Tag Archives: ptsd

Setting up to write… nano-style

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Last night, we moved my desk into the living room near the fireplace and in front of the window. Then, hubs loaded scrivener into my desktop, hooked my mp3 player up with three albums of “writing music”. 2 days to NaNoWriMo. Today, it’s the snack run at the store to fill the shelf hubs set beside the desk for such, and I’ll be ready.

Although Nano refuses to allow me to participate in their site, it won’t stop me from my pre-determined goal to achieve the word count I envision for the month. I have my character cards ready. I have a teaser written, that’s two paragraphs like what you would read on the back cover of a paperback. And, like I said above, I have the love and support of my hubs standing beside me. He knows how much I enjoy the challenge and the time to focus on only my writing for 30 days. Just 2 more days, and a new edition to the “Hope Ranch” and/or “Sanctuary” series will begin to blossom upon my blank screen. Yep, screen. I’m not going to handwrite this year. I’m going to use the Scrivener (Ubuntu form) software for novel writing!

Thank you, Scrivener for making the freeware version for those of us who use Linux based systems. It does not go unappreciated! 🙂

The big C is G_O_N_E!

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Dadinlaw had surgery Friday to remove two of three brain tumors. It is a huge praise and living example of God’s love for us. Dadinlaw woke shortly after surgery and was able to speak for the first time in months! He can also now use his left hand, and feel his left side. This is better than we could have ever prayed for. We asked for mere survival… we got healing!

the cancer is gone!

The nocardio infection is gone!

The brain tumors are HISTory!

I’m just a little excited, can’t ya tell?

Light of Liberty…

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Thank you Jan Wayne Fields for allowing us to use this picture for inspiration on the http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/13-september-2013/

Thank you Jan Wayne Fields for allowing us to use this picture for inspiration on the http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/13-september-2013/

98words

Light of Liberty

The ship rolled continually against the heavy wake in the harbor. She gritted her teeth, not wanting to add more pollution to the harbor. It wouldn’t be right. She clenched jaws, and clutched the small mason jar in her hand. That, too, wasn’t right. Still, it was all she had of him. She looked to the skyline, still looking vacant without the towers. With a shaky hand, she held the jar over the edge, and poured the ashes on the water below the light of liberty…

In Memory of my friends and family who died 9-11-01

I love you and miss you from the bottom of my soul.

I love you and miss you from the bottom of my soul.

Museum Memory

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I walked through the cool recesses of the museum.
past the displays of ancient times onto the section of war.
Recent wars, wars that we learned about in school.
Banners, criss-crossing the air, each broadcasting the propaganda
meant to drive the mighty war machine of men and women.
I walked silently, reverently, past the children
gleefully playing at war on the old tanks and jeeps,
while parents watched, laughing, from the sidelines.
I walked past the displays of memorabilia, pieces of history,
collected as souvenirs, from the fallen bodies
of those we considered our enemies,
instead, just mere lives, tragically cut short by the war.
My mind, and body, are drawn instinctively,
to the display at the end.
The wall that pulls all the displays together, and perhaps,
gives some meaning to those who will listen.
Displays that capture a moment in time
that will forever remain entombed here.
The very wall, that I now stand before.
The very wall that now reaches out,
and with a fierceness grabs and holds my heart
in its soul-piercing grasp.
There it is!

The sum total of this not so ancient war.

There it is!

It is hanging in all it’s crisp folds and pristine stars!
It’s color’s brightly preserved for the future generations,
who will look on it, and question, Why?

Our flag is now safely ensconced
within it’s controlled environment casement.
But for as much as the flag alone means, to those of us
who call ourselves Americans.
It is not the flag that yanks at the heart and soul,
bringing the hot, regretful tears to my eyes.
My soul is pierced to the very core by the old, bent and rusted dog tags,
No doubt found on some distant body unknown to me.
They are glued in their place,
to look like they have been lovingly hung on the corner
of the old, yellowed photograph just today.
The photo is of a handsome, uniformed man,
caught in a moment with a gentle smile on his lips,
reminiscent of his cherished youthful exuberance.

He is now, never to grow old, forever caught as a youth.
His gentle life lost on some far away shores.
Now remembered, in the climate controlled atmosphere of a museum,
where children play at war on the very means of his destruction.

