Wednesday, November 30, 2016

NaNoWriMo, Week 4...Final Thoughts

On Saturday I did what I thought was impossible. I wrote 50K words within a 30-day span. It's the National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. For years that word (that's not really a word...) haunted me, bugged me, even mocked me. It made me wonder if I could ever complete the task.

Ever since I turned my hobby of writing into something more a few years ago, I've met a lot of authors. The ones who are still writing (most of them...) have one thing in common.

They write.

I know that sounds kind of stupid--of course they write, but not only do they write, but they write a lot. What's a lot? Many will crank out at least a novel a year and many write several a year. Me...I was sort of the "write when the itch needs scratching" kind of writer. I know this because I've started so many stories, but when it got hard or you had to plot out the whole thing, I sort of just left them hanging. I'll get back to that story one day I've told myself so many times. My computer's full of unfinished documents.

Yet, another reason why NaNoWriMo affected me so much. People actually finished stories.

For the last three years at least I had a built in excuse--I was involved in a Christmas play. We begin rehearsals in late September and by November, we're in full swing. I thought there's no way I can do NaNoWriMo so I never even started.

Things changed this year. My wife (who reads everything I write, but has stopped because I haven't finished anything...) asked me to write a story for my youngest child. I promised I would. I thought this promise would be a perfect way to motivate me to do it. I asked my son what kind of book he wanted to read, and therefore, what I'd be writing.

He said, "science fiction."

Great, I thought.

I love science fiction--never written a word in the genre. Plus, my son is a middle grade reader. I can think of very few middle grade science fiction stories. That's both a blessing and a curse. But, I didn't let that deter me. On 11/1/16 I began my story. I wrote every day (except Sundays), and four days ahead of the month's last day I wrote, "The end."

What did I learn? 

I learned that by pushing through an impossible task can be conquered. I learned that I just might have what it takes to do this--what all my writer friends who write are doing--write a lot. I learned that there is something that rises above a simple muse providing inspiration--I'm pretty sure I received help from the Divine. And I learned that, when it's all said and done, the only thing keeping me from producing novel after novel, is me.

The story needs a lot of work to get it where it needs to be before I can shop it around. I've made several connections in the past four years and I'm going to see if anything comes of that. But, even if no one picks it up, it will be published. I'll self-publish it because I made a promise and I'm going to deliver on it.

What did I learn this past month?

More than one novel's worth.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What I Learned By Not Helping A Neighbor...

The first e-mail was sent around 1:30pm last Saturday afternoon.

It came while I was right in the middle of the most productive writing day I've ever had. The e-mail let those of us in the neighborhood (ward) know that someone not of our congregation was moving and needed help with their piano. Just so you know, when people think of choosing people to help move large and heavy objects, I'm usually not the first person that comes to mind.

But if there are several of guys my size, we can get things done. I saw the e-mail and decided to go. I wasn't sure just how much help I could be, but taking a break during a marathon day of writing can be a good thing.

Then the second e-mail came. And I thought I'd better get going.

"Where are you going, dad?" the kids asked as I got my gloves and headed out the door. "Just going to help someone move." Helping someone move is a pretty common thing in our neighborhood (ward). We have several apartments in our boundaries and a group of relatively healthy men in their twenties, thirties, and some in their forties can do a lot of service for those in need.

I pulled up to a stop sign and saw a moving truck a few blocks away. After the road was clear I drove on and pulled up to the truck just as three or four healthy guys in their twenties, thirties, and possibly forties pushed a piano up the ramp and safely into the truck. They literally rolled it into the truck as I drove past.

I laughed--if I had only been a few minutes earlier, I could have helped, just a few minutes earlier. Without getting out, I turned my car around and headed home. As I drove away, I saw another neighbor drive past. I knew where he was going and I knew he'd realize the same thing I did. He was late, too. As I drove away, I kept watching in my rearview mirror. I expected my neighbor to do exactly what I did, turn his car around and head home.

But he didn't.

He parked his car and got out. He walked over to see if they needed any help moving. I pulled my car over and kept watching. Apparently, they did need help because he didn't get back in his car for several minutes.

