Friday, April 29, 2011

Hide-n-Seek

Today, while on a too-long bus ride I started a game to help my creative writing juices flowing.
The rules are:
Alphabetical.
'the' and 'and' are not allowed, except when a t or a is in use.
Only use 'of' 'for' 'a' 'at' and 'to' when absolutely necessary (unless their letter is in use)
Extra bonus points for using X (but not as a name, that's too easy.)
Skipping a letter is allowed, as long as it follows alphabetical order.


Here is my first paragraph, I call it "Hide n Seek"

Annie and another attacked arbored areas, amply bordered by branches. Bobbing behind curtained covering, coupled children cowered, camouflaged. Court deserted, daring Dylan dashed down, escaping eyes, edging enveloping foliage for fresh fringes guarding gamers. Grasping ground, glittered girl giggled. "Hush!" her half-sister harried, hammering her hand into impulsive imp's. Kneeling, kin kept lowered, lifting leafy limbs, listening for muffled movement. Near narrow opening, over ornate object, person perched, posture perfectly pairing. Quickly, quietly, rival ran, reaching statue, signaling seeing shadow. Sullen, student surrendered, stumbling to turf. Together, two took to task, under, up, unveiling vacant vines. Wait-wavering, "Willows!" yelled youths, zealously zooming at an adversary. Among branches, children darted, escaping from grasps in just moments. Sisters smile, safely sheltered.


It took me a while to write such a short paragraph, and it required that I use a lot of words I would never have otherwise considered. I wouldn't submit this, but it does help me write. If you write one of your own, I would love to read it!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

DONE!!!...sort of.

I finished the book!!! But it's not yet done. It still has to be edited by some of my favorite people, who will tell me what changes I should make and then I will be combing through it all over again, up late at night re-reading and changing one adjective, adding a comma here and there.

So its not done... but its a little bit done.
I know my mom wants to read the last paragraph- she always cheats and looks at the back anyway (I do it, too). So here is a little from the last paragraph*:


I lit a match and held it against the paper. Against the big letters "At Risk". The orange flames ignited on the paper and started eating away the words. I let it burn until all that was left on the paper was the word “Girl”.


*subject to change depending on my editors!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Indiana Connection

In preparation for this summer, my inbox has been flooded with carpool emails. None of them applying to me, because I'm flying in, but I scan them all just in case it has information for me.
And that's when I saw an email from a girl, from Bloomington, Indiana who is driving to Wyoming. Would you look at that? I'm going to have to meet her. There is about a 99.9% chance that we have someone who know in common, right?

Have I mentioned yet that I am so excited? Whitewater rafting. Surfing. The beach. Rock Climbing. And helping kids with behavioral problems. Its like everything I want- adventure and helping teenagers- mixed into one summer, all set in California!
I'm sure I will be tired, I'm sure I will miss Biruk, and certainly I will want to get a break, but I'm thinking it will be worth it.

3 more weeks!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Happily Ever After

I put up new curtains in our bedroom- the old one wasn't even really a curtain, but a sheet. We both hated it, it made our apartment look ghetto. The curtains I bought are very pretty- taupe, with what I would call and see-through pattern all over. But I like that, it means most mornings I wake up with the sun shining in my face- what better way to wake up?
But if Biruk worked until 3 am the night before, he doesn't really prefer to wake up that way. Sorry babe! Looking for thicker ones.
But this morning, my alarm woke me up, and I looked out the window to see a dinghy white color. I thought it was only cloudy at first- but then I went to the window.
It was snowing.

SNOWING!!!!
In mid-April? You have got to be kidding me!
I remind myself that I'm going to California in a month, that makes me feel better.


I've been writing a book, and I'm almost done.
But I never knew that writing the ending would be so hard.
I've been at the last 'five chapter's for almost a month now!
I remember, when I was little, we would play a game where you 'pass around the bedtime story' and everyone contributes to part of the story. Only, I never wanted it to end. I kept adding twists and turns and bringing characters back to life until the babysitter finally said 'Enough! The end.'

I've gotten past my elementary years of an inability to tie ends together, but ending is still hard.
I've settled on three endings so far, but kept altering them because something wasn't right about it- it was too perfect to be realistic, or it gave off a different message than I wanted to send.
I am set in this ending, and I hoped that I could reach it within a solid three chapters- wa-la and we're done! That was silly.
I want it to be believable and applicable for readers, so I have to give a few more days for main character to do some things. I want to bring out the epiphanies after I've hinted at the questions a few times. I want to bring some redeeming qualities to the somewhat 'villians' of the story. But, I want it to all wrap up, quickly, too, because I don't want it to draw out forever.
I've written the ending chapters three times now- once, they were lost (which I would have changed anyway), the others I've just written over, or moved those passages to the side, to glean whatever I can from them.

