What I Wrote Today – 5

What I Wrote Today – An excerpt from my work in progress, Beanstalk & Basket. Jack is stuck on the last page of his story and would be completely bored – if he hadn’t just met the girl from the story next door.

Coming to you fresh and unedited – subject to change before future publication. Enjoy!

WIWT5IG2

Jack’s mother was where he left her when he returned to the mansion that night — sitting at the long, shiny wooden table in the dining room, counting gold coins, stroking the magic goose, Gertrude, who sat peacefully in her lap. She was chatting with the enchanted harp, Penelope, who was sitting on the table strumming herself and clearly not listening. Penelope looked like a normal harp, only with a woman carved into the bow, and her enchanted arms stretched out and her nimble fingers strummed herself expertly. Jack had gotten rather tired of harp music, but he couldn’t exactly complain about Penelope. He’d rescued her from a giant and she was eternally undignified in her gratitude towards him.

“There’s my hero!” Penelope called, waving merrily to Jack.

“Hello, Penelope,” Jack said, waving back and hurrying past the dining room to the stairs that would lead up to his room in the tower at the back of the mansion.

“Jack!” his mother called sharply.

He stopped short and poked his head into the dining room. “Yes, Mum?”
She looked up from her stack of coins and looked at him over the top of her small golden glasses, which she’d bought after he landed them in the lap of luxury with Gertrude and Penelope. “Where have you been?” she demanded. “The servants told me you never came round for supper,”

“Uh…just out chopping trees,” Jack replied.
“Ugh,” his mother grumbled. “I wish you wouldn’t do that. You don’t need to work. If anything you should go out and play, not work,”

Jack shrugged. “I enjoy working,”

She scoffed. “Imagine that. A boy who has reached his happily-ever-after, with a fine home and all the comforts of life, feeling any sort of need to go out and work!”

Jack sighed. He and his mother simply did not understand each other. For her, work meant survival. For him, it was…necessary. Fun at times, yes, but it was more that he felt like he’d go crazy if he wasn’t doing something.

“I’m tired, Mum,” he said. “I think I’ll go straight to bed,”
“That’s what work does to you, Jack, it wears you out. Isn’t that right, Gertrude?”

Gertrude looked up, honked as though in agreement, and closed her eyes again.

“Goodnight, Mum,” Jack said.

“Goodnight, Jack,” she called back. “Rest up. Maybe tomorrow you’ll have a little fun,”

Jack thought about that as he climbed the spiral staircase to his room — the only room the servants weren’t allowed to clean. Whatever happened tomorrow, he was pretty sure it was going to be interesting. He was going back to the gap. Maybe he’d see Red.

 

Thanks for reading, God bless!

Clare

 

More Like This: 

What I Wrote Today – 1

What I Wrote Today – 2

What I Wrote Today – 3

What I Wrote Today – 4

4/27/18 – UPDATE

savingpng

It’s been a while and I wanted to give an update on me and my writing because this matters to me and if you’re reading this, maybe it matters to you, too.

  • It’s been almost a full year since Good You Were Here went live on Amazon! Craziness. To celebrate the anniversary (May 19th) I’m probably going to be doing a giveaway. More on that in the future.
  • I finished a first draft of my short play, Royal Bring Your Dog to Dinner Day. I was writing it for a local homeschool group and learned they are not actually going to be performing a play this year. No worries. It was a lot of fun and I look forward to seeing it performed sometime in 2019.
  • After finishing the play, I picked back up my 2015 NaNo Novel Tulip Season. There’s a lot of very good stuff there but it needs some work and some revising. Not a lot of headway on that but we’ll see. Definitely a story I want to finish and send out into the world sooner than later.
  • I got a little bit stuck and overwhelmed with Tulip Season since it’s a longer book, so I picked back up a story I’ve been developing probably since 2010. It has a working title of Beanstalk and Basket and it’s a crossover of Jack and the Beanstalk and Little Red Riding Hood. I’m really excited at the prospect of writing a book for a younger audience since my 13-year-old sister and 8-year-old brother love reading and have been asking me for books geared more towards them.

