Game of Thrones Season 7 episode 5 Recap & Review: Eastwatch

I forgot to write my review for Game of Thrones last week…so here’s a recap/review to get ready for tonight’s episode.

Although, there wasn’t as much action compared to the previous episode, there were still a lot of plot twists. 

Beware, spoilers ahead!

Photo credit: HBO

Well, Jamie lives! Big surprise there, eh?  He and Bronn manage to swim further on down the river. Jaime tells him they need to get to King’s Landing to inform Cersei about the dragons.

Meanwhile, Dany offers the Lannister army a choice: bend the knee or die. Many start to bend the knee, except for Randyll and Dickon Tarly. They will not serve Daenerys, because she is a foreign queen and she did not grow up in Westeros.  She turns Drogon on them and after they are burnt to ashes, the rest of the Lannister army falls to their knees.

Dany shows up at Dragonstone and Jon Snow is there to meet her. Drogon allows Jon to pet his face, and it almost looks like Dany is going to swoon. Does this mean that the dragon can sense Jon’s parentage? Also, Jorah arrives at Dragonstone and Dany is very pleased to see him.

Tyrion and Varys drink wine and ponder if Daenerys is as bad as her father. Jon gets a message from Winterfell, and although he is shocked that Arya and Bran are alive, he doesn’t have time to feel joy. Bran saw a vision of the army of the dead marching towards Eastwatch.

Dany doesn’t want to help Jon, because she is afraid if she leaves, Cersei will march in and take back everything she has gained. Tyrion offers a different solution, by way of proof. Bring one of the dead men to Cersei, convince her the dead men are real and she will then join the fight against the Night King, and come to a temporary truce.

Ser Davos manages to smuggle Tyrion into King’s Landing. Bronn tricks Jaime into meeting with the dwarf, and although Jaime doesn’t wish to speak with him, Tyrion tells him about the army of the dead and Jaime relays their plan to Cersei.

Although Cersei recognizes that they are vastly outnumbered and that a parlay with the dragon queen might be in their best interest, she still delivers this wonderful quote: “Dead men, dragons and dragon queens, whatever stands in our way, we will defeat it.” She tells Jaime she is pregnant and that they must fight this war the way their father did. What, sneakily?

While Tyrion is off meeting with Jaime, Ser Davos finds Gendry working as a blacksmith in the streets of King’s Landing. Ser Davos jokes to us fan’s delight, “thought you might still be rowing.” Gendry joins the fight and tells Jon Snow exactly who he is when they meet. He tells him he is very handy with a war hammer, and the instant bro-mance between them is entertaining.

Meanwhile, in Winterfell, Arya is being fooled by Little Finger who is trying to sow discord between the two Stark sisters. He sneaks around the castle, has quiet conversations and basically looks like he is up to no good.  Arya finds the message that Sansa was forced to write by Cersei after Ned was beheaded. It looks to Arya, (who doesn’t know Sansa was forced to write it) that her sister has betrayed her family.

In Old Town, Gilly reads from an old manuscript and asks Sam what an annulment is. After Sam tells her, she reads that the Maester who wrote the manuscript performed a secret annulment and a marriage for a Rhaegar Targaryen in Dorne. This is big news to us, but Sam cuts her off mid-sentence. Does this mean that Jon’s parents were actually married?

Sam is fed up with the lack of response from the Maesters in regards to the Night King. Instead of waiting for them to act, he steals manuscripts from the restricted section of the library and he, Gilly and baby Sam leave Old Town.

Jon arrives at Eastwatch, with Jorah Mormont, Ser Davos and Gendry, but they are not one of the only ones with plans to go beyond the wall to catch one of the dead men. Tormund leads them to a cell where the Hound, Beric Dondarrion and Thoros say they are there to go beyond the wall because their Lord told them too.

All the men establish that most of them hate the other, but Jon insists that they must work together because they are all on the same side against the Night King. The episode ends with the north-meets-the-avengers group heading out into the white beyond the wall.

What was the best part about this episode?

What to choose, really?

  • Jon petting Drogon.
  • Tyrion and Jaime meeting.
  • Gendry popping up out of nowhere. That “still rowing” comment. His war hammer. Jon and Gendry’s budding bro-mance.
  • Jorah returning to Dany, only to leave her again.
  • Tormund asking about Brienne.

Dislikes?

  • Arya being led on by Little Finger
  • Cersei’s pregnancy; really Jaime? She’s toxic!
  • The outrageous plan to bring a dead man beyond the wall…or is it genius? I’m really not sure.

