Saturday, December 31, 2011

Music of the year

The last day of 2011 feel like it needs a big long list of accomplishments. Unfortunately I didn't seem to accomplished anything profound this year. Nothing write a whole post on anyway.
 Book list?
Nah. Everyone is doing those. Plus a list of titles isn't very interesting.
Ah, now there's a different story... Yes, I think I'll run with that idea. In fact, I think it deserves an impressive title....

Gwyn's List of Profound Music
Discovered in the Year of Our Lord 2011

This has been a great year in music for me; both in my own career and in the continuous hunt for new, inspiring, unique, and beautiful songs. So much so that I have had to narrow it down to my absolute favorites; the ones that fill all the criteria above and otherwise completely blow me away.

+ Now We Are Free - Lisa Gerrard

I picked up the dvd Gladiator(R) at the library this summer, excited to have found another historical-fiction film by director Ridley Scott {The Kingdom of Heaven(2004) | Robin Hood(2009)}, plus Russell Crowe was again the lead actor. While the movie itself was good, it was the music that made it a favorite. I felt I had died and gone to heaven. Hans Zimmer has long been one of my favorite composers, then paired with Lisa Gerrard, the closest I can find to an Enya rival; it's magic. I can't tell you how much this song has inspired me, in so many ways.
 The language in which Lisa sings is her own.

+ Guinevere's Tears - Enaid

What can I say? The Legend of Skyrian in a bottle. I seriously went whoop!-ing around my room after hearing this the first time -- it fits my story so perfectly! The slow mysterious sadness that haunts much of the melody but is brightened in the middle by the merry sounds of pipes reminiscent of a medieval festival, all before plunging back into the achingly beautiful theme from the beginning. That is my story.
 Sweet and nostalgic at first, lanced suddenly with loss and the knowing that nothing will ever be the same. Then comes a time of healing and happiness, long summer days, and the chance to change the future. But those days can never last. The days ahead are daunting. But you are stronger now, and face the dawn with new understanding. Life, though hard, is beautiful.

+ To the Sky - Owl City

Changing gears here, To the Sky is simple joy. It never fails to cheer me up and often times will turn a grey day into something special where I go out and accomplish, rejoicing in the free air.

+ Safe & Sound - Taylor Swift feat. The Civil Wars

Gives me goosebumps how real and true to the book this song is. Cold, grey melody + heartstring beat and harmony; couldn't be a better song for The Hunger Games. It's good to hear Taylor Swift singing something more deep than her usual, too. She has such a great voice, I wish she would branch out more often.

+ I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day - H. W. Longfellow

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play.
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of Peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how as the day had come
The belfries of all Christendom
Had roll'd along th' unbroken song
Of Peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair, I bow'd my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song,
Of Peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep;
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With Peace on earth, good will to men.

I was unable to find a suitable video for this as I first heard it on one of my Mum's numerous Christmas albums and can't find the arrangement on the Web. (I see that Casting Crowns has done a rendition of it but cannot recommend it because Youtube is not working for me right now.) However, the potent and timeless lyrics earned it instantly Favorite Carol in my book.
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day is a Christmas carol based on the 1864 poem Christmas Bells by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The song tells of the narrator's despair, upon hearing Christmas bells, that "there is no peace on earth... for hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, goodwill to men". The carol concludes with the bells bestowing renewed hope for mankind.

I could go on forever listing songs I love, but these will rank tops for a long time, I think. Please do tell me about you top songs for 2011, and tell me if any of these made you list!

Have a lovely and blessed New Year!

Monday, December 26, 2011

It's a wonderful life

...written yesterday afternoon...

Oof. I just got finished with another enormous feast {I say 'another' because, gosh, has it only been two posts since Thanksgiving? Bad Gwyn!}. Once again fit to burst and brimming with the kind of laughter that can only be endured by being silly with the family. I very much hope that you are the same.

 Propped up on my bed surrounded by last night's loot, proudly wearing my paper hat from my Christmas cracker, I type to you of the month's events while the boys play the new Wii game console from the Fat Man himself. But where to begin..?

