Thought Wheel

Ann Chiappetta

In the Spirit of Revisions #3

| Filed under Fiction Relationships writing Writing Life

Relationships and Road Trips working draft excerpt
prefatory matter: meet Jillian and Starla, sisters who live and work in Gilroy, California. Just a little teaser. Enjoy.
“Wow, Sis, it’s been a while since you’ve gone gah-gah for someone.” Starla commented over dinner one night. She poked at her salad, loaded up her fork, and shoved the mixture into her mouth.
“Yeah, it’s been a while.” She agreed, crunching her greens and washing it down with the Sonoma Shiraz. She reached for another piece of Starla’s homemade sourdough garlic bread and dabbed at the vinaigrette pooled at the bottom of her bowl.
“Why didn’t you tell me he was so good-looking?” chided Jillian, “I mean, you were in the group for two months before asking me to join.”
“You think I was trying to go out with him?” said Starla, “Sorry babes, he’s not my type. Remember I prefer darker skinned men.”
Jillian chewed thoughtfully before answering
“You think he’s my type? I don’t think I even know what my ‘type’ is.” She wiped the crumbs off her hands, “Compared to Marco they’re opposites, looks-wise, at least.”
Starla coughed and screwed up her face as if she tasted something bitter,
“Don’t compare Griffin to that asshole, sis. Griffin’s what you should have been going out with all along.”
Jillian got up and put their bowls in the sink. She hated it when Starla rubbed the fact that she went out with a criminal as her first big boyfriend/lover experience. It didn’t help that when she met Marco, she was an academically sheltered 29 year-old vergin. For all she knew, Griffin could be a serial killer. She sat back down at the table and sipped her wine.
“What’s so special about him?” she asked Starla, hoping she wouldn’t hear another snide comment about Marco.
“I like him because he seems to be dealing with his grief. At least we have each other, he’s all alone.”
“You mean no family? Wow, that’s sad. At least we have aunts and uncles and cousins”
“He mentioned being an only child and so were his parents.”
“I wonder if he’s got friends.” Jillian finished her wine as she thought, “See, this is what I mean. We don’t really know him.”
Starla snorted, tilting her wine glass in Jillian’s direction,
“You think too much, Jillian,” Said Starla. She raised her wine glass as if making a toast,“Here’s to finding out if Griffin is good in bed.”
Jillian’s mouth fell open and her cheeks reddened, but when her eyes met Starla’s, they both broke out in loud, wicked peals of laughter.
Later that night, when Jillian got into bed, her hand began to twirl a strand of blonde hair and she reminisced. She hoped Starla was right about Griffin. She needed her sister to be right more than she was willing to admit.
She twirled her hair, allowing herself to entertain the chance that dating again could push aside some of the left over anxiety related to her violent and humiliating months while dating Marco Mendola. She hoped she could finally be able to trust a man enough to take another chance. She finally fell asleep, her hand falling on the pillow, the long, blond strand of hair abandoned.

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

In the Spirit of Revisions # 2

| Filed under Fiction Relationships writing Writing Life

So, readers, now you know how this book started, as a NaNoWriMo challenge in 2007. The working title is Relationships and Road Trips © 2007 by Ann Chiappetta.
Yes, it was written ten years ago and a lot has changed, including technology, how we respond to social cues, and the generalities of life. The revisions I plan to keep track of while editing and tweaking this draft will include correcting any mention of older technology, language usage, jargon, and fashion styles, etc. The details matter, along with the fact checking.

In contrast to changes, some things remain the same. Yet, in this draft I changed the main protagonist’s first name and kept her physical description the same. That one was a good call, IMO.

The next major editing action was to wean out any pretentions regarding sex, making the goal being less, not more. Since this isn’t a straightforward romance or mystery, I am going to experiment with dovetailing the two genres and balancing the descriptions of sex; yes, I know the one hallmark of a good romance novel is the desks scenes — but I want the novel to be more than that – and I am hoping to make it work, at least that is my goal. So, I have the holiday weekend to tweak and post the first chapter. wink

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

In the Spirit of Revisions

| Filed under Fiction Poem writing Writing Life

Not sure about the other bloggers in the world today, but I often find myself in a blogging slump. So, I’ve given some thought to a general subject that could be serialized and be posted on a weekly time frame. I had to first identify an activity that I do almost every day that would be interesting to write about and also hold the reader’s attention. So, for the first blog serial I am going to try to post the progression of revising a novel. Hopefully it will work out and readers won’t get bored, either. Of course, should you read the excerpts, and should you have comments or questions, please respond or shoot me an email at . Feedback is always welcome.

