Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Day Late and a Loonie * Short

Hello my dears, I missed the IWSG meeting yesterday. I missed lots yesterday. I was struck down by a very temporary bug and left work for home and didn't manage to do much. I have to say that would be fairly typical for this time of year. Nothing to do with the plunging temperature and falling snow either. Its the dons. 
 the period 10 days before Losar (this year, from the 19th-28th of February) is the time known as the don season, a time when heightened mindfulness and awareness are needed.
Just as most of us feel a sign of relief at dusk, knowing the work day is almost over, feeling that soon we can kick back and relax—that is also the exact time during the day when our mindfulness wanes, when we have a tendency to be a bit careless. That is why those who meditate in the Tibetan tradition do “protector chants” just at that time, to rouse and reassert awareness.
Just so, at the waning of the old year, when Spring has not yet sprung and Winter is still dragging on, we may find ourselves longing for some sign of Spring—that dreamy hope pulls us away from being fully present and can make us vulnerable in mindless moments. And a slip, a fall, an accident only takes a moment (I should know, having fallen just last week). This vulnerable time of year known as don season seems to be when the old karma from the past year comes home to roost.(From the Buddhist magazine - Elephant Journal - last year - writer - Linda Lewis)
Some Buddhists don't even like to mention the dons - feeling that it would be better to ignore this period - but even though I've certainly been caught this year (my karma gave my butt a good hard kick when it came to certain mindless practices I've been engaging in) - I think it is a good thing. One is to keep one's head down - do a lot of meditating (yep! done that) and treat yourself like you might have a bit of a bug. So I guess I got one so that would be easy.

How might this carry over to the IWSG - well, I missed it. I didn't pay attention even though I thought about it Monday and could have prepared then. And that means I missed out on those who might have come by and also those that did and saw my last week's post (which was very suitable for the IWSG though). And that makes me feel bad because I love the IWSG. So ... I will hasten slowly to wake-up and see what else I've missed.

On another note it is the anniversary of my dear Daddio's death. I miss him like the dickens most every day and certainly on this one. Here's a photo or two of him... one on the deck of our cottage enjoying a gab with his pal - John Boulet, and the other years later reading to his grand-daughter Brynn when she was a little squidge - not the grownup mama she is now.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

What I am Thinking About

Here is a random list of things I've been thinking about to do with my writing life stalling

         I can't push the river. By this I mean that it seems when I come to a standstill  I must submit and wait for it to pass. This isn't writer's block - or not as I understand it - more like the stubborn kid part of me who is saying "wait! I can't do this right now." I haven't written anything since the beginning of the
year. Not a word. I haven't been walking either. I've been working. I've been drawing. I've been meditating. All of those things daily and with no problem getting to it. But walking and writing (wait a minute! they both start with 'w'!) have been practices that don't seem to exist for me at this moment. I've pondered on it - the walking is to do with a bad bout of arthritis that has been going on since August and I just now have the meds organized to handle. It is also to do with the weather - -25 today (-39C with wind chill). Sorry - not interested. The writing I'm less sure of - I have a ms out with my mentor and I think it might be the next to last revision so maybe I'm just waiting to see. My new ms I wrote in a red hot heat in November and into December. I still have about 25 thousand words to write but I just look at the chair and say nuh uh.  And the two things might be combined - the walking and writing thing I mean. My chair sucks and the area where my computer is is cold. My drawing and sitting practice spaces are warm. I like them. So - head scratch here - I dunnoh.

         I'm scared that the book I was working on is a dumb idea. It might be too close to the bone - too possibly hurtful to the community that I love (the Innu community where I work). I'm also thinking that the protagonist was too much me and now I'm birthing a not me character and that is taking some time. By that I mean that I use my sensibilities, passions, the scaffolding and now it is time to replace it - but maybe not. Maybe I have to be very careful and not leave the walls without support just yet.

        Also, maybe I should give up writing novels. I can't give up writing altogether and even though I said I hadn't written a word this year - that is not true. I've written about ten new poems so far. But perhaps novels are just too massive and complicated and so on for me to write. I really don't know. I hate doubting myself but I am. I certainly have no desire to write plays again - maybe if an idea comes to me I'll try it - like for a community production - but generally I'm no longer interested in that form. Maybe I'm done with trying novels. Even as I write this I feel insane. I WANT TO WRITE NOVELS the teenage girl who lives in my head screams. Whoa! She is loud.


See that blueish bench? That's where I sit and draw. It's so warm there - a heater beneath. I love it. Maybe I need a good lap-top? Could it be so simple
 I think that's enough thinking out loud for now. It is wearing me out. Perhaps this time of year is simply my cosmic yearly nap-time. Where all I do is consume novels and other books - not create them which takes so much energy.  hmmmm....

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

7 Ways I kept writing in 2015

What is the IWSG? 

It is the Insecure Writers Support Group and it holds a meeting on the internet the first Wednesday of every month. The fella who started the whole thing is Alex J. Cavanaugh . Here's what it says on the web site:

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!
Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG
The awesome co-hosts for the January 6 posting of the IWSG will be L.G. Keltner, Denise Covey, Sheri Larsen, J.Q. Rose, Chemist Ken, and Michelle Wallace! 

