This and That

I’m still crafting, crocheting, and baking as Christmas is fast approaching. This means my writing temporarily takes a side seat. I’m still writing, just not as much. Thought I’d share a few things today, hence the title, so here’s a little of this and that.

I started reading a good book yesterday. The funny thing is I didn’t realize it was the same author of another book I had read till I got started. It’s a memoir titled Barnheart : The Incurable Longing for a Farm of One’s Own by Jenna Woginrich. The other book she wrote that I read is Made from Scratch.

The book is about her homesteading adventures, which of course intrigues me as I love homesteading. She has quite a sense of humor and writes with the blatant honesty I adore. Loved her apt description of chickens. I already read a little over 50 pages and can’t wait to get back to it.

This month also seems to be a month for poetry. It’s something I don’t write all the time, just when the moment strikes me. I seem to write more of it when I’m in a sad mood for some reason. Why can’t I just write happy optimistic poetry? Maybe one day. Though the one I shared does have some optimism.

Poetry appeals to me, because it allows you to say much using only a few words.  The feelings are there even when I’m too tired, more emotionally than physically tired, to write pages worth of my thoughts. It’s an easier way to speak my heart. This is a short one from yesterday. It may not be finished. Seems to need more.

Hope’s Flight

Hope flies on wings
Fragile as a butterfly’s
It’s such a delicate thing
Lifted on the winds of dreams
Inspires soaring higher
Seeking life’s passions and desires

Butterfly

Butterfly (Photo credit: fox_kiyo)

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a last thought. I was going through some of my many scraps of paper
I end up writing on and found a quote I had wrote down. It’s one of those that just make me so inspired, not just in writing, but living. Such inspiration is a desperate need in my life right now.

“I wished to live my precious time upon this earth deliberately, so that when my life was over, I would not discover that I had not truly lived.” – Henry David Thoreau

View in the Mirror

Another bit of writing based on a prompt. This one was inspired by Be Kind Rewrite’s Inspiration Monday prompt. Pop over and give it a try yourself. Here it is :

Rearview

Rearview (Photo credit: quinn.anya)

She had waited for so long and come so close to the end, her end, so many times. Something always stopped her, just shy of saying goodbye to the world. It wasn’t easy by no means. Somehow she kept hanging onto hope, when there was barely nothing left. Maybe it was the small glimmer of faith she hung onto. She guessed the reasons didn’t matter now. It only mattered that she had made it.

The chaos in her life was at least temporarily in her rear view mirror. Of course, this could be put both ways, figuratively and literally. She would no longer have to endure harsh days of words spoken in anger. Tears welled up in her eyes. She held them back. She wasn’t sure if they were tears of joy that she would finally have peace or tears of sadness that it had taken so long. Maybe it was a little of both. She looked in the mirror, watching the signs of town fade in the distance.

She took one hand off the steering wheel and lightly patted the suitcase in the seat beside her. One bag was all she had and it was more than enough. She would never have to see him or the town, where they had lived together, ever again. There had been some happy memories, but there had been such sorrow the last several years. No use, dwelling on the past. She turned the radio up and smiled slightly. All the pieces were finally falling together rather than falling apart. It was time.

Writing Balance

Balance

Balance (Photo credit: kmakice)

Balance is something I have been struggling with for a while, and this being December, means it is an even more unattainable goal. My blogging will suffer a bit this month. I turn into crafting and baking mode like mad in December. I’ve been crocheting gifts galore. I read a post over on ChantelC’s blog about perseverance tonight, go take a peek. It was interesting and got me to thinking about how my life is a continual battle to persevere. I think one of the biggest part’s of the battle for me is trying to find balance.

It’s a struggle and my life always seems to be in varying states of chaos. Writing, while a source of great joy in my life, has brought it’s own baggage to the balance equation. I have to be careful to balance finding enough time to write with spending time accomplishing other tasks involved in living like cleaning house, being with family, and working enough to pay the bills. Of course, I must also ward off the time vampires called social media and surfing the net(vicious little time consumers).

As if it’s not enough to get better at time management, there must also be balance in sharing enough in writing without sharing too much. I want my writing to speak truth, but reserved. I’m a southern gal, so there are some things I will never quite feel comfortable airing publicly and there are things you honestly just don’t want to know. There is also the people pleasing aspect and not wanting to offend, but I’m realistic enough to know you can’t please everyone and I won’t try to, I will have my say. I just don’t want my voice to come at the expense of others.

