Dreams in a Bucket

 

“The Bucket List.”

It’s a movie about two men who are given one year to live–one rich, alone, and soured on life; one poor, surrounded by family, but in possession of unfulfilled dreams. This man makes a list of things he wants to do before he “kicks the bucket” (hence the title); and to his surprise, the rich man offers to fund the adventure. So the two set out across the world to fulfill the dreams on the Bucket List.

I haven’t seen the movie (neither have many people across the world yet, so I won’t give away any spoilers!)–I hadn’t even heard of it. So when Jeff O’ Hara tagged me to write a Bucket List for 2008, the mental image I got was of all the dreams I’ve been carrying around in a bucket. Much like carrying water in a bucket, it’s truly a valuable commodity; but unless you pour it out where it’s needed, it does no good. After too long it will even turn stale or stagnant, useless for any beneficial purpose.

So what am I carrying around in a bucket? What dreams or goals do I want to achieve in 2008? Awesome thought–when you write something down, you commit to it. You can no longer avoid it, in any good conscience.

So–deep breath–here we go; mousewords’ Bucket List for 2008:

–Finish writing my mystery novel.

–Publish my mystery novel. (Those are two separate things.)

–Get many articles published.

–Move to a new location.

–Meet lots of online friends in person.

–Reach Power Seller status with my art sales on eBay

–Read the CSS books I have and actually learn it well

–Travel, for book promotion and for fun

…At least.

And I’d like to ask the same question of Melinda, Warren S., Bettina, Teeg, Akela, Belinda, Aaron, and Della. What dreams are you carrying around in a bucket?

Just after I wrote my list, I received an email from a new friend, who has just returned from the trip of a lifetime. I’m more inspired than ever now. I welcome you to visit Julie Anna’s blog and see if you feel the same.

Thinking of it as a Bucket List gives me a sense of urgency; I do want to achieve these things, so I had better hurry.

The last thing I want to do is kick the bucket when it’s full.

 

Chris’ Large Calling Card

@Kellyd has asked for details on the stained glass window I designed, so here they are!

Time: 1996. Place: Tinley Park, Illinois. St. George Catholic Church was doing a renovation, which would include a new, 10-foot-tall stained glass window in the children’s area. My parents donated two windows–the children’s window and a crescent-shaped etched glass window. I was picked to do the design for the etched glass window (one of my first public speaking experiences, giving that presentation to the committee…nervous? Naaaahhhh….) and chose to donate my services.

The window was to depict Christ standing with His arms outstreched, welcoming the viewer. How to draw the Lord? That was a challenge, an awesome one. We always think of Him as a “carpenter.” I did some research, and discovered that the original Greek word we translate as “carpenter” was “tekton”–a term which describes a person who is not only a craftsman, but a scholar, an architect, a construction engineer. A tekton would do more than work with wood; he would design houses and temples, hew the stone, cut the trees, cart them to the site, and build from his design. Emaciated figures from iconic representations were entirely inaccurate. A tekton would be pretty buff…for lack of a better term.

Keeping this in mind, I created a drawing that I hoped was as realistic as possible–feeling my inadequacies every step of the way. But I drew strong hands and muscular arms–a Savior needs to be strong. I tried to give Him a lean, intelligent face; and my Mom requested a bit of a smile, since the Lord of the Bible stories always had a sense of humor. Once I had the drawing as right as I could make it…

I erased it.

Sad part of graphic design, it wasn’t possible to translate the details of a pencil drawing into etched glass, so I simplified it as much as I could while still keeping the impression I hoped to capture. The drawing was full-size, four feet high. (Apologies for the scanned photographs–poor quality)

Design for Etched Glass Window by mousewords

Here is the final result of the window:

Etched Glass Final

At least they kept my design for the hands…Well, moving right along.

Some time later, when the design for the children’s window encountered some problems, the church asked me to do that one, also.

The extent of my stained glass design experience was drawing fan artwork based on Disney’s incredible designs for “Beauty and the Beast”; but I was up for the challenge. I undertook the research project into the window–and for us, this was pre-internet, so it was like the dark ages. Like…I had to read books and things.

