Life Among the Never-Winged
Once upon a time I was writing a book called, "Just Another Love Letter", about angels behaving badly. Now I just quietly ask myself each day, "What the hell am I doing?"
- Name: Nancy Dancehall
- Location: The Rocky Mountain Empire, United States
My friends always knew I was going to hell. My only hope is that God likes good jokes and bad redheads.
Life Among the Never-Winged Sponsored By:
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Monday, July 19, 2010
I have another two weeks, then I'm on break. JALL will get one last front-end polish and then it's going out there into the publishing world to find a happy home, let's hope. I'm shooting the moon. We'll see.
I am toying with the idea of starting a new blog featuring all my new adventures in nursing school. Any takers?
Oh! And Big News -- I'll be meeting for the first time a couple of old Blogger friends in August.
Monday, June 07, 2010
A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That
First off, I have old fiction published in a new place: Everyday Weirdness. It's a wonderful online journal featuring a new story every day. You can find mine on April 29, 2010, here:
And "Wing" has also found a home and will be featured in an upcoming issue of Cezanne's Carrot:
As soon as I know when, I'll pass that on.
"Just Another Love Letter" is in it's final (I promise!) draft, after undergoing some serious critiquing from all my beloved Beta Readers. I have an entirely new first chapter written for it, and am squishing together the next two, bringing us closer to the Really Good Stuff much faster. I think Sara benefits from having a new mentor right out of the gate, one who does his best to shoo her away from Penemuel. Ah, conflict.
Nursing school is eating me alive. 'Nuff said. I met with my most critical Beta Reader the other day, and he asked me how I had slept the night before, knowing that he was going to Kung Pao critique my book the next day. I told him this was relaxing; what keeps me awake is the thought of accidentally killing someone.
That said, I got straight A's this semester. Well, two A's and two A-s, which actually count against my GPA. Fuckers.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Advice. I need it.
I told Donna that if her son is ADD, then EVERY boy is ADD.
About that time, another mom came up. "Oh, they labeled my son last week."
Oh yes. He has a physiological condition with his eyes that is being treated, has been addressed with the school, and they still labeled him ADD.
"So have they labeled your sons?" she asked me.
"Not yet," I answered.
Then I came home to an email. They want O and me to meet with the teachers and a special ed psychologist concerning one of the boyos tomorrow. Yeah I know, my stomach dropped through my nethers.
We're not sure what they are going to say yet. We will not stand for an ADD diagnosis. That would make 4 in a class of 24 students, or 4 out of 10 boys. Really?
I'm not saying he's doing well. Because he's not right now. I suspect dyslexia. Anyway, I'm hoping that is the diagnosis. ADD will not stand.
Has anyone else dealt with this? Advice?
Friday, October 02, 2009
Monday, August 31, 2009
Line of Demarcation
There's a cool wind that blew in yesterday, right in front of a thunderstorm. Now you can tell summer's preparing to leave. She's clinking the ice in the bottom of her glass, she's looking around to see who might be watching her go. She's dropping solitary yellow leaves from the cherry tree, hints of her intentions. Summer's more aloof, not letting much sun through today, perhaps thinking that no one noticed she was even at the party.
The air couldn't be stiller. Summer's holding her breath, mulling over what sort of exit to make; whether to stand up at once and stride out leaving a frosty room behind her, or to go slowly, laying a hand on a bare shoulder here and there, touching lightly on her way to the door.
The light is staying low today, spread out under bushes, a perpetual morning light from a tired summer. She's lovely and cool but I feel her warming, just a little blush. I think she's spotted Autumn, radiant and young, at the door talking to the maître d', checking her watch, waiting for summer to clear her table. I think summer realizes that whatever exit she chooses, it is time to go now.
Labels: how's the weather?
Sunday, August 09, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
One Toe at a Time, Casually
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Friday morning I was ready to be done with all of it; the classes, the waiting, the uncertainty. To claw my way out of the amber.
When I feel like I want to get out of my own skin, I need to remember that I do actually have a body. When the weather is kind, as it was on Friday morning, I go out to the garden. I need the warm sun shining on my straw hat to pour through me to the the soft dirt between my bare toes. I need to sweat and ache.
