Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sad Week

Sorry I haven't posted in a while.  It's been a long, sad week for my family.  My Grandma passed away early Easter morning.  She would have been 92 on Tuesday, and had been in and out of the hospital the past year, so it wasn't unexpected, but it was still very sad.  I haven't written anything in the past week, and this is going to be a short post.  But I wanted to let you know I haven't disappeared.  Grandma is the first close family member of mine to pass, so it's a new experience for me.  I know she was ready to go, and I'm happy that she is in a better place now, but said for those of us left behind.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Writing Saturday

Saturday was wonderful! Of course, our writing days always are. Tina and I went to Sarah's house - The Treehouse. It's beautiful, trees everywhere, hence the name. The three of us shared new chapters, but did more talking than writing (we didn't write at all.) But we shared, and got ideas to improve what we already had, and shared each other's wonderful friendship. It was a great day, and I, as always, can't wait for our next Saturday meeting.

And while this isn't related to writing at all, I want to congratulate my best friend Renee on completing the St. Patrick's Day 5K run in under an hour. It was her first run, so CONGRATULATIONS!!

Friday, March 14, 2008

New Chapters

Between last night and tonight I have written 3 new chapters for The Moonlight Cafe. Let me say, for me, a chapter is short; on average, 3 printed, double spaced pages. Sometimes longer, sometimes shorter, but 3 is a safe average. But even so, I think 3 chapters in 2 nights is a good accomplishment for someone with a day job. I'm happy with the progress, though will have more research to do with one of the new story-lines.

We are having our writer's day this Saturday with the 3 of us who can make it. I am very excited, and can't wait to share the new chapters.

Now I must be off to bed. It's past my bedtime.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Rewrite Part 1, Complete

The first part of my rewrite - changing the point of view to first person - is complete. Yea me!

Almost Done, Sort of

I have 6 more chapters to rewrite into first person point of view. I might finish it tonight. Then I get to work on the really fun stuff. Building character, adding a story-line or 2, describing little things to bring the story to life. I'm having a lot of fun with this rewrite, and think the novel is much stronger because of it.

Our monthly writing day is this Saturday, but with 2 of the 5 members unable to make it, we might reschedule. Part of me wants to reschedule so everyone can be there (though it will be a long time before Sylvie can make it - she is out of town a lot for the next few months), but part of me wants to have it anyway with the 3 of us who can make it. We missed last month due to most of us being sick, and I'm really looking forward to this Saturday. I will go with what the group thinks best. Though if we do meet, it gives me more motivation, because I want to bring new work on The Moonlight Cafe, not just rewritten chapters. We shall see.

And now, I'm off to rewriting those last chapters.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Take Time

Driving to work this morning I realized how often I don't take time to pay attention to the simple beauties in life. There is a stretch of highway, just before the bridge, that is farmland, with trees edging the road. The trees are bare this time of year, stick figures reaching towards the sky. Yesterday morning, the view was stunning! The trees, the grass, everything in sight were covered in white. It looked like a completely different landscape, just from the snow cover. On top of that, there was a dense fog surrounding the bridge. I could only see maybe 50 feet in front of me. This added to the beautiful white landscape. I thought about how gorgeous it was. Yet by the time I had reached work, I was annoyed and cranky, and had completely forgotten about the white beauty. I let something as mundane as traffic overcome any sense of peace I had gained from just passing through the beautiful scenery. I didn't think of it again all day. It may as well have not happened.

Then this morning, I noticed how everything was back to normal on that stretch of the highway. All the white was gone, and it was once again a dreary, winter landscape. I remembered the beauty from the day before, and realized that I had forgotten all about it, as if it hadn't existed. It made me realize that I need to take more time to truly pause and admire the world around me and appreciate it. I too easily let the mundane aspects of life take over and cause me stress. I told myself that I must remember the beauty from yesterday, and think of it (or any other simple pleasures in life) when the world gets to be too much, and to step back for a moment and pause, take a deep breath, and relax. I told myself I must remember that, and to write a post in my blog about it when I got home. It must have worked, because here I am writing about it.

So when work, or family, bills, or whatever it is that causes you stress rears its ugly head, try to remember to take a step back, even if just for a moment. Think of some simple pleasure in your life. Take a few deep breaths. Always remember: "This, too, shall pass. "

Currently playing in iTunes: Tempest by Lisa Gerrard

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

More Snow and Dreariness

More snow fell on St. Louis yesterday. Sunday saw temperatures of 70 degrees and above. By the drive home Monday afternoon it was sleeting. By Tuesday afternoon there was anywhere from 6-12 inches of snow on the ground, depending on where you lived. Today it was 40, and most of the snow has already melted. I am infinitely ready for spring. I like snow, but I'd like it to stick around a bit longer, rather than melting a day later and leaving the world in a muddy ruin.

The dreary weather has been affecting my mood, and my creativity. I've been pulling myself to the computer to write, and have made progress. I'm about 3/4 of the way through rewriting The Moonlight Cafe in first person. Once done with that, I will work on other changes, and additions, to the story.

On the evenings that I just haven't been able to make myself write, I've been catching up on my magazines. I have subscriptions to Writer's Digest and The Writer - must haves for any aspiring writer. I've gotten several months behind, so I've been catching up. I read these with a highlighter in hand, to mark areas of specific interest. Then I go back and copy these areas into a notebook for future reference. Sometimes it's ideas to improve writing. Other times it is a list of publications, contests, or agents.

I'm also going to take some time to work on some short stories, things that might find publication a bit sooner than a full-blown novel. I have a list of magazines I want to submit to. Nothing written yet, but I'll get there.

As I write this, my puppies are playing in my office. They're tugging a Santa hat that came off one of their xmas presents. Tiberius got a stuffed teddy bear wearing a Santa hat. The hat is all that remains, and it is one of his favorite toys to carry around. From the tiny ripping noises I hear, it might not last past tonight. The puppies are always good for a mile, even in the dreariest of weather.

Currently playing in iTunes: Ben Pode Santa Maria by Azam Ali