Tag Archives: perseverance

The Hawk, Part Thirteen

Usually when another piece of this saga has been published, an accompanying entry is brief; it’s up and you can find it here.  But while I plan to release this tale in a formal manner, more needs to be acknowledged.  Making the conclusion available closes a large circle that I couldn’t have dreamed when first starting this book over four years ago.

I wasn’t a grandmother then, my familial role that of supporting my parents while Dad battled cancer, occasionally helping out my offspring when the need arose.  This tale started humbly, but quickly I sensed a wider scope emerging.  At the same time, my father underwent chemotherapy while quilts knocked on my door.  Writing fell by the wayside; it was difficult concentrating and sewing required less brain power.  Then my youngest became pregnant, followed by her elder sister and….

Suddenly my existence as an author seemed to have vanished on a stiff wind.  Now I wonder if not for The Hawk, might I have eschewed writing altogether?  Yet there was a story to tell, at times bigger than I thought I could tackle.  In bits and chunks I wrote, then decided to simultaneously publish what had accumulated.  That too kept me writing, although the more I fashioned, the longer this tale grew.

In the interim, babies were born, my dad passed.  Eric, Lynne, and the rest became an extension of my own clan; when not writing, I wondered when I might return to their realm, and when I was working, I pondered how blessed was my life with The Burrito, Little Miss, and Miss Em.  My father would find their antics amusing, perhaps how he views my foray into fiction.  How I see my novelistic endeavors has altered, and this story stands like a demarcation; closing my eyes, I easily recall my previous life as an author, but in taking a good look, that woman appears half formed.

Maybe that is simply indicative of life’s changes, but how often do we get a guidebook or pamphlet in the middle of such transitions?  For me, that is what The Hawk has become, a Life Echo minus the sound.  Yet melodic memories waft right over my head, laying their healing beauty within my ears as I read Eric’s laments, Lynne’s dreams, Stanford’s hesitations, Laurie’s joy, Sam’s eagerness, Renee’s hopes, Marek’s wisdom, Seth’s fears, Klaudia’s wariness.  My goodness, that’s quite a collection, but The Hawk isn’t a small novel, lol.  It’s many love stories, a few tragedies.  It’s fact and fantasy set in the 1960s and thank the Lord it’s finally finished.  The entire collection is available on Smashwords, and will be released in full on various other online retailers soon.

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And so comes The End….

In the front yard is my lilac bush, surrounded by roses. A fragrant spot, especially in spring.

At 3.38 p.m. PDT, I closed up my WIP, then saved it on the flash drive that sits on a desk next to the table upon which my computer lives.  The Hawk was finished in a manner much like it began, sort of innocuous, as if from a dream.

I just had to photograph this rose again; it has bloomed so beautifully. Sending love to Miss Cindy; these shots are for you my friend.

Actually, the idea for this book came to me during slumber, and within the novel it ends that way too, Lynne and Eric and….  I won’t spoil the conclusion; let me just say it’s a happy one, emerging over the last few days as though it was always meant to wrap up at the end of a month.  Six months and four years in the making, ahem, but who’s counting?

The back side of that plant, totally awesome….

Not me, not anymore.  Word counts and numbering chapters are over.  The Hawk is finito, oh my goodness!  Amid several baskets of laundry, grocery shopping, and my usual faffing about, I wrote a chapter, number 266 to be precise, a little over 3K in length.  This book started with Eric and Lynne, ends that way too.  Maybe that’s a spoiler, but I don’t care.

I’ve finished this novel, and yup, I’m over the moon.

Quickly I need to thank a few folks; Julie K. Rose has been in my proverbial writing corner for a helluva long time.  Honey, you are amazing, and I love you so!  Laura Bruno Lilly is a writing buddy, also a fellow quilter and (he)artist who connected with me through NANOWRIMO; giterdoneatlastpeace my friend.  There’s my awesome and growing family, to whom I am indebted and blessed by their love and support.  Friends from the ages have proffered their cheerleading ways, thanks more than I can say.  My husband is a saint, literally, ha ha.  He’s also my soulmate who makes this writing gig feasible, not to mention keeping me grounded.  And then there’s….