 I might as well start with today and recount backwards.... I awoke this morn to the tantalizing smell of a turkey in the oven and was shortly thereafter enlisted in the kitchen. I am very proud to say that I did not mess up a single recipe {people who know me well know that I can't even make a cake from the box without mungling it up somehow}. You heard me right. I chopped those celery and carrot sticks to perfection. Plus I handled the olive platter all by my self. That's right. Jealousy abounds.
 While I did well, the turkey didn't fare so well for Mum. While taking it out of the oven the pan crippled and the... the... turkey juice? Ugh, I know there's a name for the drippings..! -- went sloosh back into the oven. All of it. All I could think while I watched (as if in slow motion) was: 'Nooooo! There goes my breakfast of croissants and gravy for the rest of the week! Noooo!'
 Mum and I thought we'd done it then. Our stove is gas so, I don't know. I was thinking a long the lines of nuclear explosion if we turned it on again, and we weren't even half done with the baking. Things were looking grim for Christmas dinner.
 But as it turned out, Da just came along, cleaned up the mucho oven mess, and said it'd be fine. Always the skeptic, I left the kitchen before they turned it on again. If they wanted to spend Christmas without their eyebrows, they could go ahead.
 Here's one of my presents that I got from my brother. Genuine hand-tooled leather journal of the Celtic tradition.
Yesterday was spent mostly in preparation for today; baking and etc. Also, I believe some very last minute shopping was done, but I shall not 'name fingers or point names'...
 Big brother and I played prelude to the candle light services at our church. Little Brother also made his debut there playing The Infant King duet with me {He also plays violin}.
 Once home, the whole family {Biggest Sister flew home the 15th} gathered around the Christmas tree and the gifts were given.

The days proceeding Christmas Eve are rather a blur of monotony. The weather has been cold and windy, sometimes snow, though that's all gone now. We're having a brown Christmas. Thus trapped indoors Biggest Sis, LB, and I played a four hour game of Monopoly on Wednesday {LB won}. Thursday we once again had nothing better to do so I pulled out a mystery puzzle we had gotten for Christmas a few years ago but never had time to put together. It's called Murder on the Titanic (1,000 pieces). You're given a short story to read about two rich twin sisters onboard the RMS Titanic in which one of them is supposedly murdered just before the ship itself sinks. To solve the mystery you put the puzzle together and on it should be the answer. I say 'should' because we haven't actually finished it yet. We're not even positive there was a murder. The story was poorly written. Instead of a mystery its more like reading a first-draft manuscript that someone has taken a shotgun to {lots of holes}. Not exactly a Whodunit? its more of a Waitwhat?? Still, who ever painted {whether digitally or manually} the puzzle picture itself did a beautiful job, even if including a large pink satin gown to take up half the bloomin' thing was a mistake, in my book. I now thoroughly hate that particular shade of magenta.

.... And that's really all. Between the two of us, Biggest Sis and I have consumed at least three boxes of tea, and I've probably eaten my weight in chocolate covered peanut clusters. Add to that new watercolor pencils, The Son of Neptune, cozy sweaters, and the lack of graphing algebra.... I love Christmas break.

Happy Christmas, everyone.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Monday, December 12, 2011

This crazy life

I know, I know....
If that break in October/November taught me anything it was how to forget blogging. :) Days have passed without a thought of writing. Heh. Be that as it may, I have returned to tell you... things.

Between Then and Now many things have occurred:

 We acquired a Christmas tree. Tramping through the forest on a crisp Sunday afternoon after church on the lookout for the right spruce, I wore my nice brown felt and fur coat {forgetting to bring my Columbia that morning}. I only discovered my mistake of choice after I heard the gun shots. Apparently deer/elk are still very much in season. I hid behind Mum {garbed in a bright pink parka} the rest of the trek.
 Oh, and also on that journey I got my little brother good. Hehe. I dared him to lick a snow drift. Hehehe. He knew something was up but I told him to come off it and called him a chicken. Bwaha. He rolled his eyes and bent over, his tough sticking out. With one swift *boof!* I thrust his head into the fluff and ran for it almost dying with evil laughter - hahahahahaha!

The most stressful of the musical performances are over - hurray!!!! Having them all in one weekend just added fellness to the swoop. But now that that is over I get to play with a viola my brother borrowed from University for  a week. While I would never in a million year trade my violin Dido for one, there is something about the low strings of the viola that evokes the words of the poet who wrote of "dulcet tones". I'm liking it especially on Oh My Boatman/ The Brown Haired Lad; a Celtic {surprise!} song of the saddest nature, so naturally one of my favorites of all time.
Sadly you can't find any of the songs I play on the Web. Ugh. I am going to have to find a way to record these songs so I can share them. Because no matter how good you are with words, music is a language that cannot be contained in a sentence. sigh.
Edit: Thanks to Celtic Traveler who actually found a snippet of this song! You can listen here.
bad photo of fish, one
Meet Prudence. My fish. A late birthday present from my little brother who is fish crazy. He's started his own guppy farm and the beginnings to his very own Sea World. Thus LB believes everyone would be much better off having a flippered friend and so seeks out opportunities to bestow such gifts to those who lack in that department. As for myself, I'm just hoping Prudence lasts more than a week. But I think she hates me. I'll be reading and happen to look up and find her glaring at me from her bowl. Not moving, just staring. Slightly unnerving.
 And she blows and pops bubbles. All night long.
Mum says I'm being ridiculous thinking that a fish loathes my very presence....

