Wild Horses Wild Time

May 6, 2012 § 13 Comments

The timing of our little vacation was perfect.

The place we chose, six miles past a paved road in the land of wild horses made it easy to forget the outside world. We four by foured it all along the sandy dunes to get to civilized land, since the roads aren’t paved that far down the Barrier Islands of North Carolina’s coast.

I spent my days sitting on the beach watching the girls play, giving me a chance to read a real book with real pages (as opposed to the audio versions), while Brian manned his fishing pole.

It’s funny how a break from reality lifts the doldrums (monotony you don’t even realize until you escape) and everyone is so much more peaceful.

The wild horses have added to the mystique and magic of the place.

They’ve been living along the shores of the Outer Banks since the 1500’s, descendents of the Spanish. We know this because we read up from books lining the rentals’ shelves. They had been pushed off Spanish ships that were sinking and their tough stocky bodies mixed with determination to live gave them power to swim to land.

The horses have survived longer than the Colonies and Blackbeard the Pirate and now roam the beaches, heads down nibbling sea grass. Every morning we would watch to see them coming up over the sandy hills and at dinner time we’d crane our necks to catch a glimpse as they’d disappear through the trees to where they’d sleep.

I managed to run one day, despite a nagging pain in my left calf. I probably should have given myself a few more days to nurse the leg (sore for a week already), but I couldn’t resist a beach run with the horses.

Beach running, I’d forgotten, is much tougher than running on nicely paved streets. My attempt at five miles turned into three with a half mile walk up the dunes back to the house. When I returned I was dripping with sweat, but stuck my legs in the hot tub anyway, hoping the heat would loosen the pull.

Amazingly, it felt much better the next day and tomorrow I will attempt a street run as soon as the kids are dropped off at school.

Yesterday, Brian’s old friend Uncle Al drove up from Raleigh and it was great to see him playing on the beach with the girls and their dad.

I watched from my chair while the boys got my daughters started with drippy sand castles, which kept them occupied for long enough that I was able to get all the way to page two hundred fifty in my book. Have I mentioned how much I’m loving The Help? It’s about a writer and a story she must tell and I’m delighted by the surprise (I can relate more than a little).

Last night I left the guys to party it up with Crown Royal and Coke and only had to come up once to tell them to turn down the music. They were having a good time, but I chose to  spend my evening in a wicker chair next to my sleeping girls, while putting the finishing touches on the piece I sent to GeniusMoms.com.

The piece I was working on, entitled Infertility, Hope and Mother’s Day, turned out fine. It was a difficult one to write, but sometimes I need to be reminded of how much I wanted my monstrous monsters. If it doesn’t get published there, I’ll post in Mommyland.

It was early when we got up this morning and not at all a beach day. I attempted to get something posted, but the 10:00 check out time made it impossible.

We are home now. I’m back in my writing chair.

Back in the saddle tomorrow in regard to my diet and my running, school for the girls and work for their dad.

The saddle. It’s a good fit, but sometimes I wish we were more like those horses we left trolling the sandy dunes; wild, free, with nothing to do but laze and graze. Those horseys have no idea they’re on a permanent vacation.

They were so excited their feet left the ground!

Mommy hearts S+G. G was on the cusp of a temper fit. Notice her stomping out my letters. Four year olds!

When the horses got closer we’d back away and let them pass. This time was special because there was a pony in the pack. You can see him right against his mother.

After the beach. Trying to be like my awesome bloggy friends who take pictures of themselves to document their fab fashion finds. Loved my Kayce Hughes Tunic, but I’m afraid I’m hopeless in the self-photographing department.

Lesson to mom’s with smallish children. Avoid teaching them how to take pictures using your iPhone. You will spend precious time erasing two hundred plus pictures of Chi Chi and Chi Chi and rental house mermaids.

Sweet Sandy Soph.

Grace. She throws a mean tantrum, but most of the time she’s a real lovey.

Usborne Activities Fairies Sticker Book. These things are an absolute lifesaver for children on vacation. The girls would work on them for hours. The Ballerinas, Sports and Pirates books are great, too!

Heading Home Happy.

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The Voice

May 3, 2012 § 11 Comments

Considering how much I despised the first five chapters of 50 Shades of Grey, it’s surprising (especially to me) how enraptured I became with the story.

It would be easy to assume that the highly sexual story line is what reeled me in and in all honesty it did add an element that kept me interested, noticeable by my sizeable smile and simultaneous open jaw sitting on the floor.

