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Archive for November, 2010

Hey everybody I’m back from my vacation and hope everyone had a great holiday! And even if you didn’t have a holiday to celebrate, I hope you had a great past week! Now that I’m back I have some exciting news.  Yes, that’s right.  This week I’ll be featuring the first short-story ever submitted to my blog! Yay! It was submitted by Herby over at Living As Herby and isn’t a YA story, but I think we can forgive him this one time.  And now, without further ado I give you The Owl.

The owl

It was late in the evening. I’d watched the sun sink slowly behind the trees, turning them into long black silhouettes against a darkening sky rimmed with red. It wasn’t dark but twilight was receding quickly into night. I turned my beaten up old purple mountain bike down the hill and onto the bush track.

The bush felt comforting. It was darker here than out on the road and I turned my headlight on. It was a force of habit, born from the short winter days that we’d been experiencing. The track descended into the swamp. The surface was a mixture of gravel and sand. It wound gently between the banksias and she-oak trees that grew thickly in the moist soil.

I crossed the creek. My wheels making a splashing noise and throwing the muddy water up against my bare legs. I felt like a child jumping in puddles after rain or an adventurer traversing new territory. The stringy paperbark trees in the swamp glowed white against the deep green mosses and foliage that make this part of the bush their home. I felt connected with my surrounds and felt something would happen.

Once across the creek, the trail climbed back up to drier ground. The track became sandy and my tyres cut a line through the surface of the sand to grab purchase on the firmer ground below. The paperbarks gave way to more she-oaks and the occasional large gum tree. I felt at peace as I cruised along the relatively flat single track that led to the fire trail that would take me to the other side of the bush.

Twilight still sat in the air. Darkness seemed to be a long time coming this night. Or perhaps that was only because the winter solstice had passed a month earlier and the days were now growing slowly longer.

I turned onto the fire trail. The trail led down a hill that had a fun little jump part-way down it. For the past month it had been too dark to take the hill with any speed. But today, I had a chance. I’m not good at jumping my bike but enjoy getting a little bit of air. So I started to gather speed. Until I saw him.

The owl flew onto a branch near the track. Instinctively, I stopped. Something was happening but I didn’t know what. The jump was a long-forgotten thought as I drew up next to the owl. I felt myself being called but couldn’t identify the source. So I stood there, breathing slowly looking at the owl. The African tribal music playing on my iPod sounded surreal. I stood there for what felt like an age, looking at the owl looking back at me. We were alone in the bush, sharing the space. He didn’t seem afraid. Then, I spoiled it. I slowly moved my hand to my pocket. The owl didn’t move. I took out my mobile phone camera and the owl was gone. He vanished as though he had never been.

The African tribal music continued in my ears. The drums beat rhythmically and the singing intensified. I shoved my foot against the ground and took off down the hill on my bike. I did take that jump and it was fun. But the memory of the owl was all I could think about. Somehow it meant something to see the owl.

I reached the bottom of the hill and crossed another creek. This time it was clear water that splashed against my legs as I raced through it. The water was cold and a slight mist was rising from it, cooling the air. I had long ago removed the light jumper I had put on when I left the office and the cold air made me shiver slightly despite the think beads of sweat forming on my body.

The fire trail climbed back out of the gully and up a long hill. The loose gravel surface made the track tough going. A new level of darkness filled the air. The flowers on the banksias were now merely brown shapes against the growing blackness instead of bright yellow candlesticks emerging from bright green leaves. The loss of colour in the landscape was a sure sign that it would soon be pitch black.

I stopped at the big white gum tree that stood as a sentinel at the top of the hill where the trail split. I was a bit puffed because the African tribal music playing on my iPod had encouraged me to ride hard up the hill. And besides, this was a sacred spot for me. It was the place I came with my baby djembe drum when I needed to think and the place where I would sit to listen to the bush when I was out riding my horse during my teenage years. So, I sat and rested a short while.

My rest over, I started down the trail towards home. And then, he was there again. Again the owl flew over and landed on a branch next to the trail. Again I stopped and admired the wise old creature of the bush. He seemed comfortable both in the bush and in my company. However, I again broke the peaceful reverie we shared by reaching for my camera. I don’t know why I felt the need to photograph the owl but again he was gone before I could capture his image.

Disappointed that I had spoiled the moment, I continued on my way home. I rode down the hill, crossed the small concrete causeway where it crossed a creek and dismounted to climb the steep hill on the other side. The track up the hill is too steep for me to ride on a bicycle. It’s rutted out from the water that races down it in storms, in some places leaving barely enough solid ground for my bicycle tyres to travel along.

