first writing assignment for my new writing group
The greywhite reflected light spreads out across the ceiling. It is still, like no-power mornings when everything, even the ever diligent refrigerator, is held in a quiet revere. For a moment I think there is no power but the alarm taps me on the ear and I hit snooze but get up anyway.
There is heat so there is power and I stand in the warmth of my livingroom on the cold tile by the door and am reminded again that I need something for the thieving draft that steals its way in over the gap in the threshold. On the other side of the door’s window, snow makes a feeble attempt to camouflage the grass into an edgeless, smooth world but accomplishes only part of her goal and the yard is salt and pepper outlined in frozen road in the colorless light.
The alarm taps me on the ear again and I return to hit snooze. Curl under the blankets and cats come to wedge themselves snuggly between warm me and cooler room. The dog across the street barks out today’s four word phrase: Snow Cold In Please! Snow Cold In Please! The alarm begs for attention again and I dismiss it from duty altogether. Snow Cold In Please! Snow Cold In Please! His family finally gets the message and he is readmitted to their warmth.
Breathe in quiet. Think how glad I am it is not Sunday. Breathe out into stillness. Remember a conversation with a friend from last night that was the polar opposite of an icy road in a frozen land and my heart is warm all over again. Breathe in. Greywhite brightens the room a tiny bit more. Purring. No alarm. Breathe out. Sleep.
The snow is thwarting my plan to get to the gym. Now, don’t misunderstand here–I’m not crying over the loss of a day at the gym. However, it is a bit frustrating to make a serious internal commitment to be healthier and then be routed in the attempt to make the commitment externally real as well.
So instead, as the snow comes down outside, I’m sitting her watching it fall. I’ve taken out the tree, vacuumed, resisted the urge to find chocolate (which I know lurks in the kitchen waiting to pounce on me when I am vulnerable), knit a bit and read a bit.
The book I’m currently reading for the new book club is The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly. I will confess that I just plain did not like the book.
It’s not so much the era–1880’s–or the setting–England–because I like both of these. Nor is it the Jack-the-Ripper component of the story. Mysteries, especially those around well known crimes of history, are quite interesting. I don’t even mind too much romance if it seems to be an addition to the story and not the sole focus.
I found the story to be predictable, making use of too many familiar tropes and stereotypes. Sometimes such familiar territory can be overcome by compelling characters or fresh writing and unfortunately, in my estimation, Tea Rose possesses neither.
Though it is a bit nit picky of me, the dialog was quite frustrating. It is written largely in phonetic dialect. I say largely because it seemed quite inconsistent which meant that I could not get into the swing of the accents. Although dialog written in phonetic dialect can sometimes be a problem or even a barrier to a reader connecting with characters and a story, well written and consistent dialect can be a wonderful vehicle to transport us to the time and place the writer wishes us to go. Unfortunately, the inconsistent use of it even with the same character’s words from one scene to the next, I felt like I was stumbling along through it all and it became altogether a burden.
There are pretty good questions at the back of the book for use in a book club setting. These are not bad at all and I think this was a great addition to the book. Even though I am not fond of it, I am sure that many will be and these questions will be handy for a group to use in their discussion.
And now, back to the knitting.
It snowed in Sylva…..and everywhere else, it seems, on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and the Day After Christmas.
And it snowed, and it snowed, and it snowed Snowed SNOWED!
Well, I will not be so negative as to say that a white Christmas wasn’t pretty amazing–it was, of course! However, being snowed in at someone’s house when I really needed to go to Charlotte to see my mom the day after Christmas and having to cancel Sunday’s worship service for the second time this month was not so very cool.
Christmas day: my car slid ever so slowly into a moderate ditch. Even though it is four wheel drive, the thick snow just laughed at my car.
Christmas day night: and accomplice and I managed to free it from the arrogant ditch and it made a controlled slide down the very steep driveway. Then we freed a behemoth of a vehicle that had slid into a far more possessive ditch. Felt quite a sense of success and accomplishment!
Christmas day night part deux: realized that getting out of the driveway the next morning–something that would have to happen if I was going to make it to see my mom–was looking more and more unlikely. The snow kept falling. My friends were kind enough to let me stay the night and give me a warm and delightfully peaceful room in which to sleep.
Day After Christmas: as if by magic (though actually accomplished by my previous evening’s accomplice) my car made it to the top of the drive and the top of the road. Much towing and struggling occurred while I slept, blissfully unaware. Made it to my mother’s home safe and sound.
Even though much of it was frustrating, seeing it all written down makes me feel grateful and….well…..pretty good. Everything was so very beautiful as well.
All is well. Safely rest. God is nigh.