Welcome to my World

Welcome to the domain different--to paraphrase from New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe which bills itself "The City Different." Perhaps this space is not completely unique but my world shapes what I write as well as many other facets of my life. The four Ds figure prominently but there are many other things as well. Here you will learn what makes me tick, what thrills and inspires me, experiences that impact my life and many other antidotes, vignettes and journal notes that set the paradigm for Dierdre O'Dare and her alter ego Gwynn Morgan and the fiction and poetry they write. I sell nothing here--just share with friends and others who may wander in. There will be pictures, poems, observations, rants on occasion and sometimes even jokes. Welcome to our world!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

False Spring

In typical southwest style--both Arizona and New Mexico have the saying, "If you don't like the weather, wait about five  minutes..." It isn't quite that fast but one week we had cold temps, wind and gray skies--cold enough a few nights that we left hoses trickling outside to be sure pipes and faucets did not freeze. Then all at once a big dome of high pressure built and pushed the jet stream and storm track far to the north. The temperature leaped upward and within a few days lows were in the upper 40s and lower 50s and highs well into the 70s. They say it may hit 80 tomorrow!

Out for my morning walks I am hearing a lot of birds now, the cheerier upbeat calls of spring, saying in sparrow, finch or other species language things like, "Hey babee, I have a great nest spot and you won't find a more dashing bird than me..." The doves are calling and it won't be long until the larger flocks of quail break up as they pair off for the breeding season.  Yep, the birds and the bees do it!

So far no flowers although I did see a forsythia bush in a sheltered nook with a few yellow blossoms a block or two from my house. The weeds are greening and in a bi, unless we get a cold snap, the fruit trees will be in bloom, lilacs budding and all the springy things I love will be visible.

The downside is that it is also allergy season. I won't say my antigen injections are either helping much or not doing anything; there are some changes. I am not stuffed up as much but sneezing a lot--that seems to be an early stage of this desensitizing effort as my brother had horrible sneezing fits a couple of years ago after about a year on his latest (local) rounds of shots. My eyes are definitely better--and I cannot say whether it is the Restasis finally kicking in or the fact I am taking not only the AREDs formula vitamins recommended by one ophthalmologist a few years back and seconded by my current one but also a new herbal/homeopathic compound from a health foods place that I've been using since early January. Still if it ain't broke, don't fix it. I will keep on with it all.

It's clean up, sort, organize and dispose of time at our house. We have been here four years and have vowed to go through every single box and to shred or give away  a bunch of stuff we did not have time to deal with when we had to leave Colorado under a rather tight deadline. What fun. Well, sort of. I do like the accomplishment feeling of seeing things gone and some space emerge!

The new pupster--we will be calling Riata 'pupster' when she is ten years old I expect --is maturing fast. We were going to get her spayed this month and had made an appointment but spring sprang too fast. This weekend she was clearly coming into season the first time. They will spay during heat but it costs more and infection is much more likely so it will be about three weeks until that happens now. Safer for her and less costly both.

As to writing, I have organized that too--gone thru the now semi-dead contracts for all my Amber Quill books and trying to make up my mind what will happen to them. Meanwhile I have dug out the notes and scribbles for a big family saga type novel I have meant to write for too many years. I plan to dig in on Calhoun Chronicles (working title) very soon and see what happens. It will be steamy in spots and there will be both romance and star crossed love affairs and all sorts of Dallas and Dynasty sorts of goings-on. Will I ever finish and publish it? Well, odds are...up to fate perhaps. But there is no way I can ever stop writing so on we go. It's time to try for some pictures soon as blooms and leaves show up; I will start taking the camera on my walk, promise.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Here it is! My First Fiction Story...

This was my very first story, at least as far as I can remember and what I have been able to find! I was twelve years old when I wrote it and an avid reader of Zane Gray and other classic western writers. It is exactly as I wrote it with the exception of my fixing some of the punctuation and a few spellings so that it is easier to read. No quite worthy of the pages of Ranch Romances, a pulp magazine I was soon reading, but I aspired in that direction!

I am not embarrassed to share although obviously this is a far cry from my adult writing. I think it does show a trace of an innate gift for telling a story although the plot is a bit far fetched and full of holes! Still, there is action, drama and romance. Those elements have followed as my skill and craft developed. For a bit of my mature tales you can visit my 'writer's blog':  www.deirdredares.blogspot.com.