This is ‘The Big Hill’. The hill we used to race up on our horses when we were teenagers. It’s the hill where I fell off my first motorbike and had to resort to sliding the motorbike down on its side because it was too heavy for my small frame to lift back up. And now, it was the hill that I had to walk up every evening on my way home from work because it was too steep for me to cycle up.

I reached the top of the hill, panting and out of breath. From here, it was all downhill to my home. I rode down the steep and rutted towards the fence that bounded the bush. I navigated the first section of the track carefully so as not to fall off my bike. Then I raced through the fun section of single track that led back to the final section of fire trail.

It was when I reached the gate that it happened. The owl was sitting in a tree waiting for me. All I could see in the darkness was the reflection of his eyes as my headlight shone on them. I noticed it instantly as the headlight flashed back at me for a brief moment. I knew it was him. The African tribal music playing on my iPod switched from a vocal track to a drum track at that exact moment. I knew what to do.

I dismounted and leaned my bike on the fence as the owl watched me. He was a short distance away, maybe five or six trees. The drumming continued in my ears and I felt the calling again, resonating deep within my body. I needed to respond. I didn’t want the camera this time. I wanted to feel what was happening.

I knelt on the gravel-covered earth facing the owl. I took one last look at him and closed my eyes. I felt the rhythm of the drum beat and the stillness of the night air. The stars were twinkling in the sky above the trees and the owl sat watching me. He was inviting me into his story. And I was a willing guest.

The drum beat continued and I looked up at the owl as I bent my body forward and lay my hands on the earth. I felt the earth’s power pulsing rhythmically through my hands. My whole body felt it. With both legs and hands in contact with the source, I became part of the pulse, rather like a light bulb becomes part of an electrical circuit when it is lit. I felt the power surge through my receptive left hand and out through my projective right one. The pulse of the earth and the rhythm of the drum because one as I felt my body physically pulse in response.

Slowly, I lifted my projective right hand from the earth. In doing so, I looked up at the owl. He had moved closer and was now sitting in the branch nearest to me. He was watching me intently as I connected with the bush. His bush. I felt the power of the earthy fill me through my receptive left hand, which was still in contact with the ground. My right hand was hanging loosely by my side, acting as a stop to allow the energy to fill me.

I felt the energy fill me. It was strong.

The owl was still sitting on the tree close to me when I removed my left hand from the ground. I didn’t think I needed to take any more of the earth’s power into my body. And, slowly, I raised my projective right hand towards the trees standing in the bush. I closed my eyes and released the power that had built up inside me. I released it to the air; that powerful element of nature that brings cool breezes in summer and the sweet scent of flowers in bloom.

As I released the power, I whispered a prayer onto the breeze. It was a prayer of thanks for the protection and lessons that Mother Nature provides me. It was a prayer of gratitude to the blessings in my life. It was a prayer of hope for a future of harmony with Her rhythms.

The owl watched me. His head was cocked slightly as only owls can. He didn’t move away and didn’t seem startled by my movement. He invited me to continue my experience as long as I needed to. He knew I wouldn’t have had it if he hadn’t invited me to stop and share in the power he already knew. He wanted me to know the calm power.

When the energy was drained from me and the second drum track had ended, I bent forward again. I felt slightly spent. I felt as though I had experienced a powerful release of toxins. I felt calm.

The owl stayed with me for a while. I saw him sit on his branch. Then, I dropped my head again and closed my eyes. I turned off my iPod to silence the drumming and just listen to the silence of the bush. When I looked up again, the owl had left; gone, silently, back into the night sky.

I climbed the fence slowly and coasted down the road to my home.

I would like to apologize to Herby for taking so long to post this wonderful story, as he sent it to me last Wednesday, but I was MIA because of the holiday. If you would like to send in a short story or poem to be featured on my blog please contact me at ejeglin@yahoo.com.  Now I’m off to find my pencil and will be back Wednesday with another Road Trip Wednesday.

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Today on Eclectic Monday I would like to share one of my favorite poems written by Queen Elizabeth I, (Yes, you read that right) entitled On Monsieur’s Departure.

ON MONSIEUR’S DEPARTURE
Queen Elizabeth I

I grieve and dare not show my discontent,
I love and yet am forced to seem to hate,
I do, yet dare not say I ever meant,
I seem stark mute but inwardly to prate.
I am and not, I freeze and yet am burned.
Since from myself another self I turned.

My care is like my shadow in the sun,
Follows me flying, flies when I pursue it,
Stands and lies by me, doth what I have done.
His too familiar care doth make me rue it.
No means I find to rid him from my breast,
Till by the end of things it be supprest.

Some gentler passion slide into my mind,
For I am soft and made of melting snow;
Or be more cruel, love, and so be kind.
Let me or float or sink, be high or low.
Or let me live with some more sweet content,
Or die and so forget what love ere meant.

