And On The Eighth Day…

…TPTB threw me a curveball. I am agoraphobic and I cringe at the mere thought of going outside. The first part of today’s prompt would have me go out to “a local café, park, or public place” in order to observe something which I would later write about in great detail. Well, that’s not happening. Aside from the blinding panic attack I’m certain to suffer, I’m not creeping people’s lives even if it leads to an entertaining post on this blog. Smile with tongue out

 

Here’s the twist: I am meant to eliminate the adverbs in said writing. Oh joy be unconfined. They have gotten me at last. The TL;DR version of events is this: I went to a toxic elementary school where the majority of teachers and staff spent more time trying to score malicious jokes on some of the students rather than teach us these basics. I was one of those students. The end.

 

That is my preface admitting ignorance of this particular facet of writing. Do with it as you will. Now, I’m going to do this assignment thanks to Google, Wikipedia, Schoolhouse Rock and the best my imagination can come up with. Instead of going out there, I will relate the most recent thing in my memory in great detail. My story involving Melusine Gordon is the most recent thing that comes to mind. Fictional characters don’t mind being spied upon. Rolling on the floor laughing

 

The late September morning’s clouds were blood red contrasted with dark blue patches where the sky showed through. The young woman watched as the upper level winds blew the clouds towards her and over the awakening city of Norfolk, Virginia. The meteorologists on the news had been warning people all week about the possibility of the hurricane hitting but no one really believed it until it took a sudden turn towards the Virginia coastline.  Melusine Gordon cringed as she felt the warm ocean air against her face and thought of the likelihood of the category three storm coming ashore.

Shaking her head, Melusine thought to herself that she had more important things to worry about. She felt the bulge in her stomach with trepidation. Her fears were many. Since she’d become pregnant, the father of her child was nowhere to be found and she had no way to adequately support a growing family.

On top of this, her family rejected her on finding out that she was expecting a child and, try as she might, Melusine couldn’t seem to find a job anywhere she looked, and she did look hard for work. The prospect of going on WIC benefits and then SNAP didn’t appeal to her at all. Yes, they were there for the benefit of herself and her child but the added stigma of collecting benefits while being a walking statistic in the eyes of her community didn’t sit well with her.

That’s where her plan came into play. Melusine had an idea of where the father of her child, Richard, would be and decided to ambush him. She didn’t get pregnant on her own and she refused to raise this kid by herself or without at least some support from the father. Bracing herself against the expected conflict, Melusine walked over to Willoughby Spit and there she found him.

Richard Cromwell was by himself, looking out at the dark churning ocean. His mobile phone was vibrating in his jacket pocket non-stop. On hearing footfalls, he looked up and saw the last person he wanted to see in the world: his last warthog conquest. Richard could guess why Melusine Gordon was following him out to this spot. He’d heard the rumors of her family’s rejection but he didn’t care. It wasn’t his fault she was stupid enough to get knocked up. Even if he were the father, he felt he was too young to be saddled with the responsibility of taking care of some whiny brat for the next eighteen years or more.

One look and Melusine could see a reflection of every thought across his face.

“Ritchie, there’s no easy way to say this-” She began.

“Do you really think I give a damn if you’re pregnant?” He cut her off. “I’m not taking care of your ugly little bastard and that’s an end to it.”

“I didn’t get pregnant by myself and this kid is half you. Don’t you dare lay all the responsibility on me, Richard Cromwell!” Melusine shouted.

She watched, crestfallen, as he mocked her with his laughter before shoving past her and heading back into the city. Sinking to her knees, Melusine began crying just as the first bands of rain from the hurricane reached the shoreline. For one brief moment, she considered walking into the ocean but something inside her kept her from taking such a drastic step. Instead, she stood and stumbled back to her small rented room to think.

 

I think I have done this whole blog post without a single adverb.

 

Later! Rolling on the floor laughingRed heartRainbow

The Dream of Melusine

Today’s Writing 101 prompt is called Give and Take. I am supposed to write a compare and contrast of two things. The twist for today is that I’m supposed to do it in dialogue format. I have no experience in doing this but I’m giving it a go.

