Little things matter. Along the way you discover they weren't so little after all.

Category Archives: Writing

This is extra funny if you used to wear harem pants.

This is extra funny if you used to wear harem pants.

This blog has been a lot of fun. So much fun, in fact, that I decided to try and give it a more professional look and greater functionality (don’t I sound like I know what I’m talking about?). I moved the blog so it now has a shorter web address, a cute header, and plenty to get your brain and heart going. I’d love to have you come along, so please click on over…

http://tclarson.com


I’m just about ready to move this blog over to a new site. That means I will no longer post here at Love, Laundry, Faith & Family. It should happen early next week (if everything goes according to plan…which it rarely does).

I’d love to have you come by the new space. You can find it at http://tclarson.com . I’m also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TCLarsonWrites , amongst other social networks.

If you are a fellow WordPress user and you’ve clicked “follow” you’re the one I’m most concerned about losing as I transition to the new site. Would you consider subscribing via email?

Here’s a little video farewell, and I look forward to seeing you over yonder at the new site.


Rizinus

Rizinus (Photo credit: flöschen)

This will be brief.

Mostly it will be brief because I don’t know how to talk about what is going on in my family.

That may cause some confusion, because I actually mean “family of origin” but I ain’t that fancy and family’s family. My family by marriage is my family. My siblings and their spouses and my parents are my family. My husband and my children are my family. When something impacts one of them, it impacts us all.

My dad is sick. He was in the hospital for a week. We just brought him back to his house (with my mom) last night.

He has cancer. It is lung cancer. No, he is not a smoker, but if you think it matters or somehow a person who did smoke who develops cancer somehow deserved it, then you’ve never seen someone get sick. You don’t wish this on anyone, unless you’re a real dink.

There are many complicating medical factors that I won’t go into here.

I’ve stepped away from blogging, mostly because I’ve been busy trying to stay out of bed. Everything takes a monumental amount of effort, and I’m not the one who’s sick. I’m just on the sidelines and I find it challenging to keep moving.

As of today I’ve bought one Christmas present.

To blog about this, about this journey or the unfolding (or collapsing) of this could be a good thing.

It could also be getting personal gain from a difficult situation. I’m not talking “make lemonade from lemons” here. I’m talking about ambulance chasing, zero-ing in on that elusive “niche” that writers are supposed to find:

“How’d you become such a popular blogger?”

“I cashed in on the fact that my dad developed lung cancer at 67. It worked out pretty sweet for me. Sucks to be him.”

No thank you.

Photoglob AG Zürich

Photoglob AG Zürich (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The thing for me is that writing has always been a way of processing things going on, whether that’s in my head or things around me. There’s that so-called “curse of self-awareness” that even as something is happening we’re aware of it, observing it. So as my dad positions on his shoulders a prayer shawl knitted by some kind people at a church in Colorado, I observe the way it clings to him, stretches and shapes to his body, how the yarn is bumpy and multifaceted with color, how I hope it covers him in prayers and envelops him with God’s peace. And as a person who writes and has been training myself to look for these stamp-sized images, I feel guilty for noticing.

It’s as if by observing, I remove myself from experiencing the situation in real time. And the one thing I can do for my dad is to walk through this with him, in real time, no self-preservation of distance or clinical observation. It is awful. But it is also infused with holy moments when all artifice is stripped away, all distance between presentation and reality is removed and we all are ourselves at our most raw, terrified, vulnerable and helpless. But we are together. And there is beauty in that.

*****

Because of all this, and even though it snuck up on me and I’m not ready for it, it is also Christmas, and because I need to analyze why I would be writing about my life right now, I’m going to step away from blogging for a while. I may check in every so often with a quick hello, but I think it best to put it on hold for now.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for commenting. Thanks for being a really fun part of my days. I like y’all a lot. I hope to be back before too long. Have a wonderful Christmas, New Years, and any other holidays in December and January. Blessings. ~TC Larson


This is an excerpt from the first draft of the project I’m working on during November. The working title is HAPPY CAMPERS. It is a Work In Progress (WIP) and for all I know, this portion won’t stay in the final product. Heck, I don’t even know if this girl’s name should really be Abby, but I like the ways you can tweak it, so I’m going with it for now.