So I went out and dug up twelve pounds of volunteer parsnips that had sweetened over the winter. A few were shaped like fine white carrots. The rest were like mandrakes; twisted appendages, swollen tops shaggy with filamentous roots. Products of adverse soil conditions, they warped themselves from pushing through too much resistance. Instead of pouring all their energies into one strong, sure taproot, they had to settle for smaller scattered avenues around harder places.
Nothing is ever simple in a garden. There is the tightrope chemistry of the soil, the balance of composition and decomposition, the miracle of energy converting into matter. It is never a simple thing, but it is good and beautiful, and if tended well it will satisfy your hunger.
I carried the parsnips in and washed them off in the sink. My fingers grew stiff under the cold water. I flexed them dried them off and remembered they were mine.
On my way to lunch, I took the scenic route through our Village neighborhood. To my left was a little pond with an embarrassment of ducks, on the right a horse farm. Just past that was a stubbly field where we had bought our pumpkins the Halloween before. Now it was full of Canadian geese. Over the trees ahead I could make out the tops of mountains I haven't visited in years.
I picked O up for lunch. We headed for the Irish pub in our old neighborhood, but it had been sold to someone with café ideas. We went instead to a breakfast place across the street where O and a friend often go. I'd never been there, so I tested their skills with the basics – coffee, breakfast burrito – and split an order of stuffed French toast with O.
We eavesdropped on the old men talking in a booth behind us about emailing their grandchildren, about their blogs, about Korea. O recognized by his shuffle one of the the homeless men who passed by outside. He misses his open shop where he could watch the street all day and interact face to face with customers.
So we talked about what he wanted to do. The risks involved, steps backward, steps forward. How the boyos would be affected. I urged him to go forward with his plans. I took him by surprise by telling him I knew he wasn't happy where he was at. “As happy,” I amended. He's decided against it for now, this thing he wanted to do. And it seems like the right decision.
We finished lunch. I took him back to his folks' house, visited briefly with his parents. There are troubles there and I will leave it at that.
I picked the boyos up from school. My mom called, so I set up the webcam and she talked with her grandsons online. O came in with the mail.
“There's an envelope here for you,” he said from the other room. I could tell where it was from by his voice.
It was a big envelope.
They don't reject you with big envelopes.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
It's not BAD news...
Subject: Ready for Review
Thank you for applying to the The Big State College of Nursing.
We have finished processing your application. It is now complete
and ready for the review process.
In early to mid-March, admission decisions will be mailed for
Summer 2009 and Spring 2010 entry terms.
Pins and needles, people! Pins and needles!
It's time for Rudi's No-Fail Steely Dan Sigil (Thanks, Rudi!)
Update: My hor(ror)oscope. GA! :
The enterprising Aries Moon provokes us to take action, but starting
something new is not so easy today as impulsive Mars forms an annoying
quincunx with restrictive Saturn. We may feel as if every move we
attempt to make is blocked by unchangeable circumstances. Talking
about it won't help, for communicator Mercury semisquares obstinate
Pluto. Fortunately, the Moon's entry into stubborn Taurus at
10:32 pm EST gives us the determination we need.
You may be quite subdued now, even if you are still feeling hopeful
and enthusiastic. It's just that you might learn something that
makes you aware of how much additional time and money may be
required to complete a project. It may be impossible for you to
see an easy way through this reality check, but rest assured that
you are facing a temporary obstacle. Unfortunately, no amount of
hard work will resolve the problem today. The key to success will
be your dogged persistence.
Monday, February 09, 2009
And now we are...38
But I'm happy with JALL's progress overall. It's almost there, and I lived through a critical scene. Not everyone else did though. 'Nuff said.
I've always felt that 38 would be a special year, the year everything was finally ok, the year that I will have 'arrived' somewhere. I'm not sure where that place is. I'm almost there with the book, I have agent leads, I'm in school taking microbiology and statistics and waiting for nursing school, I have old friends back in my life and the boyos will be receiving awards at school again, on Friday.
And I have a box of this. Oh, sweet heavens!
All the while things look dark and gloomy for the planet otherwise. It makes things...interesting.
Missed 'yall. Oh and if you are interested, I have a..mumblemumbleFacebook page mumblemumble...under my Christian name. Nancy and I don't know each other, got it?