What do you guys think? (No spoilers please! I read somewhere that tonight’s episode had leaked…)

Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 4 Review: Spoils of War

I know I’ve been writing a lot of Game of Thrones reviews, lately, but I can’t resist getting caught up in the hype of it all. I don’t often write reviews, because I usually don’t have the time, but with a lot of characters finally reuniting on-screen after seven long years, well, some things just need to be talked about.

Beware, Spoilers ahead!

Photo credit: HBO

It seemed like last night’s episode ‘Spoils of War’ was going to be a filler episode, but I don’t think that any episode qualifies as a filler when we are so close to the end.

I think we should just go ahead and name this season, Arya Stark’s season. Everything great that has happened so far has somehow involved this hardy, young woman. Last Sunday brought us its best reunion yet: Arya finally arrives home!

The episode starts out in High Garden. Bronn and Jaime talk about money, and Jaime looks like he is already tired of war. Bronn questions him about it, and it seems the King Slayer is still upset about learning who killed Joffrey.

Cersei gets another visit by the Iron Bank, and reassures them that they will get their money; Lannisters always pay their debts. Bran is visited by Little Finger, who gives him a Valyrian steel dagger. Little Finger seems to think this is a nice gesture, (you know, because he is a notorious kiss-ass,) but the significance is lost on Bran, who knows Little Finger’s dirtiest secrets already. Bran ends their conversation by quoting Little Finger’s own words back at him.

Meera tells Bran she is leaving, and once again we are reminded that Bran is no longer the Bran that we used to know. She feels heartbroken and betrayed when he shows little emotion at her news.

Arya finally shows up at Winterfell, but the guards at the entrance don’t believe her when she tells them who she is. We are reminded of a scene that happened in season one, when she is a little girl and tries to get back into the Red Keep after she is out chasing cats. From the beginning, Arya never tried to be the Lady she was meant to be, and now she has really come full circle.

The reunion between her and Sansa is both heartwarming and awkward, as Sansa doesn’t know what to believe when Arya mentions her kill list. It looks like she doesn’t believe it is real, until Bran mentions it as well. Bran gives Arya the dagger that Little Finger gifted to him.

And here we come to probably the best part of the episode. Arya asks Brienne to train with her and I feel like this is an Arya moment we’ve been waiting for from the first time she tried to become No One. Here she finally gets to show off her skills and strength; this young Stark is much more powerful than she appears.

Meanwhile, in Dragonstone, Jon shows Dany the cave of dragon glass, which conveniently has cave drawings of white-walkers. These illustrations of the undead give Jon Snow another opportunity to reiterate his statement that Dany needs to help him or they will all die if they can’t defeat the Night King.

Dany holds true to her own convictions. Sure, she will help him, she says, “if he bends the knee.” It’s clear from their body language that they are both aware of each other, but as for romance, “there’s no time for that,” insists Jon Snow to Ser Davos.

Dany exchanges girl talk with Missandei, who is worried about Grey Worm. Theon Greyjoy arrives on the last ship that survived Euron’s attack, and Jon comes very close to killing him, but he holds back because of what Theon did for Sansa.

Theon is at Dragonstone to ask help from Daenerys to get Yara back, but she is not there. Dany and her Dothraki hoarde have gone to High Garden and there is a battle with the Lannister army there, or rather it is a slaughter. Dany’s dragon, Drogon, burns the soldiers and it is a horrific, and impressive CGI display of the dragon’s power.

Bronn manages to wound the dragon with the weapon that Qyburn made; and in the heat of the moment, Jaime charges at Dany with every attempt to kill her, but he is pushed out-of-the-way at the last moment before Drogon’s flames can burn him.

The Highlights?

Um, where to begin?

  • Arya’s return home and reunion with family.
  • Remembering Jon Snow in a cave with another woman, not so long ago. What is it with Jon Snow and caves? He will win Dany over yet, just see if he doesn’t.
  • Bran basically scaring Little Finger shitless.
  • The dragons burning things…and um, people.
  • Dany flying on the dragon and burning things.
  • That cliffhanger ending – cause, um, Jaime can’t die that way. He’ll become a captive I’m thinking.

Anyway, what did you guys think? I think this was the best episode of the season yet!

Game of Thrones Season 7 episode 3 Review: The Queen’s Justice

Every Sunday, Mike and I have a routine: at 9 o’clock we settle in front of the TV, (often with ice cream) to tune into Game of Thrones. It’s a love we both share. A story line with characters, (compared to some) that we have become deeply invested in. So, with many character’s story lines finally coming together with others…suffice to say, every night with Game of Thrones is an important one! I think it goes without saying:

Beware, spoilers ahead!

