THE WRITE PLACE…

to find Patti Singleton these days.


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Patti’s News Day Tuesday 3

M. Angelou quote

Maya Angelou’s recent death is not necessarily news now, but one thing she said in a 2009 CNN interview, has stuck with me. I think it is the most news worthy thing I have read in the last two weeks, so I have dedicated this News Day Tuesday to her.

Our country needs us all right now to stand up and be counted. We need to try to be great citizens. We are necessary in this country, and we need to give something — that is to say, go to a local hospital, go to the children’s ward and offer to the nurse in charge an hour twice a month that you can give them reading children’s stories or poetry,” she said. “And go to an old folks’ home and read the newspaper to somebody. Go to your church or your synagogue or your mosque, and say, ‘I’d like to be of service. I have one hour twice a month.’

“You’ll be surprised at how much better you will feel,” she said. “And good done anywhere is good done everywhere.

From http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/28/us/maya-angelou-obit/index.html

Two more short, but powerful quotes I love by Maya Angelou:

 “Be present in all things and thankful for all things.” 

“We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.” 

This is the last line in a tribute that Maya wrote for Nelson Mandela, His Day Is Done: A Nelson Mandela Tribute. I believe that it also rings true about her.

“We will not forget you, we will not dishonor you, we will remember and be glad that you lived among us, that you taught us, and that you loved us all.” 

Gratefully Yours,

Patti


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Patti’s News Day Tuesday 2

 

New construction reflected in windows of abandoned building.

New construction reflected in windows of abandoned building.

Here’s a brief sampling of news items that I found interesting enough to pass onto our community. I hope you find some nuggets in this week’s writer-reader news roundup. Patti’s News Day Tuesday posts every other week.

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/digital/retailing/article/62367-smashwords-overdrive-ink-global-e-book-distribution-deal.html?utm_source=Publishers+Weekly&utm_campaign=727cd991d8-UA-15906914-1&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0bb2959cbb-727cd991d8-304817009

“Smashwords, an e-book self-publishing platform, and digital library vendor OverDrive have reached an agreement to distribute its titles via the OverDrive network of public libraries. The deal will make more than 200,000 Smashword titles available for borrowing and for-purchase through OverDrive.”

This is huge. How do you feel about your Smashwords book being distributed for free? It will be interesting to see how this goes. On one hand, many more readers will have access to your work. On the other hand, most will probably not be buying it. If you have a good book, and it shows high readership, will that be enough to raise sales and/or to fulfill your needs as an author? Hmmm

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/publisher-news/article/62368-pw-launches-booklife-integrates-self-published-reviews.html?utm_source=Publishers+Weekly&utm_campaign=727cd991d8-UA-15906914-1&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0bb2959cbb-727cd991d8-304817009

PW will introduce BookLife, a new website for self-publishers, at this year’s BookExpo America. Simultaneously, we are integrating reviews of self-published books into our regular review coverage.” More good news for indies?

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2014/04/30/how-retailers-publishers-and-indies-can-fix-the-e-book-industry/

A quick article about the two main ways that retailers, publishers and indie authors can “fix” the e-book industry. No one can deny the first fix, but what do you think about the second one?

 

http://www.lifehacker.co.in/life/Five-Best-Book-Recommendation-Services/articleshow/35312577.cms

Looking for a good book to read? Here is the scoop on the top 5 sites to go to for book recommendations. Many of us do book reviews on Goodreads, but what about these other sites? Where do you go for book searches?

Where do you get your writer-reader news? Please share a link or two in the comments section.

Happy Newsy Things,

Patti


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A Blog Schedule? Me?

mail box

Ground mail. Rusty abandoned mail box.
PHALL PHOTO 2014

Yep, I’m going to break down and try the blog schedule thing. I also added a mission statement and a link to my Facebook to the sidebar, and I updated my HOME page.