 

So it got me thinking. What could I compare and contrast that I’m familiar with? At first, I was going to have a comparison between two characters in my story, Melanie Grunwald and Melusine Gordon. That didn’t appeal to me though as they compliment, rather than contrast, each other. Then, I was going to have an argument between two characters in my story, Melusine’s lover and partner John Grunwald and her ex-boyfriend and father of her child Richard Cromwell.

 

However, from the standpoint of the writing prompt that made no sense. Then, it came to me, Melusine’s internal dialogue is still messed up pretty badly from the abuse she suffered. I figured the dialogue could be her old life, represented in her mind by Richard Cromwell and her new life, represented in her mind by John Grunwald. They could have an epic verbal spat over her qualities as seen through her own lens. It’s a mental clash of the titans of Hope and Despair. At any rate, that what I’m hoping to write out. It could come out all wrong. Here goes:

 

After truly making love for the first time in her life, Melusine Gordon slept deeply. Though she was physically sated and comfortable, her mind remained troubled by past demons and future specters looming in her subconscious. What would her community and family think if they saw her now? Would they judge her further and condemn her even more than they already had? Melusine watched as two figures coalesced from all her negative and positive thoughts and emotions to become Richard Cromwell and John Grunwald.

 

Richard Cromwell: I should have known you’d never amount to anything more than a whore. Look at the neighborhood and family you came from. You’re trash, Melusine, and you’re always going to be trash. Filth begets filth and your little bastard will grow up just as bad as you.

 

John Grunwald: No, no more. You don’t get to define Melusine or Little Melanie. Not you, not your community and no one from her past gets to say another unkind thing about her or our daughter.

 

Richard Cromwell: Who are you? A married man, with a dying wife who’s sleeping around on her with a slut.

 

John Grunwald: Wrong again. We’re all happy and in love with each other. We support each other. Which is more than can be said for you. I was there for Melusine and Little Melanie when you were too busy thinking only of yourself.

 

Richard Cromwell: You’ll drop her as soon as she’s pregnant again.

 

John Grunwald: Never. I plan on spending the rest of my life making Melusine, Mel, Little Melanie and any other kids who come along happy as a family.

 

Richard Cromwell: You’re not fooling anyone. What would anyone want with a warthog like Melusine? She’s hideous-

 

John Grunwald: She’s beautiful. Her good qualities are endless and her negative qualities non-existent. She’s patient, kind, sweet, generous, beautiful, a great friend and lover.

 

Richard Cromwell: What future could you possibly hope to have? A concubine until his wife dies and then what? Its to the streets with you and your little hell spawn.

 

John Grunwald: Never! I love and cherish Melusine as much as I love and cherish Mel. I’d never throw her aside. I would die before I saw any of my dear ones in the streets!

 

Richard Cromwell: Do you think the world will just accept this little arrangement between you three? It flies in the face of traditional relationships and it will not be allowed to stand.

 

John Grunwald: We love each other and that’s all we need. Screw the tradition that blackballed Melusine from getting a job in Virginia. Screw the tradition that ostracized her for being pregnant out of wedlock. Screw the tradition that would keep us all apart and would rather see Melusine made a martyr than be happy in a stable loving relationship. If we’re talking so-called traditional values, why didn’t you step up and marry her when you found out she was pregnant? Tradition dictates you support your offspring, not abandon her to the wilds and you’ve fought every step of the way not to take responsibility for your actions. Face it, your arguments are invalid. Now, go away and leave my little Pixie alone.

 

Slowly Melusine regained consciousness from her distressing dream to find herself enveloped in the arms of John Grunwald.

 

The End. Rolling on the floor laughingRed heartRainbow

The Most Interesting People

I just got today’s prompt in the e-mail. Apparently, I am meant to write, in detail, about the most interesting people I’ve met this year. As this is only April, I find this a bit of a challenge but I’ll give it a go.

