Wednesday, August 9, 2017
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
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
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
|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
|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
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.
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
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
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
|These don't seem that indigo to me. It's rare to find true indigo. That's why I love it.|
|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 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
Saturday, April 29, 2017
It's Poetweet day. If you're not sure what that is, go here. And now I'm going to have to cram everything into 140 tweet spaces, so I'm getting to it.
My memory looks like old Swiss cheese.
Could I have a transplant please?
My mind, unruly as a cat
Goes every which way. What about that?
© 2017 BY H. LINN MURPHY
(Hah! Exactly 140 spaces. And it only took me about 10 minutes and the revelation that I'd forgotten a very important appointment...sigh.)
Friday, April 28, 2017
This is a Clarihew Poem. Don't ask me how Mr. Clerihew rates a poem style, but Stephanie will probably know and tell you here. Anywho, that's what I'm writing today, if I can keep my eyeballs open. They're not hilariously funny, but what can you expect from 2 1/2 hours of sleep? In between stanzas, I'm playing my bodrhan (Irish drum).
BITSY THE BOY
Bitsy the Boy works hard when he works
But when he's not working, he dawdles and shirks
Perhaps if I gave him something better to do
He might not detest going after dog poo.
I took Bitsy Boy to the Oinks place to eat.
I mean how can you go wrong with bacon for meat?
But when he came out with two bags full of food
We found out you pay through the nose for what's good.
Bitsy the Boy is not very small.
And since he graduated he's gotten quite tall
I feared we would soon have to roll him to bed
If he sat there for too long he'd prolly be dead
But then Bitsy Boy got a really nice job
Lugging fertilizer and cement for ten bob
So it looks like he can't get away from the poo
Whether it be from a bark, or a cluck, or a moo.
© 2017 BY H. LINN MURPHY
|Sheepdog trials--Bah, ram, ewe!|
TAKE ONE TSP OF TINCTURE OF IRELAND
"Come with me, girls," Mum said.
"I need my daughters around me,
And an adventure to fill me up."
A bus-ride full of old ladies
Knocking about Ireland,
Buying shamrock key chains and
Erin go Bragh shirts? Bah!
|Mum--guess where she's from--but isn't she cute?|
How would I fit
What I really wished to take
From Eire's shores
Into that infinitesimal time and space?
A mere ten days, an instant
To be paid for in careful
Herding of pennies.
I hardly thought about it--
Something so un-graspable.
The letter languished
While I scoffed.
To find oneself suddenly transplanted
Into a place one has so long
Though could never make real.
Mum kept at it.
In very fact, she worked to make
Phantasm a reality.
She must have had her own list
Of necessary souvenirs--
Mainly smiles and wind-swept hair.
|Oldest and youngest at Blarney|
And suddenly, without a means
Of catching breath
I found myself on Eire's shores
Whisked there as if by fey magics
One minute breathing stale,
And the next day?
|A two lane road with gorse hedges coming right up to it--everywhere|
My soul filled with emerald richness
The scent of sea never far away
I wanted to own it,
That first breath of cloud laden air,
That lilt of Gaeltacht,
Lamb stew, and music.
I craved the right to pull it
Into my soul and keep it there,
Burnishing the memory
Until it shone like polished brass.
An underlying drumbeat,
Heartbeat of aged place.
|A day at Muckross Abbey|
Not for my soul so much the
Shopping and choosing and
Counting of Euros, taxes and customs,
The boarding of a careening bus
At the behest of others
Exhausted and tense with
Of who am I with them, and why?
|From the bus, Murt driving, thankfully|
I took hardly a chance to pull it all
Inside and make it my own,
To fill reservoirs with green traceries
On peat bogged pebble.
But had I only known,
Each encounter added a stone
To the walls which hedge
My memories of that place.
I would have inhaled
The yeasty laughter,
The creak of aged oaks,
And the pattering of rain.
|I had a really hard time getting a pic of a house with the keeper boards on the ends, but they were everywhere. The boards keep the shingles from flying away in the wind.|
I now see I must return!
Like a necessary drug,
I must breathe it in once more.
Perhaps to share,
But maybe not.
To be dragged hither and to? No.
How can I say
What things are necessary now
So they'll understand?
I must seek again the sound of a
Lonely whistle as painted sheep graze
On far-flung green hills.
|Cliffs of Moher--me not jumping|
I must savor the age of the stones
In my bones,
Fill the air with my own drumbeat
And the haunting notes of an old new song.
Find that place to be
Which hasn't felt the weight
Of a million other hurrying feet.
