Writing Toward Home

Writing , Ideas, and Encouragement

Month: September 2017 (page 1 of 2)

Thirty in Thirty Day 19: The Origin of Ideas

Thirty in Thirty Day 19   The Origin of Ideas

 

 

Yesterday’s post about my Wild Child’s coup for control of the Thirty in Thirty challenge led me today’s post. Wild Child declared that she did not want to use prompts from someone else because she had her own ideas. So that leads to a question I often see on social media or hear from friends and acquaintances: “Where do you get your ideas?”

 

I must confess that I am always a bit nonplussed when asked that question. My initial response, influenced by Wild Child, and therefore not to be uttered aloud, is “You’re kidding, right? I have to tell my ideas to get in line and take a number.” This is a snarky answer, but actually close to the mark. I have so many ideas jumping around in my head that I have difficulty deciding which to choose. Currently I have three different major projects going, so I am constantly having to choose which one gets my time and attention from day-to-day.

 

Miss Rule Follower, Wild Child’s polar opposite, is more helpful with her response. I will take my cue from her. The short answer is I get my ideas from everywhere, because I think like a writer. The key is to be constantly open to the ideas coming at you all day long. I expect ideas and they show up, often pushing and shoving to get to the head of the queue.

 

Here is a list of ways to keep the ideas flowing:

 

  1. Carry a notebook with you everywhere . You never know when a great idea will show up and you need to capture it before it flits away. My policy is that any purse I carry must be large enough to carry a notebook to write in and a book to read.

  1. Read, read, read. Read widely; read everything. I get great ideas from newspaper articles, magazines, essays, poetry, fiction of all kinds, and non-fiction. I make a habit of reading 1 poem, 1 essay and 1 short story every day, just to fill my creative reservoir with great language and story structure. I also have at least one book of fiction and one of non-fiction that I am reading at all times. I never go anywhere without a book to read. I am always a bit surprised when aspiring writers say that they don’t read. That’s  like an aspiring chef saying they don’t like to eat.

  1. When you read, keep your notebook handy. Write down words or phrases that resonate with you. Save them for later to use as “story sparks” aka prompts. Write down questions you have about what you read as well.

 

  1. Wonder a lot. Ask questions about things you read, things you watch or hear. Write down your wonderings. Ask yourself “What if?, “Why?” “How?” Then write to find your Use your notebook.

  1. Wander a lot. Get out in the world. Go to unfamiliar places. Pay attention to what you see, hear and notice. Think about how you would describe that sunset, that view, that experience. Again, use your notebook. Let your mind wander as well. Silence and put away your phone, take out those ear buds and look away from your TV or computer. Ideas come from authentic experiences and noticing things.

  1. Mine your life. Your family and personal stories are the seeds of great stories that only you can tell. Those crazy relatives and embarrassing moments from childhood are a treasure trove. Use them!

 

  1. Pay attention to what you pay attention to. Explore your unique interests, hobbies, and areas of expertise. Share your enthusiasm and knowledge, If you are interested in something chances are someone else is too.

 

  1. Use artwork or photographs to stimulate ideas. Discover the story behind the images or make one up.

 

  1. Learn something new and keep a record of your successes and your failures.

 

  1. Keep an eye on current events, news, and politics. Record your opinions and frustrations.

 

  1. Eavesdrop on conversations at coffee shops, the grocery store or any other place where people gather. There are wonderful nuggets of stories hidden in the encounters of our fellow human beings. Plus it makes for a useful lesson in dialogue.

 

  1. Pay attention to people as you shop, sit in traffic or wait in line. Make up stories about them as you observe their appearance, mannerisms and actions. Not only is this great practice for writing description, it is entertaining as well.

 

In summary, a writer must be a keen observer and student of the world. Or as Wild Child would say, “Pay attention!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thirty in Thirty Day 18

Thirty in Thirty Day 18     Rebellion and Rule Following

 

 It was bound to happen.  My ability to follow a structured, prescriptive  program for any endeavor has a limited shelf life. It has always been thus.  Therefore, I was not surprised  this morning  when the inner rebel Wild Child who hides behind my reserved and obedient façade declared she was no longer even going to pretend to write from a list of prompts provided by someone else.  She shook her pen, tapped her notebook and said, “ I’ve got my own ideas!” 

If you are a recent reader of my posts you can spot the trajectory of this defection.  For the first five days of Thirty in Thirty I adhered to the prompts provided by storyaday.org with absolute fidelity.   I was able to make the prompts work with my Work-in Progress with Wild Child and Rule Follower both quite happy.  The trouble started when the website informed the participants that only 5 prompts per week would be provided. The other two days each week we were told to write whatever we chose as long as we wrote something.

