Indecision…

11 10 2018

images-43“The problem,” says Elizabeth Gilbert, “…is that we cannot choose everything simultaneously. So we live in danger of becoming paralyzed by indecision, terrified that every choice might be the wrong choice.”

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But then, Neil Gaiman (a person I gush over regularly, unlike Elizabeth Gilbert, who, though okay, is given to bromides) says: “Face your life, its pain, its pleasure, leave no path untaken.”

See, I like that philosophy! One of my email names is Dabble, after all. And I DO dabble – trying this, attempting that, fooling about the edges, usually bailing when I start to get good. The last part is where I get cross with myself. It’s like I doom myself to endlessly dabbling without ever seriously contending.

 

Sometimes it isn’t my fault (except if you believe in the psychogenic source of disease). I really HAVE developed an allergy to wool and it annoys me terribly. How’s a wool sculptor supposed to work if I’m sneezing all the time and scratching my hands? Sheesh.

But then there are all the other things I’ve tried. Like my books. Or solo road trips. Or …

Well, there are lots, and I suspect you, gentle reader, have a bundle of UFOs (Unfinished objects) as well. I have a cowl I started knitting some years ago until the numbers of mistakes I was making made me give up and put the yarn in solitary until it learned to IMG_5678behave. I’m sure by now it has developed a psychosis from too much solitary confinement and will simply tangle itself as soon as I look at it. I have three embroidery tasks on the go. I have a couple of felted animal commissions I should finish or say I can’t. And I have at least two books in the burner, waiting for some love.

Unfortunately, Gilbert is right about there not being time to do everything. Unless I become a complete hermit and stop gaily gadabouting with friends (which I enjoy tremendously) and allow my cat to pine away, I can’t possibly do everything. Plus, where do I fit the pleasures of reading, the joys of a kiss, the enlightenment of a walk on a fall morning?

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As my lived life gets longer and my expected left life correspondingly shortens, I wonder, what will I leave behind? In a way, a pile of UFOs would be appropriate, as I’m sure I’ll leave before I am finished with this planet and the people it holds. But I feel I need to pick a horse and ride it.

Then the lazy one on my shoulder whispers, “You’re retired! You should just be having fun!” Alas, for me, fun involves accomplishment.

So I think I shall decide to aggressively schedule myself. Not that that has ever worked, but let’s pretend, shall we? Writing in the morning, when my brain is perky and happy to be in front of the computer, coffee to the right side for thoughtful pauses. Bendicks, my cat, has a long morning nap after breakfast, so that lets me off cat duty. Friends, crafty stuff in the afternoon and evening. With breaks for general foolishness and walkies.

And deadlines…I always do my best work with a deadline. Especially if it is a short one. Otherwise, the following might happen…deadlines-are-approaching-i-am-therefore-leaving-immediately-for-nepal-13331918

(graphics from the incomparable Ashleigh Brilliant and the genius Blackadder)

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FREAKING OUT

24 03 2017

Well, that has to be said in all caps. no?

I am scurrying about mentally. What the Buddhists say about “monkey mind” – well, I’m waaaaay past that. I am German Tanzmaus scurrying…

We saw these guys in a pet store in Germany and they actually never stop. I figure I have about three of these in my mind at the moment.

  1. Iceland!!! I haven’t been overseas since my firstborn was 18 months old. 28 years ago! (Well, except Havana, but that’s on this side of the ocean, seems familiar somehow, and besides I had my kids with me). I’m travelling alone. I am so sick of travelling alone. I’ve gone to Newfoundland and across Canada alone and I know I can do it, but I find my anxiety grows as the spaces between travel widen. Plus I’ll be meeting 175 new people; I will be meeting wowza authors; I will be fighting my MS every step of the way. I have to say that in general I like travelling alone cos it forces me to talk to people, but I am becoming severely in need of a bosom buddy. Project one for when I come back. Seek bosom buddy.
  2. Writing: got a few books out for editing, got one back and have to work on that but my tanzmaus mind isn’t ready to focus yet. The one I’m working on I would like to get published by a real publisher ® as I think it’s important blah blah blah, so that means it has to be good and preferably I’ll have another book in the wings so a publisher will take a chance with me. My MS book is evolving into a website, so I can keep info updated, but for that I need a Pseudonym (the things I do for my one son! I don’t imagine the other two would be embarrassed about me writing about sex). Trying a few on. Got to get on that – I already have lots of material and such but again, the Tanzmice dance.
  3. My health – it’s always an interesting thing, inhabiting my second-rate body. I’ve never asked it to do anything for me that it hasn’t let me down on, except recovery from my bilateral knee replacement. Had to have C-sections, got MS, been chubby forever despite trying to change. After my surgery I exercised mightily. Then my body got better. It felt good, strong. Same when I was swimming three times a week. But then the MS came back, and I tore my rotator cuff, I started with the hip spasms, blah blah blah. I’m beginning to think that I might need to get into a gym routine, but the one close to me is closing. So now I am off sugar officially (lest I lose my sight) – (eventually being idle and overweight does things to your pancreas) which means no more of my beloved chocolate. Tanzmaus mind. What does this mean for my single malt? And will I be able to manage five hectic days and two transatlantic flights in this untrustworthy body?

So the three dance about mixed with little aggravations like losing my keys and bits of important papers and forgetting things. In behind there is the thought of craft fairs coming up and the need to make more of my felties to partially pay for my excessive overspending going to Iceland. Or eat. Hahahaha. But then, YOLO, right? And with my crapped out system, I gotta grab it now. Although, as my son has told me, I’ve used this as an excuse for overspending on trips for the last few years.

