beijing.

Baby steps.

Life is good. I'm using a lot of my time for writing. I don't write about it much here, but I might start doing my #AccountaClub posts here, instead of in the comments on Bit2Read. Now that I'm boosting my daily word count, I just don't get into the blogosphere much, so I'll just blend this into a post to update my own blog.

If you're wondering, #AccountaClub is simply a place to set and check in on your goals. Every Friday, Isa-Lee Wolf at Bit2Read (linked above) writes a short post updating on how she's doing with her goals, and if you choose, you can do so as well, in the comments, or on your own blog. It is literally, a club for accountability. Most of us have writing goals amongst other goals, so if you have a goal and need to be held accountable, check it out!

In the spring, my writing goal was to meet a certain weekly word count. I've been increasing that number lately, and last week I wrote over 9,000 words. I don't know if that sounds high, but I'm inching up to at least 12,000 words per week.

So for me, my week was productive, even considering we're getting out more often to explore the area. For instance, on Friday we were on the road all day, riding the motorbike almost FOUR HOURS to a couple ancient historic sites. Here are a few pictures.
Hai Van Quan. A fortress between 2 arms of the sea.
North of Hai Van Quan... see that beach off to the left?
Outside a military museum in the "Forbidden City" in Hue, Vietnam.


Hue (pronounced like "way" with an H in front) is an ancient city. The old part of the city is sometimes called the "Forbidden City", or the "Imperial City", or "Purple City". North of Da Nang, it ended up taking us almost 4 hours on the motorbike. We stopped several times, including at Hai Van Quan, above - which literally means "The most impressive gate in the world" and when you see the setting, it kind of is...
I took this panorama shot to show the ocean on both sides of the gate. It protected both stretches of land north and south.
This will have to suffice for my summary of September. I'm trying to get around to read all of your updates, too. What were your goals, and did you meet them?