“Sitting at my desk at two minutes past five on a Friday afternoon, deep in the season of darkness.” (Landscape orientation) The perspective of a person sitting at a desk, closely enough that the nearest edge of the muted-toffee top does not show.”
I borrowed this quote from fellow blogger and writer Clark because it perfectly illustrates one unique perspective, a snapshot of one person’s place and time, their own, individual experience.
But the world is full of about 7 billion more, give or take. Thankfulness works best when you are aware of how lucky you are, though then I risk feeling like I am bragging, to someone, about just how good I indeed have things.
Listening to the news is a double-edged sword for me, but I strive to always be aware of the world around me still, never to become a prisoner of my personal life’s circumstance.
This thankful exercise, here at the TToT, it teaches me to be thankful all year, but I do have a lot of issue with this one holiday, telling me to be thankful, while not being begun or continued in the right way.
I am thankful for real stories of pain and assault getting their chance to be heard.
I am not on one side or the other of this matter. I wouldn’t be able to even choose a side for the purposes of a protest. I often wonder if that means I am someone who is unable to take a stand. In the meantime, I just stand there, on the sidelines.
I am a blind woman who sometimes has sensitivities toward ablism and then, in the next breath, wonder if I am being over sensitive. I am also someone who knows the luxury of being born in a country like Canada. I do think free speech can go too far, when it is coming from a place of fear or hate.
I am thankful Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau understands the value of apologizing.
I admit it…I have imagined myself in her place, a time or two, though I realize the challenges that must exist.
I do think there is a hype that probably goes too far, but I think any romance in the world is a plus. I need stories like these. Sometimes I wonder if all is how it seems, but I really do get swept up in all the excitement, in spite of myself.
I am thankful for the kick-in-the-butt NaNoWriMo November has given me.
Okay, so I barely reached more than a few thousand words, nowhere near fifty thousand, but it got me to at least start something I’d been talking and thinking about for a long while.
I may have met the goal of National Novel Writing Month when I first attempted it, back in 2013, but once that month was over I never went back to it, to finishing anything. This time, all that matters is that I started it and will keep at it.
And so now there is no turning back on this novel I was born, in a way, to write.
I am thankful to avoid any and all Black Friday or Cyber Monday mania.
I have previously been printed in an anthology, but this time I was paid. Last time it was for charity.
I just heard it is going to be available in Barnes & Noble stores and so I will be off on a hunt to find it.
It may not be my own book, but I am excited to discover it’s a magazine that a bookstore carries.
I am thankful for the parcel arriving in my mailbox.
This package contained four copies of the magazine and my cheque.
Not bad, compared to in the past.
I am thankful I could share my news and book with someone, a friend, over a latte.
I was a few minutes late for meeting her. I was late because I just found the parcel in my mail and so I hope she understood.
She was happy to receive one of my four copies of the mag.
I am thankful for more stretching and meditating.
I am thankful for extra writing group time, in a new location, for November’s National Novel Writing Month month.
It has been arranged, in addition to meeting in the library twice a month, that we writers who are attempting NaNoWriMo can use a room in Woodstock Museum, every Saturday, for two hours for the entire month.
This feels like an extended writer’s group, but I don’t read and I get to bring my laptop.
Sometimes there are even snacks.
I am thankful for my loved ones being free from war.
I feel a lot of mixed feelings when a day to remember, like November 11th comes along, and really any time. War is not as simple as bravery and heroism.
But I am heartbroken to hear there is violence that will not rest, in any part of the world. I am glad my nieces and nephews don’t have to grow up around such traumas and horrors, but being aware of it all sometimes weighs me down.
That’s precisely what the above stretches and meditation are needed for. They lift me up.
I am thankful for some good food, especially the bread buns, to support a worthy cause.
I am no athlete, but I think it’s pretty cool what she’s attempting to accomplish. Unfortunately, it always takes money.
The Paralympics (Special Olympics as some like to call it) is, I guess needed, but it is still a neat thing, so important, to show the world that people with disabilities can and do participate in sports too.
On this November 11th, I try to put myself in the place of, say, my grandmother. She lived through World War II and yet I feel like I never even scratched the surface with her. She spoke of that time in her life, more than most, but yet not nearly enough.
I am trying to get down the words, at least a beginning to what could become a novel some day. November is not only Remembrance Day, but it is also National Novel Writing Month and, at this rate, I am not likely to make the fifty thousand words that is the ultimate goal.
