Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, National Novel Writing Month, Poetry, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, TToT

TToT: Fly Little Butterfly, Fly – Root, Colour Dump, #10Thankful

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.

—Ode To Autumn” by John Keats

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for some time hanging out with my niece.

We played with toys. My poor knees can’t handle all that time on the floor, but she was having so much fun, so I was too.

I am thankful for a November 1st writing group night where I made the decision, with support from other writers, to try my hand at National Novel Writing Month again.

The site is still rather inaccessible and that is a problem, but that shouldn’t stop me from using the structure and the occasion of the month to start a novel I’ve wanted to start for years.

That launching evening, with others doing it, was just what I needed to start down the NaNo road for 30 days.

I am thankful for an hour of peaceful yoga.

I look more and more forward to that one hour each week.

I am doing it for physical reasons, of course, but mostly I need it for my mental state.

I am thankful for a tough violin lesson to follow an easy one.

After last week’s super positive lesson, I didn’t know what this week would bring.

It was more of a challenging week. This was strenuous, for sure, but then I decided I need that balance of both.

I am thankful for a package being sent to me.

I’m included in a winter issue of a literary magazine. My piece is a short one about the horizon.

Well, this is new and exciting because I received an email, informing me of how the magazine has sent out a package for me.

I am not certain, but I am guessing it includes a copy of the issue. I can’t wait to find this in my mailbox.

It comes out on November 15th.

But you can order it here, anytime:
Misadventures Mag, Issue 4: Winter 2017

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.

They aren’t.

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.

WRITING LIFE: Accepting My Blindness As A Freelance Writer – Hippocampus Magazine

First of all, I just liked the word (the part of the brain), but then I discovered it was the name of a literary journal and I was intrigued.

Meaning of Hippocampus

I am thankful for Sade.

I have seen a lot of articles written about her lately, like this one:
Sade’s Eternal Cool – Longreads

I think she is one of the cooler artists around.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Bucket List, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, National Novel Writing Month, Shows and Events, Special Occasions, TToT

TToT: Utility Muffin Research Kitchen – Comfort and Courage, #10Thankful

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.

Click Clack the Rattle Bag

Beautiful storytelling. I wanted to remember it.

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.

O Children – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

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.

This happened.

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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Ehnes

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.

Benedict Cumberbatch is a brilliant actor and Jimmy is hysterical with a good guest.

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.

Here is a post I wrote almost exactly one year ago.

Good luck to all my American friends and to all of you from this here TToT, for the week that’s ahead of you. We, the rest of the world, will be praying and crossing our fingers and watching closely.

Utility, muffin, research, kitchen. And comfort and courage to us all.

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TToT: An Air of Mighty February Freshness – Can you smell it? #10Thankful

Wow! Okay, so I usually begin my TToT with some sage words, but upon searching quotes for February I came across nothing but doom, despair, and dying. These were all words used in the quotes that my Google search came up with

Is February really that bad? Does it stink that much or what?

So instead, me and my birth month might not get some wise literary or philosophical musings, but I do have my very own February song.

February Air – Lights

It feels more like fall or even spring out there, as the final hours of January fade away into a new month.

I was going to try my hand at

The April A-to-Z Challenge,

but I got so frustrated by the sign-up process that I gave up.

What is it, first National Novel Writing Month and now this?

I can go ahead with it anyway, do my own A to Z in April or whenever I want, but likely I would have to do without all the new readers I would find and be found by.

For February I will stick with the romance theme here, as February means Valentine’s Day, and devote the entire month to come for

the subject of love,

but I will still be here once a week because I love it so much.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For an email that arrived at the perfect moment.

Last week I spoke of being rejected for a publication I love and really wanted to have my writing in. Well, less than one week after that devastating email I received one of acceptance.

For the chance to spread my message.

To the People Who’ve Never Heard of My Rare Disease – The Mighty

The last day of February is the day set aside for the awareness of rare diseases and I really wanted to speak up about mine. These are no more serious or worth fighting than cancer, diabetes, or MS, but just a lot less spoken about. So many diseases so little time.