 

I would have to say that the most interesting people I’ve met this year would be three characters from my story. Their names are John Grunwald, Melanie “Mel” Grunwald and Melusine “Lucy” Gordon. You see, I first began writing this story back on 23 August 2008 but I didn’t really work on it until this year. These last few months alone, I have fleshed the main characters out significantly, to the point where I feel as though I’m finally getting to know them as people. I didn’t have that feeling before.

 

Let’s start with Melusine as she is the protagonist of the story. It’s her life we’re following.

 

Melusine Gordon is a twenty-five year old Black woman from Norfolk, Virginia who works as a Home Health Aide in the home of the Grunwalds. At the beginning of my story, she is four month’s pregnant with a child unwanted by the father. She is also viciously rejected by her own family who look down their noses at her for getting pregnant out of wedlock, though they never had much regard for her to begin with. After much consternation concerning the level of support she’d get from the biological father of the baby, Melusine takes a job further north in Maryland to support herself and her growing family after a confrontation involving the father goes south.

 

Melusine is a very dedicated worker and, on finding a good job with the Grunwalds, throws herself into it head first even in her condition. This earns her the respect, admiration and growing love of both of the Grunwalds.  Melusine longs to learn how to do the crafts she’s read about in the libraries in Norfolk and in Randallstown. Her main goal, after being a good parent, is to, eventually, learn to knit and crochet.

 

Onward to John Grunwald.

 

John Grunwald is a White man from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a chef by trade and is, at the time of my story, thirty-two years old. He is an orphan, having lost both his parents in a tragic car accident when he was a baby. After that, he was raised in an orphanage where he was nicknamed “Annie” for his flaming red hair. He is steadfastly dedicated to his wife Melanie and, later in my story, also dedicated to Melusine equally so. He comes to think of her child as his own and acts accordingly by supporting her where the biological father didn’t. In the beginning of my story, he is keeping a dedicated vigil for his wife, Melanie, who suffers from Liver Cancer.

 

He is also a dedicated worker, enjoys cooking all kinds of food, making jokes, making up nicknames for people and passionately living life to the fullest with those he loves at his side.

 

Last but not least, Melanie Grunwald.

 

Doctor Melanie Grunwald is a White woman from Randallstown, Maryland and thirty-seven years old. She comes from a very well to do family but lost all contact with them once she met and married John Grunwald ten years prior. They didn’t approve of the then twenty-two year old chef’s prospects and forbade her seeing him again if she wanted support for her education and lifestyle. Melanie chose love over money and was greatly rewarded for her choice when John landed a successful position at a popular restaurant and was thus able to cover her schooling expenses. Initially, they were going to try for children when she’d finished with Medical School but she’d been diagnosed with Cancer by that point and neither wanted to risk either her life or any potential baby’s life. The baby Melusine Gordon gives birth to is named after her. She instantly takes to the little girl and considers the baby her own.

 

She is a workaholic and prefers helping others to being helped herself. She is trained as a general health practitioner in adult medicine. Prior to her diagnosis of Liver Cancer and subsequent illness, she worked for the RICE medical center a few blocks from the Grunwald home. Melanie enjoys board games, especially Chess.

 

This story in particular is the most complete Polyamorous story I’ve written thus far. Right now, I have twenty-eight pages worth of writing down that looks good and I’m working on it daily. It’s my hope to eventually add this to a book of stories or even develop it into a larger story for a book. This story is reflective of my life, in that I am Polyamorous and a workaholic, but that’s about it. Most of this other stuff hasn’t happened to me.  

My Writing Practice Commitment

Back on Day Three of this grand venture, it was suggested by TPTB that we all commit to a writing practice of our own choosing. It was recommended that we spend no less than fifteen minutes a day writing. Honestly, I’ve been struggling to figure out what to write about in the time since that e-mail hit my inbox. I think I’ve got it now though.

 

For a minimum of one hour per day, I am going to work on my story. It dovetails quite nicely with this in that I don’t have to publish anything I don’t want to. I am essentially writing in the filler for the story, so it’s definitely coherent writing practice. Doing it this way forces me to work on the story daily, which is something I should be doing anyway. Plus, this gives me a good chance to practice for NaNoWriMo.

