"My ideas flow so rapidly that I have not time to express them -- by which means my letters sometimes convey no ideas at all to my correspondents." - Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Writing Advice

I'm getting myself re-introduced to the characters of my projected NaNoWriMo novel.
So far I've found myself among a sweet young heroine, a silly aunt, a couple of giggling girls, a vicar with strong faith and a brother who is humorous but wise.

Today I opened a fortune cookie and the little slip of paper inside rather fit my novel writing frenzy:

"Write your life's events in a journal"

Well, while I won't be taking that advice literally I shall be adding many of my own life experiences to the stories to come.

I am enjoying getting to know my characters more and learning where their lives may take them. I tremble at the idea that November 1st is just a few days away and I must start writing more than I've written in months!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

November is National Novel Writing Month


Since the first time I heard NaNoWriMo mentioned I thought it was a lovely idea to try and write a novel in a month. I knew at first that November would be a very busy month for me to begin such a project so had quite put it out of mind. But after a few other blogging friends mentioned having joined NaNoWriMo I decided I might as well take the plunge. (Here's my profile if anyone wants to add me as a writing buddy)


So I literally have a box of story scriblings under my bed that hold story ideas, plots, and character sketches. This past week I opened that box and took out one forgotten young miss I've been longing to write about.


So lovely Miss Cassandra has been awakened and her friends and adventures are being turned over and over in my mind. Above is a poster/book cover I have designed being very pleased to find a face that rather suits my idea of Cassie. Yes, it will be a piece of Historical Fiction of the Jane Austen type. The title is not official I have another title in mind.

Writing begins November 1st and the goal is 50,000 words by the end of the month. I doubt very much that I will meet that goal but perhaps I may be able to get a head start on Cassie's story and see what happens.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

To The Burdened Heart

I wrote this poem over two nights at work and it really didn't take long for the words to form together. This poem originates from word spoken by my dear friend Karis to my family on the death of my maternal grandmother.
This is really just a first draft so I haven't measured the meter and rhythm of the poem and no one else has read this yet so I'm not sure if the thoughts come across clearly or not.

Our hearts are often heavy
With burdens that we've met
But do not say you're sorry
For that sounds like regret

We don't want to be careless
We don't like to be bold
We're fearful of being rude
And certainly shan't scold

But if everything is part of
God's great and perfect plan
And His plan's been in effect
Before the wold began

Then why should we regret
The sadness, hurt and pain
If it's all part of something better
He has yet to make plain

The sadness may be real
The hurt may deeply sting
The healing may be long
But yet we still can sing

We fear a risen Lord
Who's been through death and pain
He's faithful and He's loving
His blood can cleanse sin's stain

He knows our every need
He knows each tender heart
He has said there will be trials
But our hearts won't come apart

We can trust Him fully
With our worries and our sorrow
He knows what is ahead
And He plans for each tomorrow

Will you simply trust Him?
Don't worry and don't fret
Don't say that you're sorry
For that sounds like regret

-To The Burdened Heart, 10-9-09

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mama's Name

I wrote the poem below in 2002 at the age of 14. It's not a great poem, it rhymes but the meter is off quite a bit. It's just a fun story really. The funny thing to me now is that I've just recently started loving the name Eleanor and am seriously considering it as the name for my first daughter. Just now looking at it again I realized that I had chose Eleanor for the name in this poem. :)

One day a lady asked me,
"What is your mother's name?"
Of course I said, "It's mama."
My brother said the same.

"No, the name she was given at birth.
The one her parents gave her
When she first came to earth."

So then I got a thinkin'
My brow began a wrinklin'.

So what if it were true,
That my mama had another
Name I never knew?

And then I began to guess,
Could it be Grace, Ida or Jess?

Could her name be Dorothy?
Bernice, Clara or Emily?

So I went to ask mama,
Was her name Wanda, Wendy,
Sandra? It couldn't be Zee!

"Mama," I said.
"Yes." She spoke
As she made bread.

"Is your name Mary,
Beth, Ruth or Lucy?"

"No Ellie, it's not."
She said to me.
"Well is it Katie?"

"No miss Eleanor."
"Well what then?
I can't guess no more!"

"Come close, I'll whisper in your ear."
So I leaned close to hear.
She said: "It's Eleanor, my dear."

"That's my name!" I exclaimed.
See, our names were the same!

So every time I think of this,
I think how special mama was,
And I give my daughter a kiss.

For her name is Eleanor too,
And when she feels blue,
I tell her of mama's name,
And mine is the same.

