Saturday, June 26, 2010

Week Seven and Eight in Review:
Just so I can say I'm caught up...

but I'm really not.  

At least not with my writing.
But my brain is being filled with wonderful tools to make my writing easier, more creative and more productive.

This week I read and enjoyed Merrilee's links on Fear and Perfectionism.

I most identified with Mary Anne Hahn's post:

Yes, Merrilee it is worth reading, even with the horrible red background.

"Little did I know that my perfectionism would also turn out to be the biggest roadblock to my writing dream for many years. Far from being a "wonderful" or "positive" character trait, it held me back, taunted me, scolded me, filled me with guilt, scoffed at my burning desire to be a writer. Without teachers to constantly stroke my ego and provide me with the encouragement I so needed, I floundered and procrastinated, struggled and avoided.

It took a long time for me to realize the real reason I wasn't writing. I blamed it on lack of discipline, or lack of time, or occasionally came to the conclusion that maybe I just wasn't meant to be a writer. Then I would stumble across an old story or essay I'd written, recognize the skill and talent there, recall the joy and fulfillment I'd found in the writing process, and give writing for publication another go. Yet nothing was ever perfect enough to submit" 

These are Mary Anne's words, but they quite eerily could be my own.

Of course, I also had the additional roadblock that with so many children to nurture and care for, how could I ever find the time to write?  Looking back, that was just another excuse.  I knew of others in like situation that found the time to write and to do it well enough to be published... and still mother their many children.  (Editors Note: My husband adds... Yes but how well did they mother? How did their children turn out?  Of course I can't say about their children, but I can mine... they all turned out wonderfully well, contributors to society, every one of the eight I was blessed with. And in the end, that is far better than any other work I could spend my life doing.)

♦ ♦ ♦

I must admit, I have actually been published... exactly once.  It was my second submission.  My first was denied.  To my credit, I reworked the story and resubmitted a year later, and this time, my story was accepted. (I'd include a link to my story, but I'm quite sure no one is that interested.)  I was given a check for $100.  The date was December 20, 1992.   I can still remember the thrill of seeing my story in print. I felt validated as a writer and I knew my college English professor would have been proud.

A whole lot of life has passed by since then and I have never since submitted a story for publication.  "Nothing was ever perfect enough to submit."

This course is giving me the tools I need to write again and perhaps the courage to submit another story for publication. I could use another hundred bucks.

♦ ♦ ♦

I should also mention how much I enjoyed the Guest Post for this week:

From her words I have gleaned the following:

So what do you do in drought?

Go for walks.

Absorb and don’t try to produce.

When it’s ready, the well will be full again.

I seem to be doing a lot of that lately,
part of my quest to set my Muse free.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Week Six in Review:
Never mind that we just completed week seven

The Guest Post for the week was The Muse’s Secret Address by Meredith Wickham.

This post is amazing... all you blog stalkers that never leave comment should seriously consider following the link to read Meredith's post. (I know you are out there, my stat counters assure me I do have readers. ☺)

After reading this post you may also want to visit Merediths garden blog: 
The Enchanted Earth.  It's one of my favorites!

Meredith's words from her guest post invited me to ponder the value of paying attention to the “here and now”.

"I trained myself to note the minutiae of the present moment, to become aware, bit by bit, of this particular here and now. Paying renewed attention to my reality might be as simple as noticing the sunset outside the kitchen window as I do the dishes, or actually feeling the flow of the hot water over my hands."

I'm afraid that as a mother of so many children, my life has been more of a “hurry up” mode. The reality of my "here and now" was more like: "Come here... (insert a child's name) and I mean right now, " said with a sweet and loving voice to the mischievous stinker boy hiding under his bed after... (insert any act that a little stinker boy might do.) With so much to do and so many wonderful little beings to do for, not much time was spent in slow mode.

Now, for the most part, my children are all grown up and I’m in the process of discovering how to let my Muse out of the closet. She is a bit timid and frightened that I may include her in my “hurry up” list of to do’s. My husband shared with me the visual image of someone cracking the door slightly and peering out with large and sensitive eyes to see if it were safe to come out yet. Yes, it's safe.

I am discovering that as I learn to slow my pace and allow myself to really see the “here and nows” of my life, I can experience moments where wonderful ideas flow.  And then, my Muse is free to dance about my mind and enrich my soul, giving breath to my own creative thoughts.  And then I can write... and I do, fettered only by my poor typing skills.  (I never did learn the "home keys" during my college typing class as I was madly in love with my honey and only had eyes for him.)

