Return to Stillness

Photo: I thought about a selfie (I really must say, my retwist is making me feel fly, so fly!) but I decided that this would be more poetic: My shadow on the snow-covered Concord River. And yeah, those are animal prints on the river. Nifty, huh?


This morning was the first one in four weeks that I’ve had without children. I dropped both boys off at school and left. It was amazing. Between the snow days, parent helping, a freaking stupid school vacation week, I’ve managed to be with my children non-stop, every day for a long while.

And that, compounded with other issues, has caused a writer’s block that is as big, heavy, and unmovable as the ice dam on our roof. So I couldn’t wait to get out and get going. I was overwhelmed by my choices: get some breakfast and then go to the library for some research/reading (I haven’t read a single book in 2015. I think that is part of my problem)? Head out to H-mart to pick up some bulgogi to make for dinner this weekend and some other cool stuff for fun? Get breakfast and some writing exercises to try to break my block? The possibilities were endless!

Now you know it wasn’t gonna be that easy, right?

It wasn’t hard, but I had yet another school duty to perform, which meant that my time to myself was cut a half-hour short, which matters, you know? So… I deflated some of the dreams and thought about the practical and the do-able. I bought bread at the store (necessary for today’s after-school PB&Js), bought myself a coffee, and heading back into town. Toward my favorite place:




I didn’t know what to expect when I started to approach the Old North Bridge this morning. It is a big tourist spot and people usually jog on the path, so I guess I was expecting a few people there…  Coffee in hand, gloves on, collar up on my coat, I walked on the narrowly cleared path and came upon silence and emptiness. Nobody was there, up the path, down the path (the people in the picture came while I was leaving) or at the little monuments.  It was me and the wind and the snow and


Many, many birds. Enough birds to fill the silence with song. Bird song on a frigid day like this? Magic. So lovely.

I was surprised that the water was completely covered over by the snow, and I was surprised how far that snow came up on the bridge. And the view on both sides? Spectacular…


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It was nice to be alone. I’m rarely, if ever, alone. Even when little boys are napping or sleeping, or if The Husband is in his office and I’m somewhere else in the house… that’s not alone, you know? There is always an anticipation for the next want/need/whim/conversation. To be alone in a place for once… It was enough to make me ignore how cold I was for about an hour. It wasn’t until some lady walked by and said, “aren’t you cold yet?” did I realize that I actually was and probably should head back to the car.




When I got back to the car, I turned it on and closed my eyes for a few minutes. No radio, no nothing. Just sat in the silence and allowed myself to be in it for a few minutes. That’s what I’ve really needed. The pedicure was nice, the retwist was better, and the cleaning was certainly cathartic… but it was the silence that I needed. The actual physical separation from house and husband and children was the necessary thing to begin to break this block.

And I actually did some writing in the car. Not a lot. I ran out of time (damnit. That extra half-hour could have been the key!) but I did some. I contemplated actually getting back to Project Vi and doing some damn work!

I’m not sure that the block is actually broken. Matter of fact, I’m absolutely sure it’s not. Otherwise, I’d be writing fiction right now… the flood gates would be open. But there is a crack in it. Gotta start somewhere.

I’m glad ya’ll enjoyed that little joke post. It’s cute, yes. The first 10 times. But they really did repeat it over and over and over again yesterday. It gets exhausting. And Minor is entering the stage that Major just left: The “I want something so I will just keep saying that I want that thing over and over and over again until I get it” phase. It is infuriating.

“I want some apple juice with lunch.”

“I know,  baby, I’m actively making your lunch for you. I will be with you in a moment.”

“But I want apple juice.”

“Baby, I know. I’m very aware of your wants. You always get apple juice with lunch. When I am done with your sandwich, I will get it for you.”

“But I want it. I am thirsty. I want some apple juice.”

“[Ursa middle name other middle name Minor] I’m on it. I hear you. By the way, that is not a request. And if you pester me about this again, I will not get you apple juice.”

Major, in a whiny voice: “But I want apple juice, too!


“Both of you get out of the kitchen!”


And that’s just an excerpt!

See why I’m blocked?


I get another morning to myself on Friday. The full morning, too. I can’t wait. Breakfast will be had. And writing, too? We’ll see. Time is such a luxury that it’s overwhelming to consider!

How are you holding up, dear reader? Stay warm.