I also studied every stained glass window I could lay eyes on. I studied the construction as well as the design–the placement of rebars, the capabilities of detail. I dove into my drawing head-first, figuring that what the company needed from me was a basic design. I thought to myself, their engineers will fix the rebars later. But of course, I still did my best to make them as close to accurate as possible, working from the designs of the other windows in the church, among other resources.

The window was to depict Jesus and the children; my parents had ideas on what they wanted, but left the rest up to me. I thought back to my childhood–how, during church services, I would spend most of my time staring at the beautiful colors of the windows, while the sermon blended into words in the background. I thought to myself, a child may not be listening to the message of salvation in the sermon; so let’s see if he can find it in the window. I put myself into my childhood, and tried to depict a picture of Jesus as the Bible describes. Not distant and iconic–warm, friendly, caring, strong. Someone a child would want to be close to.

Here is the final result–ten feet high, my large calling card:

Chris' Large Calling Card

Being a writer, I also wanted to tell a story in the window. The service, after all, lasts about an hour, and colors can only hold so much attention. So I put as many curious details into the design as I could, so a child could imagine a story about the scene. There are also different ages, so that any child can relate. One youngster is playing in the sand at Christ’s feet; the littlest one is safe in His arms, playing with His hair, as babies do. The teenager has his hand on the Lord’s shoulder; a younger boy is sitting nearby, listening; a young girl is giving Him a hug.

Stained Glass Window by mousewords, St. George Church, Tinley Park, Il.3

Shortly after I completed my design, I moved out of state. I never saw the completed windows until ten years later.

When I walked into the church and saw that towering window aglow with afternoon light, it was unreal. That was my drawing. I could see my hand in the style–I knew the way my fingers turned, made lines. I was looking at a representation of something very personal to me–my art. I wondered if that’s at all similar to having children–to look into another face and find signs of yourself. The window company had basically just photocopied my design–rebars and all. They used my lines to the exact detail, and it actually WORKED. It hadn’t collapsed. Oh, my. The edification…

Even though I had done my research, I wasn’t aware of the full capabilities of stained glass. So when I drew the faces, I made them very abstract, not realizing that details could be painted directly on the glass. The company used my drawing as an outline, and had one of their artists paint details into the features. This artist did an amazing job.

So that’s the story. My calling card. Thrilling in its inspiration to me. A bit too big for a business card holder, however…

 

At the Cry of Ne’erday

TwitterTales…the creation of writer @seamusspeaks…a complete short story in one month, one Twitter post a day, 140 characters at a time. Not as easy as it sounds, and it doesn’t sound easy. But fun? Most certainly.

@Seamusspeaks invited me to participate last December–I came on board 4 days late, which led to the title of my first TwitterTale…“Four Days Late.” It began the story of Lady Marian of the Barony, as she struggles to find her lost family. Little did I know what writing a TwitterTale would be like–I had visions of completing a novel in less than 30 days. Heh heh. Not happening. December’s Tale was rather rushed at the ending, as I ran out of days.

But I was ready for January. I wrote the whole month’s Tale in one sitting, and posted one segment every day (unless I forgot, ahem). And I am continuing the saga each month.

But as it might be hard to find the Tales in the mountain of my Twitter Blither, I’m posting them in their entirety, to date, here on my blog. I’ll add every day’s post until the month’s story is done.

So whether you follow me on Twitter or subscribe to my blog, I welcome you to check back daily for the latest part of the adventure!

