Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What I'm reading Wednesday

This week I'm reading When Snow Falls by Brenda Novak.  It's part of the Whiskey Creek series. My sister recommended it to me. I was a little hesitant to read it because it's not the first book in the series. I hate reading a book that refers to things that happened in a previous book that aren't explained in the current story. That isn't the case here. Needless to say When Snow Falls can easily read as a stand alone, but I will definitely be looking for the other books.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Change in Perspective


Last week there was an article in the Democrat & Chronicle, our local newspaper, about a young man named Richard Masters who was in a terrible accident when he was 5 years old - A dump truck blew through a stop sign and hit the car he was riding in. Richard was left a quadriplegic.

For the last 19 years, Richard has had no motion from the neck down. Did he let such a terrible thing get him down or limit him in trying to do whatever he wanted?  No. He even stated in the article, "...I try not to be a crabby person."  Given what happened to him, he would have every right to be filled with anger. Instead he focuses on what gives him joy.

He paints. He started painting almost right after the accident as a form of physical therapy to keep his neck muscles strong. He has even made a name for himself due to his paintings. How does he manage to paint if he's paralyzed from the neck down, you ask?  He grips the paintbrush by clamping his teeth on the end of the brush and moving his head side to side. His aunt mixes his paints and holds his canvases for him while he's working.

Richard paints floral prints, still lifes, and portraits. It's his portraits that are the most impressive. Just by moving his head with the brush between his teeth, he's able to portray movement in hair, expressive facial expressions, and intricate background patterns.

Can you imagine only being able to move your head and nothing else? I have to admit I can't. After reading this article, I immediately felt that I was taking my health and the life I have for granted.  I'm trying to take a page out of Richard's book and trying not to be a crabby person who complains about minor annoyances anymore.

Someone once said, and I'm paraphrasing here, "If you want something bad enough, you'll make it happen. If you don't, you'll make excuses." Richard had every reason in the world to make excuses not to paint, yet he didn't.  I kept the article about Richard and framed it. It sits on the credenza where I see it every day. I hope it will remind me that the only real limitations we have in trying to achieve our dreams are the ones we put on ourselves.

Friday, June 21, 2013

This I know for sure...

When you're bogged down with all the bad things that can happen in life, it's easy to forget your blessings.  I've been guilty of doing this myself lately, but for every negative thought, I'm trying to see the positive. It's not always easy, but I'm working on it. 


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What I'm Reading Wednesday

I went to a new library (new to me) earlier this week that's about the same distance away as my regular library but in the opposite direction.  Wanting to find something that was a bit different from what I'd been reading lately and the research I've been doing for my current manuscript, I found a cozy mystery titled Pleating For Mercy by Melissa Bourbon. 

It's the first in a series of magical dressmaking mysteries. It was just what I needed to distract me. I'm enjoying the book and will most likely read other books in the series. If you like cozy mysteries with a touch of magic (actually a haunting by the protagonist's great grandmother who helps her solve the mystery), this is an enjoyable read.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Word by Word

Last Monday I vowed to go hunting for my wayward muse.  I found her quite easily the first couple of days, but there were times when she proved elusive.  A writer friend mentioned that maybe I need to stop trying to force the words to come, and focus on just writing. She suggested I write about anything that comes to mind instead of spending my writing time struggling to make headway on my novel.

I found a great book titled A Writer's Book of Days: A Spirited Companion & Lively Muse for the Writing Life by Judy Reeves.  It's divided into sections, one for each month of the year, but more importantly it gives writing prompts for each day for writing practice. The writing prompts are sometimes general such as "Shadows" and sometimes specific such as "Describe the contents of someone's closet."

While I'm still planning on working on my novel during my regular writing time, I'm looking forward to trying some of the writing prompts later in the evening to try and entice my muse to come back and stay for a while. I'll keep you updated on how things go.

Friday, June 14, 2013

This I know for sure...

It's not always easy to come up with things that I know for sure.  I know a lot of things, trivial things like Anne Boleyn had 6 fingers on one hand, and important things like how to administer CPR.  But knowing what is important or interesting enough to share on this blog is sometimes difficult. 

