April 28, 2015

Mermaid 31

“Will you lead me to my mother?” she wondered.
They didn’t answer, didn’t really look at her, pushing against the current toward the mountain.
Cordelia felt like crying. She’d been swimming so long, and now, when she found proof she was in the right place, she found no clues where to go next.
Drifting downstream, she let the current toss and turn her. There was no point in fighting. She had found the fish but still couldn’t find her mother. The fish parted so her passing wouldn’t interrupt them. They were completely focused on their destination unlike Cordelia who wasn’t sure what her destination was any more.”
“Up, up, up,” she thought she heard them say. She couldn’t be sure amid the rushing water and they didn’t answer her calls, just kept saying the same, “Up.”
Up. Up was where her mother was. Fighting exhaustion, wrestling with the current that threatened to wash her away completely, she fought her way up. She couldn’t quit now. She had to find her mother.

April 24, 2015

Mermaid 30

The current made her fight to gain ground. The farther she went, the stronger the current became. The only grace came as the violent water carved out pockets in the shore, small place Cordelia could tuck herself into to rest.
Breaks weren’t abundant and she couldn’t sleep in the pockets of swirling water, so she rested until her tail no longer burned, only ached, and pressed on.
Where was her mother? It seemed she’d been swimming forever. One thing was certain, when she returned to the ocean, she would be able to outswim Dallas and all his friends.
She took a deep breath before exiting her latest alcove to find fish, the same fish Meri had found. Unlike the others she passed, these were only swimming against the current.
“Will you lead me to my mother?” she wondered.

April 21, 2015

Mermaid 29

Cordelia woke to find herself surrounded by a school of tiny fish. Their silver sides sparkled as they darted one way and another. If they could speak, she could neither hear them nor understand, but she loved the way they swirled around her.
Sitting up, she stared at her tail in shock. It had always been a bluer green than the other merfolk, but now it was definitely blue. There might be a tinge of green, but there was no doubt the color had changed. Cordelia had to find her mother. Hopefully she would know what was happening and why.
Perhaps she was sick. Older merfolk became paler, silvery, but those who spent too much time close to the humans turned yellow and brown. They became twisted creatures that no other merfolk would approach.
She wasn’t turning yellow or brown, though. She was turning blue. Grabbing one quick stem to eat, she flicked her oddly colored tail and returned to the river.

April 19, 2015

R is for Realty

Not Reality, though of course, that does start with r as well. No, we are in a bit of a financial crunch at the moment as a result of the way we made the down payment for our house five years ago, increased with the extra expenses from a trip to England and Wales that we do not regret, and complicated by my drop in pay over the last two years. The bottom line is, we are only barely making enough to cover expenses and debt maintenance.

Enter realty. As I said, we made our down payment five years ago. We are able to remortgage any time now, but our mortgage broker recommends we wait until maturity in September. That means keeping our belt very tight for several more months. It's difficult, but we can do it. And we do have a small pocket of savings still if we need to dip into that.

The good news? As soon as we do remortgage, our biweekly payments will be cut almost in half, letting us put all that extra onto our debts each month. That's our light at the end of the tunnel, and we will make it there, but if you wonder why I'm not splurging on copies of my books or hotel rooms at conferences, that's it.

See you on the other side!

April 17, 2015

Q is for Quiet

Do you ever need background noise? I often do. My house is very quiet when I'm home alone and I find a radio or IPod playing in another room gives me just enough sense of company that I don't feel quite so alone or isolated. On the other hand, when something has really grabbed my attention, I often don't notice the quiet. I also need music not speaking. I'm an auditory learner, so if someone is talking to me, I can't keep doing whatever else I was doing (writing, reading, etc.) Even the commercials on the radio, which I am definitely NOT listening to, can interrupt my train of thought and derail it.
The exact opposite of quiet is when two people try to talk to me at the same time. That doesn't work at all for me.

What do you do to fill the empty silence? Are you comfortable in the quiet?

