Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lowville NY Fire and This 'n That

What I'm writing: I have three short stories I'm working on as well as editing In the Shadow of Olympus and doing homework for the F2K class.
What I'm reading: Finished a Dean Koontz book last night - Relentless - I liked the book right up until it got really, really stupid at the end. I'm a fan of Mr. Koontz, but sometimes even those we love to read can slip up.
What I'm knitting: Still working on that sweater. Front and back are done and I've started on sleeve one.

I'm a lover of history. I love antiques (from afar - I don't own many) and old books. I adore that sense of permancy that comes from an antiquated building.

And I mourn history when it's destroyed:

The building known as the Times Block in Lowville burned early Saturday morning - in the above photo, it's the one that's just a little taller than the rest.

A pizzeria and a real estate agency were located on the first floor, apartments up above. It looks like an 'improperly discarded smoking device' was to blame. One person is in the hospital with horrible burns - I hope for the best for him, but it'll be a slow recovery.

The buildings on either side have some water and smoke damage, but 130-year-old fire walls kept the damage from becoming extensive.

I work up and across the street from the building that burned. It's sad to see it every day, and even sadder to think of the person who was injured, those without their homes and belongings, and the businesses that are now closed.

And now I can't think of a segue into other topics.....................................


Saturday Brian helped run a youth tournament at the table tennis club he's a member of. It sounds like it was a success and nephew Brandon took 2nd in the under 16 division.

Work has been busy! There's just not enough time in the day, lately. But isn't that so much better than not having enough to do?

The F2K writing class I'm taking is going well. Two of my assigments have been highlighted in the F2K ezine, so that's cool. The first was writing for the senses. I posted my 'sense sentences' in an earlier blog, but I didn't post the paragraph I wrote for the assignment here. We were tasked with writing a paragraph that would stir each of the eight senses (the regular five plus time, space, and unknown). Here's mine:

The metal needles warm in my hands as the steady click, click, click almost soothes my nerves. Balls of rough wool transform into a blocked burst of color, lengthening with each completed row. Outside the window, swirls of white eddy and dance on gusts, before cascading to the ground, slick and beautiful. The tea beside me would be completely forgotten if a draft didn't occasionally carry chamomile. I ignore it. What I've already drank is tainting my tongue bitter. With each roar of an engine that doesn't slow for my driveway, my fingers fly faster. I hope I don't drop a stitch. Another row finished, another car speeds past, another tick of the clock, another moment alone.

And then for this week, we had to write a scene of 500 words or less that dealt with conflict: specifically, we had to show what appeared to be a small conflict swell into something more, but we were supposed to only hint at what was going on, not hit the reader over the head with it.

Gary tossed the opened envelope onto the table and then watched Jenny sweep the kitchen floor. Her appearance hadn’t changed much over the years, except for the snowy hair. Finally, she turned around. When she saw him, she smiled and her eyes danced. "What's up?" Even her voice sounded young.

"Did you forget to pay the credit card bill?" He hated ruining her mood, but some things were best not put off.

The smile slid from her face, disappeared from her eyes. She waved her hand, turned her back to him, and resumed sweeping. "Of course not. I don't make the same mistake twice."

"I think you did."

She glanced over her shoulder. "I didn’t."

Gary picked up the envelope and unfolded the bill. "Late charge. Another thirty-five dollars. I know it's not much, but we’re on a fixed income, Jen."

Her mouth moved for a moment before she started talking, like she was practicing her words before saying them. "It must have gotten lost in the mail."

"Do you really think so?"

The broom clattered to the floor. Jenny turned fully toward him and put her hands on her hips, tapped her foot. "If I say I paid it, I paid it. Now stop questioning me. If I didn't know better, I'd think you don’t trust me anymore."

"Of course I trust you. I just don't trust…." Finishing that sentence would be tantamount to petting a rabid raccoon.

"What? What don't you trust?" Jenny took a step forward and then another, as if daring him to say it.

"Listen, why don't we just look at the checkbook and see if… see when you made out the check."

"If you trusted me, we wouldn’t have to."

He closed the distance between them and put a hand on her shoulder. "I know you think you sent it out."

"And what's that supposed to mean?"

If she was going to be stubborn, he’d have to change his tactic. "You have so much to do. Maybe I should take care of the bills."

Her face flamed. Her nostrils flared. "I've kept our checkbook for more than forty years. All you’d do is mess it up. Besides, this house isn’t nearly as much work as when the kids were around. Why, I used to do twice as much. Three times!"

There was no denying that, but the Jenny from then was far different than his Jenny today. "Jen, I’m sorry, but you're going to have to-"

She ducked out from under his arm, took several steps back. "Don't you dare tell me what I have to do!"

"You forget so much, lately. Too much. How old was your father when he started to-" He cut himself off. There was no sense finishing the sentence. Jenny had already banged out the door. As much as she’d hate for him to follow, he had no choice. He couldn’t stand it if she got lost again.

But, God, he was tired.

So, that's the update. How are you all doing?


  1. Your writing gives me chills, Amy. I LOVE it. Your scene definitely hinted at what was going on with real feeling and sensory-engagement. I had tears in my eyes when I realized what was happening to Jenny. Very tender and bittersweet all at the same time. Keep writing, Amy. I believe we'll be seeing your name in print in the not too distant future. Hugs of encouragement. Jackie

  2. Jackie,
    Thanks so much! Your comments are always so encouraging and make me smile.

    *lots of hugs back*