Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thoughts ... and Thanksgiving

So it's that time of year again. The beginning of the mad rush of holiday season. Ho Ho Ho
Given my last post I betcha you are wondering if I have faith in that any more either. I admit there are times it gets to be so hectic and non-pleasurable that it is easier to relate to Scrooge than his nephew, and his nephew's good will.
But the movie I saw keeps coming to mind so I am trying to look for the good, in life, in people.

And how often do we feel like we lead such insular lives that really has no effect on anyone else or anyone else's lives. Yet how many times has an author somehow managed to speak to you somehow through their writing?
Probably a lot more than you realize.

For another perspective on what we say matters --- what we say to others. And just as important what we say to ourselves, even if it's the tiny quiet voice inside that often mocks us, what we do, and what we feel is important.
---- check out Maggie Stiefvater's video of her speech at NASA on her blog post of November 23, Maggie And the Astronauts

Maggie still has her funny wit and humor and all - but surprisingly she has a very serious message that you should check out.
Might make you speak kinder to others - and to yourself. Even if just for this holiday season, that's a start.

Since we all can find things to be thankful for. And I want to thank all of you that are reading this. And all the wonderful people that support me. Or at least think kindly of me. And hopefully will speak well of me, and better to me as well as everyone in their lives.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tiny Respites ....and Losing Faith

So, do you take respites? I’m talking about the little sanity breaks that, well, keep you sane. Mostly. Hopefully. Times where you just ‘check out’ when you don’t have time or money for a ‘real’ vacation and the one you had looong ago, is looong ago.

We managed a couple, sort of, recently. A concert, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, interesting to hear it done with a Lute and a Harpsichord in addition to all the other stringed instruments. Really interesting to see sort of a ‘string-off’ between one of the violins, the lute, and one of the cellos, playing off each other, or to each other. Wasn’t as keen on the ‘American’ Four Seasons that was the second half of the program. Was obvious it was written for the star performer, not that he wasn’t really good, etc...etc... Not a bad thing. Just not my particular ‘cup of tea.’ Not that I don’t mix up my teas occasionally as well. Just have my particular favorites. And when it comes to Baroque music, well, that’s Baroque not broke, so it doesn’t need to be fixed, right? I must admit it was rather amusing to watch the rest of the people on stage just standing around idle - a Lot - while the star played. They did at some point start just looking at their violins, etc... so did I.

But all in all it was a nice step out of time, into a different time.

At some point you have to come back to your own time though.

And unless your life is a Lot different, less hectic, trying, and ...feel free to add all kinds of adjectives here, since I think you get the gist..... What happened to our times? Did everyone always feel this harried and stressed? We just think it is unique to our times of overload? Recently we escaped for a short walk in woods awash with bright leaves and sunshine. Wasn’t the total quiet time I would have liked since wasn’t totally without the distant sound of traffic but was a nice little respite away from our lives. Who gets to determine what is the ‘real’ life? Which has a lot to do with demands others put on our lives perhaps. But there’s still the coming back to whatever life we live on a day to day basis, whether we term it real or not.

Which I guess brings me to the losing faith. Have you ever thought about all the ways we have faith, and can lose it? The biggies of faith, of believing in God, Creator, etc... to others we don’t often think of, like believing in ourselves and our path in life, believing in others... to realizing one day somewhere along the way things have changed. I was watching one of the Christmas movies that are really prevalent this year. Was better than I thought it was going to be. One of the characters had a lot of faith in the people’s ability to change. Which brought up the sudden realization that somewhere along the way I wasn’t sure I had that kind of faith in people any more.

What about you?

What are your respites? Respite places? Do you even take respites - or feel the need?

And do those respites bring on revelations?

Like all the different ways we have faith, or don’t?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Learning from Nano - and Revelation

Well, I am not as far ahead as I had wished to be on NaNo. I am still going to try to catch up and do the whole finish thing on time.

Okay so being able to buy the Scrivener package for half price does have a lot of influence on me really wanting to get to the finish line.

Hey, I like the trial version. Seems like it fits my writing style a lot better than Word does.
Which brings up some of my NaNo learnings.

I had always thought of myself as rather a NaNo writer pretty much all the time, but whether I really was or just sort of thought of myself as such, I'm not quite sure. But one thing I have realized is how freeing this experiment with NaNo is. And how very hard it is to turn off the editor that lives in us, that we battle with all the time. To just write the words as they come, put down the images that fly across the mind, is harder than you might think, while just putting them all there on the page without taking the time to worry over each word, each scene, each paragraph, and try to hone it and pare it down while putting it out there.

Which comes to the Revelation.
Somewhere along the way I think I have fallen into the trap of trying to write like what I read. I'm not talking about style or words or anything like that. I'm talking about the finished product. The finish, polish, and flow.
Like all great writers say to be, I am an avid reader. I'm also an eclectic one and will read pretty much anything that comes into my hand. Just so you know.