I easily could have gotten out of my car and helped. What affected me most is I didn't even consider doing what my neighbor did. It never crossed my mind. By Saturday night I wrote almost 8000 words. I completed my November writing goal four days early. I'd like to think I didn't consider helping them move after the piano was in the truck because of how important my writing goal was. The goal could have waited, for a few minutes at least. Hopefully next time I'll make different decisions.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Fields Of Barley...Vol. 20 The Final Chapter

Fields of Barley, Vol. 20

(If you want to read this from the beginning, click the Stories, Short & Otherwise Link above)

Mark could only stare at this woman. With complete joy in her voice she said, “You will soon know everything about me, about what I will do and where I will live.  You’ll know when I bruise my knee as I fall down running after butterflies, and even feel my pain when my heart breaks for the first time. You will see it all and know my every wish and desire and thought and dream, because you…are my father, and I am your daughter. I am the one you wished so desperately to meet. I’m the child you’ve waited for all those years.”

Now it all made sense. The man standing in the room looked upon his child—father and daughter communicating in an unspoken language heard only by hearts, the two speaking together as members of the same family.

This time is was Mark’s eyes that could not stop the tears, nor dare he even try. He grabbed his daughter and held her tight and she held him, both seeing each other for who they truly were.

"Daddy," she struggled to say. “I’m so glad you’re here, but I can’t wait to go, to meet Mom and grandma and everyone else. I’ve been living here with those who’ve gone before you. I’ve spent so much time with Grandpa. I couldn’t love him more and he’s waiting for you. He can’t wait to see you again.”

Mark broke the hold between them and said, “But you’re not supposed to come now. Janie’s only seven and a half months along—you can’t come now. Janie’s not ready. It’s too….”

She stopped him with her eyes. Again Anna-Lisa had an answer for everything. “Dad, she’s ready. It’s going to be okay. She’s been safe with people who love her all day. This day will not only be remembered for you leaving, but also for me arriving.”

She looked deep into his eyes and said, “Don’t worry. This is how it was meant to be, how it was supposed to happen. And in time I will return to you and grandpa an mom and everyone. We will be together again.”

He knew this was true. Of all the revelations heard this day, this last completed the circle. For Mark now knew it was truly his time to go and he also knew it was time for Anna-Lisa to begin her wonderful adventure.

The couple hugged one more time, a long, lasting hug that would resume at some future date. Anna-Lisa moved to her path and walked to the door. She turned and looked at her father one last time, smiled again and brushed away the last of her tears.  And then she did something completely unexpected. She brought her hands together, cupped them under her chin and with a little hop she giggled with joy, just like a young girl anticipating Christmas morning. Anna-Lisa winked at him, turned, and was gone.

Mark stared at the void where moments before held his daughter. An inner warmth ran throughout his body. He looked down and noticed once again the path that shown brighter than the sun at noonday. Slowly he walked to his own door, paused, and then left the room completely empty. He was now truly home.

The End

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Different Thanksgiving...

I blame my dental hygienist, I really do. After all, had she not asked me what our family was doing for Thanksgiving as I was laying flat on my back unable to properly answer her question, she would not have mentioned that she and her family spent the previous Thanksgiving in Park City having someone else do all the work.

Yes, it's really her fault.

Because she told me what their family did, I wouldn't have mentioned what their family did to my wife. And she wouldn't have called her mother to suggest we do the same thing. And had that not happened, we would have ended up taking three days to prepare all the food and have it at one of our homes.

I'm not saying that's a bad thing--not in the least. It's just the thought of doing something different sounded interesting, a lot less work, and fun. Of course, we'd lose out on all those leftovers...

Or so we thought.

We made reservations at the Grub Steak Restaurant in Park City. There would be eight of us, six from our family and my wife's parents. Leading up to the big day my wife and I discussed about how things were different. For me, things weren't that different--I wasn't the one who did all that prep work. It was a nice break for my wife and the kids.

We worried about a storm that blew in the night before--Park City is, after all as noted by Lloyd Christmas, "In the Rockies." Thanksgiving Day turned out to be beautiful. Our reservations were at 4pm. We arrived a few minutes before.

The menu--we could have a traditional Thanksgiving meal, or steaks and other options. We all chose turkey and the fixins'. I'm glad we did. There was so much food! We all ended up bringing home leftovers--mine fed me two lunches. The place was packed. I didn't see any non-turkey plates. And the service was exceptional. They had so many people working, all to serve those of us who didn't want to do the work ourselves.