Lee McQuinn
0358-010120001700

Seriously need a quick answer here from New York City Folks…

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Anyone who knows New York City well…
I’m looking for a non-Catholic church in the vicinity of the twin towers memorial…
also a hotel in that same area.

In my story the name of the church appears on page one within a wedding invitation. The couple will be honeymooning the week leading up to that horrid day. The last names of the characters are Berghoffer and Wyndham…both old money names, if that helps.

If you can help with this info let me know in a comment,
please, I need it for my manuscript.

Thanks!

Buffy

Spark Plugged by CoyutSpirit

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I remember Grandmother when she was happy! Really, I do! That was before she met the Jackass. We were teenagers at the time. Grandmother was a new widow. She’d gone off to the to do some crazy humanitarian stuff. She came back a different person and never talked about it much. If you asked, she’d only burst into tears and hide in her room, so I stopped asking. Anyway, our laws are weird here in the good ole US of A. Grandmother now had a college degree, and they were making her go back to high school. She was bummed out, but tried to make the best of it.

Her Mother fell off the wagon and went back into her addiction full throttle. I hated to see Grandmother feeling guilty about it. She always had to be the one that picked up the pieces of her mother’s rampant idiocy. Many times, I came by to help do what I could, but it was always hard and her mother hated me and accused me of stealing her daughter away. I was only trying to be a friend. So, Grandmother went to school everyday, and worked every night except Saturday.

On Saturday nights, she never lacked for a date, and fancy dates at that… nothing that I could have ever afforded to give her. I saw her leaving the house several times in a formal gown complete with the family tiara and another uniformed man on her arm. She smiled to them, but I could always see the hurt in her eyes. Her eyes were brown, a rich, deep brown that turned black when she was pissed and seemed to lose life completely after her husband died. I hated seeing the pain there, but what was I do. Ah, but I digress.It was one of those young civil air patrol boys that she hooked up with. She still went to the base every weekend dressed to nines, but Friday nights were reserved for him. I didn’t like him from the get-go, I tell ya, something about him rankled me inside. Dad said it was just jealousy, so I let it slide. Now, I know, that my instincts were right.

One night, he brought her home late. Yeah, I know, because I was watching out my window for her to come home. Don’t know why, just felt protective for some reason. Anyway, she got out of the car in tears and ran into the house. I smiled and thought maybe they’d broken up. After that, he started picking her up at school everyday, and I would see him sitting in the alley behind the house watching her. I went over to ask him what he was doing and he sped off.

The next Friday night, I watched her get in the car with him again. It angered me to see how she looked so fearful, like she was more afraid of not going with him than she was of death. I watched, when I should have gone out and pulled her away. But, I didn’t, and I will never forgive myself for that.

She came back late. The Jackass could never bring her home on time, so her mother was always punishing her. The poor girl couldn’t get a break. I watched as she got out of the car in the rain, her white satin turning transparent as she ran for the house. He got out too, shouting and screaming like a raving lunatic before he fell on the muddy ground and beat at it and screamed until her mom came out to see what he was doing. She babied the jackass, hugging him and inviting him inside. It was evident that Grandmother had broken up with the Jackass. Her mother should have left it well enough alone. She didn’t, and Grandmother paid the price, and paid it dearly.

The next night, and then every afternoon and night for six weeks, they went out. I slowly watched as the life drained from Grandmother. I tried to talk to her at school, but she would push me away verbally, even physically. Her eyes, her beautiful eyes, lost their glimmer. Her lips lost their smile, replaced by a sullen frown. No one seemed to notice or care, but I did. I noticed the difference in her poetry, too. We were in young authors together, so we met and shared our work every week at noon break. Her words became dark, filled with pain. I wanted to help, but she kept pushing me away.

Now, it was two weeks before prom and she was crying outside the gym. I asked why, and between blubbers she told me she’d broken up again with him and this time no one was going to convince her otherwise. I asked why, and she told me that he wanted her to do things with him that only a wife and husband ought to do. She didn’t want to do it, and he did, and so she called it quits. I respected Grandmother for that. She’d had a moral standard, and on this she was firm.