I have a near stroke when I think of the setting I want my story to have. I worried that this piece of writing required too much research. NaNoWriMo isn’t supposed to be about doing research. That comes later. Just write.
In a way though, I feel I’ve kind of being doing my own form of research, for many years. I’ve been fascinated by history for as long as I can remember, most especially World War I and II and the 20th century. I’ve watched documentaries and read up on lived accounts of those years. Still, as much of an empath as I feel I am, it is hard to put myself in that place.
How would it feel to be living during World War I or World War II anyway?
I listen to true and up close accounts of soldiers, in the trenches, between 1914 and 1918 and the rats and the mud and the stench of death all around you.
I’ve listened hard to personal accounts in interviews, Jews and other victims of the carnage. I am writing a story about a woman, her mother, and trying to raise three young children/grandchildren during such days. I am trying to put myself in their shoes. That seems, though I am a human too, to be a difficult task, a goal, one I am fighting hard to reach.
I love my country, am happy to be Canadian, but I am no patriot. I wish political parties and affiliations didn’t exist. On a day like November 11th, I don’t glorify war, just like I don’t glorify it any other day of the year. My goal, in learning about it and writing about it, is to try and make it not repeat itself, like I have that power.
All the talk of bravery gets to me. Of course, it would be scary to be caught in a war, but to make the decision to go and fight in one is different altogether.
I feel like I am being disrespectful. I know it’s a sacrifice to risk losing a leg, an arm, or one’s life to war. I speak the truth of it, but what it is is ugly and awful and, I believe, unnecessary.
I heard a song on the radio earlier today, one that very nearly brought me to tears, about how we’re all one, all family, every one of us. We are from different countries, continents, cultures, and races certainly. Some say this makes us different in ways that cannot be altered. Others sing those songs of coming together as one, in humanity.
I wish walls were never built and lines never crossed in anger. I am not in control of most of this. Losing limbs seems, to some, to be a possible price to pay for freedom and democracy. I just want to write about war. I don’t want to see any more. People say, when it comes to us imperfect and often boastful humans, that will never be the case.
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimmed their clammy cell.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir, the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
There’s just something about holding a solid book, with my words in it, in my hands. It’s different from the online world.
It’s all a great privilege, but this is something that doesn’t happen to me every day.
I am thankful for a weekend extra writing social with chocolate.
I didn’t even think I liked Mars Bars, but that day I did.
We met at the museum in town. We have a room reserved there, for two hours, every Saturday for the month of November.
Having extra NaNo writing time set aside as a group can only help me.
Well, okay so not always a lot of writing happens in that group, but more than if I never went at all.
I am thankful my brother and his musician friends returned to practice in my basement.
I missed the absence of it, while lives changed and people got busy with other things.
I like having them down there. Every time they come, they thank me and I guess they worry they are imposing.
I am thankful I am going off of a medication that has, I think, been causing a dreadful side effect.
These aren’t the usual dreams. They are every night and it feels like they take up my entire sleep.
I wake feeling emotionally worn out and deeply affected. I guess you would call them nightmares, but they aren’t me running from monsters in dark places.
They are me being sexually assaulted, my parents being trapped in a collapsed building, and epic adventures that leave me feeling drained when I wake up and all day long. And then it’s time to go to sleep once again.
I hope it’s just from a medication I soon won’t be on. The other option is a reaction from some level of anxiety I’m feeling. I do feel stress, but this feels different and new. I hope it’s on its way out of my head and my life.
I am thankful for a long awaited piece of my writing in a big time literary mag.
I am feeling a little like I am frozen, and I’m warm while I say that. I don’t need to be out in a snow bank to say it. It is January, a new year, and I am frozen by many fears. I am afraid I will accomplish nothing, that this year of 2016 will be empty and a blank void in my life. I feel frozen by indecision and by uncertainty, but I hope I can find a way to thaw from that feeling of being frozen by all of this, that I can find the courage to take risks and keep moving forward.
I am equal parts afraid and optimistic. I am a lot hesitant and somewhat hopeful. The fear that I could go a whole year and not get anywhere at all clings on tight. On the other hand, I see a wide open year ahead as full of unknown possibility and promise of something great.