So here’s the plan:

MEMOIR MONDAY- Every other Monday (beginning May 12th) will be all about memoir—yours, mine and theirs. An excerpt, poem or story from my memoir-in-progress, and/or links, news and reviews relating to memoir reading or writing.

NEWS DAY TUESDAY- Every other Tuesday (beginning May 6th) will be my writer-reader news roundup. Whatever I come across that is newsworthy and of interest to writers and readers.

PROMPTLY WEDNESDAY- If I join in a photo or writing prompt, I’ll post my entry on Wednesdays.

PHOTO FRIDAY- Beginning May 9th, I’ll add photos from the current week and/or photos from my archives to my PHALL PHOTO blog. I’ll pick my favorite photo and post it here, with a link to the photos I added on my photo blog. If inspired, I’ll include a poem, short story, or a quote relating to the photo.

Later, I may add THOSE WHO CARE THURSDAY for care-giver news, fiction and non-fiction stories and information.

So, each week I will have a Monday OR Tuesday post and Friday photos. The rest are occasional.

As usual, I’ll probably include one of my photos to each post, whether it’s relevant to the post, or not 🙂 If you have a post (yours or someone else’s) that relates to anything I post, feel free to add a link to it in your comments.

I doubt that I will be able to completely curb my wide streak of spontaneity, but this schedule will hopefully make my busy life easier, AND allow you to follow posts that interest you.

I’m sure you will, but please let me know what you think about this blog schedule plan. Do you have a schedule or have you tried to implement one? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

Patti


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A-Z April Challenge; P is for Postcards

 

A delicate leaf skeleton from a nature walk with Kevin last month.  PHALL PHOTO 2014

A delicate leaf skeleton in a bed of moss, from a nature walk with Kevin last month.
PHALL PHOTO 2014

First of all, I want to thank everyone who has read, commented, shared and/or “Liked” my posts, A through O, for the A-Z April Challenge. I’ve met a lot of new blog friends these last two weeks, which makes the whole thing well worth tearing my hair out, and trying to lift the alphabet to a new level of weird, interesting, and hopefully, entertaining.

I’m switching it up for P, by giving my writer progress update. It’s an exciting one for me. My priority project, which has sat on the back burner these long months of romance and caregiving and travel, is now in the hands of a reliable editor. More on that later.

Here’s the scoop and a reminder of the project:

Postcards of Action and Hope; Preparation for a Medical Crisis

A Preview Booklet excerpted from Book 2 of “Souvenirs from My Heart; The Patient Patient Advocate

This booklet version is from a portion of my three-part memoir-in-progress. An edited version of this work was first published in serial form, here on my blog site, The Write Place. I have included selected comments from my blog community, using initials only. This booklet is not intended to slam the medical profession, nor will I be singing any inspirational happy songs. My intention is to inform and motivate readers to prepare an emergency medical file for each member of their household; to learn from the lessons my late husband, Paul, and I, learned the hardest way.

I intend to work the kinks out of it over the next few months. It will still have to be formatted for ebook and hard copy distribution. Still many decisions to make and actions to take, but we’re closer! I will probably be asking some of you veteran’s for some advice along the way. Of course, I’ll be sharing the journey, in hopes of helping the next writer in line.

Thank you for your patience,

Patti

 

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; 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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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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My Writing Process Blog Tour!

Welcome to our blog tour! Garden gate to my mom's garden. Eagle River, Alaska 2012

Welcome to our blog tour! Garden gate to my mom’s garden. Eagle River, Alaska 2012

Frankly, when Sheree Nielsen at http://shereenielsen.wordpress.com/ invited me to join this blog tour, I thought my plate was too full. That’s because it is! Oh, well, whatever spills over the plate and onto the floor, the chickens can eat. Wait, no chickens here. My neighbor’s dog, Gertrude, can have whatever falls off my plate.

So, um, thank you for adding me to the tour, Sheree! Our little community here LOVES pretty photos, and I know they will hop over to see the ones you and your husband take. You also have that fantastic “healing” coffee table book, Folly Beach Dances, coming out this month. I’m sure it will sell very well!

