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.

#WeekendCoffeeShare: Gluten-Free Goodies and READING!

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngWeekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans? Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about?
All are welcome! Just add your link to the Linky-List, and be sure to visit others and join in their conversations! The link will be open from October 20th at 7am (Pacific Time) through October 23rd at 7pm (Pacific Time) to give us a good range of “weekend”!

Welcome friends!

I’ll invite you to join me for coffee this week over some delicious Gluten-Free baked goods. Really, they have to be delicious — I’m not a fan of that cardboard/healthy-tasting Gluten-Free nonsense. I make spectacular cinnamon rolls! If I have to eat Gluten-Free I want to at least get to enjoy it!

Why the GF goodies this week? Because I’m excited about my weekend plans! Saturday I’ll spend a portion of the morning at a Gluten-Free Festival! This is the third year I’ll be attending, it looks like there may be a few new vendors this year and I’m looking forward to seeing what products might be coming out and tasting all the samples.

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Look at all the swag from last year!

Last year I was pretty inspired, so I’m hoping to come home afterwards and get some food prep and cooking done. I definitely need to do some – my prepared lunch options are quickly dwindling, and I don’t usually have the energy to do much food-work during the week.

I might share that I’ve been dealing the past few weeks with a pain flare-up that I think is finally getting under control. It’s strange for me to adjust to the fact that random instances of pain are just to be expected, but I’m thankful for a rheumatologist who is happy to work with me and communicates well via email. This latest thing was a stiffness, followed by joint pain, in my dominant hand pointer finger.

Let me tell you, I hadn’t realized just how much I use that finger in every-day-work until it hurt to bend it or have pressure on the knuckles! I’ve been doing a lot of writing – and with NaNo coming up in a few weeks will be doing even more typing — so it’s nice that things are starting to subside. Would hate to be unable to participate this year due to pain! And, sure, I could dictate the thing but… I just don’t think the same when I’m narrating something as I do when I’m writing it. I learned that a few years back when my roommate kindly typed up a paper for me when I was working on my Master’s Degree and my tendinitis was flaring up something fierce.

Fun side-effect of that time — he now probably recalls more about that paper than I do.

This weekend is also Dewey’s 24-hour ReadAThon! So between the gluten-free-browsing and the potential cooking, I’m also going to be READING! Clearly, I won’t be going for the full 24-hours, but I have a little stack of books that I dug out of my piles to read through. I need to start cutting down on my collection, so these ones seem good ones to read in hopes of maybe then being able to part with them.

Or, you know, maybe I’ll bury myself in Allison Maruska’s Seventh Seed — her new book that’ll be launching on the 24th! I got an Advanced Reader Copy and am super-excited to get through it!
Wow, when I started sharing I hadn’t realized how much I’m fitting into this weekend! Best get moving on it — what are you up to this weekend?

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#TakeAStand Against Domestic Violence – Stories

The stories about Intimate Partner Violence are hard to hear. But it’s important that the stories get told, that people listen, really listen, to the tales these people have to tell. Listen and honor their experience, and help to give them a chance to share their voices – as they feel safe to do.

Like many things, the more we keep it quite, the more we shuffle it off as “something we don’t talk about,” the worse it can become.  Despite the age-old adage, Ignoring something does not make it go away.

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Here are just a few articles that share some individuals experiences with Domestic Violence.
“Why Didn’t You Just Leave?” Six Domestic Violence Survivors Explain Why It’s Never That Simple.

The Most Dangerous Time: Five Women Tell Their Stories of Leaving an Abusive Relationship.

Stories from The National Domestic Violence Hotline

Survivor Stories from Fight Against Domestic Violence

 

#TakeAStand against Domestic Violence

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. A time to increase awareness about the serious issue of Domestic Violence.

Fight Against Domestic Violence is an organization which “provides education, awareness, outreach, and financial resources to the domestic violence victims and their community.” They’re behind the #TakeAStand17 movement this month, encouraging all to stand up against Domestic Violence.

I’ve signed up with FADV as an Activist Ambassador, committing to taking actions every month to help spread education – and figured that I might as well start doing some of that through this blog!  So scattered through the rest of the month I’ll be sharing some information, stories, and resources.

