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.


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.



From Here to Eventually, WIPpet Wednesday

WIPpet Wednesday Bucket List


Lake Placid Village and Mirror Lake from Crowne Plaza Wednesday

I’m not sure what this writing is part of, whether it will lead to a longer piece or just take up a few more pages than it does here.  It is part of a piece on how I have taken on part of my father’ bucket list, left on the list when he passed away in June, two weeks past his 93rd birthday.  I offer 11 sentences for the day, or the month:

Last month, I attended a conference in Lake Placid, further north in the Adirondacks. I am five  months too late to tell my dad about this part of the Adirondacks, or to show him any of the pictures, but I can share them here.  When we were young, he ended up vacationing in Florida, but once we were older, his own preferences were clear. He always drove north when he had time off, to northern Georgia or western North Carolina, drawn to lakes and brooks cradled by mountains.  I share that attraction, fostered by trips to state parks when I was the last child home, staying in lakeside cabins in the crook of a line of ridges. Driving into Lake Placid, I realized how much he would have loved the surrounding mountains, the calm lake. Well, in the summertime or in the spectacle of its autumn colors.  My father was no friend to snow, so the snow veiling the high peaks would have detracted from his enjoyment of the view.

I knew why he had always wanted to see the Adirondacks, as clearly as if we had spoken about it. Although more worn than the Rockies, the mountains shake free of the deciduous trees first, then shake the evergreens off their granite shoulders, reaching respectable heights of three thousand to five thousand feet. Lakes melted from glacial ice reflect the sky, mountains and trees, witnessing the truth of names like Mirror and Placid, while rivers pound through granite gauntlets, frothing white, throwing mist into rainbows above the water.


WIPpet Wednesday is the brainchild of K.L. Schwengel and newly hosted by A Keyboard and an Open Mind. If you want to join in, or read other WIPpeteers, go here.


Garden of Steel Magnolias, WIPpet Wednesday

WIPpet Wednesday Christine the child

Flipping to another WIP, a novella based on the life of Christine de Pizan (1364-1431), the first woman in France to make a living as an author. I give you 18 sentences, adding 9+10, and well, minus 1, because that’s where the piece stops.

If you want to join in, post a snippet from a current WIP that has some connection to the date, and link to the blog hop here. It is hosted by K L Schwengel–thank you!

“Christine, please pay attention to your spinning. It is a disaster, yet you refuse to learn. You must use both your hands in concert.” Christine thought, Synchronicity, like Papa explained about the celestial spheres.

Her mother continued her rant, “Look at the lumps in your wool! Your father thinks he can make you into a scholar, stuffing your head full of Latin and science. It’s not right for a woman to know how to write. How we will ever find a husband for you, I do not know!”

I’ll find my own husband, Christine thought. Stifling a yawn at the perennial argument, she searched through her Latin in a familiar game. Oscitate, yes, that’s yawning, she smiled to herself. Out loud, she said dutifully, “Yes, maman, I will try harder.” She picked up more roving to bear out her promise.

She loved her maman, but she wanted more than her mother’s life.  Christine yearned to be a scientist like her father, famous at the French court for his knowledge of astrology and the humours of the body.   She wanted to discover whether the pestilence that had ravaged the world was due to the conjunction of three planets, as some thought, or from a miasma, a mala aria in her native Italian. She would be as famous as her father, some day, and not for her spinning. She would be a new sort of woman.



WIPpet Wednesday

WIPPet Wednesday Memoir The Good Girl

More from my memoir.  Thanks to KL Schwengel, who hosts WIPpet Wednesday.  If you want to join, post an excerpt that has something to do with the date and add it to the linky here. My math is 9+3=12+2=14+4-=18 for 18 sentences today.

After dropping out of high school, I went  to a very small women’s college, where I first breathed free as a scholar.  I did not have to hide away so that men might be interested in me, as there were none in my classes. While younger than most of my class, I was not the youngest in the crowd, and quickly acclimated to the ivied halls. My professors treated me as an adult, and I responded, flourishing in the life of the mind.  None of them saw the yawning gap in my psyche where a person was supposed to dwell. My personhood was stitched together like the B movie monster with a transplanted brain, my mind and body unconnected, striving against each other at every decision.

My sophomore year in high school, I dated a young man who ended up being the only one who asked me out more than once. After what I felt was a suitable period, and feeling that no one else would ever be interested in me, I married him at the beginning of my junior year of college. My relationship with him, and thus, my marriage, worked on exactly the same lines as all other aspects of my personal life:  do whatever I was told, never question authority, never rock the boat, never stand out in any way.  My ex-husband, also very young, did not know any better. He constructed and maintained the box in which my soul and personality was locked away.  I became a chameleon, without opinions of my own. With some empathic ability, I quickly mastered ascertaining others’ opinions and preferences, and reflected them as faithfully as a mirror, with no distortions or additions of my own.

When I went to graduate school, and began to find my professors expected me to be an adult, my husband left me for a college friend, saying that he found my ambition to get a Ph.D. distasteful.  Left entirely on my own for the first time in 23 years, I realized that I did not know what music I liked, what books I enjoyed reading, or what foods I liked to eat. I had never done grocery shopping alone, I had never written a check, and I had never lived alone. I knew how to be a scholar, but I had no idea how to be a person.

WIPpet Wednesday

WIPpet Wednesday August 27, 2014

I have to do some magic with math to make this excerpt fit.  If one takes the end numbers from the year 2 + 4, and adds the final digit of the date + 7, one gets 247 words.  Ha!  I pulled that magic off!

My alien sons drew unknown resonances from me as they travelled through childhood.  On an early morning walk, my two-year-old tugged me down to his level, pointing at the grass.  I ended up lying on the wet, cool, grass to see the rainbow displayed in a drop of dew.  My explorations in childhood had been through books, except for pools of water large enough to swim.  The senses were suspect, kept muted and at bay, so that the life of the mind could run unimpeded by the physical body that wrapped it in flesh and bone.

My sons were bold explorers of the life of the senses. The first time my son snuggled next to me, glorying in my touch,  I felt a trespasser in a foreign land, as these ways were not countenanced in my parents’ house.  My father often teased my mother, proclaiming the smoothness of his cheek after a morning shave.  I can’t have been more than six, pressing my cheek to his to feel what he meant.  He turned to stone as if my hair were snakes, pushing me roughly from him. I never touched him again without invitation. He willingly touched me for the first time when I was moving a thousand miles away at age 22.  My sons’ bold assessment of, and joy in, the physical world allowed me to see through the curiosity and somehow right reckoning of my boys, opening my mind and heart to things unknown, unseen, and untasted.