But as writers to make ourselves better we are supposed to read great books and learn from them. And that's great advice. But I think I've sort of fallen into trying to write like the books as I am writing. Which means the finished book I see. Not the many messy rough drafts that took them to get there. There's not much we hear or see of that. And if we do hear it, and most writers are very candid about how much work and how many drafts it took them to get to the finished product. But without seeing it for ourselves it's hard to really take that in as pertaining to how we are writing.
Or at least it is for me I guess. Since I think that's what I was trying to do, subconsciously of course, since who in their right mind would put themselves through that? Not that writers are in their right mind most of the time anyway. Especially during NaNo time. When they are behind.
But that's been just a learning, a Revelation if you will, from doing NaNo.

What about you? What are you learning?

I think I'm learning to be free. Perhaps in more than just writing. Maybe.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Well… I never thought of NaNo as something to have so much controversy over. I mean, you like or not, do it or not.

Or you try it and ….well, whatever you do and wherever you get to. It’s all a Good thing Right?

Or so I thought.

I admit this is the first year I have done it ‘officially’ but I have done it unofficially for a few years now. And I can’t say I’ve ever felt a failure for not completing the 50,000 words thing. Even unofficially that wasn’t the draw for me. I feel like getting Any words down, at any time, that’s a win.

I do happen to like the writing energy that is flowing around everywhere each year at NaNo time. Not to mention all the camaraderie and help. Like at no other time of the year I can think of.

Okay so mostly I’m coerced and badgered into it, but still I take it for what I learn and get out of it. And just like everything in our lives I feel it only becomes a waste if we make it that way. That road less traveled might be a lot more scenic and less hectic but sometimes we still have to take that busy fast paced highway to get where we need to go. Does it make either one the Right way – or the Wrong way? Unless the highway department deems it so then it simply becomes our perception of which is the best way for us. Which might, or might not, end up to be true. I believe we can learn valuable lessons no matter which road we are on at the time and it only becomes wasted if we allow it to be.

As for NaNo teaching bad writing habits and bad writing and filled with a bunch of bad words that have to be cut later. Well, bad words are what we deem them to be. My mamma had her version of them, just as your mamma most likely has a bit of a different version. In fact, I’m pretty sure she does.

But as most writers quickly find out, Writing is Editing! And those of us that have been around awhile know about that. The words that are taken out are not bad, they can just perhaps be replaced by better ones, more descriptive, more succinct ones. Or just Less of them. But No Matter HOW they get there, whether by slap dash NaNo slinging or painstaking sweat soaked time intensive way, at some point during the editing process you are going to have to cut some of those words. Seems interesting to me that some that decry the NaNo process as a waste because of having to cut so much word fodder from the NaNo work have talked about how much they had to cut from their work that they had just spent months, or even longer, agonizing over and working on. Did it matter how quick the words went down when they had to be lifted away?

Writing just like any other creative expression is simply a matter of opinion. We all have an opinion of what we think of as good writing and bad writing. And sometimes the publishing industry seems to have a whole different view of that. Silly them. Okay, most likely. Doesn’t really make anyone’s opinion more valid than yours, even when publishing industry pays for bad writing. ;)

And bad writing habit – well, to me the worst writing habit to have is Not writing.

It is so Easy to allow our full, or over full, lives to overflow and take over Everything. Including our writing time. Or time we should, and could, be writing.

While I hate the time of year that NaNo falls, November is just way too busy as it is with family obligations and all, I also realize that it forces us to look at ourselves as writers and what we are really saying to ourselves about writing and its importance to us. Others certainly aren’t going to take our writing as serious if we don’t. And by at least setting aside some time in November to write we have to acknowledge that we can do it at other months in the year as well.

If we manage to write at all and get words down and out of our heads then we win. Regardless of the word count.

If you support someone else, and yourself while doing it, we all win.

What’s bad about that?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Profound Thoughts .... And NaNo

So, NaNo has started. Do you hear the collective NaNo brains feverishly revving all over? The frantic pounding of keys trying to keep pace with the overflow of spilling words?
Okay, so yeah, some. Some are having a slow start. For various intrusions that have inserted themselves unexpectedly into their NaNo writing plans. But don't give up! Still Way too early to even contemplate, or get down on yourself. There's still plenty of time for that later. :::smirk:::
Only half kidding here.
I know that some people see no merit in the seemingly senseless splattering of words out on the page. Eh. Everybody's different. Even at different times of their lives. This may be what you need at this time. Okay so what if you think it isn't. Try it anyway. What have you got to lose? A little time that you've spent on something that you've been wanting to try or do? So do it now. This is the only life we have really. Is Right Now.

So it doesn't work out. So what. Like that's never happened to you before? Or very well might again.
Adapt. Work with it. Whatever 'it' is. Learn about yourself.
If nothing else that's what this exercise in NaNo will teach you. About yourself as a writer.
As a story teller.
Especially about the ones you really tell yourself. And especially what you tell your writer self.

Whoa. Well, this post went totally different than what I thought I was writing. So this is what comes out when you NaNo a blog post. And since there's supposed to be no deleting in NaNo..... at least for now. ;)