Saturday, November 29, 2008

Peace

What can I say about Friday? It was glorious. Not only did I get most of my Christmas shopping done (all from the comfort of my chair!), but my daughter and I spent some wonderful time together.

We live in a neighborhood with a few lakes nearby, so we decided to take a nature walk this afternoon. Thank goodness it wasn't very cold out, but we still had our winter coats on. And when we got to the one pond, this is what we found:

Ducks! Lots and lots of ducks! And as we walked around the perimeter of the pond, they kept following us. So we were able to get some great shots of them. My daughter calls this duck "the crazy hair duck." Hehe.

I couldn't get over how beautiful these little guys were - bold, vibrant colors of green, brown, yellow, and gold.



On our walk to another lake, we saw this tree:

I admit, I have never seen anything like this. The bark looks like paper. And the poor thing is peeling! I'm sure there's some fancy word for this and it's completely natural, but it just looks, well, weird.

Anyway.

When we arrived at the other lake, we found this:

Tons and tons of geese. Unfortunately, the little guys were a little more shy and didn't come up to us, so our pictures weren't as good.


Ifeel so blessed to be able to walk out my front door and have all of this nature so close. My daughter, a huge animal lover, really enjoyed the whole experience.

We ended the day with another painting session - and let me tell you, painting Christmas decorations with Christmas music playing in the background put me in the Christmas spirit! And y'know, all the great things we did today probably wouldn't have happened had we had a television. I'm not missing that thing at all!

And to top the evening off? A handwritten note by my daughter:

"Dear Mom, I had a fun time with you going to the lakes and seeing geese and ducks and taking pictures."

Yeah, I'm smiling.



Friday, November 28, 2008

Bring On the Snow!


Normally I would not be asking for snow at this time of the year - but I am desperate to get into the Christmas spirit. Yes, I know Christmas is still quite a few days away, but I really want to be in the holiday mood for the whole month of December.

When my daughter and I got home from Thanksgiving celebrations last night, she wanted to put up the Christmas tree. Normally I wait until at least December to do this, but I figured, why not? So up it went. It's a spindly-little thing - but I think I made it look halfway decent. Daughter also wanted to put the little Christmas tree in her room and decorate it, so we did that, too.

But while I was decorating last night, with my old Christmas albums playing, I didn't feel that rush of Christmas joy that I usually do. Maybe it's because it's still November and the ground is still free of the white stuff. Granted, I'd rather not drive in snow and ice and hate the problems they both create, but I would really like just a little bit of it to help put me in the Christmas spirit.

In other news, I ate entirely too much yesterday, but I plan to exercise twice as hard today. Ha! I also kept my word and slept in, avoiding those crazy crowds at the stores. On tap today is hopefully a bit of writing and maybe a bit of prayer for snow!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I'll Take Option...


Remember that Huey Lewis & the News song? All I Want Is a Couple Days Off! Well, thanks to the generosity of my company, I get the day after Thanksgiving off. That means I could either a) spend that day getting up extremely early, driving to the mall or Wal-Mart, and put myself through the tortuous routine of Black Friday or b) spend the day lounging around, reading, writing, and relaxing. (I think that kitten in the picture above has a pretty darn good relaxing spot!)

I think I'll take option b.

Not that shopping on Black Friday is a bad thing...from what I've seen, you can get incredible deals. But since I hate crowds anyway and am not a morning person, I don't think it would be in my best interest to hit the stores Friday.

Frankly, I'd rather do most of my shopping online. No stores, no crowds, no cranky people. Just me, my computer, my cup of tea, and maybe Frank Sinatra playing in the background.

So are you one of those people who loves to shop on Black Friday, or do you stay as far away from the stores as possible?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What's In Your Novel?


While writing last night, I made a realization. In each of my novels (this is the third one I'm working on), letters have made a prominent appearance in the story. This was not planned on my part, but rather something that has subconsciously appeared.

I don't know if I would go so far as to call it a symbol. I do not use letters as a deliberate representation of something. Rather, it is more of a...calling card, if you will. I'm sure there might be a literary term for this, but it escapes me at the moment. So for the sake of argument, I will simply refer to this type of personal fingerprint as the "calling card."