One more thought from Meredith that caputured my attention:

"The tiniest detail is the gateway to story."

To harness the power of that statement, the answer is again, to slow down and train my eye to see and my heart to listen to the tiniest of details.  I'm actually enjoying experimenting with this concept through my camera lens.  There is a beautiful world out there that most of us are far too busy to see.  

That's all for now... 
 this new week my goal is to keep my head above water, and find moments to slow my pace... enough to allow my Muse to dance!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Boring? Weigh in!

I've heard the whisperings that this blog is boring... so in an effort to spice it up, I'm sharing a post from my garden blog.  Let me know if you enjoy it!

We're going on a snail hunt!
We're gonna catch a big one!
I'm not afraid,
Are you?
Not me!

Grandchildren love to go on snail hunts 
and I love to rid my garden of these pesky little creatures.

The brown garden snail, Cornu aspersum 
Introduced to the USA from France during the 1850s for use as food
Escargot anyone? 

♦ ♦ ♦

When I was a child, I walked home from school everyday past a beautifully cared for red brick home. I always slowed my pace as I passed this home so I could take in the sight of all the beautiful trees and bushes and flowers galore. 

One rainy day, I noticed a snail moving along the sidewalk. I had never seen a snail before and was intrigued with the creature that quickly hid inside the shell when I picked it up. I held it in the palm of my hand for a few minutes fascinated by the artwork on the shell. Slowly the snail began to peak out from within the shell, probably as interested in me as I was in him. He pulled his little body almost completely from his hiding place and began to move along my palm. It tickled! He was a slimy creature, but not so much that I didn't enjoy our encounter. I placed the snail on the grass and skipped all the way home, content with my day's discovery.

The next day I looked for my little friend, he was nowhere to be seen. Each day I walked very slowly past the red brick house with the pretty gardens hoping to see him again, but he was never there.

Then one day it had been raining as I ran out through school doors. My world was clean and bright and the air smelled so fresh! I loved the rain. As I walked past the red brick house I walked very slowly looking for my snail on the sidewalk as I always did since we first met. Still no snail in sight. 

I was brave enough to walk up the driveway toward the garage as I looked for my snail. There was a fence on the far side of the garage with a narrow strip of land that had just enough room for me to walk in. There were green plants that I carefully stepped over. I felt a little naughty as I took each step as I knew this was a place I was not invited to be in. The feeling in my stomach told me I better leave. 

As I turned to make my escape I saw my snail, and another and another, there was a whole family of snails! The uneasiness I felt persuaded me to run home, but I knew that I would go back again another day. And I did, this time with a friend. 

Funny how brave you can be when there are two. Together we sneaked up the driveway and into the long green corridor looking for snails. We found them quickly and I tried to convince my friend it was ok to pick them up, that they tickled your hand as they slithered along your palm. She wasn't as brave as me, so I picked up two of them and carried them home to put in my mother's garden. I just knew they would love to live there.

The red brick house became our stopping place for several days as I caught snails to take home. Then one day as we came out from the side of the garage we were met by an old white haired man with a stern look on his face.  "What are you girls doing?"  Time has not erased the feeling of fright I had as this man confronted us.

"We're catching snails." I remember saying timidly. I opened my hands to show him my treasure. His dour look burst into a smile as he began to laugh. We were a bit perplexed as we wondered if we were in big trouble.

"Take all the snails you want!" he said in-between chuckles. Just don't step on my plants. He explained how he had watched from the window the past many days as we had disappeared behind his garage. He was curious about what two little girls might be doing there each day. We were relieved to find that he was a nice old man and wasn't angry with us at all. He told us again that we could take all the snails we could catch.

 I can see-e-e you...

When I got home, I decided I'd better tell Mom what had happened. As relieved as I was that the old man wasn't angry with us, I was still a little shaky about the encounter. I showed her the snails I had collected and told her the story of how my friend and I were hunting snails each day on the way home from school. "What are earth are you collecting snails for?" she said with a curious look in her eye.

"To put in your garden so we can have snails too!" was my innocent reply. 

It goes without saying that was the end of our snail hunts after school. My mom just didn't appreciate snails the way I did and certainly didn't want them living in her garden!

