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by Rhyssa
Rated: NPL · Book · Personal · #2150723
a journal
Blog City image small

This book is intended as a place to blog about my life and things I'm interested in and answers to prompts from various blog prompt sites here on WDC, including "30-Day Blogging Challenge and "Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise

I'm not sure yet what it'll turn into, but I'm going to have fun figuring it out.
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September 22, 2018 at 1:24pm
September 22, 2018 at 1:24pm
The baby is here. Well, technically, he got here a week ago after some complications in the delivery that involved an emergency C-section and a week in the NICU while Mama was stuck in a different hospital room with different complications and I was stuck at home with six children who are homeschooled and prone to crying jags and have certain expectations and some of whom (the nearly 2 year old and the 3 year old) have never been so long without their Mama all the time and the 3 year old is in the middle of toilet training . . .

I'm just glad that I was able to help because there was no one else. My brother was in the hospital with his wife, and the rest of the support system had jobs and obligations and health issues, but it does mean that at this point I am terribly tired. And full of cuddles. And bruised and vaguely disgusted (with the obligatory potty training explosive failure and late night vomit incident).

But the worst part for me was the NICU. I know that Abner (not my idea--my sister-in-law has definite ideas about naming her children) was basically healthy. It was a different hospital, a different experience--but I kept on thinking about Caleb and the way he was so still and leaving so slowly and I was so happy that this was a different kind of miracle but I kept remembering the ways things can go wrong and I couldn't talk about it with my sister-in-law and my brother . . .well the last thing that you want to do with new parents (for the seventh time) is remind them about the tragedy that could have been. And every time I saw Abner in those beds, I remembered and I was so happy and so sad at the same time . . .

I'm just glad I was able to help. And I needed to express the conflict and it's impossible to family at this point.

The baby is here. And he's healthy and growing and everyone is basically healthy and I will be able to get sleep now that we're all home again.
September 13, 2018 at 11:07pm
September 13, 2018 at 11:07pm
"When one is home, he dreams of adventure. When one is on a adventure, he dreams of home." Thorton Wilder Do you agree with this?

I agree with this—to a certain degree. It’s true that we seem always to be more interested in the other than in where we are. It’s easy to long for adventure when we’re home because it’s so different and we are remembering the disagreeable parts about being home. The same is true when we’re off on an adventure, having to eat strange food and sleep in strange beds when suddenly home seems so much more comfortable.

Right now, I’m in the middle of an adventure. I’ve gone to California because my brother and sister-in-law are having a baby. Like, the baby is imminent. And they have six already—two girls, four boys. So, here I am, babysitting for six (ages 8 through 20 months) while my brother and his wife go to the hospital—and I have to admit that I’d rather be home.

But I’m needed here and I love the kids (there are just an awful lot of them) and I can’t wait to hold the baby and I don’t want to go home. Not yet. But it does feel like my own bed would be so much more comfortable.
September 3, 2018 at 11:50pm
September 3, 2018 at 11:50pm
Do you like writing or have you ever written poetry? What does poetry do to its poets and readers? And do you think writing poetry is important especially for the writers of prose or fiction: Why?

I do like writing poetry. In fact, I spend most of my time on writing.com writing poetry. I enjoy it because it’s so condensed. In a poem, every word counts, every phrase should contribute to a feeling or an idea that is the center of the poem. As a reader, poetry makes me think and feel, which is important. We need sometimes to have our minds reopened to a new idea of what is important, what is real.

I do believe that writing poetry is especially important for writers of prose and fiction because it makes us think about concision. A story needs poetry in description and it needs to be concise and clear so that readers can be led into the feeling of it. I do think that the opposite is also true. A poet masters their craft by writing, and that writing can and should include prose and fiction as well as poetry. Poetry is aided by a poet who understands the ins and outs of story.

So, a writer shouldn’t be limited by genre.
August 28, 2018 at 11:00pm
August 28, 2018 at 11:00pm
Do you think people are aware of their own emotional needs and habits all the time? What about artists and writers? Are they more aware than other people?

Okay, this is going to get convoluted. No, I don’t think that people are always aware of their own emotional needs and habits. I see this when I see people engage in self destructive behaviors—not because they want to destroy themselves (although that’s possibly an unconscious desire) but because they aren’t aware of what their emotional needs are. It’s like the girl who keeps on dating bad boys because that’s who she’s attracted to—so much so that when a nice guy comes along, she refuses to even look at him because he doesn’t treat her the way she expects to be treated and so it obviously isn’t love (not realizing perhaps that she would do better to go for that quiet love than a love that is defined by continual emotional hurt).

The point is, that yes, we mess up. We think we want one thing and our habits push us towards something and we really need something—and sometimes those three things fight against each other until we are left with emotional messes, which are frustrating to try to clean up.