Until this year I had been quiet for so much of my life, that discovering the power of writing, was like letting a lion out of it’s cage. I just have to be careful and quiet the lion a little. Sometimes it wants to speak up too much. Those times I have to moderate myself before posting a comment on a blog or posting a facebook comment. I try to balance my need to speak up with compassion for others and being discreet. For example, there are some things about children or spouses, which should not be blogged. I try hard to just put some thoughts to bed in my secret journal.

Sometimes an escape happens. Usually it’s okay as what escapes often winds up a riddle most people would not be able to decipher without knowing more about my life. I just take comfort in the fact the riddles voice truths even if they are missing parts. In case I seem to be speaking in riddles right now, here’s an example of something I posted once : “Whoever said ‘silence is golden’ must never have had their voice squashed so many times.” I was feeling so strongly in the moment and wanted to say something and not silently in my journal either. The obvious truth was there, but I just left out assigning the tell tell details.

What areas do you struggle to find balance in as a writer? Thoughts on truth in writing?…

Inspirational Quotes

There are some quotes I read and just fall in love with, because the words speak so much to my heart. These are some I’ve found which truly inspire me to write. I believe in following your passions. Don’t let anyone deter or discourage you from writing. Live life bravely. Just a few of my favorite quotes :

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” ~ William Wordsworth

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.” ~ Anais Nin

“To learn to write is to learn to have ideas.” ~ Robert Frost

“To sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.” ~ Joan of Arc

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” ~ Oscar Wilde

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.” ~ Steve Jobs

Zinnias from my garden...

Zinnias from my garden…

 

Writing Habits and Music ~ ♪

Music guitar

Music guitar (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Everyone who writes has their favorite writing spots and habits. There are different things that work for different people. We just each have to find out what it is that helps our drive to write and encourages the flow of words. I’ve taken to being more observant about many things in life, including my writing habits. Even about ourselves, I don’t know that we always realize things right away. I thought I’d share a bit about my writing habits I’ve discovered and share some music.

I write anytime an idea strikes in my head on whatever is available. Notebooks abound in my home and I usually carry one with me. If a notebook isn’t readily available to grab, then I have written on the back of random receipts found in my purse or snatched the magnetic paper shopping list from the fridge. Sometimes I’ll start typing away directly on the computer, but most often I’ll type things into the computer after writing them on paper. The main thing is to write something down before I forget it!

My favorite planned time to write is first thing in the morning. I’m not an early riser, but I am usually up by about seven. Mornings work for me, because I can be quiet with my thoughts without interruption.  My family usually doesn’t get up and get moving till later in the morning, sometimes as late as ten or ten thirty. This means I can easily get two or three undisturbed hours to write.

Being quiet with my thoughts, doesn’t mean silence for me though. I like to be alone without anyone talking to me or needing anything from me, but I’m not so wild about silence. Music helps to settle my mind. It puts me more at ease for thoughts to freely flow and my fingers to write or type. Sometimes I just have one of my favorite music CDs playing, but often I’ll have one of my YouTube playlist playing in the background on the computer.  Making a music playlist on YouTube is something new I learned this year from a blogger whose blog is now no longer in existence, but I am grateful none the less.

This year I’ve also been exposed to a wider variety of music and found quite a bit I actually really like, including some songs from my daughter. Typically I have been a country and bluegrass music kind of gal. Those types of music still have a place in my heart, but I’ve been listening to the other music lately, some of which I’m not even sure what categories they really are. I just know I like the songs. Here’s a playlist of my favorite songs I like to write by : Soothing Music Playlist.

It’s been a productive morning, though now it’s lunch time. Besides this blog post, I also managed to write a little over 2,000 words on my next memoir. As I wrote, I enjoyed a nice hot cup of earl grey tea too. Another one of my habits. I like to have either a nice cup of hot tea or a glass of sweet iced tea as I write. I encourage you to take a look at your writing habits. Notice what works and notice if there are some tweaks you think may need made so you can write more productively or peacefully.