Using a letter as my calling card doesn't surprise me. Ever since I was quite young, I have loved to write and receive letters. I used to run to the mailbox every day during the summer in hopes of receiving such a letter. I was disappointed more often than not, but each day I trudged to the mailbox on our farm, I had hope that a letter with my name painstakingly handwritten on the envelope would appear.

In this day and age of electronic communication, an email isn't nearly as good as a letter, but I would much rather get an email than a telephone call. Maybe it's my love of words, of my ability to sit and absorb what I'm reading and craft a thoughtful response, that is behind it. Don't get me wrong, however - a good gab on the phone is priceless! But I also enjoy a good letter.

My grandmother and I have taken to writing each other via the old fashioned way - pen and paper. Even though she has email, I still love to send her handwritten notes. When I see her handwriting, it makes me feel much closer to her.

Maybe that's why the letter has appeared in all my novels. I can also think of a few short stories where I've also used letters. What amazes me about all this is that it is not a conscious decision to use letters - they naturally occur when I write. I've used them in my fiction to convey information, to keep characters connected, to reveal secrets, to break bad news, to enlighten and encourage, and to give hope.

So do you have a calling card in your writing?


Monday, November 24, 2008

The New Office

Well, here it is - the new office. I wanted to get a smaller desk than the L-shaped one I've had for years, though it left me with a bit less space surface-wise. But I just see that as less space to get cluttered!

My desk faces a window where I have a lovely view of trees and the beautiful sky. If you look close, you can see that I have a few things on top of my monitor - a typewriter pencil sharpener that has never been used as a pencil sharpener, but instead reminds me of how I started writing in the first place - on my mother's old manual typewriter; a stuffed puppy that my daughter gave me which is virtually identical to the "Little Puppy" she has, a reminder of our wonderful bond; and a Boyd's Bear figurine of a judge which reminds me...well, it doesn't serve as a reminder of anything, really - I just like it. *grin*

My desk must also have photos on it - I have to be surrounded by my loved ones. So I have a picture of my daughter when she was a baby, a picture of my dog, Charlie, and I, and photos of my grandparents. And if you look really closely on top of the computer tower, you can see a bit of my Snoopy collection. Gotta put the Literary Ace up there!

Yesterday I indulged in having time for myself. I wrote, I pondered, I dreamed. I got in touch with old friends. I listened to some Big Band music. I started a new book. I took a nap. And I relaxed. That was my goal in creating this little space - a relaxing, calming, welcoming environment perfect for writing.

What's on your desk? I'd love to see a picture!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Rosie's Good Advice


Thanks for all the good thoughts on yesterday's post. I'm doing loads better, and I know it's all thanks to my family and friends, prayer, and you guys!

Gotta give myself a pat on the back here - I worked out three times this week, and one of those times was today, a Saturday. *gasp* And when I got home, I made lasagna with whole wheat noodles, ground turkey (healthier than hamburger), and lots of veggies in my sauce. Suffice to say, it turned out wonderful! And it was also pretty cool to listen to an oldtime radio show while I cooked - it was a Sam Marlowe episode, (Raymond Chandler's character made famous by Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon) and it definitely kept my attention.

I've also got a great recipe for diabetic chocolate chip cookies and have all the ingredients - I just need to set aside some time to make them. Haven't made homemade cookies in a long time. I usually just buy the cookie dough and drop it onto the cookie sheet. But those cookies just aren't very good for me, so I can't wait to try the new recipe.

Next on the agenda for cooking is a big batch of turkey chili. YUM. I'm waiting for the weather to turn colder before I make it, though. Now if I can just try and eat the chili without a yummy, delectable cinnamon roll, I'll be good.

And it's time to get focused on the writing again. I've got to figure out how to keep writing and stay focused on it when life gets topsy-turvey. That is the challenge right now! And with four lovely days of vacation coming up for Turkey Day, I think I've time to properly immerse myself in my writing. I can't wait. :-)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Emotional Turmoil

I'm a writer. And when I'm upset, I write to work through things. I journal, sometimes I'll write angst-ridden poetry, or other times I'll blog about it. Today is one of those days for blogging.

Over the past 24 hours, I have learned that there are incredibly manipulative and conniving people in the world whose sole purpose is to destroy your peace of mind, to cast doubt, to make you second-guess your gut instinct. In short, they want to make you miserable and they enjoy doing it.

