Beneath the Pear Trees–Poem

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It’s allergy season–yuck!

Why does this beautiful time of year equate in causing all sorts of mayhem? Beauty is pain? New beginnings require sacrifice?

Whatever the cause, it was the springtime blooming Bradford Pear trees in my backyard that inspired this poem. I have a love-hate relationship with the pair of trees. Love their delicate little flowers that encase them in twin clouds this time of year. Hate the awful smell they give off.

I’m guessing that’s what inspired the bittersweet tone, anyway.

Enjoy!

 

Beneath the Pear Trees

 

Between twin trunks

I sit,

The first time since winter’s grip

Took hold.

But now

That icy siege

Has at last released,

And again I go to sit

Beneath the pair

Of Pear trees’ boughs.

 

A thousand little puffs of white

Dust the end of each

Dwindling branch,

Giving host to honeybee

And butterfly and wasp.

If only we were as

Indiscriminant as these

Unaffected trees.

 

A gentle wind stirs the air

And the sickly sweet

Smell turns my stomach

While I wait.

My ear catches a faint

Sound and I

Know it isn’t you,

But can’t help looking

And hoping still.

 

Quiet.

Quiet broken only by the

Buzzing of feasting bees

And gently twitching grasses.

Forgotten sounds

Until the ear is searching

For something to take hold of.

 

Something touches my hand,

And I look down to see

A single bloom nestled in my lap.

Within days

They’ll all be gone,

And only I will remember

How they

Frosted the trees.

 

The saucy breeze runs

His fingers through my hair,

And I

Close my eyes in spite of myself.

Remembering.

Resigning.

 

My legs are damp,

Soaked through with the

Remains of morning dew.

I wait alone

With my memories

Beneath the pair

Of Pear trees’ boughs.

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Love and Taxes

It’s that time of year again…tax time.

I know, I know, it’s been that time of year for a long time, but I’m both a procrastinator and a tax-loather, so I’ve put it off until today and now I’m nearly cross-eyed from all the legalese. What do things like dividends and earned income really mean? Of course I earned it, what kind of woman do you think I am, Mr. Tax Document?!

If there were a word in my vocabulary stronger than hate…it’d have to be taxes.

Don’t get me wrong, I love getting the tax return at the end of it all, but it’s like I have to pass this long, convoluted test to get my own money back. Oh, and if I make a mistake on this test, no “B” for me, I get to go directly to tax fraud jail. (Okay, that might be a little dramatic, but that’s how I feel in the midst of the process.)

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Taxes make me want to do this: the adult form of running away from home…with your home.

On a lighter and completely unrelated topic, I recently had a friend notice the name of my wordpress site (foundmydarcy) and comment that I must be an Austen fan.

Why, yes. Yes I am. (Does the sun shine?)

But there’s more to the name than just being part of the crazy Jane A. fandom. And it was more than I wanted to reply in a comment on said friend’s post (hijacking and all that). So, here’s the story of how my blog got its name.

Long, long ago, (okay, it was 2005) in the age of dial-up internet and low-rise jeans, there was a girl (me) who decided to have my first ever blog. Only, it wasn’t called a blog. Not exactly. I vaguely remember the term online journal being thrown around, but suffice it to say, it was essentially a blog.

I had a friend help me set it up, and when it came to the username/blog name, I tried to be creative while honoring my newfound love of Pride and Prejudice (I’d just read the book–before watching the movies–and loved it, of course). So it had to be both witty but “cool” and unique, of course.

After debating a couple ideas, I came up with the perfect combo: Lookin_4_Darcy.

Yeah, I roll my eyes at it now, but at the time, it was PERFECTION.

Little did I know the joke was on me: I’d “met” my future husband by the end of that afternoon.

You see, my friend who had helped set up my page went ahead and subscribed me to all her favorite people’s pages as well–including a guy she’d befriended at summer camp and his younger brother (my now husband). Of course, not understanding a thing about how blogs worked at that time, I introduced myself to each person I’d been subscribed to lest they feel like I was some random weirdo stalking their page. (facepalm)

Granted, my husband described it as “cute”, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t.

