Celebrate The Small Things

Today I celebrate the end of the week (seems like I’ve been doing that a lot lately, maybe it’s time for a vacation?)

I celebrate that I managed to FINALLY get my space all figured out last weekend and now have an area that should actually function for me to do the work I need and want to do!  This weekend will be the test, I plan to put Saturday towards writing (because I have oh so much writing to do!)

I celebrate that it’s once again sunny and warm out, but still not quite to being too hot to enjoy it!


 

Today is Celebrate the Small Things Friday.  Hosted by Lexa Cain, L.G. Keltner of Writing Off the Edge, and Katie of The Cyborg Mom, Celebrate the Small Things is a time when we all take a moment to celebrate something good from our week.  It can be small, it can be big, just something to look back on the week and celebrate!

Celebrate the Small Things

Writing In Community

One of the things I love about being a writer is that I’m also always a student.  There are always new things to learn, ways to stretch and grow as a writer, ways to hone your craft.

In the past two months I’ve learned that community is very important to me when I’m trying to write.  It’s interesting, since writing was originally something I did when I wanted to be left alone.  It was an escape for me, a place where I could create the rules and adventures.  Now, though, I find it easier to write when I know that there are others out there also writing.  I now have a semi-regular writing date after work one day a week, and even when I am not really in the mindset to write I find that I do. Because the other person there is writing, and that is the whole point of that time.  So if I don’t write then… then when will I?

I also have discovered that the online community can work well to help drive me. I’ve become a big fan of #wordsprints on twitter.  I started to use it this past November for National Novel Writing Month — but then stumbled on them again in April and found it very helpful.  Even if I wasn’t rushing to beat a word-count, but rather undertaking the slow, and sometimes painstaking, process of editing.  Knowing that there were others trying to do the same thing, others plodding away at their  Works-in-Progress, at the same time, was very reassuring.

I find other writers through various online groups, wandering around blogs, and conversations on twitter.  I have a handful of writing friends that I get to see in person as well.  All these different types of community and opportunities for commiseration is so helpful. It reminds me that I am not alone in the struggles of being a writer, nor am I alone when it comes time to celebrate victories.  Sometimes I still need to write alone, to be isolated with the worlds I’m working on, but it is really nice to know that there are others out there  going through the same thing.

 

Set up for a post-work writing-date at one of our favorite writing-spots.
Set up for a post-work writing-date at one of our favorite writing-spots.

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer Beach Reads

Every week The Broke and the Bookish  hosts the “Top Ten Tuesdays” a great blog-hop for readers to reflect on their “Top Ten”

toptentuesdayTop (11) Summer Beach Reads.

I haven’t actually read these yet… but these are books I hope to read during some relaxing summer time!

The Sandcastle Girls

Dreamers of the Day

Wildwood

The Club Dumas

The Divided Ground

Under a Painted Sky

Cotillion

The Passion of the Purple Plumeria (Part of Bubblebath Readers Pink For All Seasons Readalong)

The Ashford Affair

Night of a Thousand Stars

A Dirty Job (Part of the #LazyLambs Book Club! Join us!)

Freestyle Writing Challenge!

Hannah Givens challenged me to a Freestyle Writing Challenge…. Which, I’ll admit, kinda scares me.  The writing that I’ve posted so far has been draft-material… but it’s still been REVISED drafts!  This calls for a full blown rough draft!  Free-write material!

Hannah gave a prompt, which I read as I started the clock for fifteen minutes of writing… The prompt:

“Write a scene of inconvenient emotion.”
So many ways I could have taken this but… here’s what ended up coming of it.  I’m not sure it’s exactly “inconvenient emotion” but… it’s what came:


Cara looked out over the crowd.  They were all cheering, happy and excited to finally have reached this day.  She pasted on a smile, trying to conform to the expectation, trying to fit in, trying to be all that they expected her to be.  As she always did.  But she hated it.  She did not want to be here, in this itching cap and this heavy gown.  Sitting under these bright lights as the crowd all cheered and chatted.  They were supposed to be paying attention to the speaker, a woman who stood at the podium talking about great opportunities and reaching for the stars.  They had voted for this woman to speak, asked her to speak, but now that the day was here they were too busy whispering at one another and trying to contain their excitement to pay any attention to what she said.

All these years, trapped in a classroom, and they spent their last hours together trapped in a hot auditorium listening to dull lectures about the future, and hope.  But that wasn’t why Cara didn’t want to be here.  That wasn’t it in the least.

She knew that she was supposed to be excited.  So much hard work to reach this point.  She had earned the honor of speaking to her peers, to sit up here where she had a view of the class, a view of the back of the speakers, while waiting her turn to share her words.  Words that had been carefully thought out and spoke of how they were the future.  Words that had been edited, revised, and approved.  And she would deliver them with a smile, with enthusiasm, because that’s what she was supposed to do.  That’s what was expected of her.