Yes, the house didn't smell like delicious food for days before and after Thanksgiving. Now, I didn't get to take a nap while a NFL game blared on the TV. There were definitely things we gave up. This year we tried something new, a Thanksgiving we'll hopefully all remember. And isn't the point of the holiday anyway, making holiday memories and appreciating our blessings, especially family?

Yes. Yes is it.

Will we do it again next year? We don't know. We'll have to see.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Fields Of Barley...Vol. 19

Fields of Barley, Vol. 19

(If you want to read this from the beginning, click on the Stories, Short & Otherwise Link above)

Anna-Lisa turned and smiled at Mark. She didn’t say anything but gave him another hug. Mark hugged her back and all thoughts of self-doubt, pity, and depression left him. Somehow he knew those thoughts would never return. His soul had been cleansed completely; he was forever changed and he knew years of anguish, years of suffering, years of personal grief vanished like smoke in a light breeze. He never felt better in his entire life. 

When the two finally released, Anna-Lisa said, “Mark, you are now ready to go on. Now it is your turn to discover an eternity of wonders that await us all. The passageway is before you and all you need to is rise and walk forward.” Mark noticed a path appearing in the floor directing him to the same corner of from which Anna-Lisa entered. The brightness of the path made it appear as if it floated on air.

Mark stood up and began to walk when he noticed that Anna-Lisa did not move. She remained sitting watching him go. He stopped, turned to her and noticed that she was once again smiling, only this time her smile seemed bigger than ever before. He also noticed tears falling gently from her perfect green eyes. The sight reminded him of the time he asked Janie to marry him and tears of joy fell from his wife's face.

“Are you coming?” he said, more of an appeal than a question.

“Mark, I cannot go that way. My path goes there.” She stood and pointed to yet another corner of the room. Instantly another path appeared similar in brilliance to the one upon which Mark stood. “You must make your journey alone. There are many waiting for you and now it is time to join them.”

He was so full of emotion he wished to have Anna-Lisa share these wonderful feelings with him forever. “No, he said—you can’t go that way.  You have to come with me, on this path. You must stay with me. I mean, you came from that door; you can go back.”

Anna-Lisa left the path on which she stood and crossed over to him. This time the tears flowed freely down her face. “Mark,” her voice tinged with love and respect. “I cannot go with you as I have said. It is time I tell you one more truth, one your heart has known since we first met though your mind had not yet understood. The reason I cannot go with you is because I am being called to leave this place. It is now my turn to go where you have gone, to feel things you have felt, to live where you lived."

She took his hand in hers and continued. “You see, your time away from home is over. You have returned. It is my time to leave home and begin that wonderful adventure called life. Soon I will forget everything that I ever knew, just as you did when you left here and were born on earth. I have waited an eternity for this very moment and my only regret is leaving you here, but I know what lies in store for you. And you know what lies in store for me, don’t you?”

To be continued...

NaNoWriMo Tracker: 
223 words written Thursday
3356 words written yesterday
7796 words written Today
50031 words written total
NaNoWriMo 2016 Completed!

Friday, November 25, 2016

There's A Hole In The Road, Dear Liza...

It was our son who first spotted the water bubbling up through our adjoining street Thanksgiving Day morning.

"Did you know there's water coming up through the road at the end of the street?"

We, of course, did not know. So we walked down to take a look at it.

Couple of problems living on a dead-end road. If something happens at the only entrance/exit to your street and you can't get your car out of the dead-end, you're trapped, either trapped inside, or trapped outside. I was worried about that. I also worried that, since it was most likely culinary water leaking, they'd shut off the water on our street--and on Thanksgiving, mind you. Then, of course, there's the fear that a leak under a road on a hill can cause a sink hole.

Our next-door neighbor walked by and we chatted about the road. "You know, they're not going to send anyone out until tomorrow," he said. "They probably won't come out on Thanksgiving."

He was right.

The good news, none of my fears come true. The road didn't wash out and create a sink hole, they didn't turn off our water, and we were not trapped either from going in or going out.

And this morning we woke to the sounds of a backhoe smashing into the pavement and a crew was there to fix the problem.

It was a post-Thanksgiving Day miracle!

Okay, not so much...