So yeah, we commented back and forth on each other’s journal-entries/posts until mid-2006 when we both got distracted with other things. Later, mid-2008, we reconnected through the internet again and eventually met (because we found out we had all these friends in common who ASSURED us we were both real people–no catfishing on our watch). And about a year after finally meeting face-to-face, we were married.

So I started out Lookin_4_Darcy, but I have since found my Darcy.

I started with a little online journal and now I have a bonna-fied blog (that I tend to neglect, but I’m working on that).

So that’s where that name comes from; a double meaning. A Jane Austen tribute with a little back story of my own. Because that’s pretty much as “me” as you can get.

Unlike taxes.

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Sunshine Award!

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Just like the sun coming out after a storm, this award was a happy surprise after a long month of on-again, off-again illness(es). Being sick is horrible enough, being sick as a stay-at-home parent is the seventh circle of hell. I’m sure Dante would have written about it, if he’d been a stay-at-home parent.

It really tests you down to your very soul when you have an ear-splitting migraine and the man-child is running around the house giving some kind of deranged battlecry, waving around the lightsabers you meant to hide yesterday, all to the tune of Peppa Pig background noise.

So having an awesome writing buddy, who not only helps encourage and critique your work, but nominates you for a blogging award (even when you’re pretty sure you don’t know how to blog or when to blog or are just always blogging wrong)–that’s pretty awesome! And drags you from the pit of despair to fight another day. (Or concede to the four-year-old another day, take your pick.)

Thank you, R.Q.Woodward for the nomination! You are a stellar blogger who always has the best writing advice, from writing software to twitter, and you always teach me something I didn’t know I needed to know when I read your posts. I feel very honored to have known you before blogging, both as a student/peer and a coworker (for that one semester, remember?) because someday I’m going to be able to brag about knowing you way-back-when and everyone’s going to be really jealous of me.

SO, the Sunshine Blogger Award, other than being the sun-shiniest and possibly most cheerful of the award family, has a few rules:

  • Post the award on your blog (well, duh)
  • Thank the person who nominated you (because, manners; THANK YOU, ROBIN!)
  • Answer the 11 questions they sent you
  • Nominate bloggers you’d like to give this award
  • Give them 11 questions to answer

Since R.Q.Woodward nominated me, she got to choose the questions (cue dramatic music). Here’s what she asked and how I answered:

Q & A with R.Q.Woodward:

  1. What’s one of the wackiest dreams you’ve ever had?

    Great first question! I have had some pretty off-the-wall dreams, but they are usually action-oriented, not really “wacky”. One that comes to mind had almost the same feel to it as the movie “The Village”. If you haven’t seen the movie, be warned: spoilers (somewhat). Basically, I’d been captured and forced to stay in this colony of people living out their lives like it was the 1800s. Only, it was my parents’ ranch down in Texas where they’d taken over and set up shop. I tried to escape a couple times, but kept getting caught and brought back kicking and screaming (I do a lot of that in dreams…which is SO not me in real life! Haha!). THEN things took a turn for the weird when suddenly people started getting sick out of nowhere. Either someone was poisoning within the camp or there was an implication of spiritual/mystical activity that was causing it. I might have then been accused of witchcraft. I decided to again plan another escape, but woke up before it came into play.

  2. Name your favorite book, movie and TV show, and then tell me which of THOSE is your absolute favorite.

    The book is actually the easiest. I don’t know why, but Mara: Daughter of the Nile has been my go-to favorite. I’ve read it at least ten times, which is a lot for me (I don’t tend to re-read stuff). I’ve heard it decried as being historically inaccurate, but I don’t care. It’s a good story. Ancient Egypt, spies, tomb raiding, what’s not to like?