Photo Credit: HBO

It was so strange seeing Daenerys and Jon Snow in the same room together! She looks powerful, beautiful and queen-like. He looks like a Northerner, bulky in furs, hair unkempt, and tired of politics. But who do you think won the room?

It’s hard to say, really.  Missandei lists out Daenerys’ names and even we’re tired of hearing them. Davos Seaworth retaliates with an awkward, “This is Jon Snow…King of the North.”

It’s clear that Jon is out of his element, but he is also the Jon Snow that we love best, the one who stays true to his convictions. He was trusted to rule the north by the men who named him king and that’s exactly what he’s going to do…even if it means facing a queen who at first looks too big for her britches.

I’ve always been a huge fan of Dany…but with this meeting, I felt myself turning on her. How dare she look down her nose at our beloved Jon Snow? How dare she remind him again and again that she is the ruler of the seven kingdoms, when there are clearly other things to be worried about. White walkers, for instance?

It’s funny how quickly our loyalties change when it comes to characters. However, she does grant him access to the dragon glass on Dragonstone, which is a nice gesture. Doesn’t really seem like these two will start coupling up anytime soon, but it seems like a start, at least.

Tyrion gets some great screen time in this episode. He becomes mediator between the two, especially when Jon refuses to “bend the knee” when asked. Daenerys questions Tyrion, “you told me you liked this man?”

Varys is quick to notice that Melisandre didn’t rush to Jon’s side when he and Davos arrive and she casually reveals that her and Jon Snow didn’t part on good terms, and that she will return to die in Westeros just like Varys. Something she saw in the flames perhaps?

Meanwhile, in Old Town, Sam is both praised but not really rewarded for curing Jorah’s greyscale. Jorah, who feels lucky to have escaped death once again, reveals his plans to head back to Dany’s side. I mean, what a shocker, really. I can’t imagine how he would fit into her entourage anymore. She has Tyrion now and Jorah just feels like a third wheel at this point.

Theon Greyjoy is scooped up by survivors of Euron’s attack, but they pretty much call him a coward, because he is. Also, an unexpected and beautiful meeting happens between Sansa and Bran, who’s finally arrived back at Winterfell.

But he is much changed from the Bran she knew. He tells her how sorry he is about her marriage to Ramsay, and she seems startled by how much he knows and for bringing up such a terrible memory. He is the three-eyed Raven now and it is difficult to explain to her what that means.

Sansa seems to be enjoying her new-found power as Lady of Winterfell by making plans for the long winter, but it’s the words of Little Finger that she still continues to hang on to. Does anyone else want to punch this man in the throat every time he speaks?!

Grey Worm and his fellow Unsullied take Casterly Rock, but it’s not really a victory. The Lannister army is in Highgarden, home of the Tyrells. And Euron’s ships destroy most of the Unsullied fleet.

Suffice to say, Cersei was pleased with the gift that Euron presented to her: Ellaria Sand and her daughter. She poisons Ellaria’s daughter and locks them both in a room together. Ellaria’s punishment is to watch her daughter die and rot in front of her.

Whoa. And here we thought Cersei was done for at the end of Season 6 when we saw all of Dany’s ships sailing for Westeros! Cersei might still be the super bitch in town, but Dany has dragons. Time to use them, I’m thinking?

But alas, it was Olenna Tyrell who really got the last word in this episode. After taking Highgarden, Jaime grants her a merciful death: poison in a glass of wine. But after chugging the poison, she looks him in the eye and reveals that she was the one who orchestrated Joffrey’s death and she doesn’t regret it one bit!

It made me sad to say goodbye to this character. Every time she was on the screen you were bound to laugh out loud or gasp at all the excellent lines she got to deliver. She was the spunky, not-afraid-to-speak-her-mind grandma that we all came to love…and I will miss seeing her very much.

She deserved a better send off than an off-screen death, but she went down fighting! And that’s what matters.

The highlights of this episode?

  • It goes without saying, really. Every scene between Dany and Jon Snow was a loaded one and seven years in the making. We want more of any type of scene with them together!
  • Bran and Sansa reunion, although bittersweet as it was. Bran is not the same Bran from the first season who liked to climb. How cute and sweet he was then!
  • Olenna Tyrell’s confession to Jaime.

What did you guys think of this episode? Who were you rooting for in the Dany/Jon Snow meeting? 

Our Vacation Out West Part 3: Zion National Park, The Emerald Pools

On our vacation this year, Mike and I played the license plate game. We made a list of all 50 states and checked off all the license plates we saw on our drive out to Utah. The only state besides Hawaii we couldn’t collect was Rhode Island, and guess which state’s license plate we saw last night in the Buffalo Wild Wings parking lot around here?!