I am one of those people who thinks the best of everyone. I don't want to believe that people like this exist. But they do. And without going into detail, I had to deal with one of those people yesterday (no, it was not my hubby). The ramifications of it blew me away. I cried, I yelled (and scared my kitties in the process!), and I just kept asking, why me? Why me?

I spent a lot of time on the phone sobbing to different people, I cradled a box of tissues next to me and used plenty, and I thought a few times that the nausea in my stomach might overtake me.

I got through it, with God's help and the support of my family and friends. But I think it knocked a bit more cynicism into me. I don't like to believe that there are people out there who deliberately seek to hurt you. I don't want to think that I am their target because through me, they seek to get what they want in some twisted, sick, evil fashion. It just completely shocks me. It floors me. It makes me suspicious. It makes me wary. And I don't want to be wary of people.

Times like these always remind me of the classic novel, The Lord of the Flies, where the major question is, "Is man inherently good or inherently evil?" I've always thought that man is inherently good, but is capable of evil. And that is how I see the human race. I do think that there are lots of shades of gray in this question, though, and that we are all capable of good and bad. But that's quite the philosophical discussion that I do not have the energy to get into.

Suffice to say, today I feel a bit more distrustful and a lot more cynical about human beings than I did when I woke up yesterday morning. It's knocked a bit more naivety out of me. Maybe that's a good thing. I'm not sure.

Fun at the Zoo

Today I'm feeling a bit emotionally drained, so I'm going to point you to an old post I made last year that should make you laugh, or at the very least, crack a good smile!

This video was shot by me during a visit to the Omaha Zoo with my family. Long story short, I don't think the tiger was happy with being filmed...

Click here! then come back and tell me what you think!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Go On and Move


Well. I'm officially back to the exercise. I joined a gym similar to Curves in that it has the 30-minute total work-out and is for women only - but the one exception is that it is open 24-7. I like that. I can go work out whenever I feel like it - Sunday afternoons or even on a Friday night (though I highly doubt I'll be at the gym on a Friday night!).

When I went in for my training session, I was pretty familiar with all the machines except for a few new ones. And when my body started moving and bending and twisting in ways it hadn't for awhile, it wasn't too happy with me. But on the other hand, it felt great to be doing something again. My work-outs lately have consisted of moving boxes and walking up stairs. Before that, I was taking lots of long walks, but after my dear Charlie passed away, even that was hard to do. I thought about him the other night and started crying again. I so miss him.

My eating habits have changed again. When I went to the grocery store last week, I planned out my meals and had my shopping list all ready to go even before I stepped foot inside. I bought healthy stuff this time - fruits (apples, blueberries), vegetables (green peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, carrots), health whole grains (bread, pasta) and sugar-free snacks (jello with Cool Whip - yum!). Ok, so I caved on some delectable biscotti, but they're only 100 calories each, so I figure that's not too bad.

I hope the combination of healthy eating and exercise will help me shed these unwanted pounds. I've done it before - and hopefully I can do it again. Plus I think a lot better and feel a lot better when I'm exercising and eating right - which translates to writing better. I've written about the importance of exercising if you're a writer before and it bears repeating.

Writers do a lot of sitting. Therefore, it's imperative that we stretch, jump, walk, run, whatever the case may be...as long as we move.

So get thee to moving! Your body - and your mind - will thank you for it!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

In the Face of Fear

*Deep breath*

Ok. I am going to be brave. Very brave.

Last night, I wandered into my bedroom, sat at my desk, and put my fingers on the keyboard. "Let's do a bit of freewriting," I thought. "See where your mind, and your fingers, take you."

This is what appeared on my screen. Most of it is verbatim. I edited only a few places to help it make sense. But it flowed out of me. Time stopped. I couldn't hear the music playing in the background. I couldn't hear my daughter shrieking with delight over her latest adventure on her Scooby Doo video game.

I was in my writing world. I was free.

Here it is:

I have this mental image in my head of me sitting at the computer, tapping away, eyes concentrating on the screen, my mind completely engaged in the act of writing. I do not sense time turning, I do no sense the change in temperature of the room, whether it be hot or cold, stuffy or cozy. I just write. I am the writer, at last, complete in her bliss, doing what she loves to do.

And then reality coldly chucks me on the chin, a bony finger with a pointed nail, that scratches my flesh and returns me to my mental prison.

