When a Chapter Ends

21th Trial: I have no trials pertaining to my writing, as my struggles have been solely lugging moving boxes to our new place and minimalizing my lifestyle. Live big, dream big, and apparently horde big.

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot: 0 Hours

Weekly Choice of Tea: Chamomile

Biggest Success: Beginning a new chapter! (not in my novel, though!)

I deeply apologize for not writing to you all last week, my days have not been my own! I was finally able to take a break from cleaning, packing, and moving these past couple weeks and go to the Renaissance Festival. How one day at that place can amuse and inspire!! The English accents, the royal garb, and of course, the Jousting were elements to make quite the enjoyable day. I looked at the armor they wore, and immediately remembered my tour at the Tower of London. “Yes, they made that piece larger for Henry VIII because at that time he was infested with Syphilis,” was what the tour guide said, and it was that very voice that sounded in my mind as I sat in the chilly fall weather, grinning happily into my cup of tea. The day came and went, I ate my cinnamon almonds and looked longingly at Celtic jewelry. All around me people enjoyed the fantasy of a different time, and I myself felt a shift in space and time. Not just because I was sitting next to crowns, canes, and capes, but because I am ending one chapter in my life.

Jamie and I have moved out of our apartment and in with a friend. I feel as though cleaning out the closets only gives the opportunity for something new and fresh. Boo Radley (my dog) for one, has a yard now, and a neighborhood to run amuck. One of the last thoughts as I left the apartment was that this was the start of so much, a start that is now to be carried elsewhere. I began my novel here. By those long windows the sun and trees watched the first word written, and now I will not have that comfortable space to write and create the way I did. I know that it means I will just have to find a new place, however the ending of a chapter is always to be mourned, admired, and remembered. When a chapter ends in my novel I celebrate, as if I jumped another hurdle to the finish line. I also marvel at its completion, like I never thought I would be at this place, at this time, at this new height. I am at a new place, beginning a new chapter. It’s the start of a great one, I can feel it. And it will be the beginning of chapter five. Stay tuned 🙂



A Philospher’s Stone

21th Trial: Following brain, heart, and environmental responsibilities all at once! I am lucky enough to be able to, even when they collide.

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot: 2 hours

Weekly Choice of Tea: Orange and Ginger from Scott and Lori’s home!

Biggest Success: Finishing Chapter Four!

This weekend was particularly exciting, and I was happy to find it filled with the essence of that something-more-British I gravitate to. I was in Atlanta to see “old” friends from chiropractic school, and could not say anything but that I am beside myself proud of them and what they’ve accomplished. The weekend was filled with visiting my old favorite haunts and reconnecting with a city that has left bitterness in my mouth ever since I sat in four hours of unmoving traffic. I could write twenty more paragraphs on the merits and qualities of the excellent people I spent the weekend with, but that would take me from the topic I wish to discuss.

And what that topic is, you may wonder at, is something I am surprised I have not focused on before. What else is there to say? I am proud then to express my absolute obsession and adoration of a book series that naturally has contributed to my literary development, a stone in my philosophy! That is of course, Harry Potter!

Two friends of mine from school were with me this weekend, Shaun and Jenna. They are the great friends that I found myself many nights playing scrabble and eating fondue with. Anyways, they told me just days ago, that they just now started reading the Harry Potter books, and that the movies do not actually do them justice! I was told this at Der Bier Garten, and immediately dedicated our first sip not to seeing old friends, but to the growth of their knowledge! The expansion of their imagination! The light that shall always follow such literature! How exciting, how amazing!

I will not continue to divulge the extent of my love for those books, that I have spent summers reading them repeatedly 14 times, or that I have a weird shrine in my house (that will just always be there. There is just no going back). However, I would like to share with you all the fun collection that I began a little while ago. Pictured above are Harry Potter novels that I’ve acquired in different languages and/or from different countries. Anywhere I travel, I pick one of these guys up. Currently I have editions, mainly of the first book, from England, Scotland, Italy, Sweden, and Austria!

