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March 2016

Posted on March 24, 2016 by sydneymandt

Random Words

I’m three weeks behind in my story-writing goals, and in order to catch up, I think I will resort to “flash fiction”, very short short stories, like the one I posted yesterday, entitled Wasted. That one just came to me, as a poem might, with a beginning sentence gathering images and metaphors around it.

I might also use the three-word method I’ve used in the past. I take a random book, open to a random page, and point, without looking, at a random word. I write that word down, then repeat the process twice. With these three words I then generate a story. The chosen words don’t have to be central to the story, just included in it. Sometimes the words inspire a situation or setting, or they may just be generic, anytime words. But often they can help get the story ball rolling.

So that’s a new, temporary goal: write 3 new stories in the next week or 4 new stories in the next 2 weeks.

Posted on March 23, 2016


I have not blogged in awhile.

This is disheartening for me, but I need to rehearten myself so that I can get moving again. This period has felt like a bad-weather stretch of already depressing weather. Metaphorically speaking. Although the actual weather around here hasn’t been what I would consider inspirational, either. Lots of rain. Lots of gray and cold. Spring is still springing, however, with green popping up everywhere and promising delightful colors and patterns and textures.

I’ve been able to do a little bit of yard and garden design here and there when the sun reveals itself and I have time to go outside. I wish I could spend hours and hours outside, weeding, planting, and doing the many little things that make for a beautiful yard. But I’ll take the few minutes I get here and there, the hour or so I can squeeze out on the weekends or evenings.

As far as my writing is concerned, I’m not sure what will kick me back into regular blog and story production. An inspirational video has gone around the internet in which the speaker says if we know our “why”, the “how” becomes much more clear.

So why do I want to write regularly? Some ideas that come to mind but which may or may not be completely applicable are:

  • I want to develop writing skills. Again, though: why? Because I want to express myself? Because Baha’u’llah says we need to have some sort of craft and profession, and that seems to be one of the few potentially money-earning skills I have left in my arsenal?
  • I like having habits that help me to improve somehow, or at least not to slip downward. Writing encourages me to be conscious of my motivations and the motivations of others.
  • I need escape from a somewhat monotonous reality that doesn’t seem to lead to much forward-moving positive change.

I don’t know if those why’s helped. They don’t seem very motivating. I’d like to have a more tangible goal, such as getting a book published (novel? short stories? poems?),  getting an mfa in creative writing, becoming a teacher. But I don’t feel attached to any of those goals, especially given their seeming unlikelihood.

So i guess I need to think about that why question. Why have the goal of daily blogging and weekly story writing? Is it just for the sake of having some kind of goal?

Posted on March 16, 2016

TBT (Throwback Tuesday) – Dedication

I have posted a story I wrote in 2002 and 2003 as part of a Creative Nonfiction Writing course. Dedication is about the birth of my second daughter. Please find it in the Stories section.

Posted on March 16, 2016 by sydneymandt

Needing routine

My MIL has been home for about a week now, and I’m getting back into the groove of caregiving. I find it hard to concentrate while caring for her because of the ever-present possibility of interruption. It’s difficult to let (or make) myself write when I know that any minute I could be ripped out of my reverie. Whatever flow I may have developed up to that point becomes a drip that dries up. And my whole day is like that. My housekeeping, chauffeuring, cooking, and caring duties happen in smatterings. And that’s not so bad when I’m doing things that I don’t enjoy much. But if I’m writing (or reading) something, I prefer a long stretch of time (at least an hour) to do just that. And I’m lucky if I get time to focus for 15 minutes at a stretch.

So if I want to write regularly, I need to come up with some sort of solution. I’ve been pretty good at exercising every day – same place and time and same set of DVD’s. But writing? The when and where of that are less consistent. I need to develop a workable plan. I’m a few weeks behind on my story-writing, but I’m hopeful that I can catch up.

Posted on March 6, 2016

Lovely Sunday

Sunshine bounces off the side of the neighbor’s white-painted once-was-a-uhaul truck and into my eyes, adding brightness to a moderately (Seattle) bright morning.

I’m sitting at the kitchen table while Batman, our mostly-outdoor cat, stares at me from his post on the wood railing outside the kitchen window. Occasionally he’ll put his paw up to the window screen and open his mouth with an inaudible meow. He’s already been fed, and it’s not too cold outside, plus his eyes close in relaxation, as if he might fall asleep, so I feel no urgency to let him in.

My MIL will come home Tuesday, returning from the nursing home where she’s been rehabilitating. Doug and I have been rehabilitating, too, taking advantage of time when we can go out and do things together – even if it is just getting our taxes done or bringing one of the family cars to the mechanic for repairs.

We also got to attend a friend’s birthday gathering together. The man of the hour did a pretty good impression of Donald Trump, a major topic of the evening.

Baha’is are not supposed to get involved in partisan politics. My take on it is that we are supposed to judge people by the content of their character (borrowing a phrase from Martin Luther King) rather than their political party. I’m not encouraged by what I observe from Trump’s words and actions. Baha’is are also not supposed to backbite – it’s one of the worst things we can do. So spending an evening in which Donald Trump was the topic of conversation was a huge challenge for me. I did a lot of head shaking. And saying things, too. Darn it.

Clouds are diffusing back into the sky cover, as they are wont to do around here. But if I need an extra blast of light, I can always look outside to the white side surface of my neighbor’s ex-u-haul-truck.

Posted on March 4, 2016 by sydneymandt

Slowing down for Fast

It’s the fourth day of the Baha’i Fast: no eating or drinking during the day. I’ve modified my Fast to accommodate some of my health issues, which means I still drink water and maybe juice if I feel dizzy or faint. I think the caffeine headache may finally be over. I still drink one cup in the morning, but I might reduce even that over the course of the next 15 or so days left in the Fast.

I’d like to focus on the spiritual aspects of life, which is one of the purposes of the Fast. Mostly, though, I end up feeling sleepy and cold, wanting to nap for a large portion of the day. Keeping up morning exercises and daily garden work (in wet, cold weather) has been difficult. But it all must be done in the spirit of little by little, day by day.

It’s 8:46am, and I’m considering lying down. But it I do, there’s no telling when I’l get up again.

Posted on March 2, 2016 by sydneymandt

Back on the Writing Wagon

I’ve just posted Week 7’s story, Tuesday. I think I’m a few weeks behind on my weekly stories, but I need to get myself a calendar on which I can keep track much better.

Motivation has been difficult for me, but once i start writing, I love it, losing myself in it. I need to get back on my writing wagon instead of falling off into the muddiness of bad attitude.

So, Week 8’s story is on it’s way. Then I need to crank out a quick Week 9 story, so that I’m back on track and can write more regularly.