Anywho, I hope to return soon with something more inspiring/and/or more deep than today's little diddy. But there you are.

p.s. please vote on the poll!

Friday, November 25, 2011

A day well spent

Here’s hoping you and yours had a grand Thanksgiving giving thanks!!
Mine, although low-key, was quite pleasant. Meaning I got to eat green olives & cranberries & turkey until I was fit to burst and my chair squeaked in protest. Then, while my parental figures and guests talked and reminisced about cattle drives and brandings, or, on the ladies side, music and art, I got to read and sip tea on the sofa until it was time to feed the horses. All in all, a day well spent, I think.

Now I am again waiting to feed the animals and sipping tea, although this time it’s black Charleston brew instead of cinnamon. I was planning to ride today, since the weather was unusually warm but Louisa called me away to an impromptu music practice, and now that I’m back it’s spitting rain. sigh.

Anyhow, now that Thanksgiving is past, I am quite ready for Christmas. I’m actually excited for it like I haven’t been for the last two years or so. The music and the baking especially. Although... my last baking endeavor turned into a bit of a fiasco... Little Brother and I were making Pumpkin Spice bread and well, Mum and Da were gone and... Well, we ended up having a flour fight.
 Hehe. We were quite a sight. As was the kitchen.
Flour has a very satisfying poof! noise :)

Ah! It’s time to go out now.
Till next time....

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hello again

I have returned! Did you miss me? {You don't have to answer that...} It's been nearly a month since you've heard from yours truly and there have been some happenings. Nothing earth shattering... unfortunately. But a few things that are perhaps worthy of note.

+ The blog has undergone a few changes
As you may have noticed I have done a bit of changing-up here and there all over my blog. I thought it was time for a new color theme, and I was rather tired of the colder blue and greens I was using since Spring. Especially now that Fall is over, I wanted much warmer, cozier colors. Also, I updated the About page, if you'd like to buzz over.

+ We had our first snow.(And our second, third, fourth...)
It's actually piling up now - I reckon about eight to ten inches on the ground now, and 10*f. Enough to keep me indoors for the most part, near the stove where we are already preparing for Thanksgiving.  Mum and I are in the middle of jelly-making, but now is the part where you have to wait for the jars to seal, so I can write without feeling guilty. I feel completely spoiled at the moment having nothing to do but type and sip tea.

+ I found a new drawing niche
I have been struggling with my drawings. I really only know how to draw realistically and am very hesitant to try any style otherwise. Mostly because they look childish or poorly imagined to me {I'm thinking like graphic novel type stuff} because they all look as though they could have been drawn by the same 'artist'. At the same time I feel very constricted with real life, as I want something I can just jot down when I have the idea and not labor over the details, etc. At last I have what I've been looking for! Somewhere between sketchy and realism.

 Simple and to the point. Freedom of expression. I am one happy peach. I just need a lot more practice.

+ I turned 17
Pretty self-explanatory. I had a very nice, quiet birthday with the family... well, most of them. {:(} Anyway, the day was filled with chocolate cake and presents and reminiscing. And since it was my day I got to watch as many movies and read as much as I wanted while everyone else went about their usual day. Just call me Regina.
Regina [ORIGIN Latin, literally, 'queen']

+ Speaking of reading...
I should be doing a lot of that today. We are quite snowed in; couldn't even get out to go to church. I've zoomed through so many books over my little break, I really should update my sidebar 'bookshelf'. A lot of them were underwhelming, so I guess I won't put those up. But I did read the best WWII memoir in history {that's my opinion, at least}: With The Old Breed by E. B. Sledge. Sledge was a front line Marine in the Pacific war {Peleliu and Okinawa} and secretly took battlefield notes in the margins of his New Testament. A staggering firsthand account of war, I was riveted from the introduction. However, it is not for the young or faint of heart. Peleliu and Okinawa were two of the most bloody battles to be fought in the Pacific, and the conditions were beyond horrendous. This book is a hard one to recommend to anyone I don't know well because of that, but my stars it gave me true insight. It is now beyond easy for me to pick out authors who know nothing of war or battle {C. Paolini springs to mind as I read Inheritance}, and ensures that I will not make the same mistakes when the time comes in my own novels.

That pretty much wraps up what's happened to me for the last month. Though I left out the million-and-one music practices and performances and gigs. November/December is the busiest time of year for we who play stringed instruments publicly. My brother and I have pretty much made a pact that next year we're not going to do any performances and instead sit back and enjoy the Christmas season.

