THE WRITE PLACE…

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A-Z April Challenge; N is for NOW Is My Time

Time to get publishing. Patti!

Time to get publishing. Patti! (2008 photo)

Reading and writing have been important to me for as far back as I can remember. Reading took me to other worlds, to other lives, and into other hearts. Those peeks into “other” inspired me to attempt to do the same with my own writing. I wanted my writing to give readers the feeling of freedom, humor, escape and humanness that reading gave me.

For many years I  wrote strictly poetry, but I knew it wasn’t enough. There was more I wanted to say, and in a different form. I didn’t want to just write about my reality. I wanted to write about what could be. I constructed stories in my mind, but never had the courage to put them on paper. It was years before I finally went beyond poetry.

I’ve always been a late bloomer and I didn’t start college until I was almost 30. Somewhere within those two colleges and five academic years, I found my writing voice. It still sends chills down my spine to think of it; I was finally writing like…ME!

Finding my own writing voice inspired me to put together a women’s anthology titled, Finding Our Voices, as my college project. And although I’ve had much encouragement along the way, I always stopped short of publishing and making writing my career.

Now is my time. The excitement I feel is no longer focused on the positive feedback I get from my writing, although that is still astounding to me. The excitement I feel now is in telling my story and getting it out to the world.

My story is written in many forms; humorous tales and poetry I’ve written for my children and their children, along with poetry, essays, and memoirs about my life and the meaningful people in it. That body of work is my story. It grows, shifts and melds with other stories almost every day.

There’s not only the excitement of getting my story to the world, but there is also that little issue with mortality. Death has brushed my shoulder and crushed my heart many times in the last five years. I’m in my mid-50’s and I suddenly feel a sense of hurry. Besides, no one can tell my story like I can, so it’s my time now. And if I live to be 106, I will always glory in the thrill of others reading my writing and getting a peek at my world, my life and my heart.

Patti Hall 2014

Update: Wrote this yesterday, was up all night working on the Postcards e-book! Back to it today. That picture scared me back into action! 🙂

Hey, I hope you find time to check out some of the other A-Z April Challenge blogs here:

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/p/a-to-z-challenge-sign-uplist-2014.html


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A-Z April Challenge; M is for Midway Meanderings

We are midway through the A-Z April Challenge and I thought we could meander through some Packwood, WA photos that I never got posted here. My muse is a little jealous, so She requested that I offer a tidbit of the mermaid story, right in line with the M today. If you don’t believe in magic wands and mermaids and such, just enjoy the photos.

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The names and some details are real, some of the story is from my real imagination. This is just a sample of the story, so some elements are missing…

The Mermaid and The Magic Wands

Grani-at-the-beach called Nola and Cora yesterday and asked them to come to the beach to help her solve a mystery. It seems that their adult friend, Mermaid Carol (who owns a really cool deli close to the beach) had given Grani some beautiful magic wands to give to Cora and Nola, but then Grani lost them. Well, that’s the mystery part, because she didn’t actually lose them, they just disappeared! Grani was taking her beach walk looking for ocean treasures, right after she had been to see Mermaid Carol. Oh, and her deli happens to have a big beautiful mermaid and dolphins painted on the pretty blue outside walls! Just so you are clear about it, Mermaid Carol is not really a mermaid, it’s just what we call her because of her deli.

Grani had been totally focused on her agates for almost an hour and had a pocketful of them, when she decided to head home for lunch. She went to grab the wands and her backpack, but the wands were gone! She looked all around the boulder, and even checked the boulders around it. There had been no other beach combers on her part of the beach that afternoon. Grani was stumped!  

A few days later, Grani was still sad and trying to think of a way to find the magic wands. She’d been back to the beach every day, once at high tide, and once at low tide. Grani didn’t even look for ocean treasures! That’s huge; Grani never steps onto a beach without bringing home some little thing. She frantically searched for hours at a time, all the way up and down the beach. She was glad no one was around to hear her grumbling to herself about what a rotten Grani she was, and how could she have lost Nola and Cora’s magic wands!? 

The next morning Mermaid Carol called Grani to ask her to come to the deli for a few minutes,

“There’s something Surfer Dustin wants to show you.”