🙂

I want to thank website “The Mighty” and all the family and friends who took the time to share and help me spread my message just a little bit farther.

So, supposedly now I am a contributor and have an in road with the site. Guess this means I can continue to write for them, after they’ve approved of whatever that is. Guess this is how these sites work? I am still new to all this.

For a lot of talk, with the one-and-only man himself. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appeared on television, for an hour talking about an important subject.

#BellLetsTalk

Not sure if this is more than a Canadian event, as it’s represented by Bell, the phone company.

Of course there is also a lot of talk about how a huge corporation is in it to look good and is getting something more out of it, but I focused on the fact that depression deserves the air time and attention and Trudeau spoke with sensitivity and commanding poise about the struggles with depression in his own family and what he, as the leader of Canada, hopes for those who live with mental illness.

For the notification that I’ve reached five hundred WordPress followers.

This comes just short of my two-year blogging anniversary next week.

I have more on top of that five hundred, but that little sound on my phone to inform me of the milestone made my day.

For the invitation to join as a blogging co-host for the week.

What I Learned In 2015

This was my second week participating and I particularly loved this prompt.

For another “successful” vidchat with friends.

It’s amazing that so many come together like that, through Google Hangouts.

I lost them there near the end, but that’s technology for you: nothing’s perfect.

For the fact that I figured out how to correctly hold my phone so this week I wasn’t just a dark spot on everyone’s screens, while the rest were visually themselves for everyone else to see.

For jokes.

Well, the thing I almost love more than the joke would have to be how people individually and uniquely react to hearing it.

Some laugh hysterically, while others do not. It can’t be explained, but even if I am in that second group, seeing the mirth of the first group is always enough to get me to crack a smile.

For the end of one month and for the arrival of another, but not just any month.

For the completion of last month’s daily prompt writing challenge (jotting challenge technically

January definitely had its highlights,

(like the writing adventure I attended

or

Just Jot It January 2016),

but I’m actually looking forward to February and the arrival of the day I was born.

I hope for lots of good things as I usher in the second month of 2016: from movies I’m really looking forward to coming out, to my favourite television series starting a new season, to the challenge of learning a new skill and working on another.

More of all that in the days and weeks to come.

img_0891-2016-02-1-00-32.jpg

Dobby and I are glad to welcome February. How about you?

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Fiction Friday, TGIF, Writing

Words With Friends

I have no idea what I’m walking into, but I stride forward, into my favourite place: the library.

Of course it would be my favourite place. It is a building full of books. I would live there if I could, but I don’t think those in charge would really appreciate that.

I don’t know what took me this long. Why did I take this long to check this out? There had to be others around me who loved to write and I wanted to gather with them. And so I have.

I am always apprehensive going into a new situation, but this is stacked with a whole new set of expectations. This time, I’m supposed to share my writing, to open up that part of me.

Oh, of course I do it all the time here, now, and I don’t know what took me so long to do that either, but here I am.

This, however, is something entirely different. This time, I am not hiding behind a computer, waiting for the comments or likes to trickle in. This time, I am face-to-face with those who also love to write, or else they wouldn’t be here. This time I can’t hide.

I approach the checkout desk where people are taking out library books and I ask for directions to the room where the writer’s group meets.

I have been in this building many times before, for years and ever since the library from the old church of my childhood became the new location. This, though, is new to me. I was not aware of this room, just off the main area.

I find it with little problem, even with signs and people in my path. The room is to the left and they are inside, waiting for me, or new members like me.

I made sure to come on time, but I like the room almost immediately.

Someone shows me to a chair. I can’t remember who it was now. It’s all a blur of frazzled nerves. I’m doing this and I hope it is everything I’ve ever imagined a writing group would be. How unfair to put oh so many expectations on these poor fellow lovers of the written word.

There is someone across the table and people sitting over to my right. They appear to be engaged in some casual conversations when I appear on the scene, but they welcome me warmly. I can be one of them if I put my best foot forward.