I have to say it's great writing and editing photos for posts again. My break was refreshing, but I'm glad to be back.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gáire Milis

le temps est venu, mes amis, quand je dois dire adieu douce pour le moment.

Tá an t-am tagtha, mo chairde, nuair caithfidh mé tairiscint beannacht milis le haghaidh na huaire.

è giunta l'ora, amici miei, quando devo addio dolce per il momento.

The time has come, my friends, when I must bid sweet goodbye for the moment.
 I'm taking a leave from Blogger and probably the Internet in general to focus on the big projects coming soon in music and school, and I want to write TLOS without the pressure of thinking I should write more Briste {which is turning into a full-time project} or work on a new blog post. I'm such a perfectionist {which I hate} that its getting to be a problem, especially when the stuff I post is not my best. Sometimes a single sentence will bother me for weeks.
 Anyway, I will be back - not sure just when - a day, a week maybe, or a month. This isn't forever.
I will still do my best to manage Cleiti, but I must give up my character Erin, perhaps to a new writer. I will also be checking my email somewhat regularly, so you can write me if you want :)
Farewell, for now. I hope the next post here on A Celtic Cowgirl tells of a refreshed me with many ideas to come.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


via pinterest
Sometimes all you need is a cup of tea, and some dark chocolate morsels.
After being stuck on the opening pages of The Legend of Skyrian for weeks yet again, I think I've finely broken through. I say that, however, with fingers crossed, for I still have a major problem: I have no idea of the plot.
I realized some days ago that I have characters, events, settings, and even a history behind my novel; but no plot. My worst fears were realized.
 The Legend of Skyrian has changed so dramatically since I penned the first lines - indeed in the last two months - that I suppose it's hardly surprising I lost the thread of the story. It could quite possibly be the whole reason behind all my other issues in the story.
 In my efforts to find the essence of my story I have mercilessly hacked and stripped away so much of what I call either obsolete information or completely unrealistic elements, so that I am left only with the bones. And somehow they don't fit together.

When I first set out upon the rocky way, Skyrian, a magnificent black stallion of lore, took center stage with Cilla, the heroine. His very name is in the title. So how come at if I carry on with the idea for a plot  I have at present he becomes obsolete by chapter four? More to the point, how can I make him more of the story? What can he, as a horse from the pages of Ithreal's history, do? I'm beginning to fear that I might just have to scratch him - and that would be tragic.

Another headache inducer is my villain. What a rat. Oh, he's evil enough, doing many unspeakable things. But why? He's so evil he won't even tell me. He's not like most villains in adventure/fantasy who hunt the main character(s), and I wonder if that will be a problem; make him feel like less of a threat to the reader. After all while he's out destroying the countryside and starting a civil war, Cilla is off... somewhere else... sheltered and partially oblivious to the outside world. Out of sight, out of mind?

These are just a few of my problems. Some, I am happy to say, I have solved. Most recently {last night} what I called the AC Predicament.
 The Anoad Cappal {ANO - add CA - pöl}, a secret independent force in the Western wood, has gone from a band of around ten to fifteen, to a force of two-hundred, to... three men in their late fifties.
 For reasons I cannot go into throughly I have opted for the three older men, who happen to be brothers. The Anoad is very much in decline and yet should prove the perfect spring board for future events for which certain persons must be prepared.

The second 'I've got it!' is the issue of Cilla's parents and how they will affect her future. Cilla is an orphan. Now, before you go get the cheese and cliché crackers, let me say that I am not going to follow the usual knock-off the parents recipe {Died in childbirth, didn't want the baby, sacrificed themselves for child, etc.} but rather make up my own scenario - taking perhaps a dash here and there from Chaucer and a few classics that not many read anymore. Just to make it interesting.

Still, even though I've fixed a few of these, the dark thunderhead of little or no plot looms. I'm thinking I need a day or two with nothing at all to do but search and imagine and maybe, just maybe I can figure it out. Until then, it lurks.

Sometimes all you need is a cup of tea, and some a lot dark chocolate morsels.


Sunday, October 16, 2011


via pinterest
Today I was nearly killed by a cat.

There I was sitting mildly on Shyanne, minding my own bees wax ... enjoying the fall air and relaxing on my bare-backed no-bridled mare ... when Kitty decides she wants up there too. So what does she do? Why, climbs up Shyanne's back leg of course!
 Shyanne tucked under and bolted, I went with her, and the cat hit the dirt.
 I love Sundays.
They're so quiet, you never know what might happen.

p.s. Did you know if you squish a gnat they smell exactly like mold? Didn't think so. Bam! The random fact ninja strikes again.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I be antelope

Remember when we were kids and we used to run and jump and climb and build forts in the backyard? Yeah. What ever happened to that?