    Movie is a little harder. For years it was The Scarlet Pimpernel, the 1982 TV version with Jane Seymour and a young Ian McKellen. It’s very dated and not the greatest film quality, but it’s swashbuckling fun. It’s about a disguised Englishman rescuing innocent French Aristocracy from the guillotine during the French Revolution. I’ll go ahead and say it’s still my favorite, though I have a lot of honorable mentions (Sabrina 1995, Pride&Prejudice 2005, Far From the Madding Crowd 2015, Casablanca)

    TV show is almost impossible to nail down. That probably says that I watch too much of it, but I try to just watch shows that I enjoy so that’s probably the reason I’m struggling. A recent one that I watched and was absolutely fascinated by was The Man in the High Castle–an alternate history of what the world of 1962 would be like if Hitler had won WW2. I love that, especially in the second season, the “bad guys” and the “good guys” aren’t as clear cut as they seem. It’s very like real life people and I’m attracted to that kind of story. On the other end of the spectrum: I love Lark Rise to Candleford and Dr. Who.

    You probably are starting to see a pattern here, right? My go-to anything is usually historical in some sense. I think out of all of those, Mara is probably my all-time favorite. I’ve often longed for SOMEONE out there to make it into a movie, but then I’d probably be disappointed. (*cough* Ella Enchanted *cough*)

  3. What is the first favorite color you ever remember having and what is your favorite color now?

    Pink (gag me) was my first favorite. I don’t absolutely hate it, but I haven’t liked it for years. Now my favorite color tends to go between an off-white, pale grey or faint blue. Put me in the midst of any of those peaceful hues and I’m instantly relaxed.

  4. Who is your favorite person in the world?

    ME! Ha, no. As cliché as it sounds, my husband. Really, is there any other choice? He’s one person in the world (my son doesn’t count, he’s not an adult and doesn’t care) who I can be a complete mess around and not feel self-conscious about it. He’s there if I need him for anything, my quiet supporter. Plus, I think he’s pretty good eye candy too (don’t tell him I said that).

  5. What’s your favorite smell?

    Tough question! Hmmm… Top 2 are campfire smell and good ol’ vanilla. I don’t know if I could pick just ONE though. And baking bread. Ugh, I’m going to keep thinking of more good ones, so I’m stopping now…

  6. If you had to choose between living as an insect in the Amazon or as a fish in the ocean for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

    Wow, random! I like it. My instinct is to say fish in the ocean (despite all the plastic and crap going on with the oceans right now; though I’ve read some promising stuff on inventors creating ways to help clean them, so YAY!). I don’t really want to live in a swampy, humid rainforest for the rest of my life. Plus, I’ve heard scientists know more about outer space than the bottom of the ocean–I’d love to explore down there and find out its secrets!

  7. Coffee, tea, beer, or wine? (multiple choices are acceptable)

    All except beer. I just don’t like the stuff. When I’m sick or it’s cold outside, or I’m reading/watching British stuff, tea. When it’s a typical day, coffee to start the day and coffee in the afternoon. Wine occasionally in the evenings (especially if I’ve had a seventh circle of hell day from the four-year-old).

  8. How do you like to spend your leisure time?

    What’s that? Ha! In all seriousness, if I get an “evening off” or a “day off”, I usually hang out with my family here at the house and do bits of nothingness. Watch a show with my husband or put together a puzzle or play games with the man-child or read or do a crossword myself. If my husband tells me explicitly, “Go out and relax!” then I usually head to a coffeeshop (usually the kind in a bookstore) and get coffee, look at books, sit down to read and write and just decompress. That’s my ideal getaway at the moment. A few hours to read, write, drink coffee, and maybe buy a new book.

  9. Do you like to hike, bike, or do other types of outdoor recreational activities? (if this answer is a “duh” type of response because of #8, do not pass go, go directly to jail. Also, tell me anything)

    Haha! I do like to walk/hike. We have a small state natural area with a trail JUST down the road from us. I have grown to love it because hardly anyone is usually out there. I used to bike all the time until college, but not anymore (sad face). I used to swim a lot. I used to sword fight (not fencing, SWORD fight, like a complete nerd). I used to do a lot of things before the man-child magically zapped me of all my energy (almost totally kidding, but not quite).

  10. What is one (or maybe two) question(s) you wish I’d asked?

    How come you’re not a famous published author yet, Sarah?

  11. What is the answer to the question you just asked yourself?

    I can’t believe you just asked me that! You’re not supposed to talk about not being published until after you get published, and then you can joke about it. How insensitive of you…

    Just kidding.