Why am I posting this?? It’s because I’d like to give you a glimpse of what’s taking all my spare minutes this month. I want to be brave and share the writing thing that I’m so passionate about, even if I’m still learning how to do it well. …And I want you to tell me how great it is and how much you like it. That said, I do realize we can’t always get what we want. 😉

****

‘I can’t do this,’ she thought.

She stood on a small platform at the top of a 60 foot pole. Each rung of the ladder she had sent up a little prayer, but now she stood, clipped to the wire, with nothing between her and certain demise on the forest floor.

‘What was I thinking?’

From miles below she heard Jay’s voice, confident and strong.

“You can do this!” he proclaimed, and for an instant she believed him.

Then she rocked forward on her toes, only tipped forward a centimeter  but it was enough to make her stomach lurch and throw her bodily functions into panic mode.

“I just peed my pants a little bit,” she screeched. “This is the worst idea ever. I’m coming down!”

She could hear Jay laughing down below.

Marshall chimed in from his safe spot next to Jay on terra firma.

“Come on, Abigail, you know the only way down is the zip line. You’ve coached people on how to do this.”

“I was lying. This is a death trap. There’s no way I can do this,” she yelled at him. “And also, I hate you.”

Marshall and Jay now hooted with laughter from their place of safety on the ground.

Section of right-hand Lang's lay wire rope

Section of right-hand Lang’s lay wire rope (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Abigail checked her harness again, triple checked her carabineer. She ran through the reasons why she was up on the platform, but she came up empty. She couldn’t remember why it had seemed so important to her, what compelling reasons drove her up into the trees. None of them could have been sufficient enough to trust her life to a diaper of webbing and a tiny wire cable. Her parents would say this was foolhardy.

“I’m coming up,” Jay announced. He was already enroute, and experience told her all her words couldn’t stop him once he had begun his ascent. She had to do this on her own. She knew he wanted to help her but she had to do this without him. Now he had started a timer and she resented him for it.

“Stop,” she yelled. “I can do this myself.”

“Then do it,” he said from his spot on the ladder 50 feet below her. “If you don’t I’m gonna push you off.”

“That’s not funny.” She tried to fight the tears but they stung the corners of her eyes. “Seriously, go away Jay. I’m scared.”

“I know, ‘Gaily. I’ll help you.” He was even closer now. “I won’t joke around anymore, promise.”

“Go away, Jay. I’ll do this my own way. You can’t help me.” Her voice shook with fear and adrenaline, her body buzzed with dizziness and nausea. She could hardly breathe.

Voices visited her, reminding her of things she didn’t know she’d retained, mental pictures flashed in her mind of situations she didn’t know she’d taken to heart.

You’re not your own. You belong to God and your body is his temple.

You’re not going to wear that young lady. You will cause boys to stumble.

What’s so hard to understand? You need to honor God with your life, and a B in biology doesn’t honor God with your mind. 

Those musicians are being used to divert your attention from God. We won’t allow that music in this house. Why can’t you listen to one of those new Christian bands? They’re just as good.

Did you forget the Genesis story? It was Eve who pulled Adam down into sin with her.

All at once she was defeated. Time slowed down. She felt the pressure of her helmet against her skull. She felt the cut of the rope against her hand. She felt the sweat drip down her back and she knew she couldn’t do it. She was stupid to think she could do it. She should have known better. She was being proud and arrogant to even try, falling into rebellion again and deceiving herself to think it was anything nobler than that.