There are some things I'd like to share but they can be considered hot button issues. The last thing I want to do is unintentionally insult someone so as much as I may want to write about something such as pet ownership and the responsibilities that go with that, I refrain from doing so. I guess I'll have to spend some time taking stock and finding what it is exactly that I know for sure that can be shared.  If you have any suggestions or ideas, I'd love to hear them.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Insert Clever Quip Here

I'm visiting the wonderful Melissa Limoges' blog, Insert Clever Quip Here, today and answering a few quick and fun questions. I'm also giving away a digital copy of "An Unexpected Gift" to one random person who leaves a comment so be sure to stop by.  Link: http://chitsuen.blogspot.com/?zx=7c176a6fc5c21bd3

Monday, June 10, 2013

Finding My Muse

Those of you who follow my blog know I've been struggling for some time to get words on paper.  Not just good words or great words, but any words at all. Someone once said, "you can't revise a blank page."  Truer words have never been spoken.

I've never been a big believer in writer's block. I've always felt if you sit down at the laptop or computer and write anything even if it's garbage you know you're going to delete anyway, the right words will come even if it takes a few writing sessions before that happens. Needless to say, I'm now a big believer in writer's block.

I've had a great deal going on outside my writing life lately that made it hard to even get to the laptop after the day job. It seems my muse decided this was the perfect time to go on vacation and not bother coming back. Starting today, two of the major causes of stress I believe killed any type of creativity I may have been able to muster will be gone. Gone.

This writer's block has gone on far too long. So, today I'm going hunting for my muse. I'm going to find her and bring her back, kicking and screaming if necessary because I'm determined to get back to work spinning stories and dreaming dreams.

Friday, June 7, 2013

This I know for sure...

They say good things come to those who wait.  I wish I knew who "they" are so I can ask them how long is the wait.  I've been patiently, okay sometimes not so patiently, waiting for one particular thing to happen for over 3 years now. (Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm not a very patient person.  I'm not good at waiting -- waiting for things to happen, waiting in line, waiting in the doctor or dentist's office. I'd rather be doing something than just...waiting.) Unfortunately in this situation, I have little or no control over moving things forward so I'm left with just marking time and wishing this particular thing will come soon.

I'm not complaining, just curious how long the wait is.  I did have one good thing I've been wanting to happen for the last 2 months or so happen this week so maybe that 3 year wait is coming to an end soon. Maybe. Hopefully.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What I'm Reading Wednesday

I haven't posted what I've been reading in a few weeks.  I have to admit I haven't been doing a lot of reading either so I haven't had anything to post. I guess it's a good thing I've had guests visiting on Wednesdays recently.

This Wednesday, I'm reading Red Velvet Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke. I haven't started it yet but plan on sitting down and reading at least the first couple of chapters this afternoon. I've read all of the other books in the series and am looking forward to reading this one.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Changes

I've always thought I was pretty adaptable when it came to making changes. In recent days I've realized that maybe I'm not so good at it. Making changes is hard.

Things have been occurring in the last couple of  months that I've been trying to deal with. At the end of most days, I feel like I've spent the day dragged down and mired in mental quicksand. That I'm not really dealing with the issues but doing all I can just to keep my head above water, only to have wave after wave crash over my head, leaving me gasping for air and looking for something, anything to cling to. I'm not sleeping at night, only managing at most 4 hours of sleep which leaves me fighting to get through the next day. Some days I feel like I'm polishing the brass on the Titanic - a useless and futile task that's pointless.

All of this leaves me feeling exhausted. I'm tired of not being able to stop my thoughts from racing when I should be sleeping. I'm tired of feeling like some of the issues are things I can't control, I'm tired of the whims of others, and I'm tired of being tired.

So what can I do?  I'm making changes. Changes to the things I can control. Some of those changes will be easy, almost as easy as breathing. Some of them will be hard. Some may cost me friendships and some of them will seem almost impossible but I'm determined to follow through with them no matter how difficult it may be.  Why?  Because I've learned something that I should have known all along -- that I deserve to be happy.