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Archive for the ‘Oklahoma AuthenticiTEA’ Category

Oh my! Just 1/3 of the way through November, not even getting to the Thanksgiving holiday and it’s been such a busy time.

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Of course, I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month again. This will be novel number SIX! I wasn’t going to write another one until I edited a previous one, but my writing group friends talked me into it. And I’m glad they did. I’m trying something new, still working at finding what I like to write the most. So, this one is in the Young Adult/Action/Adventure genre. And I’m trying something else new. I’m revealing a bit of what I write. That’s kind of a big deal for me. Because there are two camps of thought about that. One says, “No way, don’t do it.” The other says, “Yes, it’s good.” So, I’m trying it. And I’m thinking about adding snippets here and there to generate interest. I don’t know. We’ll see.

Here’s the premise:

It is November 15, 2016, and America is at war, with itself. During events just before the presidential election in the United States, all hell has broken loose. Republican and Democratic rivalries sunk to new all-time lows and factions of militant organizations across the country were organized well enough to take matters into their own hands. They began shooting, bombing, and burning anything that didn’t fit their ideal of the red, white, and blue. The election didn’t even take place, because armed militia men proclaimed The Second Great Civil War of the United States. Civil War. Again. Only this time, citizens had access to Uzis and hand grenades and all kinds of crazy explosives and war “toys” that didn’t exist in the era of the first Civil War. But it didn’t matter what the weapons were. Yeah, the technology could reach a larger portion of the population and that was part of the problem. But the real problem was the unbridled passion of militants with a skewed perspective who turned that into a cause. Weapons destroyed. Weapons killed, especially in the hands of the power hungry and misguided. It’s the undefined “Us” against “Them” scenario and who can win with that? No matter which era a war was in, people died. And this time, it wasn’t just something 14-year-old Harper Bridges read about in a history book, it had happened right here, right now, and it had happened to her family.

Harper remembered her mother and grandmother having a conversation. If there was ever anything disastrous to occur, they all loosely agreed to meet at the family land in Oklahoma. Loosely. Very loosely. Harper could only remember snippets of the conversation and wasn’t even sure it was real. But she had in her mind to set out to try to reach Oklahoma. And she hoped to God that when she got there, her family would be there. She had a sinking feeling in her gut. A deep-seated knot that nagged and created pain. She was afraid. So afraid.

(Timely, huh?)

And here’s the first paragraph:

Harper hated death. She hated the thought of so much of it surrounding her and she hated the stench of it. She bent, placing her hands on both knees and held the hem of her shirt over her face, wishing it would filter the death stink. She tried not to cough, tried not to breathe, really, but had to regain her composure somehow. She had run for so long in the dark, once she had come to the wide-open spaces. But here she was again, running through the remains of a small, charred town. How many of them were there between Texas and Oklahoma? She wished she had paid more attention on the many trips between the two when–well, before all of this had erupted. She was completely out of breath and mentally chastised herself for not being in better physical shape. The occasional evening jog in the neighborhood with the dog had not been enough. Now, she was running for her life. Someone had shot at her twice and was on her trail again. With all of the burned towns and cities and all of the dead people, why in God’s name would someone care if she lived or died? The answer had eluded her for days and she did not have time to sort it out.

(Whew!) (We’ll see what happens. I usually don’t like to write on the dark side. But you have to have the dark side to have the light, right? So it can illuminate the darkness. Yeah. That.)  (I’m at 20,000 words, with the goal being 50,000 by the end of November.)

And here are some of the other things that have been going on:

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Lunch outside on a busy fall day. Don’t the organic veggies look so good? They are. From my friends at Better Together Farm.

Beautiful fall days! So, if I possibly can, I get outside on the weekends and work, because oh my goodness, my yard needs attention. So, I’ve been pruning and clipping and raking and shoveling … and about that–oh, dear. Last weekend I worked so hard, I could barely move. But it’s looking better out there.

One day, I made a vegetarian lasagna in the crockpot and I ate lunch outside. (Like my work gloves in the above photo? I needed leather gloves because I was trimming rose bushes and wanted to avoid the thorns. So, I found one thick, rubber work glove and one glove that I use for the kitchen. Not effective for rosebush thorns. I’ll guarantee.) (I don’t have time to go buy leather gloves.) (I need toooooo!)

My daughter is getting ready for a yard sale, so she’s taken over my carport. :^D  (But I will be glad to have that chore out of the way, believe me.)

This morning there was frost on my car windshield! Frost. That means I’d better get prepared for winter.