My best foot is my coming-out-of-my-shyness-shell foot. I will put it out alright. If not here, where?

This is the time to drop that silly shyness and give it my all. They seem to agree.

There is someone on the other side of the room, bustling around and making tea. The guy to my right speaks with an English accent, which I can make out through a cracked voice, the ends of a sore throat. He still talks enthusiastically and seems to be one of the first members of the group. He is friendly and has a sense of humour, which I notice right then and there.

I hear my name. Someone recognizes me. She works at the library and runs the group, but she does not stay for the whole thing, instead overseeing it and taking hot drink orders. She speaks with a soft voice, the perfect library voice I suppose. She has met me through my sister, my brother-in-law, and I strain to remember when, although I knew she worked here.

The guy sitting across the way appears to be a new comer like I am. This makes me relate to him then and there. He has come from out of town.

I am still taking time to get an idea of who is here. I wasn’t sure what the cross section of people at a writer’s group could be. Age. Male or female ratio. From different backgrounds.

As people take their seats and we push tables together, I try not to shuffle and fidget more than is necessary, but in new situations I tend to do both to excess. I try to focus on the cues I can get from the people now sitting around me.

National Novel Writing month is discussed. I think I should speak up and say that I did it once, but not this year. I was sure showing up here for the first time in the month of November would mean NaNoWriMo would be a common topic of discussion, but I had no idea if everyone else would be doing it, as a writer’s group would be the place to bring it up.

I have come equipped with my laptop and earphones. Oh, how I wish I could go the old fashion route and write with a pencil or pen and a notebook. I would have picked out a special notebook for the occasion. It would have been red and the pages would have smelled like books, like paper smells.

I wonder how this is all going to work. I can’t write by hand and so how will I join in and share my writing at the end?

Do we even share?

Do we just bring in writing we do at home, for it to be shared and commented on?

So…many…questions.

Something is happening. I am talking and speaking up and out. Finally, it’s a whole room and its full of those who only want to talk about the writing they love, like I do. There is nothing else I’d rather talk about.

There is tea for the one with the lost voice and ginger cookies from a local bakery being passed around the table.

I decline, hopefully in a polite manner, a cup of anything hot. I even offer up the story of my disgrace from last spring and the ensuing events leading up to me, using a generously provided laptop in a pinch. I am new here and the nerves still could cause a problem. I wouldn’t want to knock my cup over, in a move to open my laptop, as I hear the guy sitting beside me has a laptop too and I seem to have the worst luck. I would hate for that to “spill” over to anybody else.

He asks me if I spend a lot of time in Waterloo. I hesitate and ask for confirmation that he is, indeed, speaking to me and not someone else. I am bad for that because I have gotten it wrong before and I hate that sensation of embarrassment, even though the feeling of discomfort is one I still end up feeling either way.

I tell him he must be thinking of someone else, but it is a strange, deja vu sort of moment. I liked that it happened here. I seem to get mistaken for someone else, in the most interesting moments and in the strangest situations. I wonder who that other girl is that I keep getting mistaken for. Could make a cool story sometime.

Next there’s talk of a mystery object. This, I hadn’t expected, but I like where this is going.

A model of a dragon is being passed around, painted by the one with barely a voice, when he was a teenager.

People compliment him on the painting he did of the creature and it is passed to me.

I take it in hand, ever so cautiously, and I feel the wings and the head. I ask for a physical description of it, mostly its colour. It is small and intricately detailed. I try hard to detect every bump and groove with my fingertips.

The maker or someone else mentions Lord of the Rings. He painted models, or meant to, from LOTR, the sort of thing you might expect a teen boy to do after school.

I like to be developing a picture of everyone here, even if it’s bits at a time. We could give rambling explanations of ourselves, going around the table, but instead we simply state our names.

It is hard it first, taking me a while to learn which name belongs to each and every one of these lovers of words, but I will get there.

NAme tags are made, the spelling of my name is wrongly guessed at, but this isn’t uncommon. I like to have this discussion. How long will people require a glance at another’s tag, before the name to the face will come right to mind?

