Dermatology Wednesday

Lucky me! I just returned from the dermatologist, where I had a few unsightly blemishes frozen off of my face. Better to have them removed, even if it hurts and makes me all teary. An interesting part of aging is the sudden appearance of crazy skin issues. Couple that with the ongoing assault of random body hair, and my once youthful looks have been ravaged by time(a Jasper Beardly reference).

On the plus side, I’ve been having loads of fun writing daily paragraphs. I’ve yet to park my rear end in the chair for an extended amount of time, but the daily writings are coming nicely. I’m remembering not to force them, to enjoy the process. A few of them have potential to become longer works, and one will certainly be a fun story to write (and hopefully, read). I’m thrilled with the prospects, and excited about writing again.

Another exciting thing- My friend, J.H Moncrieff just released the first two books in her GhostWriters series. I’ve read City of Ghosts and thoroughly enjoyed it, and I’m looking forward to reading The Girl Who Talks to Ghosts very soon. I recommend them for anyone who loves a good adventure, fun characters, a bit of a scare, and satisfying, shocking endings. Click HERE for more information, including where to get your own copy. All the smart people are doing it. You’re smart, right?

After a Small Detour

I think I’m ready to get back to writing. The unintentional, but apparently needed break from writing has gone on long enough. I’ve tried to pinpoint the day when the hiatus began, when I last wrote something other than this blog, or a few lines here and there while editing drafts, but as this notion of not writing for a bit was not something I consciously determined, I’m coming up empty.

All my good habits are broken, which means I need to rebuild them. In the past, writing Daily Paragraphs has worked. I give myself a bit of structure- I am only allowed to write three paragraphs (if the writing wants more, I copy and paste into a fresh document, continue). I don’t allow myself to edit at all, or place any restriction on what I can write about. It worked really well in the past. I hope it works again.

I am also hopeful other writers have ideas, things they have used (or still use) to practice, create good habits. I am open to almost any suggestion. Got one for me? IMG_8881

And because we all like images, here is one from Monday night, after a fine and fabulous thunderstorm blew on through the Salt Lake Valley.

IWSG-May

The first Wednesday of every month is the official Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop. We gather together (figuratively, though maybe some of us actually do literally met up, maybe at a coffee shop or something, who knows) to talk about our successes, failures, struggles, and goals. So many great writers (published or otherwise) share advice, ideas, offer support. It really is the best writing group out there. Join us HERE.

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I have spent the last few months editing, rewriting small sections, reading over my (supposedly) completed novels. I know better than to think they will ever really be done, and each time I read through, I find several things that need fixing. With each reading, I wonder how I missed these mistakes the first fifty times through. New eyes see what old eyes miss. I am always grateful for new eyes.

A few weeks back, I asked for some help with the third book, wondering if it was too short to even be considered a novella, if I should add more, or cut something and make it feel more like a short story. The feedback I received was wonderful. Everyone seems to agree it doesn’t need new content and works well as a novella. I am so thankful for their efforts and willingness to take a look at my writing, I owe them each a favor.

As for any WIP, um…

Yeah, I need to do better. I’m not sure what the problem is, or if there is even a problem at all. Beyond the blog (which I’ve been quite faithful at posting to, thank you), I haven’t felt like writing much at all. I have ideas for stories, poems, even an inkling of how to push my failed NaNo projects forward, but when it comes to sitting at the computer and composing, I’m not feeling it. Since this doesn’t feel frustrating and it isn’t making me angry, I’m not sure I’d call it writers block. Then again, I don’t have any idea what to call this particular situation. An extended break, maybe?

I do know I’ve been reading like a crazy person, and have finished as many books in 2017 as I did in all of 2016. Finding a stronger passion for reading has been wonderful. It can only make my writing better.

Speaking of reading. A fantastic book is set for an August release date and I cannot recommend it enough. My Absolute Darling is the first novel by a fantastic new writer, Gabriel Tallent. This novel is among the most difficult, haunting, terrifying, rewarding and hopeful books I have ever read.

Read about it here

And read an excellent review here

 

 

 

A Small Contribution

Yesterday, I was fortunate to enjoy having breakfast with a very good friend. She doesn’t like eggs, but I am willing to look past that. I don’t see her as often as I’d like, which is mostly my fault. I need to do better. We worked at the library together.  We did good things. I love the library. I love librarians. They are among the best people.