“No, that is not how it is, not today,” it says. Reality is cruel and unforgiving, snatching your dreams from you as quickly as a dog retreats from an abusive master.

“But it can be like that today,” I protest.

Then the mind plays its game again, the wall sliding into place, click, click! And it is shut.

“How do I open it? How do I get to that place?” I cry. My fingers dig into the metal, but leave nothing but fingerprints and sweat and fear.


Yes, fear. Always the fear. Perhaps it comes out at such times as these because it knows I am weak, knows that my mind is fragile. The words have been dormant too long, fighting for air, being squelched by too many other things in life. Demands and deadlines and drama. They have not been allowed to be released, to meander through the fields and wind their way around the brain, playing, flirting, clashing, again and again.

Fear says, "Stop, you’ve written enough, no more, no more! It will not be good, it will drag you into the muddy underside of a worm’s belly. There will be no release from it, no salvaging it."

Yet you refuse. You purse your lips, heedless of the cracked skin, heedless of the throbbing in your head demanding you go lay down, let the battle be over, acquiesce to fear’s heckling laughter. Your fingers continue to move and create and work, over and over, letters then words then sentences then paragraphs. Images. Emotions. Thoughts. All there, all clamoring for space. You watch them, let them go play, let them create havoc on the page, let them climb up and down and around and through, over and back.

Fear retreats in the midst of the words' giggling joy. It is powerless, hiding behind its cloak of imagined steel. The words ping against it, rain at first, then snow, then hail, tearing the cloth, exposing fear’s sordid, skeletal body for what it is – fragile and thin. Breakable. Surmountable.


It crumples, hands raised in defeat, in torment, pleading for mercy. You do not give it. You do not surrender. You are its master. Victory is yours.


Well. There it is. My written assault against the fear of writing. And let me tell you, it felt good to write it. Does it make sense? Probably not. But that's ok. Stream of consciousness is sometimes a good thing. It unlocks the mind and makes it possible to create.

What amazes me is that I really like some of the imagery in this - even though I have no idea where it came from. And that is writing. That is happiness. That is joy.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Start

Yesterday I finally took the plunge back into my manuscript. I knew exactly what I wanted to write, having formulated a scene in my head a bit earlier in the day. The writing still felt a bit stilted as my fingers pounded on the keyboard, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. So. That's a good thing. I've officially "started writing" again and it's a welcome relief. I plan on looking at my goals again to try and motivate myself to get this novel done and start on the next one.

The weekend was good - quiet, but good. Friday night, I went to go see Quantum of Solace all by myself. Nothing like a cold soda, a bag of M&M's, and movie popcorn and a good movie. And wow, it was a good movie. I'm not sure if it was as good as Casino Royale, but I'm still formulating an opinion. Daniel Craig is still excellent as Bond, though, and I have enjoyed how he has reinvented the character.

Saturday I slept in (bliss!), read a lot, did some laundry and other household chores, and just relaxed. That's the kind of weekends I like to have.

How about you? How was your weekend?

Friday, November 14, 2008

It's a Perfect Blend

(Photo: Music room at Chatsworth)

Since I no longer have a t.v. (although my daughter and I did watch the DVD of Kung Fu Panda last night on my laptop), I have started listening to music a lot more. And I've also found something else to listen to: old time radio shows.

As a child, I remember coming home on a Sunday night, listening to an old detective show on AM radio in my parents' car. I remember looking out at the stars, waiting with baited breath for the villain to be revealed.

And through the magic of the Internet, I was able to find a plethora of old time radio shows available for download free. Yeah, I like the free part! There's the Bob Hope Show, Sherlock Holmes, Amos and Andy, and a bunch I've never heard of before. So I've been happily downloading shows and copying them to CD to listen on my cool Crosley radio.

I've also been listening to National Public Radio. My local station plays classical music every evening and there's something so soothing about listening to it with the fireplace on and a good book in my hands. Talk about being relaxed!

And of course, I've also got my 1940s Big Band and World War II era music to play, too. I love Frank Sinatra, Dick Haymes, Doris Day, and Rosemary Clooney. Let's just say I love to immerse myself in nostalgia!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My New Home

Thought I'd show you some pics of the new place. This is the view from my balcony. This beautiful building is a retirement home. All the buildings in this area are built in the colonial style.

