Saturday, August 07, 2010

WeekWord: Balance, with Links

Terry remembers her first handstand at age 14. (See note about this below!) :-(

Links for all the wonderful people who played along:

Silly Tail of a Biomouse, coming soon

The next WeekWord will be hosted by Elisabeth at Textilspanieln.

If you have done (or do) a new post on this topic, balance, this time around (Sorry about the repetition--I'm new. didn't know, and had no time to research, so sorry), post the link in the comments and I will add it.

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The image above is an unfinished (and maybe stand-in) illustration for my novel, Disappearing. I did it on the iPad, rather hastily. You may wonder why I am doing an illo on the iPad when I'd probably do better on the regular computer or even with pen and paper. It's because of several things, among them doctor appointments (long waits in the waiting room), new toy and trying to learn the iPad. I am really disappointed because the image posted above doesn't look anything like it does on the iPad--the colors are all wrong. Way too saturated. But I ran out of time to fiddle. I needed to post those links. (Click image to view larger.)

There is a story to go with the illo, which is an excerpt from my novel in progress, Disappearing. I realize many of you are too busy to read long novel excepts, so if you don't have time, you can just leave a comment on my illo. Because I am currently working on two manuscripts, I don't have time to dream up something else to do.

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Here is the novel excerpt on this topic, which I wrote just for this post, right into the actual novel (as I did with last week's topic):

Balance (From the novel Ms, Disappearing)

Travesty's third grade notebook was set up in a similar way to the 5th grade notebook Terry had been studying earlier. Faded blue mimeos of the assignments were taped to the left side of the notebook pages and the assignments were completed by Travesty on the right side, and sometimes continued on to the next pages. Perhaps all the teachers at her school had attended a conference or a school meeting and had been taught or had agreed to do it that way.

In third grade, Travesty's writing had been larger and more awkward than it was two years later, but at the same times, more care had been taken with each letter. Terry found drafts in the notebook at the back like the ones she'd discovered in the later notebook. Terry couldn't believe how much effort Travesty had put into her work, for such a young child. There were notes and vocabulary suggestions in the drafts, which helped explain to some extent Travesty's seemingly above average writing skills, but not entirely.

Terry flipped past the essay on summer vacation and the next couple, eager though she was to read them. She knew she didn't have much time before Travesty returned, and was looking for something a little different, possibly with some fresh information about the girl. She stopped flipping when she saw the 4th assignment, which read: "Something New: Tell us about something you have just learned, not at school, but at home or somewhere outside school. Use specific sensory details from your five senses.

Yes, all the teachers must have gone to the same workshop, or they were using some general system or something, or taking handout material from the same books. Terry turned to the right to see what
Travesty had written. How old would she have been then? Maybe nine?

Look Ma, One Hand, by Travesty X Brown

Just last week, I learned to do headstands and handstands. I started with headstands. They were hard at first. My mother showed me how to put my forehead on the ground, then put my knees on my elbows, and then slowly lift my legs over my head. At first, I would sometimes do a somersault, which I'd only just learned to do last year. Or I'd get partway up and lose my balance and crash down. Or my legs would wobble all around and I would do a split if I didn't come down right away. I practiced on the rug in the living room so I wouldn't get hurt.

After a few days or maybe a week, I got so I could do it. I was so
excited. Then my Mom said, "Okay, good, now, how about a handstand?"

We walked over to Balduck Park. First Mom demonstrated how to do it. She put her hands down onto the ground and kicked her feet above her head and wobbled around a moment and then got steady. She balanced up there, put her legs together, arched her back, smiled at me and then dropped down. When she came down, she landed on her feet. My mom is pretty athletic. She used to do gymnastics before she had me. She showed me two more times, and then told me to do it. When I tried it, I started losing my balance. She grabbed my legs and held them up in the air until I was able to balance by myself. It only took me five times to get the hang of it. The first time she didn't catch my feet, I did a nosedive into the grass, and the smell of grass and greenness was in my nose all day long. I could even taste it, sort of like spinach.

Now I can do it almost every time I try. I don't even hear my heart banging in my ears any more. I've gotten used to the way the world looks upside down. I can do it in the gymnasium--I showed the gym teacher. I'm so excited about it I want to show everyone. I will do a show and tell for class if you want me to. The best thing is that once I get into a handstand with two hands, sometimes, I can lift one hand up and balance on just one hand.

Terry laughed. The teacher had given her an A++. She wondered if Travesty could still do headstands and handstands. She remembered when she had learned to do a handstand. She was in 9th grade, fourteen years old. She'd been able to do headstands since she was in second or third grade, but handstands she thought she'd never get.

Hah! She had gotten it, finally, and the pictures to prove it. She was so proud of herself and happy. The pictures were at her parent's house in upstate NY. She could picture the cabinet where her childhood the albums were stored, and was sure they were still there. She hadn't tried a handstand on land in years. She wondered if she could still do it. She probably could do in water, but that was easier, water was thicker than air and helped one get balanced. And if you fell, you fell more slowly and just floated back to the surface. Handstands in the water were fun and easy. But then again, when was the last time she'd even done one of those? Not for a while.

Terry thought about balance. It took balance to do handstands. Balance was something she had in short supply. Oh, she could walk along a fence or stand on one foot for ten minutes. But her life was
out of balance in a much deeper way, and Terry wondered briefly how she could fix that. What would a balanced life look like? She didn't have a clue.

Terry had a feeling Travesty's life was out of balance, too, no matter how good she was at handstands.
She heard Travesty coming, running into the house and then up the stairs. Terry remembered her mother saying, as a joke, "Wipe that smile off your face, you can cry, if you try." Terry wiped clean the expression of sadness she'd felt overtaking her face as she thought about her life, and replaced it with a welcoming smile for Travesty, who burst through the door grinning widely.

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I hope you have a balanced week or if not, are able to be relaxed about it.


S.E.Minegar said...

lovely illustration. best of luck with your novel. you seem to be doing it all...a balancing act!

thanks for hosting!

B said...

Hope your health emergency isn't too serious! No worries on weekWORD! Thanks for hosting us! You can link to my entry here:

Have a great weekend! B.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Thank you so much SE and B! I am sort of struggling with this. I appreciate you kindness.

I have several concurrent ongoing health problems, all of which seem to hopefully be improving, but with various setbacks. I had a little setback this morning.

Elisabeth said...

I thought it was interesting to repeat weekword! My thoughts had changed since last time - thank you for making me notice! :) And good luck with your novel, it's wonderful when people live their dreams - make paintings and write novels...

If nobody else wants to do the hosting I can do it. Just let me know...

junebug said...

I am quite impressed with what you can do on an ipad! I've been coveting them for awhile now. I enjoyed the excerpt from your story. Great representation of balance. :-)

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I like my new iPad quite a bit, Junebug, but it does have some shortcomings--if you wait for the next issue, it may be better.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...


Christine E-E said...

My post on "Balance" is found at

You have so many blogs - I had a time finding which one to let you know of my post....

thanks for letting me "play"

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

So sorry about the Plethora of blogs!!! :-(

Also sorry didn't get this up sooner, we were away the later part of the day yesterday.

I will take care of it now!