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Fields Of Barley...Vol. 18

Fields of Barley, Vol. 18

(If you want to read this from the beginning, click the Stories, Short & Otherwise Link above)

"Anna-Lisa, we’ve seen things, events that took place in my life, things I haven’t thought about in years, but I need to be honest. I’m glad you’ve shown me these things, these memories, and I understand the need for me to see them. I also know that I can’t hide anything from you, so I won’t even try. But because you know all these things and millions more, you know what I’m thinking about right now. You know what I’m feeling right now. You know it all, don’t you?”

Mark looked at his companion as she looked away from him. They both sat in silence for what seemed like to Mark as a very long time until finally Anna-Lisa turned to him and smiled.

"Yes," she said in almost a whisper, “I know about what you are thinking. I know how you are feeling, and I know there is a pain in your heart, a pain that you thought you would never experience; a pain you wouldn’t think a person capable of feeling. I know of what you feel and my heart feels that pain too.” She turned from him; her body language told Mark she was feeling what he felt, and that this was a difficult time for her also.

“Mark, I know you are not thinking about all those memories in the past. You are thinking about the future and how the world in which you knew will not include yourself. You are thinking about the child yet unborn, the baby for which you have waited all your life. The small one who was to change your life forever,” she said, her voice tailing off as she again turned her attention to an imaginary point somewhere ahead.

Mark looked forward also, his gaze focusing on a place before him. “The baby was going to change everything,” he said to the void ahead. “We didn’t even want to know if it was a boy or a girl. We didn’t care and it really didn’t matter. We were just happy to finally begin our family. I thought for the first time in my life I would be needed, I would be important, I would be…well, worthwhile.”

“You were waiting to love something that requires love to survive,” Anna-Lisa said. “You could not wait to meet this spirit and have her soul touch yours in a way only possible between parent and child.”

“I thought this baby was the reason I was ever born,” Mark said. “I always figured if I never had children, then I couldn’t really screw things up too badly, I mean, I would not be leaving anything behind when I died. I know that’s a strange thing to say, but the thought of not having kids always gave me a sense of comfort.

“And then I met Janie, and we got married, and years later she got pregnant and I thought, ‘Hey, maybe this having-a-kid thing isn’t so bad after all.’ So that’s when I got really excited about the baby. I thought maybe—just maybe—my life would mean something other than just me. I wanted to meet this kid and be its dad. This was going to be my turn to prove that I could do something right in my life. I guess now I’ll never know,” Mark said with obvious dejection in his voice. “I guess I’ll never know.”

To be continued...

NaNoWriMo Tracker: 2052 words written Tuesday, 2775 words written yesterday,
38656 words total

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Year Of Big Birthdays...

I don't know when we figured it out--I think it was my wife who first put it all together, but beginning last November 27th and ending today, each person in our family experienced a big birthday.

 It was 361 days ago I turned 50. That began the journey. Each of us then had a big birthday. Of course, I thought mine might have been the biggest, but those big birthdays for teenagers are really big for them.

Today ends the birthday streak with my son finishing it up for all of us. I could do the math to see if we'll ever line up like we've done this past year, but that would make my head hurt, so I won't. I was thinking about how improbable it was. I mean, we didn't plan these things when we began having kids. They came when they came. And we've loved having them and having their ages the way they've been. We couldn't think of having it any other way.

Sunday we begin a new series of birthdays and for the next year they'll be all over the board. I'll start by turning 51. Maybe to some, 51 is a big birthday. I don't know. I know it's not usually celebrated by black balloons and "over the hill" jokes (full confession--my 50th birthday last year was great, and there was really only one "over the hill" joke, a walking cane--very inappropriate...).

I hope our family can look back on these birthdays with fondness and I hope they enjoyed them all. I know I did.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Fields Of Barley...Vol. 17

Fields of Barley, Vol. 17

(If you want to read this from the beginning, click the Stories, Short & Otherwise Link above)

Again Anna-Lisa seemed to have all the answers. “Mark, your mother has been with your wife ever since the news of your passing. You may not know this, but your mother has the deepest respect and love for Janie. At the time she was disappointed in your decision to marry when you did. She did not tell you this but she wanted you to get your degree as soon as possible. She did not want you to make the same decisions she and your father made. They were like you; young, idealistic dreamers who thought the love they shared would allow them to face life together—their combined strength could easily conquer the challenges they would face.