You never know the experiences you might have, the events in life that you just can’t plan for, and the people you may meet, who may come into your life for all kinds of reasons, for the short term only or for longer.
Here I am, a year on from the fear and those remarks I made on my blog at the start of 2016, and a good year for me personally and creatively, trying new things, all by deciding to focus on myself is how 2016 actually turned out.
And now, I end 2016 and begin 2017 by looking back, at the year I’ve just had and ahead to the year to come.
Then, to kick things up a notch, I thought the best way to focus on my writing was to take a writing workshop with a Canadian writer I’ve admired since I began blogging and seriously writing. Carrie Snyder – Obscure CanLit Mama
Her style to creative work was just what I needed and it made me open up and here I am, one year later exactly, off to broaden my writing workshop horizons.
In reality, my brother had just come off a close medical call and was becoming himself again. I had lots to be thankful for.
I just needed a bit of a push, some creative inspiration,
and a path for a new direction in my life.
The year 2016 would, by many, be labeled “The Year All the Greats Died…the cursed year” even if you look at that with perspective from other years, past or future.
It began with David Bowie, but for me, it all started with Snape,
as Bowie hadn’t quite meant to me what he’d meant to many others who felt his loss.
A new year maybe, but a new month meant another #1000Speak,
focusing on the subject of forgiveness.
With the start of 2016 I decided to start a new Friday tradition.
This third month of 2016 would bring more music, as I would discover my theme song for the year and forevermore: Scars – Emmanuel Jal Feat. Nelly Furtado
and I would officially begin to learn how to play the violin, with lessons that would challenge and reward me, in both big and small ways.
Then, in honour of International Day of Happiness, I wrote a piece for March’s #1000Speak
about how music makes me happy.
By this point in the year, I decided to cut back on blogging and write more of the memoir I’ve always planned for.
The writing mentor was a big deal, for that, as great and knowledgeable as she is and as much guidance as she’s been so far, but it was a sign that I could make writing my future – only I could do that.
Weeks before, at the end of May, the lead singer of Canada’s own Tragically Hip announced his fight with brain cancer and all his fans of Canada were listening, especially all across the country, one night in August.
“Regarding the influence from his poet-balladeer father, Cohen has said, “He’s tremendously helpful. Forget that I am his son. I was tutored in lyric-writing by Leonard Cohen and I had his sensibilities to draw upon. And I’m not just talking genetically. I could literally talk to the cat and he could lean over my notebook and point to a couple of phrases and say, ‘These are strong, these are weak.’ How can I consider myself anything but incredibly fortunate.”
Canada loses a great artist and the world all feels it, a distraction, in the form of RIP Leonard Cohen,
just following the chaos in the United States.
I focused on my own personal growth for a greater part of 2016, but managed to fit in a little, last minute dating during the final days. Also, I made new and face-to-face connections with a few local women writers. So, a balance of personal and social, for good measure.
A few of the final famous deaths of 2016 would include daughter/mother pair Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, but for me, it was the loss of this guy that brought me back twenty or so years:
I watched Days of Our Lives multiple days a week, while I was sick at home from school or stuck on dialysis. It was my favourite soap opera of the late 90s, as ridiculous as the storylines always were.
And now, here I am, and another January is upon me.
It is a bit of a contemplative month, with the new year so new and fresh, but I value it for its melancholyish quality. It is a quiet time of reflection and so much possibility ahead.
As a new year begins I search for the motivation I see all around me, the kind that is going to get me to the places I strive to get to. I feel the blueness of January and hope I can find some momentum in the months to come.
My 2016 Resolutions were:
I want to make more connections with writers, creative and smart women, and I want to keep writing. I want to not be afraid to keep putting my words out there, even though the fear of more rejection is a lingering one.
Some make resolutions, others pick one word for their year, but I resist doing both. If I have to choose one word though, I suppose I will go with “Adventure”. I do want more of this, as I believe life is one giant adventure, all the years we get to live it.
So much going on in the world, so much that I can’t write my way out of. I know what I am thankful for, as always, but recently my stress has been building and I couldn’t bring myself to post anything about gratitude last week.
I wasn’t even going to be back now, but I am one of those who believes both these are true:
“The only thing worse than knowing the truth is not knowing the truth, and yet, “the only thing worse than not knowing is knowing.”
By next Sunday we will know, not all “the truth” really, but the reality.