Sheree was brought to the tour by Mary Horner at http://writrteachr.blogspot.com/ , and she was brought on board by Donna Volkenannt. This is beginning to sound like that old 70’s shampoo commercial, “…and she told 2 friends, and she told 2 friends…” etc.

Okay, down to business, which is to answer four questions about my writing process. (Oh, this should be enlightening!)

1. What am I working on? A better question for me at this time, would probably be: What are you NOT working on? I am not working on my memoir series, the short “Postcards” book, nor any of the children’s poems and stories on my hard drive, that patiently await my attention. Instead, I’m dabbling in this cool blog tour, teasing my muse with the A-Z April Challenge, and reading (and commenting!) on some damn fine blogs. I’m also THINKING about writing A LOT while the dirt collects under my broken nails and sweat forms on my brow from some serious garden work.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? It may be a bit…looser than other memoirs, I have a hard time sticking to rules when it comes to writing. I write from the heart. When I write for children, I put on my silly hat (one of many—me and the late, great Dr. Seuss have that in common) and tell wild tales that also have some heart thrown in.

3. Why do I write what I do? The memoir was something my late husband and I planned while we spent a year fighting for his life. We wanted to offer some help and humor for others who would follow our path of living in hospitals and short-term housing during a health crisis. Writing for children comes from raising a couple of great ones along the way, sharing laughs with my little grands and never loosing site of my own childish side.

4. How does your writing process work? Ha ha ha ha! A writing process?  I’ve been meaning to get one of those. I bet there’s an app for that! Seriously? For the memoir, and other non-fiction writing, I start with a small mind map in a notebook (very low-tech), then I make a poster-sized one that I can follow as I progress (IF I progress). Basically, I start brain-storming and circling points that I want to make in the book or article. It’s a wildly fun and fast-paced process, where one thing leads to another. Here’s a post I did on it: Mind Map.

No one likes to hear how I write most of my fiction stories, but here goes. I dream them up. Literally. I wake up with an idea, or sometimes with a whole story, and CAN NOT go back to sleep until I get it written down. I usually start in a notebook, but I’m learning to go straight to my lap top instead; transcription is so tedious!

I also use photos to prompt stories, as I did in the B & C installments of the A-Z April Challenge.

Next up on the My Writing Process Blog Tour! are three lovely writing friends, who I think you will all enjoy meeting.

S.K. Nichols at http://redclayandroses1.wordpress.com/ has been a blogging friend since I began my blog. Susan is the author of Red Clay and Roses, a fictionalized true story that blends mystery, rape, murder, drama, and forbidden love into a historical context. She has several other books in the works. Susan is also great about sharing her writing progress, writing book reviews and gathering our community together to discuss writerly issues. She is open, honest and humorous about her journey of writing and publishing.

My second choice for the blog tour is actually a mother/daughter writing team, Inion N. Mathair, at http://inionnmathair.wordpress.com/ . They  have been a writing duo for the past six years and have published YA novels, The Perfect 7, Nightwalkers; The Secret of Jessup and a collection of short stories, From the Dark & Twisted Mind of Inion N. Mathair. Not only prolific writers, but Ginger and Natalie spend almost as much time promoting other writers across their social media network. They write book reviews, present writer interviews and they heavily promote and share all the beautiful, fun, sassy and witty blogs that they discover along the way.

Aside from their obvious writing talent, all three ladies are tops with supporting other writers and bloggers. Please take a few minutes and visit their sites.

Hope you enjoyed!