    Real answer?  I’m slowly working towards it, but I’m not desperate to be published until I’m ready. When I’m there, I’m there. Until then, I’m content to write for myself a few friends who read it.

I Nominate…

I am not the best at blogging (the reading or writing of them; in fact, I wrote a post about it), but there’s one blog that I’ve followed since the beginning of the beginning of thinking about blogging. Because of that, I’d like to nominate Tina Bausinger! She’s someone who once went to a humble writer’s group when we were both still junior college students with creative writing dreams. Since then, she’s become a published author (yay!) as well as becoming an English teacher herself.

Here’s my 11 questions:

  1. What inspired you to start writing?
  2. What’s your favorite food?
  3. Dogs or cats or both?
  4. Which would you rather be if you had the choice–divinely beautiful or dazzlingly clever or angelically good?
  5. What are your hobbies outside of reading and writing?
  6. Dream vacation destination and activities? (no financial restrictions–this is a dream)
  7. If you had to pick ONE author to read for the rest of your life (only his/her books), who would that be and why?
  8. Where and when are you the most productive in your writing?
  9. Favorite TV show or movie that’s based on a book?
  10. You find you can time travel once to any point in time: do you go to the future or past? If the past, what time period or year? (you return to your own time after the visit)
  11. City or country? Which specific city or countryside? (ex: San Fransisco or mountainside valley, etc.)

Happy blogging and I’m looking forward to your answers!

To those reading: have any random questions for me? Ask me in the comments below! (I dare you)

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February Wrap-Up

February always seems to go by too quickly.

But of course, you say, it’s the shortest month of the year.

Yeah, but I always forget that.

February 1st always kicks off with me going, “Oh, crap” and hurrying to make birthday plans for hubby. Early-in-the-month birthdays always sneak up on me. You don’t expect them because you’re off in a totally different month until BAM! You flip the calendar over, and there they are. (Flip? Does anyone besides me have an actual paper calendar anymore? I guess it’s more of a swipe on a phone. Or a tap. Anyway…) I dislike these early-in-the-month birthdays for exactly this reason. Not that anyone can help having one, but I always forget to plan for them (sorry, mom)!

This year was a biggie for hubby, too. The big 3-0. Three decades of life. And I had almost zero plans for it, right up to the day of. How could I not have something planned? Well, my husband doesn’t really like parties, or surprises, or gifts, or cake (basically, anything that’s normally associated with birthdays).

But I couldn’t do nothing. You only turn 30 once, ya know? Thanks to brainstorming with  writing bud, we managed to come up with a plan: a 30-clue treasure/scavenger hunt around the house that led to his birthday gift (a board game that I remembered the DAY OF  that he’d mentioned liking; yes, it’s that hard to come up with a present for this guy).

If you’ve never thrown together 30 sappy-rhyming treasure hunt clues in half a day, you haven’t truly lived, my friend. (And then hid all the clues, rushed off to Toys R Us to get previously mentioned gift, and finally sped home JUST before he got home from work so that the treasure hunt was waiting for him once he walked in the door.)

Of course, a smart person would have planned it out ahead of time, but what can I say? I like to live my life on the edge.

Next in the month came Valentine’s Day, Presidents’ Day, and before I knew it, it’s suddenly the end of the month!

This month, my son decided it was time to start really learning how to read, my nutritionist friend challenged me to join in on a group diet/challenge she created (appropriately coined, “Love Your Guts”), I picked up cross-stitch for the first time in years, and I’ve made it back in the gym at least a handful of times.

Oh, and through all this, I’ve been working on the new writing project I mentioned in my last post. And other than worrying that it’s not YA enough, I’m really pleased with how it’s turning out. More of that to come in future posts!

I feel a little stretched, but overall, it’s been a good month.

How was your February?

P.S. Treasure hunt was a hit! Definitely something to do for the impossible-to-plan-for birthday person in your life. 😉

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Switching Genres

After a brief interruption trying to be a handy-woman (which I most certainly am NOT), and failing miserably, I’m finally back on track. Life tip: make friends with people who know how to repair what you can’t.

