Should I Review Outlander?

I just had a thought: should I review Outlander on here?

Photo credit: Starz

Every Sunday I tune into Starz for a new episode…it’s become my replacement show to fill Game of Thrones. (Not so much, Mike, though, I think he thinks it is too girly…Star-crossed lovers and all that.)

But maybe it’s something I ought to consider. Any watchers out there?

I have not read the book series…(I know, shame on me.) But there it is. I’ve been enjoying this season 3, and maybe if there’s some interest out there…I’ll have something to talk about.

What do you guys think? Anyone else love it as much as me?

Happy Writing all!

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A Quiet Walk By The Falls

I never get tired of these falls by my house. I write about them all the time, I know, but I can’t help it. I love the sound of the running water. So relaxing. I like the way the water smells. I like jumping from rock to rock on the edge of the shore, like I used to do as a child.But that water. There’s no other music like it in the world…this is my crack. This is the sound I fall asleep to. This is the soundtrack for many of the poems that I write.

Adventure is found along the shores of creeks, and falls and rivers. When the water just continues on and on and beckons…it teases you to follow, to discover where it ends.

How I wanted to jump in and go with it tonight, guys. There is freedom here, and longing. I wanted to see where it would take me. I wanted to go, go, go…

Is there something like this that inspires you?

Happy Writing!

Spring Writes! Literary Festival: What I Learned this Weekend

This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a literary festival in the new town that we live in! What is a literary festival you ask?

From Thursday to Sunday, writers, readers or literary-lovers of all sorts were able to attend workshops, panels and readings from a collaboration of local writers. These writers are all supported by donations, and a $5 dollar entry fee which purchased the cute pin featured above and was my pass to all the events this weekend.

On Saturday I attended: Workshop: Research Secrets, How to Write What You Don’t Know by and Workshop: The Short Fiction Market, Targeted Writing and Publishing.

What I learned from the Workshop: Research Secrets, is that there is never just one source of finding information out there – the internet is a great tool to finding what you need, but also don’t forget the value of your local library and historic museums, if applicable.

Don’t rule out YouTube and Google Maps as excellent how-to resources when it comes to story research and world-building. Also, remember to validate the credibility of your online sources! (Not everything you read or hear on the internet is true.)

And the instructor also pointed out the value of a good interview. Sometimes the best place to get information is from the person who wrote the book in the first place. Remember to be courteous, prepare your questions and always follow-up.

At the Workshop: The Short Fiction Market, the instructor emphasized that getting your work published is more of a science rather than an art and he pointed out some great strategies that writers can use to get your work out there.

Don’t forget the benefit of submitting stories to Contests. Contests have lower pool of submissions, are judged blindly and carry a lot of weight in a future cover letter if you can brag later on down the road and be like: I am also the first prize winner to XYZ magazine…

He says that contests which feature a specific theme also have a lower pool of submissions, and always remember to ask for feedback when you are submitting something. Most editors will probably not offer feedback, but sometimes someone will.

Focus on the number of submissions that you have out there…it is better to have so many balls in the air that after one rejection, it might not sting as much because you have all those other submissions to look forward to!

The more book reviews you write, the more submissions you submit and the more you get out there and talk to other writers, the more you are building up your social network and other opportunities might present themselves.

Today I attended: Panel: “World Building: If you Build It, They Will Come” and Panel: “Intimate Communities, Starting and Sustaining a Writing Group That Works”

In the world building panel, a group of women spoke about their different processes of world building and their favorite part of the process. Each of their approaches to world building was different.

Some of them approached a world as having a central conflict. What makes parts of the world clash? While answering these questions you get an idea of the different cultures, and the holidays and the food that the characters might eat.

A few of the women started with a character first, and then they built the world around the characters.

They talked about the differences of world building for short stories, versus a novel, and how for some stories you don’t have to know everything, because you will also discover a lot of the world in the writing process.

To organize their notes, one of the women uses the software Evernote, which is what I use! And then another, keeps a notebook with character details.

The best part of world building according to the panel of ladies, is living in another time period, and the power trip: you are basically God.

In the panel, for Sustaining a Writer Group, I learned about the importance of knowing what you want personally from a writer’s group, and remembering to have Guidelines in your group.

