Opening Sentences Meme

Shah Wharton tagged me in a writers’ meme, where I would give the first sentence in each of the first three chapters of my WIP.  The results were to be posted on Facebook, but for those who are not on Facebook,  and since I had written them here first, here they are.  They are from my memoir, which I have been working on most recently.

Chapter One: By the age of two, I’d perfected invisibility, without magic potion, industrial accident, or cloaking device.

Chapter Two: My escape pod was an overstuffed wing chair, shoved into a corner, uncomfortably laden with spiky feathers that surfaced to annoy the occupant.

Chapter Three: I stymied the good sisters at my Catholic school, writing stories instead of practicing my rows of letters, talking to my invisible friends, and generally refusing to  fit the round hole into which they were trying to hammer me.

Excerpts, Memes

Look meme

Last week, Jeff Clough tagged me in the look meme.  Okay, there was a small problem.  I have just begun a new WIP, and wanted to use it. The rules are:

1. Grab your current work in progress. Check

2. Find the first occurrence of the word “look.” Umm, “looked” is in a scene I had just outlined, not written.

3. Copy that paragraph and a few surrounding paragraphs. Well, here’s the outline paragraph.  “A few surrounding paragraphs,” um, well, they don’t exist yet.

4. Post them to your blog. Here you go:

Christine remembered how Estienne had looked at the church door.  He had not smiled, and his hands trembled, but his eyes met hers with kindness.  The breeze had ruffled  his dark, curly hair, and lifted tendrils of Christine’s hair to reach toward him in concert with her thoughts. Her mind wandered as the priest said several prayers, although a phrase pierced the fog now and then. She blushed at the mention of children and grandchildren. Finally, Estienne put his family ring on each of her fingers in turn, rubbing the inkstained one with a smile, before replacing it firmly on the one carrying the vein to her heart. His hand was warm,  and so solid she could remember its touch ten years later.

Her hand cramped, crushing the parchment, driving its edges into her palm.  How could he be dead?

5. Tag five other people. Um, about that. I’m really not good at tagging people.  I think these memes are fun, but some people think they are worse than root canals. So have a whirl, if it sounds like fun.  Please leave a link in the comments if you do.  I’d love to see your excerpts.


11 Questions Meme

Last spring, yes, last spring, Matt Hofferth tagged me in the eleven questions meme.  Like a lot of things, I have let my blog posts languish.

I liked the eleven questions and picked away at a draft from time to time.  I realized last check-in for ROW80 that I needed to pull on my big girl pants and start finishing things I have left undone.  Here are the questions and my answers.

1. More like mom or dad? Is this good or bad? (Be Honest!!)

Oh man!  I have both my parents’ love of language and words. I fight my mom’s passive aggressive nature as well as my father’s Irish temper.  I am a true blend. My mother’s intense shyness, although moderated in me,  makes me uncomfortable at large parties.  I have less of my father’s being able to talk to anyone about anything,  yet I adore teaching and presentations.  

2. You have unlimited funds and architects are designing a new home. You have total say in one room of the house. It will be exactly as you dream it. Describe your dream room.

I would build a  warm, cozy, but not fussy library (big surprise there). I would have both a writing and a computing desk at the correct heights with comfortable chairs. Most desks make me look like a 6-year-old playing at my parent’s desk, and result in shoulders that are anchor-bolted to my ears.

I want a fireplace with big comfortable chairs, large windows and a spiral staircase to the second row of shelves built into the walls.  I don’t want much. 😉

3. City or country? What’s the draw?

Although I used to dream of a large country spread, I prefer the city now.  I want a large yard for the dogs and a bit of distance from the neighbors.  I love my urban neighborhood, but have renters to one side who give all renters a bad name.  I’d prefer a sound and sight buffer.

I love being able to walk half a block to the public library branch, two blocks to get the Sunday New York Times.  I can walk to numerous restaurants and shops of all kinds.  I especially like the ten-minute commute to the day job.  Even better is that I’m going the other direction of traffic both morning and night, heading out of town in the morning and back into town in the evening.

4. What is your favorite time of year?  

Now that I am back where it snows, spring will win.  After a long, dirty-snowed, end of winter, the crocus and daffodil alert almost makes me look forward to my spring allergies.

In second place is fall. I missed the fall colors when I was in Florida, and plan to join the leaf-peepers travelling through the state parks nearby.

5. You have won a two week vacation for two to any place in the world. Everything is paid, travel expenses, hotel and you have an open ended line of credit that will be paid by your benefactor. Where do you go, see, do?  

The short answer is Europe.  My husband wants to see Paris, so that would be our base camp, but I would travel to see my friends in England and the  Continent.  If there were time, I’d like to see Italy, as well.

A close second would be New Zealand, but I think I’d be going solo there.  Anyone want to have the other ticket? 😉

6. Your hero is coming to dinner. What’s on the menu?  

That’s a hard one. I am a so-so cook, but I do make a mean pot roast, so that would be the main course. I am a good baker, so I think I’d make my secret ingredient pound cake. Of course, I provide scintillating company, which is the most important ingredient for any dinner party.

7. What works best to shake off your blues? A good book? A favorite movie? Visiting with friends? Comfort food? Shopping therapy?  

Visiting with friends helps me most of the time, although I have moods that are improved by doing something physically creative, from needlework to painting.

8. What is your favorite board game?  

Scrabble. I love playing with words and coming up with unusual but legal ones.

9. The best lesson you learned from your grandparents?  

Never give up. My paternal grandfather faced adversity with lots of Gaelic curses.

Kindness is not weakness. My maternal grandfather was a quiet, kind, Appalachian carpenter who always had time for me.

10. What is your biggest pet peeve?  

In writing: bad grammar.  I spent too many years teaching college composition courses, so my red pen is never far from me.  

In life: solipsism. There seem to be so many people walking around convinced they are the only person on the planet.  Helloooooo!?!?!? You are not the only car on the road, the only person going through the door, or the only person on the sidewalk.  Figure it out.

11. What are the best qualities in your best friend?

A sense of humor and a good heart.  One needs a good sense of humor to get through rough times.  If one doesn’t have a good heart, a willingness to forgive, to compromise, to try to understand sometimes irrational behavior, it is hard to have a good relationship.

There are rules with this meme, but in my humble opinion, too many rules leach the fun out of these things.  If you find the questions interesting and want to answer them, please do so. If you have already done so, feel free to add your post url in the comments.  If these memes give you hives, wash your hands quickly, and you should be fine.


Excerpts, Memes

Six Sentence Sunday

Today’s exercise in the 15 Days Challenge that Jeff Goins is running requires me to post something ugly. Well, here’s ugly for you. Although this appeared on one of my other blogs, it got no comments, so I’m reblogging it for honest critique.

Lapidary Prose

The parking lot for the Alachua Sink looked unimpressive; cars parked on the dirt under the live oaks. Next to a bulletin board full of announcements and brochures, a sign stuck into the dirt pointed, warning that the observation deck was a half-mile away. The path meandered off into the woods, with few signs of human habitation. Soon I crossed the Hawthorne Trail, a popular bike path that replaced an unused railroad line; its pavement new and bright, a stark contrast to the sandy dirt path that crosses it. Around another couple of turns, I walked underneath a train trestle, rails gone, gravel sidings disappearing into the grass, which was left to grow tall and heavy with seeds. Trees have fallen and been left where they lie, obscured by Virginia creeper and hanging vines as thick as my wrist, looking like those in the early Tarzan movies.

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