NaNoWriMo 2015 – Taking the plunge!



30 days…

50,000 words…

1 novel…

That’s the challenge of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo.


I first heard about NaNoWriMo in 2010 when my wife entered.  It looked like a lot of fun, and I’ve wanted to enter since.  For a long time, I never made the commitment to jump in and do it, despite having a story concept rattling around in my head for  years.

This year, we noticed that our local library has hosting a planning party for this year’s event.  Well, we decided to jump in.  We went to the party, me without really deciding what I was going to write.

Now here we are, late in the evening of day 4, and I’m sitting at 11176 words so far…over 1/5 of the way to the goal.  It feels pretty good.

I’m learning a lot about my approach to writing a story. I don’t tend to map it out (or I haven’t so far ;-) ).  It makes it all the more exciting to see where the characters are going to take the story. because the heck if I know! (OK, I know how I want it to end…)

As I busily write my novel, I’ll drop in and write a few thoughts about the process and the event itself.

Do you NaNo?  If you do, introduce yourself in the comments and let me know how it’s going for you!




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Autumn Traveler

Autumn Traveler

Autumn Traveler

I have watched the water
Ever since I was young
As it flows past my home

Over smooth rocks
And swirling
Into quiet pools
It looks like so much fun

I have always wanted
To ride along
To see
Where it goes

Dressed in my autumn best
Of golden yellow
I unfurl
Stretching out
To greet the wind

And let go of my branch
To float down
And land
On the stream

To ride along
To see
Where it goes


Filed under Outdoor Explorations, Photography, Poetry, Writing

Autumn Apples

King apples outside our window

King apples outside our window (photo by Maurie Kirschner)

Rosy Cheeks
Peer into our window
From their place
Tucked amongst the leaves

Hanging down
Across the path
They invite us to
Reach and pluck
For a sweet treat

Or they brush our
Heads and shoulders
To drop
An evening snack for the deer

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McKenzie River – July 7, 2015

Bruckart Bridge

Bruckart Bridge over the McKenzie River, Oregon

Sitting on sun-warmed rocks
Icey-blue water licks at my toes
As it chatters and babbles
Flowing past my perch
Swallows glide by
Chasing down their evening meal
Bees buzz along
Leaves of alder and blackberry
Rustle in the breeze
A warm wind blows
I smile
The river flows…

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Winter’s Arrival

Snow outside our office window

Snow outside our office window

The first snow of the season arrived overnight. In honor of the occasion I share with you this morning’s poem. Continue reading


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Fishing Lesson

Fly Fishing Gear almost ready for fishing

Fly Fishing Gear almost ready for fishing

The fish know what I’m up to
You can just tell
By the way they jump
Where I haven’t cast
And rise towards my fly
Just to dive away again
At the last moment

I can almost hear him,
That big trout at river’s bend,
Laughing as he splashes
And jumps
As I un-tangle my line
From the pine behind me

Forty-five minutes
We play, he and I,
Or should I say
He teases
As he teaches me
Fishing isn’t all about catching
It’s about being present and learning

It’s time to move on
I doff my cap
And offer
A bow of respect
To today’s teacher

Yesterday, my wife and I spent the afternoon along a beautiful river just south of our home.  The Fall River is a a short river, only about 10 miles from where several springs gush out of the ground forming the headwaters of the river to where it joins the Deschutes river in it’s flow towards the Columbia, and finally the Pacific Ocean.

Fall River Falls

Fall River Falls

After a picnic lunch next to the falls, I set up my fly rod and walked off along the bank for a bit of fly fishing while Maurie had some quiet time for art and to film some video for her website and YouTube Channel.

I’ve not fly fished much before.  In fact, I can count the number of times that I have on one hand.  The fly rod and reel were left for me by my Dad after a visit this summer.  The two hours I spent fishing yesterday were a learning experience.

