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Deus volt; Deus mittit me.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

One Wizard's Treasure



Before you ask, I've had an excuse.

I finished writing SLIPSTREAM (cheers and dancing in the streets) and dug into EVERLOST with a vengeance (The first is sci fi and the second is a gamer-geek love story. I'm probably halfway through that one). 

But also there's this:

I was brought up to be clean and tidy. We had to have our beds made and everything in its place. There were consequences if we didn't respond to the PRODDING.

Segue to my married life. I have a lovely husband for whom decades-old dust bunnies older than some of his children don't bother him. Which can sort of be a good thing sometimes. But for a person brought up to clean clean clean, it's nerve-wracking. Picture a wizard sitting in his cobweb-draped (some of them occupied) study with open tomes splattered with candle wax, magic wands, animal skulls, a gargoyle or two, musical instruments, various other interesting objects, and thousands of books. He's also reading a computer magazine surrounded by computers in various forms of undress and viability. This wizard of mine can untie just about any Gordian knot of a problem, but if you touch his stuff, you'll find your hand resting on the floor next to your head.

So imagine my exquisite joy upon surveying the empty room of my recently married daughters. By empty, I mean still full of their extant things but evacuated. Slowly, like a glacier moving, I dealt with it all, moving this to move those things to move that. 

Next I went caving in my room, part of which hadn't seen a dust rag in decades. I found long-buried treasures (Yup. Forget about going for the lost treasure of the Sierra Madres and the lost Teton treasure. Found along with a plethora of single socks whose mates have languished forever in the sock basket) and a multitude of things we'd been looking for.

When I moved the bed, I found we'd had termites and they'd gotten into my school teaching supplies. ARGH! Luckily they had decided they were done and gone the way of the dodo, leaving no extant macaroni sculptures. Because of those, I went and got several plastic bins and loaded everything salvageable under my bed with room to spare. Now people actually realize there was a master bath in there somewhere...:) And it's no longer full of computer things.

I walk around my house several times a day, now, just exulting over the fact that I can see more than a couple of feet of carpet. I try to think up more things to say good-bye to or fix every day. 

I'm going to have a gar(b)age sale and the resultant money will go to sending my son on a mission. And the second reason is that I'm getting rid of loads of treasure (clutter) which I'd stockpiled in my living room for as long as I could stand it. Away go the bunk beds and shoe rack and some clothing, jewelry, roller skates, dolls, toys, electric pianos, and anything else I can get rid of, plus a few things I've been keeping in case of nuclear holocaust or something akin to it.

And there is a den filling with the wizard's paraphernalia. It's very tempting to go in and help him out by dusting or putting things away. But it's his, now, and it has a door with a lock. I don't have to obsess over whether the dust bunny civilization that lives there is going to rise up and strangle us all in our sleep. 

Now I just get to worry about the cupboards falling off my kitchen wall and the microwave that has a hole in the bottom of it that might or might not explode into a major fireball next time I use it.

Breathe. Just breathe and then go in and calloo over the vast emptiness that is our bed room.  And then get back to writing before the hubby gets home and I have to make dinner.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Turning Molehills into Mountains of Muck



I've been solving problems in my house for...well...forever. It's tiny and full of junk stacked on other stuff and squirreled away. But it's our junk. Mine and The Man's and the kids'.

The problem is this: I'm trying to whittle down the amount of garbage I keep. The kids are too--by shoving it off on me. Which means I'm plowed under by bits of junk everywhere. I should just haul all of this down and donate it. I'm standing with one foot on the precipice of I-no-longer-give-a-crap and the other on
I'm-determined-to-make-some-money-out-of-all-this-muck.

So I've made some difficult decisions for myself, and there will be more in the future. I live with another person who not only holds onto his crud, but hates it if I touch his stuff. It matters not a toenail to him that we have dust bunnies older than most of our kids in our bedroom. It matters not that mice have made two bolt holes amidst his things.

My toleration for filth has come to an end. The fuse is lit and the spark is on its way. How do I remedy this? It's tearing me apart. Either I live in a decades old sea of dust and grime, or I anger my husband, both incendiary possibilities.

A partial not-easy-to-arrive-at solution came to light as our last daughter married and took herself off, leaving the detritus she didn't care about for me to deal with. In fact, she expected me to harbor her junk indefinitely and didn't care to make her own arrangements.