Grani was still sad, but she got dressed and went to The Mermaid; maybe Mermaid Carol and her other friends there would cheer her up. Surfer Dustin probably had a great agate to show her and that would make her smile again.

Grani opened the bag and pulled out a beautiful light blue bottle. It looked like it had been beaten by the sand and waves for many years. It wasn’t an antique though, since it had a screw-top cap. She held it up to the sun and could see something inside,

“What is it, Dustin?”

“Just open it, it’s not gonna bite you!”

Now Grani was so curious that she couldn’t wait; she unscrewed the cap, tipped the bottle and gave it a gentle shake. Surfer Dustin reached over and took the bottle and the cap, while Grani uncurled the paper. It was a rolled up piece of newspaper with black writing on it. The writing looks like a young child wrote it with charcoal. Weird. What it said was even stranger, but it made Grani’s heart sing!

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////

 

Nora, the mermaid, couldn’t wait to tell her mama about the fun she had today. On second thought, mama doesn’t like me taking any chances by being on the beach near humans; they have not always been nice to our kind. Mama and daddy say it’s because they don’t understand us and that makes them afraid of us. They say that humans are sometimes mean when they are afraid. 

Plus there was the little problem with the treasure she had found that day; a little problem that could get her into big trouble. Nora decides to talk it over with her Granz before she tells her parents. Maybe Granz will understand what she did about the treasure. Her Granz always finds a way to help her deal with hard stuff, plus she is a very silly Granz and makes Nora laugh. It was a long swim home and when Nora saw Granz sitting on the rock outcrop beside her ocean cave, she immediately swam toward her and fell into her arms.

After telling her Granz the whole story about her day, she felt better and worse. She knew that she would have to tell her parents and promise not to go near the beach again. But she needed to find a way to make sure the lady found the stars. Granz solved the problem,

“If you make a solemn promise to stay close to home, I will go see if the stars are gone tomorrow.”

“Oh, Granz, thank you thank you thank you, and I DO promise!”

“Now scoot off and go tell your parents what you did wrong, and keep it simple girlie. Make your super promise to them and see what they say. And NO POUTING, no matter what they say!”

Every day Nora waited to hear that the stars on sticks were gone, but by the third day Granz came back with bad news again. To make matters worse, Granz overheard the lady talking angrily to herself while she searched for the stars on sticks. Granz was a GOOD detective and she found out things about the lady that Nora didn’t even know. Like that she was called Grani. That she had two young granddaughters with names that sounded like Nora’s own name!

“Yes, the human Grani was talking to herself and said, “what a rotten Grani she was, and how could she have lost Cora and Nola’s real magic wands.’”

Nora just had to think of a way for that poor human Grani to find the stars, especially since they were really truly magic! Her and Granz talked and talked and finally came up with a plan. It wasn’t a perfect plan, and there were risks, but they both felt so bad now that they agreed on it.

The next morning Granz & Nora swam out to the end of the jetty to look through Nora’s stash of ocean treasures. They crawled into a small cave of black jetty boulders and soon found what they needed. Granz knew how important this was to Nora, so she sat back and let her do the work, only helping a little with the spelling. It took some time, but soon Nora held up the piece of old newspaper. The note was written with a piece of charcoal from a beach fire made long ago. The note was simple,

“Dear Human Grani,

I’m so sorry for taking the magic wands! So sorry! Please bring Nola and Cora to the beach where you left the stars. Bring them to the boulder when the sun is straight over your head, in two days.

Sorry again,

Nora, the mermaid (with help from her Granz)”

 

Granz thought the note was just right so she helped Nora role it tight and put it inside a pretty blue bottle.

To be continued…when published! 🙂

Patti Hall 2014

Hey, I hope you find time to check out some of the other A-Z April Challenge blogs here:

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/p/a-to-z-challenge-sign-uplist-2014.html


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Transitions

The greenhouse and garden, Eagle River, AK PHALL PHOTO 2014

The greenhouse and garden, Eagle River, AK
PHALL PHOTO 2014

Almost SIX weeks, and you know what I’m talking about. But I don’t want to make a big deal about it. Well, okay, I do want to make a big deal about it. Just give me a paragraph or three and then I’ll shut up about it. At least for today. More than anything, I feel that giving up cigarettes (and the caffeine addiction) has given me more freedom. The biggest freedom, is the freedom to go after a healthier life style.

