Home Sweet Home

Back home in Wells after Turkey Day, Black Friday, Cattle Work Saturday, and Driving Sunday spent with the folks. I am morosely behind on NaNo–I’m at just under 40k words, and I should be at like 45k words.  I will make it up tonight. We have Terra down for a nap in her kennel, our fireplace heater plugged in and heating, and my love rubbed my back and shoulders and brewed me a pot of green/black bachelor button tea.

I will tell you folks more later about our very good and very busy visit. Imagine: parents, two brothers, husband, puppy, parents’ two senior dogs, parents’ two cats, three bedrooms, one turkey, and a whole lot of beating each other to the bathroom. Then there is the farm and all the critters that belong there. Good visit, and it is confirmed Terra is quite protective of me. We need to teach her the word “friend”.

So, talk to you fine readers later.

I have NaNo to write.

Affectionately yours, Nicolette Jinks.

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Behind on NaNo, and New, Shiny Power Chord!

Imagine that, computers need power to run!!! And I need access to a computer to type to make a story for NaNoWriMo! The sheer profoundness of that profoundity is astonishing!

So…two or three mornings ago, I discovered, much to my shock and awe that my power chord was sending up tendrils of smoke and  smelling like burning rubber. Hmm…was that the chord, or was it a problem with my jack in the computer case? Opting for the more likely candidate, my hubbs ordered us a new chord while he was at work. See, while Terra the puppy was running around, she knocked his computer off the table and broke the power jack. So, it turns out we live in practically the only town with people capable (or willing) to sauder a new jack in his case. For about three days we were utterly computer-less (not counting my wii and android phone). And we were deeply grateful for my still-active amazon prime student account. 🙂

So, we sent the chord 2-day shipping to my parents address, had turkey day with them, went Black Friday shopping with my brother while Mom watched the puppy, and came home to a chord!

So…yeah. Gonna start getting caught back up on NaNo now…

Just wanted another post. First one in like, a week? Yeah…normalcy will resume now that craziness is near its end.

Your patience is appreciated.

Your Dearest Nicolette.

The Stories Behind Folk Songs

Like many writers, I am inspired by songs. Usually it is something that caught my attention because of the way it sounds, or the instruments, or even the singer’s voice. I am also a fan of folk songs and ballads.

“Trees They Do Grow High” is a bit of an inspirational song to me. Any feminist will be up in arms, but the song is about how we make the best of not-so-great situations. This first appeared in print in 1792 (or so says Wikipedia, so take that for whatever it is worth) and is about a father who arranges a marriage for his daughter with a boy half her age. Now the actual ages vary by a couple of years, but the version I am familiar with has the boy wed at 14, father by 15, and dead by 16. The daughter is almost always referred to as “twice twelve”, or 24 years old. As a 23 year old myself, I can say I would have the same objections as she did.

Here is one version of the song:

The trees they grow high,
the leaves they do grow green
Many is the time my true love I’ve seen
Many an hour I have watched him all alone
He’s young,
but he each day he’s growing.

Father, dear father,
you’ve done me great wrong
You have married me to a boy who is too young
I’m twice twelve and he is but fourteen
He’s young,
but he each day he’s growing.

Daughter, dear daughter,
I’ve done you no wrong
I have married you to a great lord’s son
He’ll be a man for you when I am dead and gone
He’s young,
but he each day he’s growing.

Father, dear father, if you see fit
We’ll send him to college for another year yet
I’ll tie blue ribbons all around his head
To let the maidens know that he’s married.

One day I was looking o’er my father’s castle wall
I spied all the boys aplaying at the ball
My own true love was the flower of them all
He’s young, but he each day he’s growing.

And so early in the morning
at the dawning of the day
They went out into the hayfield
to have some sport and play;
And what they did there,
she never would declare
But she never more complained of his growing.

At the age of fourteen, he was a married man
At the age of fifteen, the father of a son
At the age of sixteen, his grave it was green
Have gone, to be wasted in battle.
And death had put an end to his growing.

I’ll buy my love some flannel
and I will make a shroud
With every stitch I put in it,
the tears they come tickling down.
Once I had a true love,

but now I have none,
but I’ll enjoy our son while he’s growing.

This is just one of those stories that you can’t help but say “wow” to.  You feel her dilemma at the beginning of the song, and when she starts to fall for him, you can’t help but wonder why and what he must be like to have earned her heart despite their ages. The listener is still hesitant when the son is born, and it is only when the child-husband is dead and gone that the listener feels an emptiness without him, a sense of knowing that he can not be replaced.

Now, how can a character who has not spoken a word have this much of a profound influence? We do not know what he looks like, though we can assume he either is handsome or that he will be. Whoever he is, we know that our protagonist grew to love him greatly, and so much so that she overcomes some very sizable objections. Perhaps the real takeaway from this song is that it does not matter who you are, but rather what matters is your influence on others. Sometimes what people do matters more than anything else, and if you have touched one heart profoundly, your life continues on even when it has concluded.

