WIPpet Wednesday

WIPpet for March 6

A shift in scene for this WIPpet, although the time frame is the same as the last couple of snippets.  My math is very simple: 6 sentences for the day of the month, and I’m cheating somewhat. Since the bloghop is WIPpet Wednesday, I’m using the 6th of March. WIPpet  Wednesday is hosted by Emily Rayburn at Letting the Voices Out. If you’re interested in joining in or want to read other participants’ snippets, head over to the linky on Emily’s blog.

Valeriy shrugged out of his jacket, hanging it carefully in the armoire. He thought of Anya’s face in the initial, unguarded second that she saw him, before it froze into a mask, like someone smoothing a sheet over a painting not ready for public viewing. That mask stopped him from smiling, from telling Mme. de Stael they had met before. Had met, had loved, had parted. Scrubbing a hand over his face, he wondered why Anya had denied knowing him. He had flown so very close to the sun, knowing the whole time he was not meant to be there, could not possibly deserve to be there, yet was affixed in his fascination with her, his adoration of her.


WIPpet Wednesday

WIPpet for February 20

Here is another installment of the current story. The following lines follow immediately the snippet from last week. are a new scene, just a few hours after the earlier snippets. My math is 13 sentences for the digits of the year added together, plus one to finish the thought. This blog hop is hosted by Emily Wrayburn at Letting the Voices Out, and other snippets can be found here

Anya sighed, her hand trembling briefly before she pulled it out of his grasp. “Remember when I needed to work at the university in Kiev?”

“Yes, of course. You were there for a month.”

“Six weeks,” Anya said, then bit her lip as a blush washed up from her collarbone.

“And you met …”

“Valeriy was working as a clerk in the archives.”

Kiryl stifled his surprise at her use of the young man’s Christian name, and swallowed the question that almost poured out. Anya would tell him when she wanted, or needed, to do so. Changing tacks, he said, “He looked rather surprised when you did not acknowledge knowing him.”

Anya looked at him with a suspicious sheen to her eyes. “He hurt me. I wanted to hurt him.”


WIPpet Wednesday

WIPpet for February 13

Here is another installment of the current story. The following lines are a new scene, just a few hours after the earlier snippets.

My math is 10 sentences for the month, day, and the first three digits of the year added together. Adding the 9 would give too much away!

This blog hop is hosted by Emily Wrayburn at Letting the Voices Out, and other snippets can be found here.

Kiryl stroked Anya’s arm as they entered the front parlor, where a fire had been lit upon their arrival. “Are you tired from meeting everyone? You seemed so at one point.”

Anya smiled the same brittle smile she had unleashed on poor M. Marunchak. “Not at all. Mme. de Stael’s salons are full of interesting people.”

“Even Ukrainians?” At her abashed expression, Kiryl stroked her palm. “I’ve been reading you for years, my heart. I cannot have survived life with you this long without honing that ability.”

Anya grasped his hand, smiling ruefully. “Yes, you read me well.”

“So I know there is more about this young man.”

WIPpet Wednesday

WIPpet for February 7

Here is another installment of the story I began a few weeks ago. The following lines are directly after the last snippet, at least at the moment. I may draw out the suspense for the reader in the next version.

My math is 9 sentences for the month and day added together. This blog hop is hosted by Emily Wrayburn at Letting the Voices Out, and other snippets can be found here.

Although Valeriy managed to carry on a social conversation with Kiryl, his mind drifted to Anya. Her hand had been soft and pliant under his lips, with the scent of lavender water, which always made him think of her, even several years later. Suddenly, he remembered her hand on his face, caressing his cheek. Why had she denied knowing him? They knew each other, he thought wryly, not merely from musical evenings, nor from one or two dances together at a ball, but quite well, he thought with a pang of remorse.

As Valeriy turned to Kiryl, the curve of his cheek drew Anya’s eye. She remembered the glint of his unshaven beard in the morning light, the rough feel of the overnight growth against her palm. She closed her eyes, thinking of the last time she watched him shave. She jumped to feel Madame de Stael’s hand on her arm. “Are you all right, dear Anya? You looked to be in pain.“


WIPpet Wednesday

WIPpet for January 23

This is taken from a very rough draft of a plot bunny inhabiting my brain pan the past several months. It’s set in Paris during the Terror, which makes for fascinating, but demanding, research. Here’s a stab at a WIPpet. The math is 1+2+3=6 for the month and day, + 2 for the first number of the year = 8 sentences.
Madame de Stael said, “My dear friend, I see one of your countrymen, I believe.” She held out both her hands, clasping the young man’s hand between hers, while he gave her a kiss on each cheek. Turning to Anya, she said, “I would like to introduce Monsieur Marunchak to you, Madame Petrenko. Am I right, Monsieur, that you are also from Russia?” After a slight hesitation, Anya looked at the newcomer, freezing momentarily like an animal trying to hide, before she pasted on a brittle smile, saying, “A pleasure to meet you, Monsieur Marunchak.” The young man frowned slightly, saying to Madame de Stael, “No, Madame, I am from Kiev, which is in Ukraine, not Russia.” Turning to Anya and Kiryl, he set his lips into a smile, but Kiryl thought there was puzzlement or perhaps distress in his eyes. “I am very pleased to make your acquaintance, Madame, Monsieur.” Kiryl shook the man’s hand, noting that the man was still looking at Anya.