I took advantage of the situation and asked her to the prom myself. She agreed. She didn’t want to miss her Junior prom. She’d already been to two, but this one was hers! It was a once in a lifetime thing! So, she agreed and I went home to race around renting a tux, ordering a corsage and all that stuff. My mom was thrilled. I’d finally agreed to do something “normal” as she called it. I’d never dated anyone, really had never even thought about it. The girl of my dreams was Grandmother, and no one else could compare.

Prom night rolled around and I drove my transam across the street to pick her up. I wanted to do it all nice and proper. I wanted her to see what a gentleman that I could be, and selfishly, I wanted her to like me as more than just a friend. When she came out the door, I nearly fainted! Really, I did! She was dressed in a hot red dress that clung to her petite little curves in a way that gave me hard on instantly. Damn, she’s beautiful, I thought as I fumbled to open the box with the white rose corsage that I’d ordered just for her. Her hair, oh, I nearly died to reach out and touch it! I’d never seen it down and loose before. She always wore it braided or up in a tight bun. I’d never seen hair so richly black and soft. She smiled, and I thought maybe I saw a hint of joy there. She was probably just laughing at my obvious discomfort.

We went through the picture ritual and the mom’s crying and cooing and all that, then got in my car to go! Have fun, they told us, see you in the morning! The morning, indeed, I thought as we drove around the corner. Damn, I muttered as I looked up in the mirror and saw him there. The Jackass was following us…his damned old rust bucket of a pickup was right on our tail. Don’t look now, I said, as I pointed to the mirror, but he’s behind us. You want me to lose him? She agreed, shaking and gritting her teeth.

I turned down the old ridge road that we all called the devil’s backbone and nearly lost the car as I sped around that first, really sharp-ass curve. Grandmother had a look on her face that was terror, mixed with terror! You know the look, that one you get just before your car careens into something really hard. Well, that was the look she had! I digress…

As we sped across the country side, he almost kept up with us. At one point, he was just beyond where he could see us when I pulled a righty in between the old oak trees down by the old cemetery. It was a narrow, paved road that literally led to nowhere save an old gravel field access lane that led back out onto the old pike road. We bumped along the ruts in the gravel as I tried to go as fast as my low-slung car would go.

Then, we were spraying gravel out onto the road as I jumped gears and sped down the pike and down into the old gorge road. Down at the bottom was an old covered bridge. I knew how to drive around and underneath it, too. Being night, I knew that my black trans would be hidden by the casual driver, so I sped as fast as I dared.

At the edge of the bridge, I pulled another tight righty and then spun in the mud until we were safely under the overhang of the bridge. I flipped off the lights, put the car in neutral, and cut the engine. Then, I turned to Grandmother and saw the tears instantly flood down her cheeks.

I did my best to console her, but she shied away from me in a way she’d never done before. She curled in a fetal like position against the passenger and folded her arms around her shaking knees. I didn’t know quite what to do, so I just sat there with her. I asked her if she wanted to talk, and she shook her head.

We sat there in silence for a long time. Finally, I watched her uncurl and try to flatten out the hopelessly wrinkled gown. She thanked me, then, as she looked up to meet my eyes. The look of respect and something akin to love threw me off my pedestal and straight into hell as the fires of passion burned through me. I reached out, and I — it’s embarassing now to admit, but I kissed her. She didn’t pull back either… she leaned closer to me. I didn’t know what to do, so I kissed and kissed until I just couldn’t stand the confinement of the car. If I didn’t get away from her, and soon, I was going to do something that was way not cool!

So, I suggested a swim.

“In this?” She sniffled as she looked up to me as if I’d flipped my beanie.

“Nah, You can borrow my gym clothes if you can handle the smell.” I smiled at her and reached into the back for my gymbag.

“The water will kill the smell, I think.” She laughed then… a laugh like I hadn’t heard her laugh for months! It was a good sound!

Oh, I was so pissed off! I was ready to kill him. The only thing that held me back was the look of pain and shame in her eyes. Grandmother had removed the formal gown, and was changing into my gym shorts. There wasn’t any reason to hide. We’d grown up together and had seen each other’s naked bodies for years. Only now, my eyes widened and I felt the fire of anger in my blood.

Her back, her chest, her beautifully smooth stomach were all black and blue with bruises. Some of them were so dark that I thought for sure ribs must be broken underneath them. All I could do was stand in the middle of the river and watch with abject horror and realization of what he had been doing to her.