The room which once held three growing girls and their prodigious amount of crap was now available for use. I've worked like a slave to drag everything out of there. Years of things they no longer wish to deal with. It would have been nice to have help, since it's their trash. But no.

So all the things I'm giving away or saving for the garage sale are now in our living room. In a massive Chinese puzzle of move-that-there-so-I-can-move-this-here-so-we-can-move-those-things-over-there, I've managed to puke forth into that finally relatively clean room, the preponderance of the husband's massive collection of computer paraphernalia and much of his other junk.

I've worked like a demon to find new places for things, solving logistics problems that would stump a three star general. In all of this I've gotten very little help and eyeball-deep complaints. "You can't move that there." If I hear that one more time, the answer won't be "Watch me," or "Get the freak out of my way, I'll do it myself," it'll be "Bite me!" And after calming down a ton, I'll say, "As you could see if you opened your ungrateful mind, I've worked miracles everywhere. You should not only be thanking me, but paying me with dates, massive buckets of ice cream, many kisses, and happy complements." (At least I'll say that in my head.)

So now the whole train wreck which has slung wreckage all over my kitchen, living room, the Boy's room, and hallway is waiting on one thing. Hubby must decide on where his massive mountain of magazines will go instead of where it is now. And although we NUMBERED THE STACKS and put every magazine back in the same place it was in before, he won't let me move them again.

Which means I can't move on until his overwhelmed mind is unblocked and he moves the stack. Like I haven't already dealt with enough crap to fuel a third world country. He started to do it and got about seven magazines and some paper moved. There are thousands. I have camp for the next two days and a son coming home from University with his bride. I want the wreckage cleared, but I'm pretty much the only one who cares.

"Sounds like you've got a problem," you say if you are stupid or really good at dodging cinder blocks.



Sunday, July 2, 2017

Ghosts of Childhood Gone


Like I ever wore toenail polish to clean.

 I worked like a freaking dog to get all the junk out of the girl's room today. It was especially difficult since I sat in that finally mostly empty, echoing room (mostly—except for the bones of the bunk beds lying stacked against the wall and the school desk that Lon will still use in there when it's his den. Mostly empty) and mourned the tearing out of chunks of my family history. I feel like gaping crevasses have opened in my heart—voids I didn't realize would matter as much. As each person left, because there was still someone else in the room, it didn't sink in as deeply, or ran under the surface like glacier water. But now, sitting here with the vacuum and the dog, I can't keep the emptiness away.
I stare at the nail holes in the walls, remembering bulletin boards full of dance tickets, date souvenirs, goals, pictures of where they wanted to be married, and masquerade masks. Dust fuzzes the wall where the bookcase once sat, full of books anywhere from Good Night Little Monster to Twilight, and vases full of dead bouquets. A spider web waves in the breeze coming from the (low functioning) cooler that would have elicited screams if they'd been there.
That room echoes with violin and cello music and the voices of daughters talking and reading and fighting over whose shoes they really were. It seems like yesterday we were making doll furniture out of found trash, (I found a bag of those furnitures and remembered how hard we worked to make cool things) and they were avoiding playing with or wearing the things I'd given them and writing interesting little hate booklets or painting their toenails (and pictures) while listening to music.
Each little piece of flotsam reminds me in some way of something they did in there, mostly unremarked at the time. Notes about boys, things scrawled on the under side of the bunk bed, loads of glow bracelets they probably used to try and read by, stickers on everything, clothes I'd never seen before or not for a long time. I wonder at the secrets that room holds but can't share. I just sit there and weep as the ghosts slip away into a misty past along with Grandma's doll house full of sunglasses and old jewelry. The house echoes, now, not with laughter and yelling, but with silent memories.
And the worst part is, I think I'm the only one who cares. And it's too late. That life is gone forever. No one is going to come back and tell me they actually want this crap sitting in my living room. They are in the business of shucking it off like moldy corn silk.
But I? I look at each piece of flotsam and make a choice. Will I actually use that? If not, can I call them back for it? Can it bless some other little girl's life (maybe their own)? Should I relegate it to a funeral in the trash? It seems they made these decisions long ago. But I wonder if these shuckings were informed by care and love or by a need to move on and separate? By being born in a different era than mine? 
I actually played with many of those dolls, rather than watching horror movies about them and then relegating them to oblivion because of their “creepy eyes.” I used the cradle with my name painted lovingly on it by my mom when I was three. I think my father built it. I wonder if any of my girls will even want it. Like me, the cradle has little to zero value to them, having been replaced by a cell phone or a computer.
Kids these days have their phones to play on. They actually need little else, according to them. I find that infinitely sad. They don't value the things we learned growing up, as we played with our old fashioned toys. It's a new, slick world, where they grow up way too fast, jammed into another person's set of parameters. They don't need to train their mind's eye to see anything. Someone has already shown them everything through other eyes.
So. Soon there'll be a garage sale. It'll be when the monsoon rains have cleared the air of fire smoke and brimstone. Then some Mexican man will swing by in his truck and haggle his way into taking much of it for ten bucks. Maybe some little Mexican girl will see what my girls have lost sight of.
And I? I'm left with a bored doggy and the regret of chances lost, roads not taken, opportunities fled down the corridors of time. Is the damage irrevocable? How do I live this next annal in my book of life so the pages are less stained with tears of lost years? Who am I, now, without them?
How I probably should clean this place.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