Cara took a deep breath.  She could see them all out there.  Her friends who had whispered behind her back while being nothing but sweet smiles to her face.  The popular kids who ignored her, at best, and taunted her at worst.  She should be happy.  Happy to be leaving this place where she never quite fit in, happy to be on her way.  Happy to be honored for her achievement.

But she wasn’t. All she wanted to do was stand up and scream.  She wanted to yell at them all, all those proud parents and grandparents.  She wanted to throw things at the classmates, her peers.  She wanted to ask if they really believed any of the crap that they were being fed here, any of the ridiculous messages that they were the future.  It was all just rhetoric, replayed over generations to wide-eyed and eager graduates.  They really couldn’t do anything to change the future, they were so mired in the world that had been shaped by generations – how could one group of graduates change that?  Why were they so naïve to think that they could change anything?

She pushed the anger away, it was not the time.  It was not the place.  She should be happy.  The tears that began to well at the corner of her eyes, they could be tears of happiness.  They could be tears of sadness at leaving her friends and the place she knew.  That would be a reasonable way to feel here and now.  Plenty of people cry at graduations, right?  No one needed to know that they were tears of anger, at holding so much inside.  She should be ready to leave this place.  Even if they knew all that had happened, how much she wanted to get out of this school.  Out of this town.  Just take off and never come back.  But the anger was full.  Why did she have to leave?  Why did she have to never come back?  Why did she have to be the one to take off, as though she carried around some sort of shame for things beyond her control?

Cara took another deep breath, the woman speaking was coming to a close, her message of hope for the future.  In just a few moments it would be Cara’s turn, to stand before her peers and friends and family.  To speak of the great hope that they all carried for the future, how they would always have this place and time in common.  Hollow empty words.  But they were the words approved.  And she always did what was expected of her, so they would be the words she would say.  Cara would stand up at that podium, she would tell them the message they expected, the approved words they wanted to hear.  She would wipe away her tears and choke back her emotions.  She would not look at the crowd, but beyond them to the back of the auditorium.  It was the only way she knew that she could hold back the emotions she truly felt.  It was the only way she knew she could keep from speaking from her heart and telling them how angry she was at them all.  How they were blind and caught in their own world, unable to see and understand what was right before them.

She would do as was expected.  There was no room for anger here.  There was no room for her to scream and yell and throw things.  There was no room for her to share how she would not miss any of them, not even her so-called friends.

Standing Cara approached the podium, carefully laying her papers on it and closing her eyes.  Hands gripped to the sides of the stand she turned her face up, focusing over the crowd, and began the speech. She would be sad.  She would be happy.  She would say what they expected. And then, then she would be gone.


 

954 words in 15 minutes.

I probably won’t do much more with this free-write, I have been focusing on fantasy stories more and am honestly not sure I want to dig into the untold story here.

I’m supposed to nominate people — but am always pretty horrible at actually figuring out who to nominate…so instead I challenge you ALL to this.  If you do participate, go ahead and let me know in the comments and I’ll come see what you’d done!

Here are the rules:

1. Open a new document.

2. Set a stopwatch or your mobile phone timer to 5, 10, or 15 minutes, whichever challenge you think you can beat.

3. Your topic is at the foot of this post BUT DO NOT SCROLL DOWN TO SEE IT UNTIL YOU ARE READY WITH YOUR TIMER!!!

4. Fill the word doc with as many words as you want. Once you start writing do not stop.

5. Do not cheat by going back and correcting spelling and grammar using spell check (it’s only meant for you to reflect on your own control of sensible thought flow and for you to reflect on your ability to write the right spelling and stick to grammar rules).

6. You may or may not pay attention to punctuation or capitals. However, if you do, it would be best.

7. At the end of your post write down ‘No. of words = ____” so that we would have an idea of how much you can write within the time frame.

8. Do not forget to copy paste the entire passage on your blog post with a new topic for your nominees and copy paste these rules with your nomination (at least five (5) bloggers).

And here is your prompt:

“The first day nothing went as planned.  The second day things got even worse.”

 

 

If We We’re Having Coffee… Long Weekend!

If we were having coffee I would be tired. So tired. You see it’s been a long week, with lots going on. Friday was a LOOONG day… and I plan to spend the weekend recovering, resting and writing.
I’d invite you to join me in the ongoing saga of “Allison’s Adventures in Coffee.”  This week I bought a new toy from my favorite coffee cart (Ole Latte!).  I feel like my ability to make (and appreciate) coffee has grown in the past years.  I got a single-cup coffee maker ages ago and it served me decently well for a long time, but this Christmas I got to up the ante with home-brewed coffee when I received an espresso machine as a present.  It works great for weekend coffee, or when I am making my coffee for my morning commute.  But, there was still this issue of finishing my coffee before I got to work and it only being 8 am.  Clearly, I needed more coffee.

