All posts by eclecticalli

I am finding my way on the meandering, twisting path of life, constantly surprised by what’s around the next bend. Working to embrace and face the challenges inherent with following your dreams, and writing the journey. A writer and dreamer, historian and theologian, academic and fantasy-world-creator, genealogist and gluten-free baker, crafter and reader, poet and life-long learner, constantly questioning and occasionally irreverent. Eclectic Alli is my personal blog, with reflections on writing, life, theology, history, or whatever may catch my thoughts. Disparate Threads is a fantasy-fiction serial-blog, I am trying to break out of the traditional book-format mold of storytelling, taking advantage of the blog format to build a world. Everything on Disparate Threads is considered "Draft," and I WANT reader responses and input! Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and Instagram round out my online presence, and I try to do little bits different with each of them.

Weekend Coffee Share: Relaxation, some…

Glad you could join me for coffee again!  This weekend I’m back home, enjoying some relaxation time — and a little cleaning and Jamberry work, of course.  My goal is to also get a little writing time in as well, though part of my challenge is figuring out what I want to write.  I haven’t exactly had a lot of inspiration lately — unless I start venturing into the realm of non-fiction. It might happen….

Last weekend was awesome. I am completely in love with my niece – she is adorable and sweet. 2 months old and she’s just starting to engage with the world around her. It was a lot of fun to get to “play” with her, coo over her a bit, and help rock her to sleep.  It was also wonderful to get to catch up with my sister — the two of us haven’t had the chance to really visit and hang out together in a long time.

I’m starting to get excited about next weekend now, I have next Monday off so that I can see the solar eclipse.  While where I live is only going to be a partial eclipse (like, 90%+) I am actually going down to stay with a friend in the path of totality. I’ve been working on this plan for over a year – and am excited that I’ll get to see this pretty awesome event and get to spend some quality time with my friend and her family. We’re just hoping that the Oregon weather cooperates to give us a clear-enough sky to really appreciate it!  Also hoping that the drive down (the day before the eclipse) and the drive home (the same day as the eclipse) go smoothly. There is so much that could go wrong with so many people flooding that area….

I started writing this Friday morning, and now it’s Saturday and I’ve been doing a lot of napping, and also a lot of looking at the news coming out of Charlottesville.  The news is disheartening, frightening, and another one of those cold shocks of reality – and I’m finding it hard to write about much else at the moment. It’s also causing me to reflect some on the ways in which my illness (which is still being figured out and treatments are still being worked on) is limiting the level of involvement that I am able to have in taking any sort of action and being any sort of a voice against this.  It’s a lot to process, and I’m tossing it around in my mind – but don’t really want to ramble my way through it at you right now so that’s all I’m going to say for now.

I hope that you are having a good weekend, staying safe and getting some relaxation in. Take care of yourself out there.

Weekend Coffee Share is a weekly check-in, hosted by Part-Time Monster.  Join us!

Weekend Coffee Share: Mini-Vacation Family Time!

Coffee this week will be in a new setting. I’m going up to the Seattle area for the weekend, meeting my almost-2-month-old niece!! I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to be heading up there, getting to spend some quality time with the little family.

That’s really ALL I have on my schedule for the weekend. The goal has been to treat this as a vacation. I’m stopping in Seattle proper to have lunch with my cousin (and meet her little one, who is about a year old now) before continuing on to my sisters place. Then the weekend with my sister, brother-in-law and niece where I will have nothing to do but lend a hand as needed, hang out, and visit.

It’s going to be fabulous.

While it’s the end of the summer for many people, to me it feels like the begining of my vacation time. At my work things don’t pick up until October, and August and September tend to be our slowest months, so it’s a good time for vacations and days off. I’ve got this trip this weekend, a day off for the eclipse in a few weeks, and then a few days in September – just because.

There are a few more things I wanted to get taken care of before I get officially started on my vacation (taking a Bolt Bus up to Seattle so have the trip to get things done) so I’m going to start moving on those — but wanted to just say hi!

I’ll be sharing pictures from my trip on Instagram, otherwise, I’ll see you guys back here next weekend. Still trying to think of what other posts I might want to do this month, but I’m at least going to be doing my Coffee Shares!

Hope you all have a good weekend!!

Be sure to visit Part-Time Monster for ohter Weekend Coffee Shares!!

Insecure Writer’s Support Group: Fear

I’m dipping my toes back into the writing world.  I’ve had to take a break, for a number of reasons (I talked a little about it in my Coffee Share this past weekend), but I know it’s time to start easing myself back into writing, of any form.

