Autumn Storm

Autumn Storm
Image provided by Indy Kethdy
@ https://www.flickr.com/photos/indykethdy/

[I want desperately to be skilled at painting pictures with words. Studying what I’ve written for the first draft of my first-ever book, I’m acutely aware of how inept my writing really is. I still want to write my story, but I need to develop my abilities at this craft before I get much further in my project.]

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Fall came with a vengeance this year. September hadn’t been much different. The wind started to gust as Leah made her way up the county road to her cousin’s.  I wonder if we’re in for a brutal winter, she thought, gingerly dancing around the puddles of water.

Living without her own transportation demanded her realization of how easy life had been six months ago. She drove her car everywhere then, not giving a second, or even a first thought to how she’d get around once the lease was up. How was she suppose to know that her hours at the shop would be cut back so drastically? Like most people, tomorrow had not been much of a worry. Life lessons were being learned.

Leah hugged her arms around her. The trench coat kept her dry but the insulation in it was inadequate. It was all she had for the time being though. What will I wear when the snow comes?

Daily life wouldn’t have been so grueling if she had chosen to live in a city where there was public buses, convenient stores, and studio apartments. Instead, she decided to live in a small town so she could be close to family. Sure, it would have been nice if her cousin could have put her up, but she was living with five other young women in old Victorian house a little ways out from the city limits. There just wasn’t any more room in that residence for a sixth person.

The rent was cheaper in this town, but the pay at any job was less too. There she was, a legal secretary, and she was working at a gardening shop. She had taken all the extra hours she could during the warmer months, but with fall in full swing, the hours the shop was even open had dwindled to a mere six hours a day during the work week, and it wouldn’t be any better until sometime in February.

Leah heard the rumbling of a truck coming around the bend. Getting nearer, she glanced behind her. The headlights of the garbage truck glared relentlessly at her. She scampers off the narrow country road stumbling into the dank thickness of the woods beyond the pavement. Something tried to ambush her from above sending her into a panic. Frantically, she waved her arms and hands above her, shrieking and  disheveling her hair. Bringing her arms down again, she peered at her hands. They were covered in cobwebs.

“My Gawd! Yuck! How disgusting,” she said, gathering a few wet maple leaves to wipe her hand off with.

She scurried up the small incline back to the road and brushed herself off with  exaggerated movements. Of all days to make a quilt, it just had to be this one, she mumbled with frustration. She stood straight with her hands clenched  at her side.

She looked up into the rain, and took a cleansing breath.

After adjusting her shoulder bag draping diagonal across her torso, she continued her march down the road.

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Yes, unfinished but not done. Give me any feedback you feel comfortable expressing. I’m ‘all ears’.

 

The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter — it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning. ~Mark Twain, letter to George Bainton, 1888

Focusing on Description

Focusing on Description
Image provided by Janice Hardy
@ http://blog.janicehardy.com/2015/09/writing-prompt-fall-is-coming.html

Over at Fiction University, Janice Hardy challenges her readers with writing exercises. Actually, she calls them prompts but she always wants the participants to concentrate on specific perspective. I usually pass these activities by because I feel I’m doing okay on the particular focus for that time around.

However, I’ve been struggling with descriptions as of late. I used to be skilled at this, but somewhere along the way, I’ve lost a big chunk of my finesse. I’m pretty sure that my only problem is that I’ve gotten lazy and, therefore, out of practice.

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I’m to use the photo above, describing what is in the picture using all senses I want except for sight. I’m most definitely a visual person so this is a huge challenge.

Here goes…

The air was chilled from the lack of sunlight in the woods that day. It was a clear indication of colder days to come as autumn set in amongst the trees and lower vegetation. The slight sting of  crispness on my face felt exhilarating, making me want to run along the hardened dirt trails the deer had carved out for their daily constitutionals.