Wild Child, seeing a small loophole, began picking at the edges of the portal to freedom.  “Yipee! “ But Prissy Miss Rule Follower insisted that the prompts should at least be chosen from the archives of the website, to preserve the spirit of the challenge. Wild Child chafed, but complied, plotting all the while.

The true rebellion began when I attended a literary festival last week in West Jefferson, NC.  My plucky little Wild Child relished in hearing gifted authors share and read from their work, participating in advice sessions for writers, and engaging in informal chats with fellow local wordsmiths.  I took copious notes, soaked up beautiful language and brainstormed. Writing ideas and prompts of my own filled up the pages of my notebook. 

Each day it became harder and harder to stick to the prompts provided.  The writing challenge that had begun with purpose and joy was becoming a struggle. I reasoned that I was tired from full days at the festival , so I allowed myself more leeway, which proved to be a slippery slope indeed. The ragged edges of that loophole were unraveling as Wild Child attempted to squeeze herself through. 

Last night I wrangled with words that fit the prompt for over an hour and then deleted the pitiful effort in frustration. I argued with my dear spouse over an inconsequential matter and then declared I was giving up writing.  He wisely did not comment on that declaration, which he has heard before. I huffed off to bed, but ten minutes later I was back up and at my computer. I knew what I wanted to write about, so I did an Internet search until I found a prompt that fit. The writing flowed and I was able to continue my streak to 17 days.

The big take-away from this for me is in the form of a question: Why did I keep trying to write to prompts that did not immediately spark an idea?  Or why did I think I needed to write to any prompt?  I can only think that Miss Rule Follower in her first attempt at Thirty in Thirty was trying to do it “right”.  She can be so earnest sometimes. She wanted to make sure the challenge was completed. She forgot that what matters is acquiring the habit of writing every day  in order to  improve as a writer and create a body of work. Thirty on Thirty is the writer’s version of a pianist practicing scales or a swimmer doing laps. It is the regular practice that is the key.

 

This is not to knock the use of prompts. I have had terrific pieces of writing that have come from using them. In fact, my middle grade fantasy project started from a prompt in a writing circle group. Writing a fantasy wasn’t even on my radar at that time. The right prompt at the right time can be powerful. Conversely, a prompt can also be a constricting influence on the imagination.

For the moment, peace reigns. A truce has been struck. Wild Child has taken control of the ideas and Miss Rule Follower is keeping track of the writing sessions. Each one has a role that suits her personality. It takes both imagination and discipline to be a writer. Sometimes I just need to remind myself that there is joy in the balance.

 

Thirty In Thirty Day 17

Thirty In Thirty Day 17

 

 

Once again, the rebel in me rejected the prompt for today provided by storyaday.org. There was nothing wrong with the prompt but it wasn’t the right one for me today. I may use it at another time. I did an internet search of prompts and found one that worked.

 

Prompt: The streets were deserted.

 

Exploring more of my middle grade fantasy by letting my protagonist, Olen, take the stage.

 

Detention again. And ten lashes on my back in front of the whole class. Master Roberts was quite angry that I interrupted his lesson to ask about Before. I didn’t cry out or shed any tears, which I think provoked him to strike me harder on the last few. My back smarted the rest of the day and the other boys steered clear of me at lunch and recess. No one wants to be seen with a boy who breaks the rules so often. I understand. It isn’t safe to question the laws or the Master. It is better this way. At least now that they are avoiding me I get beat up less often.

 

Detention was two hours of reading the Tirren Code of Laws aloud to Master Roberts over and over. I’ve done it so many times already that I have them mostly memorized. But recalling them is not the same as believing them.   After all this time I can keep reading the words and think about something else entirely. Today I thought about the stories Mama told me about the Great Sea. I would like to see that one day, if it even exists anymore.

 

When he finally dismissed me with a stern warning, Master Roberts left quickly and was out of sight by the time I reached the door. As I headed toward home something felt strange. The streets were deserted. There was no one else about. No boys playing tag, no women gathering in wash from the clothes lines, no peddlers with their carts. No one at all. I felt the hair prickle on the back of my neck. Where was everyone? I hurried down the hill toward our cottage with a sense of fear growing in my chest.

 

When I opened the door Mama wasn’t in her chair. The fireplace was empty and cold. I called out, but there was no answer. Then I noticed the note on the table.