I don’t like where the world and more specifically the US is heading, but I am, in this case particularly, unable to do anything directly about it either way. Emphasizing what I am thankful for is the least and the most I can do now and we will face next week when we get there, like a rickety bridge, but I don’t speak of burning anything.
Those familiar with the stylings of Frank Zappa, you may recognize the stringing together of those four words in my title. I didn’t know of his recording studio and the rather odd name it possessed, until I heard an interview with Lady Gaga, who has purchased the house and now makes music there and shares it with other musicians. I liked the random word choice and thought it fitting for things at the moment.
For a little Halloween fun, with October behind us and November, the US election, and the holidays still to come this year, I begin with this here tale of terror.
Here is one song I came across this week that had the sort of feeling I am experiencing right now. I have the one picked out for next week, if a first female president is elected that is. If the worst does happen, the following song feels fitting, for my mood.
I heard it in the final Harry Potter movie (well, Part One of it anyway). It felt sombre. Lots of people feel this added scene (not found in the books) was awkward and unnecessary, but I felt the opposite, that sometimes the movie takes a gamble on a little something extra and it touches a viewer like me.
So, Ron had just run out on Harry and Hermione and the mission they were on to defeat evil. Hermione was devastated and Harry suddenly gets her to dance with him, to this song, and something feels optimistically hopeful, for their friendship and humanity, like not all hope was lost.
Somehow, I felt a connection here, to the current climate. I don’t think I’m wrong.
I am thankful, first off, for small favours which are really just what ends up happening, but sometimes they can prevent something much worse from occurring.
My brother had a seizure this week, but he is fine now.
He has had several since he fell, last December, and hit his head. He had a few last summer and then not until the other night.
The worst part about them, like what I say above, is you don’t know when they will come, but yet would knowing really be easier?
I guess because you could plan for the most optimal situation. If he is in the wrong place, doing the wrong action, it could be worse for sure. If he’s out in the street. If he’s in a place where a secondary injury could cause more damage. It’s scary because he is so smart and so much of what makes him Brian is his amazing mind. He was, only a few hours before, playing the most beautiful music with his band in my basement. Each time they play I change my mind and a different one of their songs becomes my favourite.
He is himself still, thank God, but my fear is that something will change. Seizures are hard on the body and on the brain, obviously. He was alone, but he was sitting down, we believe. He will be okay. My heart stops each time I hear he’s had another.
I am thankful for those little Facebook reminders of what happened exactly one year ago. Well, okay, not always, but this time for sure.
One of my better/best decisions ever. I am thankful that I have a place where I read my writing out loud. It is excellent practice.
I am thankful for a fun-filled writing group this week.
November first was the start of a month of non stop writing, for some, as it’s National Novel Writing Month once more.
Only two of our group are doing it this year and I’m not one of them, but we had a party of sorts, while we chatted, wrote, and read our stories out loud. I know how much I can handle and how much I can’t. I hadn’t had that positive breakthrough with my violin yet and I knew I couldn’t add anything more to my plate right now.
I know things out of my control should never stop me, if doing something like writing a novel were what I really wanted to do, but this just isn’t the time and I know it. I sometimes trust my instincts to show me the way forward.
I do have a story I’m dying to tell, but not yet. This doesn’t mean I must wait a whole other year, for NaNo to come around again, but we shall see.
I just need to see what happens in the US on Tuesday and the aftermath of that. I need to get a year of violin practice under my belt. I need to focus on my goals for at least the next three months. That’s what is most important to me right now.
But back to writing group. The stories, minus my own, were unbelievably satirical and hilarious. We had to roll a pair of giant dice and we received a matching setting and character description for both the numbers we rolled.
Mine was: “beach with a prudish dress code” and “woman who is upset because her imaginary friend dumped her for another woman”.
Maybe I will share that story one day.
I am thankful that NaNoWriMo exists.
It got me writing back in 2013 and I wrote the quota of fifty thousand words in thirty days that year.
I achieved what would have seemed and sounded impossible to me at the time.
I fear I lost that beginning to a story, but even if I did, I now know I can do it again and I will. I now have two novel ideas to choose from when I do.
I am thankful I got to hear my violin teacher performing live with her fellow musicians. Brass, wood winds, strings, and percussion. It was a remarkable thing to witness, so many performing in unison and the pieces played were introduced by professors of the music school at University of Western Ontario, in London. The quote about comfort and courage was from one of those introductions and I made a note of it and liked the sound of it when I heard it.
