Tag Archives: perspective

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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Art amid the flames….

Binding is attached, now to hand sew it to the back of the quilt.

A delicate balance exists in my heart right now; the devastation from the Sonoma, Napa, and Solano County fires is hard to wrap my head around, although every time I step outside I’m reminded by the smoggy sky and smoky aroma.  I’m feeling blessed to be out of the danger zone, but helpless when considering all that has been lost by so many.  I’ve written about this sensation recently,yet here are those emotions again.  In a matter of minutes homes were destroyed, whole neighborhoods wiped away.  The awesome power exhibited by these fires is chilling, and I struggle to find words strong enough to convey my thoughts.

My hubby came home early, and assisted in this photo shoot.

The last few nights I’ve been completing a quilt started months ago, but set aside for other projects in need of my attention.  Amid baseball playoffs, my husband would switch to the local news as I attended to a comforter meant for dear friends who before the end of the month will become first time grandparents.  This quilt was made for that coming nieta, but abuelos require a blanket too, for future days of cuddles and fortbuilding.  I’ll send it off once the good news arrives, so when they return home after meeting their newest family member, a quilt will remind them of love far away.

I had worried about over-quilting it, but I’m pleased with how it looks upon being washed.

And therein lies the basis for these reflections, how life continues even when so much seems impossible to believe.  I have to admit that once I had attached the binding on this quilt, joy overwhelmed me, for how long it’s taken this project to come to fruition and the bliss attached to it.  Yet to go outside to photograph it immediately hearkened to tragedy and ruin.  I tackle these themes in my writing, how much good can come from what seems so bleak.  But reality is a sledgehammer compared to fiction.  It’s a lot for this grandma to ponder.

The back is probably one of my best efforts. A nice contrast to the blues….

One thing I can do is use my time and talents to lessen the pain of others.  The second set of plus blocks still waiting to be sewn together will be donated, along with a few other of my creations, once I turn those blocks into a finished comforter.  There is of course prayer, which I have offered fervently on behalf of those who are now homeless, as well as all those working above and beyond the call to contain these fires.  Then there is a focused appreciation for my quiet little neck of the proverbial woods; daily irritations slip away when the massive scope of such desolation is considered.  And finally a post written to somehow take stock, even if just a few scattered words trying to make sense of what seems so senseless.

Special thanks to my better half for making these shots possible.

What comes back to me is how brief are our lives, and how vital it is to do good, to love, and to hope for the best.  Sometimes that is all we can do.

Creativity amid catastrophe

Medicine Lake where my youngest recently went camping with her family. Such serenity….

Quilting on the Wedding Comforter is going well; I’ve come up with a nice design that looks great on the back, and is easy for me to keep track of while sewing.  I like improv hand-quilting too, but that takes more forethought, and sometimes it’s nice to meander along with a firm plan in mind.

As for The Hawk, I have six chapters left to edit of Part 12, then writing awaits.  That’s thrilling, also a bit overwhelming, but even if I don’t finish it before the next nieta arrives, eventually this saga will find its completion.

However, contemplating such WIPs almost feels a little wrong; hurricanes and earthquakes have wreaked havoc in America, Mexico, and Guatemala, so where do my small accomplishments fit in?  I mentioned the idea for this post to my husband as we headed to church on Sunday, and our pastor’s sermon carried a similar notion.  He claimed that he’d happily watch the LA Dodgers in the World Series if calamities worldwide could be tamed.  I’m not sure I can be that altruistic, yet I was relieved by his words.  We chatted after the service about this idea; I wondered if Americans felt at all this way during World War II, so much devastation occurring in Europe but other than Pearl Harbor, the United States saw no destruction.  Sitting in my writing/sewing room, I have no worries about floods, high winds, or ruin. An earthquake could strike, this is California, but today all is fine in my neighborhood.

Maybe the answer to my musings lies in referencing a conflict that touched nearly all the Earth; the wreckage of WWII was vast not merely in the damage inflicted upon nations, but for the loss of lives, those of soldiers, The Holocaust, and civilians.  Yet to speak of that conflict sounds slightly antiquated, for it was over seventy-five years in the past.  However, one day 2017 will be seventy-five years ago; life doesn’t stop for any disaster, natural or man-made.

