Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Weds ROW80 and a little WIPpet

Beth's Sashiko block
I'm thinking about writing and quilting these days. These two occupations have a lot in common -- creativity, tenacity, and a tendency (perhaps) to complete the project IF a deadline has been set. So thank goodness for ROW80 with its twice weekly check-ins!

ROW80 Check-in: Despite life's distractions, so far this week's going pretty good.

  • I'm 600 words on my way to this week's goal of 1,500 on Rivers of Stone. Posted a review for Annette Drake's A Year With Geno, a sweetly entertaining romance. 
  • Tonight I'm running a workshop on "Building a Writer's Toolkit" (for newbie writers) at a local bookstore. Not sure how many folks I'll get (more about this after the workshop on the writing blog), but we'll take a hands-on approach with self-assessment, skills and platform-building. All in 45 minutes. 
  • So far, also, I'm still keeping up with reading about 10 other ROW80 posts each week, swimming 3x a week, and working on those baby quilts (cut out 257 blocks on Monday).

Wednesday WIPpet: But now for the fun. It's August 20th, so what else could there be but 8 paragraphs for the month of August?  

Excerpt, Rivers of Stone: It's 1842 at the York Factory in Upper Manitoba. Dougal and his brother, Colin, have left on the Fur Brigade Express, leaving Cat, still disguised as a boy, behind to work at the Company depot.

Cat slumped on a log at the top of the hill in front of York Factory. The first snow had dusted the mud with white, yet loaded canoes still came up the Hayes River, bringing natives with packs of fur to trade, the natives hoping to beef up their winter provisions before the ice made travel by river impossible. It had been a long day of counting, arguing with Jacob, and dreading the night. Sunday wasn’t so bad, nor was the Clerks’ House with its younger occupants, but York Factory was quiet with the voyageurs gone.
“Cheer up,” MacKenzie had said. “They’ll be back in the spring afore you know it. Besides, we’ll have lots to do over the winter. You’ll learn how to use the fur press before yer brothers come back to rescue you. Then Jacob will stop pickin’ on yer scrawny butt.”
She was used to seeing polar bears. They didn’t come too close to the outer palisades of the Factory, unless they were hungry. The great white beasts loped along the returning ice, hunting seal. Sometimes they would crawl behind great chunks of ice and sneak up to an air hole, then plop down on the ice shelf and cover their noses. They were invisible as they waited for a careless seal to come up for air.
Idly, she watched a black dog track through the marsh grass. No, it was a wolf pacing out along the mudflats toward the bay.  He was hunting a bear. The bear ambled along slowly, upwind, unaware of the wolf behind him. The wind changed and the bear’s head, almost pink in the fading sunlight, swung around. The bear huffed and charged towards the wolf, but the wolf broke into a lope, racing head first. Cat was mesmerized. Why wouldn’t the wolf run away? The bear could kill him with one blow of his massive paw.
Suddenly, the bear turned and lumbered towards the Bay.
“That bear’s maybe afraid the wolf has friends. They hunt in a pack, you know.” Jacob sat next to her on the log. “A wolf pack can take even a big polar bear down.”
“Did you ever see that?” asked Cat.
“Bear Face told me,” Jacob said.

Polar Bear (Wikipedia)
Send words of encouragement to other ROW80 writers, those folks who truly appreciate that life has a rhythm of its own, HERE.

Read what other WIPpet writers have written HERE. To participate in WEDS WIPpet, all you need to do is post a snippet from your WIP (current work in progress) in some way connected to today's date, and add your name to the links at K. L. Schwengel's blog. Thank you, Kate, for setting up this way to share our wips! 


  1. I loved the imagery in this excerpt. Well done. I so didn't know that wolves would hunt polar bears. I guess it makes sense though.

  2. Ooh. I want to know who Bear Face is. Also, I guess I never thought about whether a wolf pack would hunt a polar bear. Interesting.

  3. All I know is that this part of the world is so harsh that anything is possible. I've been to places in the dead of the winter, where it wasn't the cold in the thermometer but something about the cold of a simple lack of life. I know, another story for me to write! But, Beth, I can't wait to read more of your saga!

  4. I absolutely love your excerpt! I have a bit of a THING for lonely Arctic places. In fact, I'm doing research for a series of my own located there.

    I didn't know that wolves would hunt a polar bear. They are rather courageous, aren't they? Or perhaps it's simply desperation.

  5. This was a lovely excerpt. The imagery absolutely swept me away, especially about the wolf and the bear. The sequence was almost dreamlike! :)

  6. I think I like MacKenzie. And the description of the wolf and the bear... very well done. Only issue I had with it is that it seemed to come out of nowhere. First we have Cat and MacKenzie talking (in what seemed to be a somewhat busy dock or warehouse-like place, then we have wolves and polar bears and brush...

  7. Nice detail in this snippet. A bit of a calm in the storm. :)

  8. Lovely. The snippet, the quilt block, and your energy. All lovely. =)

    I've had something of a lifelong fascination with polar bears. And once, while we were working in Yellowstone and lived at a campground just outside the park, in Gardiner, MT, I looked up from writing and saw a wolf traversing a ridge across the road. It was gone in only a couple of seconds, so I might as easily have missed it.

    This passage has that same feel to it.

  9. An engaging excerpt AND I learned something about wolves and polar bears I didn't know. I wouldn't think polar bears would have...well...any natural predators. The imagery in this scene is just awesome. I really get sunk into Cat's POV.


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