"Only your father did not return to school and finish his degree. Your mother did not want to see you make a living and care for your family through laborious work as did your father, that hard work led to your father’s passing at a young age. Your mother is a proud woman and what she didn’t tell you or anyone else is that she respected Janie and grew to love her even more as she watched the two of you struggle as you finished your schooling. The admiration she has for Janie developed as she saw your wife sacrifice for you, saw her go without many of the things her friends had so that you could get your degree and make your life better. Your mother never told anyone how she felt, but now you know this is true. The grumpiness you mentioned was not due to your spending more time with your wife, but in her realization that she would be a grandmother without a grandfather to share it with.”

Of course Mark knew these words were true. The guilt he felt for his mother vanished—replaced now by a feeling of contentment knowing these two strong women would not only survive but prosper in the raising of his child.

The child…..yes, the unborn child. Mark knew his child would be welcomed into a loving home where love thrived and its welfare would surpass all other needs, but when Mark thought about the child, the deepest feeling of sadness he had yet felt gripped his heart.

To be continued...

NaNoWriMo Tracker: 1114 word written yesterday, 33829 words total

Monday, November 21, 2016

Fields Of Barley...Vol. 16

Fields of Barley, Vol. 16

(If you want to read this from the beginning, click the Stories, Short & Otherwise Link above)

Again Mark tried hard to remember this day but nothing looked different than any other day—nothing came to mind how this event changed his life in any way.  Even his broken-down car brought no memory of any life-changing events. For Mark having no problems with his car occurred less often than the days he had problems. That car was always breaking down.

“Is this what you were talking about?” Mark said. “I don’t understand. Nothing out of the ordinary happened to me this day. If it did, I would have remembered it.”

“You’re right, Mark. Nothing different happened on this day. There’s no way you could have known this, but that flat tire changed your life as much as you moving to Idaho as a child, or as much as your breaking up with Heidi, or even the car accident with Janie. Had the tire not been flat, you would have made it to work that afternoon on time. Because you were late that day you missed a telephone call. Had you taken that phone call it would have started a chain of events ultimately leading you to a financial opportunity which, had you followed, would have eventually caused you to quit school and take a job in another state. You would never have met Janie the following month, and everything would have been different. The person you are now would not have been. Many who love you would never have met you." 

There was something in her voice; something sad that he had not heard before, but when she spoke again, the sadness disappeared.

“There are too many examples to show you now, too many threads in your life to examine and explore. You will have an eternity to remember it over and over again as often as you wish.”

There was something else Mark thought about--a memory seeping into his mind causing his heart pain. Just as logic had tried to overwhelm him earlier, this time guilt began to take hold as Mark remembered his mother. How he had wished to be with her again, but that would have to wait. The last conversation Mark had with his mother occurred two days earlier when she called and asked for his help. From that telephone call until he woke up in this strange room, Mark resented that call. His mother had been acting a little grumpier than usual the last few months, and with the baby on the way, Janie required more and more of Mark’s time. The sudden realization that now these two women for whom he loved so much would now be together, caused a mild panic in his mind.  

“How are they going to get along?” Mark said. “I’m not even sure my mom likes Janie, after all she blames her for us getting married so quickly. My mom thinks that it was Janie’s fault it took me another two years to graduate. And now they only have each other.”

To be continued...

Sunday, November 20, 2016

NaNoWriMo...Some Third Week Thoughts

It's been three weeks tomorrow since November, 2016 began, and in ten days it will be over.

And when November ends, I will have produced my first middle-grade novel, complete with a beginning, a middle, and an end.

At least, that's the plan.

I'm three weeks in. Here's how it's going so far.

I've written everyday, except Sundays. Some days I've only written a couple hundred words, which, considering my schedule, is great.

My story takes place in a spaceship that travels to another planet. Due to lack of organization and planning before NaNoWriMo began, I didn't layout the story very well. I took the road most traveled--I thought I could just write by the seat of my pants, or what's known in writing circles as "pantsing."

In the beginning, it worked out great.

Then came the second ten-thousand words. Oh, the story drags. But that's okay because NaNoWriMo is about getting the words down, not worrying about editing, or voice, or even pace. Just get it down on paper or in the computer. I thought journeying to the planet could take 50,000 words...easy.

I was wrong. It took about half that.

