Writing, More Tortoise Than Hare

A._gigantea_Aldabra_Giant_TortoiseI mentioned in my last post that I was thrilled to have reacquainted myself with a story I started a couple of years ago and was off and writing like crazy. Now I have slowed to a crawl but instead of being daunted by this, I’m continuing to write even if it’s a sentence or two at a time. The fun in writing fiction, for me, is the surprise of how I get there.

This story is tricky. I know where I want it to go and why but making sure that I make it clear to a reader who isn’t in my head is the puzzle. Sometimes it’s hard to separate the nuances of the story as shown in my mind with what I am getting onto the page. And this story is very weird but fun. Once I get it all down, it should come together. I hope.

This is also a short story which I find much harder to write. I tend to write in scenes. There isn’t as much wiggle room to get from one scene to the next in a short story. I’m sure I will end up writing much more than I need to and will then cut it down to size. It’s all part of the journey, right?

Does anyone else sometimes feel that writing is like doing a jigsaw puzzle? Finding tiny pieces of the whole picture and putting it together in the right order? That’s okay with me. I like doing jigsaw puzzles too.

I’m proceeding slowly and trusting that the words will sort themselves as I go. And didn’t the tortoise win in the end?

Will a Story Wait?

I haven’t been working on my fiction writing much at all for the last couple of years. At least, I haven’t put a word on paper. During the brief times when I thought about my writing I also got a niggling tiny fear about whether I would want to keep writing and if I did would the stories still be there?

There are at least three of my unfinished stories that have been waiting patiently while I dealt with life. And they gently prodded my attention throughout this time. They whispered to me that they were still there and wanted to see what happened next. Or they would give me a scene to show what was coming. Sometimes I got an entire concept of how the story should go.

I paid attention to these moments and found comfort in knowing that these characters and stories still mattered to me. More importantly, I still matter to them.

The other day I picked one of these stories and searched my files for it. I found files that I don’t remember creating and will revisit them eventually. Since they haven’t stayed in my consciousness, I will be curious to see if they still have life. For now, I will focus on the stories who have remained alive and full of energy.

I’ve let stories go before and when I go back to them I can’t recapture the voice or the point of a story. Sometimes I find that sad but mostly find it puzzling. But one story in particular has been on my mind a lot so I started to reread it.

I reread it twice. And I was immediately back! It was thrilling! I started where I left off and wrote almost 800 words without hesitation. And I’m ready to continue.

I am beyond happy to know that some stories will wait. I had to trust that would be so because I knew I didn’t have the energy to write for a while. This is Big Magic. Just like Elizabeth Gilbert says in her book by that name. Which is a very inspiring book, by the way.  

I wonder why some stories don’t wait. But those are thoughts for another day. For now, I need to write the next scene.

Isn’t creativity fascinating? Have you had stories wait for you?

Unclaimed by Erin McCole Cupp

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If you like Jane Eyre and science fiction/dystopian stories you need to read Unclaimed!

Who is Erin McCole Cupp? Well she’s one of my favorite visitors to the library I work in and a few years ago I learned that she’s a writer. After we talked writing and books for a while I couldn’t wait to read her books. First I read Don’t You Forget About Me which is a mystery and it was good! After reading that she told me that she had written a book called Jane_E, Friendless Orphan: A Memoir. When she told me it was a science fiction take on Jane Eyre I was in! I read that and really liked it.

Now Erin is re-releasing Jane_E’s story as a three part e book series. She has updated and revised it and part one is now available. Erin has sprinkled Unclaimed with so many wonderful details like perks rings, woven codes, interesting cultural mannerisms and people being re-keyed to fix any flaws they may have. The world of Jane E goes from sleek futuristic technology to gritty real world issues. The book is written in the first person so the reader is immediately pulled into Jane’s world. Jane is a strong and feisty ten-year-old at the beginning of the book and I found myself rooting for her right from the start.

So here is a summary of  part one which is called Unclaimed (The Memoirs of Jane E, Friendless Orphan Book 1).

Born not in a past of corsets and bonnets but into a future of cloning and bioterror, could Jane Eyre survive? This Jane is an “unclaimed embryo,” the living mistake of a reproductive rights center–or so her foster family tells her. At age ten she is sold into slavery as a data mule, and she must fight for freedom and identity in a world mired between bioscientific progress and the religions that fear it. What will happen to a girl without even a name of her own?

This is a fun book to read which I want to share with you and help Erin spread the word about its release.

Brain Holiday

I hope this makes you smile. Please enjoy.

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Just stumbled across this , which I originally wrote and posted three years ago, but it’s that holiday time of year again, so thought you might enjoy. Written after reading The Lorax by, who else, the inimitable fantabulous most marvexellent … Dr Seuss!