The bubbling of the water as it rolled over the stones in the creek bed was the only sound I heard at first. Everything seems so still and quiet. I wondered if the creatures of the forest were hiding from something other than me because I wasn’t even detecting any far-off birdsong. Walking close to the water’s edge, I become aware of the other life around me. There was a rustling of leaves and twigs a little way up the hill to my right. Moving on to where the path left the creek, I heard scurrying behind me. Although I was quick to turn my head, whatever it was had escaped my sight.

The fern, pine and maple, along with the bark of the tree trunks and the dirt below gave an earthy fragrance that invited contemplation and self-discovery. The feeling of serenity and harmony began to wash over me, giving a warmth I didn’t expect on such a nippy fall afternoon.

My spirit resounded with peace and clarity as I made my way back to my almost-adequate abode.

~ G. J. Jolly

Any thoughts, opinions, or suggestions out there?

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Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression. The chasm is never completely bridged. We all have the conviction, perhaps illusory, that we have much more to say than appears on the paper. ~Isaac Bashevis Singer

 

Too Little or Too Much?

Too Little or Too Much
Image provided by
Evan Leeson
@ https://www.flickr.com/photos/ecstaticist/

Most people who read blogs, especially the one classified as personal have their summer from June 20th to September 20th. Or it could be the 21st depending on the year. (I never could figure out the math of the calendar year. I’ve just accepted it no matter what the change or lack of was.) Summer is when many people take their vacations/ holidays and just take life a little easier all the way around. Because of this, the lack of activity on my blog during these months doesn’t get me riled up. On the contrary, I take advantage of it and get quite lazy.

The 23rd of September is just around the bend now. I don’t need a calendar to tell me either. I can feel it coming on. My head is starting to spin with ideas for posts; I’m taking the time to make comments in more of the blogs I read; I just changed the design AND the URL of my site. Yep, I’m gearing up for the Autumn season on the blogosphere.

With this change of the seasons, I’m hoping to see more visitors/readers at my blog. Though I’m thinking the hope is irrational. Despite my ill-found desire, I still want more readers. What blogger doesn’t want this?

Would you help me in a  foolhardy endeavor? I want to try to get more followers. Simple enough, right? One strategy I’m told that works is to hit the social media sites more. That’s all well and good if you don’t have any other irons in the fire of your life and, therefore, have the time for sitting at one site for hours. Sorry, but there’s other things that need my attention. Below is a link (opens a new window or tab depending on how you have your browser set up) leading to a questionnaire/poll. I’m hoping I can learn more about the audience I attract and the readers I want. Please indulge me and fill it out for me.

Please Fill Out
This Survey

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If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn’t matter a damn how you write. – Somerset Maugham

 

My New Blog and Scene Colors

My New Blog and Scene Colors
by G. J. Jolly

A New Design for a New URL

Chances are you clicked over here from the blog where the name and the URL don’t match. However you got here, I’m glad you arrived and thank you for taking the time to be here.

Do you like this look? I know that I’m elated and impassioned by the painting I’m using for the header. It was created by Mark Chadwick. Somehow it says This captures you to me. I chose the light beige background because the white, I found out, was too intense and stark for a few of the people I know who grace my pages when they can. They had been avoiding my blog because it physically was hurting their eyes. I’m still uncomfortable with the span of the space for my entries, but I’ve had this wide berth before so I’m sure I’ll be able to accustom myself to it soon.

New Visitors

This blog is about, as the tag line in the header says, my perils in writing and whatnot. Please read my bios, the one on the sidebar and the one on the page called About (you’ll find the link at the top of all page).

I was going to spend the money on a year’s worth of redirect through WP until I took a look at my list of followers. I have only three — YES, three followers who are following me by email. And none of these three are regular commenters. I follow almost everyone by email so this was kind of a shocker to me. How many are using a feed software program? How many are using the Reader feature at WP?

Of course, not on this list are the people who plug into my posts from Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Maybe it’s time for me to read some selected posts on how to do the Social Media thing. Does anyone know of some worthwhile articles on this subject?