“Don’t say a word.” She insisted as she reached under my t’shirt and unfastened her bra. Then she dove in beside me and surfaced not a foot in front of me. “He didn’t really mean it. He was just angry, ya’ know. He said I was just a squaw and it was time I learned that.”

“You are no one’s squaw, Grandmother!” I insisted, reaching out for her shoulders to hug her, but she cringed away. “Look, see what he’s done to you! You’re afraid of me– ME. I’ve never raised a hand to you, never even in play. I love you.”

Grandmother looked up into my eyes, and I’ll be honest, it felt like a white hot flame coursing through my body, it did. I wanted her so many ways beyond Sunday thinking that it wasn’t even pitiful! She was so beautiful, especially here, in the river under the moonlight. The cold water had tightened the skin on both our bodies, and had rendered our shirts nearly invisible to boot. I turned and dove, swimming upstream, hoping to calm my own emotions.

Finally, I rejoined her, and we splashed an played like children for most of the night. As the sky above began to lighten, a precursor to the dawn, it was time to head back home. I drove her in silence, and dropped her around back where she could slip into the house without any of the neighbors seeing her unkempt hair and wrinkled gown. The last thing we needed was the old biddy across the street to start spreading rumors!

“Grandmother, I — I just want you to know, that if you need anything– anything at all, I’m here! I mean that! Just say the word and I’ll sleep outside your door if you need me to.” I told her before I let her slip out the door.

“Thank you.” She’d said in a cold monotone before running across the backyard and into the back door.

I sat there for a few minutes until I saw her peeking out the edge of the curtain just to see if I was there. Then, I faked a smile, waved, and drove on down the alley to circle back to my house.

I didn’t see the jackass again for a whole week. I’d heard that his truck was out of commission. Gee, I wonder why it would suddenly be sporting four non-functional sparkplugs, a half-dead battery that wouldn’t hold a charge and a loose alternator belt. Hmmmm….

The last jingle…(an open letter to my Native Family and Friends)

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Dear ones,

for 35 of the last 43 years of my life I’ve prayed daily for those around me, prayed for those who’ve asked with no questions as to whether or not they believe in God, Our Creator, or not. I done so with a joyful heart and a blessed soul. In fact, I’ve never been happier as when I sat in the quiet of the moment and let my heart sing out the prayers to God for each and every one of you. The thousands of requests have been like a grain of sugar to sweeten my days. I have truly TRUELY LOVED praying for you.

Earlier today, I posted that the end of a life of prayer has been reached…

All my life, I’ve held your requests close to my heart speaking only to the Creator what you’ve shared. You know that I’ve held that trust above all others.

What has happened to change that devotion… well, just this past week, one of those desperate requests came to me from one who seriously suffers and that I know needs constant prayers. I’ve been praying daily for this person for many years as they cycle through their life. Always and ever, I’ve listened with patience and love, understanding their need. This time, when the request came through, it suddenly weighed so heavily upon my spirit that I could not even pray for this person. I could not even utter a prayer that would aid my own spirit to prayer. Suddenly, the prayer, any prayer is a weight to great to carry.

Words cannot express just how utterly and completely this has affected me on all levels. I once told myself when I was a nurse that the day my patients became numbers instead of persons, it would be time to retire. That day came, and I reluctantly left the medical profession. Likewise, I believe that day that praying for souls becomes less than something done with the whole spirit and soul, it is time to step away.

I want you to know that I’ve never felt that the thousands of prayers each week were ever a burden, or any such thing beyond joy… I love each and everyone of you. At Fort Ancient this year, Elder Sid was saying how he saw me sleeping with a smile on my face…. I wasn’t sleeping, I was praying. My spirit was standing in that place where there is no pain, no tears, no suffering, and I was lifting the cares that had been shared with me to the ONE who can answer and heal.

So, I’ve packed my fan, the new jingles gifted to me, and the medicine bundle passed to me through the generations, and the medicine name by which all have come to know me. It will not be opened or used again until Creator wills it.

Until then, I leave you in God’s loving hands.

WalksAlone

NanoCamp Day 17… Letter home:Why, oh Whyyyy?