No matter how many times that I have attempted to quit in the past, I always remained a slave to cigarettes. Even if I went as long as eight months without one single drag off one single cigarette, I was still chained to the addiction. I thought about the lack of them, more than I thought about anything else. Secretly (and probably outwardly) the drama was intense. It went on almost every waking moment that I didn’t smoke. “Should I? Could I? I can’t. I won’t! Damn, I’m weak. Man, I’m strong. I can’t go one more minute. If I can make it one more hour, I can go to sleep.” The internal drama was intense, as I’m sure the external was. Poor family.

This time no one suffered; not me and not my parents. That’s how I knew that the addiction was broken. For awhile, I waited for the other shoe to drop. As hours, days and then weeks passed (6 of them!), I kept waiting for that slam/slap on the shoulder and a rousting voice saying, “Fooled ya! You are about to have the worst withdrawals in the history of cigarette/caffeine withdrawals!” It never came. One of my reasons for diet and exercise, was to head off any shoe-dropping slam/slap on the shoulder. If it came, I’d be ready with a healthy routine and a new excitement for living without the chains of addiction. So far, so good.

It may very well be an illusion, or even a delusion, but I honestly think that I’m out of the woods, and that the damn shoe could never be thrown THIS far out! (Knock on wood, or whatever superstition will keep that big bad shoe away.)

On the home front. Mom goes to her first Physical Therapy session today. She has been moving less and I’m hoping that they will pick up the slack and get her into a good routine to further her recovery from the hip replacement. Dad is still fighting a painful-sounding cough. Hopefully, this last batch of meds will help him.

The best thing about the Olympics these past few weeks, has been watching mom and dad enjoy them together. Whether, mom was laying with her feet in dad’s lap, or sitting up and holding hands with him, I had the best seat in the house. They cheered and gasped in awe together at the inspiring wins, losses and injuries, while I just smiled at the two of them.

The low carb diet is going well. Really. Today will be day 5 of my crazy idea of joining a gym…wait, that was mom’s crazy idea. I’m a little sore, but it has been fun. I kind of earned another free pass by story-telling. Yep, the membership woman loved the story of Kevin and I, so much, that she promised more free passes for my future visits. Cool.

I just stepped out and took some shots of the light pastel pink and blue sunrise. It is a balmy 14 degrees this morn. I’ll share a few photos from yesterday, then I have to get ready for my next yoga class. Yikes.

P1020537 (1024x768)

Funny, I started writing this about the transition I will soon be dealing with; from living alone in Maggie (my cave at the beach) to living with my folks for the past 2 months in Alaska, to making a new life with Kevin in the foothills of the mountains. Somehow, I never got to that…maybe next time.

Peace,

Patti

PHALL PHOTO 2014

PHALL PHOTO 2014


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THE Story and A Secret Revealed

Winter Wonderland at Mom & Dad's in Eagle River, Alaska PHALL PHOTO 2014

Winter Wonderland at Mom & Dad’s in Eagle River, Alaska
PHALL PHOTO 2014 Is that snow flake shaped like a heart?

STAR DATE: 01/13/2014

No, I am so NOT a Trekky, but the numbers of this new year seem so sci-fi, so futuristic. Maybe even more so, since Mrs. M’s son has transported me back with memories of the late 1970’s. Also, way back in 2013…okay, a little over a week ago, I visited my cousins, who were as close as brothers and sisters back in the 1970’s. Even my reunion with Leslee was a trip backwards in time; to the late 1980’s and 90’s.

ON TO THE STORY…

The morning of New Years Eve found me all girlied up, with a pretty pedicure, unsnarled hair (thanks to my daughter), make-up and painted fingernails, courtesy of Leslee. Sheesh, this was just not me. Plus, I was on my way to see a guy who lives in the middle of nowhere and whose solitary life is very similar to my cave woman ways. At least they didn’t make me dress up.