So why join? Well, it is a great boost to hang out with other writers and you will find all sorts in this gang. Every month you can see what some (or all if you are unemployed!!!) are up to. You are sure to find some who feel as bad or good as you and those that are more than willing to give you some courage for your journey as a writer. This month is special because they will be announcing the winners of the first annual IWSG Anthology. I did not submit but sort of wish I had - I just had too much other writing on the go so decided to forgo this contest in the hopes that where there is one - there will be more!

Now - here is my post for today:

7 Ways I kept Writing in 2015

  1. I set goals all through the year. Maybe I didn't accomplish them all but I wrote more than if I hadn't bothered posting any.
  2. I kept a number of writing projects fresh and hot. I was working for the bulk of the year on a revision of a novel I started a couple of years back in a BuNoWriMo. I started a new novel in this year's NaNoWriMo. I sent off a short story and several poems. If I flagged at one, I picked up another.
  3. I hired a mentor. I was lucky in the fall of 2014 to go on a wonderful writers' retreat 'Pipers Frith' in Newfoundland. There I met my teacher and after a short time realized he would be the ideal mentor for me. I asked and he agreed. We struck a deal and it took a bit for both our calendars to be clear but it did work out. He is helping me with my Bright Angel revisions and I love working with him. And paying someone keeps you motivated to keep writing.
  4. I read and reread all the writer type books I own. I read them while I revised, I read them while I wrote fresh books - I kept them by my bed and my bath. I read them like they were thrillers or Jane Austen books I hadn't seen before. It was like keeping a long conversation going about one of my favorite topics.
  5. I set challenges or joined ones already on the go. I gave my best friend the promise of 70 poems in this her seventieth year. That means I have to write about six poems a month. I'm a bit behind after the holiday but I'll get back up to speed this week. I send them to her as I write them. I signed on to NaNoWriMo with not the faintest idea in my brain pan, but a strong desire for a new novel to work on. 
  6. I kept up some sort of relationship with this blog and my blog pals. It has been sketchy, what with a new full time job (a very intense job) and the vicissitudes of real life but I did it 'good enough'.
  7. I sat my bottom on my chair and wrote. And that, truly, is the best of the seven. Even if I didn't feel like I had something to say - I just hushed myself and sat and WROTE.  

Thursday, December 31, 2015

A sort of plan for 2016

I'm still on the road, leaving today to head back to Labrador but want to set my writing intentions for the New Year.  As I'm writing this on a wee padlike thing it will be pithy! Also, I have to start packing soon. This is a good thing, since my key learning this year is simple. And there is no more to that sentence. Our life in Labrador is extremely simple and that is good news for my writing and meditation practices. So here goes:

Bright Angel - my latest draft is with my mentor. When he gets it back to me I'll do whatever needs doing then get it copy edited and send it out.

Crooked Knife - while Bright Angel is out I'll finish the first draft of this mystery. I'm thinking that will be a month. I'll then let it brew for a month.

Poems - I intend to start sending out my poetry on a regular basis. This is not difficult but I get lazy.

Old Manuscripts- I have 3 old ms that could use either some love or a sharp killing blow. If I have the time (depending entirely on how BA and CK are doing) I will decide on whether to revise or execute.

That's it.

Simple wha?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Now that the dust has settled

Speaking of settling - I just looked out my office (work) window and saw that it is all pink and rosy above the hills above Little Lake but with one long thick strand of cloud that just goes between the hills like a pulled out piece of quilt batting. So odd and lovely.

Now - back to business at hand. I was totally caught up in my new manuscript - Crooked Knife - but had the last bit of revision to do on Bright Angel before it got sent back to my mentor. The Shiny-New-Thing dilemma is always a problem for me. Fortunately, my fella, who is some smart, nudged me. "Don't you have that revision to do?" He is ever so gentle but as he hardly ever nudges I pay attention when he does. So I finished it and sent it off. Whew!

I have no idea how long my mentor will have with it. He teaches a number of university courses, so has plenty to do - plus his own revision, and, But now that it is away I can totally throw any spare time I have at this new manuscript. Which is good - as it needs a lot. I don't have one draft done yet. Just 55 thousand words and a lot of them for tossing. But I'm engaged - I'm loving it and thinking about it all the time when I'm not working (or watching Longmire).

We leave for our road trip to Halifax in a week and I'm trying not to fall into holiday madness. Why? Because:

  1. I'm a Buddhist so although I totally appreciate Jesus as a wisdom body - a teacher and holy person - I'm not a Christian.
  2. Even if I were a Christian - I don't understand what buying more than I can afford has to do with true Christian love.
  3. I don't like the feeling of guilt because I haven't organized my life around this event.
So what do I do in the holidays?
  1. Try to spend real loving time with relatives and friends.
  2. Cook good food.
  3. Buy books for all the grandchildren - something I've done for fifteen years now.
  4. Have a tree if possible because although I'm not a Christian - I do have pagan roots and as my birthday is on the solstice - well...I likes a tree. Don't you?
  5. Support a charity in the name of my close relatives - some charity that is meaningful to all of us. It is usually to do with helping educate girls in various regions.
  6. Make something by hand for Children's Day (a Buddhist holiday) for my special girl friends.
And that's it. 
Any spare time in there, I like to spend reading and lolling or going snowshoeing, or attending children's concerts. ha. love those.

Later, dudes and dudettes... oh and here is a photo of me and my sis a few years ago. heh heh.