From New York to Utah, we saw 48 license plates, not including Hawaii and Rhode Island. (RI was our holy grail of license plates until last night). We also saw two Canadian plates and one from Mexico. It was fun and it was exciting and it passed the time. I wish I was back on that road trip, seeing sights that I have never seen before.

This post is about three weeks late, but it is fun to reminisce on the fun times we had. Hey, if you missed part 1 and part 2 of our vacation you can click on the links to view them.

This was probably the best time I have ever had…and I’m trying to find another vacation to compare, but I really can’t.

After about two and a half days of driving, Mike and I made it to our KOA in Cedar City, Utah. The campgrounds are about an hour away from Zion National Park. The tent sites were very close together and at first I didn’t like it at all but then I shook myself a bit. I was on vacation! Why was I complaining?

We got our tent up very quickly, and it was really all a matter of getting dinner for the night and going to bed.

We found a diner about two minutes down the road from the KOA, called “All American Diner.” Anytime Mike and I can find a great diner, with good, cheap food, we call it a special treat.

The next day we headed to Zion National Park. The first day, we hiked the emerald pools trail, which was about a 5 mile round trip. A good portion of it was climbing up hill; I wasn’t prepared to climb it in about 110 degree heat. We took plenty of water and had our snacks, but the heat, man.

When we got back to the car that first day, the car’s thermometer registered 117 degrees!But while hiking, you’re walking up sand that’s so hot you can feel the heat burn through your sneakers. The sun beats down on your hat covered head and you long for shade, like you long for cold water when your throat is dry and your tongue feels thick.

That’s also what makes the pools you see on this hike so special; it is like a small oasis in the middle of this desert climate, but the hike is more difficult the higher up you go.

The trail becomes steeper, narrower; the shade trees are a little bit more sparse. I was struggling to catch my breath in the heat and wondered if it was all worth it. And then you come around a bend in the trail and that view. That. View. For one delicious, corny second, you feel like you are the only person on earth, and this view was made just for you. Now, mind you, I am a very easily entertained person…so that might have something to do with it. But, seriously, guys. If you can’t appreciate a view like this and call it nothing less than phenomenal, there’s something wrong with you.

This is the second pool, about two-thirds of the way up the trail.

At the very top of the trail, were these squirrels that kept hanging around, hoping for some snacks or trail mix. It’s $100 fine to feed the animals in the park, but kids can’t resist…not very often you have wild animals hanging around near your feet, and trying to climb into your backpack.

And if you make it to the very top, there is a larger pool of water at the very top. It looks like a small beach in the middle of the mountains. If you were allowed to swim in it, if there weren’t so many people trying to catch their breath, it might have felt more magical. But by that time, I think the heat had really done Mike and I in.

Afterwards, we got food at the park and then headed back to our campsite. The further we got from Zion, thankfully, the cooler it became. A 99 degrees felt practically chilly compared to 110…kinda. Not really. But what fun we had!

Next day, we hiked the Narrows! And then after that, the Grand Canyon.

Game of Thrones Season 7 episode 2 Recap: Stormborn

Beware, spoilers ahead!

Photo credit: HBO

Daenerys makes plans with Lady Olenna Tyrell, Yara and Ellaria Sand. The other women wonder why Dany doesn’t use her army to conquer the red keep, but Dany has other plans. To quote Tyrion, she doesn’t want to be “Queen of the ashes.” The Tyrell and Dorne army will surround the city by blockade and basically starve them out, all transported there by Yara’s ships, of course.

Samwell might have found a treatment for Jorah’s grayscale, but it includes a lot of screaming and pus and is not exactly legal.

Meanwhile, in Winterfell, the king in the north receives two messages: one from Samwell informing Jon Snow of dragon glass in Dragonstone, and one from Dany, inviting Jon to Dragonstone to “bend the knee.” Um, I don’t really see Jon bending the knee to anyone, do you?

He decides to go despite Sansa and the other lords who think that the invitation might be a trap. Sansa seems to want to argue more that is until Jon leaves Winterfell in her care until he returns. Finally some power for the dear Sansa?

Arya is in a tavern and runs into Hot Pie, her friend from the  good ol’ days when Arya was pretending to be a boy. She learns from him that her brother Jon is back in Winterfell and instead of going south to Cersei, Arya heads back home.

Hot pie asks her what happened to her, and she quickly changes the subject. What happened indeed?

Death, survival, close chances to rendezvous with family members only to have them murdered minutes after or before her arrival. The Red Wedding…her aunt Lysa. You can’t help but think that something is going to go wrong again on her way back to Winterfell. Jon might not be in Winterfell when she gets there. They might pass right by each other!