Before I began,  I wondered how the story might unfold once they got to the planet, but I didn't think about it much. After all, if I extended it to having them do much on the planet would make the book too long.

Yesterday, I had the most successful writing day I've ever had, at least in shear numbers. I wrote over 7K. And because of that, it brought me to over two-thousand words for each day in November. Getting my characters to the planet opened up a whole new way for me to look at the overall story. If I had had more time yesterday, I probably could have written a couple of more thousand. That will just have to wait until next week.

The next ten days will be busy. We're opening a show on Friday, having Thanksgiving the day before. But I do have ten days to write just under 18,000 words. I'll let you know how it all turns out.

NaNoWriMo Tracker: 975 words written Friday, 7031 words written yesterday,
32715 words total

Saturday, November 19, 2016

What's Better Than Catching A Beautiful Sunset? A More Beautiful Sunset The Next Day...

Last night I had just picked up dinner (fast food...) when I turned around and saw a beautiful sunset. I wasn't in a location that allowed me to take a wonderful picture of said sunset. I also didn't have my Nikon, just my phone.

I snapped a picture and used it for my Pic Of The Day.

I got some "Likes" and a couple of comments on social media, which always makes me feel good. Even if people don't comment or Like the picture, I know it makes for an interesting thing to look at, at least, that's what people have told me.

But tonight, after my son's friends left the party we had at our house this afternoon, the light coming in from behind the blinds was orange. When that happens, I know what it means. It means there's probably another beautiful sunset just beyond the plastic blinds and glass windows.

I was right.

Some sunsets are targeted in the western sky. They flash brilliance in an area and leave the rest of the sky unaffected. Other sunsets can change the sky orange, but have few clouds to give it variety. Smoke from summer fires can cause those. They're beautiful as well.

Tonight's was kind of a combination of both. To the south, brilliant reds, purples and oranges exploded and then clouds carried the sweeping colors north. Unlike last night, I was in a great spot to catch the totality of what I was seeing.

So, to help get over a tough college football loss, the sky erupted with a treat for the eyes, and the soul.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Fields Of Barley...Vol. 15

Fields of Barley, Vol. 15

(If you want to read this from the beginning, click the Stories, Short & Otherwise Link above)

The two invisible observers watched the scene play out before them. Anna-Lisa turned to Mark and noticed that he was laughing to himself and tears streamed from his eyes. He had told the story so many times that he forgot how completely unbelievable the event actually was. Now he was able to see it all again and it brought a feeling of joy he had never experienced before.

“Mark, do you know why we’re here watching this?” Her question did not stop him from laughing. The two of them continued observing as the ambulance arrived, and the two drivers shared a ride to the nearest hospital. The emergency vehicle rounded the corner and a haze appeared, clouding the vision before them.

Long after the final memory had past, Mark finally answered her question. “To be honest, I thought you’d show me the day I was married, or the day we found out Janie was pregnant, but not this day,” he said turning to her. “And I’m glad we picked this day. It turned out to be one of the best days of my life, but I guess you already know that.”

“Not all life changing events are centered around personal tragedies or triumphs, Mark,” she said. “Sometimes the best days, or even days you never remember hold the keys to the mysteries of life. Each decision builds upon the next until a life is complete.  Imagine each memory—each choice—contains a piece of thread constantly weaving itself until it forms a tapestry that becomes one’s life. No two tapestries are alike, each wonderfully unique—each beautiful in its own perfection.

“Here, I’ll show you what I mean.”

As soft as a whisper the two were once again transported in time. And again Mark’s ’63 VW Beetle came into focus, its undersized engine strained to climb one of the many hills leading to the university. Mark thought he would recognize this moment as he had the others, but he was confused by what he saw. Nothing unique about the day came to mind. The two watched as Mark drove the old German import; a car he only drove his freshman year (Janie saw to that). Mark tried remembering something special about this particular day and came up with nothing. It looked to be just another 
ordinary day in the life of a young student.

They looked on and watched the car eventually crest the hill coming to rest in Mark’s favorite parking spot, a secluded spot behind an old church the university long ago converted to a children’s theater. The campus police never found his secret parking spot, nor did anyone else, and if they did, 
they never issued a citation.