The first few spots I stopped and cast out were quiet sections of river with nice gravel beds underneath and a few shady overhangs on the far bank.  Good spots for trout to rest out of the sun on this hot day.  But there was no activity that I could see at all.  So in each I spent some time casting out and letting my fly drift only to retrieve it and cast again.  After 10 to 15 minutes of this, I’d move along to another spot.

Finally, I came to a large bend in the river and saw a fish jump.  I couldn’t get a sense of its size, but the splash was certainly noticeable.  A good sign, so I put down my bag and my fleece shirt and cast into the middle of the disappearing rings, only to see it jump further downstream, and on the other side of a log snag.

I spent about 45 minutes in this spot, working a section of river bank about 50 feet long.  The trout would jump occasionally far away from where I had my fly, and I’d hurry to cast out where he was, only to find he’d moved.  A couple of times, I could see him rising in the clear water towards my fly, only to push at it with his nose as if to say “you expect me to bite on THIS?!?” and dive away.

When I would manage to snag my fly and line up in a pine tree behind me, I would hear him jumping and splashing as I worked to free them so I could go back to fishing.

As I fished this river bend, I got to watching how my fly moved in the water.  How the fish responded to where I placed it relative to where he was, and how it moved towards him.  I also got a few glimpses at the flies (real) that he was feeding on, and how they differed from many of the flies in my grandfather’s old fly book.

When he made it clear that our lesson was done, I had so much respect for this fish, and the lessons he was trying to give to me, that I took a page from my time taking Karate in university.  I took off my cap and gave a bow to my teacher for the day and thanked him for the lesson.

I moved up the river and put his lessons to good use.  I finally managed to hook a fish. It would have been a keeper too, but in playing him into the shore, he managed to slip off the hook and swim free.  I had a few more nudges at my flies, but no more bites.

Many veteran fly fishers will tell you that it’s not all about hooking or landing the fish.  As much as I’d have liked to bring home a trout or two for dinner last night, I have to say, the lessons taught by that trout made every moment worth it.  I even enjoyed the laughter I shared with him as he played while I tried to un-snag my line!

One of the springs at the head of Fall River

One of the springs at the head of Fall River



Filed under Outdoor Explorations, Photography, Poetry, Random Thoughts, Sacred Spaces

River’s Peace

Water falling over rock

Perched on a rock above the river
Listening to the sound of water
Falling upon itself
Falling a hundred times
Over submerged rocks
Its sound drowning all else
Eyes closed
Feel the brush of wind
The wild energy of the place
Breathe in its lively laughter
Exhale worries to drift away
Taken by the current
Leaving peace

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Dry River Canyon

Modern Petroglyph in the Dry River Canyon

Modern Petroglyph in the Dry River Canyon

Walking in the canyon
Rounded water-worn rock
Rises from the trail under our feet
Marking the course of the ancient river

Walls of greys and tans and browns
Rise above our heads to meet a brilliant blue sky
The earth-toned landscape is
Dotted with yellow of rabbitbrush in bloom

The wind brushes our backs
Carrying the scent of Juniper
And blooming desert sage

We taste the dust
That rises in plumes with each step
To coat our legs and bodies

Buzz of insects and call of birds
Sound of wind through rock and trees
Mute the sound of the nearby highway

We spy lizards scurrying across sand and rock
And pass petroglyphs
Etched by not-so-ancient travelers
A pile of obsidian flakes
An old fire ring half buried in sand and dust

In the hard packed earth
Tracks of a cougar follow tracks of a deer
Scavenged bones bleaching in the sun
Scat with bone and fur
Tracks of a cougar meander deeper in

Blooming Rabbitbrush

Blooming Rabbitbrush

Juniper Berries and Sage Sprigs

Juniper Berries and Sage Sprigs


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I want to share a little creativity from last September as Maurie and I were still in the early stages of getting to know our new home here in Bend.
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Haiku For a Snowy April Fool’s Day

Scrub jay flits about
Bright blue back in frosted tree
Show’ring snow on me

Image Source
(Sorry, no photo of the jays in snowy trees…)

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