We call this rose Gracie; flanked by the peach tree to the left, a blueberry bush on the right, with a tall peach-coloured rose behind it, Gracie has to work hard to be noticed. She’s a beauty….

In this story, Christian faith starts out in the shadows, but as it has been within my life, so it builds within the fiction.  I am blessed beyond any amount of words by a Love that exceeds all levels I could dream, grace that soothes, peace that heals.  And divine inspiration that has allowed for this novel’s completion; believe me, there’s no way I could have done this on my own.  I was forty-seven when this story began, have gained, and lost, loved ones.  I’ve turned fifty, then fifty-one, and actually just celebrated another birthday, jeez Louise!  But now it’s all water under one heck of a Hawk-like bridge.

Last but not least are geraniums along the western side of the house. We have more in front, but these are worthy of a shout-out.

Before posting this entry, I want to say that regardless of how insurmountable a challenge may seem, if you feel called to it don’t despair.  As I’ve mentioned, there have been plenty of moments when I wanted to abandon this book, yet I KNEW eventually the impetus to continue would emerge.  Maybe that’s what I’ve learned from this experience, both in how long it has taken to write it, and how lengthy of a yarn I’ve spun.  There is no turning back from that to which we are called to do, merely the simple action of daily performing our duty, be it as a writer, a wife, a quilter, a mother, even an abuela.  Tomorrow I will celebrate my fifty-second year with the hubby, our daughters, the grandkids, and others so beloved.  And no small attention will be given to a novel that is now in the can.  A birthday and book party methinks, hehehe.  Oh yes, definitely time to celebrate.

Feeling a little numb….

Taken on Monday, this rose has a gorgeous fragrance. And plenty of buds just waiting to be enjoyed….

My lovely friend Laura Bruno Lilly tagged me in a challenge to provide three quotes in three days.  I have been trying to feel inspired, but just can’t find an appropriate quote.  However, writing has been a wily distraction; unbelievably, I may be as close to the end as is possible.  Perhaps on Friday I will actually complete The Hawk.

No scent on this bush, but I’m not bothered. I do like me some roses….

In the meantime, hehehe….  But really, that novel’s conclusion has sneaked up on me; recently I’ve written two chapters just like in the old days, although now it takes more than merely the morning to finish my thoughts.  Still, it’s a fantastic feeling, or rather, a numbing sensation; is this real or am I kidding myself?  The End, oh sure, uh-huh, right….  Good things come to those who wait rattled around in my brain, but when I looked it up, that phrase is attributed to a ketchup commercial, so I’m not actually going to employ it as my quote.  But dangit, truer words are rarely spoken.

Our apricot tree has a plethora of fruits, some of which I really should thin out, but I’ve been busy writing….

There have been numerous occasions during the construction of this saga where I have nearly given up, yet far within me lies a door behind which the stories dwell, and for whatever reason I’ve just kept knocking at it, unable to tear myself away.  Now it’s as though I am ready to step over that threshold, and the tangle of emotions are indeed overwhelming.  And if I feel this way with a chapter remaining, how the heck am I gonna be when it’s finished?

On Tuesday some of the buds had opened, akin to how quickly my novel’s conclusion has emerged. Maybe by the weekend this plant will be bursting with blooms!

Dude….  Instead I’m posting pictures of my garden, and in a couple of days we’ll see what happens.  If nothing else, I am almost done, which honestly seems unreal.  When it becomes the truth, I’ll post a note.  For now, enjoy however spring appears in your neck of the woods.  Good things do comes to those who persevere, lol.

Chapter 263

In writing, moments arise when an author prepares to knock over a wall, or build a wall, or build a bridge.  There are times when lives end, identities are altered, and hurdles overcome.  Plot points are different than plot twists, but just as essential in the storytelling.