I have finished my chapter four, and this week I will dedicate my time to typing it up. Thanks Jenna and Shaun, for stirring the love for literature this weekend–just as naturally as you spooned the cheese fondue a year ago!


At Harry Potter World!



Missed this man this weekend! Benard, who has shared my love for HP!


The Goldilocks of Dialogue

20th Trial: How much dialogue is too much? It is often that we say little more than we should and/or spew a great deal extra than should be allowed.

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot: 2.5 hours

Weekly choice of tea: Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Chai (pumpkin has come to Trader Joe’s!)

Greatest Success: At the White Water Center, I kicked away my fear of heights and accomplished the ropes courses and went rafting!!! It is a place in Charlotte where the USA team trains for the Olympics, and is open to the public. So a whole day was dedicated to outdoor adventures! Just a couple fun tid bits from this weekend:

There are so many times that while writing an interaction between two characters that I sit back and wonder, how on earth is this dialogue going to end? Do I continue down a casual road, such as person sits, stands, talks, pours tea–or just get straight to the point? There is such a talent that I am realizing with long dialogue. A whole paragraph of uninterrupted speech in which unrevealing occurs, but does not show absolutely everything, is a beast within itself! I admire the cool mysterious dialogue of Raymond Chandler, who wrote The Big Sleep, where after every word spoken the reader feels as if they are standing at the edge of a cliff, in absolute suspense of what it could mean and what it will result in. And on the other hand, the whimsical entertaining discussion of tapestries and who-wore-what-lace in Austen’s repartee has its own significant effects. In both circumstances, the dialogue is not too much or too less. I am Goldie Locks, tasting for what will be just right when it comes to the feel of my novel. And if anyone has ever read Goldilocks, you will hear the dialogue debate within my mind. This sentence is too short! This subject is not right for discussion! This soup is too hot!

On a short, different note, I am influenced more than I realized by what I am writing. I admit that I am a leech, taking in my surroundings and relying on the people I meet to propel my story forward. My imagination to this point has had to work very little. However, one scene I wrote that was not from my neighborhood–you could call it the “meet-cute”–was with my character hearing piano music from a neighboring household. The gorgeous melody will then naturally begin the strings of romance! Now you can understand my astonishment when I was leaving my apartment to take my dog on a walk, when I heard from another door the beautiful sound of a piano! I stopped, stunned by the situation. How brilliant! Not only do I take from my surroundings, but now my story seems to take form around me! And the music was indeed beautiful, just as I imagined in would be. I am happy to say that my story does not leave me, and reveals itself in senses and physical manifestations, as much as I will perceive it to.

Embracing Austen

19th Trial: When burdened with hitting a wall in your writing, seclude yourself in an area conducive to writing. But more importantly, when you feel that you have hit a wall, pick up a writer you aspire to and let their language guide you

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot: 1.5 hours

Weekly Choice of Tea: Turmeric and Ginger

Biggest Success: Embracing Austen Dialogue

Currently, the novel I am reading is Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. Though I have seen the BBC version of the book a many, many times, I am always pleasantly surprised with the development of her characters in text. I love the general summing up movies produce, and they typically do a faithful job giving the character their due respect when it comes to character qualities; however, I know Fanny (main woman in the book) so much more faithfully now, and I see the absolute necessity in reading the thoughts behind her dialogue and actions.

Reading Austen does not just fulfill my understanding of her stories displayed by British Broadcasting. Oh, how better and improved my dialogue is! Last night I sat my book down as Jamie asked me a question.

“So, what movie do you want to watch tonight?”

I responded, “Whichever would oblige you most, my dear.”

“But I want to know what you’re interested in watching.”

Again, I responded “Quite right, my love! Shall we progress further through the episodes, or view a movie not yet seen before?”