And on the drive to work I saw two deer in a chase and managed to honk the car horn before they crossed the road. And the doe listened. Good girl. She stopped. The buck didn’t want to. (He was enormous.) He only stopped because she did. (I’m thankful.) But she turned and went back the other way and he was soon in swift pursuit. Autumn in rural America. Fun times.

Hope you’re all having lovely days and can sit outside and enjoy the weather with a cup of hot tea or cocoa. (And avoid the deer on the roads.)

Okay, too much stuff to do. More soon. ❤

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My crazy spelling idea, placed among Oklahoma artifacts, including my favorite–rose rocks (barite)! We’ll talk about that in the future, too.

It’s nice to return to blogging. It’s already an exercise in tightening up my skills. Writing the title of this article was a challenge. Titles and subtitles and headlines are a challenge for me. It’s like condensing everything you want to say down into just a few words that will grab the reader and inspire them to continue reading. See, I want to talk about colloquialisms today and if I had titled this, “My Top Five Oklahoma Colloquialisms,” you probably would have skipped out on the fun. (Maybe it’s only fun to word nerds, but I think it’s fun.)

Anyway, in the past I’ve been confused by the differences between colloquialisms, jargon,  and such. Here’s a great explanation I found where they define the words and give examples of usage and even a little quiz at the end, if you are so inclined. (I know. It’s official. I’m a giant word nerd.)

For now, let’s skip the definitions and get right into the language and you’ll see what I mean.

There may be other segments of the South/or central regions of the United States that say “fixin’ to,” but in Oklahoma, people say that a lot.

“I’m fixin’ to go to the dog swap. Do you need anything? Chickens? Guineas? Goat?”

“She’s fixin’ to call him back as soon as she finds her phone.”

“I’m fixin’ to give you a whoopin’ you’ll never forget.”

See? Now you know what I mean, right?

I think one of the top colloquialisms that Oklahoma is known for is, “Ya’ll.” It is a contraction for “you all” and is normally used when speaking to a group of two or more people, but not always.

“Ya’ll calm down in there, or I’m goin’ to give you that whoopin’ we talked about earlier.”

“Ya’ll need anything? Dr. Pepper? Iced tea? Mountain Dew?”

“Ya’ll look like you’re itchin’ to jump in the water? You hot?” (See what I did there? Threw a  handful of colloquialisms at you in two sentences, in each example.)

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I’m thinking this needs to be the title of the chapter in the memoir where I tell all of these fun stories and more. :^)

My personal favorite is “idn’t it.” Mercy. When I catch myself saying “idn’t it,” I  cringe. Why do I say that? I don’t know. Because I live here, I guess.

“Idn’t it odd that she suddenly disappeared when the rent was due?”

“Idn’t he a sorry potlicker?” (Sorry–I’ll explain “sorry” and “potlicker” on another word- nerd day.)

“Idn’t she a sight for sore eyes?” (That one, too.)

Obviously, “idn’t it” stands in for “isn’t” and I have no explanation. It’s regional, because I’m not the only one who says it. Thank goodness.

“Howdy” is a good one. You probably already know that it’s used in place of “Hi” or “Hello,” but it’s considered less formal and more friendly. But it can be used in formal settings–just depends on who you are and your personality. (Which is the same with any of the above-mentioned colloquialisms because they have nothing to do with your current status, education, or job title. It’s regional, as I stated previously. It’s probably not a credit to an English major/editor/writer to chat with your co-workers in this manner:

“I’m fixin’ to send out an email inviting ya’ll to the next potluck lunch. Idn’t that a good idea?” Mm hmm.

It has nothing to do with living in the city or country, wearing Prada or Faded Glory, heels or boots, but you’d probably better live in Oklahoma. Or Texas. Or thereabouts. Or people will look at you cross-eyed and walk away. Quickly.

The last one is another personal favorite, just because my dad says it to be funny. “Far,” as in “fire,” and not how far you have to travel to reach the fire. Far.

“He preached hellfar and brimstone again.”

“I tried to light that far, but the wind came sweepin’ down the plain.”

“It’s hotter ‘n far today, idn’t it?”

Yep. (There’s another one for you.)

So, if you travel and a bunch of Okies are having a conversation and you feel like you’re visiting a foreign country, you very well may be. But Okies aren’t the only ones. Here’s another link to a great article that gives you a visual on this very thing. Some of the topics are pretty hilarious, too.

Hope you’ve enjoyed and that you understand what I’m talkin’ about. If not, ask questions in the comment section. And leave a comment listing your favorite colloquialism from your area. That should be fun!

