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!