Mermaid 28

Cordelia tasted what she had brought, not finishing any of it. The plants growing in the break were different from those in the river. They tasted different too.
She was used to the tang of seaweed, but the river plants were even sharper, spicier. Those in the break were sweet, sweeter than anything she had tasted. Pink and yellow flowers topped some of the emerging stems. Cordelia pulled the under and discovered what sunshine tasted like, bursting on her tongue.
She wished Meri were here. Her friend would be just as excited to taste something new. There was no point in collecting plants now, but she must remember to take some back with her.
With her belly full and her tongue remembering the taste of flowers, she sank to the bottom and slept.

April 16, 2015

P is for Purpose

Purpose and intention make everything more meaningful. When I do something thinking, this is going to help my family, I pay more attention and do it better. When I do something that is intended to improve my career and work relations, I go the extra mile, knowing it will benefit me and my colleagues in the end.
My writing isn't always with purpose. Some days, like today's blog for example, I just slap something down on paper because if I wait for a great idea, I might never write anything. Usually that writing as some purpose. It is working out ideas that aren't fully formed, meeting commitments I have made to fellow writers, or just plain fun. However, when I lack a purpose, the writing always seems to lack as well.
What is your purpose for day to day activities? Are there any chores that are easier to do when you think about the purpose behind them?

April 15, 2015

O is for Optimism

Optimism is something I have in short supply. I had a great rush of it over the last month, but it is tapering and waning quickly. Today I lost a little more and I'm looking at the piece I'm writing for a submission call and thinking I'm going to trash it. I'm not optimistic. I'm not exactly realistic either. I expect the worst in the hope that the world will surprise me. It does from time to time, but my view isn't that far from the mark. This should mean I'm not pessimistic either, but I don't know if I can agree with that. By expecting the worst, am I not by definition a pessimist?
I'm so glad spring is really here. The sun is ideal for having a bright outlook, and I need that again.

April 14, 2015

N is for Nuts

I'm going to go into mom mode for a minute. My daughter's school has a 'no nut' policy, which I'm not really against, but it is damn inconvenient. She has two favourite sandwiches, peanut butter and jam or Nutella. Both have nuts. If it was just peanuts, then I could send Nutella, but as it is, she doesn't really have any protein in her lunch because anything I put in (sausage, sandwich meat, yogurt or cheese) just comes home again. Instead she has some goldfish crackers, lots of fruit and a pudding snack (which I make rather than buy, much cheaper and I can make small enough portions that next to none comes home.
I completely understand the need to avoid nuts with pre-school kids who may not know what is in their friends' lunch, but it is really a nuisance
in my life.

Mermaid 27

Cordelia swam out into the river’s current. She swam upstream, looking for Drake. She didn’t find him again before she felt the water change again.
The tingling from the switch to mountain water had faded in time, and now she felt the weight of the water instead. She still had the current to fight, but now she also had to work harder if she didn’t want to swim along the bottom.
One benefit of moving into the fresher water was the increase in plants, those that floated up to the surface and those that grew along the shores. In the ocean, most of her food was algae, but here she had a wider variety of food, from straw-like reeds to the large flat lily pads. She didn’t eat while fighting the current, but had two handfuls by the time she found another break to rest in. Even more plants grew in the break.
Cordelia tasted what she had brought, not finishing any of it. The plants growing in the break were different from those in the river. They tasted different too.

April 13, 2015

M is for Momentum

I have been having a hard time building and maintaining momentum. I have several submission calls that I'm looking to write for, but the ideas have not been forthcoming. Well, that's not entirely true. I have ideas, I don't have plots. I can't seem to find the story in my ideas. It's a bit off putting. I also need to regain momentum on existing WIPs. Although there are posts for Mermaid from now until June, I haven't written anything new for that story in a while.
Momentum is mass times velocity. I'm used to having more mass and not enough speed to really get going. This is the opposite. I have a lot of velocity, my ideas and mind racing on ahead, but not enough mass to get a ball rolling. I need to flesh these idea, give them weight, and then I will really be pulling myself along.
Today, I'm going to the University to access their library and hopefully get a couple of this 3-7K word ideas fleshed into outlines. From there, it's easy.