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Dear one,
It’s 0530 here at Camp Nano… I woke with the realization that although I’ve written 45k, I’ve get to establish a firm plot. I have no stereotypical villain hell-bent on destroying the main characters in some distinct way. What I have written falls under the classification of individual scenes with no coherent structure to tie them together into anything. In short, I’m very disappointed in myself. Usually, by this time of the month, I’ve got a solid plotline with strong characters, a villain that’s distinctive, and a final scene written. Truth is, I usually start with the Final scene, the write the first scene, and then fill in the middle. I didn’t do that this time, so maybe that’s why I’m feeling so bogged down.

I’m almost tempted to ditch the word count yet again, and start from scratch. But, I can’t do that! The scenes I have are good! They just need really huge bridges to link them together. That’s one of my goals for today, actually. Today, I’m going to take some time to write out a plotline (hmmm, wonders if that could count as part of the wordcount total???Nah, that would be cheating to me.). I don’t think it’s going to be a traditional plot, though. It’s going to be more of a psychological one….One wonders, could my villain actually be the character’s own mind? … wonders, Could I pull that style of conflict off well enough? Bears some consideration.

I’ve notice that my cabin mates are pretty quiet people. haven’t heard much from them… they’re probably off writing, while I’m sitting her blogging because my mind is a blank this morning. Please, send inspiration and a plotline cake or two…

Riding the rollercoaster,
Buffy

Into every life… a mistake must happen…

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this is why I’ve been away this last week….

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Into every life a little bit of the unexpected must happen. Last Monday started with excitement that 1. It had stopped raining! 2. It was a perfect day for a hike with the new camera….hence a photoging trip to BigBone State Park in Kentucky…

I had decided to go out to the lake there and hopefully find some frogs, heron, or ducks to photog…no such luck on all three. But, I did get an awesome photog of a dragon fly both in flight and landed on a cat tail stalk…

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After the lake, I headed back onto the trail…mistake… What passes for a trail is nothing more than a wash out, literally. Gray clay mud on the side of a ridge… 3 mile into a 5km hike, discovered trail signs were down torn out or rotted away. Not that they are helpful any way as they only have colored dots on them… not the most intelligent park system around. Anyway, I have a mental map of the parks general layout, so, I’m cool. Then, I took a side trail that looked in better condition…

Let’s just say that dense woods and high humidity are now on my Triggers list. It started with hearing a twig break… then, I was back to running for my life in a jungle… I slipped on the wet clay mud, lost my balance mid-run and took a hard tumble down into a ravine. Somewhere, I hit my head and was a little confused for who knows how long. Then, assessing myself, I decided I was hurt. I saw dislocated toes and fingers, and just automatically set them (IT’s easier when they’re already screaming in pain…don’t feel it as bad). I pulled out my cell, doubtful that with the pain in my ankles, that I would be able to get back to my car. I opened it to find there was no signal. With a heavy sigh, decided that I had to at least get up to the trail so I could be found. I considered it might be a while, maybe not until nightfall when my car was still there after hours…. Anyway, I wasn’t too worried. I’d lost my shoes, but I could live barefeet this time of year. I wasn’t going to freeze or go hungery, and thanks to all the rain, I could get watter from leaves. I just had to crawl up to the trail, so I did, with knees and one arm. I got to the trail, rested and reassessed injuries. I’d gotten this far… I could get farther, couldn’t I? Sure, I did it in the jungle under worse conditions, why the hell couldn’t I do it now. I rose, tested my ankles, they held though not without painful complaints. I could see the lake through the trees, so I kept it in sight and worked my way out.

Finally, arriving at the main offices/gift shop, I went straight to the director’s office… This involved tracking mud from the front door across the white tiles and down the hall… Somehow, I felt entirely too much pleasure in doing so… I informed him that his trails sucked! I also told him that if someone finds shoes and a pack with my lunch and military survival knife in it, I’d like it returned and left my address. I hobbled out to my car, still dizzy and disoriented… pulled out my phone to call one of my buds to come fetch me to the ER…still, no cell signal, so I drove myself…

Final results: Six broken toes, two breaks on one finger, I dislocated finger, cracked rib, concussion, and two sprained ankles…

It has not been a pleasant week… Hope this one is better….Hmmm. should I go back to BigBone… I hear there’s more trails…

Notes on Serial Writing…

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“…So, whatcha writing?’ Person stopping to ask what I’m doing.

