About Me

My photo
If who we are is what we do, then like most people, I am a mixed bag of personas. Writer, bookworm, friend, are what first come to mind. Equally apt would be potty mouth, dog walker, Guinness drinker, swimmer, storyteller, political animal, baker and proud Canadian. Mostly though, I consider myself simply insanely lucky to have a small posse of near and dear ones who put up with me and my curvy, creative, curly haired, opinionated self. I started this blog several years ago with the idea to challenge myself in a myriad of ways. Years in, despite the sporadic entries, I still like to muse about the absurdity of life, what inspires surprises and angers me, books and other entertainments, my menagerie, my travels and any other notion buzzing round in my head.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Rolling In It

It is no secret to anyone who knows me that I write stories.  In those moments when I have felt particularly hopeful and productive, I have even characterized myself as a writer.  But that is not how I usually feel.   Oh, I still write stories.  I am just not always all puffed up about it.  

It feels whiny and self-indulgent to complain about how difficult writing is. Even if that is the truth for me.  Writing is hard work.  My words don’t flow freely.  The process is slow moving, tedious and often unsatisfying.  For someone with a short attention span, this isn't ideal. 

Over and over, I have asked myself why I don’t just give up. In every other case, I would have.  I convince myself that I’m not really into this anymore. That it is ok to move on. That most people cannot write a good story, let alone get published.  And sometimes, for a period of time, I do give it up.  I fill my free time binge watching downloaded shows, socializing, purging closets, planning getaways, baking, knitting, playing guitar really badly and napping.  I still have my journal, I remind myself.   I still write, sort of. 

Eventually, an itty bitty plot bunny starts nibbling away in the back garden of my subconscious.  It tickles at first.  I swat it away.  There’s a new episode of Scandal to watch.  I promised my neighbour I’d bake something special for dessert on Saturday.  Then the tickle becomes a more persistent itch, like a mosquito bite I must scratch.  Soon I write the idea in my notebook.  I’m saving it for later, I think.  But once I pick up that notebook, I know I’m done.  The keyboard is never far behind.  There is nothing else that I feel so guilty about leaving and so relieved to return to.  Writing is the lover I can’t get over.  We break up, we get back together.  It’s just what we do.  And when we first reunite, it’s intoxicating.  I vow that this time it’ll be different.  I’m committed and in this for the long haul.  I promise to visit every day. That absence left too big a hole, after all.  I sit down at my desk.  I find a few words and begin, again.  And though I know deep down that what I’m writing is shit, I keep typing.    

Today, I’m still episodes behind.  I've no clue what Olivia Pope is up to.  The scarf I started knitting before Christmas remains unfinished.  I brought store bought brownies to the last pot luck. The fervour is waning but I am still elbow deep in crap; and for now, at least, happy as a pig in shit. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Read Harder

I am not the most disciplined of people.  This doesn’t really bother me much.  I always find a way to get done what I need to.  One thing is true; I do better with a specific goal on the horizon.  Something to aim for.  Even better if there is a timeline attached.  Within this framework, I’m good to go.

Some years back, I set a goal to read 50 books in a year.  It was a challenge for me.  In 2015 I’m at it again. This time, for fun, I’ve added a twist.  Always on the hunt for new reading material, one of my favourite sites is Book Riot.   Recently, I noted the hashtag, #readharder trending.  Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge is to read 24 books, from various categories in one year.  Here are the selections:

Some of these will be easy for me.  Others (graphic novel???) will be real tough.  I still want to achieve the 50 book goal this year, but to be able to diversify my selections using the Read Harder Challenge sounds like my kind of fun.  I’ve already found a few books on my shelves that I have wanted to tackle, that will fit nicely into one category or another.  Goodreads has set up a reading group, which I’ve joined so I can track my progress.  So you can follow along here. The original Book Riot challenge can be found here, with links to suggested books for each category.   

There has been a lot of talk in the publishing industry of late about diversity in writing.  Every time a short list for one of the big writing prizes is announced, comments abound regarding the predominance of white male writers.  My reading tends to split evenly between men and women authors, but I do not read as widely a selection of writers from various cultures as I would like.  I tend towards historical and contemporary fiction and poetry.  I don’t read much sci-fi or short story work.  I never pay attention to the age of an author.  So this challenge will be interesting for me. 

2015 is the year I expand my reading choices.  Care to read harder with me?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Bloom Recklessly

It’s been a while blog land. Howdy.

Life has been quite full since I last visited. Time is an odd construct. It feels both that ages have passed and also that these two years went by in a heartbeat.

I wish I could say I have now written the great Canadian novel, or lost those 50 pounds I hoped to.  Neither statement is true.  What is?  I’ve dabbled creatively.  Written some; edited lots too.  Took guitar lessons and started sketching. All enjoyable, if not massively productive.  But, is productive really the point?  I don’t think so, not even when it comes to my writing.  Writing is an expression, not so much a project to be completed.  That’s actually a new realization for me. And, one that makes writing more pleasurable in my world.  The 50 pounds are still around, give or take a few.  It’s a work in progress, like the rest of me.

There have been adventures since 2013:  travels, loves, and friends lost and found; books galore and gabby sessions with pals aplenty; some drama, more joy; daily dog walks and a recent addition to the menagerie in the form of a feisty black and white kitten named MacDougal.

I have spent some time, as I do each year, imagining what the coming 12 months might look like.  It would be hard to top 2014.  It was a good year.  I can only hope for more of the same.  Rather than resolve, I prefer to set a tone for the year with a single word.  For 2015, my word is bloom. 

This year I want to blossom vibrantly.  Fearlessly.  To let the roots of the past years bear fruit; to flower, to realize, to grow and ripen into being.

Creatively, this notion is particularly apt.  I’ve been cooking up several works over the years.  I have a number of stories in progress.  I hope to see them blossom in 2015.

I’m a bookworm at my core.  I gobble up material greedily. I’m eager for more.  It does not matter the form; whether they are books by old favourites or new to me writers, magazine articles, essays, op-ed pieces, blogs or newspapers.  All are devoured.  There is not enough time to read all I want to.  All these ideas take root in my mind.  They inform me on many levels.  They affect my thoughts and therefore my art.  They colour my actions and reactions.  They point me down certain paths and away from others.  

I wouldn't characterize myself as especially careful.  But I could be more fearless; second guess a bit less. Years ago I chose courage as my word for the year.  I can channel that.  I can dig deeper within me for reserves of experience and expression and this year, let go with wild abandon.  I will bloom.  The yield?  Who knows.  Certainly more travel, love in any of the various forms it might take, peace, pleasure, art, robustness and ideally in 2015, a joy filled year.    

"Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, 
there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night."
Rainer Maria Rilke