Share your thoughts? What have you found helps you to write?… 🙂

Memoir Bits

Writing journal

Writing journal (Photo credit: avrdreamer)

Just a short little post tonight, but had a couple of things about memoirs I thought were worth sharing. The first is a cartoon I thought was a very apt description at how readers, including myself, pick out memoirs to read : Roz Chast’s Memoir Spectrum.  There are some memoirs, though they may be well written and interesting to some, which I will never read unless nothing else was available(like on an island with one book).  I have to flip through a book a little and be able to connect to it on some level.

The second thing I discovered tonight was Scoop.it from a posting on facebook.  I haven’t had much of a chance to play with it, but the little I did, it looks like another social media thing much like Pinterest.  I was really excited, because the links posted on facebook to Scoop.it were on Memoir Writing.  There was oodles of information on memoir.  I had to contain myself as I can get a little click happy.  I’m usually pretty good, but it can be a struggle to make sure I do not overdo my time with social media.

Well, I have to work tomorrow at my paying job, so I’d best be cutting it short and get off the computer.  I’m going to go write a little.  I’ve been in a poetry mood lately, but am beginning to write another memoir as well.  Memoir is truly one of my favorite forms of writing.  I think everyone should write their stories, even if it is for yourself or to pass on to a family member one day.

Good News and Writers’ Notebooks

Selena and her Bird Housing Development Photo

Selena and her Bird Housing Development Photo

Yesterday was a good day and we’ve been needing some good days around our house.  My daughter had entered three of her photographs this past weekend in the Autumn Arts 2012 Art Show held at Vance-Granville Community College.  We went last night to see how the judging went and found she received an honorable mention for her photo “Bird Housing Development”.  She was thrilled.

Bird Housing Development

Bird Housing Development

After returning home, I checked my email and found I had good news as well.  I  had an email with the subject line “congratulations”.  Yes!  I was so excited.  Something I wrote got accepted rather than rejected.  I’ve been accumulating quite a pile of those(rejections that is).

My piece, “Diagnoses : An Unwanted Collection”, was submitted to The Barefoot Review and will be published in the winter issue, which will be public December 21st.  Thankfully December is right around the corner, so it won’t be a long wait.  I’ll try to remember to post a link to it then.

Just a little side note about writers’ notebooks since it seems I keep tripping on information about them.  Most writers, it seems, keep a writer’s notebook or several of them to jot down ideas as they strike or work on chosen pieces of writing.  Everyone has their preference from fancy to basic spiral bound notebooks.

I usually have at least two notebooks in constant use and prefer “pretty” spiral bound notebooks.  My notebooks tend to be a random accumulation, though lately I have taken to trying to keep one strictly poetry related and the other for everything else writing related.  Occasionally I sit down going through my notebooks to see if there is anything I need to refer back to like a list of writing ideas or a poem I haven’t yet typed into the computer.

My normal method to track those stray pages that need dealt with, but are strewn through various spots in assorted notebooks, is to put a post-it flag on the page so it sticks out.  The post-it flag is removed after I transcribe the information on the page into the computer.  The downside to this method is it can be time consuming and every so often a post-it flag accidentally falls out.  Here is a blog post I read yesterday about writers’ notebooks, which had an interesting idea I’m thinking of trying.  It was simply to number the pages in your notebook.  I don’t think it’d take long to write a number on each page corner and maybe it’d be easier to find stuff.

My "Pretty" Writer's Notebooks and Journal(center)

My “Pretty” Writer’s Notebooks and Journal(center)

“Look”…It’s a Challenge

English: A Fairy Tale by Dorothy M.Wheeler

This was driving me sufficiently crazy enough that I had to go take a “look”.  Not too long ago, I remember seeing this on another blog about a blogger looking for the word “look” in her work.  I was convinced I don’t use the word anywhere in my writing, so I didn’t even bother to go “look”.  Don’t remember which blog now, but it so happened it has cropped up again.  I’ve been challenged by Discovery to find the word look in my writing and decided I would see what I could find(yes, I resisted the temptation to use “look” again…well almost…ha, ha). 🙂

Here are a few paragraphs from my writing :

I never looked like I’d been hurt or harmed on the outside, but inside my heart I hurt so much.  I had really gotten pretty good through the years at putting on a happy face and starting each day anew.  If anyone asked how I was doing or how everything was going, then I was one of those sweet southern gals that would always say, “Everything’s fine”, “Everything’s okay”, or “It’s good.”