(PS: dear son – if you had a vision of being trapped in your body unable to move in your admittedly distant future as I do, you’d be out of the door like a shot and devvil take the expense)(Lord save me)

I’ve been knitting socks like a maniac  – if I’m knitting a lot you know I am anxious. If I can relax I will be felting. Or reading. Or enjoying something. (Where IS that bosom buddy when I need him?)

Must go dance and try to find those damn keys. And/or race to the library where Neil Gaiman’s Norse Gods awaits me.

PS: Dancing Mice are fascinating – I felt sorry for them when I saw them – turns out they are bred to run endlessly. Apparently they are deaf, too, some mess up in their vestibulary system.

Happier rodents here:

 





Gentlemen and ladies, start your engines…

1 08 2015

zieglerwriterdeadlineOnce again, I’m trying my hand at the #NYCMidnight Flash Fiction Contest. It’s a bit insane, given that I have officially “given up writing” (see previous blog entry), but there’s something oddly compelling about a contest with a very short deadline, given parameters, and a small word count, even for we procrastinator types.

See, in the contest, you are sorted into heats, given a genre, a location, and an object to work into your story. This time they are allowing some freedom about the genre definition, but really really want the location to figure prominently in your story. There are hundreds of people competing in the contest, which has several rounds; people gradually get winnowed out and tossed to the four winds until the last round where you compete against maybe a hundred people from around the world for the last fast fast entry.

As for me, well, I’m procrastinating. What else would you expect? I was given the genre “Historical Fiction” and a location and object that I don’t find particularly inspiring to my creative mind (plus I am not a fan of historical fiction genres unless they are very well-done and I can guarantee 1000 words is not going to be enough to do a good job). So I’ve been researching, looking into ideas that I can pluck from my local area and inhabit with people.

Right now I’m thinking of George’s Island (sometimes without an apostrophe), a little drumlin in the harbour in Halifax that has been used for defence since the first inhabitants landed here. It’s nicely situated in the middle of the harbour, with commanding shooting lines to cover any entry to the landing spots themselves.

The island has been used as a fort, as a prison, as a party locale(recently), a provincial park, and also, alas, as a parking place for many of the Acadians expelled in the Grand Derangement. It’s a windy spot, always, and tales of the poor women and children left there in November of 1756 give me the chills. The Brits didn’t treat the Acadians well, to put it lightly, tossing around 10,000 of them out of the Maritimes and leaving them to freeze and die on boats and in the water and on George’s Island (until they needed them to repair the excellent farmland dykes the Acadians built that were broken down and so they allowed a few of the men back). True, it was wartime. True, the French and Mi’kmaq were winning battles and scalping people and some of the Acadians were right in there fighting the Brits, despite some of their neighbours swearing non-combat oaths. But so many died with the expulsions that the shame was great enough to alter the course of Canadian history.

Longfellow made up Evangeline, and the rest, as they say, is history. Never deny a poet can move a country. Even if he’s never been for a visit to the place.

But enough of politics. Now I have to whip together a story involving these elements, make it read human, channel my inner Wolf Hall-ishness (hahaha), and come up with a readable short short story to send in by midnight tomorrow. Yikes!

On the very good side, we get feedback from our entries, and I can post my entry in the forum for other participant’s comments. Should be interesting…and who knows, maybe this will get me started writing for real again.

Or maybe, my apartment will just get really really really clean…

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Writing tips and tricks and techniques and all that bumpf…

9 11 2012

I have a zillion “how to write” books. They seemingly multiply on their own in my bookshelf, but if I think my way through it, they all appear when I am feeling uncertain about my writing and feel the need for a “helpful book” to sort myself out. I buy them, maybe peek through a bit of them, and then toss them for the next novel.

Jodi Meadows, in Pub(lishing) crawl, has written a blog entry that really says all you need to do:

1. Read. Read lots and lots and lots and lots.

2. Write. Write lots and lots and lots.

3. Critique.

I’d probably add #4, since that’s where I fail worst: Send stuff out.

I think the critiquing and sending stuff out parts are the most important for me, anyway, at this point. Critiquing your own work is one thing, but learning to critique others’ is even better. The Canadian Authors’ Association has these carefully defined critique groups, with rules that are followed religiously and which result in real progress with writing. The process allows writers to hear criticism of their work without the duty to respond, and let’s them take away the critique and choose whether to use the info. Because of this everyone takes the time to write a careful, thoughtful comment on the story. I’m a member of the Early Reviewers and Member Giveaways groups on LibraryThing, and in exchange for free books, you are asked to write a review.

Some I’ve sloughed off, I admit, mainly because I either didn’t like the book or couldn’t remember it (argh!)(I do read a LOT).  But others I try to write a good review for, with few details of the story but creating the desire in someone to read it. It helps me see the good parts of some not great books, and the review as a whole helps me find the problems in my own writing.

The sending thing in is a battle for me. So I’ve made a pinky swear to send in at least one of my mystery stories for publication. I’ve got my class holding me accountable. That, and contest entry deadlines, mean that I do send things in occasionally. I realize I should be keeping track of them in a book somewhere, or on my computer, and I’m thinking now, ooh, I should get that organized RIGHT now.

But then I would be falling down on my #2 – time for me to write a lot. I am so far behind in Nanowrimo I may never catch up! Yikes!








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