And, just for fun here’s a clip of me dancing at the Renaissance Faire.  I am the one in green at the beginning of the clip. Also, please note I’d only had six months of lessons during this time, lol.

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In honor of the first Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows premier, I give you the trailer.

http://youtu.be/_EC2tmFVNNE

And in the spirit of HP, I would like to know, who is your favorite HP character?  Why?  And which book was your favorite.

I’ll start….. this is hard since I loved so many, but in the end I think my fave HP character is Sirius; although Lupin, Snape, Dumbledore and Fred and George come in a very close second.

Why did I love Sirius? I think it’s because I loved what he represented to Harry.  He was Harry’s way out from the Dursley’s, the closest thing he would ever have to his parents and Sirius wanted to love Harry and give him a home.  He was Harry’s hope.  And it’s funny to think about now considering I came from a two parent home and was the middle of eight children, but I wished Sirius would come save me too.  He represented that wish I think every child has on some level, so he had to die, because at some point, as adults, we have to let go of that.

I also think he had the most tragic life, living in Azkaban for over eleven years for a crime he didn’t commit, becoming a fugitive and even your closest friend doubts your innocence.

Which answers the next question, if you haven’t guessed by now, my fave book of the series was Prisoner of Azkaban.  Not that I didn’t love the others, but this book, when I read it at the time, was amazing, from the parallels of Buckbeak to Sirius, to Hermoine’s time travel, and Sirius’ and Buckbeaks eventual escape, not to mention Professor Lupin and the Boggart and Harry and his Patronus.  I could go on, but I would love to hear you responses.

Hmmm, perhaps my patronus has captured my pencil…oh what if my patronus was my pencil! ;p Mind boggling I know.

Don’t forget to leave me your answers in the comments and if you have a short story or poem you would like to share contact me at ejeglin@yahoo.com.

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It’s Thursday, yay, and that means at midnight hundreds of people will be smashing into theaters to watch the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows premiere, unfortunately I won’t be one of them. But, I do get to name the blog of the week for this week and the winner is:

Jami Gold

First off, I want to say Jami is one of the best people to follow on twitter, so if you’re not following her do it.  She’s very friendly and one of the most supportive people I’ve come across.

I actually had planned on naming her blog last week to go along with the end of her “How to Create a Strong Character” series, but I didn’t, so now I, even though it has ended, I encourage you to go over to her blog and read up on her ways to create a three-dimensional MC.  These posts went far beyond the standard give your Main Character flaws advice we run into over and over.  No, she really digs into what makes a person and encourages readers to use techniques such as masks, contrasting and goals to really let readers know who your MC.

Her blog is very insightful and if you have any questions all you have to do is ask.  Jami is more than willing to offer support to others and as both an insightful writer and friendly person I recommend this blog to everybody.

For those of you who are going to see HP tonight have fun and I’m so not jealous.  It gives me more time to look for my pencil.

Also, if you have short story or poem you would like to share, I’d be happy to post it on my blog, just contact me at ejeglin@yahoo.com.

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This Week’s Topic from YA Highway:

“The winds in Washokey make people go crazy.”
Post on your own blog about a time you did something completely crazy!

Okay, a time I did something completely crazy….chirp…chirp….chirp…does anybody else hear the cricket in here?

Alright, so I may not be as boring as I would like you to think, but since this is a blog written by someone who would like to sell in the small children to YA market, I don’t really want to share some of the more crazy things I may have done…which may or may not have fallen within the confines of the law.  Did I happen to mention my father is an attorney? ;p

Let’s see…I would have to say 18 was probably the craziest time in my life.  That year I videotaped my BF as she got her first tattoo, I went to a car show with my friend…I think I’ll just call her V, where she spent the night dragging me into photos of not only her, but gorgeous car models, V never understood that not everybody was as beautiful as her, and then she promptly got up on stage, made out with three other girls, while guys who I didn’t know thought it was okay to touch me b/c I was her friend.  FYI, it was not.

V also took me to my first strip club that year, so she could compete in an amateur’s night to win money for a prom dress.  We made an interesting team, her all make-upfied and half-dressed, and me with my hair thrown into a messy bun, wearing overalls and a sweater and no make-up.  And yet, somehow, I couldn’t help feeling not covered up enough.  I spent the majority of that evening talking to strippers who really liked to brush my leg and shoulder when they talked.  I discovered if I asked them how stripping made them feel, they’d leave me alone, so I got to sit in the back next to the bouncer all by myself.

Last but not least, running from the police when I went with my brothers and the guy I was so into at the time to watch people drift cars.  It was sad though when the guy crashed his mom’s three-month old Spider.  He burst into tears and to be honest, I would’ve too.

