Disappearing Ladders–a breath of Creative Non-Fiction

 (Personal Essay and Creative Non-Fiction are genres that intrigue me and challenge me! Is there a genre of writing that intrigues and challenges you?) 

 

One summer when I was small, a ladder appeared against a corner piece of fence that separated my backyard from Rhonda’s, my best-friend. I saw the silver top of another ladder on Rhonda’s side of the fence. That ladder was taller than the one in my yard so I had to swing my leg high over the fence to reach the rungs on the other side. When I journeyed back over to my side, I’d turn backwards, balancing my tummy against the wood, and stretch my leg blindly until my foot reached the top step of my ladder. I learned early that flip flops were not the shoe of choice to climb ladders. Sometimes a pair of flip flops would be in my hands and bare-footed I navigated the hot metal steps between my backyard’s and Rhonda’s.

I don’t know whose idea it was or remember who it was that added these ladders that linked my backyard with Rhonda’s. I do remember my mother, years later, telling me she’d once found me half way to Rhonda’s house after my three-year old self wandered out my front door. And she told me too, about the later times when I was five years old and she received a morning call from Rhonda’s mom to let her know I was safe at Rhonda’s house, pajama- dressed and shoeless. This all must have been before the appearing ladders.

I don’t remember wanderings to Rhonda’s. Mom is gone so I cannot ask her. I do remember Rhonda’s favourite breakfast of crust-less buttered toast. I thought it very special, to eat bread with the crust cut-off. I wonder if I ate Cheerios before I wandered over to Rhonda’s. I do remember floating Cheerios in milk, and my brother, Mark, beside me eating his cereal in our kitchen then. I can’t ask him either about my wanderings to Rhonda’s since he is gone too. At my last visit with Mark, he nibbled on a crust-less sandwich while the sound of distant chimes came from the open hospice window.

I was too late to see Rhonda in hospice.

Rhonda had the prettiest baby doll pajamas. I felt big around her but she was smarter. Her house had four big rooms on the main level—the living room where we made card houses and the family room where we watched cable television, the kitchen, and the dining room with tables bigger than the one at my house even though my family was bigger. I had four older siblings compared to her two however, a big space of nine to twelve years in ages is between the three eldest and I. I remember dinners in our kitchen, a small gathering most often, with my mom and Mark, and a plate of food in the oven kept warm for my dad.

I don’t remember when the ladders were taken down. Maybe it was months before leaving to move west- my parents, Mark and me. Both my parents are gone now along with Rhonda and Mark; my memories behind fences only I’m left to climb.

I miss those ladders.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

 

Something different–End of month ramblings

Linda Stoll’s blog post this week encouraged to link-up with our end-of-the month post. I’ve never done an end-of-the-month post–until now. So, something different for you–my February ramblings–and as casual as a pair of well-worn pyjama pants.

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“I think you’re over-thinking it.”

“I can see the wheels turning in your head.”

Those were a couple of comments this February from my cross-country ski instructors as I tried to remember to keep my head up, bend knees, keep an athletic stance, shoulders ahead of knees, leap, weight on balls of feet, engage poles…all while singing in my mind ‘twinkle twinkle little star’ to develop a rhythmic cadence on the tracks.

“You’re an Alpine skier, aren’t you?” said one instructor when I was the only one in the class who couldn’t do a snow plow stop midway down a hill. I just skied right past him.

Yes, I have done a lot of Alpine skiing, so thought cross-country would be easy…

Very humbling, learning a new skill.

 

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What I read this month:

  1. The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton. You can read my review on Goodreads. And please become my friend!
  2. Puddin’ by Julie Murphy.  Teen/YA fiction is a genre I like to read as much as possible maybe due to having 35,000 words written toward a teen novel myself.
  3. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont A classic non-fiction for writers that I dive into from time to time but have yet to read fully

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Our bible study is completing Spiritual Warfare: Overcoming the Enemy by Kay Arthur, David & BJ Lawson. These no-homework Precept Ministries Studies are designed to be 40 minutes, however when you get a group of women together, even 2 hours does not seem enough! I’m blessed to have these ladies in my home every Tuesday evening.

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And just some cuteness for you…

Owlcard

I have these cute owl cards from The Creative Market . Every Monday, Creative Market sends me an email with six free designs I can choose to download. If you’re looking for graphic images, fonts, or paper designs, I’d recommend signing up for their Free Goods.

