Martha's World

Martha's World
Alberta is the setting for Martha's Vine

Sunday, January 9, 2011

An aplogy to my eager readers who are anticipating a glimpse into Martha's Vine: Book 2

Sorry, I know many of you are waiting to read the continuing saga of Martha's Vine. But I can't reveal that just yet. Maybe it will help a little to know how I write.

I build the skeleton of the scene or chapter first - one bone at a time. Sometimes, entire collections of bones come into my head and I rush to put them to paper - but they are still only bones. Not that attractive.

Later, I come back to do the dressing, the fleshing out of the bones. Sometimes, I trim or add a little fat to my skeleton prose. Sometimes, I do wholesale butchering.

It's not ready, till it's ready. But it's getting there. I am on Chapter 15 and that's a 1/3 of the way through the book.

Until then, here is some of what I wrote today (I must do a little back story now and then for readers who might not have read Book One, so this is a memory of one of the characters):

The late autumn snow had drifted down, unapologetically covering an already desolate world with even greater bleakness. The heavy mass congested city streets making them impossible for the average vehicle to traverse. Many still tried, shoveling as far as they and their neighbors could, but fell down exhausted, thwarted, and very angry when their shovels reached a major artery and the realization that without a snowplow, they weren’t going any further. They trudged back to their homes and did what they could to wait out the storm. The pragmatists among them did what they could to wait out the winter.

Seniors, the disabled, and those still hospitalized were the first to expire. Caregivers had to choose between their professional ethics and their families—with their families taking priority. For those caring souls who remained behind, a lack of food, no fuel, no heat, frozen water pipes, and an innate sense to survive soon sent them—albeit, reluctantly, and with several backward glances—in search of a better life, leaving their patients to starve or freeze to death. Some patients, upon learning of their fate, threw back their covers, crawled from their beds, scavenged up warm clothes and boots, and joined the race for survival on the streets. 

Martha’s friend, Amanda, had done that. The feisty woman ripped out the intravenous tubes in her arms, kicked over the table laden with pill bottles, and turned her back on cancer. She returned to her home, and made the best of the Change—thriving, and not just surviving. Martha wondered about her little warrior friend with the heavy purse. She smiled. She had been entirely surprised and delighted when Amanda showed her the brick hidden in her handbag that neatly took down the Crazy outside the church. But along with the sweet memory came another memory—a vile image of a gunshot wound and blood. Martha erased both images from her mind.

Amanda was one of the rare ones. For the most part, only those who owned RVs, those who had done some survival planning before the Change hit, and those willing to walk away from their homes in favor of the countryside—only those survived the devastation of heavy winter snows and minus 50 wind chills. The ones with snowmobiles parked in their garages had an edge, too. Especially the ones with jerry cans filled with fuel. However, with the blessing came a curse—the battle between the Haves and the Have-nots. The Haves soon learned that the having necessitated a constant state of alertness. Those who had never used a gun, who had sworn never to touch a gun, coveted their new weapons and their boxes of ammunition. 

Martha’s family had been prepared. An RV stocked with food, fuel, and weapons awaited them at the Glowing Embers RV Park near Winterburn. Their first thought, however, was to get to a cosmopolitan center, like Edmonton—a big city where emergency services would be in full swing. After all, if power were to be restored, it would happen in a big city first. 

Or so they had surmised.


A view of my backyard today... see the big pile of snow to the left? That's a bird-feeder. I really should dig it out. Did you know that birds eat snow? They do. I watched them.

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