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Thanksgiving time. The day of thanks and stuffing oneself until discomfort is reached. To be honest it is one of my favorite holidays and this year it was just as good or better than it has been for recent history. I got to share this day with my beautiful wife, I think of her as such even if technicalities do not have it as so, and my step son Gabe. We started some of our own traditions. A lazy start to the day with donuts and a movie that we all watched together. While everyone else was off getting ready to head to my family’s for dinner I found the time to get some writing done while having football on in the background. I am proud to say I met the goal for NaNoWriMo this year. Surpassed the goal of 50k in the month more than a week early. My story is no where complete though and I have to maintain my focus to get my novel finished. I have set the goal to myself to finish the story by the end of the year. Then the much tougher work will follow, reading it and rewriting it as I am sure it will need a great deal of polish.

With my goal met for the day I set my writing aside as we traveled to my home town to be with my family at my Grandparents house. My Grandmother always makes the biggest of meals. Turkey and all of the fixings. My dad, aunt and uncle, brother and his wife and my dad’s new family were all there. We had some good laughs, ate some great food, watched some football and overall had a great holiday.

Now we have retired home. Boxes of Christmas supplies pulled from the garage in preparation for the apartment to be decked out. I will miss this though as I get to enjoy the other side of the Black Friday blitz. I work in sales and this will be a huge weekend for us but it also means that I will make a good bit of money. A good motivator to get through the madness. Now though we relax with another movie and wind down from the lovely day.

I have a great deal to be thankful for. I have a wonderful family, a beautiful wife by my side, a great step son and a good job where I work with people I consider to be friends. I know that money is not good and there are stresses in life but they are not things that need to hold us back  We need to focus on the good things we have because that is all that is important.

I hope everyone else had a great thanksgiving or made the most of what they had.

Take Care

Dan🙂

 

P.S.

The only down point to the day was thinking of my mother who I lost a few years ago. My wife also has a blog and I read her post that was very heartfelt and touching. She puts her heart and thoughts out there in such a way that definitely brings emotions to the surface. She mentioned my mom, who was lost to us far to early due to an accidental overdose. The holidays are times when I tend to think of her the most. I miss her but I was glad that I was able to make the most of things with the family I do have.

Day 17 of NaNoWriMo for me has come to an end. This day has been a great success. The week past though was definitely a trying one. A creative and focus road block seemed to be securely in my way. Some days I struggled to even meet the minimum average of 1667 words. Still worse on a few I could not gather the energy to write at all. I let work be an excuse on a couple of days. Granted it is hard to write when one is mentally exhausted from a day at work and working full time.  It is the mid month lull. The excitement of the start of the project is wearing off and the real work seems to set in. Add in that there are some days where the new medications I am on cast a fog over me that is hard to shake and it was a perfect mess.

Today though was the kind of day that re-energizes me. I was able to get my best day of work in. Over 4500 words in and I even felt like I was reaching a nice flow. I brought my average count per day up and I am well on pace to finish the contest goal early. The next challenge will be to see my story to an end. The end being the most difficult part of any of the stories I have written in the past. With this looming over head I did something very different. I skipped ahead, all the way ahead. I wrote the ending to my novel. Brought the story to a climax with a thrilling show down. I loved writing it. It gave me the power to push my characters so far ahead and bring in some new ones as well. This will surely focus me to bring events in the right direction. My stories always seem to sprawl out and I have a hard time bringing everything together to an end. now I have something to work towards.

13 days remaining and I am about 12ooo words from goal. I am excited and hoping my focus stays where it is at now. Wish me luck.

 

Dan

I will not be posting much of my story here. especially since people tend to take things and claim them as their own. However I did want to share some of the early work of my fantasy creation. A small excerpt of the main character, Sai, encountering an odd occurrence in a nightmare world. all the works below are my own and the rights held by me🙂 the author. I have not done any editing and there are surely mistakes. This is an absolutely rough first draft. Enjoy

 

 

 

Sai finished another row of the palpa field and unhitched the oxen from their hard task. He began to lead them back towards the homestead and the shelter that housed the work animals. The sun already seemed to be making its decent towards the west and the Sun’s rest mountains. It hung at it’s apex for just a bit before heading back towards the darkness of the horizon that was to come. The chill was out of the air and the work in the fields had brought a sweat to his brow. Sai wiped at it as he finished leading the cattle into their pens in the shelter. He leaned against the doorway that lead into the yard and looked towards the road that lead into town. His pap would be back soon and surely his mam would be making a hearty lunch to steady them against the work to finish the day. As he looked the song of the wind began to dull him again. The sound was so sweet and so barely there that to focus on it was to hear less. Not actively listening he thought he could hear a voice to the melody. The spots of light began to play at the sides of his vision again .