****

There you have it. My first attempt to share from a brand new WIP. I’ll try to keep you posted on how the story develops and what happens to Abby. For now, this is what I feel comfortable sharing (although “comfortable” is an exaggeration — it truly makes my heart pound to think of putting this out there). Enjoy, and have a wonderful week!


Books

Books (Photo credit: henry…)

November is National Novel Writing Month (abbreviated NaNoWriMo and then whittled down further to NaNo), and I’m going to be writing like a fiend.

You should plan to be my mental support group as I try to hit my word count every day. Don’t worry, it won’t require too much – just blankets, snacks, beverages, and encouragement not to go back and delete everything I’ve written so far. If you want to come over and do my dishes and feed my family that would be helpful.

I’m planning to be bold and share the Work In Progress (WIP) as I slog through November. I hope to make it pretty regular, but if you see a decrease in the number of posts from me, you’ll know why. You can picture me at my kitchen table, hair pulled up into a messy (read: not cute) ponytail/bun, dirty coffee cup within easy reach, a slightly frenzied look in my eye.

Because I’m not all that creative and not trying to write sci-fi or something that requires me to create whole new worlds , I use bits and pieces from life around me. Usually that means something real is the seed that becomes a new plant in the story. It could be a scene captured in my mind long ago, a conversation that was meaningful, a situation that never got resolved, even the smell of a lake during autumn, but these things rarely stay in their purest form while I’m writing. The grain of truth is there underneath but (at least this is how it’s worked so far) it gets trained on the trellis and becomes a new version of itself.

I’m telling you all this so that if you have deja vu while you read parts of the WIP you won’t feel threatened. I’m not here to air anybody’s secrets or write some kind of tell-all. I wouldn’t have much to tell, and I mean that in all the best ways. My experiences have been pleasantly devoid of scandal so you’ll know I’m making stuff up if things get juicy.

My new story for this year’s NaNoWriMo

The idea I want to focus on for NaNo focuses on camp. Did you ever go to camp as a kid, work there as a college student? I did both, and camp was a central player in my life for many years. Even now, I remain loosely tied to camp and value the camp experience for most everybody.

There are many people who outline and plot their WIP far in advance, and others who just wing it. I’ve only done NaNo one time (last year) and that time I had a rough plan for a story, most of which I kept in my head. Because you’re trying to write 50,000 words in one month and based on my experience last year, I think it is helpful to have a rough sketch of major plot points, kind of as a road map of where you want the story to go. Of course, you must be prepared to ditch the plan and go with what is happening (sometimes those characters are wily critters!).

That’s about all I can tell you right now, since I’m still percolating on many details. Some of them I won’t figure out until I’m already knee-deep in the story.

Wish me luck, and I hope to check in (in a more limited form) throughout November!

I’d welcome any vivid memories from those times at camp, positive or negative. I’m looking for inspiration, so even little details can be helpful. Do you have any stories you’d care to share?   


Do I tell myself there’s nothing wrong with ordinary because I am ordinary?

Is there anything wrong with being similar to others?

Do we all fancy ourselves special when in reality there are just varying degrees of ordinary?

I’d argue there’s no such thing as an ordinary person when meant to mean uninteresting or unimportant, not once you start looking beneath the surface.

***

I crouch against the hard surface above me and feel its resistance curve along my spine.

My head ducked, I could roll forward if there was any room. There’s not. There’s no room for living like this. I can no longer tolerate it.

I push with my legs, strain against the wall of separation, willing it to give way, but it’s reinforced by years.

My legs shake with effort, sweat slicks my back, my hands brace on my knees to aid the attempt.

When I think I can push no more,

Slowly, slowly, I feel one layer, then two, slip aside like shale sheering off above me.

Still I press, muscles growing shaky, weary from so much time.

Now I sense the ceiling yielding to my effort; legs extend one small inch more, one inch more,

Until finally I feel coolness, movement, space where once there was solid wall.

More effort, more time, until there is room for all of me to slip through the opening.

