Wordy Wednesday
Time and tales don't mix, kids. At least not this year . . .

Time and tales don’t mix, kids. At least not this year . . .

I am not doing Nanowrimo this year, and I’m happy about it.

If you were here last year at this time, you will remember how that was when I tried it for the second time ever, and ended up intentionally bailing out before the end of the month. I just don’t write well that way, and trying to evidently makes me really grumpy. This year, apparently, I just don’t write well in any way, because I have recently (as I think I mentioned) been turned on to a couple of freelance writing sources, and although I have bookmarked so many writing opportunities I don’t think they even fit in the bookmark drop-down anymore, I genuinely haven’t had the chance even to begin to prepare a submission.

Oh! I take it back. I did send in an application for one freelance gig. I’m still waiting to find out what transpires from that. I’m pretty sure if I had (and knew I had) a regular gig, I would be able to figure out a way to factor research and writing into my schedule. But all sorts of short-story competitions are falling by the wayside as I keep trying to read through each book of the Old Testament in one sitting for my Old Testament class, and write a proposal for the use of a part of Now Church property, and spend time with my husband and family and friends.

So, because I’m a nice person (at least, I want you to think that) and because there certainly seem to be enough of these to go around, here’s a little writing hint:

Go to Facebook4Freelancers and sign up for their updates. Maybe you have time to write something great.

You’re welcome.

Afraid to Love

The Tuesday Reblog

I usually find something with which to resonate in Helen Valentina’s poems. I guess I decided to reblog this one because it reminded me of my approach to romantic love for most of my adult life. Some of this approach may have developed from my fear of compromising principles I held dear and important, and in hindsight, I still think those principles are dear and important, but sometimes I wonder if there might have been a way to move beyond this fear and still keep them. Anyway. I present you Helen Valentina, The Readership.


I am afraid to love
This moment when it’s possible
I tremble on the precipice
And will not fall

I am afraid to care
Such sweetness does not mix with me
It has no place within my soul
It cannot call

I’m terrified of touch
To reach into the darkness here
I may find that I would disappear
I do not dare

Too petrified to kiss
I’ll let the moment pass unseen
Pretend I never noticed this
And do not care

© Helen Valentina 2013, All Rights Reserved

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Sibling Rivalry

Memory Monday

When TheBro and I were children, we squabbled as much as any two siblings who are secretly devoted to each other. I seem to remember experimenting with hitting and biting him when he was a baby and I was four or five, but my parents put a stop to that, and it must not have felt very natural or like something I wanted to do anyway, because I don’t remember continuing it into older childhood, nor do I remember TheBro ever retaliating.

You do well to look alarmed, TheBro. The battle of words is about to begin.

You do well to look alarmed, TheBro. The battle of words is about to begin.

When we were growing up in Then Church, it was almost maddening how often my friends told me their parents asked them why they couldn’t be like me and TheBro because we “never fought.” It was maddening because we did fight, quite frequently as I recall, but because we never came to blows and we rarely raised our voices (although TheBro once used his trombone to good effect), no one could tell, evidently.

I’m not sure which of my less stellar qualities triggered my brother’s ire–maybe he would never have fought with me at all if I hadn’t picked fights with him, as I remember him being quite sweet–but I was the elder sister and I was competitive and although I was happy for things to be “fair,” if there were any inequity, I thought I deserved to win out. The crazy thing is, the only specific things I can remember fighting over were words. I don’t mean with words. I mean over words. Probably not the sorts of words you would think, either. Consider:

When I was in fourth grade at my Christian school, we were learning something in our Bible class and the teacher told us that the early Hebrews were largely agricultural. Then she told us that agriculture meant having to do with farming: many of the early Hebrews were farmers. As a nine year old, agriculture was decidedly the biggest word I thought I knew. I went home and gloated to my five-year-old, kindergartener brother, “I know what agriculture means and you don’t!”

Naturally, TheBro turned to my mother and said, “What does agriculture mean?”

She told him, while I protested with fervour that no no no she shouldn’t tell him because he was only five and I had had to wait to learn the word until I was nine and it wasn’t fair!

Who does that?

I don’t know, but quite a few years later, when I was in high school and TheBro was in junior high, we had both become fans of the alternative Christian musician, Steve Taylor. One of the things that delighted me, at least, about Steve Taylor’s songs was that they were clever and incisive and incorporated words that you wouldn’t expect. Take, for example, the very first two lines of his song “Am I in Sync?” (This was before the band of that name, guys. He definitely was never *NSync).

Synthesizer rock moved Jessica’s feet/As a slave to that ubiquitous beat.

(Yes. “Synthesizer rock.” It was the 80’s. What can I say?)

Both TheBro and I had never heard the word ubiquitous before, but we liked the (pretty funny) sound of it. I guess I cared more what it meant, though, so I looked it up in a dictionary (you know, those books you had to look words up in before the internet?) which is probably why I remembered the spelling and pronunciation of it. I’m not sure how the word came up in random sibling conversation, but I distinctly remember the two of us hanging out in the basement of the house where we grew up and TheBro pronouncing it . . . (gasp)


I also remember getting into a mildly heated back-and-forth argument about it. (“It’s ubquiddious.” “No, it’s ubiquitous.“) Finally I looked it back up and waved the entry in TheBro’s face. “Ubiquitous!” I crowed. For years after that, whenever we had a similarly trivial but invested argument which I proceeded to win, I would again crow, “Ubiquitous!” It might have been a little annoying. I suppose. Just maybe.

What did you used to fight with your siblings about?

A Newcomer’s Review On Halloween

The Tuesday Reblog

Conveniently this year, Halloween was on a THURSDAY, so I could’ve totally theologised about it here. Inconveniently, I didn’t have time to untangle the morass of Halloween-y, theological thoughts. (Well, inconveniently for me. It might be a relief to you, I suppose.) So here’s somebody else’s (far more entertaining) Halloween-related post. Enjoy.


I have survived my first real celebration of Halloween. I never knew this would be the most complicated holiday. You’ve got your political ‘Christ in Happy Holidays’ Christmas celebrations, a Thanksgiving rid of political correctness, probably because there’s too much to correct to stay thankful, Columbus Day, also known as ‘a Monday’, Independence Day (still on the bucket list, but seems pretty straight forward to me: America on steroids), and then those days like Easter that do come with decorations, but are celebrated on a Sunday and do not really count. Out of all these, Halloween is the most complicated by far. I will present the next three arguments and the accompanying questions: decorations, costumes, candy.


The gas station around the corner had an inflatable Dracula-in-coffin that kept creeping out. Cute. One of the places we went garage saling the other week had a fake cemetery in the yard, including…

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Remember When?

Memory Monday

Hey! Remember when I used to write blog posts over here?

Yeah. Sorry about that . . .

Basically, I’m in this period of time where, unless I get the post written and cued up a week in advance, there isn’t going to be one. And since I don’t have time the week before to write what I don’t have time to write the week of, Jenn stories have just been a little sparse lately. I’m working on it–really, I am. Meanwhile, if you want some Jenn memories, feel free to read any of the already-written portions of this blog. They’re all memories by now.


A Van Gogh I frankly don’t remember ever seeing before . . .