There are several reasons why I’ve been more absent for almost a month from my blog and from my writing social media in general. I’ve been busy with: life in general, my two other jobs, family/friends/relationship. But I’ve also been struggling with a general lack of sleep, some anxiety, and imposter syndrome.

If you aren’t familiar with imposter syndrome, Wikipedia defines it thus: “Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, often internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.”

For me, this has meant feeling like my writing isn’t ‘that good’, that no one really cares about my writing, that I’m too lazy to be a full-time writer, that I should stop trying to make it more than a hobby because I’ll just be wasting my time, and that no one will take me seriously. I have good support systems helping me overcome this but it’s going to be a process. Over this last month, I kept wanting to give updates, especially as I was tip-typing away and making progress on stories, but I kept thinking, “Eh, no one cares, it doesn’t really matter.”

But it does matter. A lot. Stories matter and no one else can tell the stories I have to tell. It may be slow going, but there’s no reason I can’t potentially help support myself with my writing. It will take a lot of hard work, but I’m capable of hard work. I want to put in the work. I just have to believe it matters.

So there’s my update. It is still my goal to have a blog post up every Tuesday and Friday. My overall writing goal for the year is to publish at least one book. I had originally had the lofty ambition of publishing at least three books, but I’m okay with downsizing that goal so I can put out something truly beautiful.

Thank you for reading and thank you for sticking with me. Stories coming soon, I promise. 

God bless,

Clare

 

Related Posts:

Future Projects – 1

What I Wrote Today 4

It Is Good That We Are Here – The Why Behind the Title

 

 

Some Thoughts on Patience

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about patience.

If there’s one thing I could use more of, it’s patience. I need to be patient with my writing because it’s happening, even if it’s happening slowly. I need to be patient with God and trust His timing in my life. I need to be patient with myself as I struggle against anxiety and try to figure out my next steps in life. I need to be patient with the people I love because they are just as imperfect and incomplete as I am.

Sometimes I just want to be done waiting and get to the part where I’m there, having done/doing the thing or living the life I’ve been waiting for. Today I had a conversation with my boss about how the tough thing about patience is that you’re never DONE being patient. Even if you get to the the thing you’ve been waiting for, there’s always something new to have to wait and be patient for.

So then I guess life is one long string of waiting for something…unless you stop just living for the next thing and start being present in the moment.

coffee1.jpg

I’m really bad at this. That’s why I bought this shirt, as a wearable reminder to myself.

I tend to live in the theoretical someday because it is either more interesting or more concerning than the present. The older I get, the more I realize how much time I waste and how much I miss by doing that. True, a lot of the time, the present moment is painful or hard or even just boring, but it’s only going to happen once and if I miss it, that’s it, it’s gone.

It becomes easy to live in the past, which has already happened and we can replay, or the future, which hasn’t happened and we can imagine however we want. Living in the moment is hard. The moment is happening now and it’s always moving. It takes patience. It takes conscious effort. I’m trying, but I know I still have a long way to go.

I started thinking about this quote from Rainer Maria Rilke this afternoon. I think it captures what I mean.

rilkequote1.jpg

“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as though they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future. you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

So, here I am, waiting, trying to live in the moment, to love the questions, and praying for patience.

 

Thanks for reading, God bless!

Clare

What I Wrote Today – 4

An excerpt from the play I’m working on for a local homeschool group, currently titled Royal Bring Your Dog to Dinner Day.

 

(Messenger enters stage left)

Chef: Another message, Messenger?

Messenger: Naturally. (Shakes out the scroll) Ahem. A Message from Her Majesty the Queen to the Royal Chef. Dear Chef. The dogs will be arriving shortly.

Chef: Wait, wait, wait. Dogs? What does she mean, DOGS? And why are they arriving shortly? How long from now is shortly, exactly?

Messenger: Let me finish. Ahem. The Duchess and the Other Duchess and I are getting our nails done, we will be joining the dogs just as quick as we can. Give them a little appetizer and keep them entertained. They’re no trouble at all, I promise.

Chef: (wailing) No!