Why is running now a chore?

Is getting older really that good of an excuse? Really?

via pinterest
These thoughts have been bouncing 'round my brain cells for... ever. I figured it was time to do something about them when I tried playing soccer with little brother and I collapsed breathless and with a major stitch in my side on the sidelines. Wow. I thought, This is pa-the-tic!
 I'm fed up with wishing for better endurance and then going and reading a book in stead of actually getting out and doing something about it.
 So, Self, listen up! I now demand you run 1/2 mile everyday, to the best of your ability. And work on those skinny arms, soldier! Winter's coming and you can barely lift a five gallon bucket of water, let along carry it, you sissy!
via pinterest
Sometimes I have to be my own motivator sergeant-major. 

The first day was painful, but today getting out there felt great, plus I ran twice as far. It's like my body is remembering how good it feels to outrun all the boys my age. Ha. I'm a long way from that, but I'm on my way.

Fall is the time to remake priorities. What are yours? 


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I attempt to capture autumn

... and learn that I really can't spell today. It took me four tries at 'attempt' before I broke down and used spellcheck. Pathetic.

 I've been feeling desperately crafty the last few days, but have found nothing of worth to unleash my torrent of creativity. Which means I go bumping about the house at high velocity unable to sit down to any one task. ADHD? Perhaps. I think it might also have something to do with the gorgeous weather too -- which has again changed drastically since my last post. Yesterday and the day before were in the 90s {crazy stuff} but today is balmy and filled with sun. Autumn's crisp air has arrived. Break out the teacups, cider, and scarves! And watercolors, as it turns out.
I found this fireball of a tree out in the pasture and knew I'd found my outlet. I don't believe I did it much justice, it had such rich color. Lots of yellow, but some reds and oranges, too. I used as much pigment as possible on these little concepts, but the yellow ocher(sp?) was rather grainy. A result of using ancient colors.
I really like painting small. The itty-bitty gems of color, and the delicate feel of the whole piece. I'm easily daunted by large canvasses and sketch pads. I also like being slightly vague when it comes to drawing or painting, not really being one with the patience to put hours of detail into a single work. I love simple and uncomplicated.
I also love spot-painting{for lack of a better word}. Just little blots here and there to make an image. This little bouquet is about an inch long. Granted, its not very fall-ish, which is the theme for this post, but.... I like it too much not to share :)

I darted out late one morning, camera in hand, on a mission from Mum to capture the lovely of Fall before everything dried up and died. Autumn is so sort here, you literally have to get out and take photos the moment the trees turn. So.....

I'm blessed to have this for my backyard. What more could a kid  growing up {or a snap-happy photographer} ask for?

The sky is so unbelievably blue in the fall. It has something to do with the way the sun's rays bounce off the atmosphere, but I'd rather think of it as summer's way of saying goodbye. 
This season is far too short and beautiful. My days are filled with learning, reading & writing, bareback riding, music, thoughtful walks.
  I wish this would last forever.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ooh snap!

I'm going to name my dog Snap someday, just so when I call it I can say: Oooooh Snap! and people at the park will look my way and I can just smile and nod. Oh yeah, that's right. You wish you'd thought of that first, don'tcha?

