A Visit to Oswald

*Disclaimer: This is a fictionalized account of how last night might have gone if we all actually lived together*

Yesterday was a rough day. I had a great weekend, and then a very moody day, which is only ever made worse by my guilt that I am not appreciating the previous good days enough. I had a feeling the others had rough days too, based on the silence as we sat around the living room, each engrossed in our own things.

I was working hard on my forum post by staring at the screen angrily and wishing words would just appear. It isn’t due until Thursday, but my paper is due on Sunday, and I plan to be gone all weekend, so, in a ripple effect, the forum post has to get done now so I can work on my paper without interruption.  Rissa was engrossed in a book, having already done the dishes that I completely ignored, and Abby was taking a break from writing her children’s series while she pursued what the internet had to say about being motivated to write. Grace was off on some adventure, as per usual, and all in all, our Ingleside mansion was far too quiet for four girls living there.

Abby must have agreed because after an hour or so of this, she scared me half to death when she suddenly sprang up from the sofa. “Let’s go visit Oswald!”

I eyed her skeptically. “I can’t. I have to do my post.” I am ashamed to say I did not even attempt to hide the grouchiness in my tone. Rissa’s eyes appeared just above the cover of her book, quietly assessing the outcome of the sudden conversation.

“Yes, you can.” Abby responded determinedly. “You aren’t getting anything done anyway, and us sitting around here sulking is a waste of a beautiful night.”

“We have to go to work tomorrow – I don’t have time.” I refused to be easily moved. I can be unfortunately stubborn when I decide I want to be unhappy. I typed a few words and then promptly deleted them.

Abby subsided momentarily, glancing between me and Rissa and then announced. “All right, then I’m going to visit Oswald myself. Rissa, do you want to come?”

“Suure.” Rissa’s slight drawl didn’t sound extremely sure, but she put down her copy of House of Light anyway.

It’s almost like they knew there is no better way to get me to do something than make me feel like I’m going to be left out.

“Fine, I’m coming!” I closed my laptop a little more firmly than was needed, but both girls ignored my temper.

Oswald, for anyone reading this who isn’t familiar with us, is our local ghost. He’s really a friendly ghost – we met him when we were vacationing together in the mountains of Colorado, and since we moved into Ingleside, we’ve decided that he probably resides in the ancient graveyard just down the street from us, so when we go to “visit Oswald”, that actually means we are going on a field trip to the cemetery.

Therefore, we were shortly entering the archway that led into a myriad of forgotten stories. Whether I wanted it to or not, I have to admit that the warm evening air and the stars twinkling overhead lightened my mood. And within a few feet of getting to the graveyard, my paper was all but forgotten. There is something about graveyards that ease the stress from me. I just love meandering the rows and reading the inscriptions, and telling all those loved ones that there are still people who haven’t forgotten them even when they’ve been gone a hundred or so years.

We all walked through the rows quietly, stopping every so often to read the inscriptions when possible, or helping each other make out what a faded word said, but the quiet was far different from the silence in the living room. It was the silence of the revered. The silence of remembering lost hopes.

And as we reached one particular clump of trees, a wind appeared out of nowhere, whipped around us, into the trees, and was gone. We all looked at each other, startled, and even perhaps a little scared, for a moment, and then laughed. “You can’t scare us, Oswald!” Abby called after him. We grinned at each other and started for the exit. I like to think that the souls in that graveyard liked that random peal of laughter – a bit of joy in a sober place.

I know I did. But most of all, I am grateful for friends who don’t put up with my random moods and force me to get out of my own head every once in a while. And I think my school appreciated it too. My post took only about 15 minutes after I got home, which means tonight I get to fully concentrate on my paper again. Assuming Oswald doesn’t decide to interrupt us again.




Hello from Wisconsin!

Lately, when faced with a blank screen and blinking cursor, I experience the utmost paralysis and dread. However, after a brush with untimely demise yesterday morning, I suppose I should introduce myself while there is something left to introduce.

By yesterday morning, I mean, like, last week. As that is how long it has taken me to come back to this draft and continue….

But let me tell you about the sky. Up on these northern plains the sky stretches wide and clouds roll like breakers. Sometimes when I’m driving (and I’m driving about two hours every day) it’s hard to keep my eyes off the sky and on the road. So I noticed right off, the other day, when some large yellow object appeared to be frolicking in the sky to starboard.

The corn stalks are as high as a forest now, and for all the world it looked like it was darting down into them and circling up again into the sky. What was it? A kite? A drone? A plane? It soon became clear it was untethered–dropping out of view behind me only to spring up again in front, moving faster than seemed quite possible.

