Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Following Myself

Ok, so this is funny--somehow I hit a wrong button and I now follow my own page.  Ha Ha.  I wonder what I'll say next?  
It's two days after Christmas and I had a wonderful time with my family.  The plan for the siblings not to buy each other presents was a good one.  It took a lot of stress off everyone. We could enjoy spending time with each other---and play with the Xbox 360 my nephew got! We were able to focus on why we were celebrating Christmas and not the stuff.
2011 is shaping up to end well, and now I'm looking foreward to what 2012 has to offer. Good things, I'm praying.  I'm still working on my resolution to be more thankful, but I'm also with Sylvia on the being more organized.  That would be awesome!
Happy New Year to All!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Early Resolutions

One of my New Year's resoultions is to be more appreciative of things.  You know, being more grateful for what I have. I thought of it on Thanksgiving--no suprise there--and thought "why should I wait until 2012?  Why not start now?" 
So I got a blank journal off the shelf and started writing five things I'm thankful for each day. I thought surely this would be easy, but it's turned out to be harder than I expected.  Once you get past the big things like a job, family, friends, and health, it's difficult to say what you appreciate. 
I've found myself thinking of all sorts of things:  English murder mysteries, remote controls, Christmas lights and i-phones. When my computer got a virus I was thankful for Geek Squad for fixing it.  I learned how much I appreciate technology when I didn't have it.
The good and bad of it is I look around at all I have and realize how truly blessed I am.  Good because I've been more content with what I have.  Bad because when people say "what do you want for Christmas" I have to answer "Nothing, really.  I don't need anything." It makes it hard to shop because we have so much already it's hard to want to buy more stuff.  As I buy presents I stop and consider "is this something they will want?" or am I buying it just because I think I have to get something for others?
If you think about it, putting Thanksgiving at the beginning of the holiday season is a good thing.  It should put us in the right frame of mind for celebrating Christmas and it's true meaning.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Almost Gumbo Weather

Making chicken and sausage gumbo tonight.  I went to take out some trash and it was starting to get cooler! Okay, I know all those north of Shreveport might not think it's cold, but I'll take what I can get. I started the gumbo in faith that the weather would cooperate.  It's nice when things harmonize.  Like in medicine, all the pieces fit and you know what's wrong with your patient, or in writing the words all come together so brilliantly that you think "did I really write that?"
In making gumbo, you have different ingredients: chicken, sausage, roux, seafood or okra.  Individually they're okay, but put them together, simmer, and you get something completely different and amazing.
When we look at our lives there are so many experiences.  It becomes a strange mix.   Sometimes it's too sweet, sometimes too bitter, but mix them all together and they simmer nicely. We savor the times when we seem to get the recipe right.  We change the seasonings when it just doesn't gel. But it all becomes the flavor of our lives.
I hope the temperature continues to fall.  Cold weather, a fire, and gumbo--YUM!!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Novel Writing

So, I decided to dust off the novel.  I know, I're supposed to do something from scratch.  And, well, all things considered, it really is from scratch, since all I have right now is a concept and an outline and a character. 
Thanks, Jess, for putting the idea in my head that's been bugging me about this NaNoWriMo thing. (it almost sounds like a strange disease you wouldn't want!) a 50,000 word novel in a month. ARGG!! But, they did say it didn't have to be perfect, just written. So, I'm off....Hopefully I won't be crazy by the end of November.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


I went fishing this morning with my dad.  We had a lot of fun, fishing and talking--I'm probably more talkative than his other fishing buddies. We caught some nice reds, flounder, and specs. Really good eating. (use of adverb necessary to emphasize how good fresh fish is)
We talked about different things, including family history things. Talking, telling stories.  It was fun and I learned things about my family.  It made me think about how telling stories is how we learn about who we are.  Writing them, hearing them, repeating them. We sort things out.  We see beyond ourselves. What we decide to share is as important as the story itself.  Why did we remember that particular detail in that way? What is significant about our version of the event as opposed to another family member's version? I've heard it called self identity, self perception, all different psychologcial terms, but really, if you think about it, our perception does more to define us than reality. The way we share our perception, and therefore oruselves, is through our stories.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Better with marshmallows

What is that??
Green hot chocolate. My friend at work gave me a packet of it. It's actually pretty good.  If you're wondering, I don't know where she got it.
So, what does green hot chocolate have to do with writing?  (Wasn't that a random question?)  Think about green hot chocolate. It's not something you see every day.  But, it's still good.  It's hot chocolate, but presented in a fresh, new way.  People say, "Hey, what's that?  I want to know more." And, you think you have a hit. 
But then you add the marshmallows and you realize how much better the hot chocolate is. The marshmallows are the editing, the rewriting, the critiques. As a writer you may be afraid of criticism, or think you're work isn't good enough. Or maybe you think  someone will steal your idea. We want to hold our work close to us for whatever crazy reasons we come up with. But we are too close to it to have perspective. So, we need fresh eyes looking at it.
We as writers need to have other writers around us.  They are the marshmallows that top off our work.  They help us see what works and what doesn't.  They make our work taste better. If you really want to be a better writer don't be afraid to share your work. Find a writing group or a writing class.  You'll find people there who will intimidate you, people who frustrate you, people you want to imitate, people who help you--but they all will inspire you in some way. And even the worst critique will teach you something to improve your writing.
Marshmallows come in different styles and flavors.  Don't be afraid to try different ones.  You never know when one will help pull out the perfect word or phrase.  It's the difference between green hot chocolate, which is pretty good, and green hot chocolate with multicolored marshmallows, which is awesome.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Unexpected Things

As I was driving home, there was a swing on the curb, waiting for me to pick it up.  It had been waiting for days for me to pass by and was about to give up hope. But since it knew I needed a swing at my house it persevered and was rewarded for it's patience.  I loaded it up in the back of my truck and now it's in my backyard enjoying it's new home.
So, maybe that's not exactly how it happened, but I like my version better than I found an old swing that someone was throwing out and brought it home. Isn't that what writing is about, taking normal every day things and turning them into something unexpected?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mochas and Micros

I'm sitting here drinking a Mexican Mocha, my new favorite drink.  I made it at my house, but I'm not sure it's right.  I read it in a flash fiction story and it sounded really good.  The story talked about cloves and cinnamon.  Being a mocha I figured chocolate, coffee, and steamed milk had to be involved as well. I added Crystal sauce because cayenne pepper sounds Mexican and makes everything better.
More in regards to flash fiction:  I've been writing a novel for a year now.  It's been difficult to stay focused on it.  I recently took a class on flash fiction and find  I'm enjoying the short pieces. I've been told many times that I often don't put enough words in my stories.  Maybe flash is more for me?  We'll see.  Maybe my novel and I just need some time away from each other.