*Disclaimer...oh, just go look, will ya?
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Thursday, December 11, 2008
“Take me to the car, Jack. I can't see.” I held out my hand.
They both stopped fighting. We went quietly to the car. I had to sit in the driver's seat for a few minutes until I could see well enough to drive the half mile home. Why didn't I call someone, ask for help? I wasn't thinking that clearly. I was a horse smelling water and had to get home. Now.
When I did get home and called O, he couldn't understand what I was saying. He got home quick.
After a ménage à trois with Prince Vicodin and his other brother Prince Vicodin, I was able to sleep. Sort of.
I've been treating with ibuprofen since. The rest of the princes keep calling me though.
But what I really want to write about is coyotes.
Before Thanksgiving, O was up in the mountains winning at an overnight high-stakes poker game, and I was relaxing by the fire and working on my previously-mentioned oral presentation when my dog Sam wanted out. As I hooked his leash to his harness, his body tensed and his tail stood straight up. I looked out into the shadows cast by the pines and there he was not ten feet away – a coyote at the edge of the porch. Long-legged, about 45 pounds, stock obviously threaded with dog blood. Silent, stiller than the night. Then gone, Sam barking and snapping after him, my hand freshly rope-burned. One leap over the fence and he was a piece of the night again. Not a leaf crackled under his paw.
I told O about him the next day. Coyotes had already taken down three dogs in the neighborhood, and any number of cats were missing. The foxes are long gone.
A few nights later, I came into the kitchen and heard Sam barking his head off. O had let Sam out and went for a smoke in the garage. I threw open the sliding glass door and ran to where I saw his white body against the dark ground. The coyote was already jumping the fence, about a quarter acre away.
My heart was pounding. Sam was fine, if a little hoarse. I grabbed his leash and gave it a pull. He turned and followed me back into the house. I reached with my right hand for the inside door handle and grabbed air. I stopped and looked. The handle was gone. That's when I realized it was in my left hand. I looked down, thinking I'd pulled it out by the screws.
Here's what I saw:
O came back in from the garage. I held up the door handle for him.
As he installed a new handle the next day (those things are a pain in the ass), he grumbled that at least he knew if he were ever trapped under a car, I'd be able to lift it off of him.
Tuesday, the boyos wanted to go to the park by our house, the one that borders the open space that used to be a bit of a wood before they tore it up for condos that will never be built. There's only a fringe of scraggly willows and cottonwood along a wash at the bottom of the hill now, spared I suppose, for scenery. I sat in the car, not wanting to sit in the cold and snow, and told the boyos to stay on the playground, not to go past the split rail fence into the open space. We noticed the coyote warning signs posted on the lamp post. The boyos went to the edge of the park. Then they turned and ran back to the car.
“Mommy, come quick! Coyotes! We heard them! They're playing!”
And they were, several hundred yards away. I got out of the car and watched them – a mama and her two almost-grown pups crossing the open space. Papa lay on the ground, watching from the trees. Their fur was rough and red in the last light, their tails full and bushy. They were having fun, hunting and running and chasing their tails, yipping in those orange-spiral sounds. Absolutely wonderful to watch. A dog barked, and they disappeared into the scraggly trees along the creek, the sad bit of home they have left now.
What can you do with something so admirable from a distance and so dangerous at close range?
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Night driving tonight. It'll be a long reach across Nebraska. We each take half the state. I'm loading up my gear for the reach now – I can't make it across without Joni singing about Amelia, I need Nick Cave -- that devilman with his red right hand, Peter Murphy mourning Bela Lugosi, Johnette Napolitano to deal out her 100 games of solitaire. I need to chase cars with Snow Patrol, I need Steely Dan's wheels turnin' round and round. I need 16 Horsepower and Slim Cessna driving north to Cheyenne. It only makes sense that Death Cab for Cutie drives me home from the passenger seat. Elton telling me it's four o'clock in the morning, dammit.
And coffee. Lots of it.
(Oh happy day! O just came home with a baby thermos for me!)
Henderson, Nebraska is a hotel and a truck stop that only exits at night or whenever a bus pulls up. Otherwise it's all wind and dry grass.
The Mississippi divides the world in half.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.