Layer upon layer of aching History
Lives cherished and lost to the
Brazen new world.
I must tie my own rag
To the whitethorn tree.
|Tying one on at a whitethorn tree|
I ache for kinship with those who stayed
Who dragged a life
From the stony soil or the angry sea.
Those who watered that soil
With their blood
In order to breathe free.
Need to feel, not an interloper,
But a daughter, long lost
|Harder than it looks. The wind blows your breath straight back into you.|
My soul must find roots and
Sing them to life.
I must be in the music. Akin.
|Ancient me at Bunratty (or Mouth of the Raite) Castle|
I am your seed, Eire.
Lap me up and we two
May spread wing together
Take flight o'er peat bog and heath
To be the stones and the light
To be the flowers
Gripping tightly to cliff-sides,
A safe haven for those without.
Let me help. Let me breathe.
Let me own.
Bid me return, not out of necessity
But from kinship.
|The standing stones at Blarney castle|
© 2017 by H. Linn Murphy
Thursday, April 27, 2017
Today is Poem-in-Your-Pocket Day. You can go here to see what that is. I'm going to write one and then go hibernate because someone kept me up all night....
A big part of the problem is both of us do it,
That cacophonous commotionous, incredible feat
In spite of the contortionly positions I sleep in
To stop up the sound of two walruseseses in heat.
But last night, long before I could even position
My head on the pillow to start my deep breaths
Your maw opened up and let loose a great aria
Of nasal proportions that featured great deaths.
I lay there and fidgeted knowing that too soon
The son for a ride into work would come knocking
But there you were, singing, with pompous bombastion
Oblivious to poking and prodding and boxing.
So now, in the morning, I'm a hag-ridden zombie
Stumbling around like I haven't a head
And I wonder how often I've done a disservice
To you, who must work, despite feeling dead.
Perhaps it is time to acquire a concoction
Which quiets the sound of embattled brown bears.
For then we'd sleep frapious and rise in the morning
All cheerful, callooing and doing loud cheers!
Until then I suppose there's a chair or the sofa
For those nights when you sound like a rattling train.
Or, I guess I could fill up your bedside with popcorn
Or nap so I won't go completely and absolutely and in all ways insane!
© 2017 by H. Linn Murphy
And now I'm off to bed for the second time. Good night.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
|The jungle in back of the cannery at Uyak|
I'm going to continue my Alaskan Love Song theme because it makes me feel cooler...:o) The Hubs still hasn't summerized the cooling, so we swelter in near or at triple digit weather. So this is a Senses Poem, and you can read about how to do your own here. Meanwhile, ta-daaaaaa:
|Me on the day I caught my halibut (but not with this||rod--a jig) This was for catching the bait.|
|Slickers were for babies. I still wear the red sweatshirt.|
ALASKAN LOVE SONG
A whale passes the dock where I sit reading; it blows and lunges as it feeds.
The misty morning air smells of fish gurry and machine grease.
The gulls scream as they dive after the bits of breakfast roll I toss them.
The boards of the dock shove a splinter through my hand. I drag my gut knife out to cut the splinter away.
I can still taste the hash browns and salmon from the cafeteria.
This is a little bit of Heaven--at least until the work bell rings.
|My Alaskan Heaven--with fish guts and exhaustion|
© 2017 by H. Linn Murphy
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
We're doing acrostic poems today. To see how to do this, go here. I'm missing Alaska today as the temps climb back up into the triple digits here. It's a good thing I stocked up on memories while there. Take me back!
A land of majestic mountains scraping the sky in stark winter coats
Laboring to fill cans with salmon--then smoking some, the scent of hickory teasing tastebuds.
A place where the sun lets me climb rocky faces all night.
Swimming in snow melt--so bracing and so full of marine life.
Kayaking across the bay to fish in the still silences.
An eagle spreads its wings above us as it rides the thermals.
North of everything, in my mind, the wind blows full of fresh green beauty.
Empire of ice and wind and bone-chilling cold.
Xtreme living at it's most primeval.
Prepare for bears the size of trucks, and mosquitoes big as cows.
Eskimos and Klinkits smile with their whole bodies.
Rivers teaming with spawning salmon, like silver ribbons through green velvet.
Indian fishermen grin over their gill nets.
Everyone takes care of their neighbor, no questions asked.
Northern lights ripple across the heavens in a grand spectacle.
Cakes of salmon, so yummy and filling.
Ever in my dreams, so often in my thoughts. How I miss you!
© 2017 by H. Linn Murphy