Establish those Guidelines from the get-go and you’ll need someone to be the leader, to enforce those guidelines and to keep everyone on task.

I learned so much this weekend, and have some great reference points for finding a writing group in our area that might suit what I am looking for; I am so excited to move on to the next step of the process!

Hope everyone had a great weekend, and Happy Writing!

Writing is Like a Marriage

 

I started going to therapy about two months ago now. It was a hard thing for me at first…I’m not used to baring my soul to a stranger, but I can see the benefits of getting some things out there in the open.

Being a writer has become a big topic of my therapy sessions. My therapist seems to notice how often I talk about writing, how important it is to me, and how frustrated I’ve become with it sometimes.

It is funny, we talk about how writing is sometimes like a marriage; you have your ups and downs and you have to work hard sometimes to keep re-establishing that relationship.

Writing used to be such a big comfort in my life, especially in college. I would take my pen to the blank page and it was like all the cares and worries of the day would fall away as long as I could keep creating, as long as I could keep writing.

Now that magic seems to happen less and less. I don’t always write with the freedom that I used to. It is a rare moment when the words come like a free-flow of consciousness.

It is a work in progress. I blog. I write poetry. I try to work on my novels-in-progress. I try to write at least once a day, but sometimes it is more like a few times a week…

I find myself breaking up with writing and then coming back like, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it, can we start over?”

I sometimes find myself wondering: Am I still a writer? And seriously, if I still was, then how come I struggle so much? A person who calls herself a writer doesn’t struggle so much, does she?

Coming back to that same thought process over and over is exhausting and not at all productive. I don’t need to keep trying to convince myself that I am still a writer.

I need to remind myself that writing is a process and no one does it the right way, and no one does it the wrong way. You can read all the self-help books in the world…but remember, what works for someone, might not work for you.

I can’t tell you how much of a relief it was to realize that…that there was no wrong way to approach writing. And a lot of published authors now express some of the same sentiments.

How do they go about writing? Where does the magic come from? Most answers: Who the heck knows?!

What do you guys think?

Happy writing!

It’s Okay to Admit You Need Help

Things have been a little quiet here on the blogging front. Not intentionally. This week I’ve been sick with a lovely head cold and I have some new things going on in my life and thought I would take some time to chat about it.

It’s not easy…admitting that you need help. Help comes in many different forms. Emotional…educational…physical.

You might have heard me mention it a time or two: depression and anxiety.

When I was a teenager, I was diagnosed with Seasonal Affective disorder, which is basically depression that one gets based on the lack of sunlight in the winter months. It’s no fun when a chemical in your brain stops working properly and tells you not to be happy anymore.

I’ve…managed with that the last several years. But lately, it seems like the older I get the worse my anxiety is. I have always been a classified “worry-wort,” but there comes a time, where it’s not just worry. Where anxiety becomes something more than just double checking that your doors are locked after you locked them. Twice. And after you already check again for the third time.

The older I get, it seems like the more I don’t function properly. I’ve been debating back and forth why I don’t see myself as “normal” anymore. Why, I think that’s something I ought to be, and why normal isn’t really the same for anyone. What’s normal? And why is it something anyone wants to be, anyway?

But anyway, I digress. The point…I’ve started going to therapy.

Some people might think, so? I’ve gone to therapy, what’s the big deal? But this is a big deal for me. I’m not used to telling my life problems to people, and it’s not always easy admitting that you need help.

There’s no shame in admitting that you need help, and there’s no shame in getting that help. Depression and anxiety are not easy things, and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about.

We all react to our life struggles in different ways, and we all have to find our own ways to encounter such challenges. I am not afraid to talk about my depression and anxiety, but I was afraid to get help. And I’m still afraid in some ways…do people look at me differently? Do I look different?

Does anyone judge me? But…I have to press on.

When I started this blog, I wanted to make sure it was a place that I could always come to, to make sure I was still writing. Now, I also want it to be a place where I can talk freely about my problems with depression and anxiety.

It’s something that needs to be talked about, and seeing as writers and creative sorts always seem to be the ones who struggle with depression and anxiety…we should all do a lot of talking about it.