I unfurl, blink in the bright light, stretch wide in the freedom around me.

My emergence into my place in the world is more significant because it is collective, because we all must do it.

My achievement is not ordinary because it is in common with others.

It is monumental.

We are all miracles.

***

Whoa, I don’t know where that came from. This is a crazy Five Minute Friday attempt, so thanks for giving me the freedom to try something totally different today. You can be a part of Five Minute Friday too. Just head over to http://lisajobaker.com and you’ll find all the details, along with a bunch of fantastic posts and supportive community. Thanks for reading today!


For some time now I’ve been thinking about upgrading this blog. I’ve been reading about the ever important “platform” conversation and “social media presence” necessary for writers. Am I a writer? Well, I write stuff, therefore I am a writer. There are varying degrees of seriousness. I may be on the early side of writer-hood but I’m on that path even if I’m doing at a turtle’s pace. Upon review I realized I’ve been blogging for a good four years now, an eternity in many ways. I definitely didn’t know what I was doing in the beginning, and my concern over privacy and protecting my family has kept me fairly private. In talking with a dear friend today, I was able to process some of the pros and cons of getting a domain name and what one to choose. I’m going to let you eavesdrop on that conversation and others I’ve had about blogging.

1. Picking a name is important.

This seems obvious, but there are a lot of different aspects to choosing a name. Writers are often told their name is their brand. In that sense it is practical to use your own name as a blog address. However, there are times when a blog name conveys what that blog is about. Some people choose to use that same name on other forms of social media, being “that-dog-lady” across various forms. As I think about picking a name…

    • I’m taking into account the fact that I have small kids and want their identities, and that of my husband, to remain private.
    • I’m taking into account that I don’t want my expressed opinions to reflect negatively on my family of origin.
    • I’m thinking about the longevity of the written word and the Internet, in addition to having an online presence and reputation of integrity.
    • I’m considering the fact that I have used a pen name Nita Holiday in the past. My Twitter account is associated with it, along with TC Larson.

2. Your site should cooperate.

When people try to get to your site, they should be able to do so with minimal trouble. If you use a service that has trouble (we’ve all seen those pages where the link is broken or unavailable) people get easily frustrated. They are also easily distracted. You don’t have much time to engage people on your site. If they have to work at it, you’ll lose them. There are books written by knowledgeable techies about the various hosts, so I won’t bore you with that here, but as I look into switching from a “wordpress.com” name to a simple “.com” I want to use something that will be dependable and offer help to a tech limited person like me.

3. SEO Nonsense and blogging to current trends.

There are strategists who recommend watching what is trending on social media and writing about those topics. That is one approach to blogging. I don’t happen to agree with it. I happen to be a big fan of authenticity. I get it that you can authentically want people to read your blog. I want people to read mine. But I’m not willing to write about things that are unimportant to me or an area in which I have no expertise. Ask me about parenting a toddler, I’ve got opinions and experience to back it up. If it was the Tour de France that was the trending topic, I’d be out of my element, unless we were talking about how to find a really inexpensive hybrid bike (which I’m trying to do right now).

You should write about the things that interest you. That’s what will keep you going. That’s where you’ll find other people who resonate with what you have to say. We all have our little niches. I just saw a picture of a bunny hopping around underneath a high chair, eating what the child had dropped. If you let your bunny hop around loose inside your house, there are other people who do too. You could write about it, and attract a huge following of other bunny-freedom-lovers.

Final Thoughts

Up to this point, using a wordpress.com template has worked great for me. I’ve been glad to use this service and I’ve come a long way from my first days of blogging. That said, I know I have a lot to learn. There’s a lot to think about before I actually go for the upgrade. And I’d welcome your wisdom in this process. Here are some questions for you:

Do you blog and how did you decide when to buy a more premium package?

How did you come up with your blog’s name?

What are your favorite blogs and why?

And if you’d be so kind, I’d love to get your feedback on the following poll:



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