NaNoWriMo Girl

Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen
~John Steinbeck

I have been in a total writers block for quite some time. I haven't felt like writing anything whether it be a blog post, a short story, or a poem. Nothing has been coming to my brain. Then two of my friends from my Arizona Writer's Round Table started chatting about NaNoWriMo on Facebook. This was something that I had never heard of before. For those who don't know, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month and it occurs every November since 1999. As the picture above kind of demonstrates you have 30 days to write 50,000 words! There are no cash prizes or fancy plaques at the end of it. Winning is reaching the goal. Self satisfaction in completing the task.

The concept intrigued me and the more I read statuses between my friends I was drawn in. So without really knowing what I was getting into I decided to give it a try. This was what I needed to get back into writing and it recharged my brain. I got more out of this experience than a manuscript. 

1. Writing is not the solitary activity I had always thought it to be. I didn't partake in any of the regional events that occur, but perhaps next year I will. I did play around on the forums, but that isn't a medium I really enjoy and honestly, forums confuse me. I did have the support and encouragement from the two friends who got me involved, as well as family and other friends. I also got to hang out with Marlene who is one of my writing buddies and I haven't spent 4 hours in a coffee shop bouncing ideas off someone in a long time; having that feedback was so amazing! I don't know if any of those supporters know how important that cheering was to me getting through this month.

2. Kevin can put
 up with my flights of fancy even when it means the apartment isn't cleaned for a month and still love me even if it completely frustrates him and he doesn't fully understand how I can zone out while writing and not hear him when he's less than two feet away from me.

3. The dry spell of writing may finally be over! (Thanks to Cyndi for being the muse that got me into this entire process)

4. I can do amazing things when I put my mind to it. Ten years ago I had a goal of 500 words a day to finish Dragonchild and I've already rewritten it completely once, with Kalahtaya I averaged 1,881 words. I still haven't a conclusion to the book and it drives me crazy because it is not my usual style of writing and to me feels like its dragging but is actually building to something. I just wish I knew what that something is.
5. My friends are incredibly patient with me posting my updates. I used my facebook profile as an accountability meter. I would post my daily progress with the day count and the total. I clarified that it was my intention because I realized it could be taken as incredibly arrogant. In this process though, I did realize how they way you look at things makes a world of difference. I recorded where I was in the process. For example:
Day 22: 1,311 words
Total: 42,579 words

I focused on how far I had come instead of how much was left. (In case my friend reads this, please know I am just pointing out an observation and not critiquing.) Instead of saying: 7421 words to go. For me I think the second statement would have felt insurmountable. This was a huge step for me. I am horrible at positive thinking and this month inadvertently showed me the difference in perception and made me feel confidant and happy in each days works. Even days that yielded a mere 200 words I didn't get down on myself.

6. I have habits in my writing. Groups of three and names that end in ah or eh sounds are incredibly prominent. I purposely changed names just to try and get away from this, but the power of three is very strong in my writing. My heroine in Dragonchild traveled with two companions the entire book, even when the original ones bowed out they were replaced to keep with the threes, oh and her name is Eva. In this story the town is Kalahtaya, the main character is Kitra and her granddaughter is Marlea. I have also rewritten the mythology of the first book which means continuity is going to be hard pressed to streamline. This was also the first time I've written an entire story with a character name that I am really disliking, but feel at this point changing it might be wrong even if I don't feel he owns the name or if it's just because it ends in ah and I want to break pattern.

7. I am terrified of editing this since it was so insane writing this and I can't say for sure what I wrote. Maybe I do need to back off and start editing in the hopes that a conclusion will occur. Especially since this went a complete opposite direction of what I had hoped. Originally, Marlea was the main character, but Kitra elbowed her way into the spotlight.

PS: I'm sorry the formatting is crappy, I'm having trouble with things working together properly.

Grandpa's Girl

Grandpas always have time for you when everyone else is too busy.

 First, Happy Father's Day to all the fathers and grandfathers out there. I guess that it is appropriate that today is the day that I gathered the courage to write this. On June 4th I lost one of the most important men in my life. My grandpa, Morbe John Schneidewend. There is always the official obituary that lists all those who are left behind, and those who proceeded him in death, but it seems so short when I think of everything that Grandpa did in his life and all the things that I never knew and probably won't know about him.