Anyway, I hope you guys are having a great night, and I hope everyone had a great weekend.

Happy writing!

I Want to Live Life, Without Feeling Trapped

Having a case of the Sunday night blues tonight. Happens every night lately before the start of a new week. I love my freedom during the days on weekends. To enjoy the sunshine when I want, to read a book, to bake, to enjoy being human and alive and with others and the people who I love.

This current job I’m at now, while there are some decent people, I feel like everyone is so bored with life there. They are so bored and tired of the next day, of a job that keeps going with no end, of a retirement that is still eight years down the road.

It’s had me thinking a lot about what I want out of life, lately. I don’t want to work in a job where my life is taken from me. I want freedom…I want to travel…I want to live.

People judge millennials because we don’t want to work. But people forget many of us are not working in the job we went to school for. We don’t get money because we are doing what we love. We get money because we work at jobs, (very often) that no one else wants to work at.

I’m no slacker. I’ve worked a myriad of jobs to make money to pay the bills and I’ve been miserable at many of them, but I worked them anyway. Where does it say that we have to be miserable to make money?

People say that you should work hard, stay at a job, get retirement, but the sacrifice of life, freedom, and lack of money just doesn’t seem worth it anymore. Forgive me, but, I am no one else’s money-maker.

I want to live my life, without feeling like I’m trapped in my job. Is that really so much to ask?

Poem: Dear Grandma

Dear Grandma,

I miss you

I think of you everyday

your loud laughter

your eye-crinkle smile

even your house

that smelled a certain way

 

the holidays are near

I want to show I care

I want to know that you’d be proud

I want to feel like you’re here

 

I want someone

to throw wrapping paper

I want someone

to squeeze me so tight it hurts

I want the fake snow-flake decals

on every single window

 

It doesn’t feel like Christmas

now that you’re gone, grandma…

it feels like a big hole is missing

that place that used to exist

the place where Christmas used to be

 

I imagine it sucked out like a giant vacuum

a void, a black hole

a darkness that feels so sad

and so angry

so empty

so empty

 

It makes me mad

that you’re not here

to see the years past

you won’t get the family bulletin

a summary of the year

of life’s triumphs

and heart-breaks

 

Instead we drag on

we trudge behind time

like lost little sheep

 

we labor to it

we are slaves to it

we worship it

but we can’t do anything

 

there’s nothing I can do about you being gone

I’d know what you’d say

you’d laugh and say something like,

“Trust God, and in him, all things are possible.

And what are you worrying about anyway?

I’m with him. And that’s as it should be…”

But it feels so sad, Grandma…

so hopeless,

without you.

 

 

Fantastic Beasts Post: What would you have in your suitcase?

wp-image-726289597jpg.jpgSo, I was having a thought the other day about the new movie by J.K. Rowling, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

If you aren’t familiar with the story, Fantastic Beasts is about Newt Scamander, a self-proclaimed Magizoologist, or a person who loves and is enthusiastic about the care and protection of magical creatures.

Awkward Newt Scamander seems to get a long with creatures better than with people, and on a trip to New York City to help one of said creatures, he finds himself on an adventure of a life time.

During his trip, he carries a suitcase, but he doesn’t have clothes in his suitcase like every other no-mag (American term for a person who doesn’t have magic), instead, his suitcase acts as his own work space, and is where he keeps the rare creatures that he cares for.

Step into Newt’s suitcase and you’ll descend stairs and find yourself in a work-shop of sorts; full of what Newt needs to care for his creatures: extra boots and gloves, medicine for ailments, food for the animals, etc. And beyond that…his suitcase is basically a zoo, really, complete with climate and wide open plains for various creatures. Because, you know, why not?

Anything is possible with magic!

My question is this: If you could have your own suitcase like Newt’s magical suitcase, what would be in yours?

Mine would hold my office, a library, a reader’s nook, kitchenette and bathroom complete with Jacuzzi tub.

Beyond that, you would find yourself on a beach, where the air is warm and the sound of waves wash over you as you step along in the soft, soft, sand.

Follow the boardwalk and you’ll find yourself in a park, which leads to a huge, green forest with miles of walking trails, up and over hills and ravines and to a lake.

