An Elvish Valentine

One of my oldest friends shared this on my FB wall last week. Carl and I both died of laughter, watched all the other videos in this series, and promptly died laughing again.
We aren’t exactly romantics.
But we do know how to appreciate a good orc-bashing.
What more does one need in a soul mate?
Happy Valentine’s Day from me and mine, to you and yours.
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Overcoming Adversity Bloghop

Today is the start of Nick Wilford’s “Overcoming Adversity” bloghop. I haven’t done a bloghop in ages, but I knew, as soon as I saw Nick’s first post talking about it, that I wanted to do this one. Nick asked bloggers to write a short story on overcoming adversity that he would later compile into an anthology to help raise funds to send his stepson Andrew, who has cerebral palsy, to college. What an amazing privilege to be able to participate in a project like this!
I wasn’t able to come up with a respectable story (embarrassing for a fiction writer to admit, but true), so I turned to poetry. This piece is in honor of my grandparents. Some of my most precious and painful memories are seeing my grandfather sit beside Grandma’s bedside holding her hand, long after her memories of him had faded. The very last memory I have of them together, in fact, is of them in that position when she was in the hospital with the pneumonia that eventually ended her life. If anyone in my life has ever been an example of overcoming adversity, it is them.
Nick, thank you for giving me this chance to join in something like this – it truly is a gift from you to us!
Memory
Farm boy
Solider
Mechanic

Farm girl
Student
Teacher

Husband and wife
Parents
Grandparents and more

Her memories are gone
His legs no longer bear his weight
To the world, they are broken

Side by side
Her in a hospital bed
He in his wheelchair

Hands clasped
Love forever
Together, they are always whole.
~

Editing > Everything Else

Hello, friends! I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth (or run off in the TARDIS, which is a way cooler method of falling off the earth). I have been editing like MAD.

With first drafts, even second drafts, I can let time stretch between working on them without too many problems. I know some people can’t, because they find the inspiration and the flow are gone, but it works for me. What I can’t do is start major edits and then wait. Once I start, I have to work like a madwoman to get them all done before I lose the thread of how it’s supposed to work.

Which is probably why I procrastinate editing so often.

I’ve discovered some interesting things about this book while editing it. Number One – it isn’t a YA after all. This surprised me, but my goodness, the book felt much more comfortable in its own skin once I stopped trying to force it into a genre and let my heroine grow up by a couple years. I could, I suppose, label it NA, but really, it’s a light-hearted historical fantasy adventure, and I don’t think I need to add any more labels to it than that – and when marketing it, I will probably drop the “light-hearted!”

The other thing that surprised me is that it is equally the female AND the male protagonists’ story. At first, it was all about Maia, and Len just got a few chapters here and there when I needed to show something from somebody else’s perspective. Now I’m splitting it up so they get strictly alternating chapters, and I love the pattern that has emerged. I’ve adored Maia from the time I started writing her, and now I’m falling for Len as well.

One other interesting thing – though this didn’t surprise me – is that I tend to write tense emotional scenes from an observer’s point of view, rather than the participant’s. I know that I do that – I always shy away from writing too deep emotions – but I’m trying to get better. I left in ONE emotional scene from the observer’s perspective, partially because it gave him a better insight into the characters, but I’m trying REALLY hard to rewrite the others so that they are more immediate and personal.

So much for the writing end of things. On the reading end, I finished Diana Wynne Jones’ collection of essays and am partway through Susan Cooper’s. Then it’s on to The Wand in the Word. (Any recommendations for good essay collections after that?) I’m sure it will not shock any of you to know that as a result of these readings, not only do I want to immerse myself in mythology this winter, I’m feeling inspired to turn back to some of my MG fantasies after I’ve finished my current two projects. There’s no guarantee that I WILL – I have a lot on my plate, writing-wise and life-wise as it is – but I am remembering just why I love MG fantasy so much, and why I think it is so important.

I’m still keeping up with taking one photo a day and posting it on my other blog – I’ve only missed one day so far, which is pretty impressive for me. I even wrote a poem the other day and posted it!

This winter, thus far, is proving to be pretty good for me, creatively speaking. It’s a nice change. I think I’ll take it.

How has the winter (or summer, if you live on the other side of the globe) been for you so far?

A handful of my daily pictures that HAVEN’T made it to the other blog.

New Ideas for the New Year

Just a quick post today to let you all know that I’ve started a new blog (in addition to this one! Not a replacement!). I’m doing the 365 photo challenge this year – my way. One photo a day, but no prompts or rules or anything like that. I needed a place to record those photos, and another blog seemed the best fit.

I’m also going to use this other blog to post more personal thoughts, little snippets of meditation that either don’t really fit here or are too small to merit a full post. Also poetry, if ever I try that. And any other forms of art that occur to me.

Please don’t feel obligated to check it out or follow, but if it sounds like your cup of tea, then I hope you meander over there and take a look.

And the link: Art … of a Sort

Light and Love

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. -John 1:5, ESV

I will be angry without hatred.

I will weep without despair.

I will proclaim truth without being cowed by lies.

I will fight evil with love.

I will practice mercy instead of vengeance.

I will sing when I am afraid.

I will leave a legacy of beauty instead of misery.

I will seek justice for the oppressed.

I will be a voice for those who are overlooked.

I will be a light that the darkness cannot overcome.

My heart and my head are full right now. Too full for many words. I want to spit venom at those who seek to turn tragedy to further their own particular hobby-horse or agenda. I want to punch a society that allows children to be brutalized. I want to scream at a media that further victimizes these wounded innocents. I want to fall to my knees and weep in abject despair over the brokenness of this world.

But I will not do any of those things. Because we do not fight darkness, wickedness, and brokenness with darkness, wickedness, and brokenness. We fight darkness with light, wickedness with love, brokenness with healing.

And so I write these words to remind myself of the path I have chosen.

Love will overcome. Love has overcome. 2000 years ago, Love broke himself open and poured out hope and healing on this shattered world. It was no magic spell, it was the ultimate sacrifice. We might not see a world completely healed yet – in some ways, this world seems to be getting more broken every day. That doesn’t do away with our hope. Our faith that one day, all pain and hurt and sorrow will be washed away, this world made perfect and made new, and Love’s children safe in his arms at last.

Until that day comes, I will keep my feet on the path of Love.

I choose beauty. I choose hope. I choose faith.

I choose light.

And I choose Love.

Winners!

Time’s up! The winners have been chosen!

(drum roll, please)

The winner of the Etsy gift card is Eva.

The winner of Justice’s Mask is bn100.

Congratulations! And thanks to the rest of you for entering.

Eva, send me your email address (you can reach me at elouise.bates@gmail.com). Our internet is down until Wednesday morning, so I will try to get both prizes emailed out Wednesday afternoon.

I loved doing this giveaway; thank you to The Indelibles for hosting such a wonderful blogfest! I hope this becomes an annual tradition.

I also hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and that you are looking forward to December with bright-eyed anticipation. We certainly are; “Did it snow last night?” is the first question we hear every morning. So far the answer is always “no,” but we live in hope.

Cheers!