Most of my life, I guess I have lived in a pretend fairy tale, where dust was swept under the rug.  Through all my talking to my therapist and others during the trying times, part of me just wanted someone, anyone to understand.  I didn’t want sympathy or someone to say I was right, so I don’t know for sure why that was so important to me.  I just wanted someone to get it.  Really, no one except for those of us who lived in it could ever truly understand.

Sometimes in writing this or in talking about the things which happened in my marriage, I feel a bit like a horrible person, like I’m being condemning or nothing was good in our lives.  There was a lot of good for so long, even though there were some not so good parts intermingled, guess that’s what makes it hurt worse sometimes.  The magic looking glass cracked and there was no repair.  Dreams spilled forth and were lost.  Never to be recovered.

I won’t make anyone insane by nominating this time.  Sorry, but here is the challenge if you dare :

The Challenge: The “Look” Challenge is for bloggers who are also writers. It is a way to let others sneak a peek at your work. Here’s how it works. You search your manuscript for the word “look” and copy the surrounding paragraphs into a post to let other bloggers read. Then you tag five blogger/writers to invite them to the challenge.

Come on, could be fun???….

“Unlocking the Words”

* This was a piece inspired by one of the prompts on Inspiration Monday over at the blog Be Kind Rewrite.  The prompt I partook of was — “used words”.  Pop over and get inspired to write something.*

Skeleton Keys IMG_0774

Skeleton Keys IMG_0774 (Photo credit: stevendepolo)

Rosemary sat cross legged on her bed and swept her long brown hair behind her.  She placed a pillow in her lap, then opened her journal upon it.  She turned to a blank page and began writing.  Writing had become one of her most treasured past times.

Rather than speak, she used words written on paper to express herself.  Of course, she dared not let anyone read the words.  She only wrote when she was sure no one was around.  The words were hers and she finally had power over her words.  She had a secret hiding place for her journals, so no one would be able to read her words.

She had tired of talking long ago.  It had been a couple of years since her lips had uttered words aloud.  Being condemned every time you open your mouth can have that effect.  Her husband had even told her once she could have opinions as long as she didn’t express them.  Of course, he had lightly said he was joking, but she knew him.  She got so used to swallowing her words, she just stopped talking one day.

No one, including her mother, had been able to get her to talk again.  Speaking simply hurt her heart too much.  She had felt sure no one truly listened to her anyway and her spoken words had always failed to protect her.  The words just ceased to flow as they had no purpose.

The door to her room opened silently and in strode a tall man.  He was dressed in faded jeans, long sleeve buttoned down shirt, and cowboy hat.  She knew he was there by the sound of his boots on the wooden floor.  She remembered the sound.  She stopped writing and looked up with a smile on her face.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, he took his hat off and somberly said, “I’m sorry, he’s passed.”  Tears silently began to fall from her eyes.  He embraced her and she cried more.  She cried not only for his passing, which she hoped would give him peace he had never had on earth.  She cried as well, or maybe more so, because she was free.  The man stood and turned to leave.  A single plea escaped her lips, “Stay”.

Memoir Writing…Completion to Resources for Writing Your Memoir

I’ve finished doing a self-edit of my memoir.  I did it on a copy I had printed out and forgot page numbers…whoops…yes, those could be important.  🙂 After going back and fixing a few things I found, I have officially printed out my first good copy of my memoir.  It is done.  Feels good to say that for more than one reason.

My memoir is done because I feel the story is done being told.  Though I know I said I wasn’t worried about word count, and I’m not, I think it’s still neat to know it ended up 32, 317 words.  It is 94 pages long, but 98 if the extra pages are included.  The extras are a dedication page, resource page, and a couple of pages of poetry.

My Memoir

My Memoir

My Memoir

My Memoir

The next step, and I am taking baby steps, is to turn my baby lose cautiously.  I need to let a few other people read it to get some feedback.  I know I sound like I’m obsessing a bit calling it my baby, but it is.  This is the first book I’ve ever written and the story is a part of me.

The best thing about being done and the story being written is this wonderful feeling of release.  There is a freedom in having some of my most painful experiences in life out of me and into words.  For me it’s actually been easier to find the written words than it would have been trying to speak them.

We all have stories in us and I would highly recommend writing a memoir to anyone.  I think it can especially be part of the healing process if there is something difficult you are dealing with in your life.  Reading memoirs written by others is a good place to get started learning about writing stories from life.  Here are a few other books and a blog I’ve found helpful as I’ve learned more about memoir writing :

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