I suppose that it would only be fair if I backed up a bit and and started from the beginning. THE story that I mentioned a few weeks ago…

Once upon a time (Oh! Don’t you just love those four words!?) in the Land of the Midnight Sun, lived a boy and a girl who were destined to friendship and merged stories…eventually. We’ll call them Kevin and Patti and their story began with a sweet love story between Kevin’s brother and Patti’s sister back in the summer of 1973.

This is also where Mrs. M. (you remember Mrs. M. and how I helped her escape from the rehab/nursing home in Oregon?) has a walk-on part in this story. See, Mrs. M. was not exactly a happy camper about that aforementioned “sweet love story” between her son and Patti’s sister. So, naturally, when Kevin’s 15-year-old rushing-hormone eyes caught sight of 15-year-old, tall, blondish Patti, keeping his interest in a Hall girl from his mother, was a top priority. (Right up there with getting a date with Patti!)

Memories blur a little here, but according to Patti’s 74-year-old mother and the now 54-year-old Kevin, the first date went something like this:

Patti’s mom provided the transportation to the Pearl Harbor war movie, “Tora! Tora! Tora!” where the teens sat in the front row, and where Kevin admits that he did not make a “move” on Patti. Technically, that’s 3 strikes against Kevin, but all these years later I give him credit for trying (oh, and tons of credit for remembering and admitting the error of his ways). At least one other time, Kevin hung out with the family at the Hall house, however…

Despite his best efforts, Mrs. M. found out that Kevin had been spending time at the Hall house and forbade any further contact with them. Within a few years, the sweet love story between Kevin’s brother and Patti’s sister culminated in a wedding ceremony in 1978. That marriage is still going strong 35 years later, while Kevin and Patti hadn’t seen each other in almost 40 years. Not that Kevin didn’t try…

This is the part where you really get behind Kevin’s efforts. Sometime, a year or so after that first date, on a bright summer day, Kevin was out putting stripes on his truck. The phone rang and it was Patti’s sister telling him that Patti was at the airport and was about to leave Alaska. Kevin got in his truck and raced to the airport…

He tried the airport parking, but didn’t have enough change, then he drove over to a small lot and parked there. He ran to the boarding gate…and he was 15 minutes late.  My airplane was gone.

Then life happened and almost 40 years went by. The same infamous Mrs. M. that kept us apart as teens, brought us together in our 50’s. Kevin private messaged me on Facebook to see how things went while I was taking care of his mom, and we’ve been catching up ever since. Did I mention that he is the biggest flirt on the planet?

THE NEW STORY

(Repeat) The morning of New Years Eve found me all girlied up, with a pretty pedicure, unsnarled hair (thanks to my daughter), make-up and painted fingernails, courtesy of Leslee. Sheesh, this was just not me. Plus, I was on my way to see a guy who lives in the middle of nowhere and whose solitary life is very similar to my cave woman ways. At least they didn’t make me dress up.

I had butterflies the whole way out to Kevin’s house. I pulled into the local grocery store and called Kevin to let him know I was in town, so I could follow him back to his place. Kevin might have been just as nervous, but he set me at ease right from the start. Smiles. Long hugs. Hello, old friend.

We had a mellow New Year’s Eve playing pool and listening to a huge list of songs from 1950’s, on up. There were a lot of songs from the 70’s and we had fun guessing names of songs and who sang them. Kevin created a homemade pizza, while I watched. It was delicious! Later, we took a walk through his neighborhood in the dark. Later still, his cat purred and finally scoped me out enough to hang out with us on the big soft couch.

Neither of us wanted to stop talking, but by 2 a.m. we were ready for sleep. I was exhausted by all the visiting and driving that I had done the past few days and fell into a hard sleep the second my head hit the pillow. If I would have just shut the bedroom door, Kevin would still not know about my occasional snoring issues:>)

The End…For Now,

Patti


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Things That Go Rrrrr, Crash, and Drip In The Night

This has got to stop. For my followers here, you know I don’t sleep much. Yet, every time I have tried to curl up and snooze over the last three days, I have been interrupted in the most unusual ways. It all started with a rrrrrrr sound. Woke me from that deep abyss I fall into after staying awake for 34 hours. What the pluck? I crawl out of soft and cozy and follow my ears…to my sink? Huh? Apparently some hygienic ghost wanted to brush their teeth and turned my electric toothbrush on. Funny, because I did forget to brush before I crashed, but weird, huh? Tooth fairy maybe?

