“And those things are a space that must be cultivated in the self.”

Musings on the romanticism of writing and where it’s done.

via Writing Spaces — Points of Light: Dreaming with Your Eyes Open


Most of my writing happens in bed, too.

This morning I was trying to stay asleep, but my brain kept trying to write something in my head. Eventually I caved and reached over to start typing on my phone, because otherwise it was going to bug me.

Overcoming our own thoughts

Overcoming our own thoughts

https://druidlife.wordpress.com/2018/05/26/overcoming-our-own-thoughts/
— Read on druidlife.wordpress.com/2018/05/26/overcoming-our-own-thoughts/

This raises a very good point about internal vs external sources of stress and anxiety.

When I’m going through a rough patch, I sometimes have a hard time sorting out how much is in my head/body responses and how much is in my environment. Often, I’ve found, it’s both, and they feed on each other and get all tangled up. The first step is sorting out which is which.

Entry: Walk — A Creative PTSD Gal

This one had me holding my breath. It was as if I was the person in the story. Milliways, another author that kept me interested throughout the A to Z writing challenge. Head over and check out her writing and other awesome posts. If you would like to participate in the contest or share, check […]

via Entry: Walk — A Creative PTSD Gal

I wrote a thing. Mwahaha. 😊

Where do I start?

So many things have happened recently.

First, I finished the A to Z Challenge! I didn’t always post on time, but the nature of my theme kind of made that inevitable.

Second, it’s May. I was born in May. Sometimes my birthday falls on Mother’s Day, which is always annoying, but this year it’s the day after.

Third, MY PARTNER PROPOSED.

It was always the plan, and I definitely had a voice in picking the ring design, but I didn’t know when, where, or how. Afterwards there was an engagement party that doubled as my thirtieth birthday party, and it was absolutely lovely.

Fourth, I woke up at 7am today because I had to go to the DMV and renew my driver’s license before it expires on Monday. I got to the DMV at 8am and was able to leave again at about 1pm. BUT…

Fifth, while I was at the DMV I got a very important email from a winery I’ve been interviewing with. I am now in the wine industry part time! Probably just weekends. I’m also applying to full time things because, uh… I’ve got some time to make up for and I’m not currently opposed to the idea of pulling a lot of hours so I can pay my parents back for the money they’ve lent me in these past several months.

That is my update. I am still recovering from the DMV, so… ta.

#AtoZChallenge — Zusak and Zazz

 

This post is part of the April A to Z Blogging Challenge, where I am challenging myself to reflect on other A to Z posts that I come across.


“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.” ― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Monday Morning Wisdom #152: Z is for Zusak, ARHtistic License


As Melissa Barker-Simpson puts it, “Our minds wander, it’s just the way it is. Sometimes we zone out by choice, by necessity, or because we don’t even realise we’re doing it.” As writers, our words occasionally do the same thing.

tumblr_lu7sfdzagc1qdhxyeo1_500
(gif source)

What I’ve learned from participating in NaNoWriMo is that when the word(s) I want wander off while I’m otherwise on a roll, it helps to just put in some temporary filler and keep on going. If the filler lacks zazz I can highlight it and make Future Me deal with that problem later, but for the sake of momentum I can save making the words absolutely right for the editing process. … I have a problem with finishing long stories sometimes.

 

On that note, I haven’t finished my Camp NaNoWriMo project but I did hit my 50k goal. I started the month with about 36k, so it’s not as impressive as it could be, but I’m quite pleased because I kept getting stuck on stuff in chapter six. Eventually I will finish it and go back to do a lot of editing. Gotta make sure it brings the zazz.

And now I’ve also finished the A to Z Challenge, woohoo!

 

#AtoZChallenge — Your happy place

This post is part of the April A to Z Blogging Challenge, where I am challenging myself to reflect on other A to Z posts that I come across.


Find your happy place. This could be anything that gives you happiness. For me, my happy place is Harry Potter fanfictions. I have been a Potterhead ever since I read my first book. I took this craze to another level when I started reading fanfictions. (A fanfiction is a fiction written by a fan presenting his own PoV and his plot within the main storyline). I have never failed to read a few pages of a fanfic in the last 20 months.