Patti


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One Year on Word Press. Thanks!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Yes, it has been a year since I began blogging. Even though it was very lonely the first few months, you eventually found me and have kept me going with your support and encouragement ever since. The secret to bringing folks to your blog is so simple: Get out and visit, comment and “like” other blogs. That’s it. Go forth and make friends :>)

PHALL PHOTO 2013

PHALL PHOTO 2013

Here’s how the first 6 months went for me. I didn’t know one blogger and had no idea how to blog. After a couple months of loneliness, I started searching for info about memoir and children’s writing and publishing. During my quest for info I started visiting other blogs, I made some friends. Adding photos to my posts seemed to bring more people to this little community. Popping in on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites, really brought some new faces to The Write Place.

I hope to add some highlights of the second half of my first year in the next few days, but for now, here is what I was up to my first six months…

PHALL PHOTO 2013

PHALL PHOTO 2013

Six entries in March 2013, including things like:

I posted a quote that seemed to fit my state of mind as I began this new endeavor of public blogging, writing and (hopefully) publishing. “Do not hurry, do not rest,” by Goethe. As fast as I wanted to get started, I knew that I also wanted to take my time and not make a bunch of (public) mistakes.

I was unsure of what/how to begin, but decided to use my long dormant maiden name for my writing. I posted a poem inspired by my mother, who instilled the love of reading and humor in me. Another poem that I posted that first month reflected the pain of the sudden and unexpected loss of one of my sisters the year before.

Sunrise at Westhaven Beach 3

Sunrise at Westhaven Beach, WA w/Coast Guard Tower. Phall Photo 2013  

The post, Keeper Book Synopsis, http://wp.me/p3i5jo-x tells the genesis story of the handcrafted “Keepers” that my friend (Leslee) and I created years ago. My hopes are to publish the stories that I wrote for each one. I also finished typing a 2500 word story that I wrote for my children in 1996.

The last entry of March 2013 says, in part, “I woke up this morning, well, it was really almost 11. Anyway, I was looking around and my eye caught on some star wands that I need to give my granddaughters, from a mutual friend. Soon I had a story rumbling in my head and I was off. I have been writing and editing all damn day long, and half the night! I made some coffee, finally ate a snack, packed some things for my move [home relocation] tomorrow and wrote like crazy. I completed a children’s story 10 words shy of 4000 words. Crazy. It just came out. Does it happen like that for you? And, hey, I have no illusions that this would not get whittled in half by a real editor, but I’m good with that. It is the process that is so…gripping, so addictive.”

April- 12 entries. This was my third month going to the local writer group that I joined, and I posted,  “Have been checking out and “following” several other writer blogs. Have been “invited” to join a writer site that allows us to give and receive feed-back. I am learning about the current trends in writing and publishing…” Another entry, Good Grief, A Widow Writes A Memoir, http://wp.me/p3i5jo-V explains some of the things I was learning about memoir writing and how painful it can be to write about Paul’s illness and death. Still is.

Breakfast for fawn. Across from my driveway. PHALL PHOTO 2013

Breakfast for fawn. Across from my driveway.
PHALL PHOTO 2013

I posted about a writer retreat and a writer conference in Homer, Alaska, which is also home to one of my sisters and her husband. I began taking a writing class taught by a local writer, and I met several other writers there. I posted a poem that I wrote for Paul’s 60th birthday in 2007. I made an ambitious attempt at a blogging schedule. Hilarious, if you really know me; the “s” word and me are not close.

I signed onto several more social media venues and shared some sites with helpful information for writers. I touched on some newsy information in one post, about the way technology is taking away our privacy. I wrote a poem about the deaths and injuries in the Boston marathon bombing and the explosion in Texas. I posted a short story about a child molester/monster.

Kites down on beach. PHALL PHOTO 2013

Kites down on beach.
PHALL PHOTO 2013

I moved Maggie (my trailer/cave/home) from the bay outside of Westport, into Westport proper and closer to the beach. The worst shock and heartache of my life happened on the 26th, when my grandson died. Still dealing with the other recent losses in my life, I stopped blogging for awhile.