 

I’m going to go work some more on the shawl now. As soon as I’ve successfully connected the second cake of yarn to the project, I’m going to do a bit of late night/early morning writing.

 

Thanks for listening! Rolling on the floor laughingRed heartRainbow

How I Lost My Fear of Crafting, Part Three

This is the final installment of the trilogy of how I lost my fear of crafting. Enjoy!

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Slowly but surely, I began to increase my knitting skills. Over time I mastered stitch after stitch, until the challenges were intermediate to advanced. I discovered many different learning media from Knit and Crochet Today (Later called Knit and Crochet Now), to DVDs available in the library and even videos on YouTube that all taught how to knit in easy to follow instructions. I was hooked from that moment on but, by then, a new fire was burning inside of me. I started seeing things on Crocheting and knew I had to learn how to do that as well.

 

Thankfully, I had resources from which to learn by this point. I bought a crochet hook set for myself and checked books out of the library on the subject. I eyed Drew Emborsky’s and Robin Chachula’s techniques like a hawk as I watched, what was then, my favorite knitting and crocheting television program. Yet, try as I might, I just couldn’t seem to pick it up initially. Unlike knitting, I didn’t do it until my fingers bled, but I did try hard. However, something inside me just couldn’t pick up the craft of crocheting.

 

So, thinking a class might help, I signed up for the first crocheting class I saw online at the Woman’s Industrial Exchange. I tried very hard through my nervousness but only managed a mostly through the back loops scrap of crocheted fabric. I needed something more in depth and searched online for another free class. Thankfully, the Baltimore Free School had classes available for learning to crochet. One class schedule in particular offered a month’s worth of classes and I jumped at the opportunity.

 

On 10 October 2009, I walked through the dark streets of Baltimore to the Free School’s class site. It was a pleasant night and a not so bad neighborhood but I was still cautious of my surroundings because of my history. I made it to the class site in one piece and was welcomed by a large class of men and women who were all interested in learning the art of crocheting. The teacher was a nice woman named Lissah Dee and she was instrumental in my learning to crochet finally. Through watching her and studying her stitch key, I was finally able to pick up the correct method of crocheting.

 

I immediately went home with this skill and practiced until I got the hang of it. By this point, I had a marginal yarn stash, so I took out some royal blue yarn and, eventually, made a soap cozy/scrubbing thing. This was my first completed crocheted project and I was very proud. I sent an e-mail to Lissah Dee and told her what I had done and she was very encouraging. Regretfully, I didn’t go to any of the other classes due to Bipolar downswing, but I credit this class with teaching me to crochet.

 

After I did this first project, I went back to watching Knit and Crochet Today and watched Drew Emborsky making the Blushing Grannies Afghan. I wanted to make a blanket and it seemed a good place to start to learn flat crocheting of motifs. At first, I really messed up but, after the third try, I finally got it right. Ultimately, I didn’t make that particular project but it did set me onto the path of making Five By Five – Crazy First Blanket and other motif containing projects. Over time, my allegiance switched from Knit and Crochet Now to Knitting Daily circa Series 100 – 1100 due to my appetite for knitting and crocheting needing more of a challenge.

 

As of today, I am successfully able to knit and crochet with minimal issues. I have even learned, via YouTube, to read patterns and charts.

 

The End. Rolling on the floor laughingRed heartRainbow

How I Lost My Fear of Crafting, Part Two

Note: There was no prompt for me to post this today. I just felt like it. Call it me getting ahead of the assignments, if you will. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do all the daily prompts in addition to the Writing 101 prompts with no problems. Anyway, back to the story.

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One day, around the time of my twenty-fifth birthday, I decided I must learn to knit. By then, we had moved into a stable neighborhood and I was mentally stable even if still ragged around the psychological edges. I had come a long way from near complete mental breakdown up to this point and I was determined to treat myself with a self obtained accomplishment. Knitting was to be this accomplishment even if I had to bleed for it.