You are in charge of your life, Musings of a Mother


My fall-back happy place is fandom participation. Mostly I write fanfics, and occasionally I do doodles — either way, I create. I do a lot of reading too, and commenting, and replying to comments, and feeling like part of a community. It’s constructive validation, because there’s always a special niche of people who will read what you want to write.

I am definitely in charge of my life. I’m broke and in debt to my parents, but I still have my freedom and make my own decisions. Sometimes those decisions gravitate towards being at home with my cats… because I’m an introvert anyway and why not spend my recharge time with furry little goofbutts.

When I quit my job back in August, it was because I was miserable. I’d seen my dad go through that for years, at a similar kind of job too, and I didn’t want to go down that dusty road. It was a hard decision, but it was one I had to make for my own sake and ultimately I still don’t regret it. Without my partner supporting me, I’m not sure I would have had the courage to leave without something else already lined up, and the problem with that is I was always to exhausted at the end of the day to job hunt for something better.

Support systems are pretty damn important. Without support, it would have taken me a lot longer to limp back to my happy place!

#AtoZChallenge — Xeriscape

This post is part of the April A to Z Blogging Challenge, where I am challenging myself to reflect on other A to Z posts that I come across.


X is the dreaded letter of this challenge, and frankly I was shocked when I started scrolling through the A to Z tag and found one I’d never seen before almost immediately.

Xeriscaping refers to the conservation of water through creative landscaping.

It was developed for drought-afflicted areas, but in today’s world it is gaining more momentum. It’s in wide use all over the world.

Derived from the Greek xeros meaning “dry,” the term means literally “dry landscape.”

X for xeriscape, Pragun’s Panchtattwa

This is the ideal for our little patch of the backyard. Currently it’s full of weeds that, I swear, are taller than me, but sometime soon we are going to get out there and whip it into shape. (In the meantime, it’s a relief that we have a fence to have our shame.)

2018-02-01 15.28.02-1California has been in a drought for years. Many suburban front yards have jumped on the xeriscaping bandwagon with rock gardens, and those that haven’t, we judge as we drive past. It’s what you do. And though the state is now in a weird drought-then-flooding-then-drought-then-flooding pattern, it’s becoming more and more clear that climate change is only going to make more intense.

Because of the warming atmosphere, the type of storms that produced the record flooding 156 years ago will probably be three to four times more frequent by the end of this century. That means San Francisco and Los Angeles are more likely than not to see an 1862-style deluge by 2060, according to the research published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change.

Such a series of storms, involving about 40 days of punishing rain, would become more of a 50-year event — a 1-in-50 chance of happening in any given year, the authors figure. …

The rapid shift last year from a five-year drought to an extraordinarily wet winter is a taste of the whiplash that the authors expect more of. Northern California is projected to see 25 percent more of these dramatic transitions, and Southern California will see 100 percent more.

SF Chronicle

So the drought is likely to continue, in an it’s-complicated-on-Facebook sort of way. Which means I need to find out…

What kinds of cacti and other succulents are cool with both drought and flooding?

#AtoZChallenge — We have labels

This post is part of the April A to Z Blogging Challenge, where I am challenging myself to reflect on other A to Z posts that I come across.


Our world is impossibly complex and often quite dangerous, it helps to have a system that can quickly process what kind of thing you are looking at and react appropriately. Categorization helps us make sense of a world where quick decisions have to be made, and a large amount of information has to be processed. It’s also a pretty reliable system for helping us get through situations that we may have not faced by providing a reference and a good guess. If you’ve seen a brown bear, you’ll have some idea of how to respond to a polar bear. If you’ve seen a mountain lion, you know that a tiger is dangerous. …

We have labels for what a man is supposed to be, what a woman is supposed to look like, how black people behave, what jobs a 60-year-old is capable of learning, what opportunities a poor person deserves, whether or not Muslims can be Americans. Our labels and categories help us understand our world, but they also put limits on it too. We aren’t good at seeing the shades, the subtlety, or continuity. We aren’t good at seeing the variation between two individual examples of a thing.