Messenger: (Finishing message) Thanks a million, you’re the best, love and hugs, Her Majesty the Queen.

Chef: Is there a postscript where she says haha, just kidding?

Messenger: There is not.

Chef: (putting head in hands) Of course not.

Sous: (patting the Chef on the shoulder) There, there, Chef. It’ll be okay.

Messenger: Any return message, Chef?
Chef: Uh…tell her it is our Royal Pleasure to watch the Royal Dogs.

Messenger: (giving the chef a thumbs up) I will do that. Hang in there, guys.

Chef: Yes, yes, thank you, Messenger, goodbye.

(Messenger exits stage right)

Chef: Anyone know how soon shortly is?

(Trumpets blast)

Commis 1: I guess shortly is over now.

(Reenter the Messenger stage right with Chubby and Tubby and one leash dragging behind him)

Messenger: May I present to the Royal Kitchen Staff, the Royal Dogs.

(The kitchen staff all bow to the royal dogs)

Commis 2: Not to be disrespectful, but isn’t there someone who’s job it actually is to watch the Royal Dogs? You know…maybe a Royal Dogsitter?
Messenger: There are actually five of them, but they all have the day off.

(Royal Kitchen Staff all groan)

 

Thanks for reading! God bless.

 

More Like This:

What I Wrote Today – 1

What I Wrote Today – 2

What I Wrote Today – 3

The Tower Princess – A Short Story

I wrote this short story based on the fairy tale Rapunzel back in 2012 for a contest. It was inspired by a girl I knew from online who was suffering from severe anxiety attacks and couldn’t leave her house. It’s not my best work by any means. I’m thinking of rewriting it to be a little more polished (and realistic) so I thought it would be fun to share the original first. Enjoy!

The Tower Princess.png
(image source)

Once Upon a Time, Rae could leave her house.

Rae could ride in cars.

Rae could talk to strangers.

Rae could get in the elevator and go all the way down from the 11th Floor to the 1st Floor, and walk out the revolving doors of the Hotel Tower, and be just like everybody else.

But one day, someone tried to hurt Rae. He attacked her right on the street. He would have used her and left her for dead if a stranger hadn’t helped her get away.

When Rae finally got home at the end of that long, traumatic day, she ran into the Tower, took the stairs to the 11th Floor, shut herself in her room, and never came out.

“I will never go outside again,” she vowed fearfully. “Ever.”

Rae’s mother’s solutions for herself were always temporary, like a Band-Aid. Her solutions for Rae were no different. She thought she could ‘fix’ Rae’s problem by trying to force her to go outside, to be normal again. But all she did was wound Rae deeper. Rae couldn’t leave the safety of the apartment. She suddenly wanted nothing to do with a world that had once meant everything to her.

Slowly, Rae’s friends, even her closest friends, abandoned her. It was as though they feared her broken, isolated condition was contagious, and they left her. Even Rae’s mother, living in the same apartment, distanced herself and liked to pretend there wasn’t a lonely, sad girl behind the door to Rae’s room.

Rae was all alone.

 

Meanwhile upon a time, I was the stranger.

I had always been curious about Rae. I was working for my BA in architecture at the same college where she was taking art classes in the city, and even though I never had the nerve to say hello, I started following her from time to time. I tried to be subtle, but when she daringly strode into shiftier neighborhoods, I hung around just in case.

And that one day, I was there to save her.

During the twelve hours we sat next to each other in the police department, I managed to talk to her.

“Hi. My name’s Patrick.”

She didn’t answer, but I knew her name. Rae. Rae Elizabeth Ponce.

“Are you alright?”

Then, she looked at me, with those beautiful eyes that were suddenly so full of tragedy. She shook her head slowly. “No.” she murmured. “No, I’m not.”

When Rae disappeared, I knew she had gone up to the top floor of the Hotel Tower. It broke my heart to hear her closest friends write her off at school. I could only guess how lonely she was, and I decided to contact her online, offering her support.

At first, she was suspicious of me, even resentful. But I gave her time, and gradually, she accepted my offer.