 

 

Thirty In Thirty Day 16

Thirty in Thirty Day 16

So again, the rebel in me did not want to use today’s prompt provided by storyaday.org.  Sometimes a prompt just doesn’t resonate at a certain time. I decided to use a phrase from I book I have been reading. When I came across it a week or so ago, I wrote it in my notebook because it evoked such a powerful image.  It is from Michael Chabon’s biographical novel, Moonglow.

 

 

The prompt: “ a brain letting in shadows and leaking dreams.”

 

I am continuing to explore my characters for my middle grade fantasy. I am spending time again with Mariah, who is the  mother of my protagonist , Olen.

 

 

It’s no use. After Elder Phineas and Master Robert showed up at our home last night, I knew my fate had been decided.  The Elder Council has called a mandatory town meeting for this afternoon. That can only mean one thing: banishment.  I think it devious and cowardly that they have chosen to do it now while Reuben is away on a harvest. But that is typical behavior for the Elders. I was surprised when they showed up last night, making their threats and looking for contraband. They didn’t find the books. They were well hidden.  Still, they have enough “evidence” for trumped-up charges if they choose. They claim I have not been a proper mother for Olen nor a productive member of the community. One of those claims is valid. I have hidden myself away in the cottage since The Fall. I saw no point in joining in with the other women to gossip and shop and pretend that life is fine.  As to being a poor mother, well I disagree. I might not have been like the other mothers, but I did take good care of my son in the way I thought was right. I tried to instill imagination and wonder into his mind and heart by telling him stories of Before  and about the Maker. I guess that was a mistake. All of that has just brought Olen trouble in school . I have made him discontent with my refusal to let go of the past.  I just wanted to keep the memory of the old world alive. No one else talks about it anymore. Their minds are now as clouded and dim as our surroundings. Life has become nothing but survival for them. What’s the point in that? Without dreams and hope, well…

 Anyway, I am not waiting until the sentence  is handed down.  If I must leave Tirren, it will be on my terms. I don’t know what is out there, but I will take my own path into the wilderness. When everyone is at the Council  Hall, I will make my escape. No one will expect me to be that bold. Who knows how long I will survive beyond the village walls? Perhaps the end will come mercifully soon. My departure will make things easier for Olen and Reuben. For me it is too late.

 

 

Thirty in Thirty Day 15

Thirty in Thirty Day 15 

The prompt I am using today is the one actually posted for today on storyaday.org. Well, except for one little name change. The prompt is “Trudy hadn’t heard the news.”

 

No Trudy in my stories or on my radar, so Trudy became Reuben. You may wonder who Reuben is. Well, that’s the new name of Josiah, a character I wrote about on Day 4. I realized I had named the parents Mariah and Josiah. Oops! Obviously in a dystopian fantasy, rhyming names like that would cause problems. It makes it sound less serious. So Josiah is now Reuben.

 

I digress. So my prompt for today is “Reuben hadn’t  heard the news.”

 

I am still exploring characters and trying to decide which point-of-view to use. The first 50 or so pages were written in third person limited POV. After taking a break from that project and then picking it back up, I began to toy with the idea of using  first person POV of several characters. Using the Thirty in Thirty to explore that has been quite valuable. The jury is still out on which way it will go.

 

Today I am using third person limited POV for Reuben, just to see where it will take me.

 

 Reuben was glad to be back in Tirren after a long, exhausting trip. It  was not a warm, friendly town or even a comfortable one, but it was home. He would be glad to see Mariah and Olen and to sleep in a warm bed and rest by his own hearth. His wife wasn’t perfect but she was a good woman. He regretted the way he had left two weeks earlier, with him shouting and Mariah crying. And he was sure Olen had overheard from his bed in the loft . Still, both Mariah and Olen needed to be more careful with their words and behavior. It was dangerous to challenge or ignore the laws made by The Council.

As Reuben trudged toward the cottage he noticed that other folks seemed to be turning away from him or looking down rather than returning his greetings. It was odd. Folks were not overly friendly, but usually the Harvesters were given a  receptive welcome when they returned from their trips.  He noticed a few people whispering behind their hands and pointing. What was going on?

When he arrived home the house was empty and cold. No dinner, no fire, no Mariah, no Olen.  That was odd. Mariah rarely left the house. That was one of the things they had argued about before he left. Perhaps she had heeded his pleas and gone to the Market to shop. Maybe Olen was with her or in detention after school again.