Hexies waiting to tell their own tales…

I’ve been telling this story for a long time, and perhaps that’s why, as I sit on the precipice of the crux of The Hawk, I need to quickly reflect upon the significance of what is about to occur.  Prior to this novel, I could churn out a rough draft in a matter of weeks, four weeks usually, a NANOWRIMO style that served me well.  But maybe in cranking out those drafts, I missed those previous times that right now I cannot simply throw aside.  What happens next in this novel has been over four years in the making.  And it means a lot to me.

I won’t give anything away, other than to note how in life there are events which upon reflection change us irrevocably.  As a writer, I get to craft those cataclysmic occurrences, but it’s merely fiction, all from my head.  Yet I draw on personal experience, as well as harvesting all I have seen around me.  It’s like making a most delicious soup, and it’s almost done, and I’m about to spoon up a bite to make sure it’s truly as good as it smells.  And once I’ve tasted it, it will be time to dole it out for others to enjoy.  Or maybe it’s just a little like that, I don’t know.  All I know is that since October of 2013, this chapter has been waiting for me.  I didn’t know its exact number, and that’s for the best; if you’d told me it would be 263, I might not have reached this point, ha ha!  Yet it’s right around the corner from this blog post, waiting for me.

A writer’s life is usually quiet, kind of invisible.  But here’s a virtual drum roll, as from a stone’s throw away a novel’s conclusion waves at me.  And off I go…..

For the love of baby quilts (and hexies too)….

First I want to say that having basted hexagon paper pieces with glue and thread, but not on the same hexie, I find thread basting just as expedient as glue, and so much easier to sew together!  There’s more give in a thread-basted paper piece, so I’m not constantly nicking the edges of the paper.  And I can sit on the sofa to thread baste, unlike standing at my sewing table to use glue.  However, those glue-basted hexies won’t get lost in the shuffle; Little Miss, Miss Em, and their folks came to dinner tonight, and my nearly three-year-old grandgirl fell in LOVE with the glued hexies!  Oh my goodness, she was totally head over heels for them, which made this abuela very happy.  We made more hexies for her to take home, solid colours that her parents like; green and purple for dad and mum, and yellow for the nieta herself.  I think she chose red for her little sis, I was just trying to glue fabric onto paper hexagons as fast as possible.  I will see them on Wednesday, when a trip to the craft store will be in order for more paper pieces, and perhaps a wee bit of fabric too.

The initial laying-out of the fabric. Nothing I tried felt at all pleasing, just meh all round.

But this entry isn’t so much about paper piecing as it is traditional machine sewing, although this quilt for a chap due next month came together in a rather odd manner.  I thought I wasn’t going to have time for it, but I did, yet it was a little tricky to design, but then suddenly I’m ready to start quilting it.

Then voila, here’s the end result. I didn’t snap pics in between, just trying to stay in the moment, allowing Grace to do the heavy lifting.

Funny how surprises enter the equation, and even when things seems ultra-tricky, a treasure emerges.

So on Friday morning, I woke with the notion that yes, I was going to make a baby quilt for a fellow I’ll call Tibby.  Actually, his middle name is going to be Tiberius, and if you know your sci-fi, there’s only one Captain James T. Kirk which springs to mind, ahem.  I’m actually not a  Shatner fan, but as soon as I heard about Tiberius’ moniker, I knew the fabrics I wanted to employ for Tibby’s quilt.  That was if I could find the time to make it.

Late on Friday afternoon, the blowy wind made photography difficult.

As I said, Friday morning the time was NOW, um, okay….  This is what I inwardly call Quilting by the Spirit.  There’s no sense in attempting any other work, just let my actions be guided by Hands far more aware than mine.  And that’s what I did, gathering fabrics, then putting them on the quilt wall.  I didn’t want to chop that galaxy into pieces, in fact the more I played around with it, I wondered if I could pull it off.  The saving grace, and I mean literal grace, was that I KNEW it was going to work out.  I had no idea HOW, other than to just keep faffing with those cottons.  Eventually something was going to stick.

While basting today, I did want to capture the moment.

Maybe that’s why I had to start basting hexies with glue, just so Little Miss could nearly lose her ever-loving little mind over them, lol.  Grace permeates the most innocuous part of life, even quilting.  Or maybe especially quilting.