And now I understand why...

 ♦ ♦ ♦

Snails are hermaphrodites, so they all lay eggs. 
Brown garden snails lay an average
of 80 spherical, pearly white eggs at a time. 
They can lay eggs up to 6 times a year. 
Talk about multiply and replenish!

 Snail Huddle

What do we do now?

Let's have a Snail Race!

Obviously my perspective on snails changed once I became a gardener.  I don't really like creatures that nibble on my leaves.  Perhaps because of my early encounters with snails I prefer removing them by hand picking,   Handpicking can be very effective but you need to be thorough and hunt for them often or your snail population will quickly get out of control.  Thank heaven for little grandsons!

And what do we do with the snails once we find them? 
We send them all off to vacation at
The Snail Resort
where they can munch away 
to their hearts content... 
(the garbage can that holds my garden refuse.)

Want to know more about snails?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Week Five in Review:
Late, but still chugging...

 The Guest post:  The Zone by Karen Collum

Totally inspiring!  I identify with her thoughts on so many different levels. I'm very familiar with The Zone as I watched my daughter run the hurdles and high jump in college on a full Track scholarship. It was amazing to watch her as she entered The Zone.  I remember very well the almost trance-like routine that she entered into before, during and after each event. It was actually quite magical!  We knew better than to try to communicate with her when she was in this state of mind as it would completely throw her off her mark.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if others could recognize when I am in my zone and be so accommodating as to not interrupt my train of thought?  Now that would be magical! Until reading Karen's post, I never identified that as a writer, I also enter into The Zone.

"How are you doing?" assignment: Completed

1. Creativity

1a. Am I doing my daily creativity exercises? Yes and no. Most often it isn't a cognitive activity. I can do better.

1b. How full is my notebook? Not full enough if you count what's on paper.  If my notebook could be what's in my head, it's time to get another one.  OK, I can do better.

1c. Do I look around me and collect inspiration as I go about my day? YES!  YES!  A resounding yes! (and it is so delightful!)

1d. Am I looking for inspiration, instead of waiting for it to appear? Again yes. But if I were to be truthful, it just seems to appear. Not much effort required.

Yes: How does this make me feel?  Do I feel more creative?  Do I feel more connected and focussed?  Is my creativity becoming a part of my life? It is an amazing feeling of connection to my universe.  My view of the world around me is more focused.  My kids would tell you that I am a little different but then they've always thought that of me.  :)  I'm quite enjoying the freshness and newness my creative thoughts bring.

No: Why not?  What’s holding me back?  Am I afraid?  Am I resisting change?  Am I worried about what other people will think of me?  Is my creativity a priority to me?  What do I want from my muse?  What steps can I take to achieve my wants?  How do I want to feel, and how can I achieve that?

2. Focus

2a. Am I examining ideas that excite me? Not to the extent that I'd like to. Not enough time, so they get put in the notebook.

2b. Have I found a particular genre or topic that really means something to me? Yes I have.  Two actually.

2c. Is my exploration leading me to new outlets for my creativity, or do I feel like I am going in circles? I'm enjoying the fresh ideas and look forward to their creation.

2d. Am I finding it easier to concentrate on a project on-demand, or do I get distracted easily? Sometimes I feel too focused, and need to bring balance back into my life.  Then there are times that I feel a little burnt out and just need to step away for awhile. The on demand aspect doesn't work well for me, but because I'm thinking more creatively it hasn't been such a problem of late.

Yes: What has changed in the last week?  What actions have I taken to improve my focus?  What works for me?  What physical or mental changes have I made to improve my focus? I think the act of doing has had the greatest influence on me.  Most mornings I wake up with new ideas spilling out of my mind and find myself a bit frustrated that I don't have more time to develop them.

No: Why not? What’s stopping me from concentrating on a single project for a short period?  Am I slipping back to old, familiar projects because it’s easier? Do I feel frightened by new projects? Do I feel that the new project won’t lead anywhere?  How can I change so that my new projects will feel meaningful?  What do I need to modify to improve my focus?

3. Productivity

3a. How many stories have I started? Five

3b. How many stories have I completed? Four completed, except for final edit of one. Two of which the word count is just enough but not much. (translation: very short)

3c. Am I writing as often as I could be?  Yes on some days. No on others. I can improve.