This is a group of barely ten. I like this number. It’s not such a large group that I feel lost in a crowd, but not so small as I imagined, making a writing group less a group and more a few people.

So I guess we are writing now, or after much of the conversation dwindles. Our group leader brings up dialogue and character development in a story. I announce, perhaps over confidently that I have specifically been complimented on my dialogue, by a trusted friend whom I gave my NaNo project to when I’d finished the month. This speaking up thing I seem to be doing feels good, although still rather foreign to me.

Now the pressure is mounting. The talk grows quieter and less frequent and it’s time to write, right?

So I need to write about a dragon?

Okay. Here goes nothing.

I like the noise of the guy’s fingers: click click click. He is writing, then pausing to think, I suppose. I do the same.

I try not to fear him being able to glance over and read the few words I’ve managed to write. I guess I have some self absorption that writers are prone to. We are all hoping to produce something we can share when time’s up. We all likely think about sharing of ideas vs stealing them.

I take in the smell of ginger and the sound of keyboard keys clicking and I just write.

It slowly dawns on me again. Oh yeah, dragon, dragon, dragon. Don’t forget to write about the dragon.

I don’t write fantasy. I can’t write like Tolkien. That’s not my thing. Or is it?

I pick a locale and two characters and I write a scene for them. The dragon is coming up.

Time is up. The silence is broken by people’s uncertainty at what they’ve just put down, on paper or on screen. Will it be good enough?

Well, that’s what I am thinking, but maybe they aren’t. But wait…how will I participate?

I volunteer to just let my VoiceOver speak my story to the room, as a joke. I don’t want to be different, and I’m glad I didn’t not bring my laptop, or I would have been sitting there and twiddling my thumbs while everyone else wrote, but now how do I read what I’ve written for comments and reactions?

Others read their stories. They are all fantasy themed. They all involve real live dragons, but I did not go that direction. Maybe I should have, but instead I enjoy their little tales of discovery, intrigue, and adventure.

I listen to their reading styles and the inflections they place in the words. I try again not to move around, if possible, as this is a sign of boredom. I want to respect all these people who share, as I want to learn from them and to earn their attention when it’s my turn to share.

When it comes to me I don’t want to miss out entirely, so I go ahead and describe what I wrote. I receive a few comments and nods of approval at my subject matter, as I’d chosen to write more modern and contemporary, about an antique shop, one of my favourite settings for a story.

I talk about my one character not knowing what he’s exactly looking for, when his girlfriend asks, but his declaring that he’ll know it when he sees it.

This part seems to get people’s attention. I am happy they believe that I wrote what I’m saying I wrote and that my relaying of that writing is coherent.

Now that I know what actually goes on during one of these things, I must revise my plan and go with my braille display, as long as there is a plug nearby and I can bring a cord long enough to reach. I can write my stories in there and be able to read them back in the moment, along with the rest. My first idea to bring what I’d written from last time falls flat in my own estimation because I don’t want to be always behind a week. I want to be in the moment with this room and these people.

The guy beside me informs me there is an available spot to plug in my device and that he too may require it at some point. My laptop has held up this time, but I know its battery life is limited.

My laptop’s voice was an interesting bit of discussion this time. It has resulted in talk of a Gilbert Gottfried reading of Fifty Shades of Grey somewhere out there online. I had never before compared VoiceOver to Gilbert, but it makes sense.

I wonder what they will think when I walk in next time, with my Braille Sense over my shoulder, like a purse. I’m already looking forward to next time. I love this. I’ve found my tribe. I did not want to get my hopes up about this whole thing, but the real thing did actually surpass my expectations, in unexpected and interesting ways, some of which I’ve mentioned here.

I feared they wouldn’t like me, that I would feel out of place, as I do in a lot of places, but here I have this one thing in common with these people.

I don’t play Words With Friends, but I like the name of the game.

I don’t know what might come of being a member of a writer’s group, whether we become friends or not, but I like to hold back on any expectations I may harbour and just be in the moment, in that room, with those who love words as much as I do.