The car sputtered to a stop and Mark got out. As the student walked away, a noise caught his attention. It was the inescapable sound of air finding freedom from the car’s front passenger side tire. First, the inevitable cursing to which the older Mark felt embarrassed in the presence of Anna-Lisa. Then, the thought of fixing the tire occurred to the younger Mark, the decision to leave the tire until after class eventually won out. Mark and Anna-Lisa watched in silence as the young man scurried to 
class, the old automobile hidden in the shadows of a prized parking spot.

To be continued...

NaNoWriMo Tracker: 1016 words written Wednesday, 1023 words written Thursday,
24709 words total

Thursday, November 17, 2016

My Son Is Having The Best Week Ever...

If you've been following this blog this month, you've noticed I've been slowly presenting a short story I wrote about ten or so years ago. I thought I'd have enough material to cover the entire month of November, but I don't. The story is about eighteen pages long, and I've got five pages left to cover thirteen days that are left in the month. Seeing as how I've posted thirteen pages of story in fifteen posts, I don't think my five pages will cover the rest of the month.

So, I'm going to need to write a couple of non-story posts.

This is one of them.

Lots of people have good weeks. Thanks to social media (and blogs...), we get to here about them. My son is having an exceptional week. Here's why.

He bought a new computer. The boy worked hard, did his research and bought a new gaming/editing computer. It's something he's been looking forward to for a while.

But, as great as a new computer is for someone that works on computers all day, it pales in comparison to the other news he received.

He got a new gig.

My son is has been editing videos for years. His talents have attracted fans and one of them wants to pay him to do some editing. Kind of cool to be paid for something you love to do and would do for free (just don't tell the one paying him that...). Now he has some firepower to up his game and do some thing he wasn't able to do on his old computer.

Hopefully, you've all had one of those weeks where things have just worked out. I know I have. It's fun seeing it happen to my son.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Fields Of Barley...Vol. 14

Fields of Barley, Vol. 14

(If you want to read this from the beginning, click on the Stories, Short & Otherwise Link above)

To Mark the initial crash couldn’t hold a candle to what happened next. Mark sat, still transfixed on Janie’s face when without warning two small but powerful hands reached into the car and lifted his one-hundred and fifty pound body completely out of his seat. The adrenaline allowed the wispy blond to lift one and a half times her own weight and throw Mark’s body on the soft grass. The next thing Mark knew this woman was bending over him in an attempt to administer CPR. He started to object—his mind now finally understanding what she was about to do—when he felt her lips meet his and air from her lungs were pushed into his with such force it made his eyes hurt. Janie then lifted her face from his and turned to concentrate on what she believed was Mark’s non-beating beating heart. Mark tried to speak but the increased air in his lungs made speaking difficult. He lifted his head to get her attention but it was too late. Janie threw him back to the ground and began pushing hard on his ribcage with her clenched palms. Mark could feel the added adrenaline coursing through Janie’s veins as she continued to cheat death another day. Finally, the increased air supply forced into Mark’s lungs escaped and he half-screamed, half-cried out in pain. The sound snapped Janie out of her life-saving trance to see this victim was very much alive, even in spite of her efforts. The look of panic that once graced Janie’s bloodied face now showed sheer horror as the realization of her actions took hold.

The scene continued to unfold. A campus policeman heading home from his shift saw the aftermath of the collision, and hurried to help, calling 911 from his cell phone as he ran. This time it was Mark who was the only one able to speak as Janie sat next to him in shock. Mark explained to the policeman what had happened and why the woman sitting aside him may not be able to think clearly at that moment. Mark will never forget the look on the officer’s face as he explained how the accident had happened and how this Good Samaritan went to extreme lengths to save his life.

Mark was never known as a funnyman, his sense of humor best described as “dry.” Everyone who knew him understood this, but they also knew that Mark had quite the story to tell about how he first met his wife. Mark must have told that story hundreds of times, with Janie possibly telling it more than him. All who heard the tale could barely believe it, but Mark loved telling people they kissed before he ever said a singe word to her. Janie loved telling people that by bringing the driver of the old VW back to life gave Mark a re-birth, in a manner of speaking. And since he was reborn, the first person he saw after this birth was Janie and she was to be his own personal savior, for—as Janie told the story—she was the one who “saved” him. Janie’s life-giving actions created a debt that Mark could never fully repay, no matter how hard he tried.

To be continued...

NaNoWriMo Tracker: 762 words written yesterday, 22670 words total