But here you have the debut.  Remember as you read that the writer was only twelve years old so temper your judgment!

                                                         The Law of the Frontier
A slim girl in a blue calico dress was walking down a small canyon in Arizona. Her long blonde curls hung down partly over her blue eyes and a bit of sweat dripped down her face. At the sound of hoof beats behind her, she climbed the bank and looked up the canyon. She obviously recognized either the horse or the rider for she scrambled back down to meet them.
“Howdy there, Miss Sally,” greeted the brown haired, blue eyed cowboy. “What are you doing way out here?”
“Well, Jimmy, I was riding Beanie and when I got off I dropped the reins like I do with Lady. I forgot he isn’t trained yet to stand ground tied so off he went leaving me to walk home. Lucky you came by!”
“I reckon Canyon King can carry double,” Jimmy said as he stopped to let Sally get on behind him. Soon they came to the –M- (Bar M Bar) ranch house.
“See you later,” Sally called as she jumped down.  She had no idea how long that would be.
“Hello, Mama,” she called as she entered the big adobe house.
“Oh, are you back so soon?”
“Yes, Mama,” Sally replied as she sat down to explain what had happened.
A few minutes later, a horse stopped by the front door.  A tall old cowboy strode in. “Jed Stone’s gang is on the rampage again. You ladies better pack up and head to Bear Creek. Where’s Ted?”
“Daddy is at the barn, Tex,” Sally said.
Then she and her mother got the big wagon and loaded it. Then they headed for Bear Creek where there was an old stone cabin built like a fortress. They got there all right. As they stopped the team they were startled by a loud, rough voice.
“Get you hands up and step down real slow.”
Sally and her mother obeyed, shocked that an outlaw had beat them to their hiding place. They soon realized they were captives of Jed Stone’s gang. They were held prisoner for a  full week. Upon their release, they promptly headed back for the ranch headquarters.
 Things looked pretty messed up. Some of the cowboys were sitting on the bunkhouse steps, Tex, Montana, Tuffy, Slim, Big Jack, Pete and Little Joe.
“Ma’am, Miss Sally, we have some bad news for you ladies,” Slim began.
Tuffy took up the tale. “The Boss is dead He was killed by two of Jed’s bullets. We buried him good with a big granite slab and all of us boys carved on it."
“Thank you so much", Sally said. She could see her mother was too overcome to speak. She was silent for a minute and then she started to give orders. Things began to happen.
About  a week later Sally and her mother were left alone with Tuffy as a guard. About five that evening a group of masked riders came riding up. Sally hurried to help Tuffy bar the door and close the heavy shutters. The outlaws banged and yelled. Then they began to pound of the door.
“The door can’t hold much longer,” Tuffy whispered.  Then they heard more horses approaching. A fierce gun battle followed. Then there was silence.
Finally they heard a voice shouting “Everything is okay.”
Tuffy cautiously opened the door. Seeing that all was safe, he stepped out. Sally peeked out and saw Jimmy. She hurried to him, crying, “Are you hurt?”
“No,” he assured. “But what should we do with these two hombres?”
“Let the Mexican go but I know the other and I know what to do with him! That lousy varmint killed my dad and a lot of others, too.”
Sally turned to Jimmy. “Give me your gun, Jimmy.”
She aimed carefully and then with her eyes shut, she pulled the trigger. Jed Stone fell, kicked once and then lay still.
Sally turned to Jimmy then. “I-I-d-don’t k-know w-wh-why I d-d-did that,”  she sobbed.
Jimmy took her in his arms and held her tight. He let her cry awhile and then he said softly, “Sally, stop crying. You did right and avenged your father. Now I need to ask you something.”
She lifted her head from his shoulder before he spoke.
“I think you and your mother need somebody to take care of you and the ranch. Do you think you could help that happen by becoming Mrs. Jim Carter?”
“Oh, Jimmy darling, would I?” She whispered the words and followed them with a silence that meant more than words. After awhile she drew away and looked up at him. “I think The Boss, Dad, would have wanted things to work this way.”
Then they walked hand in hand into the house just as the full moon rose.  


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Working on the special post--bear with me!