Furiously shaking his head he dug the palms of his hands into his eyes until spots and stars appeared. He blinked into the light of the day and wondered if he was losing his mind. He put his gloves in his back pocket and left the shelter behind walking towards the main house of the homestead. Off towards the right there was a small bunk house that was occupied by the hands that stayed on year round at the farm. There were a handful that had such positions. Someone to help with the animals and some to work in the press house. They were all rather good men and they liked to give Sai a hard time as well, but mostly for some good natured fun. Some of them were coming back from their duties, grabbing a quick bit of food to tide them over before the dinner his mam and the house marm would have prepared for each night. They had one large common room in the house that had a huge oak table. Come dinner it would always be laden with enough to fill the stomachs of the hands and the Serik family. In all aspects the whole group was a family and Enoch made sure they all knew that. It was a good reason why some of the hands had been around all of Sai’s life. Some of them had surely been around in the time of Sai’s grandfather, back when the ranch was his and Enoch was Sai’s age.

Some of them nodded at Sai as he made his way towards the house. Lunch in the great house was reserved for the family only. It was really the only time that they could eat together and alone. . Breakfast was always a quick affair, some hard bread and butter and off to the fields to get as much work in as possible in the fleeting daylight. As he reached the steps onto the large porch that circled the house the melody began to grow in his ears. The dull sweetness took his mind and he saw one of the spots of light come right in front of his face. a soft voice called out against the melody. “Be Still” the two words said and at that Sai collapsed into darkness.

*******
A buzz flowed through his thoughts as he opened his eyes. He was standing but he did not remember getting to his feet. The world around him was devoid of colors. That was not entirely true. Faint lines and whisps seemed to flow from object to object. Light strands of gold gossamer thread flowed and hung in the air. They wound and past through the trees, the grass and all that was. Sai looked around in detached wonder. He held his hands up in front of his eyes and gazed at the golden threads that emanated from his fingers and connected the landscape around him. The flow of the threads passed through him and as it did he could feel the warmth and vibration, a tingle that traced his body. The hands in front of him though were somehow different, not his own. He looked at them again and with detached effort let them fall to his side. Moving now he was walking in a clearing, the muted colors around him eerie. The once vibrant autumnal colors gone into varying shades of gray. Sai gazed into the woods that circled the clearing. His vision could not see past the first few trees. Deep infinite blackness saturated beyond. The seemed to move around him instead of him through it. The clearing center was now behind and the line of trees closer and closer. The golden threads seemed to spark and shimmer more and more clearly as the darkness approached. He willed his hand to come up and feel their warmth again but it would not listen. A drumming began to fill the silence, a lub dub, lub dub, lub dub. His heart beat pounding forcefully in his chest and head. The pain of it so intense thoughts of death came to him. Let go. He wanted to just collapse right there in the clearing the the black forest came closer greeting him with its cold outstretched limbs.

The flowing threads disappeared, the woods claimed him, claimed his vision and the clearing ceased to be. The beat of his heart was unbearable now, the pain so great he would cry out if he could. Blackness filled his eyes but his mind sense the world moving around him. creatures filled his mind. Black beasts that melted into the night. The world began to close in. The phantoms circling about closer and closer. Claustrophobia, panic.

A light broke through the darkness, It was of pure white. The light that twinkle from the stars of the night sky. The light came closer and barely larger. Its glow an inviting break in the abyss that was his world. The light came closer and Sai could make out a tiny creature. It looked like something that the old men of the village would tell of in their stories, myths. A sprite. Sai desperately wanted to say hello. However his mouth would not work. He tried to feel his tongue but it was not there. The creature came right up to his eye, so close that any closer it would have been a blurry spot. It looked at him and smiled. If he had to say anything it was a she. Her image a pure white body with a furry glow where arms would have been. She had the palest skin that he had ever seen, white with specks of gold that seemed to be jewels adorning her cheeks and legs. Her smile was reassuring and mischievious at the same time.