Reuben walked around the cottage to see if is wife or son might be in the back garden. There were clothes on the line, but they were stiff as if they had been hanging there for a while. That was unlike Mariah. He looked over the back fence  toward the cemetery to see if she was there, as she often was. He noticed a new gate had been erected at the entrance with one of the Council guards on duty. Mariah wouldn’t be there. She avoided the council and especially their guards who were known to enjoy enforcing the laws a bit too much.

A small spark of panic ignited in Reuben’s chest. Where was his family? He headed toward the town square. There were few people in the streets now as curfew was drawing near.

As he reached the edge of the square Reuben felt a large hand clap on his shoulder. He turned to see Elder Phineas, leader of the Council glaring at him. “Reuben, the Council requests a meeting with you.”

A chill seized his heart. “ What is it? Where are my wife and son? I cannot meet now. I need to find them.”

Elder Phineas sneered and tightened his grip on Reuben’s shoulder. “They’re gone.  Two span ago while all of the upright citizens of Tirren were at the required council meeting. Slipped out of the gates somehow.”

 

Would love feedback  as I decide on which POV to use.  Do you prefer 1st person or 3rd when you read?  Any particular reason? 

 

Thirty in Thirty Day 14

Thirty in Thirty Day 14

 

Another day filled with author talks and readings at the Ashe County Literary Festival After a long day, but fulfilling day, I needed something “short form” to complete my challenge. I found another great prompt from the archives of storyaday.org.

 

Prompt: Write a familiar story in an unfamiliar or unconventional way.

 

I decided to choose a familiar historical figure and create a poem. When I taught in the primary grades I often wrote such poems to help teach important concepts. Children ( and adults, too) easily learn and remember information that is taught in rhyme or song.

 

It’s not great  ( or even good) poetry,  but it serves the purpose and the prompt. Day 14 of Thirty in Thirty is complete.

 

George Washington

 

 

George is called Our Nation’s Father

Famous for when he crossed the water

Of the Potomac, front of the boat

A daring feat, some would note.

 

Quite a horseman in his day

In the pitch of battle he would stay

Even when his horse was shot

George fought, a coward he was not.

 

Our first President by acclamation

He led our new, idealistic nation.

He served two terms and then was through.

Said he, “ It’s time for someone new.”

 

He may not have chopped a cherry tree

But a forthright and truthful lad was he

He led the country as it began

And is remembered as an honest man.

 

Thirty in Thirty Day 13

Literary Festival! 

 

 

Today was a great day for a book lover and writer. I attended the first day of the Ashe County Literary Festival, “On The Same Page.”  Early this morning I spent two hours in a critique workshop with Georgann Eubank. Next we enjoyed  an hour with a fabulous NC author, Robert Inman, sharing his newest work and his ideas about the  writing process. Attended a luncheon called The Writer’s Movable Feast.  After a fabulous lunch, five  authors circulated among the tables and talked about their work and answered questions. Then tonight there was another 2 hour workshop on the writing process in crafting short stories  led by Tim Gatreaux.

The festival continues through Saturday. Looking forward to the other sessions.

 

Since I was involved in reading and writing  most of the day I decided that a very short response to the day’s events was enough. I chose to craft a haiku to succinctly capture my impressions.

Writers and readers

Gathering together and

Celebrating words.

 

Thirty in Thirty Day 12

Thirty in Thirty Day 12

Happily Ever After?  Snow White Ten years later.

 

The prompt for today was make yourself laugh or cry with your writing.  No crying here. I had such fun with a new take on a fairy tale yesterday, I decided to go with that again. So I wrote about what comes after “Happily Ever After.” Good laughs for me and I hope for you as well.

 

 

Dear Messrs. Grimm,

Thank you so much for your request for an update on my story. Yes, it was a “fairy tale” for the ages.  While I am flattered that on the 10th  anniversary  your readers want to know what happened next, I am fairly certain the rest of the story may not be as well received as the original.

You have assured me that your readers are sophisticated enough to realize that “happily ever after” may not be entirely accurate. Fair enough.

You have requested details of the wedding, honeymoon, and our lives afterward, including news about our “growing family.”  You seemed unfazed by my response that the Prince and I prefer our privacy. I believe your response was that since we are part of the Royal Family and supported by onerous taxes ( your words, not mine) on the citizens, then we cannot hide behind the crown. Fine.

This letter will contain all of the information that I am willing to share. You may use it as you wish. There will be no in person interview at the castle nor any pictures provided.  You asked for a real story and gentlemen, you are going to get it.