So there you have it, some of the wildest things I’ve ever done.  See I told ya I was boring.  Too bad I couldn’t have told you about the time my friend got pulled over and everybody stashed the … under me so the officer wouldn’t find it, but those are for another day.

Now, my pencil has some pretty wild stories….if I could only find it….

It’s your turn to share.  Let me know some of your wildest and craziest moments.

And remember if you want to share a short story or poem with me and the rest of the blog, please send it to ejgelin@yahoo.com.

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Okay so everybody knows the seven sins right? Lust, Greed, Envy, Gluttony, Despair, Sloth and Extravagance, depending on which list you’re going off of, and yes, I’m not proud to say, I did have to look up the last four. 

Well, writers have their own version of each of one of these unappealing traits.  In fact, I’ve read several posts now naming the seven sins and how they affect a writer’s productivity.  Envy being one of the most debilitating sins to catch.

So, for your enjoyment, here is my  list of the seven deadly sins for writers and how we fall victim to each.

1. Books–The carefully crafted novels written by other writers in order to distract you from finishing your own WIP, which will no doubt be more brilliant and make more money than their’s.  That is…if you ever finish it. 

2. Contests–Writer’s are like small children, we see one shiny penny and we have to pick it up.  Inevitably, one blog with a contest has a link to another blog with a contest and since we writer’s are poor by trade, we’re also cheap, and can’t miss out on a chance to win free crap.  Whether we really want it/need it, or not.

3. Chocolate–Many writers seem to keep this handy while writing.  It doesn’t so much hinder our writing, but does make us incredibly fat when we hit a rough patch in our WIP. 

4. Coffee–The necessary sidekick to every writer that provides the right amount of pick-me up before getting to work on your WIP.  Unfortunately we’re so addicted the doctor has limited us to one cup a day and now we find ourselves falling asleep before twelve.  In the afternoon.

5. television–The reward for reaching any goal.  But often has no time limit and may lead into hours, sometimes days of writing time that you’ll never get back.  On the other hand, you completed your mini-marathon of How I Met Your Mother and it was Legend–wait for it–Dary.

6. Blogging–This one is tricky because we think we’re doing something good.  We’re writing down our daily struggles, making witty posts, connecting with others and building our platform, which, I’ve been told, is essential.  Right?  But then the hour you were spending developing a post and responding to comments, suddenly grows into two, three, four hours of reading and responding to everyone’s blog who took the time to read and comment on yours and between your real job and that thing called sleep, all you did was blog.  Another day wasted.

7. The Internet–Like a double-edged sword, so to is the internet.  It’s helpful in varying degrees of situations, like you’re writing and all of a sudden cannot remember the difference between effect/affect, so you go to yahoo, type it in, and nobody knows you slept through every English class you’ve ever taken.  But then there’s the research.  You’ve gotten to a great part and decide this is the scene where you want to add an extra layer of meaning, maybe allude to an ancient myth from Greek, Japanese, or Native American lore.  That’s when you find yourself checking your facebook, reading news articles from yahoo and obsessively refreshing your e-mail account, while repeating, I’m doing research, I’m doing research, to yourself over and over again.

So which of these seven deadly writing sins do you fall under?  Can you think of anymore?

Oops I just thought of another one.  Sin number eight, misplacing pencil after I’m done using it.  I really should work on putting it back away.

Don’t forget, I want to post your short stories and poems on my blog.  If you are  interested, please send me an E-mail at ejeglin(at)yahoo(dot)com.

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So, if you’ve been following my blog, you know I’ve been requesting people to submit their short stories or poems to share with my little community.  So, while some of you (Herby, I’m looking at you) finish your WIP’s I thought I would get it started with one of my own poems I wrote the beginning of this year.  Some of you may have read it before, my apologies if you have, and all I ask is that you humor me.

Alright, so here it is.

The Crash

Comforting platitudes mean nothing at all;
When I look at your face and see the fall.
Memories you can’t recall remain unseen;
As you stare at pictures that hold no meaning.
The tears I’ve cried you will never see;
Nor the battles I’ve fought, just so I could hear you breathe.
Tonight as I stare in wonder at all that is left;
I’m secretly grateful you were the one whose life was spared by death;
For I never would have made it through that day;
If your body was the one I saw buried in an eternal grave.
And although the journey will be hard and painful;
One day I will have my friend back;
And on that day I will be thankful.

 

Leave your comments below and if you’re interested in submitting a short story or poem to be posted on my blog please contact me at ejeglin(at)yahoo(dot)com.  I really think this could be fun and it’s a nice way to get creative juices flowing.

Now, that I’m done embarrassing myself, I’m going to look for my pencil. Maybe there’s still hope for my WIP.

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