Stories For Elli, Part One

I like to tell Elli stories. She’s a good listener. She likes to be talked to. 
This was a story prompt on one of my writing groups – write a short scene (less than 300 words) about the picture below, dialogue optional. I tried to find a link to the original artist but we’ll have to settle with the vague blurred web address on the bottom right hand corner because searching the image on Google resulted in two story prompt collections and at least eight Pinterest boards. 
I would have blinked in surprise, had I still possessed my human eyes with proper lids to blink with. Instead I stared up through the murky water. I was certain that I had heard someone rowing a boat across the surface of my lake. I rose from my watery bed amongst the grasses at the bottom and drifted to the surface.
There was a boat, drawn up among the reeds. I could see the shadows of two people in it, but when they heard me break the surface of the water, they darted and hid behind it.
Help me! I screamed in my head, but all that came out of my mouth was an unintelligent roar.
No wonder they fled, like everyone else. No wonder there was no rest for me, trapped in foreign flesh, dying for human companionship. I was now as much of a monster on the outside as I had always been on the inside.


Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell

Image Credit to Artist

Annie Lou, Artist

Those who’ve known me for a while know that I am an artist. I create stuff out of other stuff and occasionally out of nothing at all, but that’s a lot more work. I adore words and have a passion for them, but I also love working with other forms of art. Like dancing or swordfighting or painting.

I’ve always loved to draw and paint, and I even have a few pieces of which I am extraordinarily proud. 
Smaug, one of my favourite dragons.

This is the dragon I sketched while I was supposed to be working on math competition work. And Daddy dear, before you get indignant that I wasn’t paying attention to you, please observe that the above drawing is almost entirely lines. That style of drawing helps me concentrate, just like knitting helps me listen better. I was listening most attentively. I promise.

Bag End.
Gosh, you might think that I like Tolkien, too. Hint: I do.

It was a fundraiser for our local (hehe, it’s Western Maine – I do not think that mean what you think it means) hospital. We were doing art classes based on the works of Rudyard Kipling. This is my painting of The Cat Who Walked By Himself. It sold for over a hundred dollars at auction which made ten-year-old me very, very, very excited.

I got bored of writing one day, a while ago. I’d been typing for a while and my eyes were starting to ache from staring at the screen for so long. I’d dreamed about painting with watercolors just before I woke up that morning, so I decided to do some. I found some envelopes and set about painting them with no particular intent, pattern, or design, just what happened to show up. Hint: that’s the way I do a lot of things.



I proceeded quite merrily with brother #5 watching me intently from the other side of the table and running a commentary on how lovely they were and what was I going to do with them?
Huh. Do with them? You mean I have to do something besides have them in my letter box to be pretty and make me smile?
I guess I have some letters to write, since I kind of intended to mail the envelopes. I’m not a big fan of mailing empty envelopes, and these ones are too small to put cookies in. Sorry, folks.

So anyway, I do lots of other stuff besides writing, when the mood strikes. Every so often it strikes violently and I am left breathless, staring at a piece of paper in bewilderment.

Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell

Liebster Award

A huge thanks to my friend Erudessa for nominating me! 





Here are the rules:
– Thank the blog who nominated you and link back to them.
– Nominate up to 11 other bloggers to receive the award.  To be eligible, they need to have 200 followers or less.
– Answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated you.
– Tell your readers 11 random facts about yourself.

– Give your nominees 11 questions to answer on their blog when they post their nomination.


My Nominees:

My Eleven Questions from Erudessa:


#1 – If you would live anywhere in the world, where?
Either Maine or Scotland, I think. 

#2 – What did dream occupation did you have as a child?
More like, which one didn’t I have? I have always loved writing and that was always my fall-back dream.

#3 – If you could only wear one color for the rest of your life, which color?
Pink, as long as I can vary the shades. If I can’t then I’d have to say royal blue.

#4 – Favorite new book?
You would ask. Argh, I hate picking favourites! My mind goes blank and I cannot remember any of the three dozen new-to-me books I’ve read in the past four weeks. For lack of any other options, ‘How To Eat Fried Worms’ by Thomas Rockwell, simply because ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ are not actually new to me even if the charming audio edition I’m currently listening to is. 
#5 – Do you prefer to watch foreign entertainment with subtitles, dubs, or you don’t like to watch foreign entertainment?
I watch BBC, which is, of course, in English. I haven’t watched any foreign entertainment in a different language.

#6 – Favorite fairytale?
Again with the favourite questions! It’s like asking, ‘what’s your favourite food?’ Suddenly I can’t remember what I just ate for breakfast. But this one is a bit easier. ‘Beauty’ by Robin McKinley.

#7 – If you decided to learn another language, what language would you choose?
Gulp. I don’t know. French, Spanish, Latin, Gaelic, Orcish? Mostly I’d rather learn Old English so I can properly mutter Shakespearean insults at people who behave poorly.

#8 – Books or E-readers?
Books.

#9 – How peculiar. There isn’t one. *double checks* Yup, not there.