When I rode away from the dwarves’ cottage with the prince, it was the happiest day of my life. Since then it has been a series of compromises, adjustments, and disappointments.

 ~ The wedding; I was like any other young woman and had visions of what I wanted my wedding to be. I desired a small affair in the palace gardens with my woodland creature friends and of course, the dwarves in attendance, along with Edwin’s family. I wanted a simple dress and flowers in my hair and a lovely picnic afterwards.

 Eddie’s mother, Queen Evelyn ( or to me Evil-a) would not hear of any of  that. She insisted on an indoor wedding  in the grand ballroom with all of the leaders of the other kingdoms in attendance. She refused to even discuss inviting my animal friends or the dwarves even though they were my only family. Her words were “No vermin and no half-humans will be allowed into the castle.” I had to wear the gown that had been handed down through the family, a heavy, ugly, ruffled affair that smelled of mothballs. I seethed through the entire affair and was relieved when Edwin and I left on our honeymoon.

 ~ The Honeymoon I thought that we could be rid of so much interference in our lives, but I was sadly mistaken. Our “romantic” trip through the countryside was turned into a series of “state visits” arranged by King Phillip to shore up relations with the other kingdoms.

I was bored out of my mind with the endless processions, balls and formal dinners. Whenever I could manage I would escape to the gardens of the palaces we visited. I spent much time hiding behind hedges and rose bushes. Edwin was sympathetic, but he has been trained toward duty to the crown.

Don’t get me wrong. Edwin is the best part of my life in the castle. He is kind, romantic and thoughtful. But he is cowed by his parents and is burdened by the expectations of being heir to the throne.

 ~ Family Life Speaking of heirs, let your readers know that we have six .  Yes, six babies in ten years. I have spent most of the last decade in maternity clothes and exhaustion. The first four were girls, so, of course we kept going until there was a male heir. After that we needed a “spare”. Thank goodness the last one was a boy as well.  I love my children, but six under the age of seven is too much. Someone is always wet, or crying our getting into  mischief. It’s not so different from living with the dwarves except that there were no dirty diapers. 

I’m sure your readers think that I have help with the children.  Well…you cannot believe how many nannies we have gone through. The work load is too much for them. Just trying to keep everyone in clean underwear and socks is a constant battle. And don’t mention trying to find  all of the shoes when it is time to go out. I’d quit too, but I’m the mother.

 

`The Castle  I am sure there are many romantic notions about living in a castle. Let me dispel those quickly. First it is cold, musty, and drafty.  Secondly, I live with my in-laws. Enough said.

I think I have answered all of your questions. I will not respond to any further correspondence from you.

Sincerely,

Snow White

Thirty In Thirty Day 11

Thirty in Thirty Day 11

As was true yesterday, the prompt from storyaday.org for today was underwhelming and a non-starter for me.  So I went back in their archives and found a prompt from 2016 that I liked much better.

 

(Self_selected ) Prompt for today: Rewrite a fairy tale: modernize it or tell it from a different character’s  Point-of-View, or create  a new ending.

 

Ah, now there’s a prompt I can work with. So, today I have a modern retelling of Little Red Riding Hood  from the grandmother’s POV.

 

 

I’ll tell you what, it’s getting so’s a body can’t have any peace these days, You would think at my age I’d finally have earned the right to a quiet weekend without being bothered. I hope that Saturday’s “adventure”  isn’t a sign of things to come.

Retirement is supposed to be a slower pace. Well, if yesterday is any indication, retirement is going to be too much for me.

It’s all the fault of my meddlesome daughter-in-law. Why, she can’t  leave me alone for one minute! She wants to come over here every weekend or send that kid over for me to entertain. It’s not my fault my son’s job keeps him traveling so much.

If Ellen’s  lonely, she only has herself to blame. She’s the one who wanted to “get away from it all” and live way back down in the woods. Thought it would be peaceful and safer for little Rosie. Now neither Ellen or the kid have any friends.

I guess it was my mistake choosing a retirement village that was within walking distance –if you go through the woods. I didn’t know when I moved in that I would have to contend with Ellen’s constant calling, interference and just “dropping by.” I wanted to be close enough for the occasional visit, but it has gotten ridiculous.

Anyway, yesterday was the last straw. After four weekends in a row of entertaining Ellen and Rosie, I decided enough is enough. I wanted to have a quiet day at home so I could dive into the latest Stephen King novel and start on a new sewing project. I was all set to read and later sew while streaming jazz on my laptop.  I even had planned a special lunch for myself home-made pesto over cheese tortellini and  nice glass of chardonnay. Ellen doesn’t approve of eating gluten or drinking alcohol. When she comes for lunch it’s nothing but salads and organic juices.

