Birds of Gannet Somme
Gannet Somme: The Irish Artefact
My Novelette: The Journey Home
Story in poetic form: The Ghost In The Well
1 July 2008
I just finished editing and putting into pdf form my sequel to my first
novel about Gannet Somme. Having recently visited Dublin, Ireland and
Snowdonia, Wales, I was inspired to base the sequel, at least partially,
in those countries. I loved my visits there and used the opportunity to
record and share those memories. To read it, go to: Gannet Somme: The Irish Artefact
15 October 2007
Okay. I've finished preparing my novelette for viewing. :) I'd been
working on it for a couple of months now, waiting for inspiration and
this past week, it just took off. Thank you, muse! I call it The
Journey Home. Click on the blue title to read it. :)
Last week when I couldn't sleep because my head was bonging so hard, I twisted my head on the pillow, trying to find a spot that didn't hurt. Meanwhile, my brain would not shut down. I had been writing quite a bit during the day, and more and more thoughts kept flitting through my mind. Just when it seemed I could finally get some rest, another chain hit me and I had to get up and perch in the bathroom with a pad and pen to get it all down before I forgot it. The following is the chain, directed especially at writers.
MEMORIES AND TIME
Each memory is written on a separate page of biodegradable paper. The stronger the memory, the more durable the paper. But everyone knows that paper won't last forever.
Some memories are as small as a single word. Others can fill both sides of the paper in miniscule writing.
When a memory has been recorded in its entirety, the page is neatly folded and added to ordered piles until such time as it is retrieved.
If the retrieval is conducted often, this results in the memory being rewritten on ever stronger paper.
Time is like a breeze that slowly grows:
a) soft as a sigh, the merest exhalation, not strong enough to move the flame of a burning candle;
b) a tickly feather's touch to the cheek;
c) a slight breeze that nudges a muslin curtain;
d) a gust moving a lock of hair;
e) an intermittent wind, strong for only a moment, but then it dies away;
f) a steady breeze rippling a field of grass;
g) a high wind that steals a hat and cartwheels it away;
h) a steady wind that invades every nook and cranny making it impossible to stay warm;
i) a gale strong enough to strip leaves and small branches from trees;
j) a gale that tears trees out by their roots and tiles from roofs;
k) hurricane force.
At first, the winds of time slightly ruffle the edges of the pages. The piles stay in place and in order. But the longer the piles remain and the memories are hoarded, the stronger the breeze becomes. When they have been stored for many many years, the wind has grown so strong that the pages are at its mercy and become torn and tattered. The piles, once so neat, have scattered; some have been blown away entirely.
Retrieval becomes ever more difficult, spotty, sometimes impossible. And the pages have begun to crumble anyway, due to their very nature.
Finally, the wind whisks all the detritus away, leaving a blank and barren vault. Empty.
As an aside, dreams occur when one page is fluttered and touches another for a moment. Bizarre and sometimes unconnectable images and idea chains can result. Sometimes these dreams and their images are remembered, as well, and can result in bursts of imagination which can lead to new and interesting insights, and literary works.
Whether this is at the instigation of one's muse is anybody's guess. :)
COPYRIGHT 15 Oct 2007 Marcia J Maren Vilhjalmsdottir
This is my venture into an alternate reality. Hmmm... Inspired of course by
Andre Norton. It is a short story called:
My 'muse' came back with a vengeance in the night! What could I do but
comply and write as fast as my hand could move the pen? Is this the
start of a new story? I don't know.
Her lips quivered, tears welled up, blurring her vision. Suddenly she wilted, almost fell as her muscles, held rigid too long, let go, too weak to support her. He unconsciously leaned forward to break her fall, but before he could close the distance between them, she collapsed on the porch bench, bent her head and closed her eyes. Pain engulfed her. Gone. Gone forever. Finally her tears fell, one, another, until they streamed down her face, and she sobbed as though she would never stop.
The day, which had started out with such promise, dimmed. The clear blue sky bruised and darkened. What started out as a light drizzle pattered onto the fallen leaves, soaked into the grey, parched wood railing; in seconds it became a deluge that mimicked her grief. Nor did it stop until she lifted her swollen, tear-stained face and collected herself enough to whisper 'Go'.
The young man hesitated but a moment. He murmurred 'I'm sorry.' At his soft words, more tears threatened to break her fragile control. His lips pressed hard together, as though guarding against further speech. He resolutely nodded by way of farewell and left as unobtrusively as possible, back the way he had come. He didn't look back; he knew it would do no good. Nothing he could say or do would change things. He wished it wasn't so. My God, how he wished it! But it was not within his or anyone else's power. All he could do was stand back, watch, let her grief wash over him. So much pain! So much loss!
Sometimes he could barely stand this job. Sometimes the urge to walk, no run, away was so strong! Let someone else take over. Oh, to become oblivious! But he knew that he couldn't stop. For as long as it was humanly possible, he would share the grief, and in that sharing, try to ease some of the pain. It was all he could do. And he would not shy away from that grim task, no matter how agonizing it became, not as long as he knew he could make the slightest difference.
But, oh, at what cost?! Each time his heart shattered a little more. Each time, the pain seared his soul a little further. Their pain became his until he thought he would drown in it!
How much more could he stand? He wasn't sure, but knew he'd go on until his heart could bear no more. Only then, perhaps, could he finally find surcease from his own pain.
It was all that kept him going.
I want to cut the bonds, let go the inner me that cries and struggles against the illusion I am forced to wear! The mirror does not reflect the real me. The outer facade obscures the reality inside. The truth is hidden by a cruel glamour and I am not able to break its spell; only in my dreams can my essence pierce the fog.
Before your gaze, I grow dusty, withered and dull, yet my soul and heart can rival the sun.
I abhor this! Why cannot the outer shell reflect the inner being?