Sadly that day looks a ways off, so let's talk about a different kind of snap: Photos. Namely, the lack thereof on this here falootin' blog. I'm here to make up for lost time. Expect to read rambles. Don't expect anything profound.
You have all been waiting so patiently to see my new violin, Dido. Since June 30th, in fact. *cough* My name is Gwyn Wildchild, and I am a procrastinator.  Well, here she is anyway, in all her mellow glory!
 I've really enjoyed having such a beautiful instrument to play and to have as my very own. Not a hand-me-down, not a used, brand new {handmade last year in Romania} and all mine. Mine. I'm not at all possessive, promise.
{German chocolate-mousse-filled-candy-bar.}
Do you like chocolate? How about mousse? Well, then you just might like this little slice of heaven that came direct from the makers of the best chocolate in the world. Yup, them Germans.
  One of my friends spent the summer over there as sort of an exchange student. She came back a few weeks ago and gave me this and an awesome vintage-looking scarf. Then we looked at pictures of her adventures over there: castles, forest horses, jailer's museum {the mask of shame; you have to look it up} and all that wondrous stuff. The only way I can one up her is if I go exchange for Ireland.... If I don't write in the next month or so, you'll have an idea where I've gone.
On an unrelated topic to violins and gourmet chocolates, a few of my little chickens have just begun to lay. Little Brother found two little pullet eggs a day or so ago. They weren't in the nest boxes; the feather brained critters aren't quite getting the concept, despite the golfballs to give them the right idea. But! They're laying!
Roanie and I have been making progress over the summer, especially where leg signals and gate opening are concerned. We have had a few set backs, though. Like nearly squishing me into mush against the hitching post. Let me clarify: I was trying to get her to move over so I could put the saddle on her, she freaked out for some reason, pulling back and trying to break free. I had to scramble to get out of the way before she pounded me with her feet, unfortunately, the only way out was under Shyanne's neck {who I also had tied} thus freaking her out. I'm probably the only person to have single handedly caused two full grown horses to pull back on a hitching post simultaneously. Although, I personally blame Roanie for being a dork. I mean, how many times have I asked her to move over to put the saddle on?
 Well, anyway, because of that little incident {which ruined my awesome black halter's leadrope :(} Roanie now refuses to be tied. If she is, she pulls back. My sister has been having the same difficulty {x10} with her troubled horse, Corona, which is why in the photo Roanie is tied to an inner tube roped and stapled to a post. Sister and I made a pull-back post. Well, actually remade would be more accurate. The last one.... Let's just say the inner tube was old and cracked, and when Spook {aptly named also recovering abused horse of my sister's several years ago} pulled back it broke and smacked him right between the eyes. He stood there for two seconds with a look of shock before he took off like a rocket. It took Sister close to an hour to finely catch him again. We had to settle for him being ground tied.
 Anyway. Needless to say, we got a brand new inner tube this go round.
It's canning season! Peaches and chokecherries at our house. Mum's made peach jam and jelly that is to die for, and chokecherry jelly and syrup. I just peel and slice. And taste. Okay, snarf.
 I don't know if you've noticed, but I've changed up my writing style in the last month or two. I've decided to become more honest. Because, quite frankly, serious posts are not my thing. Posts are a lot more fun to write now that I'm sounding more like me and less like a wannabe intellectual.
Today I was sent to do the weekly shopping for the fam on my own. LB has come down with something nasty so I offered to do the groceries and such after my violin lesson and let Mum stay with LB. I must say I got plenty of stares while cruising down the aisles at Walmart with my cart filled with everything from 50lbs of dog food to men's razors. But Walmart is already filled with strange people, so I guess I fit in. One lady even asked me where they kept the sauerkraut. I wanted to ask her if I looked like the kind of person that would know.
 {grass.... i hate that distracting grey -- thing!}
The weather here is bipolar. I'm convinced of it. Yesterday we had wind that tore some shingles off the house, rain, and it was miserably cold. Today it was sunny and a balmy 73*. The thing is, it's been like this all week. I predict that I'll need a parka tomorrow.
The leaves are steadily changing. I don't have the camera this week, so I hope they don't die and fall off before I can get some decent photos. Meanwhile, I will strive to enjoy them solely with mine eyeballs. *stares intently*
{trees are really awesome.}
Oh! I finished the Hunger Games series!...for those of you who care. I was sadly underwhelmed, despite appearance of the enthusiastic beginning of this paragraph. I loved the first book, but the next two... bleck. I'm sorry to those of you who love all of them, but I for one was disappointed with a) the story line b) the characters and c) the lack of a moral.
{i'm not sure why like this photo. i mean it's slightly out of focus, hammie is photo-bombing in the corner, and there's no real subject. it must be the lighting.}
Once again we have come to the end. I hope you enjoyed that barrage of pictures and the rather quilt-like patchwork of words that accompanied them. Tomorrow I might type out a song I wrote for TLOS and maybe you could tell me if it's rubbish or not. I'm really not one for poetry and prose.
  Meanwhile, drink tea and read good books.


Saturday, September 17, 2011


I owe you all a great amount of thanks, especially you, Jenny, for the encouragement and sympathy you gave under my last post. I really think I would still be wallowing in self doubt if not for your comments. As I mentioned before, thank you especially Jenny! I never fail to be inspired by your blog, but to have you write such an encouraging comment for me was amazing.
 Several of you said you also were going through the exact same faze. Maybe Jenny's words will help you out, too.
"When you are a writer, when you are an author, there is always someone above you. If you are a good writer, you're always looking up at that other someone, always straining to achieve that next level...and that sort of straining leaves the heart wide open to despair. There is always someone else above you, no matter how high you climb.

It strikes as depressing.