It's Coming With the Return of the Smiths

No idea why the blog is hashing the book cover, so here it is full-sized. I can also autograph your ebook, hint hint.


Calloo Callay! My ebook of HEART OF FIRE is finally out! You can purchase it on Amazon here.

I recently went home to Colorado and my mom sold ten of my books at a dinner. I should totally make her my marketing agent. She's great at it and I thank her from the top, bottom, and middle of my heart.

Speaking of going home to paradise, I didn't want to come back for anything but the dog and my daughter's wedding. Anything less than that would have failed, especially when, upon coming back into the state, we encountered temps of 122 degrees! No sane person would choose to live in such an oven unless he works as one of Satan's imps--in which case he goes home to cool off. Seriously. I left a place almost as gorgeous as Ireland--full of green, growing things and animals that mainly look at you non-poisonously. The trees don't even have four inch long spikes!

The onliest thing we have here that is better than that one spot in Colorado, is good water. My parents' water smells strongly of Hades. In fact, if the water was switched and we had that water here, there is very little that would convince me that we weren't living in He...the HOT place of evil incarnate.

My one happy note, now that the festivities have died away and the Nibblets have gone off to the cool grandparents' house (actually cool, as in temperatures above that which one would use to bake turkeys) is that after decades of living with computers decking every room of my house including the hall and my bathroom, I am going to build my husband a den! I'm so excited I can taste it. I've dreamed of being able to wash my hands without having to avoid the monitor sitting in all its dusty splendor on my sink. I kid you not. The joyous occasion happens as soon as the daughter comes back from her honeymoon and gets the last of her junk out of that room. Dancing in the streets! I'm even going to go in there shortly and peel the stick-on Beauty and the Beast decals off the wall and pack up the last of their unwanted dolls. There's going to be a huge garbage (I mean garage--really) sale at this house as soon as a sane person can go outside without expiring from heat stroke on the way to the mail box. I'm selling their bunk beds, their prom dresses, and a host of other Jun--I mean goodies.

And now I'm off to write--something I haven't been able to do for most of the month and it's driving me insane.

Plus the dog is looking rather forlorn that he's being ignored for much of his life and no one will go outside and throw balls for him (basically because they'd stick to the patio and melt--even now--at 9:28pm).

At any rate, something is happening.

Away with ye!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Dropping off the Earth--Not



Contrary to contrary belief, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth. I've been writing. Actually, more accurate, I've been going back through SLIPSTREAM and making my character bible and maps so I can keep better track of where I'm going with it. I had been feeling as if it had somehow gotten away from me and I wanted to make sure I still had continuity and that the action blazed hot.

So I'm also breathing a sigh of relief that poetry month is over. I love doing poetry, but don't like to get locked into doing the posts ever single day with all they entail. They kept me distracted from my WIP and Emblyn and Lowen were getting frustrated at being left dangerously maimed...:o) So I'm back to honing and will shortly be back to the actual story-smithing.