There’s something very relaxing about basting, what I also find with thread and hexagons.

Certainly grace was in force this past weekend, as Tibby’s quilt came into being.  By Friday night the top was done, flannel scraps chosen for the back.  I did some writing Saturday morning, then in the afternoon sewed up the back, also cutting strips for the binding.  That night I sewed together two large batting scraps, then watched the San Francisco Giants beat the Dodgers in like fourteen innings, oh my goodness.  I went to bed, plans for basting in my head.

Luckily the wind wasn’t as strong today, or maybe a basted quilt withstands a breeze better.

But not with glue or thread, just old fashioned safety pins; I started before we left for church, wrapping up this afternoon.  Those binding strips are attached, but in need of pressing.  However, a quilt sandwich now awaits my attention, when just days ago I wasn’t sure if this baby blanket would see the light of day.  But for the Tibster, well, let’s just say I wanted to explore strange new worlds, boldly going where I’ve never gone before.

It was nice to have a wide strip of yellow for the back, complimenting the one on the front. No new fabrics were purchased in the making of this comforter, keeping in tune with my year of using what I have.

That’s part of Grace, trusting in the certainty as well as the goodness.  It’s not easy, trust or faffing around while fabrics land correctly on the wall.  But it’s such a feeling of comfort, knowing I can rely on grace, like snuggling under a quilt, or watching as my eldest granddaughter falls in love with simple hexagons.  Hearing her say hexie was music to my ears, and how this will play into her life is just another thrill awaiting my attention.  This is why, despite many inexplicable events that cast dark shadows, life is a precious blessing.  Family and friends, paper hexagons, simple quilts, and walk-off home runs are meant to be celebrated as Grace winds its gorgeous loving way through it all.  Then a post late on a Sunday night wraps it all together, my thankful heart in awe of such goodness.  May this be a hexie-wonderful week for you too.

Focusing on the task at hand….

Lately the writing has been ultra tedious; while I’m grateful for managing a few sentences, I’ve been distracted too easily, and truthfully am feeling a little beside myself.  It’s like I’m seated next to me as the writer, watching as fingers flail away on the keyboard, my scattered thoughts landing on bits of fabric, scraps of paper, or my eyes drawn to the window, enjoying the rain.

Little Miss seen through an artsy filter her grandpa likes to use.

Okay, so it’s been wet out which is great and I’ve quilted cute coasters to go along with my eldest’s Southwestern placemats and to do lists are being attended, but what about my book?  Oh yeah, I’m writing a novel, or trying to.  The last two years have allegedly been the years I was going to complete The Hawk, but due to life, those plans have been fantastically scuppered.  I won’t say spectacular fail, because I know there is a time for all things.  But time is also a precious commodity and I don’t wish to waste it.  I don’t want to keep saying, “This will be the year!”

Miss Em captured by that same abuelo.

While tackling some early morning mending, I considered just how vital is wrapping up this novel; for me personally it would be an enormous relief, ahem, but in the grand scheme, what does it matter?  I try not to take myself too seriously, yet perhaps that’s been the problem, easier to say that a quilt requires my attention, or that family is paramount.  Don’t get me wrong, my family is key, but in all that faces our world, peace matters.  Love matters.  Healing matters.  These three elements are the basic themes of The Hawk.  Maybe now more than ever completing this saga is essential.

The Burrito shares his breakfast with some friends. It is for all of these grandchildren that my stories need to be shared.

I have never consider this, but until now, I’ve not had a problem writing.  And that’s the truth; right now fashioning prose is abysmally difficult.  But right now is the most necessary moment to relay love, peace, and reconciliation.  Yes I have other responsibilities, however imparting these powerful notions cannot be ignored.  Pondering that as stitches went in and out of a quilt binding provided me with impetus, also an eager hope; I write for a greater good as well as for myself.

And of course there’s Buttercup, who I am certain would say she’s the most important one of all….

We’ll see in a couple of hours if this realization makes any difference in the word count.  But right now a light shines in the recesses of a dark tunnel.  One reason I write is to make my corner of the world a little brighter.  May a rekindling of that flame spark the creative flow into a viable groove.