Writers and artists are complicated. We’re natural observers. We see other people’s emotional messes (and then we take them and turn them into our art—it’s easier to create story around an emotional mess than stability—which is why most families in fiction are dysfunctional to some extent). But, just because we see things and write things and know our characters, it doesn’t mean that we’re able to turn that discerning eye onto our own lives. It’s much easier to see someone else’s emotional knots than to turn the microscope inward and figure out what makes our own lives tick.

So, no, people are not aware all the time about their emotional needs and habits. Writers and artists tend to be self aware, however, even they are not aware of their emotional needs and habits if we’re going to include the defining phrase “all the time” in the question. And I don’t know if we’re more aware than other people.

The problem is, it’s hard to do that comparison without climbing into someone else’s head.

Which reminds me of a complicated fact (aphorism? Actually, I’m not sure where I heard this, so it may not be entirely factual): Psychologists have come up with (several) series of questions to determine whether a person is clinically insane. On at least one of those tests, they noticed a problem. Some of their control subjects, genius level, stable control subjects, tested higher than they should on the insanity spectrum. The reason? How does a genius honestly answer: Do you see things that other people don’t? Or an artist? Or a writer? Or someone who is off his meds or on hallucinogenic drugs . . .
August 25, 2018 at 11:38pm
August 25, 2018 at 11:38pm
Let's see where your creative genius takes you with this quote by Leonardo Da Vinci. Begin what ever you write with "I love those who can smile in trouble… "

I love those who can smile in trouble. I have several of them in my family, of course. The ones who grin grins that look like they were mirrored off of little imps from hell. I don't have children of my own, but I've seen those smiles on my sister Madeline's face when she used to stand in the doorway and look and Mama and Mama would open her eyes wider and shake her head no and count her fingers, 1, 2, 3, and Madeline would grin even wider and scamper off.

Mad hit the terrible twos at eighteen months and then spent the next year or so of life trying her hardest to kill herself--not directly, of course. With mischief.

I see the same look on little Eddie's face when he is standing by a door we've told him not to open. He is gifted at opening doors and climbing fences, and ending up down the road a ways. But we know just when he's plotting another escape attempt. It's in that smile.

I see it at church. There's a family--the father is my brother's age, the mother is a good friend, and they have four--two boys and two girls. Now, they may not be plotting anything, but whenever I see their faces (even the baby) and their smiles, I can see that they have the potential for mischief, and it makes me smile and want to gather them in for a hug and possibly get out a camera to record what happens next. After all, with a smile like that, something is going to happen . . .

Of course, this probably twisted the original quote into something I wanted to talk about. After all, in trouble doesn't mean as they cause trouble . . . but then again, maybe it should.
August 14, 2018 at 11:50pm
August 14, 2018 at 11:50pm
Tell us about the most amazing place in nature that you’ve been to. What made it so amazing for you?

This is a difficult question. I’ve seen some spectacular things. I’ve been to Niagara Falls and climbed down a stair wet from the spray where the water thundered loud enough that conversation had to be held shouting. Looking up, I saw rainbows as though I were walking through them in my yellow poncho. I’ve watched a twig rush past at the top as though it were eager to vanish over the edge. That was amazing.

I’ve stood on the rim of the Grand Canyon. It was a clear day and I could see the far rim, so far away that it seemed impossible that water could have done it. That was amazing.

I saw the desert burning, saguaro reaching up long limbs in supplication to the sky with no possibility of salvation. The fires seemed wrong there—when I think of natural fires, I think in a forest where there is wood to burn, not the desert where everything is so compact, so vital. I saw the same desert again the next spring, when it bloomed. That was amazing.

Deep in Ohio, there’s a pool that we saw where the water is so deep that it has no oxygen. Its taste was strange to me because we’re used to water that has known the touch of air. That was amazing.

I’ve seen a spider build a web across our carport every morning for the past week. That was amazing.

When I see nature, I am continually amazed.
August 6, 2018 at 11:28pm
August 6, 2018 at 11:28pm
“Your ambition should be to get as much life out of living as you possibly can, as much enjoyment, as much interest, as much experience, as much understanding. Not simply be what is generally called a 'success.'" ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Is this good advice and do you think it is doable?

I do think that’s good advice. Living life as much as possible without compromising who I am—I try to do that. I don’t always succeed, but I try to live so that I can continually learn, grow, improve. I don’t know how to live differently than that. I experience through doing and through reading and through writing. That’s part of who I am. I know that there are some people who would think that because I don’t jump out of airplanes or want to perform in front of millions of people—because I don’t need fame or adrenaline (technically, when I get an adrenaline response, my first reaction is to check my blood sugar) that I’m somehow not experiencing life to its fullest. I think that’s wrong.