This was a rough summation of the conversation I remember, however I felt as if the attitude of Henry Crawford radiated into my own dialogue as he would talk to Fanny. I could not think of how to replace words such as ‘oblige’ or ‘progress’ or ‘quite right’ at the moment I said them. I laughed at myself naturally, but honestly, I marveled at how improved I seemed by the novels I read!! I sincerely attribute British authors to a portion of the success I will hopefully feel when this novel is finished! And I am happy to announce that chapter four is closely being finished. This coming week should be QUITE productive! The picture featured above is where Jamie sits to design and work on her website, but little does she know that while she is away, I take down the electronics and make it my space!

Broaden the Corners of a Story

17th Trial: Finding the focus within a story

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot:  2.5 Hours

Weekly Choice of Tea: Turmeric and Ginger

Biggest Success:  Small events will exemplify a story’s moral(s) more than the overarching storyline.

This past week passed as most do–a breath of relief followed by anticipation for another Monday. I accomplished a small portion of chapter four, and I cannot help but compare this small progress to a cat playing with a dangling toy fish. The time I dedicate to the novel seems to dangle before me, and sometimes I do catch it. Sometimes I hold on so tight to it I then release it, to see it go beyond my grasp again. I play this game until I am fed up, and the story lays forgotten for days. It’s more exhausting playing with my prey than to actually hold it captive. I find it fascinating that dreams and aspirations take the abuse of neglect quite easily. I do not blame work, as we will always work and personally I love what I do for a career. However my focus sways, and cannot stay long enough for me to spend quality time on my novel.

Undeterred, I love my project even with the shame it brings me from not working on it. I am currently watching To Kill a Mockingbird, and it is times like this that my passion dangles before me and I grow mesmirized. I am so happy to have started this journey, as if so many stories such as Harper Lee’s speak to something deep within. One scene from To Kill a Mockingbird showed me something new and interesting. It was the scene with a dog coming down the street, jumping and growling and obviously infected with Rabies. It was shot down by Atticus in the middle of the street and in the eyes of Gem and Scout. This dog has nothing to do with the overlying story, with the trial, or the play, or of tormenting Boo Radley. And yet do we not sense Atticus as the protector? Do we not see an innocent creature shot down, mirroring so much of what is to happen? There are so many additions to a story that may not seem (as when I read To Kill a Mockingbird) noteworthy in the course of a novel, but in reflection are the only things that truly put the reader in the mind-frame to accept such an ending.

I have only now to build upon that thought. How exciting, to think of small adventures that could bring light in the corners of a story, and to distract us as well as instruct us.

When I think of To Kill a Mockingbird, the first image to come to mind is a front porch swing. And naturally I see the scenery of Grove Avenue, from the porch of my aunt’s home, and I hear the creaks that come with the swing’s sway as I sit to observe it all. A front porch should do the trick for any writer’s block—if only!

When it comes to talking about To Kill a Mockingbird, I always imagine a front porch swing. I then naturally think of Grove Avenue!

When it comes to talking about To Kill a Mockingbird, I always imagine a front porch swing. I then naturally think of Grove Avenue!

A Quick Comparison

16th Trial: Connecting with my generation. I wonder what aspects of it will be displayed, as I feel so separated from it sometimes, mainly in the technology aspect of it. I did mention an iphone in Chapter three though.

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot:  1 Hour. I am getting dangerously close to doing nothing with my life

Weekly Choice of Tea: Pear and Caramel Black tea

Biggest Success:  Began Chapter Four

Lately I have found it hard to do not only my writing, but my workouts or my dedicated tea times with books. I did not even post a blog last week! For the first time in my life, I felt the weight of stress and exhaustion of my job, finances, and scheduling. Truth be told, I am very good at balancing my sanity with my interests and my outlets, and with my failure of that these past couple weeks makes me wonder if this is a normal thing people feel. Especially those with greater responsibilities–owning a practice, having children, working 4 jobs. That being said, I needed time to slow down, which entailed laying on my couch and sleeping. So nothing really got done!!!