May- 13 entries. I lost my mind a bit, but returned to blogging late in the month, with 2 poems on grief and loss. Lady In The Cave http://wp.me/p3i5jo-1N and Treasured Souls http://wp.me/p3i5jo-1P  were followed by a post complaining about the new parameters for the medical definition of grief. I wrote a few other poems/essays and shared some of the writing/publishing information that I was learning. Still very few visitors or followers on my blog, but I kept on. This was my first poetry/photo combo post: Beach Bird Bliss http://wp.me/p3i5jo-2c and it made me realize how much readers enjoy photos along with the words.

Fresh seed pod on tree. PHALL PHOTO 2013 Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS19

Fresh seed pod on tree.
PHALL PHOTO 2013
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS19

June- 22 entries. This was a very busy writing month and I had some fun with the essay, Things That Go Rrrrr, Crash, and Drip In The Night http://wp.me/p3i5jo-4w. I also got better at working with photos and started posting photos for Word Press Daily Prompts and Weekly Photo Challenges. I posted quite a bit under Writing Journal as I learned about and organized for successful memoir writing. The post, New! Dedicated Memoir Page and Sneak Peek of Prologue http://wp.me/p3i5jo-3m tells the story of how I got from the house that Paul and I shared, to living at the beach. What I Would Tell You Now http://wp.me/p3i5jo-3v is a letter to my late husband, written long after he was gone. I also started writing and submitting book reviews this month.

Butterfly on Flower in my friend's garden. Phall Photo 2013

Butterfly on Flower in my friend’s garden.
Phall Photo 2013

These are busy days, but I will try to post the summary of July-December 2013, in the next few days… Still not smoking and happy about it, over 2 months later!!!!!!!! Was thrilled to know that one of my sisters quit smoking 4 days ago too. So cool.

Happy Almost Spring!

Patti

Thistles PHALL PHOTO 2013

Thistles
PHALL PHOTO 2013

 


7 Comments

EDDD 10; Is Writing Your Business?

crabMy horoscope for today, written by me. Some planets appear to be nearing collision point, which has caused a sh**tstorm of emotions for you today, dear Cancer. You are a water sign, hence the tears and the feeling of sinking, even though you are swimming as fast as you can. You will be forced to make hard decisions relating to family, caves and plants. You will hide in your shell, enjoy uplifting friendships online, share amazing wonders and put decisions off to another day. After all, you are a crab.

Is Writing Your Business?

Yes? Then you’ve probably already run across these two dynamos; Kristine Kathryn Rusch at http://kriswrites.com/ and her husband/business partner Dean Wesley Smith at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/.

Kris and Dean are not only some of the most prolific writers that I have seen, but they also have the business end of writing down to a science. I have been enjoying Kris’s Free Fiction Friday and her business e-newsletter for many months. Dean is a proponent of indie authors not giving their work away, and he backs it up with examples. Both have sound author and freelance business advise.

That’s my gem for today, “see” you all tomorrow. I have officially blown this deadline. Computer crashed and I couldn’t get back on in time. I guess I should start hours ahead of midnight?

 

Peace,

Patti

From writing challenge Every Damn Day December at http://treatmentofvisions.com/2013/11/26/evdadadec/


23 Comments

A Writer/Caregiver Packs For A New Journey

Tokeland, WA PHALL PHOTOS 2013

Tokeland, WA
PHALL PHOTOS 2013

Tomorrow (Friday) I set off on a new journey. It may take a week, a month or maybe longer. The timeline is open and so am I. I’ve detailed my truck, except I need to vacuum it. I’ve re-potted and watered my houseplants. I stirred the compost pile and planted the lilac and rose by the fence, and a handful of mini-crocus near the pond’s edge.

I’m fairly certain that I can come home once a week. Mrs. M.’s grand daughter lives near and should be able to manage a day and night with her. It’s over 300 miles, round trip, so I hope I can break that into 2 days. I’ve got the edited hard copy of my Postcards manuscript packed and I’ll also be working on the middle book of the memoir series. I’ll take my laptop, but I will hold off on taking my printer until I have a better idea of how long I’ll be needed.