3d. Do I bring the story to mind every day, even when I’m not writing? Yes, I do. There are days that it seems to take over a measure of my thoughts that actually becomes quite exhilarating and fun.

Yes: How do I feel about my productivity?  Am I excited by my progress? How does this line up with my desires?  Are there new goals that I could make to reach those desires?  I want to progress faster, but in order to do that, I need to be more productive.  I've altered my goals to allow that somewhat.  All truthfulness, I'm actually moving about as fast as I'm able. I need to remember that my life was full before adding writing to my list of to do's.

No: Why not?  What’s stopping me from writing when I can?  Have I forgiven myself for having other demands on my time that I cannot control (work, children, school)? Am I taking each day as it comes?  And I making the best use of the time that I have?  Am I making steady progress towards my writing goals? How can I change my writing habits to meet those writing goals?

4. Goals

4a. Am I meeting my goals? Some more than others.  I have actually changed things up a bit since the course began

4b. Do I remember what my goals are? Yes.

4c. Do my goals reflect my desires and where I want to go as a writer? Yes, for now.  But I remind myself that I've just escaped from the closet and need to take it one step at a time.

4d. Am I keeping my goals in mind whenever I get excited by a new project?  Could do better here. The excitement of the project seems to over-ride all sense of duty.

Yes: How does this make me feel?  Am I being positive about my achievements, or beating myself up for not doing better?  Am I fired up and ready to do more, or content with my steady progress?  There was a point where I was beating myself up, I don't enjoy being behind.  Changing my goals to be closer to what I want to achieve and what I realistically can achieve at this stage of my progression has helped tremendously and has allowed me to feel content with steady progress.

No: What is preventing me from working within my goals? Do I need to revise my goals, or is there something else stopping me? Are my goals not in line with my desires?  Have I made goals to fit my own image of where I want to be, or am I making goals to meet the expectations of others?  What part of my goals is not working?  How do I make changes to help me achieve what I want?

Enough Introspection!
I'm off to begin Week Six before it is long gone.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Week Four in Review:
Does it matter that we are well into week five already?

I'm done.
Finally finished.
Well, almost.  
I still need to edit. But I will do that another day.
I'm the last one out of the gate for week five.

What I have learned from week four:

"Starting the task is half the battle." 

"Starting the task IS the battle."

I won't divulge how long it took to get started on this week's story.
When I finally willed myself to sit down and do it,
the words just would not come.

I have never been good at writing on demand.
I must have rewritten the first paragraph dozens of times. 
The story was in my head, but where to begin?

Finally, after a forever of trying, I had my beginning.

♦   ♦   ♦

Resist the urge to edit.  

(Am I listening?)

At the beginning of each writing session I always go back and read what I have already written.

Very Bad Idea. 

I spend all my allotted time editing a story still in its infancy and then feel frustrated that I'm not progressing.

"I managed to shut the editor up and give myself permission to be bad.  And I made it; I pushed past the barrier and the words flooded out."

Your words inspired me to do the same.
And it worked, as though the flood gates were open.  
I need to remember this as it is so contrary to what is me.

♦   ♦   ♦

I was intrigued with the words of the 
Some of her words touched my heart and rang true to what I know:

"To me, creativity is the means by which I can share all things that move me in life. As an artist, I am especially affected by what I see. I think in images, dream in images and am deeply moved by what passes before my eyes."

Her words could be my own.  My desire is to paint the picture I see with my words.  I can see the story in my mind. My challenge is to select the right perspective and find the right words to paint the story as beautiful as I see it.

"Sometimes I am delighted and slightly surprised when I complete a really successful painting. It’s like I get totally lost in the process, fully intent and concentrating deeply on my subject, then when I come up for air and step away from the piece, it’s a thrill to see what has come to life!"

No need to say more...  it is a thrill!

"The secret about miniature art is the intense sense of intimacy that is experienced when you hold a piece in your hand. When a piece of art is so small that it can rest in the palm of your hand, you are being gently invited to bring it a little closer to your eyes. You bow your head a bit and bring your hand nearer to your face. This is a very intimate pose. At this moment, you have let the piece of art enter into a vulnerable personal area. You would never hold anything dangerous this close to your face. This is the way you would hold a butterfly or a small kitten; very gently and close."