And stay tuned…

~~~~~

At the Cry of Ne’erday

TTb:01 Snowflakes settled on the hair of Lady Marian, peasant-born confidante of Baroness Aster, as she stood where she had a week before.
TTb:02 Before her was the maw of the cave where she had escaped the plan of Duke d’Lorrimer, who desired secrets of the Barony. Her secrets.

TTb:03 A messenger had lured Mari to her home camp with news of an attack. Now, her people were still missing & the traitor was found dead.

TTb:04 Beside her was a tall man with sword & crest. Sir Robert Wood, Knight & nobleman. He had saved her, & now returned to search with her.
TTb:05 Her heart thanked him, as it did Edward, Horseman of the Barony, keen & wiry ally who had been loyal. He too returned to help.

TTb:06 “The trail is cold Milady,” said Rob. He treated her as nobility though she was but a wild peasant whose friend had married well.

TTb:07 “My people never came to the caves. Yet the camp is destroyed. Where are they? Would the Duke know?” Rob was grim: ”Would he tell?”

TTb:08 Ed sighed “I should revel for Hogmanay, yet I choose to stand in the snow.” “With thy mouth closed, one would rather” Rob bantered.
TTb:09 “I shall search quietly” Ed vowed. “I saw spires of a castle deep in the woods—Perhaps there?” Rob frowned “It’s the Winter King.”
TTb:10 “Truly he could shelter my camp!” Mari said. “Nay” said Rob “He’s cold & disloyal to his land. Returns only with the season of snow.”
TTb:11 “But I must try” she whispered & quickly mounted her horse. “You both need not follow.” The 2 men smiled wryly: “Oh no?” & followed.

TTb:12 The day’s ride took them to the King’s lavish, snowy land. Nearing the castle, Rob said low: “Be cautious. This King is no friend.”

TTb:13 Rob’s nobility gained them audience with the King. Garbed in velvet & ermine he looked powerful. His eyes scorned Rob & fell on Mari.
TTb:14 “Who is this charming lady & why honor me with a visit?” he said. Ed groaned under his breath. Rob frowned. Mari blushed & explained.
TTb:15 The King said: “You seek refugees but they aren’t here. Stay with me & I will send for word of them.” Mari stammered thanks & agreed.
TTb:16 Mari was led away by courtiers. “This is bad” Ed barked privately. “I dislike him!” Rob was grave: “Now we’re separated—that I hate.”

TTb:17 Mari came to supper richly gowned. The King doted on her & tried to draw her away from her friends. She cast tense glances their way.
TTb:18 “To Ne’er’day!” the King toasted “To a year’s alliances” “With whom?” Mari asked. “With the Barony” he smiled, “& you if you’ll stay”
TTb:19 Mari blushed. “I must leave to search!” The King said: “No need. My men are searching.” Ed muttered to Rob: “Yes & my horse can fly”

TTb:20 As Ne’erday dawned Mari stood outside. She was offered a rich life as Queen & an army to find her camp. Yet her heart staggered. Why?

TTb:21 The King came behind her, asked: “Deciding?” “I cannot stay” she murmured. His face was cold. “But you must. Or the Barony suffers.”

TTb:22 Mari paled. “What?” The King’s face hardened. “I desire you for my wife. I can destroy the Barony if you refuse.” She panicked. “No!”

TTb:23 “I can’t marry, I must search—” The King grabbed her arm. “Your camp is lost. I heard tell the Duke destroyed them all. Give it up!”

TTb:24 Mari struggled vainly “You never sent the army” she charged. He sneered. “You are a fool. Go inside Lady, this will be your home now”

TTb:25 Suddenly a command: “Let her go!” The King spun & saw Rob. Mari escaped & ran to him. “Leave us Knight or pay dearly!” the King raged

TTb:26 “You have no power over Milady’s choice” he challenged “The Barony guards the land in your foul absence & is honored. You are hated.”

TTb:27 To Mari he said “Go quickly to Ed” She hesitated but feared for his safety without help, so obeyed. Yet Ed waited to take her away.

TTb:28 “Ride quiet, Rob will come after” Ed relayed throwing her up on her horse. Mari clung to her mount as it pounded the road behind Ed’s.

TTb:29 Miles later the sound of more hoofbeats gave her heart fear then relief. Rob was riding. “What happened?” she asked at a pause.

TTb:30 “Ride hard. I fear we are outlaws” said Rob “The King is weak in the land but not in his home. I seem to have angered him. Ride hard.”

TTb:31 Mari & Ed agreed. The three rode hard through the woodlands for the rest of Ne’erday, & escaped…to an uncertain future.

 

The end…for now…

 

All content © 2008 Christine Taylor

Four Days Late

TwitterTales…the creation of writer @seamusspeaks…a complete short story in one month, one Twitter post a day, 140 characters at a time. Not as easy as it sounds, and it doesn’t sound easy. But fun? Most certainly.

@Seamusspeaks invited me to participate last December–I came on board 4 days late, which led to the title of my first TwitterTale…”Four Days Late.” It began the story of Lady Marian of the Barony, as she struggles to find her lost family. Little did I know what writing a TwitterTale would be like–I had visions of completing a novel in less than 30 days. Heh heh. Not happening. December’s Tale was rather rushed at the ending, as I ran out of days.

But I was ready for January. I wrote the whole month’s Tale in one sitting, and posted one segment every day (unless I forgot, ahem). And I am continuing the saga each month.

But as it might be hard to find the Tales in the mountain of my Twitter Blither, I’m posting them in their entirety, to date, here on my blog. I’ll add every day’s post until the month’s story is done.

So whether you follow me on Twitter or subscribe to my blog, I welcome you to check back daily for the latest part of the adventure!

In the meantime, here for your reading pleasure is the entire text of “Four Days Late.” And stay tuned…because February is underway…