Years passed, and I graduated from college. Rae and I became close friends and we talked on the phone frequently. But Rae stayed stuck in her tower. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore.

I wanted to see her again.

So I walked to the back of the Hotel Tower building and found the fire escape. I had to jump onto a dumpster to reach it but then started climbing up without thinking. I didn’t stop until I’d gone as far as I possibly could. Then, I gave Rae a call on my cell phone.

“Hello?” she said quietly. Her voice was always a little hoarse from underuse.

“Rae, it’s me. Patrick. I’m under your window. Let down your fire escape.”

“What?”

“Let down your fire escape. I can’t go any higher until you do. I’m coming to see you.”

“You mean… open the window?” Rae asked nervously.

“Yes. You can do it, Rae. I’ll be waiting for you.”

It took a while, but finally, I heard the rattling and clattering of metal stairs unfolding, and the long, unreachable section of the fire escape tumbled down until it stopped at my feet. I climbed up two more stories, and I found my princess waiting for me at the top, sitting on her balcony. She had her arms wrapped around her knees, and looked a little bit like she might blow away in the wind.

For a moment, she just stared at me, afraid and unsure.

“Rae,” I said gently.

Rae started to cry. She leaped up and embraced me in a tight, desperate hug. She hadn’t seen anyone but her mother in two years.

 

And so, our worlds, our very distant ‘once upon a times’, collided.

Rae was so afraid, and I didn’t blame her. She didn’t invite me into her room for a long time, but when she did, I could tell how sacred it was to her. It was the only place she felt safe.

A year went by, and Rae’s mother never knew I was there. She was gone most of the time, and when she was home, she was usually recovering from drugs or drinking. I was afraid for Rae, but she begged me not to tell anyone about her, or her mother.

One night, Rae and I were lying side by side on her floor and gazing at the very few stars and helicopter lights out her window. We’d just finished watching a movie together, and it was almost one in the morning. I knew I should leave, but I hesitated. 

Rae suddenly pulled away from me. “This will never work, Rick. It never will.”

I looked into her eyes. I watched them glisten in the semi-dark.

“No. It will. Even if you never leave this place, Rae, I’ll make it work. I’ll be here for you. Everything will be okay, I swear.”

Finally, Rae let herself fall for me. She pulled me to my feet and kissed me. It was the most beautiful, innocent kiss any girl ever gave me.

Suddenly, the door to Rae’s room flew open. Her mother stood in the doorway, breathing heavily. She had a half-empty bottle of beer gripped in one hand, and she advanced on us quickly.

“Get out!” she slurred. “Get out of my daughter’s room you—”

“Mom, no!” Rae cried, as her mother grabbed me with surprising strength, and pushed me out onto the balcony.

“Stop!” Rae sobbed, trying to pull me away from her mother. “Let go of him!”

The last thing I remember was Rae’s mother breaking her beer bottle over my head, and shoving me over the balcony railings.

I fell eleven stories to the ground.

 

I woke up in excruciating pain, barely able to move, and unaware of my surroundings.

Sirens wailed somewhere, echoing in my ears.

“Rick! Rick please, wake up, please speak to me!” a familiar voice sobbed above my head.

As I slowly came to, I found that I was lying on the hard, cold cement surface of a sidewalk. I opened my eyes and saw my Tower Princess looking down at me, her tears dripping from her cheeks onto my forehead.

“I… I’m alive,” I breathed in amazement.

“You better be,” she replied, kissing me in relief. “I came out of my tower for you.” 

 

 

More Like This: 

How Ted Met Penny

In and Out

Snippets 1

Shelving Being Daniel & What’s Next?

I promised an update on Being Daniel at the beginning of February, and here it finally is.

Like I planned, I started over and rewrote Being Daniel from the beginning. That process started out very rewarding and exciting and as I went, I thought, “Awesome! This is going to work!” But then something happened.

I got to the part that had really given me trouble in my original draft, the part that I had rushed because I didn’t know what to do with it; the nitty-gritty of why the relationship between the primary characters doesn’t work. I found that I still didn’t know what to do with it. But I kept trying. I had so many ideas and did more research to be certain I was portraying this emotionally abusive relationship as sensitively but authentically as possible.

