Emergencies

In the middle of an emergency, do you know what you would do?

No, neither do I.

I’ve recently been to Birth Emergencies Skills Training, (if you are a midwife or birth assistant it is WORTH the money!)  Birth is usually fine, but every once in awhile there is an emergency, something you NEVER want to happen, but out of the hospital, the midwife has to know what to do.  I went to BEST training to get ready for emergencies, because they will happen, and I have to know I’ll be ready.

In 11th grade, I read A Handmaid’s Tale, and from then on, I have always wondered what I would do if I found myself in Offred’s shoes. Could I shut myself down and stay quiet in hopes saving my child?  I’d like to think I could, but after watching the first episode of the Netflix series, I’m not so certain.

Dystopian fiction allows you to wonder what you would do when the worst happens.

If you are looking for some dystopian fiction for some light summer reading, you can check out Cosmo’s “12 Dystopian Books You Should Read if You Like The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Catherine is living her own dystopian nightmare and is trying to figure out how and when to keep her secrets.  She’s trying to figure out what to do when everyday seems to be an emergency.

I hope you enjoy the chapter.

And now, without further ado, Home: Chapter 13

Balancing Between Worlds

Wow, if you are still out there, dear readers, I give you all my love and credit.  It has been a crazy few months.  I didn’t really realize, (as no one can,) what time and energy I was going to need to devote to my new work as a student midwife.  It has been a whirlwind adventure filled with the highs and lows that only birth can bring.  However, I did devote as much of November to writing as I could and got another chapter and a little more done, so yay!

Amish1-750x512

Right now, I live in two worlds, between the Plain families (Amish and Mennonite) that graciously allow me to be a part of their births, and the rest of the “English” world that my family and my future midwife clients come from.  That got me thinking of a character who lived in two worlds –  Peter.

Peter

Peter was a character that I would have loved to learn more about during the series.  He was a caregiver to both worlds.  He had to balance between his rich patients Above and his very low resource ones Below.  Balancing a life in between must not have been easy, and if you would like to read another great take on that you can try, Aliset’s All the Hazard’s We Can Run.

The fact that he knew both Catherine and Vincent when they were babies was something I couldn’t just let sit there, could I?  Just as Catherine needed Father, Vincent needs Peter’s wisdom and memory.

So, without further ado, I give, Home: Chapter 7

 

 

Raising the Bar for a Living

Rose-Martha-and-Donna-doctor-whos-companions-22996713-500-649

Have I ever told yinz I love Doctor Who, specifically, the Russel T. Davies years, 2005-2010?  I am not going to go all into the reasons…well, too much–amazing actors, beautiful story-lines with a bit of an edge, heroes who care, and love, lots of love.  I bring it up because those years of Doctor Who, with Rose, Martha, and Donna, were about people finding themselves and raising the bar on what is possible.  Rose was a shop girl, who no one thought would amount to much.  Martha was a med. student looking for the extraordinary.  Donna was a secretary who yelled at the world.  Then they met the Doctor, who gave them a place, and who showed them that they were greater than they ever thought they could be.  He believed in their strength. Sound familiar?

I have always wanted to be a midwife, I just didn’t realize it.   Modern medicine can be amazing for emergency situations, but birth is an everyday miracle.  It is, in most cases, not an emergency, and by looking for emergencies all the time, we tend to muck it up.  For healthy women and healthy babies, I have always believed, birth can be easy when health professionals lifeguard the process rather than try to control it.  I just didn’t think I was the one who was supposed to do that.  It took some special people in my life who, like The Doctor did for his companions, like Vincent did for Catherine, to remind me that I have the strength and the drive to raise the bar everyday on what I think is possible.

Of course, starting a (newish) career at forty-one does have its challenges.  I have to drive two hours for my practicums because that is where the only midwife certified to teach me practices.  And while I knew mechanics of the process from a teacher’s and doula’s perspective, I didn’t know the medical terms.  I didn’t know charting, and how to blood type in an Amish lady’s kitchen, how to measure according to dates, and palpate for twins.  My head feels like Swiss Cheese.

Midwifery takes a lot of my time, but I also have to let off some steam and keep writing.  Why?  Because this is who I am as well, and because, someday, I want to write about my experiences in the hope it inspires others to raise their own bar.  I can’t write as much as I want, because I am devoting part of everyday to learning and my family, but please believe me, I am writing.

All the skills we acquire along the way, whether we think are relevant or not, help us to create ourselves.  We use them to become, and it takes a long time, as the beautiful story of the Velveteen Rabbit tells us.  Catherine is becoming, and that can be a hard process, but she isn’t alone.  There are people who believe in her, including someone who had misgivings about her place in his son’s life not too long before.  I hope you enjoy his perspective.  So, without further ado, Home: Chapter 6.  

It’s Been a While…

…a long while…

Sometimes, smack in the middle of writing, (and rewriting, and rewriting,)  I worried it just might be forever before I posted again.  It’s been too long between the preview of Home and the first chapter, I know, bad Crowmama!  When things weren’t working, when ideas weren’t coming, when all the words ran away, I doubted I would ever get to this point.  However, somehow, when you think of something everyday ideas start flowing.  After months I got an outline, then chapters and now I have the basis for a new story.  At some point in the process I realized it took me twenty-five years to write Union, in fact, it took me that long to think I could write anything.  It’s still early in this story, and I still doubt myself a lot, but if we can get through this second big one before another twenty-five years, friends, we’re breakin’ records.