I know that feeling. I've just gone a long time without writing anything I considered "important" because I've been so busy getting the second draft of Adamantine edited. I was cross, I was grumpy, I was moody, I was at a loose end. My husband told me just to write - just write. I am always happier when I am writing something. And that's true. But it had been so long since I had written anything that a kind of metal plaque had built up that I had to break through. And it's hard. I'm lazy. Unless I'm really fired up, I don't do well. Sometimes I have to slog through the depression so I can slog through the laziness, so I can finally reach the keyboard and start writing. 

But I do it because, despite all the laziness and plotlessness and childishness that I fight, I love it. I'm learning to ignore the childishness, the thought of "How will anything I write ever be good?" So maybe what is spilling off my fingers is silly; I'll edit it later. In the meantime, I'm enjoying myself. I'm creating something. The touch-up work can come later. Maybe I'll hate it when I'm all done, but maybe I won't. It's worth a shot. I'm creating something.

Try writing those ideas that are under lock and key. Write them, and fix it, and tweak it again, and add a touch of salt. Gwyn, believe me, it is so, so hard to say what you really mean the first time, the second time, sometimes even the third time through. But that story in your head matters, and you never know but it might matter to others too. And one of these passes as you're trying to get it out the way you really mean it, you'll find that you have - and that is a beautiful feeling.

You're not bonkers. I think every honest author will own up to this slough of despond. But there is always Hope to lend a hand to pull you out, if you mean to press on, and I trust I have been a little bit of that for you. You're not bonkers. I'm right there with you."

Thanks to this and all your marvelous and wonderful words of advice Bristé part III is nearing completion and should be published by Sunday afternoon, snippets of the Artist's Daughter is also getting prepped for publishing on Various Novel Bits as well, and I'm trying to make sense of my pirate-esque short. So thankyouthankyouthankyou! I cannot find any other words to say it -- which is ironic :)


Monday, September 12, 2011

One of those days

Frustrated. Envious. Unhappy. Go ahead, stick all those things to my name. They're true.

I stand in the middle of the salt flats of the writer's world. I can see the beauty of the mountains in the distance, the majesty of the sunlight. But I don't appreciate any of it. Because someone has told me about the place where they are - green and full of life. Where every word comes with ease and the very nature of being a writer is a constant joy. Unrealistic? Maybe. But I don't seem to care. All I feel is the vast emptiness of the white plains, as empty and desolate as the notebook before me. No, that's not completely true. My notebook is filled with words but most of the look like this. None of them are inspiring. None of them have that sense that the author was on to something profound. None of them match the epic saga I see play out in my mind daily. My story. It's all there in my mind. Under lock and key.
 They say anyone can come up with a good story. But what separates the author from the dreamer is that the author is the one with the determination and the talent to write it down.

  I've never been that determined. Stubborn, yes. Determined, not as much. Procrastinator is a word that would better describe me. That's why I'm here, on my mother's brand new MacBook writing to you chums, instead of working on my algebra lesson and reading my science textbook for the test on Friday. It's also why I have three more parts for Bristé in the making, but part II still unpublished.
 You have to wonder what is stopping up my fountain pen. It wrote so wonderfully for the first three days TLOS was part of my schedule, but this week the words that come out feel childlike and awkward. And on top of that, I just don't feel like writing.
 But I feel the pressure of getting somewhere anyway, because, let's face it; if I sat around and only wrote when I felt like it, I know I would never finish.
 So how do I move on? How do I convince myself that every word I write isn't rubbish -- it may not be great, but I needn't go into an inner tantrum and strike out the last paragraph?

I don't know really what I'm looking for in writing all this {answers? encouragement? a wristband to the insane asylum?} and giving you all a rather bitter post to partake of with your eyes, if you've read it this far. {I wouldn't blame you if you didn't, I'm depressing my self.}
 But if you do have something helpful to say {keep it together, man!} it would be rather..... helpful. Perhaps you're going through the same phase as a writer I am. Perhaps I'm just bonkers. Either way.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

