And the writing clips along…

I’ve been so busy dedicating myself to the task of the NaNoWriMo November Challenge, that I have neglected writing here, on WordPress.   I am so caught up in the whirl of the contest that I can hardly stand it.  I am having a blast with this new adventure and while I recognize that this may not be a successful endeavor, somehow it just doesn’t matter.   This is a first attempt at an actual story, and that in and of itself is an amazing feat for me.

I have a couple of teaser paragraphs to share today.  This novel began as potentially a historical piece of fiction – creative non-fiction if you will.  Here is my synopsis:
Historical fiction with a backdrop in Norway during the years leading up to and through WWII; people’s lives are affected by forces outside the country and within their own families which pull and sway them in varying directions. Relationships are tested between parent and child, best friends and lovers. Consequences result and families are divided. The novel explores various facets of life in Norway during the war, the occupation, victims who fear the outcome, fighters who take up the cause, individuals who turn to religion to cope, instigators who float from simple politics to becoming traitors. Relationships and war. A messy business.

Then somehow- I found myself writing a little entry piece that looked like this:
The unforgiving wind whipped her cheeks and slashed her arms as she lay bare skinned under the chill of a February sky.  Her dark mocha curls had long lost their spring since soaked from the waves lapping up onto her on the shore.  It could still be quite a while until someone happened upon her in this isolated bay in the middle of winter.  Perhaps a hardcore fisherman who ignores the harshness of the season.  This abandonment had been well planned to give plenty of time for the elements to do their thing.  There would be little left of her by the time the authorities became involved.  


Ok that was sombre… and, then a description of an encounter with strong tinges of romance:

Vidar played in the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra that had been scheduled to accompany the school choir at the yearly spring concert.  Nina met him for the first time for her solo performance practice session the evening before the concert.   Nina had been practicing for months with her own choir but this was the first time she would actually experience accompaniment by a professional violinist.  Vidar was six years her senior, towered above her with his viking features of thick and wavy flaxen hair and green eyes.  She, with her azure blue eyes and ivory skin offset by her silky dark chocolate waves that cascaded down past her shoulders.  She was breathtaking to him.  He found himself completely and utterly in love with her at first sight and sound.  Her soft and pure soprano voice mesmerized anyone in ear shot, and when she sung the first stanza of “Solveig’s Song by Edvard Grieg” he was completely captured.  When her voice rose up into the higher octaves, the entire orchestra which was paused for the solo performance as well as anyone that might have been busy in the wings of the stage preparing for concert night, came to a complete stop.  Afterwards, he could think of nothing else but her until the next day when they met once again for the actual concert performance.  That night, when she performed, he was transfixed by her beauty.  He had never seen any woman as delicate and pure; she wore a simple white strapless gown and a fresh garland of white daisies mixed with baby’s breath which adorned her crown.  Soft tendrils of wavy brown hair caressed her tiny shoulders.  Her blue eyes sparkled as she seemed on top of the world.  You could sense that she truly in her element, where she was meant to be – on this stage, in front of this audience and with him by her side.  Her gentle demeanor was almost timid and she exuded humility in her talents.  She was not haughty but blessed with this voice that reached into the soul and brought peace and joy all at the same time. This physical and musical beauty created such a passion within him that he found himself playing the violin as if the violin itself was Nina cradled in his arms.   It was a challenge for him since she was under age.   She only had four months left until her eighteenth birthday.  They had only a few exchanges before and after the concert, but he sensed that the attraction was mutual.  As the concert had come to an end, he then committed to writing to her regularly in order to nurture this flame that he knew existed between them both and which he had never experienced before.  He felt this mutual attraction was still very immature and knew he would have his work cut out for him since she lived down south of Stavanger and she was busy with her school work as well as the farm chores.   Somehow, he would do everything in his power to make a lifetime commitment to this amazing young woman- a reality.
So what is this?   Where am I headed?   I have no idea – well, ok- I sort of have an idea, a general game plan but most of it is unfolding before my eyes and it is so much fun!!    Maybe one day, this deep urge to write and write and writes will produce something worthwhile.   For now, I am not worrying myself too much about form or style or content.  I am not concerned that I am doing this right or wrong.  Rather, I am just getting to know a few people on the page – and so far, these people are interesting to me and fun to be around.

