New Year Update

January 2012 update: Welcome to a new year and some new posts! I hope to reward my readers with regular updates now that the holidays are over. Keep reading and enjoy! Please leave a comment or two, if you feel inspired ;o)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

When the Willow Whispers - Page 10

     As the evening wore on, tea cups were emptied and the fire died down. Sleepily, the four of them said their good nights and headed upstairs to bed. Since Emmy had moved to the city, her mother had left her room virtually the same aside from replacing Emmy's full size bed with two twin beds on opposite sides of the room. As she and Maia entered the room, they each took a bed without discussion. Maia had visited Emmy's parents many times, and always slept in the bed by the closet, while Emmy always took the bed by the window. Diana had left pajamas on the beds for each girl along with a set of towels. They changed into their pj's and took turns in the bathroom brushing their teeth and washing their faces and crawled into warm beds.
     "What's this?" Maia asked as she landed on something squishy and warm.
     Emmy who had pulled her blankets further back, already knew. "Hot water bottle. Mom put them in the beds to warm them up for us after she boiled the water for the tea."
     "Ooooh, I like it. It's so warm."
     "They're great on a cold night. And they stay warm until morning. They're great to cuddle up to. Like a warm stuffed animal! I have one at the flat that I use in the winter." Emmy switched of the lamp next to her bed. "'Night Maia"

     For a moment, when Emmy woke up the next morning she forgot about the tree and where she was. As she looked around the room from her childhood she started to panic. She had the distinct feeling that something was wrong. She began to think she had slept through her alarm and was running late for school. Her eyes swept over to Maia in the twin bed on the other side of the room and she remembered two things. One: she was an adult now, so she didn't have to worry about being late for school. Two: her and Maia had decided to spend the night here at her parents, after driving all the way out here to plant that damn willow tree. Then a third realization hit her. The willow tree. Crap! She suddenly had the overwhelming urge to get outside and see if it had taken it upon itself to grow another five years over night. She jumped out of bed and was instantly hit by the crisp morning chill that had permeated the old house through the night. She quickly grabbed the jacket she'd left by her bed and then put her shoes on to race downstairs.
     As Emmy had been noisily dashing about the room, Maia started to wake up. "Hey, what's going on? Is there a fire I should know about?" She asked, sleepily.
     "'Morning. No, there's no fire. I just want to get outside before my parents do, and see if that tree grew again."
     "Can't you just look out the window?"
     "Oh. I hadn't thought of that." Emmy pulled the curtain aside and peered out the window. "It's too foggy. I can't see more than fifteen feet at best."
     "Well, hold on. I'll get up and go with you. I'd like to see this miracle for myself!" With that Maia jumped out of her own bed, threw on her own coat and shoes and the two of them quietly ran down the stairs together.
     A blast of chill air hit them as they stepped out the backdoor. Maia wrapped her coat tighter around her. "I thought it was supposed to be spring. Why is it so cold and foggy?"
     "It gets foggy in the middle of summer out here. As for the cold, I think we're going to have a late spring. It definitely makes me want to stay curled up in my warm bed." Emmy jammed her hands into her pockets and pressed on. All of a sudden they saw it. Looming up out of the fog. "I'm not crazy. You see it too, right?"
     Maia stood for a few seconds frozen in disbelief or of cold, Emmy couldn't be sure. Then her mouth dropped open and closed a few times without any sound coming forth. Emmy let her friend get her head around things. Finally Maia spoke. "I knew you weren't crazy, but I couldn't quite believe it, either. This is amazing. Now, I'm a little frightened that maybe I'm going insane. How is this possible? Did we get the right tree? You sure your mother doesn't already have a willow somewhere else in the back yard?"
     "Nope. No other willows anywhere on the property. This is definitely the tree we planted last night. How far would you say it's grown this time?"
     "You're the garden expert. I have no idea how much it's grown, but I'm pretty sure it's not supposed to be so noticeable."
     "You'd be right about that, Maia. I'd say it's had at least another three year spurt over night. How am I going to explain this to my mother?"
     "I have no idea, but I'm getting cold again, and there's nothing more we can do out here, so lets head back inside, and we'll try to figure something out before your parents wake up."
     "Good plan. I'm cold too."
     With that, they traipsed across the backyard, back inside the marginally warmer house, and up the stairs to their beds where their hot water bottles were still warm enough to take the chill off, and brainstormed.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Every writing process is different

     I digress from my tale of Emmy's magic willow seed tonight to reflect on the writer's process. I find myself sitting here and thinking about when I started this project. I'd been wanting to create something new for a while and my intent when I opened this story was to sit down and force myself to free-write. I've always been told to do a stream of consciousness when my creativity is blocked, and see where it leads. I've also been told that to teach myself discipline in my writing, to write something every day, and if nothing comes to mind then let the stream of consciousness flow.
     So, when writing the opening to "When the Willow Whispers" I had no intention of making it into a story of any kind. I kind of figured it would end up being a bunch of gibberish. As I started to type, however, the words and ideas for Emmy's first scene just came to me from nowhere. When I had finished that first post, I knew that Emmy's tale must be told. Of course, I had no idea how it was going to unfold, just that it must. While shopping at the super market, I derived my inspiration for my seed. I  can't tell you how, as it may give away aspects of the story that are yet to be written. I can tell you that I told my mother about the willow seed and the magical story to come and she couldn't wait for me to write it. In truth, neither could I. For, while I know the gist of where Emmy is going, her journey as she gets there is as much a mystery to me as it is to everyone following along.
     I find this a strange way to write, but also very exciting. I love reading. Writing in this fashion is almost like reading another author's book. In the past I had a very clear idea of where I wanted my story to lead, what characters I would cast, their motivations and aspirations. In short, I had the entire story mapped out in my head, but only to be written. This book however, continues to take me where it wants, and opens my eyes to new possibilities and paths that it can take, every time I sit down to write. I'm enjoying the ride, so far, and I hope that you are too!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