~~~~~

Four Days Late

TTa:01 Marian stood in the empty camp and stared at the devastation. 4 days. She was 4 days late. How could one make up for 4 days lost?

TTa:02 A winter wind bit at her lips as she drew a gasp. Tents & supplies were scattered. No sign of life. She was afraid to start looking.

TTa:03 A messenger had been sent but was caught. He escaped after 4 days. Only then did Marian get the news: Her home camp was under attack.

TTa:04 Marian had grown up among the forest camps. Now she was lady in waiting to a baroness. But her blood was wild, & her spirit was free.
TTa:05 With no more aid than a knight, a horseman & the messenger, she had come to save her people from the enemy. But found home in ruins.

TTa:06 Movement behind her; a large form. A deep, quiet voice.“What next Milady?” The knight. A nobleman, returned from war that very day.

TTa:07 He was a war hero & noble; Marian had a background lower than peasantry. Yet he quickly helped her. Eyes wet, she replied: “Search.”

TTa:08 The four combed the camp. Silent, cautious. Marian knew the enemy could hide. Raiders, thieves, they were. Covetous of home’s bounty.
TTa:09 Soundless minutes passed. Then a voice:“Everyone’s gone.” The wiry horseman, roughly clothed, eyes wary. “Fled? Captured?” he asked.

TTa:10 “Doomed,” whispered the messenger. A shell of a man, eyes blank. “The enemy took no prisoners.” The Knight stared. “They took you.”

TTa:11 He turned away. The Knight eyed him. “The safe Caves!”Marian exclaimed.“We’ll try there!” But the Knight caught her hand to stop her.

TTa:12 “The barony is rich. The friend of the baroness knows secrets.” “I’m not important,” she replied. “Yes you are,” he whispered. To me.

TTa:13 “I must find my family” Marian begged. The Knight paused. “Then we go to the caves.” He glanced at the messenger & saw him watching.

TTa:14 Marian gave the Knight a grateful gaze & brushed past the messenger. As dusk came on the 4 rode out. She led the way, wary & nervous.

TTa:15 The forest was dark by the caves. The messenger halted, said “I’ll wait; I’m weary.” Marian went cold & saw the Knight grip his sword
TTa:16 The Knight glanced at her & the horseman. Both tensed. “It’s dark. Get wood for torches.” He led the way. “I’m sorry” Marian murmured.
TTa:17 “You fear an ambush” said the horseman under his breath. The Knight’s eyes lit with steel. “Too well. But we are not caught yet.”
TTa:18 “They want you & expect us as an army” said the Knight to Marian. “What’s in the cave?” “Tunnels & many exits. One is ahead” said she

TTa:19 Suddenly came footfalls in the dark—many. “He’s told we’re only 3” whispered the Knight. Mari grabbed the 2 & pulled them to the cave
TTa:20 They saw dark forms & glint of steel. “Inside” said the knight. She knew the tunnel well. “This goes to the front & east.” “Good.”