April 12, 2015

L is for Leisure

I have too much free time at the moment. With the drop in contracts, we don't have enough work to keep us occupied. I'm trying to pick up little side jobs that won't preclude me returning to work when the contracts are back in place. This is Alberta, the situation is always changing. This drop can't last forever, but it could last a few years. It leaves me in a bit of an awkward position.
I've been devoting a lot more time to writing. I don't know that it will ever pay off, but it is fulfilling and interesting. Technically, it should be rewarding financially as well, but we will have to wait (maybe a few years) to know for certain.
I try not to waste my days with unproductive activities, like computer games, but it is very difficult. Especially when I have a concepts for stories rather than plots. I am trying to make the most of my extra leisure time. We will see how successful I am.

April 11, 2015

K is for Kim

That was obvious, wasn't it? So who am I? I am a lot of things to a lot of people. I'm a mother, sister and daughter. I'm an aunt. I'm an environmental scientist, botanist and naturalist. I'm a writer, reader and lover of TV and movies. I'm the housekeeper and cook. I'm the one who hugs, who get hugs, who kisses and is kissed. I'm the one who curls up on her bed when she wants the world to go away and stays there until a friend or family comes to pull me out again. I am uncertain, indecisive and often lost. I am eager to help and ready to give.
I am Kimberly Donn Gould. It's a pleasure to meet you.

April 10, 2015

J is for Juxtaposition

What a word! In my mind it really fits its definition. It sounds like to different words being laid over one another. Like a clash between the hard Jux and the soft tion. It is also a great tool for a writer and a scientist. As a scientist, I need to put facts together, overlay them, to determine what pattern they present. Are these probably random occurrences or a trend? Does this happen exclusively with the other, or only most of the time? Which species are most often found in the same niche?

As a writer, it is a fantastic tool for making a story resonate with readers. Being able to take an emotion or reaction and paint it with something vivid and familiar can really suck a reader in. It makes for powerful messages that are blunt force trauma.

I still like the way it sounds. Juxtaposition.

Mermaid 26

The goby sank, resting level with her eyes. “As I said, no one stays here. It is fine. We understand and the mollies are happy to listen and follow.”
Cordelia smiled at the school entering the off-shoot from the river.
“Yes, yes. I will come,” he muttered. “Excuse me, mermaid. They want my help with a dumping.
Cordelia stuck out her tongue. “If you need more help, come for me. If not, though…”
Cordelia stretched out again, yawning.
“I’m sure we can handle it, mermaid.”
“My name is Cordelia,” she said, closing her eyes.
“It is a pleasure to meet you, Cordelia. I am Drake.”
“Drake,” she murmured before falling asleep.

April 9, 2015

I is for Independence

My 8 yo is taking on a new set of responsibilities and privileges. She is going to the park by herself, asking friends to come over or going to their house essentially all on her own. She checks with us that she can go (or they can come) but she's taking the initiative. It's going to be a fantastic summer. She's always spent a limited amount of time outside because she didn't have anyone to play with. Now, that's not holding her back. Not only is she able to do things on her own outside, her friends have also reached the age where they are riding bikes or scooters, so we've found out that there are a LOT of kids her age in the neighbourhood (most attending her school). I'm happy for her. Independence can be scary and overwhelming, but it is also invigorating! I can't wait to see how she grows next.

April 7, 2015

G is for Grace

Grace is something I have in short supply. Surprising since I was born on a Tuesday (Tuesday's child is full of Grace). No, I'm klutzy, I am constantly mucking things up and I don't seem to give myself any slack. Amazing Grace, is not for me.

Mermaid 25

“Thank you.”
“You are very welcome. How did you come to be here? I see merfolk upstream and down, but no one comes here. They don’t linger in the place between.”
Cordelia thought she might fall asleep, but she didn’t want to be rude to her new-found guide. “I am looking for my mother in the mountain water.
“Ah, you will pass beyond the saltwater soon.”
“Oh good. Tell me, how did dragon gobbies learn to talk?”
“We have always talked. You are the first merfolk to listen.”
Cordelia sat up. “That can’t be.”
The goby sank, resting level with her eyes. “As I said, no one stays here. It is fine. We understand and the mollies are happy to listen and follow.”
Cordelia smiled at the school entering the off-shoot from the river.