Enjoying the fruits of my labours….

A cold has kept me from accomplishing much more than the basics, but sometimes it takes a small malady to force me into quiet time.  I’ve worked several Sudoku puzzles over the weekend, a pastime from my Yorkshire days. Mended a pair of jeans, sewed a couple of vibrant squares my grandson left on the quilt wall, watched a little basketball.  It’s been a busy time, what with The Burrito having turned three, Miss Em’s impending baptism on Sunday, plus my hubby and I will celebrate thirty years of wedded bliss this week.  I’m grateful to be feeling better, but lethargy lingers.

Two colourful blocks recently fashioned, their future currently undecided.

Weary of doing puzzles, yesterday afternoon I started reading one of my older books.  I’m not sure what led me to this particular novel, but I downloaded it onto my phone, laid on the sofa, setting a quilt over my lap, and suddenly I was transported over forty years in the past to Arkendale, Oregon.  Simultaneously I was dwelling in my more recent history, about nine years ago when I wrote Alvin’s Farm, yet residing along two different planes of existence wasn’t a bother, maybe due to my cold, or merely what happens when an author peeks back into their literary timeline.  To my delight, I couldn’t put down my phone; while the prose was at times rough, the story remained compelling, even though I know how it ends.

Miss Em catching a snooze….

Even more, I recall how this initial novel was concluded; like The Hawk, Alvin’s Farm had originally been meant as a short story.  HA!  As I wrote, the tale unfolded in manners not anticipated, but in following the muse, I didn’t become frustrated, permitting characters to unwind at their pace, or show up unexpectedly.  (Probably why writing The Hawk continues, as I managed to find The End on a previously enlongated tale….)  But what struck me most was how simple were my intentions; I wrote for the sheer joy of it.  Publishing was a dream, but releasing my books wasn’t even considered, which proves how quickly independent publishing became part of the authorial landscape.

Little Miss and The Burrito hard at work.

But eschewing indie and traditional publishing, what matters most to this writer is the need to share a story.  Nine years ago, I was enraptured with crafting prose, creating characters, bringing to life plots and schemes that seemed to leap from my brain onto the keyboard with an ease that led me to believe it would always be so uncomplicated.  Time to write has become the issue, I certainly have yarns to spin.  But maybe as I approach the last section of The Hawk, I need to remind myself why I do this.

I write because I love to tell stories and want to learn more about the world I inhabit.

That’s truly what it’s about, and what a pleasure and gift to be able to write at all!  I need to remind myself of this mantra, as I’ve put pressure on myself for the last couple of years to finish up The Hawk; girl, it will be done when it’s good and ready, and once it is finished, you will never write it again.  Well, not the first draft anyway, hehehe….

I recall when I completed Alvin’s Farm, stepping from the writing grotto out to where my husband was mowing our front yard.  It was the end of April in 2009, the scent of freshly cut grass heady, matching how I felt at that moment.  So much lay ahead, but all I knew was a tremendous sense of accomplishment, and even completion.  I haven’t felt that lately when finishing up a section of The Hawk, but I should.  I need to embrace all aspects of writing, not fearing what has yet to be set onto my virtual document.  Trust is key here, not merely in my abilities, but in where this tale is meant to go.  And getting back to my mantra is essential: I write because I love to tell stories and want to learn more about the world I inhabit.

Buttercup is pretty happy plopped on a sofa, bless her….

There is a deep personal reward in writing, a great responsibility to readers, but also to oneself in allowing breaks in the work, maybe longer than desired, but life isn’t lived merely with my butt in the chair.  What I bring to The Hawk after an extended absence will enhance it, I can’t be afraid of that.  And in years to come, I’ll sit on my sofa, snuggle under a quilt, and read a part of my fictional history that occurred before I was born, yet imperative to who I am becoming.  I’m certainly not the same as when I began it in 2013, just as my skills aren’t where they were in the spring of 2009.  I need to embrace all these elements, then move forward.  No fear, just trust, and enjoy.  Always remember to enjoy the ride….