 

So, taking my meager savings, I bought a pounder skein of black yarn from Amazon along with the cheapest straight needles I could find. I ended up with a pound of Caron’s One Pound Yarn and a pair of 10” size 8 Susan Bates knitting needles. I was overjoyed to finally have the implements of knitting but I didn’t know the first thing about how to knit. I searched high and low on the internet but to no avail. This was 2006 after all. There was nothing there excepting a few sites and a few videos online.

 

Not having luck with searching online, I decided to go to the library website to see if they had any materials related to knitting. Wow, am I ever glad I did. They not only had materials relating to knitting but they also had an upcoming class at the Catonsville Library being taught by a famous knitting woman. I had no clue who she was but the words “Free Knitting Class” had me rushing to register. Lucky for me, there was still room in the class for a few more people. I was given the requirements for the class as well as the date and time to show up at the Library.

 

I showed up at the appointed time in the neighborhood I was barely familiar with. I was about twenty minutes early, so I spent my time fiddling with my needles and yarn while waiting for class to begin. Once I got the all clear to go to the classroom, off I went to my first lesson with sweaty palms and a leaping frog in my stomach.

 

The class was comprised of all women of varying ages and backgrounds all there for a single purpose: To Knit. One of the Library staff was there to introduce the Famous Knitting Woman whose name I cannot recall beyond “Knight” as her surname. In addition to Famous Knitting Woman, there were three teaching assistants who did most of the teaching.

 

Once everyone had been introduced, class was started. There was a knot in a skein of yarn being use for demonstration purposes and I was given an opportunity to show my party trick of getting near impossible knots out of bits of string. Famous Knitting Woman had gone to retrieve the scissors and before she could make it across the room, I had already gotten the knot out. She could hardly believe her eyes. I just shrugged and said that it was my talent before getting self conscious.

 

The class went well and, after the last two students (a mother and young daughter) showed up, we all settled into casting on the initial stitches. I was so nervous about dropping my needles that I held on for dear life and casted on stitches so tightly, they could scarcely be pierced. After a few tries, I managed to cast on reasonably loose stitches via the Long Tail Cast On and began attempting to knit. Famous Knitting Woman saw how I was knitting with the stitches far from the point and suggested I move them up to the very tip to aid in my knitting becoming speedier. However, I was so nervous, I kept dropping stitches and eventually fell into a habit of keeping them back which has stayed with me even up to today.

 

Soon, the class was coming to its end and Famous Knitting Woman made suggestions of things we should buy, books we should read and tools we should consider acquiring to aid in our progress as knitters. By then, it was dark and, after saying goodbye to everyone, I walked back to the dark bus stop in a daze that I had finally learned something of the basics of knitting. However, on getting home, I began doing something wrong and I knew it but didn’t know how to fix the error. It would be from 20 June 2006 until 6 August 2006 until I finally found a fix for my problem.

 

All during the Summer, I focused on reading knitting books and practicing by knitting on “the Object” until my hands bled. I’m not kidding, my hands got blisters and bled from the amount of practice I got in on those needles and yarn. Yet, try as I might, nothing I did seemed to fix the problem of the extra stitch. I didn’t know what I was doing but, for some reason, I went from ten stitches to eleven and onwards until I had an unwieldy project sitting on my aluminium needles. Still, I kept at it even as my hands bled and my eyes turned bloodshot from so many hours of staring at the same project. I didn’t give up.

 

One day in August, we got a call that my Maternal Grandfather was in the hospital. Apparently, my uncle from my Grandfather’s second marriage contacted the family via my aunt. We were invited to a cookout to give the family a chance to know each other. Less than one week later, my Grandfather was dead from his illness. The stress of having to deal with so much during that time drove me to escape into the world of knitting.

 

Giving up on “the Object”, I searched high and low on the Internet again until I came across the KnittingHelp website. Amy Finlay’s videos quite literally kept me sane as I learned to properly knit for the first time since June. I practiced throughout the night until the morning of the Wake. Once we were at the funeral home, I retreated further into my knitting and managed a pretty decent looking beginner’s scarf. For the first time, but not the last time, knitting kept me from blowing my top at an inappropriate moment.

 

Part Three, the final installment comes tomorrow. Rolling on the floor laughingRed heartRainbow