In previous posts I've explained the chaos that was my youth. There was one constant in that storm and that was my grandma and grandpa's house. My sister and I were dropped off there almost every morning during elementary school. Grandma would make whatever I wanted for breakfast. It is part of the reason that I can't stomach French Toast anymore after eating it for a year straight. In other words, I spent a lot of time at their house. Before our clan got to large, every Easter, Christmas Eve, and Thanksgiving brought the entire family together. For the first eight years of my life I was the youngest of the cousins which meant I was the target of much hair pulling and teasing, but those gatherings were some of the happiest times.

Even during my parent's divorce I looked forward to them, except for one Christmas Eve that was a horrible misunderstanding that had my mom not show up. I was devastated and in tears and while everyone was trying to get me to smile and be ok, Grandpa came to my aid and told them to leave me alone. That is one of my strongest memories of him. He was my defender and protector against the bad things.

The picture above is Grandma and Grandpa's wedding picture. They celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary the day before a horrible stroke struck Grandpa. When I got the voicemail from Mom to call her ASAP on Saturday, I thought the worse. He was in the hospital but the prognosis was not good. I was fortunate to have a coworker take my Sunday shift and Kevin and I went up to visit. Pretty much everyone was there. I don't think the ICU unit had seen that many people for one person for some time. The sign on the door saying two visitors in the room at any given time was ignored. It had been years since I had seen some of my cousins and some of my second cousins I hadn't even met, but for this event we made sure to be there. Those from out of town drove as fast as they could and those out of state tried to make arrangements to be there.

The stroke was very severe and knowing how stubborn he was the family knew he would not want to be on a feeding tube and a living shell. It became a horrible waiting game at that point. Kevin and I stayed at the hospital until seven Sunday night. When I was about to leave I leaned over and gave Grandpa a parting kiss on the cheek and told him I loved him. For the only time in the hours that I had been there he tried to speak, and I don't care what my aunt says, he told me he loved me in those mumbled words.

At 5:30am Monday morning I got the call that he passed away. I suppose this was a blessing that he wasn't in such a state for very long. My grandma refused to leave his side that night. 66 years together after all. I think my cousin, Kathleen, said it best "It's not the fact that he's dieing it's the fact that my grandma stays by his side for worse or for poor, For over 66 years of marriage! My grandpa lived an amazing life! A life of faith, hard work and was putting people before himself! I am blessed to be able to have him in my life and for as long as I had! He will be missed but he will soar on the wings of eagles!"

The rest of the week was a blur. I wanted to do something to memorialize Grandpa and the best thing I could think of was to plant a lilac bush. My grandparent's house is surrounded by lilacs. Every year Grandpa and I would clip bouquets for Grandma, so the lilac bush was fitting. It is not easy to find one so late in the season, and asking for violets at Home Depot is evidently a cardinal sin. I managed to get a viola plant with seven little flowers on it that looked close enough to violets. I spent the day before the funeral with my sister, nephew, and brother-in-law at Grandma's. I gave Grandma three of the violets. The rest were for Grandpa. I put them i the breast pocket of his suit like so many other little hand made bouquets I had given him as a little girl.

That is all the sadness surrounding the end of Grandpa's life, but what of all the happiness? How selfish are we in our grief? My grandpa taught me as much about hard work and play as my own father, if not more. He spent hours taking apart electric motors for just a little bit of copper. He was climbing into his tree stand up until he was eighty years old. He was stubborn. Like a lot of older people he preferred not to take his pills and would cancel his birthday. He would eat entire meals without his dentures because he thought they felt funny. 

But he also let a little girl climb around the wood pile and find little pieces of wood that she could hammer together into homemade giraffes and horses. He would take her strawberry picking and fill buckets with berries. He would let her take things apart beside him and go hunting for worms in the garden. He took an old tire and built her a tire swing because she wanted one like the one at school. My favorite memory was when my sister was moving from Oregon to Boston my mom threw together a baby shower for her even though my nephew was already born and it was the first time the family was seeing him, while everyone was running around, Grandpa, Dad, and I sat outside staring at the clouds. With all the halabaloo that quiet moment of picking out shapes mattered the most. 