On a similar note, I am overwhelmed with the stimulation that we go through on a daily basis. I cannot help but compare my situation to that of William Wordsworth’s. There was a man, whose study was outdoors, and had the views, the gentle creatures and insects, and the calm pace of lifestyle that had him write of only the beauty around him. I too can observe and write of the beauty that surrounds me, however how often are my thoughts on just one thing, or one view, or even one thought? I was laying in a park on the outskirts of the city, my feet in the grass and Jamie’s head on my lap. It was peaceful. I had my book beside me, but instead I wanted to channel Wordsworth and just rest my eyes on the moment. To view the trees before me and the dancing squirrels. Jamie was asleep, and Boo Radley (my dog, if you don’t remember) snoring with equal fervor. But the reality soon came upon me that my world is not conducive for peaceful observation, as William’s was. Between two trees I saw the light of an intersection turn from yellow to red. Music drifted over top from a nearby restaurant, along with the smell of food. At intervals I would hear tires screech and car horns scream their impatience. My own bag beeped from a text message that was sent to my phone.

All within seconds of each other, my mind was pulled to the idea of food, to the anxiety of rushing traffic, to the wonder at who was trying to contact me via cell phone. I am aware that I can drive hours away to reach tall mountains and find a remote place that would cut me off from such distractions–but how often am I able to do that? How often is the average person able to do that? I am having trouble with this disconnection we have to nature and self. No wonder the majority of people are on mood control medications. Alone, the struggle I had to write and work out the past two weeks makes me feel a failure in a small sense. Doesn’t the world we live in buttress this easy fall into despair?

Thus, I propose a change for myself and for ALL. Support a balance within. You have incredible potential to connect with yourself at little expense to the world you live in.

Waterfall at Cloudland Canyon

Creating Character

13th Trial:  Social Media. I have recently acquired a smart phone to use as my main phone. Never again will this happen. I absent-mindedly pick up my phone and by the time I put it down I opened at least three apps. This is the downfall of civilization. Or a type of it for that matter. And here I am, blogging.

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot: 6.5 hours

Weekly Choice of Tea: Bombay Chai

Biggest Success: Swimming Lake Wylie without a partner (the water is dark and I can’t stop imagining snapping turtles, whether they exist in Lake Wylie or not…its scary being alone!)

This must be nothing more than a sequel to last week’s article. It has to be. I am not burdened by the struggle I imagined I would be–how to write, what to write, oh writer’s block–my nemesis! Grant it, do not suppose I am not challenged by these common obstacles. Lately, however, I am overwhelmed by the absolute quantity of material that surrounds me. Even in the discovery of new persons in my life–Charles and his trains or Brian with his solar Pyrography–I am reminded of who I have known for years. Think of all of my friends, their successes and their trials. Think of all those I have become intimate with, by sharing my emotions and my thoughts. Consider for a moment my family and their knowledge, strength, and of course quirks. I have thought a lot about those who have still such a strong hold on my heart. And even professionally and spiritually, those who have built worlds and given me motivation.

Many such people seem fragmented within me, and within my imagination. Their morals and ethics remind me of who I want to be, who I do not want to be. I am fortunate in my friendships and in those I love. For I am surrounded by a world of animation, happiness, and color. I am enjoying reading Mansfield Park, where Austen very much emphasizes a world of indulgence on one end, and a very humble, thankful meditation on the other. Fanny Price is a character in the book who is better by those in her life–the ones that tear her down and laugh at her are just as important as those who love her and protect her. The adversities and the trials I face, along with the care and sweetness of those around me, create my character, and more importantly, give my book genuine faces and realistic qualities. Here are just a couple photographs of my dear friends and family!


Dancing with the Daffodils

8th Trial: Converting Vacation Mind back to Work Mind

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot: 0 – but if you please, I had just reason not too! I was too busy with the surrounding nature of England and Austria

Weekly Choice of Tea: English Breakfast Tea, of course!