 I feel much the same about my writing, my words open the door to my personal thoughts allowing others to others to view my world.  This can be "dangerous" to my ego as it is true that the reader may not share my feelings, my passion for the story I tell.  However it can also be fulfilling and gratifying  as the reader responds positively to what I write. It's a chance we take when we share.

In summary, I may be pokey slow, 
but I feel that I am learning from this course.

This week, what's left of it, I'm going to try Merrilee's suggestions for Procrastination.  I would be the last to admit this is my problem, but if I were to be truthful, there is a vein of that within me. Gotta get going.  I'm already starting the race in last place.

Make session goals
When you sit down to write, it helps to make a specific goal for that session, rather than a time or word count goal.  Choose a specific aspect of the scene that you want to progress.  It might be a tricky conversation between the characters that you have been avoiding.  It might be a climactic moment in the storyline, or it might be as simple as getting your characters moving again.

Make changes to your technique
Sometimes just shaking up your routine is enough to work through the procrastination.  Try writing in a different room.  Or get out the pen and paper.  Write in the park.  Start in the middle of the story, instead of the beginning.  Stir yourself up a bit.

Just write
Unfortunately, you still have to make the decision to sit down and write.  All the tools in the world won’t help you if you won’t make that mental step.  However, if you identify why you are procrastinating, you can at least address a concrete issue.  And that is the first step to reducing the amount of time you spend procrastinating.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Week Three in Review:
Write off the Week that Was

Such a busy week, I just could not get engaged in my story... at all.  

However, I did accomplish much:

Spent an entire day with my 83 year old mother.  No writing this day, but many wonderful words passed between us that may spark my imagination for another day's story.

Watched my youngest daughter sing in her final ninth grade concert... priceless memory!

Drove through the pouring rain for fifty miles to then sit in the pouring rain as I watched my oldest granddaughter play an hour soccer game. I get double points as I also watched my son coach the game.  "Go Coach!"  :)  Drove the fifty miles back home, still in pouring rain.

Planted my garden pots, pruned and fertilized eleven rose bushes, cleaned the floating redbud blossoms from the waterfall and planted a few annuals. Not yet done, but getting closer.

Wrote several (creative?) posts for my garden blog, complete with pictures and resolved that I desperately need a new camera, I do, I do!

Talked for an hour or so with my darling daughter via telephone who lives so far away (sigh) regarding her growing belly...five weeks left before baby girl comes!

Researched and prepared a talk that I delivered in church today.  Word count: 2027
Can this count as reaching my goal for the week? A resounding "Yes!" from the crowd.

And many thanks to Merrilee who wrote the following words that I'm going to live by:

Write off the week that was 
and move on to the week that will be.

Whew! I feel much better now.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Week Two in Review:
The Best of Days and the Worst of Days

This week of writing has brought the best of days and the worst of days for me.
Monday was a struggle.  So many ideas, which one to go with?

Tuesday was a challenge. I could not find a place to begin. I tossed and turned in every direction until I felt like I was on a Merry-Go-Round.  Over the course of hours, and many revisits, I made a brilliant decision to change the perspective and I finally began to write.

Wednesday I questioned my brilliant decision to change perspective. Then I questioned my choice of ideas.  Then I questioned why I thought I could do this class at all.  At last, I shoved all my doubts into the closet, turned away from all the distractions and pushed my way through the story. Word count only 678, but at least I had a beginning.

Thursday I played hooky and escaped from writing.  Felt a bit shameful that I wasn't on schedule but actually felt more exhilarated that I would choose to.

Friday I woke up early, driven to finish my story.  With the block wall tumbled and the wind of inspiration behind my words, I wrote as fast as I could type (which is not an impressive speed).

Finished!  Word count, 2949.
And best of all, I love what I wrote! 

I have succeeded in capturing a moment in time that makes me smile, and I'm quite sure will make the main character (my son) smile as well when he reads it.

Now, what am I going to do this week?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Week One in Review:
Love/Hate Relationship

Hated how long the Ice Breaker took to complete.
But loved searching class members blogs...what diversity we have!

Putting my goals to paper required waking up dormant brain cells.
I need to do this more often... it was exhilarating!

Felt angst at Merrilee's prodding to do a little more.
Just what I need to dig a little deeper... I can do this!

In summary, I'm developing a love/hate relationship with this workshop.
But as in all of life, work can be hard, but the fruits of our labors are delicious!

