Sunday, January 20, 2013

Weekend Update

It's been over a week since I checked in... and, as usual, I've been busy.

I spent the holiday sifting out a bunch of activities, but, lo and behold, I've managed to add a bunch of other activities in just as swiftly. I've set up and opened an art gallery show, developed two college courses--one in-class, one online--and I've started on a new theatrical journey with my two little ones. 

Believe it or not (for those of you who've been checking in some lately), my brave little son sang well enough that he's been cast as OLIVER TWIST. Yup, he was floored, amazed, and a bit overwhelmed at first--as was I--but we're settling into this new evening pattern of rehearsals and singing and practicing lines. Kind of cool, actually. Nope, it's flat out AWESOME! This is the beginning of a long-running involvement in theatre for him, I think. Even better, my daughter has found her place in the company, and I have a part, too, so we all get to attend rehearsals together. 

I'm also about to attack the project of costuming the show--hurray! Costuming is my favorite kind of sewing, and the added bonus of outfitting Dickens' characters doesn't hurt, either. It'll take some time and prep, but it's going to be truly fun as I work through it.

Plus, I'm gearing up to work again on my spirit book, and I'm in the cogitation stage for a whole series of novels set here in Bainbridge. The research I do for this other book will be helpful in creating the atmosphere of the series, and I hope to eventually do a great deal to add to the tourism possible in this particular area. 

I'll let you know how it all goes. I know it sounds ambitious, but I can't help that. My life is too short not to get stuff done.

Anything ambitious on your plate lately?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Choose Your Headline

Bitter mother takes 
anger out on children
Woman fosters
confidence in all around her

Employee makes all meetings 
utterly excruciating
Manager builds rapport and 
encourages the world to grow

Man afraid of failing 
fails to try at anything
Man tries and fails
and tries again

Look at the world 
and see only the hate
and hate the world for it
See the pain in us
but see the hope, the charity
see the world for what it can be

What would your headline be
If you could choose?

So choose. 

Don't doubt for a second that
It's your choice.
It is.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Travels

Remember when you first ventured to a new place? You were half excited, half nervous. Would the place be as exciting as you'd hoped? Would you find fun stuff to see or do? Or would it be boring? Would it smell like urine there--or mold--and would the hotel have cold running water or hot running roaches?

You were probably filled with anticipation, expectation, trepidation, and even abject fear.

Okay, so I can't speak for you... but I've felt all of that. And I feel the same thing when I'm trying something new. Say I decide to join a choir, or learn to knit, or take a class on photography. I could totally suck at it. It happens to all of us (or most of us, for those of you in denial). And the more new things we try, the more likely it will happen.

But it's important to travel into that new territory anyway.

Let me use the travel metaphor again to illustrate why. Say that you go on a cruise to Cozumel. And it was fun. And Cozumel was fun. So the next time you think about going on a cruise, you go back to Cozumel. You know you liked it, and you are afraid the other ports of call won't be as good, so you just keep going back in the same direction. Over and over.

But after a while Cozumel gets old. And in the end you realize that you've missed out on a ton of other places--and that's just in the Caribbean. No telling how many other fantastic places you've missed. Even if you cruise other places, but never travel any other way, you will miss out. Can you truly see Europe if you don't go inland? Nope. You miss too much. Can you see it in a week? Nope. What about Asia? What about Africa? How will you know what places truly resonate with you if you don't try them out?

There's the two kiddos...
bet you didn't know my daughter had purple hair, did you?
(graphic courtesy of
I write this, not because I've ventured into new territory lately--and not because I've been on a cruise lately, either--but because my kids have done something truly new. Last night they both auditioned for our community theatre's production of Oliver! I auditioned, too, but I'm a bit more experienced with it than they are. I could tell they were nervous. And even a little scared. My son  couldn't sit back in his seat, even after he had sung his little piece.

But they both did it. They both stepped up on that stage--by themselves, mind you, not holding my hand or anything--and sang a song. And they both got back up there and learned a little dance routine so that the choreographer could see whether they could dance at all.

Will they get a part? No idea. I'm not sure whether that really matters (at least not to me). I'm bursting at the seams with pride that they tried out, that they had the guts to step up there and do something new and radical. I hope this is just one of many new things they try this year. Whether they get parts or not, they have added a notch to their confidence, have realized that they wouldn't die from fear, and have proven themselves a bit more independent than they were last year.

Now I have to consider what new things I will try this year. Where will I venture? How will I keep myself from staying within my travel comfort zone?

Come to think of it, what new travels are you planning?

Monday, January 7, 2013


You remember when you could just drive around and enjoy the scenery?

That's how I feel right now--now that I have my syllabi done and all my classes prepped for the semester. I'm looking forward to all of it, too. It's going to be fun, even (except the grading).

I probably shouldn't feel this happy and upbeat. After all, I still have other tasks to do today, like taking down ten boxes worth of holiday decorations, and auditions for Oliver! are looming (why, oh why, do auditions always make me so nervous!)...

But I'm happy.

Who said happiness had anything to do with logic? I believe I'll spend the rest of the day NOT overthinking this... just going with the flow.

I will, however, be thinking about what snippet of a song I want to sing for auditions this evening. My son will be singing "Silent Night" (anything else made him too nervous), and my daughter will be singing, "Castle on a Cloud." I can't say I'm leaning in any direction, and it helps to know that the main female lead in Oliver! has a range too low for me. I just want to be part of the action.

Here's hoping your day is as full of singing as mine will be...

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Kinds of Writing

I keep saying I'm not writing... but I'm continuously working on my craft.

It's just not in the way one traditionally deems to be writing. I'm not, for instance, outlining a new novel. I'm not sketching out characters before I go back through a draft, not revising a current WIP so that I can fix verbs, add detail, or tighten the language.

But I'm still working on writing. Here's what I've been doing:

1. Putting together my syllabi for two classes, both of which begin next week. Why is that writing? Because I'm getting other stuff out of the way so that I can make time to write. And that's something lots of writers have to do. Very few of us (i.e., NONE) have the luxury of doing nothing else in the world except write.

2. Reading. Yup, that's definitely preparation. I've been abandoning books a lot lately, too--more than ever before. If I hate something in chapter three, then I drop it. What's the cliche? Beating a dead horse, or something? But I've managed to mix the terrible books in with really good ones, and all of them add to my understanding of what literature should and should not be.

3. Thinking. My books have been drifting through my conscious and subconscious minds. They've popped up in dreams, unbidden, and crept into my early morning thoughts. And that's a good sign. It means I'm truly gearing up to write.

4. Painting/Drawing. Nothing helps my imagination more than drawing out characters (in full costume, for I love costumes, even if I rarely describe what characters are wearing) or painting out scenes. In most of my novels, the setting is crucial to what happens.

5. Researching. I'm actually going on a cruise in February with the hubby, and we planned out where we were going AND what excursions we were taking based on the needs of my Mermaid novel. Really. Isn't it sweet that the hubby's willing to go along with that? I did have to choose a historical tour over a ride on a pirate ship, though, and that stunk, mainly because I could have used both. But books in the library and internet searches are also leading towards answers and plot twists and details I would not have otherwise.

I hope to get to the tactile act of writing very soon. But in the meantime, I can't say I'm not writing. I'm moving in the write direction, even if I can't yet return to my manuscript.

All in good time. When I'm ready, I'll know it. What a beautiful day that will be, too.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Year, Day, Moment

No resolutions
This year

This year
Is too long to face

Today is all I know
I can count on
This very hour

This hour
I'll do all I can to be
This minute

This swiftly moving minute
Is all I hold, just a point in time
The briefest moment
In my trembling hands.