The next night (not really night to normal people)I half-woke thinking I had mice. Kind of a scritching sound, you know? Holy crow, I do not need mice in here. Laid back down thinking I would investigate when I got up in a few hours. Nope, the sound was driving me crazy. Since I moved to this cul-de-sac in March, I’ve become used to the quiet here. Plus, I moved my fan into the “offfice’ earlier that day, so it was extremely quiet in my sleeping area. Okay, dammit, now the sound seemed rhythmic almost…not in my kitchen drawers, but over by the window…windows always scare me–too many stupid blood-bath movies when I was younger and braver–so back to the window. I stood still. I listened. Nothing. Then, there! I heard it again. For crying out loud, it is only water dripping from the last downpour. I closed the window and this latest sleep-interruptous case and went back to soft and cozy dreamland.

Last night, but not really night, I woke up to a huge clattering crash! I reached for my weapon (wouldn’t you like to know) and jumped out of soft and cozy, holding myself in my best “I’m-not-afraid-of-you” stance.  I had to keep blowing the wild locks out of my eyes, and my outfit was, well, let’s just say, not intimidating. The whole picture would have been really funny IF the glass beads that broke all over the damn floor had a way to laugh. Now, someone, anyone, tell me why that metal string of glass beads broke?

Are you like me? Do you look for reasons for strange things happening? Or are you a realist, who just brushes them aside and moves on? Here’s what I do know. My heart has been so broken by the loss of one grandson to the CPS system, and the death of his brother, that my thoughts always come back to them.

The boys loved snuggling with Grani, listening to a story, while the rain poured down and the wind blew. Rainy days, and I live in the Pacific Northwest, so there are a lot of them, always make me think of the boys.

The last time the 4 year-old was here on an overnight with Grani, he was fascinated by my electric toothbrush. So fascinated, that after he brushed his teeth, he insisted on putting his toothbrush next to mine, instead of in the cupboard where we keep it. He couldn’t reach, so I took it and put it next to mine, where it has been for the last 2 months–where it will stay.

Two months ago today, I was taking an afternoon nap, when the phone rang. I tried to ignore it, but they kept calling back. It was my son, crying and screaming at me to get over there, that something had happened to his 3 year-old. As I raced out of my door, one of the wire strings with glass beads caught on my wrist and, in my panic, I jerked it from me, and it spilled beads inside and outside the threshold of my door. It was the 4 year-old who ended up making a game out of finding all the beads the next day, as the adults around him were swooning from the death of his brother.

I’m just saying…

It is interesting the way some of us connect the dots.

Here’s where I ask for comments and beg to be “liked”…

Patti


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A Piece of Our Story in Poetry

This is a piece of our story; the man I knew. This was written 11 months before cancer entered our lives.

20 Aug 2007

Paul teased me about writing a book for him, instead I wrote this poem for his 60th birthday.

Book of Paul…

He is everything wonderful that I ever needed,

handsomely wrapped up in one big tender man.

His rolling laughter leads to coughing fits;

spitting up water and vitamins,

and then falling off the bed!

A prankster to his core,

full of special surprises for all.

A memory-maker, his camera always within reach,

he records the Kodak moments of our lives.

His cards & gifts & little notes come from the heart,

and always meet their target.

He loves easily and deeply…

his children, grandchildren, his friends & me!

He would love to be a millionaire,

but he lives well, and is generous with what he has.

His tastes and beliefs are “traditional”,

yet he has an open mind and can embrace the non-traditional,

except food, of course!

He loves Taco Time, Nascar, animal shows,

Funniest Videos, Cops and bad sci-fi movies.

Every day he says and does funny or special things for me,

he can calm me with only a look, or a touch.

He wants us together, no matter what,

and turns every errand into a “date”.

He acts crabby sometimes,

but just below the surface is a joke or a prank or a smile.

He notices the little things,

and always says “thank you”.

For a T-shirt and jeans guy,

he sure is a clothes horse!

He gives hugs and touches often,

he sings seriously and dances with a laugh.

Happy Birthday… With All My Love,

Patti

© Patti Hall and https://1writeplace.wordpress.com, 2013.