I am thankful for a better week with the violin.
For the last few weeks I’ve felt like I was not making enough progress with the song I’m working on. I worried I was wasting everyone’s time and money and belief in me, especially my own hope, with all I’ve put of myself into this dream.
This week something began to make more sense I suppose. I felt better, walking out of that practice room, than I have in a while. It is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but definitely one of the more rewarding things I’ve attempted in my life.
I am thankful for family to hang out with when I need to smile and distract my rushing thoughts.
I watched the final game of this season’s World Series with my parents, brother, and uncle. I’m glad I got to think about baseball instead of world happenings, even if Toronto had lost out days before, for another year. These two teams deserved a shot.
I had to spend this past weekend around one who knows nothing about politics, elections, or world events yet. He is only four, so plenty of time to face these things, to learn about them, but I wish he never had to.
I feel the need to phone and speak to other children in my family, as I did after my aunt died, even with my feelings of not wanting to bother people, with their busy schedules and hectic lives. I know I should not ever allow that to hold me back. It’s silly really.
I am thankful for a ride home from my uncle after we couldn’t quite hold out past the rain delay to go home and call it a night.
My uncle is someone I can talk to about the struggles and the thrills of learning to play an instrument later in life because he plays and he gives it his all when he does.
He introduced me to another violinist from Canada on the brief drive home.
I am thankful for the baby kicks I’m not certain I felt.
My sister has felt them for a while in her second pregnancy, but getting over my weirdness with such contact, I tried for really the first time this time round. I felt nothing really, but it’s still early enough, and as long as the mother feels them I am okay to wait.
It really is miraculous and to think of that baby growing and moving is one of the best things in a mixed up, topsy-turvy world.
I am thankful for comedians to make me laugh about the things that, if I don’t laugh about, the only other option would be to cry.
I am thankful for the vast array of autumn weather we’ve been having.
It was so nice to step out my door the other day to bright sunshine and warm temperatures, for November anyway. I stop, on the stairs, multiple times a day, in my favourite place in my house. I stand and take in the view, with my remaining senses of smell and hearing. I loved the cooler weather of Halloween. I loved the dank and the rainy and the better days as we fell back one hour, ushering in darkness earlier and earlier going toward December, and we’re on our way toward winter. Glorious that I live in Canada and get to experience all four seasons.
Okay, so perhaps a couple additional TToT items this week, to make up for missing a few recently. I needed to write and find all the ways I possibly could to keep my mood from crashing. On into another week however.
And, with that I conclude by saying, America, please be careful.
I had an idea for a novel in my brain for several years. It was a family story about how three generations of a family deal with losing someone they love.
I wrote fifty thousand words in thirty days. The website that year wasn’t all that accessible and so I did not get much farther off from registering. I did not keep track of my word count like everyone else online. I did it on Twitter instead. It didn’t matter that the website for the organization was a bit of a nightmare. All that really truly counted would be the words I would write.
No flashy completion badges for me once I crossed the finish line. I knew in my heart that I’d done it and that was all that mattered.
Three years later and I haven’t done it again, but I did buy the t-shirt.
I did not take a month or two, Christmas off, before returning to my first attempt at a novel like is suggested. I did what they said. I wrote to get to fifty thousand. I would edit later.
Or would I?
I have the words somewhere, I hope. I don’t keep track of all my documents on all the laptop switches since 2014, oops. I emailed a copy to myself, but that may be gone.
Was this one more in a long line of mistakes, failures, and regrets from my writing journey thus far?
I sent it to a friend, even as rough as it was, whom I trusted to give it her honest opinion. Maybe she has a copy still. I wouldn’t count on that.
I was not a planner, as is the case many times in the rest of life. I was a pantser. I didn’t have a plan. I just started to write from my themes of family, loss, grief, and resilience.
I can’t let that idea go, but a novel is such an enormous task to take on.
I would have loved to participate again this year. I have faith that the website has improved for visually impaired and blind users. I now know someone locally, one who is from my local writing group and is in charge of support for writers doing NaNo in our immediate area. My writing group is talking mostly all about NaNo all month.
I would have abandoned my first novel, still in progress somewhere, to try writing this newer idea which has shaped and formed in my mind in the three years since that first attempt.