“Be Still” her only words to him and in a blink she was gone, the world was rushing up around him, still blackness. With greater and greater speed. The blackness, the phantoms and the beasts of nothing flew up around him. Sai began to scream silently in his head. Nothings lurched for him, touching, clawing. His body began to twist and tumble. Mumbling grew into a roar filling his ears. Jolting, shaking. “ Sai…..” A faint calling through the noise “Sai” He called for vision, he pleaded for light. He begged to be released from the nightmare that wanted to devour him “SAI!”   

 

by Dan Bahr

 

 

 

Another year and another nano under way. So far I am off to a good start. Four days in and I am just shy of 11k words. Not too bad of a start. I am treating it a little differently this year. Usually I go a little crazy and over do it in the beginning, days of 5000-8000 words and sometimes more. This is great till I get near the end and can’t quite find the energy or will to complete my story and see it through. Now this is not to say that I have not succeeded at the challenge. One year I had a late start and had my own nano in a 30 day period, just not in November. Two years ago I was able to complete Nano in its normal time. I actually wrote a story that was well over 100,000 words but could not bring it to an end. This year I am trying to take a much different approach. My goal is to consistently write around 2500 words a day and even if at the end of the month I am not at the end of my story I have to keep working till the story is at its end.

This may be a fun challenge but my bigger goal is to craft a novel that I would be proud to share with my fiends and family. If I am very lucky I would love to be published or self publish.

As the story goes I am pretty happy with how things are progressing. I am discovering some of the key characters and beginning to craft the magical system that glows through the world. I have already introduced some interesting creatures into the story and have some great ideas for more to show up in later pages. I have set the scene and the action is about to take off.

🙂

Outside of the writing which was a success, it was a good weekend. My step son was up and on Saturday the three of us went to a concert. It was a Christian rock festival. Not my normal thing but some of the music was pretty good. The message might not have been the same for me but live music is live music. I do feel like a little bit of an outsider at those sort of things. Like at some point one of them is going to point at me and shout nonbeliever! I am paranoid and over anxious about it bit it is a weird thought that I have. I tried to just concentrate on the good tunes. I did love that we were able to go as a family.

For this coming week I am looking forward to seeing my doctor again. Things are getting a little better. I am definitely more level. Have not have the moments of breaking down for no good reason. I do feel that even though I am more even it I a level that is still on the downer side. That is okay though as they are going to add an antidepressant into the mix this week. The anxiety is still pretty bad though. That is one thing I am going to make sure to let her know.

Well that is a quick summary. I hope to have an update again later this week. Maybe I will post an excerpt.

Dan

Zero hour approaches

It is October 31st, also known as Nano Eve. I had a slight moment of panic and crisis. I had some ideas down for the direction that I wanted to head for my story. Then a few days ago I lost my path a bit and started thinking about something else. It seems though that this morning in the quiet and peace of the early morning hours I was able to go back to the short notes I had and solidify my focus into the story I was already mentally developing. So I have my basis. I had my Fiance check over some of my notes and she thought it was a good start that I just had to go into more details. That works for me because what I had was just the lay out and back story that my mind needs to get going and discover from there. The working title is going to be “The Shadow’s Thread”. It is going to be a fantasy novel based in a land where magic has been practically extinguished. Children born with what is dubbed the shadow upon them are executed. A tyrannical government controls the common lands. The story starts in a small town with an odd stranger coming into the village at the time of harvest. The stranger has a message for the young man that the story revolves around. Events take off quickly from there.

I will be posting some excerpts as I go and giving updates on the progress. I am excited and a bit anxious. Wish me luck on that front🙂

———

As my personal life and mental health go things are slightly improved, if only for the fact that I have some hope in the direction that things are going. After all of the frustrations and being told to go here and then there and then back again I was finally able to see my family doctor. She knew my history and knew the struggles that I have gone through my whole life. I filled her in with some of what has worked in the past and she agreed that it was a good mix of meds. She started me on some small doses of anxiety and mood stabilizer meds and once those have some time to work she is going to start me on an anti depressant as well. I have definitely been going through an adjustment time. The anxiety is still pretty bad but it is better than it was. I am however a little foggy from the seroquel which helps me sleep. I know I will adjust though. I am glad I have something to start with until I can see an actual specialist. I see my family doctor again in a week. It was definitely a relief to get someone who would actually listen.

Well, off to work I go. I will surely give an update tomorrow how my first day of writing for Nano goes.