Off to map my story. Still looking for inspiration!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Output Defined

The duration of the Creativity Workshop is 13 weeks, during which time, we have been asked to write three sets of four linked stories.
I am going to bend the rules a bit in that I will focus on all three of my goals
throughout the entire course.
This seems to flow with what I want to accomplish.

My weekly schedule will be as follows:

Sunday Night
     Look ahead to the following week
     Assign blocks of time to devote to writing

Monday Morning
     Gather Ideas
     Select the idea of the week
     Map out my plan

Tuesday Wednesday Thursday

     Evaluate my story
     Review my work ethic
     Note areas to improve upon

Each of the three sets of stories will be linked as follows

          Weeks 1-4    Theme

          Weeks 5-8    Setting

          Weeks 9-12  Characters

Due to the frenzied nature of my mind this could change slightly.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Ah-h.  I'm feeling the pressure. 
This course is requiring me to use space in my brain 
that has lain dormant for decades.  
I need to clear out the cob-webs and get organized. 

This week's task has been to look over my lists of issues/interests and choose three to concentrate on during the workshop; to formulate my goals and create a task list for each one.

Here they are!

1. Manage my time to allow writing to become an important portion of my life.
There are so many voices calling me, literally. That is the reality of my life as a mother of many and a growing garden of grandchildren.  Then, there are all those other hats I wear. I want to be able to be all things to everyone in my life (impossible?), but I also have this deep desire to write that keeps poking me to surface. I just need to do it. It doesn't need to take over my life, it can't.  But I do need to make the time for it to merge with the many other aspects of my life.

Here's my plan (thanks Merilee for jump-starting me on this): 
  • Set a time for writing every day and stick to it, no matter what.  If a new idea comes along, jot it in my notebook, then go back to the original story.
  • When I feel stuck in a dark hole and need some inspiration, get up, and go for a walk in my garden.  Think about the storyline.  Remember the characters.  Then sit back down and try again.
  • At the end of each day, note my progress and write down a specific task for tomorrow.

2. Capture the ideas that are the most meaningful to me.
I have all these ideas floating in and out of my mind, that I really want to capture to create a story. The very fact that there are so many, stymies me into oblivion and I'm left frozen in time. In this immobile state, it's easy for me to set my desire to write aside with the affirmation that I'll try again next week, or next month, or next year, but I never do.

My plan:
  • I will choose one idea and then run with it.  The others will sit quietly in my mind until it's their turn.
  • Should one of "the others" beg for attention, I will write it down in my notebook then quickly close the notebook so it will remain there until its "turn" arrives.

3. Develop the ability to paint with words, to allow the reader to see what I see. 
The storylines that I want to pursue are actual events that have occurred in my life. One can only imagine the tales a mother of eight has hidden deep within her psyche. Because they are actual occurrences, they have been filed away in great detail, in living color... somewhere in that great filing cabinet in my head. Once I open the right drawer, my task will be:
  • Choose the Perspective 
  • Before I begin to write, I will consider the impact perspective will have. Should I relate the tale from the perspective of the child or from my perspective as the mother?  Perhaps the story is best told from the view of an onlooker.  I want to consider the advantage of each one carefully. 
  • Develop each Character
  • I know each character well.  I must remember that the reader may or may not have this advantage. I will need to spend sufficient time developing the characters in a way that each reader will feel as though he know my characters as well as I do.(Is that possible? Probably not.)
  • Provide Descriptive Content
  • I'm feeling a little queasy here, I don't feel this is my strong suit.  My descriptions will need to flow in a way that truly paints the picture and allows the reader to see what I see. I will need to be careful in my choice of words, especially not to use an over abundance of words.  I truly believe that less is best in using descriptive words, however they need to be just the right words. My challenge will be to find them.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ice Breaker

I did it.  
I'm done.  
That was a lot of work.
And it took a grundle of time. 
But I'm glad I did it. 
Because now I know.
At least I think I know. 
And you know, too! 

That is,
If you really did it. 
Did you?

I LOVED the discovery aspect of the Ice Breaker.
And taking a peak at each of your blogs.
And discovering a little bit about who my classmates are.  