Many years ago our family lived for a couple of years in Utah. While
there, I got the urge to start writing children's stories. I was
enthusiastic but not very good at it, so I ended up taking a
correspondence course to teach me the basics. I had a lot of fun with
the course work, and my instructor gave me explicit and helpful advice
and criticism. Of course, part of the work included writing stories.
A very few of them I thought had potential. I've decided to write
them down here. Perhaps others might enjoy reading them, too.
Long ago, Willow Tree was a proud tree, holding up his branches and leaves as high and widely as any other tree in the meadow. Willow Tree would shake his leaves in the breezes, his soft whispers carried to the other trees on the wind, their replies floating back to him as the currents shifted.
One autumn, when all was peaceful and the sun shone bright in the sky, Willow Tree heard the maple and oak trees whispering together. They were admiring each other's fall colors and were boasting about the varied hues and brightness of their leaves.
As Willow Tree listened, he grew envious for his leaves did not change so rapidly nor to such brilliant shades. The more he heard, the more envious he became. He stood there, waving his branches and rustling his leaves in his despair when a magpie alighted.
The magpie listened to the murmuring voices of the trees around him. He felt sorry for Willow Tree. He decided to help him. Like all magpies, he was attracted by anything that shone brightly in the sun. He had collected many things in his wanderings.
The magpie addressed Willow Tree. "I shall bring you my finest and brightest treasures to cover your branches. Then you shall be as vividly colored as all the other trees in the meadow."
Willow Tree accepted the magpie's offer gladly. He wanted to be able to boast of his autumn splendor like the maple and oak trees. He quivered in anticipation.
The magpie returned quickly. He adorned Willow's branches with brightly hued berries, vines, leaves and feathers in all the colors of the rainbow. When the magpie finished, Willow Tree stood proudly, sure that he was now as beautiful as the others.
But then Willow heard their rustling whispers. They were laughing at the ragged bits and pieces that straggled here and there in his branches. They thought him a sorry sight.
When Willow Tree heard their scornful taunts, his proud branches began to droop, lower and lower until they almost touched the ground. He trembled and wept. He realized he could never be as bright and glorious as the other trees, and he was sad.
The magpie tried to comfort him. But Willow Tree would not listen. The other trees were sorry they had laughed and jeered. They liked Willow Tree and had always thought him to be a beautiful tree. But Willow would not be consoled. Willow Tree's grief was so strong that he never again raised his branches to the sun.
Today, the weeping willow stands alone in his strange beauty. If you
listen hard, perhaps you will hear the soughing of the wind through his
leaves as he tells his sad story and sways in the breeze. And when you
walk beneath his drooping boughs, you may feel the misty fall of his
"Oh, there's a storm coming! Do we have enough paint left for the rainbow?", asked Cheery.
"Probably not," answered Melancholy, who was always a gloomy cloud, thinking the worst about everything.
"Really, Melancholy, try to look on the bright side of things once in a while," admonished Cheery.
"That's easy for you, Cheery. You never cast a shadow when you go out for a walk. And you always get to see the rainbow when it's finished. It just disappears if I come to look at it," said Melancholy Cloud.
Melancholy and Cheery were in charge of painting the rainbows whenever it rained while the sun shone. Melancholy was always gloomy and Cheery was always happy, but the two were fast friends even so, and worked well together.
Today, they had been checking that there was a good supply of each color of paint.
"I think we're a little low on blue and orange, but there should be enough for this rainbow," decided Cheery.
They collected the paint buckets and brushes, looked to see where the rainbow was needed and hurried to the right corner of the sky. Then Melancholy, hidden in the upper cloud cover, lowered down the paints, each in turn, to Cheery who, with long even brush strokes, painted arcs of color across the sky. When she had finished, the rainbow hung high and beautiful, glistening through the sun and rain.
It always made Cheery even happier when the rainbow was finished. She skipped here and there along the colorful arcs, and everywhere she skipped, the rainbow glowed brighter and lovelier than before. (She tried to do this with every rainbow she and Melancholy Cloud made, but sometimes wasn't quick enough.)
Cheery finally tired of skipping about and returned to where Melancholy waited for her.
"Well, that's a job well done," she said. "Now we had better go and mix up some more paints or we won't be ready for the next rainbow."
So Melancholy Cloud and Cheery Sunbeam went back to Rainbow House and were soon busy mixing up more blue and orange paints. When they had finished, they washed out all the brushes and placed the new buckets of paint carefully on the shelves, so they would be all ready when the next alarm rang. It was time to go home and rest.
No matter where the next rainbow was needed, and there was always a rainbow needed somewhere, Melancholy Cloud and Cheery Sunbeam knew exactly where to go and were ready with their paint buckets and brushes.
When they got up the next day, Cheery had a slight cold and did not gleam quite as brightly. But she was still cheerful and chided her friend gently when he became even gloomier after finding out about her cold. He was sure the rainbows that day wouldn't be as bright or beautiful, and he was positive he would catch her cold.
Cheery pooh-poohed these ideas and led Melancholy to Rainbow House to collect their assignments for the day. She dipped magic glow sticks into each bucket of paint to brighten the colors and rainbow hues. Then she and Melancholy got out the brushes and made sure the warning bell was turned on and working properly.
They were finishing their lunch of moon juice and green cheese when the alarm bell sounded. Now, although Cheery was as cheerful as ever, she really did have a bad cold and had been sneezing all morning long.
When the alarm went off, they gathered their supplies and hurried to the appointed patch of sky to prepare the rainbow. Cheery slipped down amid the sunbeams and raindrops and Melancholy, hidden above, lowered the buckets and brushes down to her.
All went well for awhile, but then Cheery started sneezing. She sneezed and sneezed and sneezed! And every time she sneezed, the hand holding the paint brush jerked. Poor Cheery! Not only did she have a bad cold, but now she had to figure out a way to repair the rainbow. She couldn't let it show like this! The colors were all mixed up and looked more like lightning bolts than arcs. The blues and yellows and reds had zigged and zagged here and there and looked nothing like a rainbow!