Real Man vs. Romance Novel Perfect Man

We’ve all read romance novels where the man says/does exactly what the heroine wants to hear or needs to be done. Except: that is not what a real man would say or do. A otherwise realistic hero is rendered a fake thought up by a dreaming female author. When I read what a Perfect Hero says or does and it jarrs against the hard reality, I suddenly drop the suspesion of disbelief that made me think—for a minute, for an hour, or more—that this tale I’m reading could be possible. Am I an expert on the male-kind? Probably not. Am I fluent in their ways of thinking? ….possibly. Do I now understand what makes them tick and what throws a cog in their system? Yep. Or at least, I know enough.

To illustrate what I mean, and how the male/female brains work differently, I need to break it down into scenarios.

  1. What she wants him to say or do.
  2. What she is afraid he will say or do.
  3. What he really thinks or does.

Now, the first option is the one taken by the Female Romance Authors because it’s what a woman wants to happen. This is the road I call BS on, because it so very rarely happens, and when it does, it is because it is a culturally-accepted option that is almost deemed a requirement. Like…engagement. Though that very rarely happens at the moment the heroine is perfectly prepared for it. Men and women’s relationship clocks tick at different times, and usually someone is left anxious and wondering if the anticipated engagement will ever happen. Not always. But much, much more often than is indicated by Hollywood or romance novels.

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Old Hanging Tree

Children swung from her branches, laughing, yelling, calling, pushing. See who can climb to the highest branches first.Who has the strongest arms? Who can weave between the smaller branches better? One was climbing with the aid of a grappling hook, wrapped it around a hefty branch, dropped the rope down to the younger ones. They climb up the twitching string.

One slips, tumbles backwards, falls through a gap in her branches, snagging only on leaves and whispy tendrils too young to be called branches. She wishes she could sway her arms to cradle his falling form, but she cannot, at her age even the wind scarcely moves her thick limbs. He falls, the rope before him, the yells of children haunting her.

She’s seen this before as a middle aged tree, a circle of men talking, one man holding another bound in ropes. Luck of the draw, and they come to her with a rope coiled in their hands. Pick a branch up high, tie it off. She’s got a bad feeling about this. They put the man on a horse bareback, slip his neck through a loop of the rope, then slap the horse into running away. They leave, after time they come back with another. More time, then another. She didn’t count how many

By the luck of the draw, she’d been known as the Old Hanging Tree. With those days gone, she was determined to not remember them ever again, but now here was this boy tumbling, falling, reaching, a rope tied to her branches, and her heart breaks. It’s all over in a second, just as before.

He catches the rope, bounces his feet off her trunk, laughs, and sits on her sturdy arm, cradling her trunk with one hand, the rope held in the other. The children call out, then some laugh and some are angry. But they don’t leave the shelter of her leaves. Those days are gone, and these days are to stay.

Why the Phrase “Time is Money” is Balogna

…and Balogna is such an odd word…just saying…

While writing, I used to weigh how much time I used writing, and how many copies of a book I’d have to sell to make up for it, and how financially it just wasn’t worth it, really.

B-A-L-O-G-N-A

Time is free. Your puppy or kitten does not pay you for the time spent playing with it. You don’t charge your significant other. Uncle Sam doesn’t say, “I’m taxing you for spending xxx many hours on your hobby.” Unless you make money on it, which most people don’t. I’m just saying.

Would I make more money working at Burger King than I would by publishing a couple novels? Sure, I would. At least, unless something miraculous happens and I’m suddenly popular or my fans decide to buy multiple copies…of an e-book. So what? Which would YOU rather say?

“Oh, I work at BK flipping burgers, but it pays the bills.”

OR

“I’m a novelist. My debut novel is A Drake’s Ward (on Amazon) and I’m halfway through my second novel, Merlyn’s Amulet. I don’t have much money, but I’m managing.”

Gee, I wonder which one potential interviewers would be more impressed with, too. One shows that you can listen and follow directions blindly. The other shows that you are actively seeking out solutions, pursuing your dreams, and figuring out the business world one step at a time. Sure, it takes time. Sure, it’s not as dependable as a low-earning job.

I’ve even got a friend who is starting up an Etsy store selling clay frogs, some with hangers for the wall. I want soooo much to do a nursery with an amazon theme, paint it up with trees and animals, and hang those cute little froggies on the wall. Dude…maybe I will do that for a writing studio. 🙂 Yes, I think that would be fun.

Ahem, back from my tangent. Point is, she’s entering the entrepreneurship industry. She’s got a marketable product, talent, and plenty of smarts to make it work. She even has radical video production skills.

