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.”

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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.“

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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.

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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.

EM

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.

EM

 

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.

EM

WIPpet Wednesday

Wednesday WIPpet, August 13, 2014

I give you 13 sentences of my memoir for the 13th day of the month.  WIPpet Wednesday is hosted by KL Schwengel.  If you would like to participate, post a date-related (calendar date, not romantic date) snippet of a WIP (hence, WIPpet) here.

My complicated childhood echoed through the years in odd ways. Although family is very important to me, I rarely tell any of my family how important they are to me. My sons encouraged that reticence when they were teenagers, fleeing emotion as if it were hydrofluoric acid. However, those sons also helped me learn how to be a mother to alien creatures, who acted nothing like their sisters. Furthermore, I had met my daughters when they were 5 and 3, so 0 to 3 was unmapped wilderness, filled with snapping wolves and lumbering bears. My sons laid to rest any nature versus nurture discussions I had in my mind; their drive and fearlessness taught me how to take risks, while making my face pale with fear. They put up with my inability to help them with math and physics homework, as well as my crying through nearly every movie I took them to see. Well, not Pokemon.

My daughters, who accepted me as a second mom, weathered my learning how to be a mom. I remember the stark terror I felt when my oldest daughter handed me a Barbie, inviting me to play with her. I had never played dolls with anyone in my life, and I knew nothing about being a child. She was very gentle with me, explaining the rules, “Barbies are plastic, so they can’t talk back to us. We can imagine them talking, though.”

Both girls guided me through playing in the park, swinging and talking, giving me a childhood I had imagined but never lived.

EM

WIPpet Wednesday

WIPpet Wednesday Innocent Abroad

This snippet is from my trip to London for research in 2011.  I had not travelled overseas since 1974, and my natural poise (ha!) was not always in place. My math was 8+6=14 paragraphs, but my piece of the story ends at 16, so I guess I’ll add the first digit of the year for 16.

Finally drifting into a deep sleep, I was jerked awake when the seat in front me reclined, revealing an extremely large man, whose unkempt head was now in my lap.  I felt I should wash his hair, or shave him at the least. He shifted about every ten minutes, just enough peace to lull me back to sleep.  Then, the loud groan of the seat protesting its mistreatment, my heart pounding in fear before my brain recognized the noise, then further fear for my shiny new knee being crushed by the whole thing crashing down upon it. I had wisps of nightmarish dreams, of which I remember only the sense of unease and discomfort; I do remember wishing that I would not wake up until we had landed.

I got my wish. I fell asleep with my usual wonderful timing—about an hour before I had to get up. I woke to the flight attendants telling the fellow in front of me to put his seat upright for landing. I was still pretty muzzy, as I joined the huge file of supplicants for fresh air and freedom from flying tin cans.  As I entered Customs, my attention was caught by the long queues on the right side of the room: green for UK and EU passport holders; blue for other passport holders with nothing to declare; red for aliens with things to declare. I got into the blue line. Wait, shuffle; wait, shuffle. Finally, I approached the agent, who held out her hand.

“Entry card.”

Huh? ” Oh, they didn’t give me one.”

She pointed to the other side of the room, where small tables magically appeared through the mist of my brain. “Go fill one out.”

Getting out of line, I went over to a table, and picked up one of the pens attached to the table. Like everywhere else in the world where those pens are attached, it doesn’t work. I tried the next one, and the next one, and went to the next table, trying each and every pen, none of which work.

Okay, at the time, I was a rare books librarian. I did not own ballpoint pens; I did have several nice fountain pens, but the reason they are called fountain pens becomes painfully obvious when you fly with them. Therefore, all I have with me is a nice mechanical pencil. Sigh. I got back in line. Wait, shuffle; wait, shuffle. The same agent holds her hand out for the entry card.

“I don’t have a pen.”

She pointed to the tables, “There are pens on the tables.”

“There are no pens that write on those tables.”

She handed me a pen, and waved me back to the other side of the room. So I filled out the form, madly scrabbling through my papers to find the postal code for the hotel. By now, there was no line. I handed the entry card to the same agent, who then held out her hand for my passport. She looked at it, sighed. “American.” Ah, welcome to London to you too, my dear.

She stamped my passport with a certain disdain, and directed me to the exit. I spied an Information booth, so I went to ask about charging my phone.

“Our power points are different from the US.”

“Yes, I know. Where could I find one?”

“We have no electricity at Heathrow.”
“You’ve figured out how to run an airport without electricity?”