In the tangle of wreckage, beauty still exists, spots of quiet stillness a balm.

It’s important to recognize calamity in one’s midst, to offer help, to pray for restoration.  There will always be chaos somewhere on this planet, but healing occurs over time.  The small gifts I manage via prose and fabric shouldn’t be diminished due to greater losses, but celebrated for the joys they extend, for if joy is forgotten, then hope is extinguished and catastrophe emerges victorious.  I’m working out this notion as I type, which is one of the reasons I write; to better understand the world around me.  But another purpose for my creative endeavors is to translate the beauty that has been placed into my soul.  To hide that away would be like dousing a flame, and that’s not what I am directed to do.  Especially now, when life seems rather bleak, all the better to shine my light, small as it is.  It’s proof that hope endures, goodness triumphs.  I pray for those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and the Chiapas earthquake.  My work today is dedicated to them.

How This Writer Is (slowly) Getting Back Her Groove

By hook and by crook the words are forthcoming.  These first chapters back aren’t overly long; today’s was 2,5 something something, two and a half K of this and that and roads less traveled.  Sometimes that’s all writing is, a little bit here, a little bit there, until suddenly I’m looking at enough sentences to call it a day.

Part of my lingering malaise is that the plot alteration that returned me to this story has been truncated.  Well, fine novel, have it your way.  Okay, maybe not altogether abridged, but altered, and that was the last way I wanted to get back into this story; there’s enough melodrama without me adding to it.  But then, that’s also part of this story’s issue; a lot of drama!  Well, a lot of plot, because I’m seventy-nine chapters into it, with no end in sight.  Although, thank the lord, I do *know* the end.  It’s the getting to the end that sits like a vast field of landmines in front of me.

If I step here, will that backfire there, or curtail that, or…  Or maybe I’ll just sabotage the whole thing myself by tweaking this part, forgetting about that bit….  It could do my head in, if I let it.  And that’s the other key to finding one’s writing groove: don’t let the story get away from you.

Now, that’s not to say don’t let the story evolve as it wants to, because there is a difference.  I wanted Sam and Renee to adopt well into 1963.  But no.  It looks like they will become parents perhaps before the end of 1962!  Okay, whatever.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t twist that change to my advantage.  Yup.  And as soon as I figure out what that advantage is, I’ll be in like Flynn.  And if you don’t know what that means, it’s okay.  Lately I’ve been feeling like I’m living in two time periods, one in which technology rules, and the other…  The other is five decades in the past, which has little to do with my writing groove, other than to note that if I’m that inundated in the early 1960s, well, I must be doing something right.

Right.  Write.  Uhhh….  Yeah, writing, I’m writing, and while it’s been taking its sweet little ole time getting going, maybe, I hope, finally, I’m back on the train.  It is like riding a bike, or maybe getting back behind a sewing machine, in that the process isn’t lost, only rusty.  Thankfully with a sewing machine, there’s a manual.  Riding a bike is an ability deeply implanted in one’s gray matter, just a matter of overcoming the initial wobbles.  And writing…

Well, it’s a little different, no manual, and it’s not quite physically ingrained into my memory.  Writing takes my memories and transforms them into prose, maybe not great prose, but prose nonetheless.  That’s all writing is, in a way, taking our experiences and tweaking them a little, or a lot.  Then a story is formed, here and there, bit by bit.  Landmine by tripped landmine at times, or sometimes I just manage to scuttle past, skipping about the landscape of the story by the skin of my teeth.  Then suddenly I find myself in a calm, wide clearing, as if no mines had ever existed.

I can see that vista, just ahead on the horizon.  It’s so close, cool streams of plot and prose flowing clear and swift.  All I want is to fall on my knees and drink deeply from those perfect, healing waters.  It’s nothing at all like quilting or riding a bike, it’s what every writer dreams of.

And it’s only a chapter, or two, away…