‘A series.’ I mumble as I continue to type, not bothering to look up at the interruption.

As you can see, I’m not the most friendly of authors, at least not during my morning write session. I’m focused on my task. I dislike the interruptions. That said, I’m often asked how I can write a series with so many volumes and yet have each stand by itself. Earlier today, I was reading up on fellow bloggers and found another author who was struggling with the same issue. It’s a common one, and yet, it’s one that is as individual as the author.

My first series, Designer Disease, had 23 consecutive books. It was written to entertain my nephews. It grew as they grew. The characters aged as they aged and faced the world’s problems as they faced them. No, it wasn’t about them. It was a way to talk to them about issues that they were facing. After all, Science Fiction has always been an outlet for discussing social issues that aren’t normally discussed. In my nephew’s youth the social taboos were talking about gays and lesbians, racial issues, and the subject of war and all its varied ramifications. This series showed these issues in a way that just sitting down and talking to them would never do. In this series, the characters dealt with the issues of youth amid the turmoil of a world on the brink of war. The war was one that our own world has seen too many times. A tyrannical leader, genocide, and segregation. It was the 80’s, still topics too hot to discuss openly. I dropped in a genetically developed race of characters and a fatal illness that was the result of an environmental disaster caused by a simple accident. This series was written in the face of Chernobyl. The boys would start begging for more the minute I sent them the copy. It became a birthday tradition (still continues) that was and is still greatly treasured by them.

The series to follow that one “The Price” series (books 24-28) was written for their teen years. Those impressionable years where questions of life, morality, and immortality are ever present in the young mind. In this series, I introduced them to the atrocities of World War II through the eyes of one experiencing them. I took them to the battlefields through the eyes of soldiers. I took them to the firing line through the eyes of the one being executed. My reasoning was for them to realize that war wasn’t just some game to be played, that life ALL LIFE was important and worth living. My writing was often very brutal, very dead-on, as it often came from real life stories shared with me (and then fictionalized into the sci fi world). When I finished the series, and much to my surprise, the boys were mad at me. Why? Because they had actually enjoyed them! They’d shared the stories with their friends, who had passed them to their friends. I soon discovered that the stories had made their way to the battle front, too. This series was a hard-on, violent, and straight forward as was possible within the realm of fiction. I never dreamed that it would lead both young men to enlist and serve our country, but it did.

From the battle front, my nephews asked for a different type of literature all together. They wanted something light, something that would take their minds away from the realities of the war they were fighting. I hardly felt up to the task, but being the glutton that I am, I did my best. One Nephew wanted me to write him devotionals. He had found God in the deserts of a foreign land, and he craved to know him more. I began writing “Behind the Haywagon” a collection of small, short lessons for him that he could tuck into his pocket on the run. The other nephew wanted, of all things, romance. Now, I’d never written romance and didn’t have a clue. But I stepped out on the limb, and that’s when the current Pine Ridge/Hope Ranch series began.

The first few novellas of the Pine Ridge series were about protecting the valuable things in life like family, children, and finding hope in little things. It was at my nephew’s suggestion that the series really started to form up and take on a life of its own. He had heard from one of his buddies about a ranch that offered therapeutic riding for disabled children. He talked non-stop about this ranch and how it offered hope to these kids when everyone else had given up hope for them. I did some research into the topic. And as I was researching, I began to think… could that be expanded to help Veterans coming home from war? Could a working ranch-style set up be the hope that some lost souls could use to find their lives again? I talked to my nephew about it, and thus the Hope Ranch series was born. I’m using those little novellas from the Pine Ridge series and am now expanding them to full length. My nephew is eating it up quicker than I can type. he’s passing it around the base. And, now that he’s home, he’s sending me little notes from some of his buddies about their experiences so that I can use them for future visitors to Hope Ranch…. I foresee many many books coming in this series.

Currently, I’m working on two manuscripts for this series… This month, I’m focusing on the one I’ve temporarily titled “Make it a double” (novella titles: Timothy’s Triumph, and Widowmaker) for my NanoCamp write. This will be two books in the series, each a stand alone.