I'm impressed!
1.    Missing purple?  Try under the trapdoor. Vixen Phillips
2.    English author rapping in the bath?  Umbrella required! Rosalind Adam
3.    Moon across the ocean blue. Where’s the long white cloud? Anna Caro
4.    Who says you have to grow up?  Xenn
5.    Five times I love you.  Aurora Lee
6.    California garden with a foxhound. Yuuko Ichihara
7.    21 + 6 + 5 + 5.  Oh, and a chicken. Kodi Lynn
8.    Considers the lillies, but still a wage-slave to the empire. Sigh.  Meredith Wickman
9.    Lips as red as cherries, hair as blue as…electric? Shoe Skogan
10.    All singing, all writing bird!  I’m so Lost… Kayla
11.    Pigs DO fly!  I told you so. Valerie Sloan
12.    Manchester daisies.  Greener than home? Kerryn Angell
13.    Not in Penzance, the gender’s all wrong, but still!  Raise the Jolly Roger, arrr! Amanda C
14.    Raising goats, joyfully.  Hallelujah! Amber Dawn Weaver
15.    There are thirteen ribs, apparently.  Ashley Nava
16.    Love and stars and hearts and butterflies and swirls!  Najela Cobb
17.    RIP Cooper, dear friend. Karen
18.    Who’s to blame for the rain? Melissa
19.    Living in Melbourne, dreaming of Mars. Nathaniel Robinson
20.    Canada’s in the pink! Chibi Doucet
21.    Siochain’s amulet, 50% off! Davina Pearson
22.    Not a serial killer, but an explorer.  Sarah
23.    Bun in the oven, two kids, no time!  Cassie Hart
24.    Beautiful Jalal.  Linda Cassidy Lewis
25.    Africa?  Australia?  Jicama? Gillian
26.    Japanese poetry, in the popular form.  Alisha
27.    Mother, 8, grandmother, 12, not enough chairs in the garden! Carolyn (that's me!)
28.    Law of Attraction, no magnets here! Janette Dalgliesh
29.    Ngapuhi?  (Gesundheit!) Tamma Wise
30.    I’ve got your contest right here!  Epic?  You bet!  Simon Larter
31.    This is not the Olympics, no matter what the header says.  Nick Enlowe

Sunday, May 2, 2010

You Write Best What You Know Best

Far too many years ago than I care to admit, I enrolled in a college writing course that was more challenging than I wanted to be challenged. To that point in my life, writing had always been easy, words seemed to flow in a way that allowed me to do quite well in school. However, this course was different. Each writing assignment I completed was returned with a less than stellar grade that not only bruised my ego but threatened to cancel my scholarship. Sensing my frustration, the professor wrote something at the bottom of my essay that would change my life forever.  Her hand written words were quite simple: "You write best what you know best."

As I contemplated her words, they seemed to give me a sense of empowerment, an inner confidence that I could do this. From those simple words I found the direction that I had lacked: Write what I know best. So I began to write... I wrote about what was important to me, what I had experienced, what I could visualize, what I could feel. In essence, I began to write what I knew best. My passion was reflected in my words and my grades soon reflected my passion. My inner desire to write was fueled by this great professor (did I ever thank her?)

I finished the course, kept my scholarship and eventually graduated from college. Three weeks after I graduated, I married my sweetheart, had eight children and lived happily ever after.

I remember that experience as though it were yesterday and have often paused to reflect on it, most often when one of my children needed help with their own writer's block.  There have been a handful of times throughout the past many years, that I, myself, have actually put pen to paper for something other than journaling or notes to my children. (Oh but they were always the finest of notes!) I would often remark to my sweetheart that my greatest work is my children and that certainly holds true to all that I have ever written. I delight in the fact that each of my children have become excellent writers and wonderful human beings, contributors to this world, compassionate and caring. They have been my life's greatest work and will always be my life's greatest joy.

There is that one aspect of my life, however, that seems virtually unfulfilled. Until perhaps now. It's time to rekindle the flame! I have tales in my head that long to be put to paper, and now when most of my children are off creating their own families, seems like just the right time for me to finally develop this talent. 

So I begin today! I am enrolled in a Creativity Workshop hosted by Merilee.

My goals for this course:
  1. Manage my time well to allow writing to be an important portion of my life.
  2. Develop the ability to paint with words, to allow the reader to see what I see.
  3. Capture the ideas that are the most meaningful to me.
  4. Focus on Me. (This one will be my challenge, a mother rarely finds time for this.)
This is a good beginning, perhaps I will think of more as we get underway.  I am excited to take this course and delighted to begin this new phase of my life.