And flying so low. Was somebody up in that thing, driving?? I gripped the wheel half ready to dive into the ditch. May day! May day!

This would be an appropriate place for a punchline or explanation but I’m afraid I don’t have one.

So what else about me? Well, my husband and I moved to Wisconsin about a year ago and are presently renting an old church that has been converted into a private residence. It is as cool as it sounds. I do finance/accounting type stuff during the day to pay the bills. But mostly, I’d rather be reading, or identifying wildflowers, or chopping up vegetables. We have a cat named Mabel.

And I am wondering where on Earth the summer has gone.

A Trip to Utah

I have a feeling it will take us writers awhile to figure out how to do posts without waiting for a “big” event to make one worthwhile. So, while I normally wouldn’t post about these seemingly every day things, that is exactly what I am going to do since, as described in the About Us page, that is exactly what this blog is supposed to be! And, yes, that was me warning you in a roundabout way that there is nothing overtly exciting about this post. 😛

So, I went to Utah last week. For a business trip. I had about. . . mmm . . . 10 days warning maybe? Maybe 15. It was just me and my boss. Now, I like my boss. Mostly. He has the best of intentions and the worst of memories. He also has this habit of – oh – let’s see. I know of a great example. Emailing people to find out if he can brief at their security conference in 15 days, and then, when he gets permission, forwarding it to his three analysts (of which I am one), with an “FYI, one of you will be going with me to this.” Which translates to, we are going to do this briefing I just signed up for and whoever goes with me is ACTUALLY doing the briefing.

So off to Utah I went, after taking a total of one day to prepare the briefing and one day to memorize the information I needed (because, no matter what he thinks, I cannot drop all of my other tasks in order to put it together early).

It actually didn’t go half bad. After sitting at the bar – oh, excuse me – restaurant (they have very strict guidelines in Salt Lake City on what is a restaurant vs. a bar), and looking like a crazy person as I recited information to myself, I incited the sympathy of both the [very young girl] bartender and another customer, one of whom offered to let me practice on her, and, and the other who assured me that it would be fine, not to over practice, and reminded me none of them would remember anything I said anyway. I later found out he had never really done public speaking – but it was nice of him to try and encourage me anyway.

I think one of the most painful parts, though, was when we arrived Tuesday afternoon, and I had to follow my boss around to scope out Wednesday’s meeting place. Like I said, sweetest guy, best of intentions – some . . . memory issues, I guess. So, first, we walk the 12 minutes to the meeting site to make sure we know where it is. But walking there actually consisted of starting in one direction, stopping so he can stare at his GPS for awhile, and then turning in another direction. So it actually took at least 20 minutes. And since we arrived early enough that the hotel wouldn’t let us check in, I was lugging my backpack with two laptops, and like 5 books (courtesy of being a writer) and it was like 100 degrees out. So I was already exhausted by the time we located the meeting place.

We get there, and he suggests we eat lunch at the place it advertises at the front (it’s past 2:00 PM by this point). So we walk to the back, and they had closed 10 minutes before, but it took me a few minutes to convince him that yes, this place with the same name was actually the place he saw advertised, and, yes, it was actually closed. So, then we go back to the directory to find a nearby lunch place, and he starts clicking around on the interactive map, and I make the mistake of asking which one is in the direction of our hotel (thinking, of course, that we could walk toward the hotel and stop on the way), so the next 15 minutes are spent with him taking turns examining his GPS and the map in front of him, and trying to figure out what streets things are on. This includes the time he looked at the address for the building we were at, and tried to find that on the map because he thought that was the hotel, and partially acknowledging, but not really listening as I tried to point out the actual street name our hotel was on. Eventually he came to the conclusion (with my assistance) that we could just walk in the direction of the hotel and stop when we saw a place.

We walked a few minutes, and he sees an advertisement for a plaza and decides that will likely have food and we should check there (a good suggestion and usually true) – so we walk through and find another directory, which, of course, we must examine thoroughly. Allow me to quote part of the conversation.

Me: Look – that restaurant is right there (points to building next to us)

Him: Hmm. What about this – where is this one – where is C26?

Me: Uh – here – there it is.

Him: Which one is that?

Me: C26.

Him: Oh – what is it?

Me: Reads the name out loud.

Him: Hmm. (continues browsing) Oh. What about this one – hey that’s right here. (points to exact same building I had pointed to)

I won’t bore you with the rest – but you get the idea. Between walking around trying to find an OPEN place to eat, and deciding whether we should be on the upper or lower level, it was probably 20-30 minutes before we were finally seated at, of all places, a Dave & Busters. 

