Thursday, May 26, 2011

Making the Most of It

May 18, 2011

After a long day spent at the computer writing, editing, researching and yes, who doesn’t benefit from mini facebook breaks to tickle the muse, I still haven’t made it to the garden for a weed whacking workout of weightlifting proportion. I decide to hit the gym. Clothes, shoes, check. Water, towel, iPod, check. Extricate myself from my daughter’s cat. Close the door. I forgot, no car, no truck. Nothing with four wheels.

What do the resourceful do? Trot on down to the beach for a Riverdance power walk. High tide. Is anyone seeing a trend? Having advised flexibility earlier, I heed my own advice. There is a beach if one wishes to power walk the mile and a half.

I find myself once again on New Brighton Beach, the home of my rehab and recovery on a beauteous spring day. Almost three months to the day since my accident. But unlike those painful walks of the past, wearing that figure 8, I am pain free. I run. In the sand and the sun. Running. My triumph and exaltation are contagious as people smile and wave at me. Chariots of Fire playing in my head. Rocky at the top of the steps.

Where my fantasy ends, someone else’s begins. Approaching the landing, three adorable, perky pep girls, in matching royal blue one pieces with tiny black shorts jog onto the beach. Youthful, unblemished, polite, probably valedictorians majoring in some third world language to better the world; minoring in hot waxing for spending money. They kick off their flip flops, squealing with maidenly glee as they run into the frigid waves of Monterey Bay.

You cannot deny it, they are cute. And I’m deflated.

My husband says I still look that way to him, seventeen, like the day we met, a million years ago. He’ll get lucky tonight. Gullible grandma. Running free on the beach.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

“Peasants make good traction.” A rude line from one of my books. Maybe it’s true, I haven’t asked my horse, but I believe he’d disagree. There wasn’t sufficient damage for my insurance to cover implants or a face lift. More insult to injury. I swear I didn’t look like this went I went out (liar, liar breeches on fire). A lumpy souvenir permanently attached to my right clavicle reminds me I’m not Super Woman. Physical therapy keeps my rotator cuff, well, rotating.

For those of you plagued with fear issues or maligned with chronic pain, there is life back in the saddle (or behind the wheel, handle bars or on the mats, whatever your pleasure). I’m riding again with renewed and expanded confidence, with a truly forgiving and oh so sensitive horse.

Thank you very much to my devoted husband, Russ, who not only did all the driving and ER waiting, watching and working, sweating and worrying, but had to tend to our tres caballos alone during my recovery, trying diligently to pave the way for my successful return to the barn. June tended me with her gifted touch, heavenly hands. A clinic with Jim Barrett and lesson(s) with Jon Barrett helped bridge my equine communication from heart to hand to seat furthering Desejo’s and my partnership. Friends like Susan, Roberta, Troy, and Sharon kept the equine dream real and attainable. Others kept me laughing and crying, expanding my lungs so pneumonia didn’t have a chance Ken, Trey, Ben...keep serving it up. My writer’s groups provided not only a forum, but an escape, to live beyond the hurt and heart break, thanx Cathy, Eiko, Connie, Dolphin, Paula and Carol. Just goes to prove it takes a village to heal an idiot!

Julie and Julie reminded me fear is always lurking.

But its power comes from hiding in the dark. I had deeper fears than getting back in the proverbial saddle. Riding again was immaterial by comparison. We all need to face the storm, find the courage to express the things that scare us to the core and attend to them. Thank you again to Russ. Not only for being my hero, but for helping me be yours.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Editor Lesley Kallas Payne has been working with me on my latest book, still unnamed, and has shined the beacon of truth on what is lacking in my story—the story. (faltering drum roll and cymbals) Although I believed I was utilizing Martha Alderson’s book, Blockbuster Plots: Pure and Simple, dutifully charting and rearranging the chapters I still lost the thread of the theme bearing Eloise and my readers to the exalted conclusion they all deserve.

My other glaring difficulty is shifting POV. I love knowing what characters are thinking. My favorite books have multiple POV’s. Written by masters of the craft. (again with the deprecating drum roll)

Lesley provides me with resources and examples to strengthen my writing. Focus on the heroine’s journey. This book was supposed to be a simple sojourn exploring environmental consequences as three families struggle to survive on the dwindling resources of Europe’s deforestation. Prodigal Summer in the Middles Ages. But there isn’t enough suffering, or tension. Hmmm…Poor Eloise, I must stick more pins in her, how will she evolve and ultimately change?

What will Eloise do? I find clarity riding, just Desejo and me out on the trails, exploring and playing out the heroine’s journey. For Eloise, anything is possible in the saddle. Like Eloise, I can think in the saddle, or rather dream.

But that all came crashing down, literally, for me this weekend, when a second involuntary dismount, dragging, trampling, then ditched as my noble steed ran for the barn without me. A broken right clavicle, bruised ribs and sternum, as well as broken heart I had plenty of time to think sans saddle as I hiked the mile of shame back to the barn. Not a heroine’s journey I wish to write about. And there would be plenty more pins stuck in me as the nurse failed repeatedly at the IV. Pain relief denied.

Recuperation will give me the chance to concentrate on craft, play out the scenarios from the safety of my home, listening not only for the voices of my stories but the voices of reason and knowledge to guide me back to the barn.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Why Medeival?

The has a page “Why Medieval?” It invites readers (scholars, teachers, fans, gamers, writers) to answer that question.

I am working on my own writer’s insight.

I’m a fiction writer, I hear voices.

I eagerly press myself against stone ramparts, feeling for distant accents.

I want to hear medieval voices.

Same with castles. I want to touch and be touched, to engulf myself in the surroundings, crying, shaking, panting, lusting, and dreaming of past lives working, breathing, laboring and feasting.

Only the Middle Ages tingles my soul and tantalizes my spirit and enters my page with such force.

Maybe it started with Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” when I was five, blue gown, grey horse, orgasmic castles; images I still fantasize about.

There was the forbidden fruit aspect; my mom hated the Middles Ages, giving no encouragement for enlightenment in the time, church or horses.

A Medieval fetish was born; sketch books and art projects reflect the obsession. In my early thirties I started hearing voices, nearly twenty years later

I am still writing their stories of love and lust in Medieval Ireland.

That answers the question.