I guess the first question to answer is how I began the novel in the first place. It began as a story challenge for National Novel Writing Month, or, NaNoWriMo
, as acronyms go. The challenge is to turn out 50,000 words in one month, which amounts to 1700 words a day and if one commits to the daily goal, one will have produced a draft of a novel. For me, it was a stream of consciousness kind of writing, no editing, no second guessing, just content. I must say, I wrote two novels this way and would recommend doing it once to help one’s sense of writing discipline.
Okay, folks, now you know a trade secret of this writer, hope you stay tuned for more.

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

A Weekend To Remember

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem Relationships writing Writing Life

A Weekend to Remember
By Ann Chiappetta M.S. (c)

April 21 – 23, 2017
Tribute to the First Annual Guiding Eyes Continuing Education Seminar

Like many ideas, It began years ago
abstracts based upon the past
concepts blossoming from a common passion.

It was a new idea, unique and untried;
For some, the Challenge instilled apprehension
Perhaps a reason for hesitation
Or for decisions being delayed

For a time, hope came second
As it happened,
Voices united, attitudes changed
Wishes became goals, then actions

The desire to gather together
was no longer waylaid

Human hearts made it happen
To honor Inter-species relationships
The most powerful relationship of all

The spirit of canine propelled us
To the meeting place.

To 3 days of inspiration
36 hours of memories
And laughs to last a lifetime.

exuberant Labradors
Stoic and steady German Shepard’s
80 teams
30 instructors and staff
40 puppy raisers and volunteers

And really good food
Cumulated in achieving
cooperation totaling 150%
And Energy that could not be measured

A coming together
as vibrant as Woodstock but
Not as muddy.

There were dog tangles
Reunions and tears,
Obedience practice, play time
And Challenges including
A hotel that seemed to be built like a corkscrew.

Faces split in smiles lasting hours
Full hearts sharing meals
Imagine a ballroom lined with
Classroom-style tables
A person sits in each chair facing the podium
Beneath each place lies a dog, quiet
Or silent, asleep or awake
Snoring or dreaming
Licking a paw
And these canines
Our eyes
Our joy
Our inspiration
Our independence
Our family

Our reason for being who we are
And the reason why we were all there
Elicits an inner glow, a sense of pride
Or accomplishment, or purpose
We know intimately how well
These dogs gave us the ability to soar
not for only 3 days or 36 hours
but continually.

Our dogs connect us, bonding Hearts and minds
Later, after the reunion
In the afterglow
We will draw upon the link
Recall the shared experience
And, with humble words, thank our dogs.

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

Thanks XFB

| Filed under blindness Poem Relationships writing Writing Life

Long ago, when I was first losing my vision, I subscribed to the Zavier Society for the Blind’s lending library and large print missal supplements It assisted me in keeping up with the readings in church. One may think this is just a small part of living the blind life, but, back then, when my world was collapsing due to limited vision, it saved me from the harsher consequences of social isolation. In short, keeping in touch with my house of worship gave me the strength and determination to accept my disability and tap into the support and inspiration I sorely needed.

Fast forward, I no longer subscribe to the large print missals, but I recommend folks who are losing vision to reach out to their own house of worship and stay connected to avoid the isolating effects of sensory loss of any kind.

Many years later, after my own kids completed confirmations, I once again found solace in my church and I am glad I stayed in touch with my parish as well as my fellow clergy members I met during graduate degree studies at Iona College.

Another connection was meeting Father John Sheehan, then Director of the Zavier Society for the Blind on the train coming back from an American Council of the Blind of New York convention. The following year, I met Christine Moore, another Zavier staff member and we worked together during the convention that was held in Westchester. Through these working relationships, I was able to keep my faith and accept the changes in my life.

When Christine learned of the publication of my first poetry collection, Upwelling, she emailed me and asked if I would like it to be brailed and added to their international lending library. I was grateful and, of course, said yes. Since that time, more than one person has stopped me, and telling me they are reading it in braille. How cool is that?
“Upwelling” can be requested once the person becomes a Xavier Society for the Blind, or XFB client. id number for it is B1543.
Thank you, Zavier, and thanks to your caring and compassionate staff. Below is the information in case you or someone you know would like more information on the Zavier lending library for the Blind, contact Christine Moore:

Tel (212) 473-7800
Mailing address: 2 Penn Plaza, Suite 1102, New York, NY 10121

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0