This one is historical fiction, unlike that first one which took place in a more contemporary setting.
This one will be mostly fiction, but loosely based on family. It takes place in Europe during World War II. It’s about a woman who is a mother of three small children throughout the war. There is struggle and bravery all around her. Her decisions aren’t easy ones.
We who study history know all about the Holocaust, about big events such as D Day, which are both important, but what was life like for other people who were going about their business and living their lives when war broke out?
***Just practicing with early versions of my elevator pitch.
I would have taken a crack at this, but apparently I can’t handle a project of this size and my continual violin lessons at the same time. I haven’t got the brain power to muster for both.
Maybe next year, once I’ve been playing violin for more than a year. Maybe.
So much going on. World events are wild, whether it’s war in the twentieth century or world upheaval in the twenty-first.
My brain is full near to capacity at the moment.
When a story sticks in the head like this one and the one before have, I don’t think I will be getting them out of there anytime soon.
NaNo, NaNo, NaNo sounds like a taunt to me, that I couldn’t hack both writing and music lessons, but this isn’t your ordinary, everyday writing. This week is a tense one, and who knows where we’ll all be next week this time. Hopefully all those brave enough to take on writing fifty thousand words this month will still be writing. I do think it makes for an excellent distraction.
Now I stop writing and it’s time to practice my violin. I just like to do an update on where I am, with every passing year, as November and NaNo again rolls around.
Welcome to April!
Okay, so maybe a joke or prank of some kind is expected at this juncture. Perhaps I should claim I just can’t handle the pressure or I have run out of things to say here, as my little contribution to today’s occasion, but I just can’t do it.
April Fool’s Day and I don’t understand. It’s fun for some and more power to them.
I don’t ono what it is in me that, even for a split second, I believe whatever someone says on this day of High Jinks and mayhem.
I will be the first to admit that I am highly gullible. Perhaps I have more of an autistic tendency in myself than I thought, as I am the first to believe something when someone says it, but on closer inspection I pick up on the irony, sarcasm, or total implausibility of a certain situation I know couldn’t possibly be true.
Laughter is important and I applaud anyone who can make a joke today, but we should all see it coming and I am surprised this day hasn’t lost its allure.
It’s funny how the term “going viral” has become the new thing, as far as things catching on.
There’s no rhyme or reason why one story goes viral and why so many do not.
It feels like a strange term to me though, as if the virus that travels is such a good and positive thing.
Since when is viral a thing to be sought out?
In today’s age of social media it is the thing to strive for.
I still want to wash my hands of it all, as a germophobe, and avoid catching the fever.
Today is also the start of a new month, just so happening to be April, and there are three pretty widely talked-about things going on in the blogging/writing world over the next thirty days.
Following World Poetry Day last week, April is National Poetry Writing Month, an extension of National Novel Writing Month. I struggle to write one poem, let alone one for every day of an entire month. I love to follow along.
November has passed and until it comes around again there’s: Camp NaNoWriMo/About
This happens again, as camp should be, in July.
And last but certainly not least, there’s: A to Z April Blogging Challenge
I don’t know how I missed hearing about this one, not until over the past few months I heard about it all at once.
I am not participating. I have a lot of other things I should be focused on. I do hope to try it next year at this time. I already have a topic picked out, although I am sure if I Googled it I would find that I was not the first to think of it.
Shall leave that for now.
As for the viral stuff, so many things catch on and travel all over the Web and from blog to blog. It’s crazy that these bloggers are taking part in something that makes it a point to blog every day, except Sundays, for the entire month of April, but it really is, in a lot of ways, a bigger deal than NaNoWriMo.
As if there weren’t already enough blogs.
Not that I am complaining or anything.
I love to blog and would be a hypocrite if I were to say otherwise and I can’t wait to see what is produced.
As for my own stuff…I must make it a point to stay as authentically me as possible, to do what’s right for me and not to be tempted to follow what everyone else might be doing, in blogging and in life.
My first day of April I will not be playing a prank, but if any of you think you can get me with one, you are probably correct.
No. I am going to speak, as it is Wednesday, on a few news stories that have me thinking and pondering why people do what it is that they do.
I had a list of topics for Wednesday’s In The News And On My Mind posts, but I have not been sticking to that original schedule.
First there is the terrible story from last week about the plane crash in the French Alps.