I’ve been thinking some about the kind of writing I do.  I have a deep interest in writing fiction, but the stories aren’t flowing as strongly as they once were. It’s probably a combination of things – my depression and anxiety have been running pretty rampant this year, and I’ve had a pretty full schedule between Jamberry work, my day-job, figuring out some health issues and social things. So my energy has been pretty drained, making it hard to muster up what I need to do my writing. There also is a distinct lack of “free time.” Not to mention I haven’t been reading as much (damn you, depression, making it so I am not able to really become engrossed in a book), which has traditionally been one of my fiction-writing-inspiration-points.

More and more, probably because of many of those same factors, I’ve been finding myself drawn to the idea of writing non-fiction. I have moments where I think that things I’m going through, things I have knowledge of, might be of interest to others.  But that instantly gets knocked down by fear (thanks anxiety). What if I don’t actually have something worth saying?  What if what I have to say isn’t of interest to anyone else?  What if… what if… what if…. And my writing ambitions get swallowed up by the fear that those things I have to say – some of them quite important to me and my life-journey -will be discredited and torn apart.  That someone will say that I’m wrong, and therefore, somehow, invalidate all that I think and feel on a topic.

It’s ridiculous, I know, but it’s a fear nonetheless.

When I’m writing fiction it’s easy (well, easier) to shrug things off if someone else doesn’t like what I’ve written.  “Not the target audience,” can be a wonderfully comforting phrase.  It’s also easier to separate from myself. While my fiction is certainly infused with my reality, drawing from what I ‘know,’ it is still something separate from myself. Non-fiction is much closer, at least the sort I’ve been thinking about writing, and so the risk factor becomes so much higher.


Weekend Coffee Share: In which I attempt to return… again…

I can’t tell you how many half-finished Weekend Coffee Share posts I have sitting around. Seriously, it’s been too long. I feel like I need to give this blog a good summer-cleaning. There are is no way I don’t have cobwebs gathering around the corners.

So, let’s try this. Let’s start up again nice and slow, with a casual coffee chat. Now hosted, once again, by Part Time Monster (after a lovely interlude at Nerd In the Brain‘s). Since it’s so nice here, let’s settle on the front patio – the garden that my brother spends a lot of time playing in is blooming quite nicely.

Before I launch into my saga, I’d love to hear what you’re up to. How have things been going for you over these past… months? Has it been months? Are you having a good summer? Any exciting plans for the time that remains of it?

I’m really looking forward to next weekend – I’ll be going to visit my niece for the first time! She’s about 7 weeks old now, and just adorable. I can’t wait to get to hang out with her and my sister and brother-in-law for the weekend! There are some other fun things happening with the remainder of the summer, but I’ll tell you all about those as they get closer.

So, where have I been? Right here, for the most part. I did spend some time in Salt Lake City for a Jamberry conference (which was pretty fun). But otherwise I’ve just been here. Going to work, coming home, trying to stay awake long enough to do a little Jamberry work. Come the weekends it varies just a little, more Jamberry work, a bit of socializing, more sleeping. Repeat.

My health has been all over the place, and it’s been taking a fair amount of my energy. Some of it has just been that whatever is going on with me takes my energy. I’m tired ALL the time. And some of it is that I am trying new medications, going to visit doctors, and things like that, which also take what energy I do have. I’m excited that we may be making progress on figuring out what’s going on with me, but in the meantime it’s kind of exhausting.

I am hoping to get back into the swing of things though. I miss writing, and need to push myself to get more of it done. I’ve been thinking about it, had snippets of little project idea’s here and there, but I haven’t made any of them happen yet. Some of it, I know, is that I’ve been so tired and busy elsewhere that writing has taken a back-seat to all else. I need to change that. Even fifteen minutes here and there would make a difference. I may even start carrying a notebook again – see if doing some handwritten stuff helps get things going again. I’ll have more about all of that later this week, because I fully intend to get back on the Insecure Writer’s Support Group train again. It’s been far too many months since I participated in that.

While I’m easing myself back in that’s going to be enough. I’m going to try to do SOMETHING for the Coffee Share, and IWSG posts again. And then, hopefully, that will help lead me to more. I’ve done a little reading, and there are certainly posts I want to write about that. I had grand plans for Banned Book Week in September, and would love to keep up with that event.

Enough out of me for now – I’ve got a baby blanket I need to finish crocheting! Hope you have a great weekend.

Weekend Coffee Share: In which I return…

At least for a time! We’ll see if I manage to keep up the modest writing goals I’m setting for myself this week.