Unfortunately, I’ve realized that now just isn’t Being Daniel‘s time. I’m not in a place where I am able to mentally or emotionally dig deep where I need to, but even more than that, there are elements in the story that aren’t fully formed in my head and heart. I’ve gotten feedback, tried writing my way through those underdeveloped parts and given it my best effort; the story just isn’t ready.

So now what?

Well, I’ve been asked to write a play for a local homeschool group! I wrote a play two years ago for them and it was such a fun experience watching them bring it to life. I’m going to focus on writing the best play that I can for them and see where I am after that. I’m hopeful Being Daniel will be a published book someday, but I’m at peace with shelving it for the time being.

Thanks for reading, God bless!

Clare

 

More Posts on Being Daniel:

Writing Alcohol

Being Daniel – 95 Days To Go

What I Wrote Today 1

What I Wrote Today 2

What I Wrote Today 3

Being Daniel Concept Art

 

What I Wrote Today – 3

They headed out of the city on US-63. Isabel drove very fast and efficiently. She rolled the windows down and leaned back in her seat, a small smile on her face.

Tony gazed at her, his heart pounding. He looked across the car at her and took in the sight of her, windblown but the happiest he’d ever seen her. She was beautiful and wild and all he wanted was to touch her. He reached out and rested his hand on her knee. She rested her hand on top of his and kept her eyes on the road. Her small smile widened for a second.

“I haven’t done this in years,” she said.

“What?” he asked.

“Drive,” she answered. “Drive just to drive. Just to go fast and go far away,”
“Is that what you and Daniel did?”

She nodded. She lifted her hand off of his and turned on the CD that was in the player. Tony had never heard any of the songs that played, but the music seemed to turn their drive into a scene from a movie.

“What is this?” he asked.

“Thriving Ivory,” Isabel replied. “This album is from 2008,”

“I love it,”
“Really?” she asked. “Some people think the lead singer’s voice is weird,”

“No, I like it. It’s different,”

They fell silent and lyrics filled up the car.

You’re talkin’ in your sleep like there’s nothing more to lose/ Well hey you know you’re not alone,

‘Cause honey, I get lonely too, and it feels so familiar, must have been here before, singing ‘I don’t wanna go, but I don’t wanna hurt anymore’.

Tony kept his hand on her knee and she kept both hands on the wheel.

About half an hour later, Tony saw a sign for Lake Louise State Park, and Isabel signaled to exit. They drove into the park and Isabel let Tony pay the entry fee at the front office, then kept driving. They passed camping grounds and a picnic area, and finally, Isabel stopped the car and parked in a small lot beyond a sign that read Lake Louise Dam. She got out of the car, taking her coffee along with her, and led him towards the sound of steadily flowing water.

As they exited the parking lot, Tony saw the dam. It looked like a huge version of a fake waterfall set up in someone’s yard, with water from the lake spilling into the river, flowing down over the sloped concrete barrier.

There was a family with three small boys playing noisily around on the far bank, running in and out of the trees, but otherwise, the place was deserted. Isabel walked right up to the dam and slipped off her shoes before sitting down on a portion of the barrier wall. Tony took his shoes and socks off and sat down beside her. She had a melancholy expression on her face as she stretched her leg out to let the water from the dam spill over her foot.

The little family came back across the shallow water and left, taking their noise away with them in a minivan. It was quiet except for the sound of the water and Tony’s heart pounding away in his ears. He broke the silence after a few minutes. “Why here?” he asked.

“This was our place,” she said, looking out at the lake. “We’d come here whenever we needed to talk.”

Tony popped the lid off his cup, sloshing a little on his hand. He licked the coffee off his knuckles and looked at her. Her gaze was fixed on the water, as though she was were seeing something that made her very sad.

“So that’s what you want to do right now?” he asked. “Talk?”

Starting Over

I have officially started re-writing Being Daniel. I opened a new document and labeled it Being Daniel Draft 4. I’ve taken my outline and I am going to rewrite the entire book, scene by scene.