Shot of my living room - you can just make out that I have vaulted ceilings here. And see that wing back chair in the corner by the fireplace? I got that at an estate sale for $10! And it's in near-perfect condition.

Here's another shot of the living room. I found the coffee table, a Queen Anne style, at a garage sale for $50. It's just gorgeous. The two couches don't quite match my English cottage style, but they were free, so they'll do for now. I also need to find something to put on the red wall - not sure what I want to do yet. A neat Georgian or Regency painting might do the trick, though! And there's always sofa slipcovers for those couches...

Here's the dining room, which is just off the living room. My dad made the china closet when he was in college (he's an excellent carpenter!). It's just beautiful. My mother generously gave me her set of china dishes a few years ago, and I keep them in here. Thanks, Mom! A closer look:

And here's what one of my evenings looked like - sitting by the fire, listening to the radio, and reading a book.
But of course, after all that moving, I've got a ton of empty boxes I need to break down and throw in the dumpster. Maybe this weekend I'll get around to it.


Now that the house is settled, I've got to get to work on two other very important things: my health and my novel. I finished reading through my novel last night, and I think I've got my head back in the story.

On the health side of things, I'm planning to rejoin Curves since I so enjoyed it last time and I lost 30 pounds. I had to quit going when I changed jobs and it was no longer an option for working out. But now it is - so it's time to get in shape! And that not only means exercising, but eating healthy, too. I'm on the hunt for delicious recipes that are low-carb and low-fat. I've already got a few in my recipe book, but I'm always on the look out for more. And it also helps that I'm just down the road from a wonderful grocery store. :-)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Enjoying Your Own Company

(Photo: Outside my B&B in Derby)

I finally unearthed my travel journal last night and had to read over what I'd written while I was in England. One theme kept coming up - the fact that I enjoyed my own company, that I wasn't afraid to be by myself, that I could go to a cafe and eat and be perfectly comfortable.

I've always been one of those people who enjoys being by myself. Not all the time, of course, because if I'm by myself too much I get depressed...but I don't mind doing a lot of activities by alone. I've gone to movies alone, the symphony, the theater, the mall. Doesn't bother me a bit.

But being a solo traveler in a foreign country is a bit different. For one, you have the opportunity to meet people that you otherwise wouldn't. When I was in Witney, a small town 7 miles from Oxford, I went to a small cafe for lunch. An older lady sat beside me, also by herself. And a few minutes after I arrived, we struck up a conversation. Her name was Ruth, she was 72 years old, and had been cycling since the age of 2. She told me stories of how she and her boyfriend have cycled over Ireland and Italy and Portugal. She was intrigued by the fact that I was a writer, and by the stack of books she'd just bought, I could tell why!

But something she said really struck me and it was at that moment that I knew I'd found a kindred spirit. She said she lived alone, but wasn't lonely. She plays her flute, loves to garden, and loves to read. But she also needs to be around people sometimes. Otherwise, she gets depressed. I feel the exact same way.

I can go for a few days without leaving the house. I'm perfectly content with my own company. But then I start feeling isolated and out-of-touch, no matter if I have the Internet or not. I need to talk to people face to face, to interact with them and share the common experience of being human.

Ruth and I also discussed how modernization, especially in this day and age, has taken some of that human experience to a new and sometimes troubling level. In my journal, I wrote:

Ruth was right about modernization - something has been lost in our world. The art of conversation with strangers...it's like we go out of our way not to speak to each other. People have their iPods, their laptops, their cell phones. And it's everywhere. Buses. Trains. In cafes. On the street. Why do we want to isolate ourselves from each other (in public)? On the other hand, we are very eager to interact on the internet, almost to the extreme. It's definitely sad. But I am glad there are some of us who don't cater to this ideal.

I sense a bit of a trend in myself here. I've given up t.v., and subscribe more to the ideals of the 1940s than 2008. I don't own an iPod. I don't have a cell phone that connects to the Internet or sends email. My phone is pretty darn basic - I don't really mess with all the gadgets. And more and more, I'm making it a point to smile more, to say "please" and "thank you" and to generally be a more happy and content person. In essence, I don't want to "isolate" myself in public. There's a big difference between being alone in public, and isolating yourself. Is that being old-fashioned?