Join me for some coffee.  It’s been a while, I’ve just been having a hard time keeping up with everything on my plate.

I’ll be honest, in large part it’s been because of my own energy. I have some health issues going on that have been draining. Trying to figure out what’s been up with my health has meant trying out some new medications to see what my bodies response is to it. It’s been nice to have doctors willing to be working with me to figure it out, since symptoms have been increasing over the last year I really feel like figuring out what’s going on is hitting a really important point.

Part of that has also been being kinder to myself. Reminding myself that I have the energy I have, and it’s okay to decide that certain things are more important to spend my energy on than others. It’s been hard, because some of those things that I have decided it’s not worth my energy right now are things I really want to do. Like working on my novel. 

It just takes a lot of energy and focus to write. Particularly at the stage I’m in now with it, where I have to do a bit more background work and figure out some particular details to make the rewrites worthwhile. The focus and attention that kind of work needs is exhausting. Don’t get me wrong, I love to do it – I have these moments know where I feel actual longing for those nights and weekends I used to have where I would completely lose myself in the inner-workings of a story. Emerging from my computer only for the occasional meal, or more coffee or wine. It’s this feeling like no other when you are so embedded in a story that it begins to take over your dreams, and you find yourself playing scenes in your head during the day.

But I haven’t had the energy to even get started on it. I have had to decide how much I’m willing to wear myself down – and what it takes for writing keeps landing just on the other edge of the line of reasonable. 

I’ve had moments of more energy, started to have some dreams and visions of what I could do with this blog if I were able to dedicate my focus on it more. I’ve had ideas and insights (here and there) about the novel, and would like to get back to it. My hope is that by the end of the summer I’ll have gotten myself to a place where all of that is possible.

I’m likely rambling (more than a bit) here. How about something more solid?  This weekend is kind of exciting, it’s punctuated by a retirement party for my mom. After 20+ years working as a Director of Religious Education she’s moving into retirement and the church is throwing a party for her. It’ll be fun to be there with her for her day – I grew up in that church, and have been back on and off through adulthood, so I anticipate a number of familiar faces and perhaps some from the past.

 What are you up to this weekend?  Any plans?

This week marks another one of those busy weeks for me at work, though the “busy” weeks have been considerably less stressful than they used to be. And the week after that… well, I’ll tell you all about that NEXT weekend 🙂

Weekend Coffee Share: Treading Water

It’s been some time since we’ve had coffee – life’s been all over the place for me and, I have to admit, I haven’t had a whole lot of extra energy. I’m hoping to be coming up on some answers to some of the health challenges that I have going on right now, but, in the meantime, I’m trying to just listen to myself and get the rest I seem to need when I can.

But that means so many of the projects I’ve had on deck are still just sitting on deck. One of these days I’ll be able to get back into the swing of things – for the time being, I’m just happy that you all come back to visit when we have a chance to have coffee.

The weather has taken a turn to warm (or downright hot if the predictions for the coming week are correct), so I’ve been trying to enjoy a little bit of the sun. It’s nice to be able to toss the window open and get fresh air — my goal for Saturday was to get some good work done around my room, along with some cooking and planning — this summer I intend to find a way to build both a catio and a little-library! However, my reality Saturday ended up just a little cleaning and work – and a nap and a visit with a friend. So that was good, still. Now it’s Sunday and I hope I can get a bit more work done, plus meal prep for the week.

What have you been up to lately? What are planning on for this week?  Have you ever had those times when your energy just vanishes and you’re not able to keep up with anything beyond the bare necessities?

Weekend Coffee Share is a weekly chance to check in with our blogging community.  Hop around the internet and enjoy the hospitality of this great community with a casual chat. Started by Part-Time Monster, and now hosted by Nerd In The Brain this is a lovely community and a fun weekly check-in. Check out the link-up, and feel free to join in the fun!

Reading Without Walls

I know, I know, I don’t really need to add another reading challenge to my list. And, yet….

The Powell’s Reading Without Walls challenge just seemed perfect (and I can even write about one of the books I already had on tap to read for something else)! 

The Reading Without Walls challenge is very basic, and I would highly encourage you all to give it a go! Powell’s has even compiled a list of young reader options.

There are three chalenges:

  1. Read a book about a character who doesn’t live or look like you.
  2. Read a book about a topic you don’t know much about.
  3. Read a book in a format you don’t normally read for fun. This might be a graphic novel, a book in verse, etc.

What books can you think of to read in these categories?