The biggest thing I will miss is my little cave/home (Maggie) and the beach. It will just be the two of us and I’ll have my own room, so I can still be a part-time cave woman:>)  I look forward to getting to know Mrs. M. better and seeing what mischief we can come up with in Portland. I’m certain to get a better schedule going and get outside more often.

Journaling is a strong habit for me, so I do plan to journal about my time with Mrs. M. I know I’ll take a lot of photos of my new surroundings. I am sure that I will be online and checking in with all of you at least a few times a week. As you can tell, until I get settled, everything is up in the air. That would frustrate many people, but I really look forward to the mystery of it. I am very adaptable and change doesn’t bother me.

The big difference with helping out this time is that I don’t know Mrs. M. I have met her maybe 3 times over the years. She has passed the main part of physical therapy and does not need a lot of assistance there. Also, there is no stress or heart break related to her care. She may be almost 91, but she is mentally sharp and physically on the mend.

These links will take you back to the posts where I talked about this new adventure and my other caregiver experiences. Here and here.

Did you notice that I changed to a static “home” page? Check it out when you get a chance and let me know what you think. I am still working on the site…

Take care,

Patti


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Someone Needs You. How Will You Answer The Call? Part 2

Bridge Along The Journey PHALL PHOTO 2013

Bridge Along The Journey
PHALL PHOTO 2013

Metaphor musings. Bridge as opportunity, to next bridge as opportunity, to next bridge as opportunity, to next bridge as opportunity…into the horizon…

Continued from Someone Needs You. How Will You Answer The Call? Part 1

An executive caregiver position came open many years later. (No phone call this time.) By then, my children were out on their own and I had divorced their step father. I was 4 years into the best relationship that I could ever have imagined. And then, my partner in life and business, was diagnosed with leukemia. I became Paul’s 24/7 caregiver. The hats I wore covered all aspects of our lives during the year of his illness, treatment, stem cell transplant, our hospital wedding and his final battle with graft vs host disease. We were fortunate to have a strong group of supporters in our family and friends. We all learned so many lessons during this time, that Paul and I began to plan a book about it. My 3-part memoir series of love, illness and loss is a work-in-progress.

I readily admit that nepotism was involved in my next caregiver position. The patient was my mother. My family (2 parents in their 70’s, and 6 siblings in their 40’s and 50’s) were still reeling from the loss of my sister in February 2012. Two months later, my mother had an accident that left her with two broken arms, 2 black eyes and a variety of pain, from head to toe. Yep, I got the call. I was back on an airplane heading north. It had only been five weeks since I returned home from Alaska after my sister’s death,

When I arrived back in Alaska, my brother picked me up and took me straight to the hospital. I stayed in my mother’s hospital room that night, and we took her home the next day.  Mom was unable to care for herself at all. I became her right-hand and left-hand person, and slept beside her at night. I would like to break off and tell you what an amazingly strong woman my mother is, but I will leave for another day.

Two of my siblings live nearby and they circled the wagons to provide support and relief. I stayed in Alaska 4 months and wore many hats while I lived with my parents. My most rewarding role was that of adult daughter to my parents, but the second best was that of caregiver to my mother. I was also able to spend some special time with 2 of my sisters and their families, as well as both of my brothers. I flew home to Washington in August, on the 3rd anniversary of my husband’s death.

A holiday bonus. The patriarch (I call him “dad”) sent Ms. Daisy (mom) and I on the vacation of a lifetime in late November 2012. I joined my Alaska family for Thanksgiving, then mom and I toured the Hawaiian Islands for weeks. We spent Christmas and New Year’s with my Arizona sister (it was her twin who we lost earlier that year) and her family. Mom flew home from Washington in January, after visiting her sister and the rest of our Washington family. [3 months later my grandson died and mom flew back to Washington to mourn with, and nurture our family here]

To make a long story short (hahaha), I received another call. It was the call from my sister that I wrote about in the first paragraph of Part 1 of this post. I’m still not perfect, but I guess I will keep on practicing this caregiver role, until I get it right. I am looking forward to this new adventure of giving care to Mrs. M. in Oregon.