My point is, there are plenty (ooodles and oodles) of college graduates right about my age who entered a workforce where the “old foggies” aren’t retiring because they can’t, the folks 10 years older have stable-ish jobs, and the folks 5 years older have experience that the employers are drooling over. If we don’t do something with our time outside the system, we won’t get far in life. (See The Fable of the Caterpillar for an illustrated example of this point.)

Being “unemployed” really means you now have time. It is time you shouldn’t waste spending 8 hours spamming companies on Monster with resumes. It is time you shouldn’t waste squandering your degree and talent in the grease pit. It IS time you need to dedicate to self-expansion, to starting a business, to learning whatever you wanted to learn when you didn’t have time. If you’re unemployed and depressed, ASK YOURSELF: What did I want to do when I didn’t have the time? And then DO IT.

Hope you found this worthwhile.

Talk to you later, peeps. I have a wicked Thursday (an)Thromorph coming up, “The Old Hanging Tree”, so check in a bit later for that.

From Your Dearest Nicolette.

The Fable of the Caterpillar

At one time, caterpillars were just like the jibberjabs, the pillcrawlers, and the fatworms, and they all lived together on an island. Of the four, the caterpillars were the weakest, the slowest, and the most likely to be plucked off a branch and eaten. The jibberjabs emitted a shrill cry, and were about the size of today’s mouse, and were considered by all birds and scavengers to be the most obnoxious thing to be eaten, so they were left alone. The pillcrawlers slunk over the ground and came in all the sizes of a person’s foot–had there been people about to see them–and they stank so horrifically that even skunks made a wide berth about them. Finally, the fatworms were the length of a man’s forearm and three times as thick, and they crawled through the mud and wallowed in it like pigs, they were considered most unappetizing for they tasted as mud would, and were about as nutritious. And so, the caterpillars were general food for everything that did not want to eat a jibberjab, a pillcrawler, or a fatworm.

Because nothing was eating them, the jibberjabs consumed whole forests and chased the caterpillars to the worst of trees and bushes. The caterpillars, as they were smaller and could not hold up to an arguing match with jibberjabs, left the nice trees without much complaining. The pillcrawlers also overpopulated the ground and forced the deer and other game to seek out the lesser shrubs and bushes, and to keep from being inadvertently eaten, the caterpillars moved to the worst of the leaves. And, finally, the fatworms took to wallowing in mud at the trees and bushes the caterpillars lived in, tearing up the roots and killing the plants. The caterpillars lived in a desperate condition, and one caterpillar said to the rest, “We must think, or soon we shall all be dead. The jibberjabs have noise. The pillcrawlers have stench. The fatworms are just digusting. We must do something.”
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Random Update

Hi, folks!

So I heard that some of you were missing my daily freewrites when I kinda went on unofficial hiatus last week. Sorry to disappoint, but at the same time I’m pleased that I’m getting a following! 🙂

Anyhow, my excuses were thus:

1-I was moving, cleaning, unpacking;

2-I was figuring out a schedule with our puppy, Terra, for going outside, playtime, walktime, so on, and then there was a vet visit;

3-NaNoWriMo started up and I had to get back to really writing, you know. I think I’ve reprogrammed myself to where I can upkeep the house, take care of Terra, do NaNo, AND do freewrites!

Oh, I thought I’d share my site stats with you fine ladies and gents.

Site Stats for Nov 8, 2011
My site stats shows growth. 🙂

So, August had 7 hits. September had 23. October had a whopping 42. And we’re already up to 18 this month!

These are the top posts:

Anywho! Such is the status of my humble, little website. I hope to see you fine folks tuning in more often. Remember: Every click brings me a smile.
Have a great day!
From Your Dearest Nicolette.
—back to your regularly scheduled story time—
EDIT:
Nothing else was posted yesterday because my internet decided to go the way of the slug combined with a virtual bomb. So, basically I would load a page, it wouldn’t let me click anything, it would spaz, then promptly task manager would register my browser as non responsive. After several opening/closes, I finally gave up and just typed in Oo Writer.
Not happy. 😦
Internet returned much, much later.
It is back to normal now.
Wish I could say the same about the radiators, apparently the landlord needs a new blower for his furnace.
You read that last bit right. Yes, yes you did.

The Illuminator’s Shadow III

Arrows pelted the sky when we approached a town I suspected was known as Goldenseal. We’d come up on it without warning, just flew over a cliff and there it was adhered to the wall with heavy stones and motar, ladders running up and down the levels, stairs  or slopes covered the major roadways. I pressed my dove faster, up from the steady pace we’d been traveling all morning at. We had the fortune of still flying into the sun, so the archers’ aims were skewed, but not nearly enough.

A stray struck my dove in the breast, a splinter to her body weight, but still she drooped, catching wind  in her wings to steady us. We were out of reach of most of the towers now, and my arms and legs ached from being unaccustomed to flight, so I let our speed flag too soon.
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