#10 – Your favorite real historical lady?
Okay, you’ve already heard me mutter and grumble about my blank mind, so I’ll shut up. Today it’s probably Queen Elizabeth the First since Cate Blanchett probably isn’t historic yet because she’s still around and doing stuff.

#11 – If a new planet was discovered and you got to name it, what name would you choose?
It depends on the type of planet, the color that the planet appears to our eyes, what sorts of beings might inhabit the planet, how old the planet appears to be, how many moons it has, how close to its sun it is, and a number of other things that make it impossible for me to give a name. Sorry.



Eleven Random Facts About Me:

#1 As I am writing this blog post, my laptop mouse touchpad has decided to lock itself. I have a little orange dot in the top left corner of the touchpad which means something is locked, and it refuses to move the cursor, although I can right click and left click. This is highly annoying and I am about to go bother my brother about it as soon as I finish this paragraph.

#2 Having restarted my computer and unlocked my mouse, per my technical brother’s advice, I crossed my fingers, all ten of them, and my eyes, and my ankles, and hoped that it would have saved my blog post draft. It did. 

#3 I have three small suitcases in my room full of library books.

#4 I love Chai tea hot or cold with a splash of vanilla extract, a little bit of sugar, and some cream. 

#5 My cat likes squash and coconut milk.

#6 It’s about -2 degrees outside and I was a popsicle after doing chores. Then I came inside and overheated in approximately .278 seconds because I was bundled so warmly.

#7 My favourite colours are blue, pink, green, purple, black, and silver.

#8 I am possibly addicted to old books. Old, old books with the thick, faded sheets of paper and the huge margins and the curious print. And the smell of old books…! 

#9 I am not claustrophobic, thank goodness. I probably could be but that would mean that I wouldn’t be able to scramble through hay lofts and attic rafters and motel basements as easily, which would be disappointing. 

#10 I have about 20 cubic feet of books in boxes waiting for me to inventory them and shelve them. They are all my own books. 

#11 I got Picasa Photo Editor last week and it’s entirely too much fun.


Eleven Questions for My Nominees:

#1 – What’s the ‘outdated’ phrase that you use the most? 
#2 – What was the name of your first character you created?
#3 – About how many books do you read a week?
#4 – If you were a dragon rider, what colour would your dragon be?
#5 – You’re in a fight. What’s your weapon of choice?
#6 – How many times a week do you use sticky notes?
#7 – When was the last time you hand-wrote a letter to someone?
#8 – How many story ideas have you come up with in the two and a half minutes before falling asleep?
#9  – Text or phone call?
#10 – Do your characters have conversations with you?
#11 – Stars or hearts?

~AnnieLou~

Words, Collection One

Don’t say I didn’t warn you! 
People who hang out with me have hopefully acquired a general understanding that I file almost everything I see, hear, touch, smell, or taste. I have very large files. So if we’ve had a conversation at some point, and you find yourself reading something of mine that sounds very familiar, that’s probably because it is.
Okay, so I haven’t actually made that into a t-shirt because the printer was acting up and wouldn’t talk to my computer, so then my computer got upset and wouldn’t talk to the printer, so I was stuck with all kinds of things to print and nowhere to print them to.
I watch people and then I think how to describe them. Sorry, guys. Deal with it.

At least this friend knew what she was in for.
This thought of mine made my parents wonder what they’d done wrong raising me. I don’t know why they wondered that because it seemed like a perfectly reasonable thing to do. My mother was also bothered the other night because I was wondering what it would look like if Mr. Spock had to substitute for Santa Claus.
And this gem. 🙂 

Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell

My Writing Companion

My cat Eleanor is currently upstairs in my bedroom, wrapped up in my comforter, and probably sharing a bowl of cream and some cookies with the fairy, named Sassi, who resides in my house plants. This is Elli’s day off. Yesterday she was out, doing important C.A.T. work for the agency. Top secret, you know.

Okay, so not really. But I’m sure that she’s telling Sassi something like that.

Elli is pink. Well, partially pink. She has a pink streak down her face and pink spots all over. Her markings are really quite similar to her Tortoiseshell sister, Arwen.

This was little baby Arwen. This is behavior that she still frequently engages in.

Elli likes to be in the thick of things. Which, since she is a cat, means that she likes to sleep curled up in the exact middle of whatever we happen to be working on.

This is Elli. There really is a cat in there, I promise.

One of my favorite things to do when I’m writing is to have an hour or two entirely my own, a cup of hot chai tea at my elbow (but not too close or I might knock it over), and Elli curled up nearby (but not on my wrist.)

This is okay.

This is my writing desk. This is less okay.

Elli likes books. She likes to be read to, she likes to sleep on them, she likes to bat at the pages with her paw when I turn them, and she likes to weave herself in, under, on, or around them while I’m reading and not paying enough attention to her. She probably reads them too, but she doesn’t write book reports for me so I can’t say for certain.

Classic novels are a good place for a luxurious bath.

Yes, I asked her permission before I shared pictures of her. She didn’t mind too much as long as I didn’t start telling embarrassing stories. She is a cat, thank you, and has dignity.

In front of the kitchen cookstove is a good place, if I’m working in there.