Biggest Success: Finding Daffodils

DSC_0526    11053385_10155676659820082_267705537873300093_o

Will this be my last Wordsworth reference? Most likely not, however I am so surprised that my love for his Daffodil poem was apparently the one he is most loved for. An interesting fact I learned while in his home at Rydal Mount. Yes it is true, I have journeyed to the place of worship itself, to the Mecca of literature’s admirers! In the heart of the Lake District I walked the gravel and grassy carpeted lanes where Dorothy and William tread; I saw the squirrels that were ancestors to the creatures that inspired Beatrix’s vivid imagination; I drank at the pub that Charles Dickens frequented; I traveled further south to London and visited the home where Keats lived. All in all I was surrounded by the beauty that was so well documented by the talented observers, and that gave inspiration to their arts. DSC_0738   DSC_0418 While my time at Wordsworth’s home was short, I felt the refreshing pulse of the Lake District. In other words, the gardens and cottage is what makes the area thrive in my memory and in my heart. Everywhere I looked there were fields of sheep; the gardens were kept and in bloom; the cottages with the perfect bowed windows had ivy covered front archways. Wordsworth’s study was outdoors, as was Beatrix Potter’s. Her animation with the Lake District was through the stories of tiny creatures that had the most innocent and exciting adventures: to forbidden gardens; a washer porcupine of our imaginations; wicked wretched bunnies in high passion. Both authors fell in love with the Lakes because the quiet calm that fills the air will flow through any artery and vein, bringing life to every limb. DSC_0743  DSC_0482   DSC_0732   DSC_0705  

Simply, I intend to go back. This time with pencil in hand and no activities on book. Maybe when I finish my novel and need to revise it (badly), can I then take a hiatus to the wide countryside of rolling fells and deep, sincere vales. I was in Austria prior to the Lake District, where the Alps gave small glances into towns tucked dearly between each ascent. Austria truly surprised me with its unimaginable heights and classic styled homes. “The hills are alive, with the sound of music” is not just a tune of metaphorical reminiscence, as I always thought the song to be about. Sitting on any hillside I could hear the bells that adorned the surrounding cows that grazed fields around me. It was music, so peaceful and tranquil that I could stay on that hillside for years and never grow weary of its tune. Photos from Austria: DSC_0003   DSC_0015  DSC_1202

Everywhere I journeyed, I could feel the land. It healed me, and I believe it healed Jamie as well. It is ironic that the places we traveled brought so much peace and restfulness to my heart, brought with it an event that caused so much fear and anxiety. When Jamie fell off a cliff ledge in Austria (as most of you know by now), my soul could not rest with the image of her disappearing from sight, and me powerless to stop it. England then tried to calm us with promises of sunshine and scones with jam and cream, with sparkling lakes beside beds of reeds. But I could not be calm. She rests beside me now, as I sit in our apartment in America, and I am confident that an event like that anywhere else would have left me a nervous wreck still—yet it was only the beauty of the lands we left that healed our hearts and minds, and it was only there that I could have recovered from the shock so quickly. Jamie as well, as she is ready to go back even now! However I know that where we need to be now is here; I know this because I drove home from work yesterday, and noticed for the first time, that daffodils lined the highway exit to my home. In a way I see my world differently, though it probably has always been like this. I will write, I will love this precious survivor, and I will work hard to be able to find myself again in the fields so that I too may become devoured by its effects.


An obsession come to life: the Lake District, UK

7th Trial:  Maintaining descriptive tenses in the flow of events, so as to not seem choppy between thoughts/actions

Weekly hours spent writing or in pursuit of plot: 9 hours

Weekly choice of tea: Pineapple (that bloomed in my tea pot, see picture below!)

Greatest Success: Finished CHAPTER TWO!


It is roughly that I say I finished chapter two. Yes, I placed the period mark at the end of the final sentence, however I realize there are places where more description is needed. When writing a scene, I don’t seem to write as fast as the scenes flash in my mind, and nearly never does my mind stop in time to document all that I want it to, but just moves on to the next event. So much is then lost, and no one could envision what I am seeing, and therefore what I am meaning to illustrate. Could any story live, where description is set aside? Can you not feel pain for the character, if you do not see the creases of his forehead, the sweat on his brow and above his lip, and the distant expression in his eyes? Or feel the relaxation of a person who wakes in the early morning, feeling the dew between her toes, the chill of morning air pulling the strands of hair across her face, as she watches the dim light brighten the greens of the trees? And yet it is easily passed, or in some circumstances not my own, depended on severely.