(LOL – I think I just gave my spell checker a heart attack…maybe IT will take a holiday…)

I’ve thought and I’ve thunk

And I’ve tickled my brain

I’ve chased all the thinkylink

Thoughts you could name

I’ve just about caught

Every thought the world has

But they’re all just too big

Or too small or too sad

So I told my brain, ‘Go!

Have a holiday friend,

Find a beach or an island

A planet, a star

Go further than the furtherest

Everest star

And please don’t come back

For a few years or more

‘cos me and that drum

Playing musical chest

Where it beats…

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Coloring

As I’m sure most of you have noticed there is a lot in the media about adult coloring and the benefits of this activity. Just type in ‘benefits of coloring for adults’ in your browser and see all the results that show up. Coloring helps you relax, focus and be more mindful. We could all use more of that! 

Fish

Fish

First I have to say that I’ve always colored and have adult coloring books from years ago before it was the ‘in’ thing to do, so this is nothing new for me.

What I do like is the wonderful variety of good quality coloring books that are being published now. Have you looked at any? And the variety of topics is almost overwhelming. But fun!

I got one of these new books last fall when we were in the middle of moving. The only change I made is that I treated myself to a big box of colored pencils and a cheap sharpener. I know some people use magic markers, some use watercolor pencils and some still use crayons. Why not combine a few of these tools and see what happens?

Since last fall, I have been given four more of these books. I now have enough coloring books to last me for years!

I agree with the experts that this is a great way to relax. I don’t watch a lot of TV and when I do I feel like I’m wasting time but coloring while watching TV is a great combination. Or while listening to a radio show or podcast.

Forest Stump

Forest Stump

One thing I have learned is that you can’t rush these things. You need to slow down and take your time. Take your time in picking out an illustration that attracts your attention. Then look at it for a while and see if you can imagine what color would look the best in each area. When you do start coloring, have fun experimenting with the pressure you put on the pencil. Start out light and increase the pressure which makes the color more brilliant. Try combining colors. Do some shading to give a more three-dimensional look to your picture. Experiment!

Some of these pictures are very intricate so don’t rush it. I’ve only finished a few so far but there is no time limit on these. Take your time.

I’ve found that having a piece of scrap paper nearby helps to sample the colors before you use them. Or do what I do and scribble little samples on the edges of the last pages in the books if you have one that has blank spots for this use.

Whale

Whale

Don’t restrict yourself to making the subject look real. Who says an elephant has to be gray or the sky has to be blue? Go crazy and make it your own!

Remember when you used to lie on your stomach on the floor as a kid and color for hours? Find a comfortable position or chair and start coloring.

Most of all, have fun.

Sky Love-Clouds

Growing Cloud

I’ve always loved the sky. Day and night. As a kid I did that stereotypical thing of lying on the grass and looking up at the clouds. I still do but not nearly as often as I should or would like to.

Any time of the day or night there is beauty above us. It’s ever-changing and always flowing. I think it reminds me of how tiny we are on this little planet in the universe hurtling through space and what a miracle it is to be here at all.

I’m been amazed at the sky where we live now. I think because it’s so open and I can see so much of it at once that it keeps fascinating me.

The clouds are magnificent.

I know when I was a preteen we lived for a short time in Wisconsin and I have never seen mountainous clouds like I did there when the thunderheads were growing a storm.

One of my favorite experiences was a day spent in the mountains of Colorado with my brother. We were hiking back down the mountain trail because storms were building in the heat of the day and you don’t want to be in a lightning storm up there. The sun was still out with clouds in the distance. At one point we stopped because the view was breathtaking. There was feeling of reverence. We sat on a boulder looking out over a valley and watched a cloud growing. It was literally growing before our eyes. There was no sound except the wind and we felt like we were the only ones in the world to witness this beauty. It was a spiritual experience.

More recently, I visited family in Colorado again and in thinking about this post decided to take pictures from the air. Flying over this country is amazing anyway but I was thrilled by the variety of clouds I saw in that one trip.

And now my obsession with the sky has been in overdrive because of where I’m living. With so many rolling fields the view of the sky here is huge. I think it’s the grandeur of it all. It gives me that feeling of being tiny in a powerful universe filled with beauty. Again, it feels like a spiritual experience. This has been happening frequently. I hope I never take it for granted.

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Spring moving in.

No matter where you are, the sky is always there.

We live crazy busy lives but I hope you can take a few minutes to look up and enjoy the view.

Quiet spring meditation in the woods

Even if you can’t get out into the woods today, enjoy this meditation. You will feel like you did go outside thanks to this wonderful post and photos.

Lake Superior Spirit

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It sometimes takes a long time–a truly long time–maybe even years, or decades, or a lifetime–for one to learn how to truly become quiet in the woods.

So quiet, so still, that there is no difference between you and the landscape, between you and nature.

Until you realize fully that you are nature itself in your stillness, in your activity, in your very essence.

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