As an adult, my grandparents helped me out of some hard times financially and even when I got my feet under me he would force me to take money because I needed to pay for gas so I could visit him more. I am so glad I made those extra trips even if it was hard to see such a strong man shuffling around the house and my grandma's onsetting Alzheimer's. We would sit and watch the birds and squirrels and put together puzzles.  I'm glad I would stop, turn around and give extra kisses and hugs, I guess I was stock piling them for now.

Me, My Sis, Grandpa, Grandpa, and My Nephew
Sis and I joked that we had the monopoly with our grandparents, 
She was Grandma's, I was Grandpa's

Morbe J. Schneidewend, age 86, was called to eternal life on Monday morning, June 4, 2012. Morbe was born in Waupaca County on December 20, 1925, son of the late Paul and Ella (Drath) Schneidewend. On June 1, 1946, he married Frances Wied in Bear Creek, and the couple celebrated 66 years together just this past Friday. As a young man he worked on a local farm, and over the years had a variety of different jobs. He delivered milk in the Clintonville area, worked at Neenah Foundry, Manhattan Rubber Company, Kimberly Clark, and retired from Stowe Woodward. Everyone will remember Morbe as a very hard working man with a great work ethic. Morbe loved to hunt and fish, and was a dedicated and faithful member of Bethel Ev. Lutheran Church in Menasha. In recent years, he loved to spend time on his porch, watching the birds and other critters at the feeder.

Morbe is survived by his wife: Frances of Neenah; six children: Sheldon (Barb) of Menasha; Rodney (Sharon) of Hortonville; Peggy (Steve) Dillenberg of Greenville; Holly of Appleton; Timothy (Paula) of Grand Chute; and Tierney (Frank) Seebantz of Arbor Vitae; twelve grandchildren, twenty-two great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild; six brothers and sisters: Leland (Florence) of Menasha; Leo and his companion Pat of Milwaukee; Gladys Reinke of Sugar Bush; Lila Knack of Maryland; Art (Caroline) of Neenah; and Paul (Ann) of Clintonville; four sisters-in-law: Valeria Fletcher of New London; Bernice Young of New London; Irene Schneidewend of Cecil; and Helen Wied of Appleton. Morbe was preceded in death by his parents, and infant son, sisters: Violet and Reverna (Robert) Beyer; brothers: Philip, Clarence (Magdalen) Eric (Pat) and Lloyd; brother-in-law: Robert Reinke, Robert Knack, Gene Fletcher, Lloyd Young, Peter (Gloria) Wied, Llewellyn Wied, and Willard (Mabel) Wied; and sisters-in-law: Shirley Schneidewend, Marion (Hank) Lindemann, Sylvia (Winfred) Knutson, and Beatrice Wied.

College Girl

You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.
~ Clay P. Bedford

It has been a very long time since my last post. I was surprised that everything for posting was reformatted, but I'll muddle my way through. So why has it been so long? School and work and life. So much has been happening this year. Also, I needed sometime to let events get farther into my past so I can be more comfortable telling them. I still have a year of insanity that I wanted to recount and another disaster of a relationship. After those downers I wanted to go into my silver lining story about the man who has changed my life in two years into something I could never have imagined. 

But for now, I'm just wanting finals week to be over. On Sunday I graduate with my Associates Degree in Supervisory Management. There's one more test between now and then, and I should be studying for it but I just really want to take a nap. It's scheduled for way too early in the morning so no late night cramming. Where I go with my education I have no clue. It took me ten years after high school to get something other than  a technical certification, so it'll probably be another ten years for me to do something more. 

Any suggestions as to what to do with all the new free time I'm going to have since I won't be studying anymore? I'm looking forward to reading something that isn't assigned.


Welcome to my little part of the blogosphere. I started this blog for the express purpose of proving that no matter what happens in life, you are not alone. I am sharing my stories from my school days, dating disasters, and personal trials.