Category Archives: Series of Sorts

Those “Repeat Features” that show up from time to time

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?

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.

Weekend Coffee Share meets Banned Book Week!

Goodness. So, if we were having coffee I’d tell you that WAY back in January I had this silly idea. The idea was that I was going to be on top of my blogging. I had A PLAN. I was going to post REGULARLY. AND I was going to participate in all sorts of regularly occurring blogging-events.

So, of course, I end up not even being able to keep up with Insecure Writer’s Support Group and Weekend Coffee Share… Sigh.

One of the things I was certainly planning for, from the start of the year, was Banned Book Week. I’ve done something for Banned Book Week every year since I really started keeping up with the blog. And then we hit mid-September this year and I realized I hadn’t done anything in the past few months to get ready.

Yeah… so… I have to change that.

So my weekend is going to be spent sleeping, cooking, and getting some posts together for Banned Book Week!

I’d invite everyone to participate in Banned Book Week with me this year! Even if you haven’t had a chance to prepare – join me for the Banned Book Week Bloggers of the Last Minute!

How to participate? Easy –

  • Write a post to talk about a book you love that has been banned or challenged some time in the past 17 years (there’s a list here – I bet you can find a book on it you’ve read!)
  • Read one of the top 10 challenged/banned books from 2016 and share your thoughts
  • Participate in the Rebel Reader Twitter Tournament!
  • Learn some about the reasons behind one of the top challenged/banned books and share what you’ve learned.

Or something else awesome – anything to help promote awareness of Banned and Challenged Books!

On Sunday I’ll put up a pinned post for the Banned Book Week Bloggers of the Last Minute – feel free to drop a link to your posts there and I’ll share them and repost as I can!

Me, I’ve picked up two of the books that made the Top Ten list which I’ve been wanting to read anyhow, so I hope to read them and write some about them this week. I’ll have some other posts too – sharing information and such.

So, I’d best get to reading!

Weekend Coffee Share – Out and About Again

If we were having coffee I’d tell you that I had fully intended to write this post on Friday. I’d taken the day off from work, you see, to have a day to take care of some odds and ends. One of those things was to finally get myself some spinach tortillini in alfredo sauce from Spaghetti Factory. I have been craving that stuff for a few years (along with their bread…yummmm), and practically dreaming of it in the last 6 months or so. However, being Gluten-Sensitive, Tortellini and bread are not generally on my eating list. I had to make sure that I was having it on a day when I could afford to be pretty well useless for the rest of the day if I needed (wheat gives me a ridiculous brain fog). Well, Friday was the day – it just fell into place that it was a possibility for me to enjoy some Spaghetti Factory for lunch. It was just as awesome as I remembered, delicious and amazing. So worth it. Then we got out to the car. And it wouldn’t start. Thank goodness my mom (who had been my lunch date) has AAA! They got us started, but we’ve got some battery corrosion to attend to. I finished off the evening with meeting up wiht a friend and her family for some Frozen Hot Chocolate to celebrate the end of the first week of school for the girls. So much fun, but MAN was I tired by the time I got home. Today I woke up early (well, the normal time for me to wake up to go to work – which is not my normal wake up time on the weekends) and hopped in the car with some other ladies to drive up past Seattle for a Jamberry meeting. There are some big changes happening in the company, and it was nice to get a little more information on some of that – and it’s always nice to get to sit with other consultants and spend some time talking the business! Now, as I write this, I am actually babysitting my 3 month old niece so my sister and brother-in-law can have some grown-up time. They put her to sleep before they left but, as kids do, she woke up shortly after they left. But, let me tell you, that girl was TIRED. I think perhaps she had decided that Auntie Al needed to get more cardio in her day …. Well, as is the way with infants – the little one decided to wake up as I was writing, so I spent the rest of the time keeping her entertained 🙂 Now on my way home, enjoying a lovely train ride along the Sound – Ieven managed to get a seat with a table — never had one of these before, it’s awesome! Such beautiful scenery so, yes – lets pretend that we are sitting together at this table, enjoying the scenery together! How has your weekend been?

Insecure Writer’s Support Group – Finding Motivation

The thing I’ve been struggling with most recently in my writing has been finding motivation. I’ve actually had more ideas running around – not a plethora of them, but some at least. Certainly nothing I’d share – they are fragmented enough that they wouldn’t be more than a scene here and there – but still, it’s been ideas.

However, I struggle to find the motivation to actually write them. To carve time (even fifteen minutes) out of my day to write. It isn’t that I don’t have that time, I have binge-watched my way through Stargate Atlantis in the past few weeks, so clearly I have at least a little time to spare (not all of that has been just watching, there is plenty of time when I’ve also been doing other projects at the same time which don’t take as much of my focused attention).

Lacking motivation doesn’t always mean I lack desire. I do want to write. I miss the feeling I used to have when I could let a story flow through me, from the world around me onto the page. I even miss the struggle that comes with trying to wrangle an uncooperative character, the challenge of finding links within the story and creating a plot that makes sense. Hell, I even miss the tediousness of working through a draft, realizing the places where the story needs work and finding the way through rewrited.

It clearly isn’t desire to write I lack. But the motivation.

To be honest, I do know why I lack the motivation. At least, parts of it. In my instance it has to do with some medical issues which have caused my energy to be seriously low, and a shuffling of antidepressants that has left me, at the moment, in a space of having to fight to find the motivation to do anything. I know that, as I continue to push myself, as I continue to find answers to my health questions, I will continue to find this motivation challenge to be less and less of an insurmountable mountain.

But, looking beyond the current issues, I want to find ways to help push myself when the motivation is lacking and I don’t have as clear an idea as to why. Because I know there are times when I have to push myself to write. It’s just a natural part of being a writer (as far as I have seen).

I don’t want advice, per se. But I am curious what others have found works for them when they find themselves in a place where motivation is lacking. How do you pull yourself to do that thing you know you ultimately want to do, when you aren’t wanting to do it in the moment? Or do you let it rest? Step away for however long it takes until you want to do it again? I’m curious your experience.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Weekend Coffee Share: Long Weekend

If we were having coffee I’d be pretty tired. I’m trying a new medication, and have been fighting a cold all week (started out with a killer sinus headache last Sunday), and am just kind of ready to sleep. And I plan to do a fair amount of that this long weekend, well, sleep and visit with family and friends. And some grocery shopping and such. Because, well, life.

I’d tell you that I’ve been having fun playing with Midnight Monster – he’s been extra cuddly this week (I think he knows I need it) and that’s been really sweet. He also likes the re-arranging I did in our living space last weekend (before the headache hit), gives him far more space to romp around in!

We’ve also had a stray-cat visitor for a while now. They hang out near the window, and taunt Midnight Monster from the fence. He’s fun to observe, and a total bad ass.

And once again I didn’t finish writing this before the weekend started, so now I’m going to post it have finished so at least I get some coffee share with you all! What have you been up to this weekend?

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!