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There are a lot of different kinds of abuse, and often more than one form of abuse is present.  Intimate partner violence is rampant – the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) has some statistics – they note that in the United States alone an average of 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partners every minute. 1 in 2 women, and 1 in 4 men have been victims of some form of intimate partner violence in their lifetime.

And you have to imagine that these numbers don’t include those cases that go unreported and unrecorded….

The US National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

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#WeekendCoffeeShare: Rainy Days!

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Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

Grab a cup of coffee and share with us!  What’s been going on in your life?  What are your weekend plans?  Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about?

All are welcome! Just add your link to the Linky-List, and be sure to visit others and join in their conversations!

I’m so happy you joined me for coffee again this weekend! Today I’m inviting you to sit with me near the roaring fire, enjoying the warm beverage of your choice. It’s finally cooling down and raining here, so we’re firing up the fireplace and enjoying that delightful wood-smoke smell. The good one, not the one that we kept smelling this summer that meant that everything was on fire.

It’s raining outside now, and I love it. I wasn’t so happy to be commuting in the rain, the bus ride is a bit less pleasant when everyone is soaking wet, but I adore it when I can enjoy the weather from the warm and dry confines of my house.

There really hasn’t been a lot going on this week, just working away and doing some other work on the side. I have started to think some about the story I’m going to write for NaNoWriMo – just bits and pieces of ideas. I’m trying, really hard, to not commit myself to any specifics for the story. My own writing experience – particularly when I’m trying to just get back into the flow of things – is that the more restrictions and expectations I put on myself the more stifled I’m likely to feel.  So all ideas get jotted down in a word document for me to reference if I find myself stuck or in need of some refreshed ideas.

My upcoming weekend is going to be pretty chill. I’m getting together with my Dad and Step-Mom for breakfast on Saturday, and have my standing Game Group Sunday night — but beyond that I’m hoping to get some cleaning, organizing (and maybe even getting rid of things) done.  I REALLY want to make some progress on a few piles that have been sitting on desks in my room since last winter!

What are you up to this weekend?

 

Weekend Coffee Share: Weddings and Memorials

Since we’re imagining coffee together I’m also going to imagine a location. Because I’d love to be taking coffee with you on a sun-porch, looking out at the leaves starting to turn colors. I love the fall. Everywhere I’ve lived I’ve gotten to enjoy the moment of gifts where the trees provide spectacular colors as the leaves die and drop, making way for new growth in the spring. Those days where there’s a crispness in the air, but the sun is shining… I love them. Today I’m particularly wishing I could go for a nice stroll through a hidden away country path, hearing the leaves crunch under my feet. There’s this one trail I’m thinking of, really just a faint shadow of a memory, that ran near my undergrad campus. I haven’t stepped foot on that train for over ten years, but I still find myself drawing back to it (and wishing I had walked it far more when I was there). That’s the kind of mood I’m in this morning, steeped in the quiet of fall and the air of memory. I’d love to hear some of your favorite fall memories — what has the season been like where you have lived?

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Vermont Fall Foliage (courtesty chensiyuan, via Wikepedia)

The weekends activities may be contributing to this feeling a bit. I have two events going on, Saturday afternoon I’m working a vendor table at a Wedding Showcase. I’m excited, I’ve never worked (or attended) anything like this and think it should be fun. Added bonus, one of my friends (very) recently got engaged and is going to be attending with a few of our other friends – so I’ll get to see them too! I’m anticipating a combination of excitement and stress from the people attending, and hoping it’s a productive (and, yes, lucrative – both in the fiscal and the potential new contacts way) time! Sunday afternoon I’m attending the memorial service for an older woman who attended the congregation I grew up in. I didn’t know her super-well, but have a few memories of her – she and her husband owned this amazing house which had a swimming pool in the back yard, and for a number of summers they’d offer use of their pool in the church auction. My family got it at least once, and it was a pretty magical time. They also hosted a number of parties and celebrations, and we attended a few of those. It will be nice to see some of the people who go to the memorial, and to hear more about the life of this pretty awesome woman. That’s my weekend plans, what are you up to? I’d love to hear! Weekend Coffee share is a blog-hop that’s been around for a while, being hosted at different sites – and now I’m going to take up the mantle.