Elli likes to sit on the dog crate in the kitchen while I’m cooking and glare disdainfully at Lute. Lute is my family’s black Lab. They are not the best of friends.

And the best place to be is right in the middle of whatever I’m working on.

Elli is just generally a helpful sort of cat, you know?

Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell

My Favourite Quote For Today

So today this is my favorite quote. It’s from my work-in-progress ‘A Promise Rose’. I wrote it a few days ago in a comment I made while half-asleep and it haunted me so I put it in my story. I’m wondering if maybe I should do some more creative thinking while I’m half-asleep, it’s almost as if the muse can get the information through my thick skull faster and more easily that way.

And also, I did the thing again – I used British spelling. I hope nobody minds because I like spelling ‘favourite’ that way…

Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell

A Master Passes

One winter, two or three years ago, I came down with a cold. It wasn’t a bad cold, you know, just the kind that makes you want to lie in bed all day and not move. So that’s what I did. And while I was doing that, I read. And that, my dears, is how I read all eight Harry Potter books by the fabulous J.K. Rowling in two weeks.

I have no idea who took this photo, but thank you, unknown camera-wielding person.

I really, really loved Professor Snape in the Harry Potter movies. The mental image I had constructed in the first few books didn’t work by the time I reached the end of the series (somewhere around day 9 3/4), and when I watched the movies several months later, something clicked. Oh, of course that’s Professor Snape. It all just made sense.

Then, this past summer when I was housesitting for friends, I watched Sense and Sensibility. I’d listened to the book off Librivox (which is incredible and if you haven’t heard of it, go check it out: librivox.org/) and I knew how the story went – but Alan Rickman’s potrayal of Colonel Brandon was breath-taking. There was so much heart in it, so much passion and feeling. It was hugely relieving to come to the end of the movie and feel so satisfied. He got rewarded for what he had laboured so hard for. It was… awe-inspiring.

I don’t feel like my poem has encompassed all that I wanted it to, but I haven’t been able to figure out how else to express what I’m trying to say. So here it is:

A Master Passes
Annie Louise Twitchell
A master of acting,
he stained my mind
with vivid pictures that
are hard to brush away.
He brought the words
to life like so many others
before, but he used his
own special way with them.
So much heart in his works,
and richness, depth.
I’ll not forget them soon.
He had a wide touch,
a deep influence.
He has left an expansive
sadness in his wake.
But his stories are there,
a breath away, to be touched
and remembered and felt
all over again.
Rest well, Mister Rickman.
Thank you for all the stories.

Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell

Published!

In October 2015 I had my first piece of writing formally published by the Homeschoolers of Maine (HOME) e-magazine. The piece, entitled ‘Remembering Apple Blossoms’, won first prize in HOME’s short story contest 2015, with the contest theme ‘Remembrance’.

Here’s what some people have said about ‘Remembering Apple Blossoms’:


My cover art, photo credit to… me. 

  • Oh my goodness, I almost cried when I read your story. And I’m not a crier. Fantastic work!!! 


  • Aww, sad ending, but I love it!!


  • What a great story! It made me cry (which admittedly isn’t hard). The last line reminds me of a quote – “The veil that hides the face of futurity is woven by the hand of mercy”(And I love the image of “furiously knitting”)


  • I just read your story. Great job! I loved the imagery, especially the use of twilight. Such a sweet story! 

Copyright 2015 by Annie Louise Twitchell  

Love Lines, Part One

First of all, Happy New Year! It’s 2016 and for the next month anything I handwrite a date on is likely to look funny because I may have to change it from a 5 to a 6. Please don’t be offended.

Secondly, a collection of love lines that randomly occur in the middle of a batch of cookies. Actually, the first one occurred to me while I was elbow deep in lemon-scented soap suds. I made my brother get out my laptop and type it out because it was a glorious sink of water at just the right temperature and I didn’t want to waste it or the line.

Most of these are inspired by Ethan and Sophie from one of my works-in-progress, A Promise Rose. Honestly, Ethan and Sophie are so much fun to write. I have lots of happy giggles from writing them. And the younger siblings are so cute!
When I sit down to work on Tattoos and Tiaras a bit more, I might have to find a baby to babysit or just play with. Toddlers, I’m all good. Kids, oh yes, I’ve got them covered. Teenage boys I feel like I understand pretty well, from living with hordes of them for much of my life. Teenage girls I have less understanding of, despite the fact that I was one. I’m weird and don’t count. But it helps that I did some summer camp work this past summer, with a cabin of teenage girls. I learned a lot and have been able to apply it. But babies? My minion was a baby ten years ago. That was a long time ago and I haven’t had charge of many since, and certainly not enough to get a better idea of development and learning and growth, which is something I need a better grasp of for that story. 
Ah yes, the problems of Annie. This is almost as much of an Annie Problem as accidently making soft caramel candies. Sometime you should try explaining why that is a problem and see if anyone believes you more readily than they believed me. And no, I don’t have a recipe. Sorry.
~AnnieLou

Copyright 2015 by Annie Louise Twitchell