Laurie B Michael 2002

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Heedless Young Housekeeper - part 3

After Catherine had sent Dorcas to ready her dress, she turned her attention to the kitchen where their cook was already bustling about filling the entire place with tantalizing aromas. She was determined to shine in the table’s abundance, there would surely be no reason for General Tilney to find fault with their eating habits as he had on his previous visits. Mrs. Robinson, Catherine privately thought, exceeded even his cook in quality but Henry’s father too often seemed content with mere quantity, this evening he would not be disappointed.


“Dinner will be served at seven o’clock precisely.” She said more for her own remembrance than for Cook’s.
“Don’t you fret ma'am; we’ll be ready for them.” Mrs. Robinson said confidently in a tone that seemed to advise the enemy to beware.
On this note of confidence young Mrs. Tilney made her way to the drawing room, in her opinion the prettiest room in the world. She so enjoyed sitting here with its view of the apple trees and the small cottage in the meadow. It was the first room at the vicarage to feel the effect of its young mistress having been newly papered and furnished in the first year of her marriage. There Catherine straightened a candlestick and found one of Kitty’s dolls behind a cushion that had gone astray.


Later that afternoon as Catherine retired to dress before the Northanger party arrived, her husband came from his dressing room tying his cravat. “Cathy, my dear, I have been remiss in congratulating on our fifth wedding anniversary.”
“I had nearly forgotten it myself, in the busyness of the day.” She confessed and motioned for Henry to tie her sash.
“It seems like only yesterday we were engaged. I can still remember what your mother said when I asked for your hand.”
“Really, and what was that?” Catherine sat at her dressing table and slipped a pair of emerald earrings through her earlobes.
“She told me that you would make a heedless young housekeeper.” He said, smiling at his wife in the mirror.
Catherine chuckled. “I dare say she was right!”
“She also said that there was nothing like practice, and I believe in that statement she had great wisdom. I am daily filled with amazement at the way you care for our children and manage the household. I’m so proud of my little wife.”
Tears stung her eyes as she turned to look at him. “Things haven’t turned out too terrible.” She whispered.
“No indeed.” Softly Henry bent to kiss his wife the “heedless young housekeeper”.


A Heedless Young Houskeeper - part 2

After all had breakfasted, Catherine set about preparations for the Tilney’s dinner party as Henry had retired to his own untidy study to prepare for Sunday sermon before the meetings and business of the day.

She and the housemaid had completed most of the necessary housework in the past week. Henry’s own dear housekeeper had passed away only the year before, but young Dorcas had already proved herself an invaluable help to her mistress.

Catherine had many things to do; that evening the Tilneys would be hosting a dinner party including the Bevises and the Walshams, two Woodston couples, and Henry’s curate, Mr. James Paterson. Henry’s father General Tilney, together with Lord and Lady Whistledown, were to bring the table up to ten. These last three were to make their way from Northanger Abbey early in the afternoon, to visit and fulfill their promise of bringing the new baby to Woodston.


Little Edward Ainsworth was the first child of Henry’s sister Eleanor who had married Edward Ainsworth, Viscount of Whistledown a few months before Catherine’s own wedding. The couple had recently been spending a few weeks at Northanger Abbey before traveling on to Bath. The two ladies longed to see each other after an absence of almost a year since “wee Neddy”, as his uncle nicknamed him, had been born. Catherine’s own little Harry was only a few months older than his cousin and her Kitty almost two years older.


Named for their parents, little Kitty and Harry were the first, she hoped, of many children that would grace their home. Her husband had once suggested that they should try to exceed previous records of their parents by having twenty children. Catherine spoke of overtaking countries with such a brood and Henry joked of putting the old gossips of Bath into a flurry or at least filling the ancestral pile of Northanger Abbey with more noise than it ever had before. She wasn’t sure she could manage a brood of ten as her mother had, but she was used to have children around - five or six might be her maximum. Catherine had already imparted to Henry her premonition that she was expectant and secretly wished for a daughter to name Eleanor.


With Jemima caring for her young ones in the nursery Catherine walked the length of the hall to the guest rooms and with Dorcas’ assistance aired, dusted and stocked them with fresh linen, ready for their Northanger guest’s convenience. She then descended to the dining parlor to oversee table settings, seating must be perfect, but she was confident that this evening there would be no lack of conversation.

Friday, February 27, 2009

A Heedless Young Housekeeper - part 1

This short story I wrote for a short story contest on the C19 boards. The object was to write a short continuation of either Northanger Abbey or Persuasion - either continuing from the book or from the recent TV adaptations. Although I didn't place at all I had a lot of fun writing this and making the deadline.

Northanger Abbey is my favorite Jane Austen novel and what happens to the characters in my short story are really what I imagine would have happened to them.