My mum called the other day. She's the sweetest person on the planet. Seriously. I crown her the sweetest. She totally made my month. She actually called a couple of days before to tell me she'd gotten the book I'd sent--my latest offering--THE HEART OF FIRE. Then she called two days later to tell me she'd finished it. I just wanted to cry when she said she couldn't put it down. And I knew she wasn't just saying it because I'm her daughter. She really loved it and asked questions about it and said the most wonderful things an author could hear.

That's why I spent all day yesterday making her a book. I can't tell what it is yet, in case she suddenly gets to use a computer and gets on here and reads this (not likely but still....) It was a labor of love. I hope she likes it.

I've also got to make a huge clock and some cartoon animals and birds for another secret something.

And I'm working on another couple of camps--this time cub scout camps. I work for the Boy Scouts and also have jurisdiction over several packs.

Add to that wedding preparations and taking my children to work at random hours since they have yet to pay for insurance and other driving needs, and that all adds up to being really busy.

Lastly, all my helpful little forest creatures have been scared off by Sir Riles Barksalot, so I have to do all my own stinking chores. I can sing 'til I'm blue in the face and none of them come help (also might have something to do with the snappy traps I have out to catch the loser mice who just want to eat everything and give us diseases). I'm still hoping that same Sir Riles won't go find the yummy peanut butter and get his tongue snapped.

(Just on a side note, I think glue traps are horrible. They're supposed to be so humane but you still have to drop a big rock on them before you dump them in the trash or they'll get off and go back to their old mayhem, taking half the glue all over your bedroom. At least snappy traps are fast and they don't suffer much. With glue traps, they have plenty of time to hope and plan and have their little rodent lives flash before their eyes, contemplating the nature of their souls and their evils and the hundreds of babies they might not have. Go for the snap death that puts you right at those gates.)

My to-do list is Cinderella long, but I am NEVER bored.

Monday, May 1, 2017

THE DEEPEST WATERS Review


I just finished a wonderful book by Dan Walsh called THE DEEPEST WATERS.

Laura met John Foster in San Francisco just before the Civil War. He was her only love and they were wild for each other. They married and chose to sail through Panama to New York to visit his parents and show his sister their wedding gifts.

On the way, they hit a hurricane and the ship sprang a leak. Luckily another ship turned up to take the women and children still remaining to safety, leaving the men to handle things the best they could during the hurricane. The initial ship then sank, leaving the men afloat on whatever they could muster up.

Both John and Laura had nearly unsurmountable problems--no food, little water, anguish that the other was probably dead. Laura had an added problem with a thieving crew member, but also an added guardian angel of an interesting sort. John's was a problem of morale.    0  oOo      Oo    o
                                                    o     o O Oo o
                                                       O  0  Oo  oo   o O
                                                   o       Ooo o O
                                                               O O
                                                                  o  O
                                                                 O

I won't tell you who, if either of them, made it to safety. But what I will say is that the book was well-written, had finely crafted characters, was gripping to the end, and I couldn't put it down. Even though this is written by a man, I felt he had a good handle on the female psyche. I found myself dying to flip to the last page to see if they made it. But a kindle makes it easier to force yourself not to do it. I had to wait to relieve the lump in my throat. I just can't imagine how it would be to know my husband was dead at the bottom of the ocean.

I would have liked to know what had given John the idea that his parents would probably not welcome him home. What pushed them over the edge and caused John to seek life on the opposite coast? Other than that, I greatly enjoyed the book. And then to find out that most of the stranger things in it actually happened--magic!

Thank you, Dan, for THE DEEPEST WATERS. It was a pleasure to read. If you want to get this book, try Amazon. And now if I was just at the beach reading it over again. My take on it? Five bailing buckets out of five.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Color Poem--Indigo--National Poetry Month

These don't seem that indigo to me. It's rare to find true indigo. That's why I love it.
On this last day of National Poetry Month, I'm going to do a color poem. If you want to know how to do this particular form, go here. Otherwise, here's my poem:
Probably not Pluto, but to me Pluto will always be a planet, just as Indigo should always belong to the color spectrum. Besides, you don't know what Pluto looks like.
INDIGO

Indigo is mystery; rare and difficult to find
Like Pluto on the outer edge, a pirate planet waiting to embark in shenanigans.
Like the sky just before the stars send sparks through the velvety night.
As comfy as an old pair of jeans with a new-found hundred dollar bill in the pocket.

Just a l'il bit of Heaven on earth right here.
 © 2017 by H. Linn Murphy