When the Willow Whispers - Page 9

     "So, I'm not saying I believe you, or anything. Well, not entirely, but what happens if your mom comes out here to see a fully grown tree tomorrow?" Maia asked as she peered into the hole.
     "I haven't thought that far ahead yet. I figured I'd worry about it when it happens." Emmy replied, as she tried to wipe some dirt off her face, but only succeeded in spreading it around her forehead.
     The girls legs were covered in the dirt and dust from digging their hole. They were almost finished and just about to head around to the front to grab the tree. Emmy looked up at the sky. "You don't see stars like these in the city."
     Maia followed Emmy's gaze. "No. No, you don't. You were lucky to grow up out here." She set her shovel to the side. "I've been in a city all my life. I'm not sure I'd know what to do with myself out in the sticks, but I do appreciate its beauty."
    Emmy laughed, "Are you kidding? You'd go mad in 10 minutes without the trains and taxis and people honking their horns in traffic jams!"
     Maia gave Emmy the best hurt expression she could muster before breaking into giggles. "It's true! Where would I be without rude people shoving into me on the pavement, or yelling at one another in the flat next door at 2 am?" She grabbed Emmy's shovel from her and set it down next to her own. "Shall we go get the tree from the truck and finally stick it in the ground?"
     "Yep. Let's hurry. My fingers are starting to go numb." With that, the girls traipsed around the side of the house to the driveway, pulled the tree from the truck-bed, and dragged it slowly back to the hole in the corner of the backyard. Emmy grabbed the tree by its base and pulled. It came easily from the soft soil that she had loosely put into the bucket less than 24 hours ago. She indicated to Maia to hold it in the hole keeping the place where the base and the roots met just a fraction of an inch below ground level, and started piling dirt back into the hole around the root cluster. Every time she accidentally brushed a root she would hear the faint strings of music before it faded into the silence of the countryside. Sometimes she wasn't sure if it was music or just the crescendo of the crickets and frogs. When she was done she patted the earth around the tree, grabbed a bucket of water from the stream and watered the newly planted tree before she and Maia headed back into the warmth of her mother's kitchen.
     Diana was sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of tea and a magazine. "Just in time. Dinner was finished cooking a few minutes ago. I was just keeping it warm in the oven til you girls were ready. Tree all planted?"
     The two girls could hear the television in the living room with the new's caster announcing a cold front coming. "All planted, mom. Although, I hope the impending cold won't kill it." Emmy pondered. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if the tree did die. At least then there wouldn't be any awkward conversations.
     Maia started giggling. "Maybe we should go wash up before dinner. If I look anything like you do, then we're both a mess!"
     Emmy playfully punched her friend in the shoulder. "Be right back mom!"
     As they passed by the living room, Emmy's step-dad looked up from the tv. "Oh, high honey. Your mother told me you were out back planting a tree. It's kinda cold and dark to be gardening at this hour. Everything go ok?"
     "Hiya, Dave. Yeah. The tree's in the ground and watered. We're just washing some of the dirt off ourselves before we eat." Emmy smiled and the girls continued on to the downstairs bathroom.
     "You know", Maia nudged her friend, "Dave's kinda cute!"
     "Eww! Maia! He may be my step-dad, but he's still my 'dad'!"
     Maia shrugged. "I didn't say I wanted to jump him or anything. Just saying, for an old guy, your mom remarried well."
     "OK. I don't want to talk about this anymore. It's just getting weird. Let's get washed and have dinner. I'm starving!"
     Once everyone was washed and ready to eat, they all sat down to a family meal in the dining room. "Thanks for having us stay for dinner, Di. I enjoy family meals with you guys. I never got to have many with my own family."
     "You're welcome, Maia. There's always enough to go around. I think Dave, here, gets tired of leftovers sometimes. You two are always welcome to come visit us any weekend. I don't get to see my daughter nearly as often as I would like these days.
     "It's true. I don't get out here as often as I would like to either" Emmy thought that was possibly about to change.
     "You two sure you don't want to blow off that hair appointment tomorrow and stay over night?"
     Now that the tree was planted, Emmy was less worried about it growing out of control. She also thought that it might be a good idea to be here and see the fate of her willow first hand, in the morning. "Well, maybe we could. It would be nice to have a family tv night by the fireplace. Can we make hot cocoa and popcorn?"
     Her mother laughed. "Of course! You can make anything you like. The beds are already made up in your room, too"
     "What do you think, Maia. Wanna stay the night, and drive back to the city tomorrow? Or will staying out in the sticks too long make you a little insane?"
     "Ha. Ha. Very funny. I'd love to stay, Di. Thank you."
     When dinner was digested they all had their créme brulée and tea before piling into the living room to curl up and watch some prime time tv before bed.