I want to make it believable, but sometimes I have to rewind and consider that just because this similar thing happened in my own life or in the life of someone I know, doesn't make it believable. I've lived a pretty unbelievable life, and so have many people I know. Being realistic to readers means editing my own life, a little, I guess.
I considered having the main character be held at the police station as one of the climactic points of the story, but each time I started to write it, it wasn't what I wanted. Even though I had used experiences from people I know, they still seemed too false, despite that the are true stories.

Hopefully, I can tie it all up in 3 more chapters!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sleep and Summer

It's 1 am, which is not late for me.
With Biruk's work schedule, I often stay up until 3 am to greet him when he comes home and we'll have an after mid-night snack together.
Then, we sleep, which develops into sleeping in.
A 10 am phone call may wake us up, with the caller surprised that I sound so sleepy on the phone.
We lounge in bed for a while, have a little breakfast. Maybe go out for breakfast. Biruk likes the breakfast sandwiches from Tim Horton's, but too often we arrive after the breakfast serving hours. Drat!

A few days ago, we woke up early (as in 8:30 am) to drive someone to an appointment and we both remarked about how refreshing it was to be up in the mornings, feeling the gentler morning sun and drinking hot beverages to wake us up. It felt like I accomplished so much more because I finished some things before noon- something I haven't done in a long time!

I often give myself a hard time, feeling like a slacker because I can't work, and I sleep in frequently. But, I'm taking a new approach:
For starters, I am doing as much as I am allowed to with volunteering, writing articles on the internet, helping watch kids and writing a book.
One day, I will be envious of the time that I slept in late on a daily basis and got to indulge my night owl. So, I won't refer to myself as a bum anymore- it's not by my choice.

I have one more month to enjoy sleeping in before I start my summer job.
I had decided to not take a position as a counselor working with youth with ADD, because I considered how exhausting it would be working hands-on with high-energy youth in a camp setting. Even imagining it made me feel tired. Also, the option for working in Southern California didn't seem to be viable and I wasn't interested in working in Wyoming for the summer. I prayed about it and felt secure that I was not to be a counselor, what I really wanted was to go to San Francisco and I felt that a leadership position would be more fitting.
After being set in this decision, I received a phone call: a new position had opened up and they needed someone to be a director for the Northern California program, helping behind the scenes, running of the program, leading the counselors and doing less hands-on with the youth. Also, it would be beginning and ending in San Francisco each week. All the training I would need would be included in the staff training, and the dates would have me back in Edmonton two weeks before my work visa (hopefully!!!) arrives.
Well, thanks God! Biruk and I prayed and talked about it, but the smile on my face told it all -- it was perfect, everything that I had asked for and even more, including a higher salary.

As it gets closer, I find myself getting more excited. It's not just the location- either San Francisco or California, although I do smile when I consider the warmth and a place I've always wanted to visit. It's not just to work, although I've missed working for 8 months.
I can't think of anything more perfect than leading groups of kids on adventure trips; it will give me so much experience for my future goals working with youth and young offenders. And how much fun! Part of our training includes a run-through of the trip we will be taking the kids on, but without the kids. I'll get to go white water rafting, surfing and rock climbing!
Do I have to say again that I am so excited!!!


We're camping near Lake Tahoe

All of my days off will be in the San Francisco.
My job covers my food and housing, except on my days off. I contacted YWAM San Francisco and I am going to be staying at their base during my breaks from work.

I haven't traveled in a while. Okay, not since December which may only be four months, but feels like an eternity. I didn't really consider it 'traveling' to go to California, because it's in the US, but I told someone this and they said that I'm just a travel snob; it counts as traveling and because it's adventure-packed, I have no reason not to consider this to be traveling.

I know what you're thinking- everyone has already asked me already: what about you and Biruk?
Biruk has been with me for these past months while I've hated being in Edmonton and hated not working.
Biruk and I had a long distance relationship for 2 and a half years, going up to six months without seeing eachother.
Biruk knows my goals and dreams and sees how this summer job fits so perfectly into that.
We know that it will be hard, we aren't beating around that. But I think any option for the summer would be hard; either bored and lonely in Edmonton, or adventure and missing Biruk away from Edmonton.

And, the man that I love always kindly kisses me and says "I just want you to be happy". What better answer?

What would make this even more perfect, is if my work visa comes right away after I return and I can start working immediately.