This adds to my fear of flying, however remote the chances that it could be me on one of those doomed flights.
Everyone has been speculating and demanding to know what was going through that co-pilot’s head when he made that choice to end so many people’s lives and his own.
Innocent babies and young students with their whole lives ahead of them were taken way too soon and nobody can dispute that.
Mental illness has been pushed back out into the forefront of our consciousness. Why did he do something so cruel and senseless?
What could have been done to prevent this, in the chain-of-command?
We can dig and dig into this disturbed man’s past and life as far back as we want, but it won’t bring those people back and it won’t explain it all away.
All we can do is keep talking about how mental illness affects us all.
Of course, do what we can and put as many safe-guards in place for more screening of pilots. Of course.
Just don’t obsess over the why’s and the what-the-Hell’s and forget to focus on remembering the victims, while allowing anger and hatred to overwhelm.
The pilot, right now, is probably feeling like he could have or should have done more to break into that cockpit. The powers that be must be under a whole lot of scrutiny. There is a way to take preventative steps in future, without losing sight of the fact that anyone so desperate and fatalistic as this guy must have been in a whole lot of pain.
Why should we care you say? Because we are all humans and anyone can suffer. Compassion must be muster, somehow.
Were I one of the members of the lost passenger’s families, I would probably be writing some very different words, but perhaps not.
Secondly, on a slightly less serious note, there is the resignation of one of the members of a popular boy band.
This, on the surface seems much less important, but I took a second look at the situation.
“Kids these days!”
I find myself thinking that, if not saying it, at the ripe old age of thirty-one.
In the 60s there were The Beatles. In the 80s it was New Kids on the Block.
I just missed that craze myself.
Then the whole hype of The Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, and others in the early 2000s.
I never screamed uncontrollably at a concert or had these band’s posters plastered all over my bedroom walls like other girls.
I listened to other music that wasn’t,perhaps, so clamorous.
This kid, from One Direction, he is young and may have gotten lost in the madness of fame and celebrity. He may just need a breather. He may soon realize he made a big mistake. He may soon realize he misses the attention and the spectacle. OR he may not.
I heard such things as a cry to cut on Twitter.
Personally, I hope this is some sort of early April Fool joke because the idea that a bunch of girls cutting themselves, as is the serious mental illness that exists, is utterly ridiculous.
Cutting, as brutal as it sounds, won’t bring this guy back into the group.
I am not so old. I know how important music can be.
How it speaks to your soul and soothes a broken heart.
Nothing is worth hurting yourself.
Girls will be girls and they certainly love their boy bands, but there are other ways of better expressing oneself and always another song to speak to your soul.
It’s important, however, not to downplay the importance this one band might play in even one girls’ life, if she feels she is understood nowhere else.
There’s the existence of the shirt made entirely out of hair.
This is disturbing to me on many levels, but none of them have anything to do with the fact that the hair comes from the heads of gay people.
Sometimes people try so hard to make a statement, their statement, that they end up losing all hope of sensibility and the message becomes lost in the mix.
I don’t want to think of a sweater made out of hair from anyone.
The fact that one “lucky” person can now walk down the street, sporting a sweater made entirely out of gay people’s hair is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard of in a while.
I am not one of those people who walks around calling everything “so gay”. I have never had the urge. I can see how that might grow tiresome to hear.
Yet, sometimes, as with things contagious, the cure winds up being just as radical as the disease.
And that’s my somewhat random, welcome to April, In The News and On My Mind, contagious themed post for your mid-week reading/scanning pleasure.
Any virus can and will catch on and latch on. How many of us will catch it?
I try to remain immune to the pressures and writing this blog helps a lot.
If I haven’t yet gotten my point across, it’s to A:
to listen to what you like, to not be afraid to live because every day might be our last, to watch what we say and how it affects others,
but to please…oh please, never make a sweater out of human hair.
Okay, so it’s Wednesday and I am a bit all-over-the-place, and that is exactly why I’m not adding my own brand of madness, by attempting any of the above blogging/writing challenges. It just wouldn’t be the best idea right now.
Goodbye April fools’ and hurry up Easter weekend.
Chocolate is the only cure I need.
Here’s hoping the Easter Bunny will bring my nephew a tricycle and my niece and other nephew lots of treats.
she writes about her own experiences, over the past handful of years with this writing challenge.