Paperback Writer

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Fiction Friday, NANOWRIMO 2013, NANOWRIMO 2014, National Novel Writing Month, Writing

NANOWRIMO 2014: Priorities, Goals, and Motivation

Okay, so in case it has skipped anyone’s notice, we have arrived at the end of November.

This means that the month of NaNoWriMo is nearing its finish.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed this either, but I missed last week’s Fiction Friday, my usual post here and I did it for a reason.

Not for the reason I wrote about in my previous NaNoWriMo edition of Fiction Friday:

Rebellion.

Not for the cool, wild, hip concept of being a rebel.

🙂

But more like avoidance…avoidance of returning to the place I was at last year at this time.

The reason why I avoided writing any sort of update last week was I knew then and I certainly know now that I will not be reaching fifty thousand words on any novel, not this time.

I did it on my first try, but I guess I’ve learned that, in writing as in life, my priorities can sure shift, only one year on.

In author/writer Alana Saltz’s latest blog post,

What NaNoWriMo Has Taught Me About the Writing Process,

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:

1.
Motivation

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.

2.
Community

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.

3.
Distractions

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.

4.
Determination

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:

NaNoWriMo14 – The Deadline Menace – Video on YouTube

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.

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Fiction Friday, NANOWRIMO 2014, National Novel Writing Month, Writing

NANOWRIMO 2014: End Of Week One

November is here again. I can’t believe it.

Last month, every

Frightful Fiction Friday,

was set aside for phobia stories, all Halloween-based because it was October.

Last Saturday was the start of a new month and I couldn’t believe it was time for National Novel Writing Month yet again. It’s amazing how fast a year goes by.

Every Fiction Friday for the month of November I will be posting an update on my progress with writing 50,000 words in the thirty days of November.

Last year I only just found out about this huge initiative at the last moment. I dove right in and managed to reach the goal, by writing a first draft of the novel I had had rolling around in my brain for several years.

The site

http://www.nanowrimo.org

Allows you to make a profile, keep track of your daily word count, and to speak and connect on the forums and through local writing groups.. People come together with a common goal and support one another in meeting the challenge, through American Thanksgiving, work and school, and more and more holiday and family gatherings.

Unfortunately, I found their website, as a visually impaired person, overwhelming and tricky to navigate. this time I got a little farther, but on entering my word count I must have done something wrong. I want to write, but instead I am messing around with numbers.

I would rather go to

https://twitter.com/KKHerheadache

to keep track of my own word count.

As much as I love the idea of writing all month long, I don’t like that attached to the term “word count” there just so happens to be the word “count” because that means numbers and math, two things I hate just as much as I love words.

I HATE MATH!!!

This year, once again, I signed up on the site in the hopes that I would find it easier to work with. No such luck. If I am going to focus on writing thousands and thousands of words in such a short time, I am not about to fiddle around with something that only brings me frustration, when I could be writing.

Also, it is a bit of a drag that there aren’t really any local chapters of writers in my area who are participating. This takes away from some of the community feeling of NaNoWriMo for me, but the isolation still seems to be low enough. I guess it’s all in the mind, but I could write a novel any time. Why do I need a specific month to do it?

On this second year I started off on a great foot, beginning immediately at midnight on November 1st and writing fiercely into the early hours of last Saturday morning. This resulted in several thousands of words from the get-go, but who knows if I will make the goal at the end of the month. I have to be okay with it if I don’t. Who else would I be letting down?

Unfortunately, I did not keep this momentum up every day this past week. Every other day is more like it, and I still haven’t hit 10 ,000 words.

I can offer only this excuse to myself or anyone of you: last year this time I did not have one blog, let alone two. I may be writing more this year than I ever have, but my time is more divided than ever.

Week One: 8731 words

Next week I will talk about what I am writing.

Are you taking part in National Novel Writing Month this year? Have you taken part before and have decided not to be a part of it this year? Is it your first time?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this growing movement.

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