And so… I present you the newest attempt at solving this problem!

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Drip-Drop! Which, yes, is now it’s name.  I brought it home for the weekend so I can learn how to make it work best, but the plan is that Drip-Drop (Drippy, for short) will live at work.  Along with a small tea-pot (have to figure out which one still, I think something may have to be purchased), thus increasing my ability for a mid-morning coffee without having to go down to the cart to buy one pre-made.  They’ll still provide the coffee grounds, of course, but hopefully this will help in my plans of cutting back my coffee-spending!

That’s my news this week… I am very excited about Drippy, and the possibility of fresh-brewed coffee RIGHT AT MY DESK!

I would probably also mention how excited I am about Passionate Geeks.  I registered a hashtag for it and everything (#PassionateGeeks)!  So far I’ve had a lot of people express interest in writing for it, and am hoping that the interest does translate into actual writing.  It’s so nice to have found something that other people seem to be as excited about as I am!

And, now that I’ve got some of this coffee in me and am starting to wake up, I’d tell you I’ve been reading for the #LazyLambs Book Club.  We’re reading “A Dirty Job” by Christopher Moore this round (plan is to be done by June 27th if anyone wants to join in!) It’s a fun read and I’m really enjoying some of the characters so far.

I’d also tell you that I’m making good progress on Bria Lana – my novel.  It’s really rough still, and I’m having to do a fair amount of writing in this revision.  It’s part of an ongoing process of learning about my own writing style, what works, what doesn’t.  It’s pretty cool to be figuring it out!

How about you?  How are you doing?  How has your week been?


 

Today’s post is a part of the Weekend Coffee Share, graciously hosted by Part Time Monster every weekend! A time for us to come together, share a cup of coffee (or our beverage of choice) to share some of what is going on in our lives.  It’s a lovely check-in time.

Celebrate decisions and progress!

It can be hard to celebrate on days when I haven’t had enough sleep and am facing a stressful day at work. But the great thing about Celebrate The Small Things is that it challenges us to find something to celebrate even in the face of less celebratory life.
And so, today, I celebrate.
I celebrate the excitement that is growing around “Passionate Geeks“! I’m excited to be hearing from so many different people excited about participating -it’s going to be awesome!
I also celebrate making hard decisions. Since I made the decision to stop work on Disparate Threads (for now) I have been able to make serious progress on my novel. It helps reassure me that I made the right decision. Apparently I’m a One-story-at-a-time kinda gal.

What do you celebrate?

Today is Celebrate the Small Things Friday.  Hosted by Lexa Cain, L.G. Keltner of Writing Off the Edge, and Katie of The Cyborg Mom, Celebrate the Small Things is a time when we all take a moment to celebrate something good from our week.  It can be small, it can be big, just something to look back on the week and celebrate!

Celebrate the Small Things

#1000Speak for Compassion: Connection

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1000 Voices for Compassion is a movement that tries to flood the internet with compassion.  Each month they choose a theme, and on the 20th try to get as many people posting on that theme as possible.

I participated in the inaugural event and have been on the edges of the community though haven’t written anything else since.  This months theme, though, spoke to me.

 Connection.

There are so many ways to explore this topic — connection is a key component to our lives. I’ve explored a number of directions to take this post, but I think what it comes down to is that by trying to forge some sort of connection with others we are able to create a foundation for relationship.  New friendships rise out of finding those common interests, by connecting around something.

I believe we are all connected in some way.  Core to my theological and spiritual understanding is the idea that everything is connected.  I think it’s the reason so many of my created magic systems utilize an idea of threads, a clear connection between everything.

When we start to recognize these connections it allows us to have more empathy and understanding of others.  It’s easy to see the connections with friends, but what about the connection with people you don’t know?  It can be hard to see, but finding the connections can help us to understand others, help us to be able to interact with care and compassion.  Sometimes it can be something small, something silly, but it’s a connection. And that connection may not grow into friendship, or even into liking the person, but it gives you a foothold to be able to show them compassion.

I think about some of the individuals I’ve worked with through the years.  Some of them can be challenging, the arch-type I’m thinking of right now is the dreaded helicopter parent.  I’ve encountered this type in most of the jobs I’ve had, those parents who are pushy, and seem to be running every small detail of their child’s life.  It can be a challenge to interact with them, to get past whatever their actions (or tone… some of them are amazing at the “you can’t possibly know what you’re talking about” tone), in order to conduct the business that needs to be done — and to do so in a way that continues to be compassionate and kind.  Then I remind myself that, while I don’t necessarily think their method may be the healthiest or best for the child in the long run, they are acting from a place of wanting the best for their child.  Helping their child is also what I am trying to do, so there we have some place of connection to start from.

Connection can allow us to engage with others in the world in a compassionate way.

A bit of this, a bit of that, the meandering thoughts of a dreamer.

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