I found the two steno notebooks in which I wrote some of my early tales in pencil. I'm  reading them to decide which one or two to share soon. The reading is not easy since the writing has blurred and faded some over time! These were written when I was twelve and thirteen, reading Zane Grey, Ernest Haycox and other classic western writers of that ilk. I certainly was influenced by their style and stories but even then, I had to be sure there was a love story in each one! They were very chaste and sweet, of course. That was all I had read up to that point and my personal experience was absolutely zilch so a kiss or two and fond looks were about all the couple exchanged!  I have to laugh a little bit and admit, "Ya come a long way, Baby." (Does anyone recall that commercial? I think it was for Virginia Slims cigs.) Well, admit it, Self, you really are almost as old as dirt... Now I write everything from sweet to regular vanilla flavor to x-rated!!

Okay, here is the poem I was thinking of. It may reveal that I am both a very amateur astronomer and also a reader of classic mythology. Enjoy! How many stars or constellations can you identify in this verse? I name but a couple of stars and simply allude to the rest.

          Winter Sky
The swan with kamikaze song
Its dagger drives into the west.
While eastward, rising beacon bright
With brilliant torch does Sirius light
The hunter's way across the night.
Along the silver stream.
Upon their thrones the mythic pair
Reign over cold and darkness now
And the fiery chariot of the north,
Led by Capella, flashes forth.
Displayed on velvet blue, a fortune's worth
Of jewels may fill my dream.
                               GMW (c) 1996

Monday, February 8, 2016

Darn computers...

My main old desktop is dying and I still prefer to use that although I have a good laptop and a lovely little netbook. Right now I am going to be juggling as I try to follow a big sled dog race --actually two--while I load my stuff on a temporary system my brother is setting up for me and kind of keep on keeping on with regular projects. Multi-tasking? Hmm, not my strong suit.

I see I missed my 300th post where I planned to do something special. Look for that soon--some poems and photos and who knows what else! I may even type in one of my teenage-written 'ranch romances' where I was just starting to learn how to craft a story! Is that worth waiting for? I hope so!!

Meanwhile I am enjoying some great weather, a false spring more or less and had a great walk with my dogs yesterday. No flowers, only a few sprigs of green like mustard weeds and filaree but that will come. The birds were singing away, mostly sparrows I think, and the doves are calling more now. So spring will come; always has and always will! Thank yo Powers-That-Be!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Imbolc--traditional festival and honor to Brighid/Brigit/Bride

The ancient Celtic peoples were very keenly aware of the solar and other celestial movements and the division of the seasons. They were also fond of dividing blocks of time and many other things. Thus they took the clearly observable feast days of the Equinoxes and Solstices and carefully divided the days between them and created other festival dates. Imbolc is one of those. It has been said to mark the increase of the light as the sun is about a quarter of the way back to the highest point so days are longer again. But heat had not yet begun to build as winter still has a grip on the northern climes. So light-without-heat is symbolic of the day.

Our Groundhog Day has many roots in this ancient celebration since it shares the date. In ancient times, these holidays were marked as starting at sundown and lasting until the next sundown so Imbolc began as the sun fell below the horizon this evening and will last until sunset tomorrow.

The goddess Brigid, also spelled Brighid, Brigit, Bride and several other ways is celebrated by this holiday as well as her traditional date of Mayday. She was such a powerful figure in ancient mythology and beliefs as Christianity began to be established in the Celtic lands that she evolved into a Saint. My theory is the church fathers followed a modified "if you can't beat them, join them" approach to such things. Clearly, they could not allow a female deity but if she becomes a saint, a level of veneration and honor is permissible! Thus we had St Brighid who is still popular in Ireland, at least in some more rural areas.

As a student of the old Druid ways and the spirituality of my ancestors, I do observe these celebrations to some degree. I honor Brighid in the mystery of fire on water--floating a tea light candle in a small bowl of water purified by exposure to the sun and the full moon in recent days and will let an electric candle burn through the night.

This observance is placed beneath an imaginative vision of the goddess created by a friend and one who was most instrumental in growing my interest in these old ways. I find it very beautiful although I tend to envision the goddess as a tall woman with very dark auburn hair and strong but handsome features, past the flush of youth but not yet aged.  The other emblem is a Bridhid's cross, traditionally fashioned of reeds or straw after the grain is threshed from it. I have a small pendant in silver in the same design.

Blessed Imbolc to one and all! You can read a lot more about this festival by simply putting the word into your search engine. A lot of supposed wisdom and knowledge should be taken with a grain of salt but there is some factual reality in most of the modern interpretations.