Wednesday, February 3, 2016

beginnings



I’ve been thinking about first pages a lot lately. When I look for good examples in published books there is one book I keep coming back to. This was a book I found and read solely on the strength of its first line.  The book is SILENT IN THE GRAVE by Deanna Raybourn.

It starts with this:
“To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband’s dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor.”

Isn’t it intriguing? Who is Nicholas Brisbane and why is he the focus rather than her twitching dying husband? Also, there’s a bit of dry humor in these sentences that made me know I would like the writing.

It continues.
“I stared at him, not quite taking in the fact that he had just collapsed at my feet. He lay, cured like a question mark, his evening suit ink-black against the white marble of the floor. He was writhing, his fingers knotted.” 

This sets the stage for what is happening. We also learn something about their socio-economic station in life. They have a marble floor; he wears an evening suit. We also learn a little about their marriage.

Next paragraph.
“I leaned as close to him as my corset would permit.”

Here, with the reference to the corset, it sets the time period.

“’Edward, we have guests. Do get up. If this is some sort of silly prank—“

Again, this sets up their relationship. If my husband fell to the ground convulsing I wouldn’t stand there and accuse him of pranking, or worry about guests. Though married, they weren’t close, definitely not in love, which brings us back to who could that Nicholas Brisbane be?  He shows up in the next paragraph but I’ll let you keep going on your own.

I love how these few sentences set the backdrop and the characters. I may not know Edward well enough to be devastated at his dying, but there are so many questions, so much vivid description that I want to keep reading. That is the goal of a good opening.

What is your favorite opening? Do you have one that you keep going back to?


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Just for fun

I've got sick kids and a deadline so no post today.

Instead I'll leave you with this picture of crocheted star wards figures. Because who couldn't use one of these?









Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Back to the future?



The other night The Engineer and I were discussing ‘life, the universe, and everything’. I made a comment that I was grateful not to be in college anymore, that despite the better health and younger body I didn’t want to go back.

The Engineer brought up that Simpson’s quote that is something like ‘you must go forward, not backwards, upward, not downward and whirling, always whirling’

We laughed for a moment but I couldn’t shake the comment.

In many ways, life is circular. This year feels a lot like our first year of marriage. Small apartment, no money, new beginnings, only this time we have three kids with us. The thing is, we are moving forward. We’ve learned, we’ve grown, we’ve added experiences and knowledge. I know who I am, now. I know what I’m capable off. While I may not fit into the same size clothes as I did 20 years ago and while my hopes and expectations are vastly different, I’m happy now.

And I wouldn’t go back to the beginning for anything.  

Would you return to the ‘glory days’ if you could?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Lumberjack

Last week some of you expressed interest in the journey we're on to build our home. I hope you were serious because I'm more than willing to talk about it. :)

To start, we had to cut a 14 foot wide passageway for the power lines to be run.

It needed to run up this hill,


From the pole out here.





As you can see, there are still a bunch of trees to cut up. Some of them are below the snow and will just have to wait for summer.  Still, we've managed to stockpile some wood for the future.

Lets see, there are these woodpiles, each as tall as I am.





Then there's this one.




And a wood pile complex here...


There was another woodpile but I didn't get a picture before the battery on my camera died.


But, now we have power up to where the house will be.


We did see a few of these while we were there on Saturday.




Now that the power is in, we'll start clearing trees where the house will be, and maybe, if we work hard, we'll have a house by August. 


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Home



As we all know, words are powerful. The saying we chanted as children ‘sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me’ just isn’t true. While I do believe we can choose not to be offended, and choose not to lash out, words do hurt. Or lift.

Words have power.

There’s a word I’ve been contemplating lately. Home.  For so simple a word, only four letters, it’s complex and meaningful. I do truly believe that home is where the heart is, and that we can build a ‘home’ anywhere. But it’s nice to have a sanctuary you love, something you’ve created and settled into. A nest of peace and love. We’ve been busy trying to make such a place for ourselves.

You’ve probably noticed I’ve been a little sporadic and distracted this last year. Most of it is because I’ve been working on the word home.  We have a home now. We currently live, all five of us, in a 700 square foot apartment. It’s small and cramped and most of our stuff is in storage. But it’s still a home. We still love and learn here. We’re still filled with peace and joy and family. But I do find myself longing for something different. We’ve purchased some land, 10 acres. We’re in the process of clearing trees so when winter winds down we can build a home of our own. It won’t be big or fancy but it will be ours. We can grow our own food, paint, decorate, and make it ours. We still have a long journey ahead of us but I feel that it’s a word worth working for.

What does the word ‘home’ mean to you?