Cheery tried to think of a way to fix it. But her head felt so fuzzy because of her cold that she grew more and more muddled with each passing moment.
Meanwhile, Melancholy was sitting gloomily in his chair above, waiting for Cheery to finish painting and skipping about so they could clean up and go home. He was sure he was coming down with a cold! Gloomily, he thought that was only to be expected.
A glimpse of the new rainbow might be just the tonic he needed. He decided to slip around the cloud cover and peek just for a moment at the beautiful arcing colors. Surely just a tiny peek wouldn't cause the rainbow to disappear!
As Melancholy made ready to sneak a peek, Cheery was trying to wipe off the painted zigs and zags so that she could smooth out the painted lines into nice even arcs, but she wasn't having much success. She was just about to give up in despair when Melancholy made his move. He slipped around the cloud cover, blocking the sun, and all the colors disappeared, zigs, zags and all. And then the rain stopped. The rainbow alert was over.
Melancholy did catch the briefest glimpse of what Cheery had painted and was somewhat amazed by the zigzagging colors. He had always thought that rainbows were made up of arcing swathes. 'Oh well,' he thought gloomily, 'maybe they are trying out a new design'.
And with that, Cheery Sunbeam and Melancholy Cloud went home, she to
recover from her cold, and he to gloomily await one.
Wow! It has definitely been awhile since inspiration last directed me
to this site. I had a dream this past night which stayed with me long
enough for a sort of compulsion to fill me to write it down. It
developed into a very short story.
The huge complex of shops went on for miles in all directions. From within one shop I was walking through, the familiar 'J' logo showed through the tall windows which lined the 3rd story perimeter. I'd been wanting to go there for some time, but now I NEEDED to go there. It drew me. And I didn't know why.
I exited immediately, almost at a run. My route detoured over an earthen bridge. Arriving at the other end, about to descend to a walkway that ended in a crosswalk, I changed my mind.
I swung over the side and, finding minute hand- and footholds in the concrete that lined the bridge, climbed down the steep embankment, landing in moments on firm flat ground. People above gawked at my achievement, my daring. I smiled to myself and moved on.
I could feel myself changing, and it felt good. Like never before, I felt sure of myself, my strengths, my abilities, even my looks. No more the awkward, ugly girl that never fit in, no matter how hard she tried. No more being a miserable misfit.
I raced along the edge of the freeway, ignoring the traffic, almost gaining the next intersection before a huge bus drew alongside. A cattle barrier, long and deep with wide spacing between bars that paralled the road, was the last hindrance I had to cross. I did so without pause, scarcely reducing my speed, running across one solitary bar, barely touching down so fleetly did I cross.
I could no longer see the giant 'J'. However, the inner compulsion drew me as strongly, and as unerringly as before. I sauntered along my chosen route, passing people and structures without really noticing them until I approached the side of one whose exterior was still under construction although the building itself was in use.
Many people loitered along the side of a gravel ramp which extended high up along one wall of this building, ending before not quite covering a foot and a half gape through which those who bothered to look could see an employee inside, on a ladder, hanging apparel. I spied round neat holes dotting the ramp at random, holes that seemed almost to have been drilled, so round were they. Perfect for climbing was my reaction! And without further thought, that's what I did.
Within moments I was at the top and casually speaking through the hole with the store employee. He seemed mildly surprised at my abrupt appearance; the mildness of his reaction intrigued me. But it turned out that he was a member of a climbing club and, at my easy display in ascending the ramp (unlike most of the populace), strongly suggested I join his club. I was tempted. But finally that inner demand held sway. I told him I wasn't ready to stop just yet. I felt a connection with him, and knew I had made a true friend. I shook his hand and then climbed down with as much facility as I'd gone up and continued on my way.
Soon, I came along a row of comfortable looking homes, each closely abutting its neighbor, all brown wood and slanting roofs. Very appealing and cosy. At one, a door strongly beckoned. I heeded the call and entered. Peripherally I saw a flash of movement, something black.
I hadn't gone far in when a not-to-be-denied command to sing erupted within me: Born Free. I could not stop, and as I sang, the black flash of a coal-black colt burst forth from a side door, coallescing into a young man before my eyes. He crowded close to me and I was not afraid.
A young blonde followed him through the door. She looked from him to me and back again. "I release you" she said to him, with a look of regret on her face. He gave her a fond look of farewell but never spoke. Before I knew it, he was walking down the street by my side.
But my singing was not done. Here a note, there a phrase. It was a compulsion, one I did not fight. And a second blur of movement presaged the abrupt appearance of a very strange cat who leapt up into my arms.
These two, man and cat, sang as much to my heart as my voice did to them. I knew we belonged together, felt the rightness of it. I crooned to the cat, stroking and unkinking its grey tail repeatedly. My companion in black felt like an extension of my self, yin to my yang. I was no longer alone. No longer did I feel outcast. Instead, I felt like I was finally HOME.
And as we walked, in harmony with one another and finally with the
world around us, we spotted sumac bushes across the way. The brown
and gold beauty of the leaves called to us. Life felt good, rich with
promise. And I smiled.
COPYRIGHT MAY 2003 MARCIA VILHJALMSDOTTIR
THE GHOST IN THE WELL is in tribute
to and memory of Dr. Seuss who died recently. Dr. Seuss gave me and my
children hours of delight and will be sorely missed.
ONE NIGHT OF REFLECTION
It's late and the house is quiet but for the ticking of the clocks, one's beat answering the next. The family sleeps: one restless with a slight fever, another in anticipation of the next day and a round of dinners, dances, get-togethers, dressing-up, seeing and being seen in one's finest feathers, a third in weariness and a fourth deeply in the vast ease and capacity of a teenager.
Outside a moon in half phase dominates the sky, while here and there twinkle bright stars. On the ground, patches of snow reflect back the clear clean light and the street lights beat back the remaining shadows. Passing cars break the quiet, their hum building and dwindling with their approach and passage, enhancing the quiet in their absence.
