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Mulberries

mulberry

I remember the tree that stood only yards away from my grandmother’s front yard when I was a child. I called it ‘the berry tree’. I’ve since learned the berries I loved to pick and eat where I stood were actually mulberries.

I’ve been wanting to do a history book relating to the section of town where my fondest memories of childhood exist. The street where I grew up is no longer considered a street. Trees on the hillside have grown where the houses use to stand. The street is currently blocked off with concrete barriers. Its name is only referenced on historical maps of the city.

I came across an online forum where people were commenting on various city streets’ history. The area where my grandmother’s house stood was mentioned. The consensus was that it was a forgotten street and houses probably never stood on the street. The comments had to be from people too young to remember or ones that didn’t research. I had to set the record straight, of course. I commented that people did live on the street. Cars actually drove up and down the street that served as a connection to a busy avenue. The huge sinkhole or “cave-in” as we called it back then, closed the street off to thru traffic. That event was the beginning of the end. However, people lived on the street on the street for another twenty-five years or so after the cave-in.

At some point, I’m going to dig through old pictures I took as a child/teenager who loved cameras. I hope to find snapshots that show the house and street that’s forgotten. Most adults that lived on the street at the time are long gone from this earth. If the pictures can’t be found, I have my memories which are still clear enough to tell the story.

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END OF NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH

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Congratulations to everyone that took the NaNoWriMo and Write Nonfiction in November Challenge. It was grueling at times for me but worth well worth the effort. So, congrats to all that participated.

I personally wrote more words this month than I’ve ever written on one single project in this amount of time. That’s a huge accomplishment for me considering I’ve mostly done short stories and poetry. My non-fiction novel written in November included every bit of information about the events I felt necessary. However, I didn’t reach my word-count goal for full novel length. I’m giving this one an “incomplete” on the basis I said I’d do forty to fifty thousand words and didn’t. The book may end up as a novella in the end. With that said, my goal of a full-length novel may have been unrealistic considering the topic. Including content not needed for the sake of a word count didn’t work on this one for me. Unlike fiction, there was nothing to make up or embellish. However, a loss is a loss and I’ll own up to it.

I have a decent first draft and now the fun of re-drafting, proofreading and editing will begin. I’ll tell you a secret: I love the proofreading and editing part – it’s fun for me. The professional help will come much later in this process.

I’m taking a breather for a few days then it’s back to writing in December. Does this writing thing ever stop? I hope not.  😊

Going forward, I hope to refocus my blog on other stuff going on in the world around me.

…until next time!

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CRUNCH TIME! National Novel Writing Month

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It’s not lost on me that I’m not alone. The holidays are difficult to keep most time-sensitive commitments. I must research and find out who decided to make National Novel Writing Month in November. Was it because of the “N’s”, I wonder? In any case, I’m behind on my word count goal. However, I’m not so behind that I can’t make it to my goal if I hustle. Also, there’s a push by writing coaches, editors and other industry folks to get their products this month. It’s probably the best time of the year to market. I’d do it if I were them. Well played coaches, editors, and agents.

At the beginning of the month, I blogged about all the projects I was working on and hadn’t a prayer of finishing. I was wrong. I’m on track with the poetry challenge, and the flash fiction stories. The memoir is finished and published on Amazon and Kindle. The short story was submitted to an online contest. Sadly, the full-length novel suffered.

All is not lost. I have approximately twenty-six hours and eighteen minutes left to finish (give or take a few minutes depending on when I finish typing this entry). I won’t get any prize for finishing. I’ll know I can do this, and that’s worth more than any certificate I could earn.

By the way, my Steelers lost yesterday to the Broncos 17-24. Ben, why did you play action fake to the wrong guy? I know you owned up to it – good job. But wow.

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Pittsburgh Steelers defeat Jaguars

football helmet picNeglecting my love: Football

 

I realized a few weeks ago that I’ve neglected my favorite pastime this month: Football. It’s not just football, in general, it’s Steeler Football. It’s hard to grow up in Pittsburgh without being a fan of at least one sports team. Most people I know are fans of the at least one of our professional teams. A great majority of those folks are fans of the big three: Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates. There’s no gender politics where Steeler football is concerned in my town. Plenty female Steelers fans have bled black and gold since they were able to speak. Literally, the baby clothes section at the Pro shops in town gets frequented plenty. It’s hard to go on social media during a season to not see someone’s post of a baby or small child in miniature sports gear. It’s a beautiful thing.

I’ve loved everything Steeler since Mean Joe Green came to my school so many years ago. At the young age of 11, Joe Green was the largest man I’d ever seen in person next to Muhammad Ali a year or two before. I’m no fair-weather fan and I have been known to perform my ritual each Steeler game.

Now to the neglect: This is National November Writing Month. I took on multiple writing projects (by choice) and spend most waking hours writing poems, short fiction or devoting time to my novel. Semi-retirement is great as I make writing a new career – slowly but surely. I’m behind on current events in the local and national news. I hadn’t realized the Steelers were on a winning streak at the present time (I hope I’m not jinxing them). I did, however, get to see the last few plays of the game today with Jacksonville. The Steelers defeated Jacksonville 20-16. So, we’re having a good season and I’m missing most of the games. It’s fine if they keep up the good work!

Besides, I’ll have multiple poems and stories written to put into a compilation and a jump on that novel. 😊

Break’s over!

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Day 13 WD 2018 November Pad Chapbook Challenge

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http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2018-november-pad-chapbook-challenge-day-13

Today’s prompt (see link above) was for a quiet or loud poem. Here’s my free verse:

 

“Quiet warmth”

 

The humming of our heater

is loud serving as music

to my ears as I sit in

beautiful silence letting

the humming and warmth carry

me back to the days of cold

and cuddling against my

siblings as we wore winter

coats day and night. My pillow

now is warm and my comforter

as soft as cotton balls. Oh,

I wish I could transport some

warmth and blankets back to

those children shivering in

their beds as a mother cried

silently in the coldest room.

I want to tell the children

they won’t always be cold.

Resounding heater humming

and soft blankets are the truth.

copyright 2018 R. H. Dorsey

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My Day 9 PAD Chapbook Challenge poem

It’s been a rough time lately hearing and seeing reports of violence in the world, this country, and my hometown. I’m participating in the Writer’s Digest 2018 November PAD Chapbook Challenge every day this month.

See: http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2018-november-pad-chapbook-challenge-day-9  for details on the challenge.

My poem for today is shared below:

“Burn Slow”

 

Shooters shoot aimlessly

as victims die without

reason leaving survivors

lives blown to shreds

of what once was hope

and promise of long and

natural life. Numbness

becomes a safe harbor

for our psyches to cope

and shield us from

feeling what would surely

cause our minds to

realize the last days

of existence have been

fueled and set long ago.

We helplessly watch the

unfolding of events as if

we didn’t know all along

that we are in the midst

of a slow burn of devastation.

©2018 R. H. Dorsey