Catherine felt the first rays of bright sun on her pretty face, blinked sleepily and lazily stretched under her downy coverlet. From her bedroom Catherine could hear the mantle piece clock in the drawing room chime seven o’clock.
‘Only seven?’ she thought. ‘But baby will be up soon and demanding breakfast. And there’s so much to do today!’
Next to her, Catherine felt Henry’s warm breath on her neck and she turned her head to view her husband. How handsome he looked even now, lying on his stomach with his brown hair rumbled, mouth slightly opened as he snored away merrily.


Five years to the day since their wedding. Catherine smiled as she remembered that blessed day, how her emotions were mingled giddiness and timidity. Questions and apprehensions had raced through her mind as she readied for the church. Then like a soothing balm, a letter from her bridegroom had come, comforted every qualm, and settled every nerve. His letters had been such a comfort over the months of their engagement, especially when it seemed that General Tilney would not give his consent to their marrying. That day he told her he loved her, he would always love her; he had chosen her above all others to be his own. Catherine remembered warmly the vows spoken that day as they stood up with her father officiating. How near forever the words “as long as you both shall live” had sounded to them then. These last few years living in Woodston had been sweet; her husband knew how to keep humor alive and lighten her mood when she seemed besieged by housework.


As if feeling his wife’s gaze upon him, Henry Tilney stirred and warily opened his eyes against the sunshine that fell full upon his face.
“Is it morning already?” he asked and yawned deeply.
“It’s just now seven,” Catherine answered smiling sweetly.
“Seven o’clock? You know this and yet you’re still smiling?” There was a touch of morning grumpiness in his voice. “How long have you been awake?”
“Only a few minutes; I’ve been laying here staring at my handsome husband and praying that Jemima won’t call until after breakfast.” She spoke of the nursemaid; Miss Jemima Hughes was well experienced much like a mother, coaching Catherine through everything.
It was his turn to smile now: “Little chance of that when her charge is so demanding.”
“There’s no need to wonder where he gets that quality from, he is your son!” she said playfully.
“A hearty appetite is one thing we Tilney men are known for, consider the General and Frederick.”
“On that head I worry about our table’s proficiency for tonight’s dinner. But as far as the children, if they all have hearty appetites we might have to plant a larger garden!”
“Perhaps we should,” Henry smiled. “But the Tilneys are also known for two other qualities that may be useful in aiding to supply their meals.”
“And what are those?” Catherine asked curiously.
“Two very important thinks: good looks and charm.”
“Very true, you see their effect on me! But I do hope each of our children grow up to be good, if only our daughters are as elegant as your sister and our sons as clever as their father I shall be happy.”
“That doesn’t matter so much. As long as our daughters have your ears, my love, they shall want for nothing!” He joked and tried to nibble one of Catherine’s, but she was too quick for him and she giggled at his mocked pout as she bounced out of bed.
“Come - let’s see if we can eat our breakfast before little Harry wants his. There’s so much to do anyway before our guests arrive!”

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


My work with Alzheimer's residents is such a blessing and is teaching me a lot. I have come to see each and every one of my residents as unique and beautiful. The nurse who taught my PCA class challenged us as caregivers to look beyond the medical info and ask ourselves "can I describe who this person is without thinking of their disease first?" This was a great point, and I began to change my way of thinking. I love learning about their family and history and discovering today what makes each person tick.

I think my residents are the most fascinating people and my views on love and beauty have differed from what they used to be. I posted on my other blog on the beauty of hands, particularly work worn, weather beaten hands. In fact I think that white hair and wrinkles are the most endearing beauty marks around. On the outside a person might not look like much but when you take the time to listen you'll see the true beauty of the soul coming through.

I wrote the following poem (ballad, essay, not sure what to call it) about one of my favorite residents. Kay's heart is so sweet, she'd always polite and thinking of others. She's the person I want to be when I'm her age. She's aged very gracefully, not just in outwardly but inside too. She doesn't let her limitations of mind or body keep her from being kind to others. I find her even more beautiful when she hears other residents repeating themselves or being forgetful and she points to herself and says "that's like me, I do that". Other times you wouldn't think she knew she had Alzheimer's but at those moments you can tell she really does understand.

I hold out my hand to her
She takes it, trusting me completely
She is small and round
Her face is screwed up as she concentrates

Her eyes stare at the floor
Her tongue runs over her lips
She hums a repetitive three notes
She carefully lays each foot, step by step

I speak to her gently
She looks up at me quizzically
Her steps falter
Her expression changes to one mingled with confusion

She reaches her other hand out to the wall
She braces herself to regain balance
Her eyes have drifted back to her feet
She stands still only a moment

She doesn't understand what has happened
She continues to walk
She looks up at me again
My dear sweet Kay smiles bravely at me

“I don't know what's the matter with me.”
She speaks the works with a little chuckle in her voice
“Are you dizzy, Kay?”
I ask her.