It is a typical winter's night. The day's light is lengthening, eroding
the hours of darkness, but for now the sun rides low in the sky and the wind's
bite still holds the cold blasts off the glaciers and northern latitudes,
racing in over the ocean and mountains. The air is so cold that an
indrawn breath is almost painful, but so pure that one feels almost
intoxicated and definitely invigorated by it. It is nigh impossible to
resist the lure of the air and the sky. One has to be out in it, share it,
breathe it, feel it! And at night, with the moon and the stars, it is so
much easier to shut out the sounds of traffic and experience the peace and
quiet, the frozen earth, the naked tree boughs, the green pine trees, and
the snow, and being alone.
Well, another new start in another school. More strangers to face and hope that I'll be accepted as one of them. I hope it'll be different this time. Maybe, since it's a country school, the kids won't be as judgemental. Hah! Dream on, self!
Up at 5:30 to meet the bus at 6. A whole hour in the bus! Ugh! I ALWAYS get motion sick. Followed by a whole day of new faces!
Maybe it's lucky that there are so few on the bus this early. The 4 or 5 already there really stared but said nothing when I climbed on. They just stared out the window or glanced up and went on talking between themselves. Maybe it's just that it's so early...
Oh great, almost all the desks are taken in the classroom. Luckily, the teacher is already calling the roll, so there are only a few whispers here and there.
I'm going to try out for choir. I love singing! But I hate gym, and as I expected, there are lots of skinny girls here. Oh my God, we have to work on the trampoline, parallel bars, balance beam and horse! I'll never make it!
Meanwhile, I'm determined that I'm not going to be teased anymore about my lack of interest in boys. There's one in my homeroom who's kinda cute. I heard him called R. Once I know some of the girls better, I'll find out more about him.
There's HOPE! Two or three girls gave me a smile when my name was called!
Maybe my luck's looking up!
We've been here a few months and have decided to throw a party to get to know our neighbors a bit better. We kids have decided on a halloween barn party. There's a neat rope that swings from one loft to the other and lots of hay bales to land on. We've raked it out below, and carved pumpkins and strung apples for bobbing.
...Everyone seems to be having a great time! At least those daring enough
to join in. The snacks and music seem to be welcome, too. So maybe this'll
cut some of the ice; here's hoping!! I think the guests all had a lot more
fun than I did.
--Ugh! There's this girl on the bus who is too weird by half: she LOVES to
gossip and the wilder the stories, the better. She latches on to someone
on the bus and won't leave them alone til she gets off. She's caught me a
time or two. Besides being weird, she has these terrible clawlike hands
with fingernails over an inch long, yellow and curved in toward her palms.
She's always filing away at them. She gives me the willies!
--K is holding a sleepover party. It might be fun! But her mother is
sure paranoid! We have to whisper and make no mess and stay in the basement.
I didn't realize her family was so strange! Now it's more understandable
why K is always so nervous and exciteable.
--It is so good to be able to go into my room and be private! I like to be able to think about things in peace and quiet, to examine my favorite things, to daydream and compare song lyrics to my life and longings, and imagine things.
I've been too self-concious to write my most secret thoughts in a diary for I'm afraid they'll be found and read by someone else. That would be so awful, so humiliating! So it's all just in my head and in the music I love to listen to.
The music makes me long for love and intimacy, for someone to cherish me,
but doesn't give me any clue as to how to find that someone or even if I
ever will. Maybe someone ugly like me would be better off as a nun. But
I get so mad and obstinate when religiosos PUSH me to commit to their church
and beliefs. And, I would like to have babies, anywhere from 6 to a dozen,
both my own and adopted. It's so important to me to do something about
unwanted children, or abused children. I can't understand why anyone would
treat a child badly!
I'm having so much fun in Latin class. It's a challenge to make sense out of
the texts we read. Our instructor may be old, but she's good at teaching
and very encouraging. And the translations are getting easier over time.
I wish we could take more than 2 years' worth. But Spanish should be fun,
too. It's a beautiful language and so many of the words are similar to
English. Plus, the instructor there is also fun!
Today was sobering. W died last night. She was one of the most popular girls, rather haughty to anyone outside her click. She developed pneumonia and died in a few hours. Her family must be devastated. The whole class is invited to a viewing. I'll go, but not because she was a close friend. It's just hard to believe that one so young could die just like that! ... I didn't like the make-up job they did on her. The colors were all wrong. I think open casket viewings should be abolished! Yes, death is a part of the life cycle but remembering moments of life rather than death seems a better memorial for lost loved ones or acquaintances. I don't think I'll ever put my loved ones through such an ordeal. Either closed casket or cremation would be my option.
I didn't know W very well. Her friends seem really affected by her death,
so perhaps she was a good person. All we others can do is to show our
respect and offer our condolences to her family - we all signed the
guestbook - and try not to take life so much for granted. It's still hard
to believe one so young could die, just like that! (snap fingers)
Today was not the best of days. Dad was working on the car. He had his hands full, so wanted me to sit in the driver's seat. I scrambled in - my first time. He asked me if I knew the difference between the brake and gas pedals. I thought I did but when he told me to hit the brake, well, my foot hit the wrong pedal and now the garage door needs fixing.
I feel really bad! Dad didn't say much, but I know he was disappointed
in me. And I don't know of anything I can do or say. I don't expect
him to ask for my help again anytime soon. And that makes me feel useless
and no more than a burden. I feel bad for us both!
--Today we were divided into two-man teams in history class. I was teamed with CeeCee. She's VERY smart but so intense that she's very off-putting, but I was ready to give it a try. When Mr. W then said we could choose our own topics to do reports and presentations on, I turned to consult with CeeCee to find her already on her feet and announcing "we'd" be doing space flight. No consultation! No asking if I was interested in it or not! Then she just sat down and stared at me for a moment, expressionless, before burying her face in her books.
Nothing was said, then or later. There was no collaboration. She simply stood up, made the presentation with authority and enthusiasm and "we" got an A. Big surprise! Duh.. But we never have spoken since then or "collaborated" again.