Unlimited Potential

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In the early 60s, something amazing happened to a young early twenty something woman that drew her to the United States of America from Norway. Up until that time, her claim is that self esteem was lacking and that she never felt special. Born just two years prior to the Nazi occupation of Norway and ending three days shy of her 7th birthday, Mom’s world as a very young girl was filled with fear. She lived through air raids and their requisit black curtains, sheltering in the basement laundry room of her apartment with the other tenants, Nazi soldiers pacing the hallways of her kindergarten with their german shepherds, the strict rules of forbidden music and radios and then there is the celebration parades that followed once Norway was liberated. From the time she was this young girl – she loved America. America saved everyone- in her view. In today’s world, where controversy exists on whether America should be the world’s big brother, Mom’s response is that the world forgets. And, she feels that younger generations that have not lived through an actual war or occupation, have no idea what they are talking about- they are arrogant in their naivete. Easy to judge. The truth is, in her view, that we (since she is now an American Citizen) must be involved- when we are not, things fall apart. Of course, intelligence and pragmatism must be employed- but in some fashion, yes- we must be involved.

The plan for Mom was to come for one year. She was sponsored by family members who had gone before her to the “Great Land”, and she initially lived with those relatives in Wisconsin. She eventually made her way to the Twin Cities, and met Dad at a social gathering of friends that were acquainted through a local Ski Club. It was an after work party and Dad was in from out of town on business- a regular occurance as Minnesota was part of his territory back then. Through mutual friends, they connected at an after work cocktail hour. And, the rest is history. They fell in love, Mom couldn’t imagine life without Jack and Jack supported Karin in her pursuits- one of which was becoming an accomplished artist. From the beginning, Dad saw her talent for what it was- amazing. Truly- her abilities were aparant in those early days.
After their wedding, she settled into life with Jack in Michigan- his home at the time. After a couple of years, they moved to Washington DC for another job transfer; it was here that both of their chlidren were born. Dad set Mom up with her own atelier right from the beginning- usually an unused area of the laundry room. She spent hours each day dabbling in oils in between laundry, cooking and caring for her family. She took art very seriously; since childhood she had always had a passion for drawing and painting. Her small florals were beautiful- delicate pansies were a favorite. This passion grew over the year, and during the family’s period living in France- she took classes from accomplished teachers. She learned many vital techniques employed by the masters and she developed her own style in portraiture. John Singer Sargent a favorite of hers, many of her portraits have the same elegance and the glazing techniques that bring skin tone, fabrics and light to a realistic conclusion. One of her frequent exercises was copying a master – it’s what they did as well.  The only way to really learn is to copy a master- she would say.   So in our home, one could find an amazing likeness of Corot, Bougeraux, Renoir or John Singer Sargent hanging on the walls.

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The likeness she renders is breathtaking and I always have a gallery page of her work on my iPhone to show- my brag book. Over the years, she has gifted many a piece to friends and family- and has sold a number on consignment; however, she has never had her own show and her focus has never been on the business side of things. Rather, painting for her has been her solace, her meditation and what has kept her grounded. Everyone must have a passion- something that gives her purpose. For Karin, it is painting masterpieces (my words, not hers). Mom is for the most part humble with her art. As is comomon with many artists, she is not ever truly satisfied and she is not generally confident enough to show off her work. Still, it gives her pleasure. Lately, with Dad’s illnesses and her own aging- her canvases, brushes and oils have sat idle. She often says she will take it up again, perhaps when it gets colder out again. I truly hope so because when she puts brush to canvas- magic happens.

 

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