Kinds, Zen & Pi


I was reading Lisa’s post, quoted above, and it makes sense. Evolution has prepped us to categorize things on the fly, and in modern society that doesn’t always work well.

One thing people aren’t always good at recognizing is sexual orientation. Bisexuals and pansexuals get the brunt of this because, regardless of who they’re with, at first glance there are parts of their orientation that are always going to be invisible. Couples with one or more trans person might, on the surface pass as heterosexual, erasing their queerness, or if the trans person(s) doesn’t “pass” to the viewer’s standards then there’s several kinds of erasure there too. If someone says “partner” and the listener assumes that automatically means a same sex relationship — which could be true, and/or it could mean that the couple prefers the word as an acknowledgement that they are both equals in the relationship.

Everyone wants to be seen as more than just a first impression, as more than just a bookcover to be judged by. We may not be wired that way but we can, by virtue of self-awareness, train our brains to do more than just what evolution wired us for. We’re a social species, and we can adapt.

We can ask what pronouns people use.

Parents can ask their kids what synonym for “partner” they’d prefer used in the family holiday letter.

Before you hug someone, you can ask if they’re cool with hugs because, for example, someone with OCD might spend the rest of the day quietly but frantically going over and over and over it in their head for the rest of the day.

You can’t just see these kinds of things. Sometimes, you really just have to ask.

#AtoZChallenge — Voice

This post is part of the April A to Z Blogging Challenge, where I am challenging myself to reflect on other A to Z posts that I come across.


Your writer’s voice is supposed to be something that is uniquely your own. But what does that really mean? What the hell is writer’s voice? And how can you find something when you’re not even sure what it is?

Is it your style of writing? Is it your tone? Or is voice something else entirely?

According to one article I came upon, “voice is not only a unique way of putting words together, but a unique sensibility, a distinctive way of looking at the world, an outlook that enriches a writer’s oeuvre.”

I’m sorry, but that didn’t help at all. “A writer’s oeuvre”? Seriously?

V is for Voice, Fandango

I read this a few hours ago, and it’s occurred to me that since I left such a long comment it might as well become my post for the day. So here’s that comment, with some additions.

My concentration in college was Creative Writing, so I took a lot of writing courses. One of them focused specifically on “voice” — a concept that I’m still a little shaky on, to be honest, but hear me out.

Throughout the semester, the professor and I had a running argument about fanfiction. I am all for as a writing exercise, because it creates opportunities to be creative within a finite set of rules (canon) and a somewhat less finite set of your own personal take on things (head-canon). The professor argued that it was merely taking on the voice of other creators and not exploring my own.

But how are you supposed to figure out what your voice is if you don’t have meaningful examples? The course did attempt to provide some, but none I really clicked with. And I’m saying that as someone who read Grapes of Wrath in high school and couldn’t stop writing like Steinbeck for weeks. I didn’t even like that book.

For me, the iconic example is Douglas Adams — because I spent so much time writing Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy fanfiction. For a while, I had the Adams voice down pat, and that time it was intentional. I’m still not able to articulate what my own voice is, but I wouldn’t exactly be able to describe his either. It’s not something you define, it’s something you feel. Rhythm, content, it all blurs together into this thing that you kind of only identify from a distance, as an afterthought.

You know what I think? I think your own style is something you’re so intimately familiar with that it’s like… the taste in your mouth when you’re not tasting anything. It’s like the air you breath. It’s like water to a fish. Part of why I’ve come to this conclusion is because, if you try to think too hard about “sounding like yourself,” you overthink how to start the next story or the next scene, and you either end up staring at the blank space or forcing out some crap that you don’t really like.

oeu·vre
noun
the works of a painter, composer, or author regarded collectively.
“the complete oeuvre of Mozart”

So maybe your voice just is what it is, and only your readers can properly identify it because they have the necessary distance, the necessary perspective, and usually a fair amount of time to absorb a selection of your work. You can only know your voice when someone else hears it, and tells you what it sounds like.