Health: improved sleep, less sick, longevity, more exercise, increased energy.
Personality: more optimistic, less materialistic, increased self-esteem, more spiritual.
But it is the days where I wake up on the wrong side of the bed, in a less than spectacular mood – those days are the very days I need to do this most. It’s also the days that I forget to do this. That’s why they call it practice, I guess.” (x)
I’m grateful for…
👣 – My parents being out of town and having their house to ourselves. It’s kind of weird staying there, but also very nice to have our own space again for a while.
👣 – Tea and honey.
👣 – Fresh apricots.
👣 – New clothes! I bought myself three new dresses because most of my clothes are currently indisposed due to the flea situation. I got them at Costco of all places, but who cares. I feel cute.Continue reading “#24 – Sunday, June 26”→
“Making gratitude practice a habit, making it part of my everyday routine, is the most effective step I’ve taken to bringing more happiness into my life. It’s simple and it’s powerful and by creating a meaningful gratitude practice you will put happiness at the heart of your life too.” (x)
I’m grateful for…
🌼 – The beautiful cottage rental we saw over the weekend! Knock on wood.
Okay here’s the thing. When I was a senior in college, my brother was a freshman. When I graduated and came back for the summer, he finished his first year and… got a summer job in the state he was going to school that was relevant to his Rangeland Management major. At one point that summer, my mother turned to me and blithely said, “I always thought you would be the one to leave the nest first.”
That stung. And I have worked very, very hard to shoehorn my very general Liberal Arts degree into a career track, save up, and move out with my partner. I have a job that I really, really like up here now. But at the moment, what I don’t have is a place to live that isn’t two hours away from where I work, and this weekend I had to tell my parents.
It’s hard to admit to people who expect better of you that you’re not succeeding, especially when you half expect that they’ll comment on that fact.
Fortunately it turned out alright. They’re of town for a while and I’m borrowing/part-time sleeping in my mom’s minivan, and even though none of my problems have really resolved themselves yet I feel a lot better.
My advice to anyone going through anything remotely similar is as follows…
Each day is a gift and a chance to start fresh. If yesterday was heavy, give yourself permission to turn the page. Start today with a new intention, one that will prompt you to focus on the landscape before you. When we give ourselves the gift of new perspective, hidden gems have a way of appearing and reminding us of the joy that lives within us. … When we put our attention on all of the things we are grateful for, we get to experience a boost that can be felt on a very deep level. A gratitude practice can look like whatever you want. It could be counting your blessings at the start of the day, throughout the day or as a way to end the day. Perhaps you will choose all of the above. Like everything in life, when we put our own personal spin on things, it has a way of becoming meaningful and more powerful. (x)
I’m grateful for…
🐜 – No one besides me getting fleas.
🐜 – Not having fleas on me right now.
🐜 – Antihistamines and anti-itch cream.
🐜 – Petco’s flea control section.
🐜 – My partner’s dad ordering our kitten a flea collar.
🐜 – Understanding coworkers.
🐜 – Perspective.
🐜 – All the episodes of That 70s Show we had DVR’d.
🐜 – The luxury of actually being able to take some “I’m having a bit of a breakdown and now my immune system is crapping out, thanks body” time off work. I mean, it’s not like I’m in a work or don’t eat situation.
🐜 – My therapist. I needed that impartial voice telling me to calm down about certain things and ask the right questions.
🐜 – Finally getting my act together about going to the doctor for a proper renewal of my prescription. (… And to get reassurance that my flea bites have not given me bubonic plague.)
🐜 – Feeling like I’m making progress with my writing.
🐜 – Making it to the store with five minutes to spare before it closed and finding the last scrubby sponge in stock.
What have you felt grateful for this week? (Not having fleas is a GREAT thing to be grateful for.)
I have always struggled with voice. In high school, the struggle went like this:
Reading Grapes of Wrath? Everything I write that week sounds like Grapes of Wrath.
Reading The Great Gatsby? Everything I write that week sounds like The Great Gatsby. And includes a mint julep.
Reading Crime & Punishment? I don’t write at all those two weeks because Russian Lit just kills me.
Reading Stephen King in my free time? I learned how to spell harbinger real well. Real well indeed.
Then, in college, the struggle became:
I am pretty good at writing fanfiction in the Douglas Adams voice.
That’s pretty much it.
Everything I write contains the phrases “almost, but not quite ___” or “almost, but not entirely unlike ___.”
My problem is that I’ve learned how to write by sponging up whatever I happen to be reading at the time, and the result is I am still a bit uncertain of my own voice. What I do know is that it tends to be very direct, often rather snarky, and consecutive sentences never start or end with the same word because that drives me up the wall.
Some of this I’ve learned from how I edit other people’s work. I am the nitpicker who will go through the page and circle every instance of a repeated word in a paragraph or page, and note the total count in the margin just in case I hadn’t already made my point. I am the nitpicker who will not only notice that every sentence has the same length and structure, but (a) point it out, (b) state whether or not it seems like you did it on purpose, and (c) start scribbling in examples of how you might rearrange them.
I’ve never been quite sure how anyone feels about my writing critiques, but personally I can’t stand getting critiques back with no notes throughout and a bunch of vague comments at the end. If you didn’t think something worked I want you to show me where during the text you had that thought, and I try to do that when I edit.
My voice as an editor has helped inform me a bit more about my voice as a writer, although I have to take this with a grain of salt. If I listen to my editor-voice too much I get distracted by rewriting things I haven’t even finished writing in the first place. Similarly, I can queue up audiobooks to listen to in the car but have to keep a wary eye out for signs that the book of the week is taking over.
It helps when I pick the audiobooks to suit what I’m writing, rather than the other way around.
And heaven help me if I’m typing up something I’ve written longhand, because unlike the self-restraint described in this post over at The Caffeinated Writer I can’t help trying to fix it as I go! Approximately halfway through whatever I still have written down has somehow become completely irrelevant and I no longer have a complete draft.
What is your worst nightmare? The thing that makes your skin crawl and stomach flip over just thinking about the possibility that it might actually happen? I don’t know how many people can easily and accurately answer that question without having to stop and think… And last week I might have said that I’ve got too much anxiety to be able to sort out my top nightmare. I know what it is now though, because it happened on Tuesday.
Thoughts: This short story was kicked off by this prompt, and is not yet finished. It somehow became a better start to the previously untitled story idea that I’ve been working on lately. It’s not exactly in the mystery genre though. Maybe if I get enough written to decide that I’m satisfied with the beginning I’ll post some of it.