Anyway, the biggish news I teased last post is: I have a new project! It’s a brand new story idea that hit me just after heading to bed one late late night after a road trip. Life tip #2: long drives are very helpful for coming up with the best ideas.

After tossing and turning for a while, I got up and started writing it down. Life tip #3: write EVERYTHING down!

I’m very excited about this new story because it’s a completely different genre than what I usually write. But that’s a source of intimidation for me as well.

I love historical. I’m comfortable there. If I had to pick a mystery book to read and I didn’t know anything but the genre, I’d go with historical. So it’s natural that writing historical is where I’m most at ease with myself.

However, this new story is the antithesis of historical. It’s futuristic (eek! posing what a future earth might be like!) sci-fi.

Now I enjoy futuristic sci-fi from the comfort of reading a finished book, but just hopping into the driver’s seat of things is a bit of a challenge.

So how do you drastically switch genres as a writer? I have a few ideas I’ve have been implementing already:

1) Read what you want to write. Kind of a no brainer, but switching reading lists to what you’re aiming to write is a good start. Look up the highly acclaimed books (recent and past) in the genre you’re switching to; these are the books to put ON your reading list, or at least read synopsies and excerpts of.

2) Focus on the story elements you know, and go from there. By “know”, I mean the story building technique you prefer. You’re switching from fairies to aliens, but they still ought to have character arcs, a major conflict of some sort, antagonists, etc.

3) Research. Ah, my favorite thing. (sarcasm) With my sci-fi, I’ve been looking up how the brain functions, DNA and gene information, and other random tidbits for the storyline. While these are essential for the story, they also are helping me get into the sci-fi “mood”.

4) Change up your writing perspective. If you’re used to first person limited, try switching to third person omniscient. If you’re used to past-tense, try present tense. I’m switching from my usual favorite: third person omniscient, past-tense to first person limited present-tense.

5) Fake it ’til you write it. At least, that’s my plan so far.

Any other ideas or tips for drastically switching genres?  Help a girl out!

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Good-bye 2016

A lot of things have been going on since I last posted.

First, I MADE IT TO 50,000 words! So I “won” my first official NaNoWriMo! Woohoo!

Second, (or maybe something like twenty-second down the list, I’ve been in a bit of a post-NaNoWriMo-midst-of-the-holidays-haze and don’t remember everything that’s gone on since November 30th) we now have a dog. A BIG dog. That has taken over our house. In case you were wondering.

So between the holidays, the dog, and friends and family visiting throughout December, it’s been a crazy whirlwind of an end to the year of 2016.

But now:

Hello, 2017!

There are some awesome things already in the works this year–I can’t wait to tell you about them–so stay tuned!

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Imperfectly Perfect

IMG_20141111_223646781.jpgMy brain is on the fritz and my hands are killing me.

But let’s move on past the usuals.

It’s week 1 1/2 of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and I’ve got just over 22k words down. Tonight, I might make it to the halfway point at 25k. Maybe.

It’s been a bit of a rough ride.

The first few days, nothing “felt” right. The scenes, the descriptions, everything tasted about as delicious as dried-out cornbread. It was equivalent to the feeling of having a child comb your very tangled hair or waiting in a line all day at the DMV.

Some of it was necessary, some of it I just had to get through, but I’m sure that I’ll be chopping some of the scenes when I read back through it.

And that’s okay.

NaNoWriMo isn’t about perfection. It isn’t about having a literal novel to publish at the end of things. (Although, I’m sure there are some fantastic writers out there who *could* do that)

It’s about challenging yourself and pushing through the dry spells and empty brains.

It’s managing to get in those extra words around regular life stuff that you can’t avoid.

It’s stopping every five minutes because your 4-year-old needs someone to come wipe  for him. (just being real, here)

It’s going to a write-in and meeting people like you who love to write. People who you can talk about your story with and their eyes don’t glaze over after the first couple sentences. People who are more experienced and write faster than you, but that’s okay.

It’s this great big enormous challenge to just get out (or stay in) and DO this thing that we all love! Together, through the magic of the internet, through long-distance writer buddies, through our local writer groups, through ourselves.

We are NaNoWriMo and we are imperfectly perfect.

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