I also made plans to meet up with another library friend in the early afternoon. We both share a love for a certain band.  They performed in Salt Lake this past weekend. I got to attend. He didn’t. His young son, also loves this band. I had acquired a clever poster of the band members, and thought his son would enjoy it. It gave me a good reason to get out of the house, go to the main library, which is a place that still means the world to me.

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I worked at the Salt Lake City Public Library for a decade. It was a career I sort of stumbled into, not realizing how much I’d love it, or how deeply the philosophies of librarianship would penetrate my personal, emotional, intellectual life. I made the best of friends, shared hours of conversations and debates with like minded individuals.  The best part was the reference work. Finding the correct information from the best possible resources, seeing someone light up with excitement, was very rewarding. It was important work, it had infinite integrity. I like to think I made a difference in a small way in people’s lives.

I miss it more than I’d like to admit.

Back From

Our family trip to Cancun was, as usual, wonderful. I can never get enough time near the stunning waters of the Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean. I have not stood and stared out at every sea, but I would still argue the water near Cancun is among the most beautiful in the world.IMG_8723

Even before I had ever actually seen one, I was compelled, intoxicated by the thought of the ocean. Incomprehensibly large, powerful, beautiful, my first experiences on the shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean have stayed with me throughout my adult life. I was 19, living in Maine, serving a mission for the LDS church. I stood on the sand of Old Orchard Beach, near dusk, staring out at the retreating tide, the evening sky darkening the water. I was humbled. Nothing has frightened or thrilled me as much as staring out at that vastness.

Most likely because of my affinity for the ocean, our Cancun trips usually consist of a week of sitting on the beach, gazing out at the water. The hum of it is endless. The ocean looks and sounds different as each day progresses. I tried to capture some of it.

At sunrise the sky dominates, and the ocean is a muted turquoise. IMG_8719

By mid morning, the sky pales and the blue green water is nearly impossible for me to look away from.IMG_8722

In the evening, the colors and textures are stunning.

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Under a bright yellow moon, words fail me.

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Last. A slightly edited image (shadows and light to bring out the textures of the clouds, the water) of an approaching storm. IMG_8718

I am glad to be home, back to the usual routines, but I miss the constant sound of the waves, the insistent wind. I’ll have to go back soon.

 

Wordless Wednesday 


Mostly wordless. 

I’m on vacation with the family in Cancun. Limited internet access calls for limited posting. Also, I’m liking being mostly inaccessible. Let’s chat next week. 

IWSG-April

The first Wednesday of each month, the members of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group gather together to discuss our fears, successes, failures, hopes and goals. We are a fun gaggle of goons and you should totally consider joining us. Sign up HERE. We also have a nifty Facebook group that could use your contributions. Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

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Last year, I was five posts into the April A to Z Blogging Challenge. I had taken on the month long challenge with no real theme, and was flying by the seat of my pants each day, hoping an idea worth writing (or reading) about would magically appear out of the void. Some days were better than others.

I had two goals- 1. Meet new blogging friends. 2. Find a renewed passion for writing this blog. Success on both fronts.

As I will be in Mexico all next week (and was far too lazy to pre-write blog entries), I am not participating in the challenge this year (and it looks like many of my blogging friends have decided not to participate as well). I have been pondering the difficulties I had last year, which have continued into this year, in solidifying a theme for this crazy blog. Over the past few months, I’ve found myself writing more about, well writing, and the sorts of things that inspire me (family, memory, art). The blog readership hasn’t improved at that much, but my excitement about writing each Wednesday has.

Finally, almost by accident, I may have found what I want this space to be- A representation of the things and people that populate my writing world.

With the emergence of a more concrete theme, I came to another conclusion. I am done posting flash fiction or poetry here. Sharing it rarely felt successful, and I’m questioning my motivation for doing so in the first place.

Asking for a beta reader from time to time is still on the table, and I am always willing and wanting to share the fiction and poetry I write. I hope those of you who visit for IWSG will come back other Wednesdays and share your thoughts and ideas, suggestions on what is being discussed. You’re all such swell folk, and I’d love to get to know you better.

Questions- Is this *theme* a good direction for me to take with Residuals? Is wanting a theme even a good idea? What keeps you coming back to a blog?