13 August 2015

This Blog Is Moving…or giving it a try, anyway.

Well, okay—technically this blog is staying exactly where it is. But new posts are going to be done at a version of this blog through a different host: WordPress.

Maybe I'll get fed up, maybe the nifty design isn't all that nifty, maybe the interface isn't as smooth as it seems, the options it offers not as great as…(*sigh*)...as they honestly are at this point. (I'm not expecting to get fed up.)

I will gradually update this information in all the various places it is filed for autoupdates and such, but if you like to stay on top of things, you can go over to the new place and "follow" it via email.

Hope to "see" you there.

10 August 2015

A Comment Made Elsewhere, But Here with Photo

*This blog is moving. To read this post at the new location, please click HERE.*

Over at Chuck Wendig's super-active blog, he made a great (timely) post about how this constant checking of mobile phones that so many of us do is causing us to check out of our lives.

I wrote in a comment that, perhaps, got a bit off track, or what have you.

But it felt wonderful to write, and it brought back memories of that wonderful adventure — the whole amazing trip from start to finish, plus the person I felt to be before, during, and after, in a kind of "oh, yeah, that was amazing, wasn't it?" rush to which a person is susceptible shortly before her birthday. Especially one of the Big Number ones.


It felt wonderful, and so I wanted to post it here. Especially since I can include a picture I took then. (Not that exact day, on that exact island, but near enough in atmosphere.)


Years ago — okay, it was The Year 2000. I had been in London for maybe six months as a resident film student and, because housing had a rather vagabond quality and my days and nights were to be taken up with on-the-go exciting Filmmaking Adventures, I’d decided mobile was a wiser choice than landline. In my hometown, no one except for maybe — no, I take that back — no one had cell phones. Those huge things with their extendable antennae caused cancer! And cost a mint.
My London mobile was slightly less long than my hand and had only enough screen to show what numbers were coming in or going out. I suppose it texted, but I did not. I didn’t use it as a calculator, either, (assuming that I could have). When I spoke with my parents on Christmas, it heated to the point that I frequently had to switch hands, and it gave me a massive temporal lobe ache. 
It was an amazing thing. Durable even past the point of exploding open after hitting the ground. Several times. 
I couldn’t dial my parents, of course — they had to dial me and pay the international extortion rates. But I had the confidence that should they need to reach me, should they wonder how I was doing, they could get me in an instant. 
And then I took a solo trip to the Orkney Islands. It was the tail end of winter — which, that far north, is quite a tail. It was a good month before tourist season. 
On the main island, cell reception was spotty, but it was there. That was nice, since the calls from my parents amounted to the most my voice got used. No one else was staying in the hostel. Most times, I was the only person walking around town. With my phone, though, I knew I wasn’t truly isolated. 
And then I took a ferry to one of the outer islands. The voyage was an hour or so, maybe more. When you’re riding dark grey waters beneath misty grey sky, time becomes…less a part of your life. And when you do this by yourself, you become…more your self. 
The island was nothing. A shack for the ferry terminal, a turnip farm (belonging to the guy who works the terminal), and several miles of barren land beyond that were closed up houses and a historic site I was unable to locate. The ferry guy drove me there. I thought I’d get a taxi back. 
Taxi service existed only in tourist season. I was stranded in a winterized ghost town. If I missed the ferry back, I’d be stranded overnight. 
On a tiny island at the tip of a bunch of tiny islands off the northernmost tip of Scotland.
No cell service. I couldn’t call people — not the hostel where my things were, not my friends, my family. And people couldn’t call me. And this was not on my itinerary. I’d told no one of this specific day-trip. It was foolish, yes, perhaps. But there it was. No one that I knew, knew exactly where I was with the whole planet potentially an option. I could’ve been anywhere. 
And I was there, anywhere, by myself. Grey skies, grey sea stretching beyond the horizon. 
Me and the land and the sea and the amazing wonder of it all. It was life, reduced to simplicity and revealed to be infinitely complex. 
It was glorious.

25 July 2015

Flash Fiction Challenge: Why I Write

*This blog is moving. To read this post at the new location, click HERE.*

Chuck Wendig (author and author guru) posted another challenge at his website, Terrible Minds, and it soundedwell, not exactly like fun in the way of the previous onebut fun in an important, know thyself sort of way. 

And so here it is: 1,000 words (exactly!)

* * *
Why do I write? 
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have some sort of writing implement either in or at hand. I squiggled my fingers through paint and pencilled loops and wavy lines on scraps of paper. “What did I write?” I’m sure I asked my parents. Frequently. Insistently.
I bashed on typewriter keys with the same intent. “Quertyuiop” (pronounced “Kwer-tee-YOOP”) was a longstanding joke between my dad and me. A joke with no run-up, no punchline other than the thing itself. My introduction to the wonders of mechanical word-setting. The key, wrought by my own little hands, to a magical land.
I love the very act of writing, of laying down graphite or ink where none had been before, of putting letter next to letter to make words and then sentences. My dad’s family ran a printing company. It was gone before I came along, but it has been another joke that I have it “in the blood.” Maybe so. My mother, the other contributor to that blood, is a compulsive reader of menus and roadsigns. Text cannot be ignored. Between the two of us, the cereal box left out at breakfast has been read a hundred times over.
I remember a boxed set of very thin booklets. The first one had simple pictures; the last, full sentences. At some point, I binged, going through booklet after booklet until there were no more new pages to consume and so I read them all again because, my God, reading was glorious. 
It still is.
A list of ingredients:
An odd child, too bright for her own good, growing up feeling out of place in the blistering (literally) heat of Tempe, Arizona. A wonderful (and wonderfully air conditioned) public library. Long days with, for varying spates of time, few friends. A vivid imagination. A compulsive reader. A love of writing things down.
This list is by no means complete, but it’s enough that you can see what the recipe will get you, right? Not a nuclear physicist, surely.