Tag Archives: The Hawk

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.

Living in a post-Hawk world….

Well, a post-writing The Hawk life; the last few mornings I have enjoyed that after a novel is done mood, which I have not known in ages.  It’s a liberated sense, in that nothing sits on my shoulders prosaically.  Of course, there is still laundry, grocery shopping, a shower to clean, ahem….  But the writer within me is taking a nap and doesn’t wish to be stirred until perhaps July.

The editor, however, has put on her hat, sharp pencils in her back pocket, an eager grin waiting to get busy.  And I will embrace the revising life, chapters read each day until again I locate The End.  But this work is less intense, in that the foundation is solid, if not in need of sweeping.  So many elements in writing a book.

And my husband was correct, in that another idea is screaming to be set across the virtual page; my overactive imagination is a blessing, but man it keeps me hopping.  Yet I’ve learned a few things from The Hawk, one being that I will never again publish a novel until I have actually finished it.  I mentioned that to my hubby, and he smiled, noting he would call me on it.  I said, “Yes please,” because there is a responsibility to the reader which cannot be ignored.  To me, beta releases are great, but only if a conclusion has been reached and not merely within this author’s gray matter.  Perhaps releasing The Hawk in sections as I finished them kept me going, but that was also a lot of inner pressure.  Definitely a major lesson learned.

The other takeaway is a far more gradual message I’m still wrapping my head around; I don’t write like I used to, which of course is good in that one strives to improve upon the craft.  However, when the words no longer fall like rain, a creeping sense of futility emerges, which if not qualified by how one’s life is altering might appear as writer’s block.  While I’m grateful to have started this gig once my kids were teens, now a little over a decade later, grandkids have wrested away some of my fictional thunder.  Okay, so has sewing, but for the foreseeable future, I’m an abuela before I’m an author.  In the battle of The Hawk vs The Burrito and Little Miss, a novel got its butt kicked all over the last four and a half years of my life.  But not all battles turn on one tide….

How could any tale top those smiles?

Nor do wee ones remain that way forever.  And that perhaps is the key issue I am grasping, yet not only in relation to adorable toddlers.  From 2007-2012 I churned out drafts, blithely expecting that would always be the case.  But life has a funny way of derailing assumptions, new paths waiting to be explored.  Grandkids and quilts will enhance my second decade of writing, seasoned by a hawk full of grace.  This isn’t merely a mantra to appease when time seems squeezed, but the honest truth.  Our existences aren’t static, we have to be brave when facing new challenges.  I have to believe, as I have said here before, that I will be given the necessary abilities, as well as the time, to master whatever task comes my way.  It’s up to me to humbly accept what gifts are set into my hands, as well as the moments in which to enjoy them.

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…..

Stepping Back in Time

New Year’s Eve 2013 at The Hook in Capitola, California…..

At first I titled this post Like Stepping Back in Time, then I backspaced the Like; today I totally felt as if years had melted away, in writing an entire chapter of The Hawk.  But beyond the word count, another sensation loomed, that of authorial joy, wordy pleasure, novelistic thrill.  These elements used to be commonplace when I sat at my computer.  Lately they have seemed mostly absent.

The moon in November, 2013….

But yesterday I noticed a giddy fictional exuberance that was wholly real, and it continued today, much to my blissful surprise.  It was as if I dwelled in 2015, 2014, or 2013 when I first began writing this book.  It’s turned into several sections, but started innocently enough.  At times over the last two years I had to wonder if I might ever complete it.  And while The End still eludes, my sense of purpose has returned.  Talk about one happy grandma!

Another shot of the moon, November 2013….

Ha ha, a grandma, really?  Um yeah, dude….  When I became an abuela is when the amount of  prose started to not suffer, but slightly decline.  In today’s work, I needed to fact-check some previous sections, and while perusing those paragraphs, I recalled how easily those scenes had emerged.  It was a different season in my life, one I recall fondly, but time is fleeting, this very day already well into the afternoon.  Each moment is meant for this or that, like working on quilts or housecleaning, what I did yesterday.  Occasionally it’s hard not to compare now with the past; better to embrace what is, and after today’s chapter, I am over the moon in celebrating the present.