CeeCee has brains and, obviously, interests but she doesn't know how to get along with others. She'll probably get into some highly technical or scientific job, by herself as usual, except when exchanging or critiquing research.
The thought makes me uncomfortable! So cold and isolated! I hope I'm wrong. But I sure hope I don't end up like that!
I know I've been bitchy about this, but I hate being ignored and
manipulated simultaneously. And she didn't even care that I didn't take
I can't believe the dress code here! It's in the low teens outside and the girls still have to wear skirts or dresses! A bunch of us are sending round a petition for students and their parents to sign to get this changed.
Gods, this morning I accidentally touched the metal mailbox and my finger froze to it! That's how cold out it was. It burned! And two days last week the bus couldn't get up the hill or around the bend, among other places all over this county. So school was cancelled.
I put on extra socks and sweater and crawled back under the bedcovers! Then Dad came in and said the water pipes were frozen again and the furnace won't stay lit. Gods, but it's cold! Mom turned on the oven in the kitchen with the door open and made us all hot chocolate and oats. That warmed us up briefly, but we soon were all crouching under extra blankets while Dad defrosted the pipes and got the furnace working again.
At least the animals in the barn are okay, altho the water buckets had ice on top that needed breaking before we could water the stock.
And it's all so beautiful outside, white and sparkly with icicles hanging and snow drifted everywhere. The plows tried to go through once but got stuck around the bend. Few cars make it up the hill; it's so steep and full of drifts.
I hope this cold snap lets up soon. Mom and Dad both remember worse
winters out west, but this is worse than any I remember experiencing in
town. I love it! The vastness, the stillness, the way the snow changes
the landscape, the isolation, COUNTRY LIFE!
Wednesday was strange. We sat down to a test in civics class and while the test papers were being distributed down the rows, D, who sits to my left, all of a sudden went still as a mouse. Her eyes went blank and rolled back a little; it was like she was hypnotized! Then she snapped out of it and acted as though nothing had happened. I asked B about her after class and found out that D is an epileptic. She had had a minor seizure when I happened to glance her way - petite mal is what the seizure is called.
D's such a pretty girl and very popular. It was startling to find out that she has a serious condition.
One doesn't think of the "pretty people" having problems, especially like
that! The teachers must know, for they never make any comments when these
episodes happen. They just get on with class and focus attention away
from her. I've witnessed several seizures since.
--Dad brought home three siamese cats. They are beautiful! Two weaned kittens and a grown tom. I don't know...I like the kittens but the tom is making me nervous! He seems to have adopted me, and my bed. He takes over my room when I'm at school and a couple of times I've woken up to him lying on my chest and patting my cheek - thank God with claws retracted!
--That's the last straw! The tom has "marked" my bed as his territory - he peed on it! Peeyoo!!
--At last! Dad took the cats away. I am so relieved! But it's going to
take a long while before the smell goes away..
I don't know what's wrong with me. I can't get warm, no matter how close to the furnace I sit, and I can't seem to catch my breath. No energy.. Mom and Dad aren't home so I'm 'babysitting' but I can't say or do anything. Luckily, the kids aren't fighting or giving me any grief. I feel kinda tingly and dizzy...The furnace fumes are awful!
Mom and Dad just came home. They took one look at me and bundled me into the car and took me to the emergency room. We didn't have to wait..
The doctor has given me a shot which is making it easier to breathe.
--Seemingly, I suffer from asthma. I had to be tested for allergies, over
30 all over my back. The itch is driving me crazy! I have to have monthly
shots and take Isuprel when I have an attack. The Isuprel helps me breathe
again, but afterwards my heart beats double time and I feel so tired..
Hmph. Here's an idea.. My sister and I are going into business. We're going to sell eggs and share the proceeds. The chicken coop is out back. We lined up several neighbors as customers and most of them we can walk to. It's only for the summer though. Then we'll stop and prepare the chickens for sale.
--It's like an assembly line in the kitchen! Dad wrung the necks; T plucked; I cleaned and scraped out the innards; Mom cut the fryers into pieces. Then we wrapped them in plastic, put some in the freezer and sold the rest. It took awhile but was sorta neat working all together like a team.
But I'm not sorry to put this experience behind me. Chickens are mean
tempered birds and I did most of the feeding and collecting!
Much as I love living in the country, there are a few disadvantages. Like yesterday. This is an old house, over 100 years old and the water pipes are kinda tricky. If someone is taking a bath or washing their hair, we've learned that one can't turn on the cold water in the kitchen at the same time - learned the hard way!
I was washing my hair in the bathroom and my little brother turned on the kitchen tap to get a glass of water. Gods, but that hurt! Scalding hot water poured over my scalp and I let out a scream. Mom came running and got the cold water running again. My little brother sure was scared! His eyes were so big and his face very white. Luckily, I moved from under the water after only a moment so while I got singed and am tender, I didn't get badly burned.
Another disadvantage is that it's almost impossible to visit friends after
school and on weekends if one can't drive. Once or twice I went home with
a friend on the bus and stayed overnight. That was fun but happens too
seldom. But when it does happen, we share confidences - mostly I listen
and supply moral support and sympathy. (I like being trusted.) Seems like
this has been my role for a very long time. I don't mind listening. I
seldom have anything to talk about anyway. I wonder if it will always be
This week was really fun in English class! We split up into groups to
make mock newspapers in the time of the Romans. We had to come up with
newsworthy articles and write them and assemble them on a poster. Then
each group presented their poster. I helped in several areas in my
group: types of articles, wrote one article. helped with the layout and
writing on the poster. I loved it!! -- a career idea?
Mr. H asked me to teach his class tomorrow! I feel so flattered and proud! I just hope the kids will cooperate. I've no problem with the material and Mr. H left slides for illustrations. My lab partner will probably cut up some, but maybe I'll catch their attention enough to get through the chapter review without major interruptions...