I knew my view had turned when I went from solely listening in my Yurbuds while heading out to run, to carrying my phone in my bra so that I could push play every time the kids left the room. I became hooked. Desperate to know what was next. Eager for the ride and excited for the journey.

In any language and on any continent this kind of reaction is motivation for a writer. Being so beguiling that the reader can’t put you down is the essence of the job; the goal. No one wants to write a snore.

When I was teaching fourth grade writing, we often spoke about the difference between telling the story and showing the story; the goal was always the showing.

In 50 Shades, so much was told using the same words et nausea that the writing appear labored and simple, even when the words themselves were sophisticated (thesaurus usage can be deadly).

How many times was she going to say his mouth fell in a hard line? How often did we need to be told that she had an inner goddess who hid behind chairs and sofas and under blankets? Yes, I understand he looked at her speculatively and with grey eyes. Biting her bottom lip? Got it. The symbol for the power struggle

But it may have been E.L. James’ master plan. Her brilliance as a writer being kept secret  until she was ready to share.

The choice to make Anastasia’s voice so repetitive was in direct opposition to the voice that was exposed when her innocence was being challenged.

This was where the real beauty of the writing came alive and convinced me of Ms. James’ true talent in the authoring department.

Granted, the scenes in the red room of pain, the bondage, the frightened girl who became totally immersed and connected in the moments of her fear revealed deep emotion mixed with gut wrenching descriptiveness highlighting some really glorious writing.

It was enough to make me forgive those wasted first chapters. Maybe they weren’t wasted after all.

Last night I started to read The Help, by Kathryn Stockett.

Four pages in, I have a picture of Aibileen. Through the story showing and Aibileen’s dialogue (shortened sentence structure, double negatives and misplaced use of words) I have an idea of who she is. I like her immediately. Read the first four pages and you’ll like her, too. Kathryn Stockett created a new and interesting character with a voice I want to hear.

I should probably apologize to Ms. James for my initial incertitude toward to her book. I still wish she hadn’t used the C word so much and feel like s.h.i.t would have been just as appropriate. It would have saved me from my personal challenge to count the word in question, pulling me out of the story thirty two times, give or take a few.

I went to be last night working out the first lines (of one of my books) that will be written  in it’s own time.

It will go something like this…

I was handed to my mother three days after I was born. Wrapped in a pink blanket she carefully pulled me from the hands of the lawyer, anxious to leave before Loretta had a chance to change her mind. I was bald and pretty, despite the ears that were far too big for my head. My brown eyes looked up at my new mother, whose own brown eyes matched mine exactly.

I couldn’t have known then what I learned all those years later. That my beginning was a gift and that I was saved.

I couldn’t have known the truth. I wouldn’t have believed it had come written in ink and pinned to my clothes.

I was the lucky one.

My older sisters, just two and three, waited in a run down house halfway across town as I was being given away. They knew nothing of me. They knew not of their mothers’ illness. They didn’t have a chance. Weren’t granted even a molecule of a future.


My First Fourteen

December 29, 2011 § 12 Comments

Last night I stood at the pink lamp and bent into a forward fold waiting for both girls to finish their books. Sophie was a bit wound up and decided to read like her sister instead of rolling over to sleep.

I should have known that planned enlightenment would be disturbed by my Sophie, who can’t resist spontaneous yoga.

In a flash she was out of the bed and before I knew it the three of us were in head stands against the closet doors. It soon became a free for all, so I moved away and watched little legs swing up, bellies protrude forward and legs crash back down.

The determination to get upside down makes the ease of the transition more like a race.

Gathering them back to their sleep spots felt a lot like sheep herding. Eventually they were tucked back under the blankets and fast asleep in less than two minutes.

A four miler is on the agenda for today, although I wonder if tomorrow would be better. My left glute flared up a little at the end of my mid-week seven yesterday and my calf muscles are tight, probably from tip toeing it up the hills.

Saturday is my first fourteen miler. I’ve never run that far and am feeling anxious, but excited. During yesterday’s run I realized at about six that I must have a “book on tape.” It’s the only way I’m going to ward of the boredom.

The question is, what do I want?

I’m wavering between Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop suggestion of Dr. Dyer’s Excuses Begone, and the novel, The Help. I paged through The Help at Target one day, and although it’s gotten good reviews, I’m not sure I’m that excited to read/listen to it.

Any suggestions are appreciated!

xo

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