8 Comments Add yours

  1. dude love the pics! such a difference from the last set. the tranquility–priceless. pleased to see you gifted some!!

    so this might be random, but I was thinking about the similarities between space and earth life and everything we know of it this morning; it’s all just repetition. creation is a constant even when we miss it; it’s circular. we’re a human loop in a spinning circular galaxy. the boys’ jokes are repetitive, their develop follows a pattern, the snow falls and falls, the days come, our whole purpose is to recreate and repeat.

    what is our genius, then? it happens amid the tiny pauses of our repetition? it’s a spark, a bang, the birth of something–that crack that opens? is it just always there waiting for invitation?

    maybe the genius is that the genius keeps repeating itself. how crazy then to find your post unintentionally on topic when I opened the blog reader.

    is coincidence just the predictable we weren’t paying attention too?

    good luck on Friday!

    anyway, what does project Vi mean? is it a name or maybe big five little six? lol. been meaning to ask you.

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      You know, this is one of the first things I read this morning and I have been thinking about it all day. The first thought that came to me after I read this was “yeah, but history remembers the interruptions.”

      Human culture favors the interruptions to the cycle. These are the things that we remember the most. We seem to, in equal measure, vilify or beatify the disruptions depending on the circumstances; but, ultimately, it is the interruptions that we stop to remember the most. At first, I was like, “America has built its entire civilization and culture around the interruption of cycles,” but the more I tried to find a counter example, the less I could find. Every culture has a great disruptive example that they tout as their own: See here! This is the big thing that made us!

      And one can talk about how the disruptions are cyclical in nature (I found some of that in my reading when I was exploring Fate v. Free Will back in the Fall), but I think that I would argue against that: I’m not sure that disruption is inevitable, but I think that it can be EXPECTED. And I think that little disruptions in the little cycles of individuals in everyday life can then ripple into mightier disruptions up and down the chain. Even in the vast universe, we can find examples of bodies that aren’t on a cyclical trajectory. Those disrupting bodies have potentially catastrophic consequences for whatever they choose to bump into…

      Anyway, yes, you are right, the universe is a set of very elaborate and beautiful circular gears, but let us not forget that the gears work under the auspice that chaos is ever present, ready to strike anywhere at any time.

      Project Vi is my novel. I haven’t officially titled it yet, so Vi has been working for me. Vivica is the name of my protagonist, and she is called Vi for short or ViBo by some in her community. It’ll all make sense when I’m done and I post an excerpt… some day…. maybe…. ever… if I can ever get my damn act together. 🙂 Which may be never… I’m in such a damn funk….

      1. Thank you the great response! I hadn’t expected so much meat to chew on, kinda figured you’d ask if I’d dipped into the crack.

        Follow ups (responses not required, but welcome):

        Do interruptions become cyclical with frequency, to where they become the norm: diseases, technology, mutations, etc.? And is that chaos or planning like molecules smashing into each other in a pot of boiling water–looks fairly random with regard to motion, but is that because we haven’t watched them all long enough? Analogy: how many games of nine-ball, with the same 2 players, would you have to watch to finally see the exact game replayed? Is that possible? Is the same game a coincidence, or just the inevitability of geometry on a boundaried plane?

        What if the plane is boundless to human measurement? Don’t these patterns just represent predictable patterns in what we call, for lack of knowledge, an infinite space?

        Are the interruptions the actual patterns?

        Questions I actually would like answered when you have some free time:

        What is Vi’s, like, purpose? How does her existence influence the novel? Does she drive it? Does it drive her? Does she have any interruptions? lol

        No need to get too detailed if you’re worried about spoilers. I can waIt to buy it at Barnes and Noble, so I can turn around at the counter and Yell,”Yo, suckahs, I know this chick!” 🙂

        Have faith, walk away, sniff the air, watch what spring is doing lest you miss it. It’s not always so available, and it’s a bloody miracle every time–grass shooting up through snow is the most beautiful sight in cold country. I hope your fox finds good hunting, Husband finds clear roads, you find mental challenge, and your children find better jokes!

        1. K.C. Wise says:

          I really, really like these questions. I haven’t had a full chance to ponder them, but now that I have a little bit of quiet time, I’m going to. Will get back to you this evening with some answers… I feel like I have knee-jerk quick answers to some of those questions, but I don’t think they do the questions honor… hmm…

          Vi’s purpose is to kick ass. She comes from a prominent family in a small town, and she and her sister have been the vigilante justice in her neighborhood for a while. You know, like for the small stuff that don’t need court involvement but still could require a butt whoopin’? She and her sister have been the watchful eyes that have kept drugs off of her street and out of her neighborhood.

          But then her sister comes home high out of her mind and dies in her arms (that’s not a huge spoiler. It happens in the first paragraphs of the story). And it all goes to hell from there.