What do you think? In this modern day and age, are we drifting further apart from each other as human beings in everyday life or have we created a new, virtual world that is somehow more real to us than walking through our neighborhood or shopping at a store?
(And don't forget - today is Veteran's Day! For my tribute to all the veterans, past and present, please visit my World War II blog).

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Bit of Nothing


I was fortunate to have my family visit me over the weekend, and we had a great time - until a massive tension headache interrupted everything.

I tend to get these darn things really bad about once every two months. Hardly anything will get rid of it - I even tried a sedative Saturday night and it didn't do a thing.

So Sunday, I still felt under the weather and even took a few naps. My daughter, bless her heart, was right there to help me through it, offering to cover me up with a blanket on the couch, holding my hand while I made my way from my bedroom to the living room, asking if I needed anything. She is such a blessing!

I started a new book Friday night - The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly. It's set in 1900 London and centers on a female doctor trying to help the London poor. Not too bad so far - I'm still reading it, so that's a good thing.

But as far as any writing goes...well, nope. Didn't get anything done. To be fair, I had company that kept me out of the house, had the ol' tension headache, and I'm still reading through the manuscript (I have more than 50K on this novel so far). Before I can write anything, I really need to get my head back into the story. I'm hopeful that this week I'll wrap that part up and be able to start writing again. It's all slowly coming back. :-)

And is it just me or is Christmas coming way too early this year? People already had their decorations out on November 1! I was appalled. My daughter even said, "Don't these people know we still have Thanksgiving?" She's absolutely right. Here in the U.S., Thanksgiving is the 27th of November. I refuse to put up my Christmas decorations or even think about Christmas until after Nov. 27. But the stores seem bound and determined to thwart me on that particular mission. I'll just have to hold my ground.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

New Digs

I had my old blogger template for a couple years now. While I absolutely loved it and thought it was quite unique , I really couldn't use any of the new-fangled stuff out there - a fancy blog roll with updates, gadgets, and other stuff. Well, I suppose I could have, but that would have required a heckuva lot more HTML experience than I possess.

Sometimes, it's just time for a change. I now can change my blog background to fit the seasons, something I love to do and couldn't do before, and I can also add and tweak things to my heart's content without hiring a web designer. :-)

I think I finally got the header the way I want it - I just love that picture. Look at those shoes! And the clothes! *swoon* I wish dressing like that would come back - you didn't leave the house unless you looked proper. Now, pajama pants and slippers are an everyday part of life. And yeah, I've been guilty of that a few times when I couldn't be bothered to change clothes to go to the store.

Anyway. Hope you like the new design! I sure do. :-)

Friday, November 07, 2008

The Great Experiment


I deliberately made the decision not to have a television in my new home. My daughter has a small one that she can play her GameCube on, but that's pretty much it. We don't have cable, nor do I intend to purchase it. We will have a DVD player hooked up to her t.v. at some point, and until then, my laptop does double-duty as a DVD player.

However, I will not have a television in my living room and, if I can do it, I also will not have a television in my bedroom.

I am trying to go t.v.-free.

I used to always want a room in my home where there wasn't a television blaring 24/7, where I could go and have peace and quiet to read or write or just sit and think. I never had that. So when I moved into my new home, I made a conscious decision to leave the television behind.

Instead, I bought me this very cool retro radio that has a record player, CD player, tape player, and AM/FM radio. I love it. I've been listening to lots of music, both new and old, and listening to the radio a lot. In fact, on election night, I had it tuned to NPR (largely because my Internet was not hooked up) and I thought, "Hey, this is how they used to get their election news - via the radio. Who needs a t.v.?"

Last evening, I switched on my fireplace, put on some music, and settled down with my manuscript. With no television to distract me, and no having to tune in to the latest segment of The Most Popular Show (i.e. Grey's Anatomy, Dancing with the Stars, etc., etc., etc.), I could sit and relax and become immersed in my story. I read more of Stephen King's On Writing and even wrote a letter using old fashioned pen and paper.

The amazing thing? Without a t.v., I have tons of time to do what I want to do. My time is my own and not dictated by whatever television program is on next. And even more important, I've created a peaceful, calm, and relaxing atmosphere.

My daughter asked me why we didn't have a t.v. and I explained to her that we didn't need one. After a brief period of "I'm bored!", she quickly came up with something to do. In this case, she decided to draw, something she hasn't done since the move.