 

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“I’m writing a book.  I’ve got the page numbers done.”  (Steven Wright)

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“I believe we can…at any time, pick up a paintbrush and create a new fork in the road to travel that may lead us each to our authentic home, which is deep within, and outward again to our right place in the world.” (Pat B. Allen in Art is a Way of Knowing)

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Settle back with a cup of your favorite hot tea and let’s chat about the year ahead.

I certainly could have posted a more beautiful photo to wish you well for the new year.  I’m just drifting a bit to the philosophical side of the path on this January One.  Yes, there is a great deal of brown in the picture and the trees are bare.  It’s not spectacular.  But there is a bridge — and we’re crossing over into the unknown.  And there is a curve on the path that leads to the unseen.  That’s what I’m thinking about as I wish all the best for your 2012.

I walked this exact path today.  It’s one of my favorites.  Yes, there is brown stretching as far as the eye can see.  But occasionally, there are great patches of blue.  The water laps a soothing rhythm at the edge of the lake shore and soon — I am surrounded by beauty.  That is what I hope for you — to be surrounded by moments of surprising splendor in the midst of the every day brown.

Oh, there have been days that I’ve walked this path and spied a rattlesnake sunning its coils about a foot from my ankle.  Oh, yes.  This is Oklahoma.  I’ve walked it with my daughter and heard a grrrrrrrr in the bushes that most definitely sounded like a bear.  Our pace to the car picked up considerably.  (We later decided it had to have been a wild boar.)  (Do they growl?)  I don’t know — bear — wild boar — none too great to meet up with in the back woods.

I’ve walked this path with a friend and listened to her ghost story and nearly jumped out of my skin when an armadillo rustled in the leaves.  I mock-punched her (my friend, not the armadillo) in the arm for scaring me out of my wits.  Then, we laughed all the way back to the car.

Two of my daughters walked this path and watched a cougar pass in front of them — not twenty feet, they say. (Well, one says bobcat, one says cougar.)  Once again — who cares which?  It was a bit too close for comfort.  But it was an amazing moment they will never forget.

So, why do we keep walking this path?

Well, it’s Oklahoma.  And this is where we live.  I can’t stay holed up forever.  Sometimes it’s a little wild out there.

There was also the day when a hawk “accompanied” me the entire 3 1/2 miles around.  It would fly and perch on a tree top.  I would walk.  It would fly and perch.  I would walk.  It would fly and perch.  I can’t explain why.  It really happened.  It was just there and it was peaceful.

I’ve seen a blue heron, Canadian geese, wild ducks, woodpeckers, cardinals, blue birds — all on the same day.  Chirping, warbling, whistling, honking songs created a bird symphony to accompany my steps, which lightened considerably.  Those are the spectacular times.

The spring puts on a wildflower show that you wouldn’t believe.  I’ve photographed pink wild roses, towering golden yucca, and masses of Indian Blankets and Indian Paintbrush.

I’ve learned to appreciate all of the seasons.  Each one holds unexpected bounty.  I’ve experienced the heady, summer fragrance of wild honeysuckle.  I’ve trudged up an incline in the snow, determined to get some exercise and chase off a touch of cabin fever.  I’ve even ran (okay half-jogged, walked, half-jogged some more, walked some more, crawled — just kidding) the entire route in the pouring rain.

Some days I’ve struggled to walk a mile, much less 3 1/2.  But there have been a few that I’ve mustered up enough energy to circle it twice.  Either one brews a certain sense of accomplishment.

The sunsets are amazing.  The water reflects amethyst, sapphire, and diamond flames.  Talk about rich — it’s like a private art-show in the sky.  Except it’s not exclusive.  All you have to do is look up.

So, there’s a trade-off.  I walk.  Nature puts on a show.  Sometimes it may seem a bit perilous.  Sometimes it’s breathtaking.   Mostly, it’s soothing … and always — the sun comes back up the next day and sets again that evening.  And I can participate in as many of those as I choose to.

That’s kind of how I see the new year.  I know right off the bat that it’s not going to be all sunsets and roses.  There may be some rattlesnake moments.  Maybe not.

But I’ll keep walking.

That’s what I wish for you.

One foot in front of the other.  I hope that this year soothes you, dazzles you, takes your breath away in beautiful moments and goes easy on you with the lions and rattlesnakes and bears.  Oh my.  And the wild boars.  And the armadillos.

Happy New Year from Miss Cynthia in Oklahoma.  I hope that you have many moments of TranquiliTEA to cherish.

(Take a moment to say, “Howdy,” and leave a comment below, okay?  I’d love to have more conversations with you this year.  Let me know you stopped in, won’t you, Friend?)  The tea is always on.

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