--Hurrah! I did it! It wasn't so bad after all! Still, I'm not used to
being the center of attention. I'll be glad to go back to my desk and
watch from there.
--It hasn't been easy for my parents. There are so many of us! And Dad had to switch jobs and sometimes isn't called out everyday. He and Mom are pretty edgy lately. I need to find a job and start taking some of the burden off of them!
I started driving lessons, even though I dread them. It'll make getting
a job easier. Both Dad and Mom have taken me out to practice. I think I
make Mom more nervous than Dad, but luckily neither yells at me when I'm
behind the wheel.
I took L's advice and have started brushing my hair a hundred strokes each
night. It sure makes a difference! My hair is long and straight and smooth
and soft. Even my brother noticed! Now if I could just lose the glasses
and some of this weight!
Well, I got my license. I'm still not too great at parallel parking but don't need to do it very often. And, I've gotten a job! Three afternoons a week after school doing house chores for a woman with a bad back. It's not hard. Her house is easy to maintain and she always has a list of what she needs done each time. It's easy money. Her son is my age but we run in totally different circles. I like his mom.
On work days, I get to drive to school; sure beats taking the bus! It
gives me more of a sense of freedom, too. and there's never much traffic
on these back roads, so I can turn the radio on and sing along as I go.
Very relaxing! Plus, with the extra money, I don't have to ask Mom and
Dad for things; I can buy them myself! Every little bit helps! I buy gas,
I've gotten a summer job babysitting at the bottom of the hill and around
the bend. An easy bike ride. Of course, it's not so easy going back up,
but each day I get a little farther before I have to stop pedalling and
start walking. And limiting what I eat seems to be having an affect on my
weight, too. I'll never be skinny but I think I'll look better than before.
a.m.: It's really hot out but we need to tend the garden. I don't want Dad and Mom to do it all by themselves.
afternoon: The others have gone in but I want to keep on weeding. There's alot to do yet. The sun is getting higher and hotter. It really burns on my scalp.
..I'm getting a headache. Maybe I'll stop for awhile.. Ohh, I feel so bad! Nauseous and cold and feverish and the light hurts my eyes.
p.m.: I laid out on the porch all afternoon til evening. Mom says I got
sunstroke, and that I have to wear a hat and sunglasses in sunny weather
if I don't want to get sick again. Oh well, I never tan anyway; I always
burn. But I hope never to feel like that again!
The weather is beautiful out today so I've taken paper and pencil out to sketch. The huge oak tree in the pasture is magnificent! Not much traffic and the family's pretty quiet so I've planted myself on the porch.
Soon I will be gone from this peaceful place. All my friends will scatter and my younger sisters and brothers will grow up and I won't be there.
It's an odd feeling to go off on my own, and to have no idea of where my life is headed. I have to be responsible for myself! I feel so lonely! and somewhat scared, too.
My sketch is done. The wind is a soft soo-ing through the trees and rows
of corn. The sky is blue with only a few thin clouds here and there. I
can hear one of the neighbors mowing and every once in a while, a plane's
muted roar as it flies overhead. A hawk is riding the air waves, and Lady,
our toy collie, has come to lay next to me. So peaceful! I shall miss
It's always a bit exciting to start school again in the fall. The summer
was long and too hot and humid for me, as usual, and I missed my friends.
The fair was fun but it would be more fun to go with someone than by myself.
I found a beautiful horse on a chain this year at the fair and wear it
often. I've never gotten over my love and fascination with horses! And
I saw R briefly this year - on horseback.
One more freedom in being able to drive! The football game is tonight and I am going!
The air is crisp, just enough to see your breath and it's already dusk. The bleachers are full of fans. The seats are hard but we don't mind. The field lights have been turned on and the pep band has left the field. The cheerleaders are practicing their rallies. And now the players are running onto the field. Everyone is cheering and the band is welcoming them.
The game was exciting! So many goals scored. Plus, I can see and recognize favorite players in their jerseys. Every once in a while, I get up to stretch and walk the sidelines and it's easy to spot R among the players.
I had fun and got to see R, too. Boy is it pitch black on the ride home!
I'm glad there's so little traffic on these back roads. It helps to know
all the bumps and turns, too. Night driving is not my favorite! It was
with relief that I turned into our driveway and parked the car.
This math is so confusing! When Mr. G goes over it in class, I understand
it, but as soon as I am on my own and working on the problems, I feel lost.
Geometry is just not my forte! Thank God J is there to help me after class.
But then I'm on my own during tests. This is not going to be my favorite
class. English, on the other hand, is a snap, and being able to work at
my own speed is great! I actually enjoy the assignments and the reading
and writing of reports is no trouble at all.
Today we were asked if we believed in God. My instinctive answer was "NO". But then I stopped to think. My gut response was to the traditional definition of 'GOD' - i.e. divine omnipotent being seen by some as loving, by others as indifferent and by still others as full of brimstone, and vengeance, to be feared and blindly obeyed and worshipped.
I am too pragmatic to blindly believe in such an essence, let alone worship such and attribute all the good and bad in the world to it and to those who follow its dictates and those who don't, reaping their just rewards or punishments.
But I do believe in the soul and in good versus evil. I believe in consequences and charity. I believe in destiny up to a point for I feel that we do have free will to some extent, too. I believe in responsibility and love and hate and that life is a constant struggle. I believe 'man' is basically weak morally and that that is a part of human nature.
I believe most people use the idea of 'GOD' as a goal to be reached by a life lived to the betterment of 'man' and doing one's best to live up to one's ideals of what constitutes good, in one's own mind, heart, and soul, and in what one perceives to be the ideal of 'man' as a whole. And I believe that very few ever reach that goal, but should die still trying.
Where does the soul go when we die? Is there an afterlife? I don't know,
but it is possible that the spark that gives us life at birth returns
where it originated when our frail bodies die, and then creates life anew.
So speaks "man's" eternal hope.