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What I want to finish in March:

  1. Scrivener for DUMMIES. I’ve had this book since last summer. I do have a couple of unfinished novels in Scrivener, however just guessed how to use the software. I want to learn how I’m suppose to use it (which I’m sure will be much more effective than I am now).
  2. Adobe Photoshop CC. It is the 2017 edition! Only skimmed chapters thus far, relevant to projects I was working on.
  3. Finish editing my three creative non-fiction essays that are my contributions for my writer’s group publication: The Hope Box. Stay tuned for it’s release targeted late 2019 (in time for Christmas). 
  4. Finish my Etsy Shop with my Journals and Digital Photography for purchase.

I could list my other dozen projects & what-I-want-to-learn items, however this year is about finishing. So shall stick with the above 4 for this month–and stay realistic and focused. 

(A blog reader was surprised to read I was a 7 on the Ennegram. I wrestle with saying no to a new project when working on another because I might miss out on something! Just thinking of only staying with the four items above makes my stomach tense! Sevens are known to “misapply their many talents, becoming over-extended, scattered, and undisciplined.” Yup!)

My reward for finishing? Well, another want-to-learn-item of course! Adobe Illustrator. I’d love to learn how to draw those cute owls…

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Ending with some Canada for you.  These shots were taken summer of 2008 when traveling the province of Nova Scotia.

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What are you up to?

 

Meet Terri

terriheadshotupdated15Today, (as I explore the island of Maui) I have a guest post from author Terri Tiffany. I met Terri 6 years ago (time sure goes fast) when I was blogging at my other place, Connecting Stories. I’ve always been inspired by Terri’s writing and her tenacity! She’s also an excellent photographer and she picked up guitar around the same time that I purchased my first one! I’d say we were meant to connect. Her first novel, The Mulligan, was lovely and I’m looking forward to reading her latest release, The Bend. Enjoy, my friends. 

Ever receive a challenge in the middle of the night?

Two years ago, I opened a fresh document and typed one sentence: “She was perfect.

My tenth novel. Would this be the one I’d free myself to let go and write the story I wanted to write? Until that time, my novels always carried a hint of people and situations I knew first-hand. I had never pushed myself to write a story from pure imagination.

The Bend became that challenge.

But first I needed a main character with a trait most people don’t have. Since my hobby is photography, I gave Kate Snow that occupation. With a twist. She could see details in her photographs other people couldn’t. Then I needed a place where her gift, curse or blessing, might transform her and those around her. The town of Bend became reality. I also wanted the town to come alive as much as my characters. That’s why I called it The Bend instead of Bend. It’s a place most of us wouldn’t want to spend a night.

Continue reading “Meet Terri”

Wrestling Surrender-Guest post by Joy

As I rest away in Maui this week, I have a special guest to fill the page! Meet Joy, a friend and writing comrade who opens her house each month to our Christian writers group, Writers Cafe (and must also say provides the sweetest treats as well my favorite brand of coffee)!  Version 3

There’s been something niggling to get to the forefront of my mind all week. Something I keep shoving back.  It’s a No-I-don’t-want-to-do-that! kind of shove.

But then an email from a friend arrives:

“Have you surrendered your role as _________________ to God? Are you willing to let it go completely and allow that His plan may be different, and not just resign yourself to that, but embrace it with anticipation?”

Rats! Way to bring up the elephant in the room. Now I can’t shove the niggling thought – the conviction from God – away. There it is, staring me right in the face.

God’s plans are not syncing with my plans. And I’m not happy about it!!

Continue reading “Wrestling Surrender-Guest post by Joy”

Processing life

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My heels clicked against the hardwood floor, the only sound in the hushed church. I climbed the three steps onto the alter and positioned myself behind the podium, the microphone on, waiting to expand my soft, low voice.

The words black against the bright screen of my Ipad, I began. Began a speech I never thought I’d be delivering.

It wasn’t in my daily planner, to be delivering the eulogy at my father’s funeral mass last week. That Wednesday.

Life changed in a blink of an eye.

The call came on just the previous Friday, from my eldest sister, provinces away.

And by Saturday morning he had passed at 88 years old. A day later, a four hour flight east with my middle sister takes us there, to where he lives, lived, to gather as a family of five children, spouses, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren.

Honoring a life.

“Boy, did he ever worry about you,” a long-time friend of my dad tells me at the visitation.

I smile. Nod. I know.

I know the dream he had for me.

And what would have made my dad be less fretful, worrisome over me.

And he didn’t get to see it come true.

And that for me is one of the saddest parts of being in the living, while a loved one has passed on. I know what he wanted for me, yet I wasn’t able to give it to him before he passed on. 

I think that is the turmoil I feel right now. But not sure.  Continue reading “Processing life”