Friday, August 18, 2006

Workin' on a Chain Blog

So this Writer’s Forum I joined a while back, Absolute Write has a fantastically challenging thing called a Blog Chain, where several of us get together, without any prior thought or planning, and link our blogs. The first one in line makes a post, and the rest of us follow, taking a piece here and a bit there, and passing on the baton.

So here it is, my turn. I’ve been handed the torch by
Just a Small Town Girl and she’s left me with rather large shoes to fill, and on a Friday night ! In her blog, I read a very telling story about a Mother trying to endure a son - and one she should be very proud of indeed - going through his teenage years. In previous blogs, we’ve read stories about family, vacationing, random acts of kindness from strangers and as well as people known since childhood – and all of these things have put me in a very nostalgic mood.

When I was young, during my pre-teen and teenage years, my family owned property at Lake Cushman, in the Olympic Mountains. Don’t get me wrong, we weren’t wealthy or anything. But as circumstance had it, we had this property right on the lake, and a nice little boat we skied with. My summers were spent up there, for weeks at a time, living in a tent and using a scary little portable toilet with "walls" around it as a bathroom! My sisters and I entered the dreaded teenage period out there in the wilderness, and maybe that made life a little easier on my Mother, who had live as a buffer between her three daughters and an alcoholic Father.

I don’t dwell on that part of childhood anymore. My Father died last year, after a good – if not late – reconciliation and I miss him terribly.

But my teenage years up there at the lake were golden. I remember long summer days swimming, hiking, and playing with my Mother’s Irish Setter. The smell of the campfire, the way you feel when you’ve been sleeping on the ground for weeks at a time – achy and stiff, but loving every minute of it. And those incredible nights sitting around the fire, staring up at a sky that was filled with so many stars it made you dizzy just thinking about them !

That’s where my Muse was born.

I started writing then. I mean really writing, building my own worlds and characters and working out stories in my head. Back then they were my mental entertainment, and a place I would retreat to in my head when nothing else was happening, or when things were getting bad and I needed to hide. I could write a story while sitting in the car on long rides, or there around the campfire while the adults were talking. I even acted out scenes while running around in the woods or canoeing to interesting places along the lake.

On the opposite side from where our property was (this lake was quite large) there was an old, abandoned house they all say was haunted, so naturally we’d go there at least once a summer and walk around, scaring ourselves and each other.

It was a magical time.

My teenage years were, as most teenagers, filled with violent shifts in mood and atmosphere. Home would vary from extremely stressful to average every-day, depending on teenage emotions and my Father’s drinking.

But those summers up at the lake – where my love of creating characters, stories, situations, other worlds and exciting adventures – is a place and a time I will always remember with extreme fondness and great nostalgia.

I think that’s why I enjoy this special tea so much. Everyone in my family hates it, and doesn’t even like to be in the room with me if I’m drinking it. It’s called Lapsang Souchong, and it smells very strongly of a campfire. When I drink this tea, I’m taken back to my teenage years, back to the lake, to the campfire and those magical, mystical nights filled with stars and crickets and crackling logs. My Muse stirs when I lift the cup to my lips, and the smell of burning wood reaches my nose, tickling my senses and urging me to dream of daring men flying through space and having grand adventures!

I think it’s time for a nice cup of tea !

Next in this chain of blogs is Kappa No He Go check it out!


At 10:34 PM, Blogger Bhaswati said...

Such an amazing post, Kristine. You had be spellbound and transported to the lake of your teen years. Such a charming picture you painted. Many thanks for sharing this beauty :)

At 10:37 PM, Anonymous bk30 said...

now I wanna go camping,but can I leave the kids at home j/k. I can understand how the scent of a tea will take you back in time..for me it's Earl Grey.

At 12:31 AM, Anonymous Gillian said...

You've sent me right into dreaming-mode. Camping.. summer... family... lots of memories.

At 1:34 AM, Blogger Kappa no He said...

Wonderful post! And you have great taste in music too!

At 5:57 AM, Blogger Cath Smith said...

Earl Grey for me too, but I understand what you mean about the Lapsang Souchong.

I love the scene you set here - isn't it strange how getting away from it all can inspire the muse?

(Good luck with the stall this weekend btw)

At 8:33 AM, Blogger -Kelly M. said...

Wonderful post! Nostalgia often proliferates the Chain, and that's why I love it so. Thanks for sharing such a vivid and special memory.

At 5:02 AM, Anonymous Laurie said...

Beautiful post, Kristine.

We went camping a lot when I was younger, and despite family stuff, still enjoyed ourselves. Never had a haunted house, though. Oh, wait... Yes, yes, yes we did. It was my grandparent's house and it terrified me, especially when I visited in the summer and had to sleep upstairs by myself. *shivers*

At 1:02 PM, Blogger Mad Scientist Matt said...

Camping trips are always magical, aren't they? Even when some of the moments I remember are when I was with a bunch of crazy misfit Scouts (I'm not saying that I didn't fall into that category either at the time) at the top of a mountain and we had one guy's tent almost blow off a cliff.

At 8:07 PM, Blogger Simran said...

Great post. I can't remember the last time I went camping but reading your story made me miss it. Think it's time to get some friends together and go before the summer is over. :-)

At 8:09 PM, Blogger Matt D. said...

Water is my muse, which is unfortunate since I live in the desert.

At 5:45 AM, Blogger Wendy said...

I know that tea, it takes me back to wonderful camping memories too.

At 10:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love your site! We have a chain blog too except ours is like a chain letter. Blog us back at

At 2:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love your site.
Tag your it. This is a real chain blog. Blog us back and give 6 more people our blogs site and you are no long "IT"


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