TTa:21 “We need our horses” said the Knight. Mari gasped: “But my family?” “We must escape & return.” She nodded, grieved. “This way.”

TTa:22 “Tis a harsh way to spend Christmas,” said the horseman. “In a cave!” The Knight smiled. “It was good enough for the Savior.”

TTa:23 Mari led them into the cave, a torch aloft for light. Soon she snuffed it to embers saying “The entry is close, enemies may be near
TTa:24 The entry tunnel opened wide before them, echoing with fierce voices. One the messenger’s: “You cannot blame me for her escape! Noo!”

TTa:25 “Comb the woods. Find her!” they heard. The Knight drew breath. “What is it Rob?” said the horseman. “The voice, Ed! Duke d’Lorrimer!

TTa:26″Him here? Why?” said Ed. “I don’t understand, the Duke is the Baron’s close friend” Mari gasped. “His closest traitor” said Rob, grim
TTa:27″The Duke can take the Barony if he has Mari’s secrets.” Rob & Ed vowed to protect her. Taking the cave tunnels they emerged far away

TTa:28 The 3 made it back with news of the Duke’s plot. They were hailed as heroes; but Mari vowed to soon return & find her family. THE END.

 

All content © 2007 Christine Taylor

Tag, I’m It!

I’ve been blog-tagged!

My good friend Melanie has tagged me to share 5 facts about myself on my blog, and to tag five other people to do the same!

Here are the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog. 2. Share 5 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird. 3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs. 4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

~

So here goes: 5 facts about me:

1.I have been thrown from a horse.

2.I survived carbon monoxide poisoning

3.I can do the Upward Bow pose in Yoga

4. I’ve designed a 10-foot-tall stained glass window in a church

5. I know a huge amount of Disney Trivia

And I tag Susan, Sean, Kelly, Stacy, and Mick!

 

Published in: on January 20, 2008 at 8:16 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , ,

A Sign for the Times

No Parking

I have a lot of ideas. A plethora of them.

Sometimes these ideas cram together in my noggin until I’m certain they’ll be pouring out my ears. Most often it’s “good” ideas–story plots, art projects, web design plans, goals, wants, dreams, hopes, desires. Things I can do and be and say.

But there are stressful ideas, too–thoughts, really. The time frame I have in which to complete these projects. The magnitude of work that’s involved with them. The limitations of the resources I have at hand. My own lack of experience in certain matters.

What often winds up happening is that the overload of ideas and mounting stress cause me to clutch–I get stuck between having a ton of things to do, but not knowing how to do them all. The ideas and energy build up inside me, while I stand immobile. Imagine filling a pressure cooker with more pressure than it can handle–at some point, something’s gotta give.

Facing one of these moments yesterday, I decided to go for a nice long walk. Burn off some of that energy, clear my thinking. But I was delayed until it was too dark to walk very far; so, instead, I sprinted up and down the block.

Probably looks strange to passing motorists to see someone in jeans and a windbreaker running back and forth as if there were monsters on her heels, but I’ve long since given up worrying about looking strange.

As I ran, I was still thinking. The energy can be burned away, but the ideas remain. Tons and tons of thoughts, pouring through my mind. I puzzled over them, wondering to myself, How can I get all these things done? How can I do what I need to do?

And then I looked up in mid-sprint, and saw a road sign. It read:

“NO PARKING ANY TIME. BEGIN.”

Hit me like a blast of cold air. Keep running, keep moving. Let the energy and ideas pour out together. Just begin. Dive in and start working.

And don’t stop running.

You’ll get where you want to go.

It felt good to run; felt good to have the fresh air. I could have kept moving back and forth, back and forth, till I collapsed from exhaustion. But that’s the thing about running–you won’t get anywhere unless you have a destination in mind, a purpose. If you’re not running toward something specific, you’re merely burning energy.

So I plied my feet back toward the house. Back to my office room, back to my ideas. And I’m simply digging in.

No parking at any time.

Begin.