Then, the walk back. We get out of the restaurant and start walking. He checks his GPS and, accordingly, stops to study it, and then turns us around. I was like, “Um – isn’t this back towards the meeting place, not the hotel?” “No – it’s taking us to the hotel.” Five or so minutes later, the meeting place comes into view. He stops short, and would have turned around again, but I pulled out my GPS, and was like – here – we can go this way instead of going all the way back. Now, in his defense, the GPS, for whatever reason, really had told him to go that extra long way – but in 100 degree weather, lugging a heavy backpack after having spent eight hours on airplanes, I may have been a little too short with him. I do feel bad about that. 

But I got back to the hotel eventually, dove into the pool, laid out in the sun, had some wine, practiced my briefing for the next day, and went to bed feeling immensely happier. 

This post has gotten immensely long, and my lunch break is up, so I am not going to bore you by going into my indignation about Utah’s alcohol laws (did you know you can’t take a glass of wine to your hotel room, but you can take a bottle?), or talk about the client dinner in which I was the only woman in a group of 20+ men and had to squeeze in at a long table with everyone, or tell you about the 12ish year old I sat next to on the airplane on the ride back who watched her movie without headphones, nor discuss how my boss then submitted my time sheet FOR me without letting me put in the 12 hour days I had worked because I didn’t make time to do it while I was in airports/airplanes for 10 hours. 

Instead I will end on a positive note by saying, as annoying as the trip was, that place was gorgeous. We were surrounded by mountains, the sky was incredible, the weather was beautiful, and if it wasn’t for the absurd drinking laws, I’d totally go back someday. 


Hello From Virginia!

I’m not great on introductions or pithy openings, unlike most of my writerly friends. 😛 I also tend to be pretty to-the-point, which can sometimes make things short, but then, unless I am absolutely certain of what I am saying, I’ll follow it up with lots of qualifiers. I’ll try not to do that to you today – at least too much.

I work full-time in Washington DC as an analyst, and write on the side. In a nutshell, my days typically consist of working, going home, working out (on good days), studying for my Master of Arts (depending on if I am taking a class that month), and then either writing or doing other stuff while thinking that I should be writing.

Since this blog is all about the little life stuff and, of course, writing, I’ll skip the boring talk about my job for now and dive straight into writing. I’m currently working on editing a super sappy romance novel, which I plan to submit to Love Inspired whenever I eventually really think it’s ready (code: never). I also have a historical literary/romance novel that needs basically a complete re-haul, and I have set that aside for awhile because it’s a little discouraging, and I am still trying to finish a fantasy novel because the characters keep insisting that the plot gets deeper and deeper! Initially that one was going to be a pretty short almost novella, but we are at like 120,000 words, and they haven’t even had a battle yet. So we’ll see where that one goes.

In case you can’t tell, I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew and then be upset because I can’t do everything perfectly, efficiently, and in a timely manner.

My Writers of Ingleside girls help keep me grounded and encouraged, and I can’t wait to see more about their everyday lives halfway across the country!

P.S. In case you are curious, I’m Jacinta.

Hello from Colorado!

He caught me in a moment of weakness, and before I quite knew what was happening, I was agreeing to work on my writing on a multiple-times-per-week basis.

“I can do that,” I repeated, eyes still widened in surprise at how easily the promise came. He nodded once in great satisfaction and smiled that cat-that-swallowed-the-canary smile that can be so infuriating.

I’m supposed to be writing every day on my novel. But he didn’t qualify his question (demand?) and this truly is a creative outlet for me, hopefully a source of some small amusement for you, and a perfect technical excuse for following through on my promise in between days when I’m actually working on my novel. (The mood strikes at random, as you know, and I don’t know I’m quite the person to chase after inspiration and hit it over the head with a club. Violence in all forms is absolutely reprehensible to me. )

But I get ahead of myself. Hi there! I’m Abby, book-wrangler (I officially work at a LIBRARY…does this mean I’m living the dream?), coffee-drinker, and word-slinger! I love travel and I hate introductions.

Stay tuned for the odd (please note the multiple meanings in this word!) glimpse into my everyday life.

Welcome to The Writers of Ingleside!

True friends are always together in spirit. ~Anne of Green Gables

We are a group of best friends who live states apart, but try to come together every couple/few years and always stay in touch. We thought it’d be fun to run a blog together with our every day lives as the subject, and maybe the occasional fictional blurb thrown in. Stay tuned to hear from writers in Colorado, Wisconsin, and Virginia!