“Yes...a bit”
I can see the gears turning in her brain
She still doesn't understand
She holds my hand a bit tighter

We reach the kitchen safe at last
She sits down gingerly
She is ready for what is next
She is ready to eat

Later we walk to her room, hand in hand
She hums again her same old song
We near her door
She repeats her room number several times

She knows the door when she sees it
She recognizes the room
She knows this is where she belongs
“This is where I was before” she tells me.

After a quick toilette she stands before the glass
Carefully she washes and dries her hands
Then she brushes her thick gray mop
Carefully curling a lock of hair on her forehead

“Can I get in there?”
She asks me as she points to her bed
She tucks her favorite shoes under the bed
I turn down her covers

She lays her glasses on the night stand
She fluffs the pillow
I tuck her under the covers
One more blanket for warmth

I kiss her bonny face
“Good-night dear” I say.
She cups my face in her hands
“Thank you” she says.

“You do so much...for me.”
She stammers, trying to say what she thinks
“You are just...so..you're so smart...just beautiful.
God bless you.” she finishes.

“I love you.” I tell her
I walk to the door.
I take one last look
Before I close it tight

I wipe tears from my eyes.
My dear sweet Kay loves her sleep
One day I fear to find her there
Never to awake.

- Laurie B Michael 1/21/09

Monday, February 16, 2009


I haven't actually decided quite what to entitle this. It's going to be Figment of ___ something like hope, love, imagination, my mind.

I'm not sure if the meaning of this poem will be quite clear but it refers to a young man I thought myself in love with in 2007. Though I will always like him a great deal I am almost certain that I wasn't really "in love".

Forgive the lack of punctuation and there is at least one place where I haven't decided on the correct word to use.

It started out as a beautiful thing
An object of love and delight
Now I sit and stare at it
An object of pain and spite

T'was odd to me at first to love
Something beyond my wildest dreams
Tenderly my heart took hold
Filled with many lofty schemes

This dream stayed outside my reach
But I was young; hope springing new
Loving on was easily done
Earnestly, sweetly staying true

Time (weeks, months) passed as years to my heart
The object loved, now out of sight
My mind played o're remembrances
That kept love alive and bright

To these memories I added
What I wanted to see
Thinking fondly all the while
"This is what it could be."

Before I knew what I had done
I had so greatly altered it
That little beauty could I find
In my love once brightly lit

The truth revealed hurt me deep
What I'd been loving wasn't true
I loved not what it really was
But my awful dream in lue.

Worthy was it of high esteem
Of love and honor most high
But I myself had played the fool
I had dreamt and believed a lie.

This my lesson's sober thought
Teaches me to deeply love but few,
Speak the truth to even myself
And curb my imagination too.

Friend, loving long is great and good
Even thought it does cause pain,
But loving with no hope - beware!
Love, but do not love in vain.

-Laurie Michael, Winter 2007

Friday, February 13, 2009

Waiting Patiently

God's plan for my life continues to unfold daily and yet I can't help hoping that one day His plan will include marriage and a family of my own.

The poem below was inspired by a couple sermons, summer crushes, and another poem. I think it probably rhymes a bit too much but it is pretty much the prayer of my heart.

What will he be like Lord?
Strong and brave and true?
Will he be an old time friend
Or maybe someone new?

Will he have a quiet heart
Or boisterous may he be?
Will he want to follow you?
Will he really love me?

What will he look like Lord?
Not sure I really care
Just let him be tall and fine
With a full head of hair.

May he have inner beauty
Always shining through
In goodness and in holiness
Let him model you.

Let him want children, Lord
As many as can be had.
Let him be romantic
And a loving dad.

Let him have a sense of humor
Be sociable, be kind
Respectful of his elders
This man let me find.

I don't know where he is right now
But this one thing I pray
Keep him whole, keep him pure
For our wedding day.

Father, give him wisdom
As he waits for me
Grow him up and teach him
My husband soon to be.

Lord, you know my heart's desires
You know I long for this man
Please help me to wait patiently
On your master plan.

~Waiting Patiently, Laurie Michael - July 2008 at River of Life Bible Camp

My First Posting

This is really my friend Finchy's idea. She suggested that I create a blog where I can post my poetry, short stories and other writings.

Because I haven't written anything new in a few months my first few posts will be older writings.

I apologize up front for the crudeness of my musings, most of them I haven't had a chance to edit or rework yet.

Although my writings are not professionally copyrighted they are in every other sense of the word. So I'll have no qualms about my ideas or words being purloined.

Can't think of anything to post just now but I'll have a poem for next time. This should be fun!