Not having t.v. has forced me to concentrate on what I really want to be doing. Believe me, it's not easy. All I wanted to do when I got home from work last night was lay on the couch and just switch on the television. Only I didn't have one to switch on! So I was forced to do something else. And I'm so glad I did.

How long will I last without the television? I hope permanently. While I will miss my Turner Classic Movies channel and the History Channel, I have plenty of DVDs to choose from when I want to relax and watch a movie. But not having a television keeps me from mindlessly surfing through channels that I otherwise would never watch.

I certainly have nothing against those who love their television programs. In fact, I sometimes feel a bit left out when I hear people talking about what happened last night on their favorite show. But in the end, I had to make this decision for myself to try and find more time for the things that I want to do. Since I'm a mother and also have an 8-5 job, my time is pretty valuable and I have to guard it wisely.

So what say you? Am I plain crazy for trying this or unbelievably smart? ;-)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Rumblings...

(Photo: The path to Chatsworth, Derbyshire).


Can you hear it? It's like a small earthquake. Rumbling. Shaking. Moving.



It's the rumblings of excitement.



I started reading my manuscript last night and there they were, small shivers at first, then gradually building into something much bigger, much larger, much more intense.



I wrote this, I thought. These are my characters. My story. My words.



Rumblings. Excited rumblings. Nervous rumblings. Happy rumblings.



It has waited long enough, this story of mine, for me to get my life in order (as much as it can be in order), for me to return to what I love.



It is time.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Don't Squander It


This morning I had to wait for the gas company man to come and turn on my fireplace. And of course, they give you a "window" of time that they will come by. My "window" was from 8 a.m. to noon. While I'm sure they have their reasons for giving you these broad time slots, it's frustrating when you don't know for sure when they're going to show up - and even more frustrating when you have a full-time job.

Anyway...the fireplace is now hooked up and I can't wait to cozy up to it with a good book or my laptop and a cup of tea.

While I waited this morning, I decided to dive back into a writing book to try and get myself into the writing mood again. I chose Stephen King's On Writing. If you've never read this book and you're a writer, I highly recommend it, no matter what you write. I've read it before and it's one of those books you can continually turn to. He has invaluable advice. And one quote in particular struck me this morning (I'm paraphrasing as I don't have it in front of me and can't remember it exactly...): "If God gave you the talent to do something, why in God's name wouldn't you do it?"

Well. I believe that God gave me the talent to write, and I shouldn't squander it. To my way of thinking, I no longer have any excuses for not getting back to the page. I've had the chance to rest, rejuvenate, and get my head on straight. (Well. As straight as I can. I'm a neurotic writer, remember?).

Onward!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Ready to Write? Maybe Not...

I haven't worked on my manuscript since...oh dear. Let me think. The first week of October! Granted, I've had plenty of reasons why I couldn't write. That whole trip to England was a major one. And then moving was another.

So suffice to say, I can't wait to get back to it. But then again, I'm also scared to death. Why? Because I'm worried that after being away from the manuscript for so long, I'm going to look at it and think it's total crap, or my stupid brain is going to tell me that I'm not a writer after all, that I lost my "magic", that I won't be able to write another sentence that sounds half-way decent.

Don't get me wrong - I have been writing. I wrote every day in my journal while I was in England. I've been writing at work. I've still done my freelance writing. In fact, it's pretty hard for a day to go by where I'm not writing. I just haven't been writing on the novel.

For some reason, I am dreading getting back into my story. And here's the weird thing - I really and truly believe that this is a good story. I love my characters. I love the story itself. Then why, why, do I have this fear of going back to it?
Any ideas?

Monday, November 03, 2008

Why I Love/Hate Stairs

Well. Moving day has come and gone. My new apartment is beautiful. I love, love, LOVE it. The only problem? It's on the third floor. And there is no elevator.

So! That means lots and lots of stairs. And when you're moving tons of stuff, those stairs are not your friend. You stand at the bottom of the staircase, look up, and groan. But there's nothing to be done but start climbing. And I climbed those stairs a LOT the past two days.

On the bright side, stair-climbing is one of the best exercises for your heart. And let me tell you, my heart was pumping away numerous times. And since I now have to climb those stairs every day, my heart can only love me for it, right? :-)

It's Time

I've had this blog for over 10 years. But I'm finding that I go to it less and less. Maybe it's the death of blogging that broug...