An early Christmas present in 2013; these books were a part of my childhood, and now live at my grandson’s house. The nietos weren’t even a consideration then, but how life changes…..

Speaking of the moon, today’s photos are from autumn of 2013, when The Hawk burst into my brain, then onto a virtual document.  While my husband still treks about his fave park, I rarely drive to Capitola, too busy with grandkids, sewing, and thankfully still writing.  Ah writing, yes, such a blessing to again type with impunity.  Tomorrow I’ll be hanging out with my grandgirls, but come Thursday, perhaps this wave of paragraphical happiness will rush over me.  In the meantime, there’s a baby blanket in need of attention.  I’ll ponder Eric, Stanford, Lynne, and Laurie as I rock the needle, quilting style….

Easier to unpick a novel than a quilt….

New additions to my crafting collection….

Been working on The Hawk this week, although one step forward has translated to two chapters backwards.  At this stage, without proper justification I can’t blithely say, “Oh yes, Stanford will be attending the Fourth of July activities even if he has dropped the Snyders like a hot potato.”

Rummaging through scrap buckets was exhilarating; I do like me some blues.

That was what I did the last time I got some noveling accomplished.  However, hindsight is 20/20, and laying the groundwork wasn’t more than changing chapter numbers, then writing a couple thousand words which add to more than the word count.  No cheating allowed when so close to the finish line….

My first block, awaiting needle and thread.

Ahem.  But that’s not all I wish to say today, although it has been on my mind, alongside another idea that current resides as no more than a playlist.  Ah, the days of playlists and pounding out rough drafts within thirty days.  Man, that feels like ages ago, long before quilts muscled their cottony ways into my life.  And if my sewing machine wasn’t enough of a distraction, now there’s hexagons and glue sticks and English paper piecing (EPP).  What???

Block #2 awaiting assembly. The center fabric was from my very first quilt.

Over Easter, I chatted with my son-in-law’s mum about how aging has taken its toll on our creative output.  After seven or eight o’clock in the evenings, both of us are toast when it comes to fashioning crafts that take precision.  Hand-sewing doesn’t fall under that header, but there hasn’t been much to tackle since I completed the blue quilt binding, and while plenty of projects line the quilt walls, very little of it is at all close to being bound, much less hand-quilted.  I’m still finding my feet after being away for some of March, then Easter.  Other than inserting necessary backstory into my novel, the rest of my creative flow is in a muddle.

Strips of scraps awaiting the rotary cutter…..

Or maybe the better term is transition; in the evenings while my hubby watches the Warriors, I’ve been perusing blogs that focus on English paper piecing.  Don’t ask me why I’m being drawn in that direction, other than a need for nighttime relaxation.  But yesterday I pulled the trigger, picking up 1.5″ hexagons and glue sticks, and by bedtime I had one hexie block sewn.

Which leads to another designed block!

I feel a wee bit guilty, as placemats are waiting as well as a duvet cover for Little Miss, not to mention a baby quilt on my list, but a dear friend is coming next week and one of our activities will be craft-related.  She cross stitches and I’ll have these hexies and….  And for whatever purpose EPP has in my life, I need to throw caution, but not my sewing machine, to the wind.  I’ve already found that thread basting might be my preferred method, although I have yet to sew together hexies basted in that manner.

This block is a mix of glue and thread basted hexies. I wonder which will prove easier to sew….

(I found myself poking through the papers with glue-basted hexies, so we’ll see if thread basting becomes my way.)

For me, thread-basting is just as fast as using glue. Having wrangled free one glue-basted paper, these will slip much easier from the fabric.

What does this mean for The Hawk?  Not that much, as I don’t sew in the mornings, and can’t write more than grocery lists past noon.  On days when I have time, these pastimes can peacefully coexist, and for that I am truly grateful; I can’t fathom having to pick one over the other, other than to say it is much simpler to insert prose than rip out stitches.  Not that I prefer those chores, but if forced to choose….

My first sewn hexie block, waiting for friends to join it.

The day when it comes to that, I’ll be in big trouble.  For now, words and fabrics are fast friends, and we’ll see how paper piecing blends into the overall quilting scheme.  Maybe once I have a plethora of hexies basted, other cotton projects will resume course.  In the meantime, have a hexagon-ally magnificent day!