I’m having trouble getting the Linky list to work correctly- so feel free to add a link to your post in the comments below – and try to find some time to visit others!

Preparing for the Month To Come: Insecure Writer’s Support Group

It’s that time of year when a lot of writers are starting to think about November. Because November brings National Novel Writing Month… and for some of us that’s a month of writing madness. I have my hesitations this year. I mean, it’s been probably a year (at least) since I’ve done any consistent writing. Like a great many, I’ve found it hard to pull myself into my stories – or to even find the stories that I need in order to write. It’s been a year of feeling adrift and lost in a lot of ways. But I am determined to change that. Because, let’s be honest, I can’t have another year like this last one. I just can’t. So I am going to prepare to approach NaNo in a way that has worked for me before. Which means, not really preparing at all. I mean, aside from figuring out how I want to write (typing it? Or do I want to handwrite and guestimate my words? Some combination of the two?), and where I want to write (google-docs? Scrivener? Word? Which notebook? Multiple locations? Do I keep a spreadsheet of my word count?), I’m going to dive in blind. No pre-plotting, no expectations. The only requirement is that it’s an open enough story that I can make anything happen and go off on ridiculous tangents if I need to (hello Victor Hugo, Les Miserables inspiration… we do all need an extended treatise on the Paris sewer system for one scene… right?). I’ve had success with this approach in the past – even managed to get seeds for stories that were actually viable (and that I have gone on to complete full, coherent, drafts of). The big question looms, will I have success in it again? Or will I stutter and fall apart, and lose any sense of drive to keep going? I’m hoping that it will be successful, and am trying to stamp away that niggling thought that I might not manage it. The real thing I’m going to do in October to try to prepare for November is to read. It’s also been a pretty long drought for me when it comes to reading (sad, but I was struggling to keep myself engaged with anything much – and books were one of the casualties), and I need to re-fill myself with inspiration. Last week I devoured through a few books for Banned Books Week, and in a few weekends I’ll be participating in Dewey’s 24-hour-readathon (even if I’m not managing to participate in the 30-days-of-readathon). So hopefully I can start plowing through these books I’ve accumulated, fill my mind with all sorts of random inspiration, which will somehow translate itself to semi-cohesion when I pour it to the page. Are you going to participate in NaNo next month? If so, how are you preparing? And how could I forget swag day?! Here’s me with my awesome IWSG notebook! wp-1462383471325.jpg This is my monthly post as part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a great group of supportive writers, helping one another through our writing ups-and-downs. There is also a great Facebook Community for more daily connection! More posts from the group are tagged on Twitter at #IWSG.

Banned Books Week: Eleanor and Park

I may be a little late with this one – but one final Banned Books week post!

eleanorparkThis is another book that has been challenged because it’s “Unsuited for age-level,” and it has been removed from a few locations (including one removal that was reconsidered when it was realized the objections were actually about fan art, and not the book itself).

The reasons vary – the one cited on the ALA list is because of its language, and you can’t deny that swearing is scattered about, like, a lot. The author, Rainbow Rowell addresses this point very nicely, and I have to agree with her assessment. The use of swearing was, first of all, very real. And second, helped to create the atmosphere that these kids were living in. It became a part of the stage setting.

I really liked the book – for a number of reasons but one of them was the unique approach to the point-of-view of the story. The narration switches between Eleanor and Park, sometimes for as short as a few sentences, other times a few pages. We see the world through both of their eyes, and to me it helped to draw me closer to the characters. And in some ways, my own self. As Eleanor sat hating certain things about herself, Park would ponder on the ways those same things drew him in. I wonder what it would have meant to me to read something like that when I was younger, to see the ways that the things I hold as my greatest flaws – the things I like least about myself – might be things that someone else would love.

There are so many articles about the banning of this book, challenges made to it, and responses.  Personally I find the idea of banning it from shelves due to the language to be ridiculous (what teenagers aren’t at least hearing swear words?), and if it was challenged due to harsh content – like topic of abuse – I feel it’s equally ridiculous. These are topics that teenagers DEAL with in their lives, how does pretending it doesn’t exist help anyone?

What are your thoughts?