I visit George, Tom, Teddy, and Abe

I have announced summer to be officially over. It seems quite premature, but doesn't it always? I imagine our cold, wet spring accounts for the feeling of not-yet-begunness summer had its entire stay. Still, this morning for church I wore jeans and blouse with three-quarter length sleeves because, as I went out to throw hay to the horses earlier, the scent and chill of autumn was definitely on the air. How can I tell? Each season has a very distinct smell to it; Spring is sharp and fresh, summer is lazy and warm, autumn mellow and woody, winter of course is biting and crystal clear.
 But scent isn't the only thing that determines this new season in my life: We started school last Tuesday, which is really what I'm here to blog about, because it was not your average first day of school, oh no. I just happen to be home schooled -- or home educated, if you prefer -- so the word average doesn't even enter into the equation.
 On the first day of school, I got to go to Mount Rushmore: the shrine of democracy, and had a few other stops on the side. Read it and weep.
The road trip began as all others do -- with the road. How exciting. There's really nothing to do while 'tripping except take pictures of the landscape and... yourself. I refuse to publish any of the latter since most of them involve Little Brother and I on a caffeine high.
Speaking of that caffeine high, all I can say is thank goodness for awesome little coffee shops, shaken iced teas, Amariconos, and iPods. Shaken iced teas are the bestest things since sliced bread. You get your regular ice tea but with a 'shake' of Fruit Tea Blast flavoring. Sweeeetness! And they even taste great when they've been sitting in the car for an hour and a half! moving on....
Our first stop: A little Keystone taffy & candy shop. It's pretty much world famous. I think they even say that on the packages.
the taffy makin' process.
They have a million different flavors for their taffy {made in a little glass room in a corner of the shop - see photos}. Anything for jalapeno to the native buffalo berry that grows right there in the Hills.
The lady was nice and let us sample before we walked out with two pounds of the stuff in every flavor. Mum says we're going to send some to friends "of course", but I'm not so certain they'll be full bags.... om nom nom....
LB and I would have like to take this truck up on its offer -- Mt. Rushmore helicopter rides -- but besides being $49 short, Mum said they have at least one crash a year. Uh... Who hires these pilots? Or do you fly the chopper yourself, I wonder. I could be on to something...
Ah, yes! The reason we've come! Mount Rushmore itself, as seen from the Hall {or walk?} of State Flags.
As seen from Grand View Terrace... aptly named. The place was buzzing with tourists, as you would expect at a National Monument. Lot's of rich retired folks in their giant caravans - er - RVs. British television is ruining me. People have also informed me of dropping my 'r's, and only yesterday I said tomăto instead of tomāto! Gah!
LB using his first public machine -- we're so proud. It only took him three minutes to figure out that you need a quarter to make the thing work."I can't see anything!" Hehehe.
The day was spectacular for this kind of sightseeing: cloudless, breezy, and in the lower 80s. We decided to take the Presidential Trail and from there took the 'strenuous' branch -- read: 1 million stairs. It started great, all nice and even, chipmunks playing and chattering alongside the walkway. Then we started going down. And down and down and down. And what goes down must eventually come up it seems. All in the form of unevenly cut stone stairs. Not so great when you're wearing flipflops. I had zero traction, and by the end of it a scraped knee, sore rear, and blisters between my toes. And I was starving. I needed happiness.
please excuse the lack of head, i lost it some time ago.

And it came in the form of 5 tons of raspberry-chocolate best-soft-serve-in-the-world.
While omnomming, I had a good time people watching and writing down what I saw. What a treasure trove for that kind of thing!
*walked the trail with a couple from Tennessee
*was served my ice cream by an Italian
*sat across from eight Australians while eating above item
*had a table next to a guy from Greece that was Skyping with his brother {also Grecian} who was in Turkey
*walked into a Chinese family's photo --  I'll just back away slowly and hope you didn't notice....
*encouraged and elderly East Coast lady up the strenuous stairs -- "I can't make these .... stairs!" "...Of course you can! {tries not to laugh out loud and therefore look like a total jerk}

By the time all this had taken place it was already late afternoon and we started to head back home. Then we came upon this little slice of heaven...

They call it... Pactola reservoir. It's right in the heart of the Hills and utterly beauteous. We had to pull over. And we found the perfect spot, too.
And get this - The water is warm! Like warm warm! I so wished I had had a swimsuit or at least shorts. But I had to settle for wading, which was alright.
I promise you my feets aren't really misshapen, whatever this photo may imply. I have very nice feet, thankyouverymuch.
I had fun splashing LB when he wasn't looking. Benevolent sister? But of course! I just had a perfectly large rock, and when one has a perfectly large rock one simply must place it with some force behind an unsuspecting person in the water. :)
But like all travels, this one had to come to an end. A whole day on the road, trails, and in quaint little shops, and very well spent. The next day we had a real day of school - textbooks, papers, and brand new pencils. I'm taking nine classes this year, and now TLOS has a designated spot in my day everyday. So maybe I'll finish it after all.
 In spite of my ranting and raving, I am feeling the tingles of excitement for this...this... newness.
A tree in the backyard is turning yellow though it is only just September. Order and routine has returned to its throne in my day -- everything is scheduled so that I get the important stuff done. Priorities, Gwyn, priorities.
Music lessons are also back and I'm excited to show my teacher my new violin, Dido. {I have pictures of her for you coming soon...}
So bring on Fall and the turning leaves! ... just winter stay away for now...
I shall return to you all later!