It is a helpful thing to me, to read about someone as successful as her, and how the same ups and downs (although not wanted or welcomed) can happen to anyone.
Alana says the two things that made the difference for her, the year she completed the challenge, were focus and a lack of distraction. these two go hand-in-hand, in a big way.
Last year I had distractions, sure, but I was highly focused on getting the novel I had been storing in my head for years down in actual words.
I don’t know where to go with it next and I do know I love the writing I am doing now. this means I didn’t want to give up all the focus I use for blogging multiple times a week, for this huge novel, that has not moved out of the first draft stage since I wrote it one year ago.
Will it have a sequel or will I keep writing?
What do I want it to be and to mean?
I definitely have my share of distractions at this point.
I have discovered that I love blogging, that I find it highly therapeutic in my life right now. I can’t say I feel that way about my novel-in-progress at this time.
In this day of technology and with the advent of ebooks, I hear authors saying all the time that it does no good to have one book, but what counts is to write one and then another and another, until you can build momentum.
As for the points made by Alana, this is my take on it:
I am motivated, but apparently not to grab the reins of the story I started last November, and run full-speed ahead.
I am motivated and I set goals all the time with my blogs, every week and month. I keep a fairly steady schedule of posts, present and future. I live by certain deadlines all the time with a blog and now a second one, especially when I am guest posting and hosting guest posters. It is imperative. People, not only me, expect this.
I do not have this, quite as much, with NaNoWriMo. There are no local NaNo groups, at least none I have discovered readily.
As for a community, I have found this in the blogosphere and I like it.
I am distracted constantly, my mind constantly wound up. I feel a sense of focus and calm when I am blogging that I couldn’t give up nearly enough to return to the novel that I started while still a part of the life I used to live and am not living in the same way anymore.
I am determined to make something of blogging and more recently, with travel blogging. This is where I am right now and, although I may regret putting more and more time between myself and the novel I started, right now I must live in the present and future and not allow myself to return to a past I can’t afford to reexamine at this time.
The problem, for me, is that I don’t know if I have more than one novel in me, if I even have this one and the ability to finish it to any real end.
In an extremely uplifting video I came across earlier today, as I was thinking on how I was going to end off my lack of a completed NaNo goal for the month, what I wanted to say here, author Alina Popescu made some valid points:
I am a writer, like she discusses, whether I write novels, short stories, memoir, reviews and interviews, or travel articles.
I AM A WRITER.
I have discovered I like writing, in a way I did not understand one year ago, and I will follow this path, wherever it may take me.
All I know, at this point one year on, is that I have things inside me to say: about love and relationships, about heartbreak and moving on, about the movies and music that are my inspirations, and the people and places that move me and teach me so much.
Now that I have discovered this world of blogging, and most recently travel blogging, I needed to put all my focus on these things because they are getting me through.
I guess I didn’t really think anyone who might happen to read this would really care that I could not pull off fifty thousand words in a month, two years in a row.
Really, I am the only one I owe any explanation to, whether in my own head or heart. This post just helps me lay all that out, for the record, because maybe next year I will return to this post and start again with Till Death…
I am not giving up on that dream of publishing a story of fiction, but perhaps I am not meant to be mainly a writer of fiction at all.
Living in the present of November 2014 I am a blogger and I like that title and the feeling that gives me.
This year I thought I would give it a try once more, but from the beginning I did not feel like following any rules, whether this might disqualify me or not.
I did not have a new idea for a story. I barely got to editing after last November and I never did finish last year’s story.
I had that one floating around in my head for several years. There was no way I was going to finish it in one year or even to put it aside and focus on a whole new story, but I did not want that to disqualify me from participating this year.
My novel “Till Death” is a story of great love, the hardest of times, and finding one’s way through grief and loss.
I thought this year I would continue the story of three generations of a family: a teenage daughter, her father, and her grandfather.
I wanted to answer the question: how does death affect people at different stages of life?
I thought, why not? Why couldn’t I continue that story this November?
Who says it has to be a brand new story?
Who was going to stop me?
I will use the motivation, but not necessarily stick to the rules others are following for the month.
When I heard Alana speak on how she wasn’t following the rules either, I felt a freedom and like I had been given some invisible marker of permission to be the rebel I always wanted to be.
Next week I will write about setting goals and meeting them.