This chapter came by rather quickly, and I know that when I type it up I shall have to add quite a large amount of description to its fast pace. It is one thing I wish that there is more of in the novel I am reading, Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte:  this emphasis on description. She passes over scenes with summaries at an alarming rate! And so I sense the inevitable feeling growing deep in my heart, a certain need that brings forth the flowing muses of my writing. I need something more British (could anyone guess otherwise?), to fills the holes in chapter two—and now could not be a better time for such a need! Come Wednesday, I am flying to London, England, where I will be in Austria from there for 3 days. After that I go back to London and drive up to the Lake District–a place that I have wanted to go since I read Elizabeth Bennet traveling to the Lake District with her Aunt and Uncle.

My wonderful friend is getting married there, and amongst the adventures planned, there will be horseback riding through the open fields, where I will likely hold tight to the reigns and close my eyes, imagining Darcy riding through gorgeous landscapes. Yes! My obsession is obvious, and I cannot pass down a once in a lifetime chance to be influenced by Austen’s senses. Not only hers, but also those of William Wordsworth and his sister’s, Dorothy Wordsworth. I will traverse the gardens of Rydal Mount where he wrote about so dearly, and sense the happiness inspired when looking upon the hillsides, the waters, and the vales. I will see their home at Dove cottage, drink at pubs in Ambleside, and visit the farm of Beatrix Potter. I cannot wait to report back, and give you a month’s worth of material inspired by such an adventure!

Words-Worthy:  my Tribute to Wordsworth

2nd Trial: Finding rhythm in the small stuff, finding Words-Worth the scene (see what I did there?)

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot:  9.5 (Jamie was out of town!)

Weekly choice of tea:  Minty black tea from Abisko, Sweden (can’t read the label)

Greatest Success:  FINISHING first draft of Chapter One

I have recently received an exemplary book on William Wordsworth, his life and the poetry that spanned it. I am amazed to have known so little about him, and come June this year, I will be visiting his house in England! But more on that later–I fear you all will be well plagued by my excitement the weeks prior to and following my adventure to the Lake District! And so I have acquainted myself with Wordsworth this past week, and am enjoying the rhythm of his poetry. I absolutely love it.

“I heard a Stockdove sing or say

His homely tale, this very day

His voice was buried among the trees,

Yet to be come at by the breeze:

He did not cease; but Cooed–and cooed;

And somewhat pensively he wooed:

He sang of love with quiet blending,

Slow to begin, and never ending;

Of serious faith, and inward glee;

That was the Song, the Song for me!”–from ‘O Nightingale! thou surely art’

Rhythm. I am typing up chapter one, newly finished (a sigh of relief, for though a first draft, a milestone accomplished!), and can tell areas that surely lost such a rhythm. My largest struggle I found this week was working through the movement of a character through a room or within a situation. I haven’t seemed to master when to be descriptive and when to just move on, and can tell after re-typing a scene when I was even bored while writing it. I laugh when I read Jane Austen sometimes, how she has the ability to skim certain circumstances, as if by now her readers are well versed in similar scenes she has already written about. For example, she bypasses several conversations by stating a general sentence along the lines of, and forgive me for not using language adequately comparable to her tongue:

“He entered the drawing room in such the cordiality of a gentleman’s station, and resumed in conversing on all the normal pleasantries deemed necessary by polite society.”

You already know what her character talked about:  the pleasing decor, the enjoyment of the dancing, the weather, and indulging in the perfect situation he found himself in! At least, you know all of that if you have read ANYTHING by Austen! And yet she herself is master at dragging description on to no end.

And so Chapter Two will begin this week, and I will focus on my identifying words worthy for the scenes at hand.

1st draft Ch.1

1st draft Ch.1