          So Vi’s “purpose” is straight up revenge. But the story is about sooooo much more than that. Sooooo much more. 🙂

          And I know that all sounds like very stereotypical urban fiction, but I promise you it’s not (you’ve been reading this blog long enough to know that I’m too deep for that nonsense). There is a story about Vi and there is a story about her town. And they are both interesting and dynamic for different reasons. I am having a LOT of fun writing it and thinking about it. There is a lot to play with here.

          And it’s WRITTEN, though scenes need to be added. My problem is that the re-write/editing is tedious and difficult. It’s hard to go back and add and subtract. It is a different kind of discipline. I thought that I was ready, but I guess I wasn’t? But I am passionate about this character and setting and I NEED to get back to it. So I’m going to! I HAVE to! It’s kilin’ me!!

          And yeah, no… I am pretty sure it will never end up in Barnes and Noble. I dunno. Maybe it’ll live on my computer forever and ever amen…

          1. thx for the info. my curiosity is picqued. why don’t you find an editor? understandably most people can’t let go of their work. like you know directors’ cuts of movies? they’re TERRIBLE lol. I love The Abyss, but had to buy the DC version. Sat down to watch it w/my nephew thinking he’d dig it, but there’s like 4 days worth of yawn footage. Made a fantastic film into a disjointed snooze fest. I guess that why we have editors. Writers think every single sentence is imperative.

          2. K.C. Wise says:

            I DO need an editor. Like, BADLY. Believe me. I want to go through it myself, first, though, so that I can present an editor with the best that I have to offer. Which is a problem because, well, I’m a perfectionist. So… uh… Lordy. But, yes, ultimately, this baby is going to have to go somewhere. That is what I’m working toward at the moment.

          3. Well, let’s look at this separation anxiety for what it is. Someone’s suggestions can’t hurt your work; you have the ultimate say as long as you’re not turning it totally over to a publisher.

            Here’s an idea–send bits off in chapters to people you trust not to steal your shit. If they can read each one separately, and like it, you’re on the right track. When a book is so convoluted and bogged down in its own details, you can’t read it.

            The real sellers are the books you plop open at the bookstore and find yourself still sampling fifteen to twenty minutes later. That’s well-edited material.

            Good editing follows the tenets of pacing, language, plot, character development, dialogue; all those things gotta jive–otherwise you have nothing but narrative and disinterested readers.

            Or maybe a good chopping-block edit is what your recipe needs to break the rut?

            I was in a sculpture class in high school; we were making abstract sculptures. I had a big, square lump of clay, like the size of a Kleenex box, and I was pulling and pushing the clay into smooth dents and shapes; but I was staying in the frame of the original lump because wtf did I know, right? Anyway, I take it to teacher, teacher surveys it from all sides, takes out a big clay-knife, and hacks the thing in half diagonally. Bam! Talk about breaking out of the form. Working with the lighter sleeker form, my original method worked very well, and I made a lovely little piece of art.

            Best editing advice I ever got.

        2. K.C. Wise says:

          Ok. Now I can get back to your questions.
          And I’m go with my kneejerk for some of it: I think that humanity IS chaos.

          I really think that we can’t help ourselves. I think that we are, by our nature, chaotic. And though we are creatures of habit and we tread through our lives within semi-predictable patterns, I actually think that we are, in truth, chaos embodied. And I think that we use our considerable brain power to do our damnedest to put ourselves into recognizable patterns because it makes us FEEL better, but we are, in fact, utterly reliably and uncontrollable chaotic.

          Especially as individuals.

          You put us together in small herds (herds as small as 2, lol) and things get interesting. Suddenly there are patterns that can made out of the chaos. Because patterns are comfortable.

          Ok, that’s the kneejerk.

          I think that you are right that there are long-game patterns that are immeasurable by human knowledge/standards/units. There are things that we have not seen and that we will never see, and those things have bearing on the things that we know. And that sucks, because you know that they are probably really, really cool. And yet, that goes back to my original point: our lives are so tiny, so powerless, so inconsequential to the long game of the significantly larger context that we exist in AND YET, we spend our entire lives thinking about all of that shit that we can build, break and rebuild in our little times. And THOSE things have bearing, too. And our egos are so big that we THINK that they matter, we NEED them to matter, even if we aren’t here to see them. (Our children and our children’s children will remember this here statue that we put up to commemorate that one battle that one time).

          Long and short, I’m not sure that the interruptions are actual patterns. I think it is POSSIBLE, but there is something about the way that we are that makes me believe that, ultimately, the answer is no. Because we are so small and inconsequential. Our individual actions, ultimately, do not matter at all to the larger context of our existence. What are we in comparison to even a single burst of energy from the sun? THAT interruption in the cycle MATTERS. All of the rest of this is noise in comparison…

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