Why?

I am so horribly burnt out on this book, it makes me want to cry tears of rage just looking at it. I’ve been plugging away at it for months now and while the story is pretty good, it’s incomplete. There are holes. It’s really badly written. It’s making me mad and I want to quit.

I’ve decided that, instead of quitting, I’m going to start over. I’m not sure how but, as I was writing this book (really fast, I might add), stuff went awry. I have no sense of who my two main characters are. That is unacceptable. I believe this story is important and beautiful, but I have messed up somewhere along the line.

This is one of the perks of self-publishing. I can set my own pace and pursue the projects my heart is in. That being said, I had originally committed to publishing Being Daniel on December 14th. It’s been almost a month since then and I haven’t even touched it since November started.

So, here’s my plan. I am going to hit Being Daniel hard for the rest of the month of January. If on February 1st it’s still misery and suffering just to look at it, I’ll let it go and move on to something else. I quit writing from 2012 to 2015 because people kept telling me, “You have to finish all those unfinished books sitting on your computer before you can start something new.” And it absolutely killed any desire I had to write. The truth about me as a writer is that sometimes, no matter how much I grind away at it, a story just isn’t going to come. It isn’t ready.

That might be the case with Being Daniel, but I’m going to give it a try.

Thank you to everyone who beta-read Being Daniel in its original form. Please don’t feel as though it was a waste of time — I was able to come to this decision because of your feedback and concerns.

February 1st, I will either announce a tentative publication date or that Being Daniel is being put into storage indefinitely. I have a goal to publish three books this year, and while Being Daniel was intended to be the first of those three, I can’t let it slow me down or stall me out completely.

Thanks for reading. Stories coming soon, I promise — and new post coming Friday!

God bless,

Clare

 

Other posts on Being Daniel

Writing Alcohol

Being Daniel – 95 Days To Go

What I Wrote Today 1

Blogmas 2017 – Day 21/31 – What I Wrote Today 1

Happy Winter Solstice!

Confession time – I honestly haven’t been writing since NaNoWriMo ended. I was, for a while. I was writing blog posts for Blogmas. But even writing my writing actual blog posts has kind of shriveled up since I unexpectedly moved to a new place a week ago. No regrets, but I realized, “Hey, just posting something on my blog isn’t the point. The point is to be writing. Every day.” So this morning I intentionally sat down to write…something. Anything. This is what I came up with. It isn’t much. It may not even make it into the final draft of Being Daniel. But I wrote something, and that’s what counts.
What I Wrote Today 1 – 12/21/17

Jill came over. The door wasn’t locked so she let herself in. She found Nick sitting on the floor in front of his couch, gazing at Tony who was fast asleep.

She went and sat down beside him. Without speaking, she slipped her arm around him and he took her hand.

“How is he?” she asked softly.

Nick shrugged. “Slowly sobering up,”

“How are you?”

Nick sighed. “I’ll get back to you on that,”

Jill kissed his cheek and rested her head against his shoulder. “You aren’t going to throw him out, are you?”

Nick scoffed. “Of course I’m not going to throw him out. What would happen to him if I did? He would never admit it, but he needs me. I’m all he’s got.”

Jill nodded slowly. She studied the pinched expression on Tony’s sleeping face. “Poor guy,” she murmured.

“It’s mostly self-inflicted,” Nick said.

Jill smiled sadly. “I know,” 

“I love him, Jill,”

“I know you do,” she said. “I love him, too.”

 

Thanks for reading, God bless!

Clare

 

Check out the rest of Blogmas 2017

Get a copy of Good You Were Here

Blogmas 2017 – Day 19/31 – Snippets 2

I keep running short on time these days, so here’s another snippet. This one was originally posted here on 11/24/16. I wrote it while listening to this cover of Dancing on My Own by Calum Scott. It was inspired by some personal experience but more specifically by the line from the song, “I’m right over here, why can’t you see me?” Hopefully this scene will find a story of its own someday, but for now, enjoy.

snippet2.jpg

 

Check out the rest of Blogmas 2017!