It is lovely to see you.  Thank you so much for coming back.   I’ve been thinking of you, and glad we get to visit again.  I hope you enjoy your stay.  If I could I would offer you tea.

tea

 

We don’t have that technology yet, but I can offer you a new story.  It’s called Home, the sequel to Union, and here is its page.  It’s angst, a whole bucket full.  There’s lots of love too, but the honeymoon is over.   The work begins.  Just warning you…

Without going further, I need to thank everyone who created the stories on this site with me:  All my friends on the Beauty and the The Beast Facebook pages and the bbtv mailing list; my amazing editors who shall remain nameless, (or else would be inundated with requests, they’re that good;) my inspirations, those that still write and draw B&tB after all this time, because love lives on and stories still need to be told; my family who put up with dinners being late, a mom who goes out of town to see her “freaky friends”, and all the damn zines lying around a messy house; and, finally I want to thank you.

This story would not be possible without all of you.

So without further ado, the first chapter of Home.

Write what you know

terry gross

They say write what you know. It is the first rule of writing, and the one that was drummed into my head during my only fiction writing class in college. I dropped the course. I was, to put it nicely, a red-hot,mess back then.  I couldn’t have written what I knew, since I wasn’t sure of anything.  I took 19th Century English Art instead.  It was a much better fit at the time.

Fast forward twenty years. I know a couple things now.   Writing what I know, at least for me, is a matter of asking myself a lot of questions, Fresh Air, Terry Gross style.  (Could you tell I’m an NPR junkie?)   Lots of internal dialogue and back and forth.

When I was eighteen years old, I was too unsure of myself, held back too much of myself, thought too little of myself to write what I knew.   Since then I have had enough successes and failures to know life is about taking chances and failing, failing spectacularly, then getting up and trying again.   I know having kids and helping new families grounded me in a way that nothing in my life before could, and I know that most things are simple, not easy.

Writing teachers say “Write what you know,” but that is only half of it.  You need to want to write something, and that may be about cowboys in space, or plumbers in hell, or dogs in Valhalla, or about Beauty and the Beast, and within that, you write what you know.

Imagination is more important than knowledge, Albert Einstein.

If you want to write, find what you love and learn, learn all you can, and then use it as fodder for your writing.  Take everything in, mash it up into a new recipe and unleash it on the world.

Thank you all for hanging in through this story.  Just two more chapters after this.  It is my own mash up of what I know.  It has brought me pain, and strain, but a lot of joy.

And now, without further ado, Union: Chapter 21.

baby2

Cleveland and Alternative History

cleveland market

Once upon a time, (last year to be exact,) there was a little girl (in her late thirties), who snuck around the net looking at websites of stuff she loved, thinking of stories she’d never write, because she was worried how her family would rag on her.  Fast forward a year, that girl is now a proud woman who wears her true geekness pretty darn proudly.  I’M GOING TO CLEVELAND!  I’m gonna go see all my Beauty and the Beast peeps!    Yup, the phrase the truth will set you free was never more true.  In an alternative history, I could have kept quiet, never talked to any other fans about their writing, never talked to my hubby about my writing, and kept living a life of quiet desperation, (well, maybe not that bad, but it wasn’t a true to myself life.)  I like my real history a lot better. I have some wonderful new friends, many of whom I am going to see next weekend.  Excited!!!

However, there are some alternative histories that I find fun and fascinating.  I just finished Outlander about a woman from the 1940’s trapped in Scotland in 1700’s.  My friend called it the best librarian porn there is.  I totally agree.  Thank-you for the rec, Krista!

Another play on history is from my favorite Etsy Merchant Alternative Histories who make great historical prints and posters, but with a twist.  The above photo from Cleveland’s West Side Market, may make our fellow con attendees pause. Don’t worry, the big guy moved on to the Big Apple.  We have one of our own prints from this fab company, framed right outside our commode: “An Unusual Happenstance,”  featuring a creature unleashed when coal miners dug too deep in the mountains of West Virginia.  He wreaked some havoc in Tri-State area, but moved on and has been sighted as far away as Japan! Oh, the folly of man…Unusal happenstance

But now, before con breaks us up for a bit, it’s time for my favorite alternative history.  Without further ado, Union: Chapter 20.

Anniversaries

anniversary drawing

On the morning of April 26th, this card greeted my husband and me, along with Lego figures of a mermaid and a cyclops, and an alarm clock.  Boy, our kids sure have our numbers, although I know a certain guy who might not find this as funny as we did! 🙂

My hubby and I have been together for 16 years of marriage and 22 years of being…us, us together.  We know each other, we love each other, we laugh together, and we respect each other – which is the most important thing you can feel for your spouse, right on par with love, in my opinion.  We have found our happy 80-20 place.  If you don’t know the rule, the idea is that your ideal spouse can only ever be 80% of what you think you want.  20% you got to just get over not getting, and that can be rough, but you have to remember how great the 80% is.  Thank you Tyler Perry!

why did I get married

Speaking of Anniversaries, have you checked out B&B Land’s anniversary challenges page yet?  I was blown away by this year’s crop o’ awesome, as well as the other years’ offerings.   I did write a for the challenge this year.  You can find the story here, although don’t read it if you don’t like spoilers.  I mean we all know where Union is going, but…If you want to go in order, you can read all the others instead which deserve much praise.  The Anniversary Gifts, fits into Union just before the last chapter.

Being with a person, really being “wedded” to their ups and downs, joys and sadness, can be frightening and trying, even at the best of times.  In honor of all the spouses of us B&B obsessed fanfiction writers, I am posting two chapters tonight!  We are going to get this sucker done before our next anniversary, guaranteed.  So without further ado, Union chapter 14 & 15.

April 12th