When I was in high school, there was a couple that I knew who seemed to live as though their lives should be on a soap opera. Full of breakups and get back togethers and shouting matches. I know that I didn’t want that kind of life or that kind of love. I don’t want to live a life that is driven by jealousy or drama. I prefer the quiet. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy myself. I find moments of enjoyment in whatever I’m doing. I find the world interesting. And I think that I grow in understanding as I experience my quiet life in a way that people who live too loudly can’t see.

Now, they make their own choices. I’m not telling someone that it’s wrong to seek thrills or fame or fortune. It’s just not necessary for success.
July 30, 2018 at 11:23pm
July 30, 2018 at 11:23pm
What do you make of the advice for fiction that says, “Revise, revise, revise”? Could too much revision kill the original spark, and what is your advice concerning revision?

I believe in revision. But only after a solid first draft is on the table. That first draft is what contains the spark, and it could be that what I end up with veers away. That’s all right. The spark that made me interested in how the story would end isn’t the story itself. I’ve had months and years of frustration with a story, trying to make that first line or that last line still fit because it was so cool and I wanted it. I’ve usually found that getting rid of it in service to the story that came out of it makes the whole thing better.

I revise in several ways. When I’m doing a substantial revision, adding scenes and subtracting them, changing dialogue, adding setting details, changing tense or point of view—I actually will bring up a new document and rewrite the story. I have more freedom to move things around then when I’m not working with the original typed document that keeps me more attached to the structure that might need reshaping. When I was writing my thesis, I rewrote every story in it from scratch. Each time, it felt more right.

I also revise by editing. Here is where I go through and line edit, adding grammatical things I might have missed, changing a sentence here or there. This is also important but it comes later in my process. It’s more like polishing.

Sometimes, after I’ve polished, I look at the story (or get someone I trust to look at the story) and end up doing a major rewrite because it’s not working. Breaking something apart sometimes is the best way for it to heal. I mean, it doesn’t matter how often you polish a gem stone if the stone itself has a flaw. Cutting it away will make it brighter in the long run.

So, my advice is to not be afraid of revision. Revise until the story is ready to stand on its own. And then send it out into the world. If it comes back, maybe revise again.
July 10, 2018 at 10:41pm
July 10, 2018 at 10:41pm
Jeff Vandermeer, in his Wonderbook, talks about a “scar” or a “ghost of a scar” or a “splinter”, which exists in a writer’s background that inspires or causes him to begin to write. In his case, it was his parents’ divorce when he was a child. What other kinds of “ghosts of scars” can inspire the urge to write? Do you know of any real-life examples of it?

There’s some truth to this particular myth. We often try to come up with reasons why we are the way we are. And as writers, we are a varied lot. Older, younger, male, female, abused, neglected, harmed, protected, loved—there are highs and lows in any life, and it’s at that edge that most stories happen. I personally know that two major components of my writing are my type 1 diabetes, and the fact that we moved a lot. This house that we live in now is the longest that I’ve lived anywhere. Ever.

Attendant with moving a lot are losing friends, moving schools, changing curriculums, changing weather patterns, changing accents. While I didn’t lose a language (we lived in the US for all my life except for a year and a half that I spent in England) there is enough linguistic variation between New York and Maryland (and then Tennessee) that there were points when I felt I was learning a new language.

The point is, moving is something that shapes my writing. Living with chronic illness shapes my writing. My family shapes my writing. The fact that my nephew died at five days shapes my writing. The fact that I worked at a toy store, the fact that I have taught, the fact that I have a big family, the fact that I’ve lived away from my family, the fact that I have engineers in my family tree . . . everything that I am, all my background causes me to write, not one single, simple scar.

There doesn’t have to be something specific that shapes a life to make it a writing life. I write because I’m me, with all the scars and splinters and aches on my mind that I’ve grown because I live. And they’re unique to me, those scars. That doesn’t make me a better writer (or a worse one) it just makes me.
July 7, 2018 at 11:55pm
July 7, 2018 at 11:55pm
Well, it’s been a while since I’ve played blog. There’s a reasonable reason for that. I’ve been out of town since the third. A lovely vacation involving my sister and her family, and sleeping on the floor of my nephews’ room and having no real time or space to read or write or anything like that. But I enjoyed myself. We watched fireworks the way nature intended. On the television. We had a small birthday celebration for one of my nephews (who just turned five) and watched him get overexcited over his new kickball which (as he told us after some careful coaching) is an outdoor toy. We watched movies (and when I say movies, I mean, things that appeal to the children who ranged from eleven (Minecraft) to almost two (Potty Power)).

At this point, I’m tired and I’m sore and I’ve spent way too long on an air mattress and way too little time on my computer or reading the book that I started last Tuesday, and I’m ready to be home. But too tired to come up with an answer to a prompt.

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