--There's going to be a Sadie Hawkin's Dance. I wanted to ask R but was pretty sure he wouldn't go with me so I've asked J instead. He's nice but certainly not a love interest. And he doesn't seem to mind that we aren't all lovey-dovey like so many of the other couples.
..We danced and had mild fun. It was all going nicely til I was invited to
choose a song. I KNOW everyone was expecting a love song and now I feel all
flushed and embarrassed. I chose "Good Morning, Starshine", and now I
feel even more flushed for it is not an easy song to dance to. But J
doesn't seem to mind in the least, so maybe I won't die of embarrassment
I just heard a shocking rumor! It's going the rounds that Mr. E, the cute
youngish physics teacher has been dating A on the sly! Oh boy, this is
trouble! He's got to be at least 10 years her senior and even if he's
single, he should know better than to come around any of his students!
Everybody is waiting to see if he gets fired. I wonder if the rumors are
This must be the week for shocks. On the bus I heard that the girl who
used to live in the abandoned house we just drove by got herself "in
trouble" and that's why the family moved away. I can't imagine having a
baby at age 17. And without a husband, too!
I calmly, almost detachedly, asked R why he treated me the way he does;
why he doesn't like me, why he sometimes hurts me, why he can't appreciate
me. He said I was a nice girl, just not his type. I accepted that
finally. I won't give him any more opportunities to hurt me, either
emotionally or physically. I won't try to talk to him anymore or follow
him with my eyes or try to win his attention, let alone his affection. He
doesn't deserve me. If only I could cut him out of my heart! I am going
to try and understand him. I know he is totally interested in Ch. She
is my complete opposite and totally uninterested in him. He is a 'bad
boy' - chases girls, drinks, brushes school off his back like water off
a duck! Ch is into church, very serious, small, reminds me of a nervous
bird. But she is a nice person, as are the girls she hangs out with. I
have gotten to know them and now divide my free time between my own click
and this new one. The 2 groups looked at each other warily and, at first,
I thought I would lose my click by hanging out with them, but haven't
completely. It's just that we're all interested in different things and
our interests are leading us all in separate directions. I wonder if we
will keep in touch when we are all graduated...
There was a pep rally in the gym today and the guys did a skit, dressed
up like cheerleaders! It was hilarious! T sure has guts! He had
basketball-sized breasts. After the skit, they all shot hoops and we in
the stands cheered wildly. Hope the game tonight goes well.
I love watching basketball! The drum beats, cheering, whistle blasts,
squeaky shoes, the ACTION, the scores and near-misses, the glistening
skin of the sweating players, the crowd. I like being a part of it,
whether we win or lose.
--My motto: "UP AND AT 'EM" Don't be a doormat, NEVER let someone
abuse me or my loved ones, do my utmost for my loved ones and friends,
be responsible, reliable, and honest, never hurt others deliberately,
do unto others as I would have them do unto me, do my best always, and
be the best I can be, and don't complain all the time! And absolutely
STOP mooning over R !!
My heart is singing!!!
Today R asked to drive me home after school. I didn't say yes right away. I thot it might be another ploy to hurt me. But finally I said okay. We sang with the radio during the drive and it was fun. But then he drove right past my house and down the long hill before parking. My heart sank as I expected yet another painful rejection and trick.
When he had parked, he sat there, looked at me, and said "The action's over here." But I was frozen. Then he got out of the car and went to pet a neighbor's dog. I got out, too, knelt down and fondled the dog's ears and called it sweetheart. And R asked why I never spoke to him that way! I didn't tell him that I called him that in my mind and heart.
Then we went back to the car and, to my surprise, he drove me back up the
hill to my house before driving away.
My step had a lilt to it and my face was full of smiles, but they didn't last. After choir, R ignored me. And then I knew. I remembered letting slip with a "friend" how I felt about him, and how I fantisized about him being my "first". SHE HAD TOLD HIM! I was devastated!
Yesterday had been a ploy after all to see what I would do. Serves me
right! I know better, knew better! He has known for years how I felt,
but made it clear that small and small-boned and thin were his type, and
I am none of those. I set myself up. Thank God I didn't do more than
sing and smile! Of course, he knew that I had gotten my hopes up, but
my reserve and dignity kept him from knowing how deeply he hurt me, as
did my "friend".
J blew up at me. He has always been a good friend and can't stand to see
me make a fool of myself over R. J and I have the occasional date, but as
friends, or so I thought! I honestly didn't know he cared about me that
way! And the awful part is that even now that I know, I still can't see
J in that light. He will always be just a friend that I respect and
admire, but no more. I wish the heart was smarter when it comes to loving
Gods! I'm still shaking! I had a horrible dream! It started with an unresolved nasty fight with my parents. It got to be so intolerable that I packed my most treasured things and moved into a roominghouse.
Once there, I found that my room had been (and still was being) used by a couple with a toddler. They came and went as they chose and there was no privacy. (The windows looked down on a neighborhood theatre on one side and a park on the other.) It appeared as though I was distantly related to them and, at last, they left and I was alone. I felt like I was in a daze. I felt numb. Then the landlord came in and wanted to explain how I was to care for his rare plants. I insisted I didn't want to be held responsible for them. He began to take them away, but also to exchange pieces of furniture in my room.
I didn't care. I was emotionally so tired.. I lay down on my bed. When I awoke, the windows were boarded shut, the plants were gone, but so, too, were all my most treasured things, including my clothes.
I was devastated. This was too much! First I lost my family and then what little I had with me! I began to cry heart-rending sobs. The landlord took pity on me and I was allowed to search for my things.
Then the boardinghouse took on endless dimensions, full of things the landlord had collected over the years, and some places were dangerous.
The dream ended while I still searched and others searched with me. I
found similar things but not my own, and somehow knew that it would be
wrong and dangerous to take anything not truly mine. I awoke and it was
a long time later before I could stop shaking and sobbing.