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The Colors of the Scene

Technically, it’s still summer here in the northern hemisphere. Yet, when I survey my backyard with the backdrop of the woods behind it, I see the signs of Autumn. Also there’s the fact that school is in session again. I associate children standing at the corner waiting for the bus as something that happens anytime but during the summer.

Living in Tennessee means a lot of brilliant colors during the fall. In my backyard, I’m seeing ripened wild raspberries. The maple trees along the edge of the woods are turning a rich shade, maroon. The tall elms are started to drop golden leaves onto our lawn. The Asters are in bloom with their elegant earth colors. Even the greenery is looking sunburned now.

My computer desk sits right next to a front window. It gives me many opportunities to see what’s amiss on my street. I see the kids walking down the middle of the street with their new clothes on and their new backpacks either on their back or one shoulder. (Growing up in a big city, I walked on sidewalks. This sign of rebellion by kids walking in the middle of the street isn’t one I’ve seen too much of.) Right now their chatter is about which teacher is absolutely horrid and which teacher is cool. Can you believe it? The slang term, cool, is still popular. Nineteen fifties, here we come.

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Please speak out and give me your opinions about my new blog. I also welcome suggestions. 🙂 Oh, and please, if you’ve been following my blog in the past, re-follow my blog by electing to get emails or by just clicking on the follow button in the top strip. If you’re new, consider getting notified of future posts.

A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent upon arriving. A good artist lets his intuition lead him wherever it wants.
Lao-Tzu

 

The Crazy Garden Lady

The Crazy Garden Lady
Image provided by
Francisco Antune @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/vilavelosa/

Most people who live on our street in this small sub-division keep their yards looking decent. This isn’t to say that everyone has a yard that deserved recognition in Better Homes and Gardens though. We’re just regular people who like to look out our windows once in a while and see the grass mowed and the gardens attended to.

There is this one lady though who lives next door to us. As soon as there is a sunny day in the spring when the temperature is over 55F, she is out there doing all sorts of things to her front, back and side yards. I doubt that her yard will ever be shown in a magazine, but I’m relatively sure that this thought is on her mind constantly. This would probably be the one thing she lives each day for.

During those spring days, I will see her out there clearing all of her flowerbeds of the leaves and debris she missed the previous autumn. As soon as the height of the grass is over 1 1/2”, I will see her out there mowing her lawn.

When she feels that there is too much for her to do because she must keep each and every weed out of her yard, I can hear her call her son to come over. She usually does this on her back deck. Often, her son will try to put off coming by but I can hear she raised voice say, “No, I need you here now, tomorrow isn’t soon enough.” And usually he’s seen mowing the grass within a few hours.

By the time late May is here, she has spent the money to have her trees and bushes professional pruned. Because her son can’t be at her beck and call all the time due to having a job, she finally hires help who will be there for her until sometime in the early fall. She’s never quite satisfied with the professional lawn mowing serve so she’ll be out there right after that person leaves to do what she thinks he’s missed (so far it has always been a man). She’ll re-mow places in the yard where she’s sure the man has screwed up. She’ll get out the weed-whacker and, once again, go around the bricks that separate her flowerbeds, bushes and trees from the grass.

She is so meticulous that she’s a little freaky. If any of the neighbors around her mow their grass, she’s either out there mowing hers again or calling someone to come and mow it. It doesn’t make any difference if her lawn was just mowed the day before. She MUST get hers mowed again. Is she trying to do better than everyone else? Or is it that she thinks her yard doesn’t look as good unless she mows when someone else does? I haven’t figured it out.
Hubby and I have lived in this house for five years now. Both of us have talked to her at different time. She’s a nice person. Yet, we haven’t told her what our names are, nor have we asked her what hers is. Why haven’t we been better neighbors?

She’s usually alone. Her husband is a long-distance truck driver, at least this is what we assume. We see him pull into the driveway with his rig about one each month and stay a few days. Then he’s gone again.

I’m ashamed of our behavior. Everyone should have someone close by who he/she can count on in an emergency. My goal is to get over to her house when I see her doing her gardening and make her a real neighbor.