I’ve taken some time this week to ponder the meaning of these calls-to-action that keep arriving in my life. They seem to be bridges to the next part of my journey, rather than minor side trips. So, now I have to wonder where this next bridge will lead me…

You can be sure that when I get the call that Mrs. M is being released, my laptop, printer and works-in-progress will be traveling with me, so please hang out for more.

How will you answer the call? Has a caregiver call been a bridge in your life? We would love to hear your thoughts and experience (in the comment section).

Here are these Helpful Links again:

http://www.caregivers.com/caregiving/ All things caregiver.

http://alzjourney.com/helpful-resources/ An incredibly helpful list of resources for dementia, Alzheimer’s, and caregivers.

Peace,

Patti


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Someone Needs You. How Will You Answer The Call? Part 1

Holding You Up A bronze statue on hotel grounds in Kauai, Hawaii PHALL PHOTO 2012

Holding You Up
A bronze statue on hotel grounds in Kauai, Hawaii
PHALL PHOTO 2012

by Patti Hall

They Say That Practice Makes Perfect

Technically, I wasn’t looking for practice or perfection when I answered my sister’s phone call from Alaska a few days ago. Just last week I was deep into my grieving cave-woman mode. Tuesday, I traveled about 350 miles (round trip) to a convalescent facility in Oregon. I met with the care team of my sister’s mother-in-law, Mrs. M.  Yesterday I started cleaning, packing and planning for an extended stay at the home of Mrs. M. in Portland, as her caregiver.

Caregiver: Is This A Calling And/Or A Bridge?

My caregiver internship began within the parameters of my first parenting role when I was 28 years old. That’s what parents do, they give care. Care-giving starts when you wake up in the morning, extends throughout the day, and continues into the night. It is wiping snotty noses, changing diapers, feeding, clothing and loving those in your care. Care-giving is sleepily welcoming a tearful dreamer under your covers, and into your arms, in the middle of the night.

To further my caregiver qualifications, I answered the phone and agreed to join a caregiver group in California. A troupe of his sisters and nieces, gathered at the home of my maternal uncle, when he was in the last stages of his battle against cancer. We came from 3 states; sometimes one at a time, sometimes overlapping, but one of us was always at his side. Despite my uncle’s sad prognosis, he basked in the songs of this Florence Nightingale choir. The songs were expressed in our laughter and love. We nurtured, laughed, cried, reminisced and took care of his physical needs. It was the first time that I truly considered how fragile life is.

A few years later, an interim caregiver position came available via an out-of-state call from my children’s father, aka my former husband. His mother was in her 80’s, living alone and had recently been widowed. She was not doing well emotionally, although, she was physically fine. I packed my bag, drove 100 miles north and left my own family to fend for themselves (again). K and I had known each other for many years and we had remained friends.

K was in deep grief and needed help with the mounds of paperwork and legal procedures that come after a death. While her son handled his job and household transfers from Utah to Washington, I helped K negotiate the details at hand. The signs of dementia came on fast and I consulted her son over the phone. I took K to her doctor and explained our concerns. She was poked and prodded and tested.

I received a promotion. Along with K’s paperwork, legal matters and emotional distress (grief), I had to keep her physically safe. From herself. Household hazards suddenly loomed everywhere. She was a fragile child one moment and an angry woman in the next moment. By the time her son came, K and I were exhausted and traumatized by trying to navigate the chaos brought on by the changes taking place within her brain. I returned home and wished that I could have done more.

Stay tuned, Part 2 will be posted soon…more caregiver experiences and I ponder whether this role is a calling or bridge to the next step in my life.

Have you answered the call? We’d love to hear your story in the comment section.