Arya encounters her dire wolf, Nymeria, in the woods with a pack of her own, but Nymeria is a wild wolf now and won’t go back to Winterfell as Arya asked. She’s chosen her own path, too.

We have a nice, romantic moment between Missandei, and Grey Worm, and Varys gets some nice dialogue while he proves himself loyal to Dany. The Red Woman shows up at Dragonstone and is welcomed by Dany. It is Melisandre who suggests Daenerys meet with Jon Snow. She claims that either one might be “the prince who was promised.”

Cersei tries to convince the Lords of Westeros the horrors of Dany’s barbaric dothroki and unsullied army. While, Jamie Lannister speaks with Samwell’s father about becoming more involved in the war to come.

But no matter how careful, nothing goes like how Dany plans. As Yara and Ellaria and the Sand Snakes are on their way to form that blockade, Euron attacks. He kills one of the Sand Snakes? Two of them? And burns all of Yara’s ships. It looks like Euron’s gift to Cersei is going to be the woman who poisoned her daughter.

Euron also takes Yara as captive and Theon has a chance to intervene, to maybe beat all odds and rescue her, but in the heat of the moment, he breaks down and becomes Reek once again and like a coward, jumps over the side of the ship.

What were some highlights?

  • Definitely all the scenes with Arya in them. Arya (so far) is getting a lot of great screen time in these first few episodes of the new season, and I feel like things can only get better?
  • Dany and Jon Snow will finally meet! I thought this wouldn’t happen until the end of the season, surely?
  • All of the strong women of Westeros gathered in Dany’s war room. Yara, Ellaria Sand, Lady Ollena, and Daenerys.

What was your favorite part of last night’s episode? I’d love to hear about it!

Just Reminiscing, Poem: Summer

I love this time of year, and I couldn’t resist sharing this poem I wrote a few years ago. I love this poem. 

Summer is like magic. Summer is the part of yourself that is happy when the sky is blue and the days are longer. Summer is about childhood memories, fireworks and sticky marshmallow fingers sitting around a campfire. Summer is about reminiscing. It’s about dreaming.

Source: fstoppers.com

Source: fstoppers.com

Summer

 

People say there is something

about the way light shines across crystal

across diamonds, too

 

But there is really something to be said

about thousands of lightning bugs

on a warm June night

that makes the world glitter and take a deep breath

 

These are the diamonds of the mid-night summer

these gems of remembrance

these flashes of yesterday.

Our Vacation Out West Part 1: The Rocky Mountains

I haven’t been MIA on purpose…this month has been crazy. Started a new job that has a lot more responsibility than I’m used to and just yesterday, Mike and I just got back from a beautiful, ten-day vacation.

This year, we camped and went to Zion National park and then, the Grand Canyon. Our trip started in New York and then we cut across country; through a small bit of Pennsylvania, then Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, and then down into Utah.

The first night, we stayed over in a hotel in Morris, Illinois. That first day of driving was stressful. Between tolls and getting stuck in traffic in Columbus,Ohio, and the insane traffic in Chicago; we were ready for bed.

The next day, it was endless cornfields in Iowa. How many times a day did I say: “Is this heaven?” “No, it’s Iowa!”

Too many times!

If there is a purgatory, I imagine it looks something like Iowa. Flat, and sunny and endless. Miles and miles of cornfields with puffy white clouds and blue skies, and a road that cuts through it that goes straight and never ends. It is beautiful, and timeless and repetitive.

That second night was another rough one. This is only because it was pride weekend in Denver, Colorado, which was a bit of bad luck on our part, as many of the hotels we tried to get rooms in were sold out. Finally, we found one and spent too much money in a Comfort Inn and Suites.

(Note the blurry squished bugs on the windshield, bahaha. We hit a ton of them!)

The view the next morning, however, more than made up for it. We woke up and headed down the highway, and I got my first view of the Rocky Mountains.

They quite frankly, took my breath away. And I know that’s cliché, but I’m totally going with it. I probably took about two-hundred pictures of these mountains alone.

I grew up in upstate, New York, but our mountains are hills in comparison. In the Colorado Rockies, there isn’t just one shade of green. The mountains are capped with snow and then there’s the smell of pine trees and a sky so blue, it could be a mountain lake.

Barreling down a mountain at seventy-five miles per hour surrounded by traffic is both exhilarating and terrifying; and Colorado is such a strange combination of tree-hugging hippies and republicans.

Note how you can see my reflection in the side mirror taking the picture, as I bravely put the window down to get at least one glare-less photo.

I fell in love completely and would go back in a heartbeat. But this was only just the beginning of our vacation!

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!