Now you might be thinking that since I’m retired I could do all of those things during the week, but my schedule is packed. There’s bridge club on Tuesdays, garden club on Wednesdays’, tutoring at the adult education center on Thursdays, and of course keeping the books for the condo association on Mondays and Fridays. Weekends are my respite, unless I have a date.

 I digress.  Suffice it to say I had my day all planned when Ellen called and wanted to go into town and go shopping-again. So I told her I was sick with a cold and I planned to rest. Well, I could tell she was concerned and she agreed that I should stay home.

Little did I know she would get so worked up. Instead of going on shopping and leaving me alone she began baking and making soup for me. At about 12:00 she sent little Rosie through the woods to deliver a basket of chicken soup ( which I detest), watercress sandwiches on gluten-free bread ( ditto), some nasty looking  green juice, plus cold pills and aspirin.

I didn’t know all of this until a bit later. I had taken a break from reading and sewing and was getting ready to practice my yoga via YouTube when I heard a knock on my door.  Through the privacy glass on my  door I could see the distorted image of Rosie in her red coat and hood.( She wears that coat constantly. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t made it for her.) I hurried to grab my bathrobe, flung myself down on the couch and called out in my best feeble voice for her to come in.

Rosie entered and hurried over to me without closing the door. I had just opened my mouth to tell her to close it when a huge hairy-looking creature burst into the room. It looked like a wolf. Rosie screamed. Goodness gracious that girl’s shrieks could pierce concrete.

I jumped up from the couch, grabbed her by the hand and dashed into the bathroom where I flipped the lock. Rosie continued screeching. I reached over and pushed the emergency button. All of the bathrooms at the retirement village have them, You know, in case someone falls or something foolish like that.

The sounds outside the bathroom turned from growling to what sounded like laughter. A muffled voice called out, “ Hey Thelma it’s just me.”

Then the security  people showed up shouting and radios crackling. I opened the door and peeked out. The officers had the wolf cornered and then dragged him outside.

Turns out the “wolf” was one of my son’s weirdo friends from high school.  That fool, Wally,  had gotten himself  a role in a rock video. After the taping he had gotten drunk  and decided to show up in costume and scare me. Wally never did like me. Needless to say the feeling is mutual.  Now he is in jail charged with home invasion.

 


 

 

 

Thirty in Thirty Day 10

Thirty in Thirty Day 10

 

I have been following the prompts from storyaday.org for my Thirty in Thirty challenge. The website says feel free to ignore a prompt when it really doesn’t resonate, so today I am doing so. The prompt was to write without following punctuation and other conventions. So instead I am continuing with my exploration of characters in my middle-grade fantasy.

 

 

Today I am taking the POV of Elder Phineas, the leader of the ruling council in the town of Tirren, the setting for the beginning of my story.

 

My patience is running out. No, that is a falsehood. The truth is it ran out long ago. If Josiah wasn’t the best harvester in the village I would have long ago advised, no forced the council to censure his family. There’s that crazy wife of his, Mariah, who skulks around the cemetery, but otherwise refuses to leave her house. She is not following Decree 35 of the Covenant Laws of Tirren that all adults should contribute to and participate in village life. I have decided that the council needs to pass a law forbidding entry into the cemetery except for funerals. All of this moaning over dead children is not productive. Every family lost children. If they were not strong enough to survive, they would have been a drain on the village. There is no place  for weakness or sentimentality in Tirren.

 

Then there is Josiah’s worthless son, Olen. By all accounts he is a bright lad, but he is not obedient. He daydreams during lessons and questions the teaching of the Masters at school. He has been thrashed and punished frequently for his attitude, but it has not changed anything. He continues to ask about Before and about the outside world. That should’ve been indoctrinated out of him much earlier. I think his mother is undermining the school teachings. Talking about Before is forbidden under Law 10 of the Covenant.

 

So we have reason to charge Mariah on two counts of law breaking. We could banish her. As for that boy, he will be 12 soon. Then he will be answerable as an adult.

 

I think that it is time to take advantage of Josiah’s absence and pay an official visit to Mariah. I will have Master Gregson accompany me. We will make it clear what is at stake. Besides there have been rumors that Mariah is in the possession of forbidden items-books. Yes, I think tonight we will pay call on Mariah and Olen.

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