ROW80 Goals Update #11 – “Wide Horizons”

When I was about 7, my father brought home two copies of an old reading textbook.  He worked in a paper mill that recycled paper products into paper toweling, tissues, and the like.  He had a fancy-sounding title I liked to repeat, “Head Twin Hydropulper Operator”, and sometimes, he would bring me inside when I went with him to collect his paycheck.

I was always fascinated and intimidated by the hugeness of the pulping vat, and  how easily it could devour a person.

I felt more or less the same way about my father, whose sparkle of ebullient friendliness wraps around a rage that can consume all in its path before blowing over, leaving the sunshine of his charm once again…

More often, he would bring us things that he had rescued from the vat and thought we might find interesting.  A lifelong lover of words and paper,  I delighted in those unexpected treasures.

This day, the treasure was those reading texts –  The Wide Horizons Reader.  It included some amazing stories that did, indeed, widen my horizons as a seven-year-old, stories that remain with me, even at the age of 42.

Stories like:

Owls in the Family


Shag, the Last of the Plains Buffalo

The Cricket in Times Square


Big Tree (the story of Wawona, a Yosemite Sequoia)

There were other stories, too, but these four shaped who I have become.  They opened me up  and allowed me to see the world in a whole new way, while I was on my bed at home.

Why am I telling you this, in a goals update?  Well, because, just now, I’m feeling very much the way I did then…..excited by possibilities I had scarcely imagined,  and which are becoming startlingly real, very quickly…..leaving me both breathless and a little confused, unsure of my footing in this new and unexplored realm…..

First, a goals update, and then, further explanations of the whys and wherefores of my “wide horizons” feelings…..

Round of Words 80 Goals – Round 1, 2012:

 I will write at least 10 essays and/ or photo essays, and post them publicly. 

 I will complete all necessary homeschool reporting (2010-2011 end-of-year assessments; fourth request for approval of 2011-2012 IHIPs, and Second Quarter Reports-  all items for both children).  These will be completed and submitted as follows:

  •  2010-2011 EOY Assessments  –  January 31, 2012
  •  This goal has also been attained!
  • 2011-2012 IHIP Approval Request – February 15, 2012
  • This goal has been attained.
  • New response from the superintendent: we are, at last, approved!
  • 2011-2012 Second Quarter Reports – March 1, 2012
  • I reformatted Jeremiah’s report into a much simpler bulleted list.
  • Still to do: list resources, add links, proof, and send.
  • Over the next several days, I will reformat Annalise’s report, as well.
I have never before been this close to done with these reports so far ahead of the due date.  That removes a lot of stress from my life!

I will submit at least one essay or photo essay apiece to Tiny Buddha and Sunday Surf.

  • The Sunday Surf post has been completed and posted at my unschooling blog, The Unfettered Life.
  • I have reread, aloud, the Tiny Buddha essay.
  • I made notes, let it rest, then restructured and fine-tuned it.
  • I think I have a cohesive final or nearly-final draft.
  • This is resting for a day or two, and then I plan to write a final draft, give it a title, make sure it meets guidelines, add a photo or two, and send it on its merry way.
  • If all goes well, it will be submitted by Wednesday’s check-in.

I will complete the rough draft of my unfinished NaNoWriMo novel, Chameleon’s Dish.

  •  I completed 8953 words and Chapter 17, “Never Doubt I Love”.
  • I began Chapter 18, “Bounded by a Nutshell”.

I will submit at least four pieces, queries, or proposals to for-pay markets.
  • I have fallen just a little behind on this goal, but it is a temporary setback based on the fact that I currently have two for-pay submissions in the works, but neither completed.
  • I have not done anything further regarding writing samples for my private writing service enterprise, but intend to get back to it over the next week or so.
  • I have reread (silently) and added comments to the flash erotica piece, “The Coupling” and am giving it a little rest; it was doing far more telling than feeling and being, and I want to give myself more space to get inside the characters (pun fully intended!) and live the scene from inside their heads, souls, and skins….
  • I have recently embarked upon a third project that might or might not become a for-pay work.  I am at the very beginning of a Collaborative Writing Experiment with fellowROWer, Morgan Dragonwillow.  We don’t know where this project will take us, yet, but our writing flows well together, and I am really enjoying letting go of my own ideas for where a pierce will go.  There may be something marketable here, but that is of secondary concern to stretching into this new challenge.
I will update, keep current on a weekly basis, and add writing samples to my Facebook Writer Page, and I will  update, edit, and post to both of my regular blogs on at least a weekly basis.
  • I have done well at this goal.
  • I have posted links, statuses,  and writing samples to Shan Jeniah Burton, Writer on a daily or near-daily basis.
  • On Thursday,  I posted an entry into to the Beauty of a Woman Blogfest 2012 over at The Unfettered Life.
  • I have since gone back to edit the post and add photos to the many pictures.  I discovered a few more typos there, today, and will be editing those soon.
  • I intend to go back to the beginning of the blog, and edit from there toward the most recent, and perhaps adding pictures where appropriate, especially for those posts that predate the ability to post pictures on Blogger.
  • I posted to this blog on Thursday, with this One-Minute Writer post on the prompt, “Style”.
  • I posted again, very early Saturday morning, with this Friday Flash Fiction post, “The Last House”.
  • I have experimented with custom headers, and added a few favorite photos to appear randomly as my header.  I know, I’m fancy! =)
  • I have added a few widgets –  tag and category clouds, new challenges, stuff like that.
  • I will begin (at the beginning of the blog) editing each post within the next several days.  Since this post really needs to be placed with articles (I am not even sure if I’ve read it yet) I want to get it into the links section where it belongs , else read it, comment on it, and also post it with the links if I think it’s useful long-term.
  • I have several ideas for new blogposts, for both blogs, in the mulling stage, and there are still drafts queued in both, as well.