First Friday Photo — a Bloghop

Distant mountains

The mountains look much better in person, but I was on the train, with only my phone, so this glimpse of the Catskills from across the Hudson River can only suggest how they look in real life. Growing up, I loved mountains, and was left rather unmoved by water, but the last few years I have come to love the juxtaposition of water and mountains that populates so much of New York State.

If you’d like to see more first Friday photos, take a look here.


Excerpts, WIPpet Wednesday

WIPpet for November 28

I have been MIA from this blog for far too long, having spent the last seven months on sabbatical. I will not promise to be back on a regular basis, but I promise that I will try to return more often.

I offer below a WIPpet based on my work these past several months. It is not fiction, nor even creative nonfiction, but a snippet of my dissertation, which is a critical edition of a 1530 Middle English translation of a French work written in 1400 by Christine de Pizan. The sentiments expressed by the translator will relate to many of us, I suspect.

My math is (1+1) x (2+8), minus 1 because it didn’t work to do twenty sentences or lines. Please go check out the other snippets that have been posted here:

In the twentieth century, many scholars, especially those studying Christine’s influence and relevance for contemporary times, have focussed on Christine’s works on women’s education and place in society. Moreau and Hicks, in their translation into modern French of Cité des dames, remark that the spirit of the work is “étonnament moderne” [stunningly modern]; they compare Christine’s views on women’s status to those of Simone de Beauvoir and Virginia Woolf (Moreau and Hicks, 14-16). At the same time, Moreau and Hicks insist that one must “non seulement prendre conscience de ce qui nous rapproche de celles et de ceux qui nous ont précédés, mais aussi de ce qui nous en sépare” [not only be aware of that which draws us closer to the women and men who have preceded us, but also of that which separates us] (Moreau and Hicks 22). In this manner, these scholars avoid the common critical blunder of “seeing in Christine de Pizan the apostle of modern female emancipation” (Kennedy 11). Some literary sociologists have measured Christine against their own standards, overlaying modern social structures upon Christine’s texts; in 1935, this conflation led to Howard Rollin Patch referring to Christine as “the militant suffragist” (Patch 25).

  1. Boke of thy rudenesse by consyderacion
  2. Plunged in the walowes of abasshement
  3. For thy translatoure, make excusacion
  4. To all to whom thou shalt thy selfe present
  5. Besechynge them upon the sentement
  6. In the composed to set theyr regarde
  7. And not on the speeche cancred and frowar[de]
  8. Shewe them that thy translatour hath the wryten
  9. Not to obtayne thankes or remuneracions
  10. But to the entent, to do the to be wryten
  11. As well in Englande, as in other nacyons
  12. And where mysor[dre, in t]hy translacion is
  13. Unto the perceyver, with humble obeysaunce
  14. Excuse thy reducer, blamyng his ygnoraunce.



Beauty of A Woman

The Vulnerability of Orgasm #BOAW2018

This post is part of The Beauty of a Woman BlogFest VII! To read more entries, and potentially win a fun prize, visit the fest page on August’s McLaughlin’s site between today and 11pm PST March 9th.

Vulnerability has become a positive aspect of my life, but it was not always so. In my teens, my vulnerability was couched in terms of whether people–especially boys–liked me, or whether I would do well enough on the SATs to get into a good college. A new level of vulnerability entered my life at 26, when I was raped on a first date. My physical, emotional, and sexual vulnerability overwhelmed me. I had lived alone for years, careful, but not paranoid about my surroundings. I never dreamed that letting a man into my apartment, ostensibly for a glass of water, would change my feelings of freedom and homecoming to fear, my pride of finally conquering anorexia to self-criticism and doubt. Although I found a rape support group that was helpful, I could not move past the violation. I swore I would never be vulnerable again. I built high, strong walls between myself and the world to keep myself safe and always in control.

But the rub is that I built walls between my mind and my body. Many of the positive emotions of life involve both the mind and the body; more importantly, they require letting go. It is impossible to play in the rain if one is worried about what people are thinking, or to fall in love if one is worried about being hurt. The hardest lesson for me was orgasm, which required a level of vulnerability that I had lost, or to be honest, rejected. To paraphrase an old song, you have to “relax if you wanna come.” I had to work for years to allow my body to overcome my mind, to embrace my vulnerability, and to become comfortable with it.

There is true beauty in orgasm. In my innocent, Catholic high school days, a teacher showed us a picture of the ecstasy of Saint Teresa, a sculpture by Bernini. At lunch that day, my more sexually aware classmates were laughing about the depiction of orgasm as religious ecstasy. I was struck at the time with the statue; now I see a masterful depiction of orgasm. The woman embraces the emotions and physical pleasures of the moment. She is no longer in control of her body. Time stops, awareness fades. That moment of utter vulnerability is beautiful.