Well, Mr. E has stopped teaching. And A has dropped out of school. It's too much. And on the bus today, I heard that one of my acquaintances, whose brother is best friends with one of my brothers, is pregnant! She's my age! PREGNANT! I noticed that lately she wasn't acting as bubbly as before, but I didn't think much about it. Then, today, she dropped into the seat next to me and we started talking a little. She asked if I'd heard and then confirmed it. She's going to keep the baby. The guy who got her in trouble has turned his back on her, but her family is supporting her. At least she has them!
Life is so confusing! And consequences so crushing! I like her. I hope
she makes it. She sure has to grow up quick!
Oh God, the bus driver committed suicide! He simply shot himself and noone knows why. I saw him and waved a greeting just the other day and he seemed just as usual then. I just don't understand it! Why was he in such despair?
I know that feeling. I've often wondered if death is the only way out of
unhappiness. Sometimes it seems so. I hate conflict! It makes me
physically ill. But sometimes, the unhappiness, the hopelessness, is so
strong that it seems the only way to find peace is to end life. Often I
wish I had a confidante. Sometimes being the listener gets to be too
much of a burden. Sometimes it is very hard to keep on smiling, to keep
on caring, to accept responsibility for someone else's confidences. I
think it needs to be more of a two-way street. That would be a fairer
situation. But then life isn't very fair, is it?
Oh, I'm so excited! The choir is going on a special trip and I was one of those chosen to go. I stood in the stands, watching and praying that I would be one of the chosen ones and our conductor stared at me and through me several times before finally calling my name. I don't care that I wasn't first pick; I get to go!!
It was wonderful! We travelled by bus for several hours. I didn't get bus sick! Everybody was talking and laughing and singing until we finally arrived. It was the biggest lofted nave I've ever been in. A pretty cathedral, on the outside, too. There were over a thousand choir members there. We practiced over and over and finally, sang all together, there in the church.
Oh, what a beautiful sound! And to be a part of it! I shall never forget
it! I'm so glad I joined the choir. Music is food for the soul and the
spirit, at least for mine!
This morning I was on pins and needles. The Honor Society was inducting
new members. They wander through the classes and tap the chosen on the
shoulder. Several in my class were chosen before I felt a tap on mine.
I felt proud and relieved. It would have been terrible to see all my
friends with high grade point averages get chosen and not be chosen myself.
We were all given a special pin signifying our membership. Wonderful!
Only two weeks of high school left. Today I am getting my hair done for my graduation picture. And Mom and Dad are paying...
Well, I hate it! It makes me look even fatter! Since Mom and Dad paid,
I don't feel right washing it out before the pics are taken. Oh why did
I ask for it?!
--PROM NIGHT. I've got a pretty dress and my hair is up. J will be here soon. He always looks great in his suit. I'm one of the lucky ones. I have a date. I know this night is more special for alot of the couples who are 'real' couples, but I'm glad to be here, too. J and I had our picture taken and we've danced and had dinner. After the King and Queen are chosen, we're all going bowling. I'm not good at bowling, but it's fun anyway, just being out so late with my friends. Everyone is in high spirits and looking their best.
I got my graduation pictures today. They are horrible! I am so
embarrassed! But what's done is done. I wonder if anyone will want one..
At least I like the senior ring - silver color with a blue stone. Kinda
bulky, but pretty even so.
I found my graduation outfit today. A short skirt with matching bolero
jacket, oatmeal in color, with a dark brown shirt for contrast, and white
sandals. Doesn't look bad.
Only 4 days to go!
J gave me a charm bracelet! I was so surprised and embarrassed for I have
not gotten him anything. The bracelet has our 'year' as the charm. Very
I gave J a really nice pen today, but I still feel guilty for not thinking
of it earlier, especially when I couldn't resist giving R a present. Oh,
when will I ever learn?
My outfit looks fine but I'm so hot with the robe over it!...
Well, graduation with honors and a grant for college. I'm still not sure
I want to go, but agreed to give it a try if accepted and the only one I
applied to said 'yes'. Mom and Dad gave me a set of luggage and a typewriter,
so I'm all set. I wish I felt more excited about going.
S called today to ask me to a movie. I said okay. He's picking me up at 8:30. I don't know him at all but am willing to try it once.
...Yuck! Double yuck!! First he takes me to a drive-in with a movie about
rats! Then he asks to kiss me good night and slobbers all over me! Triple
S called again today. He wants to go steady! After one date! He's
going into basic training in a month and wants someone to write to. I
said thanks, but no thanks! Quadruple Yuck!!! I still have to rub my
mouth over and over at the memory! SHUDDER!
Summer is half over and today I got a letter from my roommate-to-be. She
sounds nice and is half Guatemalan. That's interesting! Maybe college
will be okay after all. I would LOVE to meet some foreigners!
Only one week of work left before I leave for college orientation. I am interested but still not excited.
My roommate-to-be hasn't written again as I hoped. Maybe I opened up too much in my letter to her. I remember my first pen pal never wrote back...
I wish the outside me better mirrored the inside me! Fat with glasses
is not very appealing! Plus, I know I'm a bit naive. She sounded a lot
more sophisticated and insightful in her letter, plus she's gorgeous!
Well, I'm all packed and ready to go. It's an hour and a half's drive away and Mom and Dad are driving me. I look around at the house and yard, the fields, the view downhill and the sky. It will be very strange to live and study and just be in a different place with thousands of other kids and no parents or family to go home to.
I don't know what to expect, whether to be apprehensive or excited. I guess I am a little of both. Mom and Dad are as calm and matter-of-fact as ever which helps me to stay calm, at least superficially.
I will miss my sister most of all. We have become good friends these last few years.
These years in the country have been good ones for me. They gave me the room and peace I needed to become more sure of myself and to grow up a bit.
This time it's only me who's moving on. It will be interesting to see what life holds in store. It's my job now to shoulder the responsibility for myself and not disappoint my parents in my conduct.
Look out world! Here I come! "UP AND AT 'EM" I wish that had come out
in a less shakier tone...
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