Dan

Frustration

I wanted to write a post about what my thoughts were for my novel that I am going to attempt during Nano, but the events of yesterday occupy my mind. So a week and a half ago I went to the doctor because I have been having a tough time catching my breath. This was actually the sole purpose of this visit. Once there though the curtain of denial quickly fell away from my mind. I have been suffering pretty bad mood swings up and down. The worse feeling though now is the anxiety that has tried to take over my life. Anyways the doctor ran some tests, ekg, blood work and the like and found nothing. We talked a bit more and in the end she put me on a bipolar/antidepressant, Lamictal. I asked if there was anything they could do for the anxiety and not being able to get restful sleep and she said she did not want to till I saw a psychiatrist. So she gave me a referral. I left feeling a little bit of despair because my worst symptom right now was not going to be helped.

I got home and had serious thoughts of not doing anything because it seemed I was not being believed. Despite this I did call and made an appointment. The soonest I could get in was a week and a half away. Even with this though I was happy that I was going to be able to see someone who could help me. Now I just had to wait and make it until then.

Through out the week+ things kept getting worse. I was having moments of breaking down with little reason. This even happening at work. I was having more and more occurrences of not being able to take a deep breath. Going out into public, like say to the store, was starting to be a terrible experience. I do not know how to adequately explain it except that it feels like you are in a tunnel at the bottom of the see. There is pressure and you feel like you are weak and might pass out. Talking begins to speed up and you feel jittery.

At work things were and are getting pretty bad. I have to try to do breathing exercises to calm myself down, with little effect. Trying to do simple things I feel like I am freezing up and try to process a million things in my head when I know what the next step is. If there is confrontation I seem to be shutting down and my chest begins to hurt. Just recently my neck and jaw are locking up and the pain that cause is multiplied since I have to talk quite a bit for my job.

Needless to say things have not been improving. So yesterday arrived. Little sleep the night before with a work meeting bright and early and my doctor’s appointment to follow. I got through the meeting, despite being shaky and knocking things over. The drive to my appointment, an hour plus away, felt longer than it should have. A few times I felt like pulling over and letting my fiance drive. My symptoms were getting worse but I was still looking forward that I might get some relief.

Arriving at the behavioral health clinic I had some odd recollections of the past and what I have been through previously. I registered and filled out some more of the paperwork and questionnaires that they had for me. The person I was meeting with came and got me and lead me to her office. She went through all the surveys and information I had provided and asked me for more details, my symptoms, thoughts and feelings. We went over my history, the fact that I had been struggling with this for years.

Near the end when she began to lay out the plan my heart began to sink. She was not a psychiatrist. She was not a doctor. She was just a handler, her job to find out what I needed and then refer me to a course of action. The wait list to see a psychiatrist…50 DAYS! 50 days. I am going to leave the office with absolutely nothing to help me. I had no idea that I was not going to see a doctor that day. The practitioner who referred me did not let me know of the wait. The person who made the appointment did not mention anything about what the first appointment would be. I felt wrung out and passed along. The handler tells me then that I have to go back to my family physician for any medications in the mean time. I told her that they sent me here.

I have never been more upset or let down by a situation in my life when it comes to health care. This system is about as bad as it can be, especially when handling people who are having issues that are effecting there lives in very real ways. Debilitating, disparaging ways.

So I have an appointment tomorrow and I am hoping, begging that I am not let down again. I just want some help and not to be passed along again.

Dan

NaNo or Not

After a little bit of struggling with my creative faculties I think I have a good start to a story that I would like to write. I was trying to see if I could creatively come up with a decent sci fi story but I just could not do it. SciFi is my favorite genre to read but apparently my mind does not want to cooperate with writing in such a field. I tend to always want to go back to Fantasy and Adventure stories. Coming of age and young heroes put to task, taken from their once simple lives. In this my mind finally came up with something I think I can use. I was able to think up a decent back story and an opening seen. With the way that I write this is usually all I need. I am a discovery writer. Usually I come up with an idea and some characters and a little back story in my head and then I let the story take me where it will. This is an exciting way to write but can also be a challenge. For me the biggest challenge is bringing everything together at the end.

The dilemma that I am having is whether I want to do NaNo in the traditional sense where one has to complete 50,000 words in a month or if I just want to write at my own pace. My dream has always been to be a published author and to be able to make a living off of what I can create. Maybe I should take this as an attempt to reach this goal and work more ardently at crafting a well rounded novel. I have a few days to decide as NaNoWriMo starts on November 1st. One thing is for certain, I am definitely excited to write again since I have not in a good while.