April 6, 2015

F is for Fraud

And today, that fraud is me. I pass myself off as a professional, but I'm never able to back that up. I'm too irresponsible, too scattered, too emotional to be a 'real' writer. I'm not even a 'real' scientist. I'm just someone who gets by, and puts on a brave face to fool the world. Except I don't think my face is on right. I think everyone sees right through me. They all know I'm nothing but a fraud.

April 5, 2015

E is for Earth

I am an environmental scientist after all. My focus is on plants, which grow in earth, soil. I am keenly aware of the interface between the atmosphere and soil and water, right where plants and associated microscopic animals and fungi interact. Earth (soil) takes centuries to make. A soil has form, peds. There are clumps of certain sizes and shapes created by the animals and roots within. My work in the oil sands involves proto-soils. This is an amalgamation of the overburden, or mineral layer beneath the active soil, and peat, or decomposed plant matter. It isn't soil. It has the makings of soil, if the plants, animals and fungi mix in a functioning system, eventually, it will be soil again. I won't live to see it, but I leave my work behind knowing the legacy is there. There will be earth again.

April 4, 2015

D is for Despair

Despair comes over me from the bottom up. It starts low in my stomach as a churning, twisting. It evolves into a hollow, emptiness that spread up into my chest. Before my mind has even embraced it, it claims most of my body, only then invading my head and saying, You can't, You won't, Never. Despair is sticky and hard to shake off. Despair makes everything dark. Despair has too much room in my life, but for every inch I take back, it claims another in a day, an hour, a blink.

April 3, 2015

C is for Challenge

Keeping a regular even micro blog is a challenge for me. I'm dealing with a lot of psychological trouble that would be helped by keeping a journal, but I have never managed to make it a daily habit. I find I don't have anything to say. It's a bit ridiculous, but I love my boring life where very little changes from day-to-day. I have things that have changed in the last week or the last month, maybe even since the new year, but today compared to yesterday? Not much change, nothing that is pressing to talk about.
Perhaps I need to pay more attention to current events and let them guide my thoughts. Whatever the reason, daily blogging is a challenge. One I will continue to try to meet for this month.

Mermaid 24

Cordelia did her best, but it was hard to stay focused on such a small target, especially when it was amid so many others that looked the same. He called when she fell behind or swerved the wrong way.
Cordelia had thought the only way to get to her mother’s lake was to swim directly into the river’s current. The dragon goby sunk, surfaced, hugged one bank, then another. They hadn’t gone far, although there had been many turns to find paths that were less difficult, until there was a split in the river. The one path was obviously shallower, murkier, but that was the direction her guide went.
“This was once part of the river, but it flows this way no longer. It is in places like these that you can rest.”
He was right. The ceaseless tug of the current was absent here. Cordelia sank to the muddy bottom and stretched out.
“Thank you.”

April 2, 2015

B is for Balls

Wikimedia Dliff
Snowballs! Yes, we have been had, thinking we could have spring. Pshaw. So now there is lovely layer of stick white stuff that is perfect for making snowmen, snowballs and snowforts. Not so good for snowangels because you're pretty much lying in mud and snow mold under that. Yuck.

Forecast says it should be gone by tomorrow and we can have our spring back again. Who knows if we'll get to keep it this time or not.

April 1, 2015

A to Z challenge - April Fool

So, I heard there is this challenge to bloggers. I don't have details and I'm not part of a group, but I thought I'd join in anyway. Get into the habit of posting more often.

I am feeling like an April fool today. Mother Nature gave us a gorgeous spring day yesterday, with a warm sunny afternoon. Then the clouds came in, and a little rain. This morning, there's a blizzard outside and they say we'll get 5-10 cm of snow.

Really? Seriously? Yes. I've been had. I am definitely a fool today.

The good news is, the snow won't last. The majority of it is still melting when it lands and although some might accumulate, the sun will return soon and melt it all away.

I'm really envious of my friend Ann in Victoria. I bet it's warmer there.

April fools, every last one of us.