Helpful Links:

http://www.caregivers.com/caregiving/ All things caregiver.

http://alzjourney.com/helpful-resources/ An incredibly helpful list of resources about dementia, Alzheimer’s, and caregivers.

Peace,

Patti

Not Writing, but What The H Have I Been Doing?

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085

Oh, this and that. Crafting and reading to my little grands, taking over daughter Sara’s kitchen to make Chinese Chicken Salad, visiting gr’son in Tacoma, having a quiet week with my fishing & gardening son in Westport, building secret garden with pond, and taking a lot of photos. Will post more on phallphotos.com later this week….including a variety of bees on a variety of flowers and a tattooed seal!

Saturday (later today) I play leader of our writing group and Jon is going to be my assistant! Trying to convince him to read a poem he wrote. We are taking both laptops to show everyone some of the cool writing sites and our group’s new blog site that we set up.  Also, get to announce date for our first mini writer’s conference this winter. Should be fun…especially if I don’t get any sleep:>)

I’m reading a little bit and will have some reviews up soon.

Grieving is an interesting journey. At times, I can hold grief in my arms and rock until it drifts off. Sometimes grief walks beside me like a shadow. Sometimes I have to carry its heavy weight on my back everywhere I go. Other times it slams me to the mat like a wrestler does his opponent.

Grief has this thing about mixing things up too.  I cry over anything/everything, yet I get immense joy at the smallest things. I’m exhausted, yet I can’t sleep., or I sleep for 12 hours. I want to be close to my peeps, yet I have to have my solitude; I pull you close, then push you away. I can’t think straight, misplace everything, forget everything, yet I can upload photos and (hopefully) lead a writing group. I crave food, yet I’m too unmotivated to make or eat it, and when I do, it doesn’t taste right anyway.  I have a very difficult time making any decision and am allergic to commitment.  I mean even tiny ones; “Mom, you want to come out to the docks while I fish?” “I’m not sure, I’ll let you know when we get there.” If I can force myself to get out of my truck, I go, if not, I sit and read or head back home. You just never know with me. And I never know with me. That’s grief for ya.

Don’t fret though, I AM pulling myself off the mat and watching for a brighter day.

Take it easy and thank you for hanging in there while I regroup.

Patti

This gallery contains 21 photos


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Writing Journal; Does Gardening Count?

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Sunset fire with pelicans heading home on Half-Moon Bay, Westport, WA

PHALL PHOTO 2013

Secret garden

We have water! The little waterfall is flowing and Greg (neighbor friend) also put in a head that sprays a bell-shape of water in the pond. He has been placing beautiful chunks of petrified wood to camouflage the edge of the pond. I hope to do the plantings tomorrow. The sound of flowing water is so wonderful! Greg will work on lighting soon, although I have some pretty little metal tea light holders that I’m going to add tomorrow. We have a long way to go, but getting the water flowing was a great motivator :>)

Writing…or not

I’ve done some book reviews on Goodreads here and Amazon here. I posted a lengthy response on Georgia’s blog about JK Rowling using a male name for her latest book here. I’ve also been active on Facebook here. I did a word cloud challenge from Zoe’s site  here.  The result, below, was written with ONLY the words from a specific “cloud” of words:

Stolen Breath

I swear, at present, I know fifteen ladies,
been living on the run, on the road, for years.
Not trying for truth or gods,
but breath.

Maybe you believe there was a stolen car,
a robbed bank,
but you would be at fault; wrong!

Truth is, maybe fifteen ladies
had a chap that robbed that breath…

Patti

What haven’t I done? You would ask! I haven’t worked on the memoir, or the postcards book. I haven’t posted my new features for writers and caregivers. I’ve written the first couple of them and they sit and wait for me in the drafts folder. I just seem a little emotionally hungover from August and, well, stalled.

So there you have it. Hope you stop in and say hi, maybe tell me what you’ve been up to. Tamed any lions lately?

Patti