Where’s Your Playground?: Coffee and Conversation

Well, hi there! My April hiatus is over, and it’s time to resume our weekly cuppa and chat! I missed you all, while I was away, and I’m glad to be back! In case you’ve forgotten, here’s a bit about what I’m doing here today…

When I was six, my family was driving on a highway late at night. Streaks of headlights and taillights painted the dark. For the first time, I realized that each car held people living lives as important to them as mine was to me.

I wanted to know what those lives were, and to share my own.

So, what was I up to, while I was away?

I could tell you that I was off doing a top secret mission, or had a month-long family emergency, or something else….

But the truth is, I was playing.

Yes, that’s right.

For those of you who don’t know, we take play very seriously, around here, in the Land of Lovely Chaos. In a silly way, of course!

The Land of Lovely Chaos? Stalagmite Skyscrapers in Lewis and Clark Caverns near Missoula, Montana, c.2000. Photo by Shan Jeniah Burton.

April, for me, was a month for indulging in rampant wordplay. I treated myself to not one but two writing challenges:

  • Blogging From A-Z is an alphabetical jaunt through – well, whatever your want, every day in April, excepting Sundays. I decided to do something I’ve wanted to do for a few years now – I ambled back in time and personal history to the days when my Accomplice and I were much more newly married, still childless, and working in national parks as seasonal employees. Between paying gigs, we traveled, collecting stories and experiences along the way. Explore my 2015 A-Z posts.

And this month?

Well, I’ve got a new playground – Story a Day May. Yes, I’ll be writing a short story every day all month long – no Sundays off, this time! – using a variety of prompts.


This doesn’t exactly sound like playing to you?

Well, what if I told you that I also look at raking my front yard as play? That I love yardtending because it’s repetitive and gets my blood moving, because I can do it at my own pace, and I’m usually alone? That it gives me space to sink into the worlds that spin in my imagination?

And this challenge? Writing a story every day for a month doesn’t thrill everyone – I get that. But its a party for me! I love to write; I love to play with characters, plots, settings, the little inside jokes and tiny details that make a story something more than just whatever happens between “Once upon a time” and “Happily ever after” (neither of which I’ve ever used as the beginning or end points of a story, by the way…).

Here’s some things you might not know about me:

  • I love delving relationships, whether real or fictional.
  • I love Star Trek.
  • I love Vulcans.
  • I love the humans who love them.

And I especially love relationships involving Vulcans and humans…which is why I love love love Star Trek: Enterprise, and its ‘power couple’ – Trip Tucker, the extremely human Chief Engineer, and T’Pol – the Vulcan scientist who fascinates and infuriates him as much as he fascinates and confuses her.

I love them – and I get to play with them every day, all month!

While I do that, I’ll be building discipline, engaging my creativity in new ways, refining my craft, stretching – and having a fantastic time along the way.

Now, that’s a playground! =D

And how about you? Have you been to a playground lately – literally or figuratively? Do you delight in things that others might find less pleasant that being swarmed by fire ants? Please drop a comment in the little box below while I get you another cuppa, so we can all have the chance to share playtime with you!

And, as a treat, here’s a prime playground of mine!


  1. I’ve been enjoying the story a day challenge so far and yes, digging deeper into my character’s and their backgrounds. Just yesterday I got to write about James and his brother, Zachary, when they were about 10. More than 40 years before James’ story actually takes place. And dug into the relationship between a brother & sister who will be in the one I start writing once I finish Flames of Restoration. I don’t know if I’ll keep at it all month, but for now I’m having fun with it.

    • Having fun is the important part, for me. I have to say that several of the stories wander, get maudlin, end poorly – and still, there’s so much good in writing them! I’ve been a few hours late finishing a couple, and I’m not very good at getting to the blog to read other posts yet, but I am on track with today’s story – another sprint or two will finish it – and from here, I hope to be climbing back from the deficit.

      I intend to get to visit your stories within the next few days! =D

  2. I delight in a lot of things many people probably consider boring, pointless, or unpleasant. For example, I aspire to someday be a hyperpolyglot, someone who knows ten or more languages, and I love studying other languages and alphabets. Since languages aren’t taught very well in most schools, a lot of people have negative experiences with foreign languages, and falsely assume it’s just memorizing a bunch of verb conjugations, declensions, and vocabulary words. Knowing bits of so many languages can confuse the mind at times, though, like when I’m having a review session in Memrise and can only think of what a certain word is in another language.

    • I find that an intriguing goal. I would also love to do that – but my mind doesn’t want to focus on more than toying with other languages.

      I do have a character in my Trueborn Weft series (I’ll be working on that later in the year), who is a hyperpolyglot, with a born ability to comprehend and absorb other languages whole.

      On Enterprise, Hoshi Sato, the Communications Officer, can speak over 30 languages, from many worlds, and can learn new ones based on their patterns, often in only a day or two. She’s integral in the pioneering and development of the universal translator used in other Trek series (Enterprise is a prequel to the original series).

    • Machine?! Uh, no! It’s all play, the thing I do to relax, explore, learn, imagine, delight…sure, there’s effort, but it’s like any other passion – worth the energy and time invested.

      I’ll also have challenges in June and July – then a two month rest time (probably focused on planning and revisions) fro two months, then OctPoWriMo and NaNoWriMo, then only one month left to the year, after that….

      If the years could last longer, I could write even more! =)

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