I will write at least one book review,  and a rough draft of a letter to my father-in-law.

  • I have reread (silently), and added notes to my Bookmark Break Challenge 2012 book review.  I added a conclusive paragraph, and have decided that the tone is in keeping with my feelings about the book.  I will be revising and posting this likely before next Sunday’s check-in.
  • I have spent a little more time pondering what is most relevant to say in the letter to my father-in-law, and discussed with Jim.  I expect to sit down to write a bulleted points list before next Wednesday’s check-in.

I will edit, revise where necessary,  and properly categorize all posts in this blog.

  • I plan to work on this during the next several days –  I got swept into other things over the last days, and this was forgotten.

I will input one of my writing notebooks into Penzu, and clip all materials I would like to pursue further.

  • I have reached 12/1/99 on the December 1999 Writing Practice Notebook.  
  • I have, at this point, input 24/141 pages.
  • Found some more really nifty little nuggets of writing in there!  Once the notebook has been entered, I really am looking forward to the clipping process!

So, there’s my progress….now, back to those widening horizons I was talking about earlier…

My writing world has grown undeniably larger, in many ways. 

  •  I’m sharing my blogs in more places, receiving comments, promoting more, and branching out.  It’s  still uncomfortable, but in the way that pregnancy and birth is uncomfortable – discomfort in the service of growth.
  • I’ve begun a writing collaboration with a relative stranger, and, as I was writing my passage for her consideration, I only questioned a little whether I had any business doing what I was doing.  And then, instead of sitting there asking it, I went ahead and polished it and hit send.
  • I’m engaging in a wider range of writing activities.  Flash fiction, small stones, book reviews, collaborative efforts….I’m stretching out, like a plant reaching up and outward to the sun  and down and outward to  to the water and soil.
  • I was nominated for an award at The Unfettered Life….I’m not ready to say more here  until I’ve posted there.

Elsewhere in my life, paths that we had taken for granted, as a family,  have suddenly sprouted numerous side trails.  We’re beginning to open ourselves up to the possibilities, and it feels good.  Very, very good.

I feel a lot like I felt back then, when I first read those stories, so long ago…..energized and eager to experience more of life’s offerings….

That’s all I am going to say for now – things are still churning and shifting, here, and saying too much too soon would shift my  focus from the sea change going on within and around me.

May we all ROW merrily down the stream……it’s a blog hop!



  1. You continue to amaze, Shan, truly! The tone in this post is so inviting, so comfortable, a pleasure to read. As you know, I really don’t write update posts; clearly, my preference is reading posts like yours. Again, great post.

    • Thank you , Karen! I love digging around in my life and connecting it to other things. Even more, I love sharing the process with people who go in for that sort of thing!

      So comments like yours make me smile, because, if I made you day a bit more pleasant, the whole world got that much sweeter…and we do live in a world that could use more sweetness.

      Also, there’s something in accounting for what I have done, for no other reason than that I decided to, that makes the homeschool reporting less of a “thing” in my life. I used to give it a lot of power to stress me and leave me feeling cranky and put-upon; but these lists are very much like those lists.

      All of a sudden, since joined this ROW, it’s more of a delight to do Miah and Lise’s accounting, too…..

      by the way, I really enjoy your posts, as well! Just the way they are. =D

  2. As always, your list is amazing! The collaboration sounds really exciting, too. Looking forward to hearing whatever you can tell us as you go along.

    I loved the beginning of your post. It reminded me of the beginning of each school year. I was always bouncing with excitement to get my new books. This lasted even into college (okay, and through right now as I’m gathering books for a coaching course I’m starting and am excited at the new words to be read). But all the way from elementary school through high school my reading/English books were always the favorite, and by the second week of school I had already read through every page of them because I couldn’t wait until we got to the stories during the school year. I just had to know what they said *right now*. I think I could use a good reading/English book right now. 😀

    • Kim –

      That was definitely me, too! And, in sophomore English, I read Romeo and Juliet for fun, and Star Trek novels in class, for adventure! =)

      Oh, and Eden Mabee and I wrote dirty stories together that were mildly legendary among our peers and tried not to get caught! ;D

    • Heather –

      So far, it’s like a playground. We have a schedule of sorts, and are toying with ideas and images, and learning about each other as we learn about our main characters (three of them , if you count the hawk!).

      I love to play with words and worlds, and playing with a friend is all the cooler, if there aren’t any expectations there.

      I’m curious about what I will write – it’s my turn!

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