Back on the beach if you walk the other way down the boardwalk, you’ll find yourself in a food court with the option to try all different types of foods of the world.

Maybe tucked in somewhere, there will be a pool next to the office and a great patio, etc.

A dream place to go, to relax, to create and to be myself.

I’ve told you mine, now its your turn! What would you have in your suitcase?

Reminder to Myself: I Have Nothing to Be Unhappy About

You may have heard me mention Seasonal Depression now and then. Well, it’s fast approaching winter, and that means less concentration for me, general tiredness and the start of the blues.

img_20161010_161640718.jpgBut I am constantly having to remind myself:

I really don’t have anything to genuinely be unhappy about. So, even though I may be feeling down, other than SAD being the reason, I HAVE NOTHING TO BE UNHAPPY ABOUT.

I have, 1. Friends and family that love me.

This is obvious. I get together with them occasionally. Like today, going to hang out with the girlies!

2. A boyfriend that loves me.

He actually seems kind of grumpy today, but I think that is because he has to work and I have the day off.

3. A job that I like and people who I like working with.

I really do enjoy working with the people I am with right now. Even though the job is only temporary, they have been so welcoming and it has truly been a good experience for me.

img_20161010_162027428.jpg4. I live in a great location.

Our new place is a mile a way from parks in any direction. We have access to great restaurants, book stores (which is a good thing for me) and a farmer’s market.

5. There is a lake a mile down the road.

We live near a lake. I love living near water. Although colder in the winter, I’m sure, there is something relaxing about hearing the water and seeing the waves rolling into the shoreline.

6. We have all our basic needs covered.

I have a place to live, food to eat and clothes…the last one which I bought more of this weekend. I may not have a lot of money. But we have enough to live healthily.

7. I have a car.

I have a vehicle to get where I need to be. And even though my car sometimes needs care all on its own, it is something for now and I am thankful for that.

8. I have my writing.

I have more time to write now that I am working lesser hours. And I use poetry to express my thoughts, especially when something is troubling me. This is a therapy all on its own.

And when I am writing…I truly feel like the self I am supposed to be. I felt lost those years I didn’t write very much.

9. I have my health.

Well, I am healthy in my own right. SAD and acid reflux not really life-threatening issues. Oh, but heartburn really is a pain in the ass, isn’t?

10. I have my sanity.

This one is up for debate some of the time…but mostly I like to maintain that I keep a somewhat decent head on these shoulders. I have my smarts, what limited common sense I’ve retained, and I have my creativeness.

I like to think that the last one is the most important. Because if I can’t create, if I can’t create something beautiful out of nothing…then what is the point of living at all? We all hope to find a little bit of life’s magic somewhere.

I think we should all strive to be our best creative self, don’t you?

What do you guys think?

Happy writing!

 

My Thoughts During a Work-day-Wednesday

cat-1101867_1280We writers think really bizarre thoughts sometimes. Thoughts that jump from one random subject to the next; pondering how life works, what our characters might be thinking, wondering if the hum of the fluorescent lights is actually harmful to your health. (I think it is!)

Maybe it was in Jennifer Lawson’s Furiously Happy that inspired this internal monologue. It might have been. Anyway, here are some of my crazy thoughts from being bored at work today:

A weird article I read: Man Rescued at Sea Was Suspect In Grandfather’s Slaying. Turns out this young man owns a boat named, “The Chicken Pox,” and his mother who was going to inherit millions of dollars from said Grandpa, was mysteriously lost at sea. ***Feel free to use this one for a story idea.

Asked a women on the phone how she was and I get back: “I’m okay, I have a family.”  Is this an expression somewhere I don’t know about? Except, she seemed so sad when she said it to me.

I. Hate. Small. Talk.

Dead silences make me nervous…and sleepy.

Note to Self: Look up weather, it’s going to rain five days straight.

On that thought, seasonal depression might set in early. Remember to research insurances and psychiatrists in the area.

Space cowboys are kind of an awesome thing.

OR, maybe it’s the hum of electronics that you hear in the silence that makes me nervous…no one around but THE MACHINES.

I think I would have added more, but then I got distracted by story-planning and actual work helping customers.

How was your day? Happy Writing!