I’m Still a Writer, Damnit! (some grumble from the pity jungle)

It’s been one of those days where you find you’ve taken two steps forward and three steps back – then fell backasswards off of a cliff. Want to come to my Pity Party, anyone?

  1. I’ve had a stroke. Can’t remember squat, like:
    *how to type
    *how to use a pencil
    *how to spell
    *how to walk
    *how to talk
    *how to dress myself
    ****how to finish the novel I was in the middle of when I had this blasted TIA, which was a hard won, one-third of the way to completion.

I seem to have gotten lost somewhere, those parts of me that make me – ME. I do know who I am. It’s locating me inside of this dumfuggled, scrambled, crambled, muddled, fuddled and befuddled, addled, dizzy, woozy, muzzy, groggy, foggy, dopey and dazed brain of mine that causes me such agitation.

It’s so frustrating. I get flashes of the whole the snapshot of what “Me” entails. Then it’s gone.

I know the basics: I’m married – and of a necessity, due to my limitations, separated from my spouse. I know I’m an ordained minister, an arm chair philosopher and a student of Nature and that I maintain websites connected to THOSE parts of me (which are woefully out of date).

I also know that I cannot pursue any religious ministry because my filters
are all out of kilter and “the ‘f’ bomb” slips out every now and again, along with certain other, less shocking profanities. In any case, no longer clergy material.

But I AM still a writer, damnit.

At least, I think so.

“I think, therefore I am…”, or so the saying goes. So, yes, damnit…STILL A WRITER!

You just watch – – I’ll come away from this experiece with all sorts of creations under my belt (Good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise!)

TRUE Writer’s Block: What to Do Now, After Your Muse Has Really Left (Six Months and Counting)

Folded Dreams, a follow-up novel to my venture into the world of self-publishing, managed to get to about 45% edit-worthy completion. I wasn’t completely satisfied with my work at that point, but I was proud to have at least made it that far! And then, as often happens of course, I hit an annoying bout of writer’s block – so I pouted for a few days, then decided I’d really show my Muse how childish an old fossil can get, and “cut off my nose just to spite my own face”…

Thanks to someecards.com!

Translation:  I  did what I believe a serious writer should never do for more than a few days at a time – I took a stupid vacation from writing. A couple of weeks should do it, I thought to myself. Just two weeks.

That was about the end of November or first of December, 2016.

As fate would have it (or “Never Disrespect Your Muse”), on the 8th of December I had a pretty serious stroke. Not a “major stroke”, mind (the kind that leaves one totally blind and unable to control one’s bodily functions), but bad enough to have to start from scratch to re-develop the ability to walk and use the muscles on the whole right side of my body to cough and spit toothpaste into a sink, and the dexterity I needed to dress and to even simply keyboard.

Writer’s block just became very real and much more complicated than ever, indeed.

It was necessary for me to leave my home and move in with one of my children; but I was determined to be ready when my muse again visited me, so I had my computer and flash drive book files brought over here to my son’s house.

A couple of weeks ago, I woke up with the urge to write. I thought about perhaps starting that book on stroke recovery which my therapists at Brooks Hospital had suggested. But, no – I wanted to get crackin’ on my novel again. After all, it’s nearly a year over-due for publish.

I plugged my flash drive into my lap top and began reading the existing chapters to the novel, “Folded Dreams”, you know, to refresh my memory as to where I was heading with the story. I really enjoyed re-reading what I’d written so far, mostly because I didn’t “recognize” it…

In fact, I had forgotten nearly the entire thing. Gone. Just. Like. That.

Pfffft.

Since that day, I’ve pondered the story, pounded my brain and perused all of my files on story-line notes and research to find anything I recognize. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. the only ‘discovery’ I’ve made is the continued enjoyment of reading a story which, each time I open it, seems like the first time reading someone else’s work. You see, I only vaguely remember having read it at all, no matter how many times I may have done so…that’s how Swiss-cheesey my brain is.

I don’t know how long this phase of recovery will last. I would like to believe it is only temporary, even if ‘temporary’ lasts for a long time yet. All I know is that THIS is true writer’s block, the likes of which can discourage me to the point of throwing in the towel…for good and ever.

But I won’t, even if I have to change the plot to include the protagonist having a stroke and losing herself completely.

Take THAT, Writer’s Block!!

Betrayed by Eyeballs 😵

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Eyeballs are pretty much a necessity to me…especially for their ability to see. Don’t get me wrong – I am well aware that there are many people whose eyeballs do not function and not a day goes by anymore that I don’t pray that I will be able to develop their skills if my eyeballs continue to degrade and betray me.

Backtrack.

About a year ago I started seeing ‘chains’ at the outer circle of my vision. From there I’ve developed ‘leopard spots’ and intermittent grey, blank spots, mostly when my eyeballs are hit directly with light. Sun, sitting under a lamp where the bare bulb is not hidden by the shade…a bright internet page – it makes no difference what lumens, my eyeballs rebel.

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That’s why I’ve not been online lately, except after days of protecting my eyeballs, and then for only a few minutes. Still unsure the exact cause because I’ve not sorted medical insurance yet – so I ask for a few good thoughts and prayers for my poor eyeballs, if you would be so kind, that they won’t completely betray me – well, at least til I’m finished with Folded Dreams. After that, I’ll be happy to start practicing alternative methods of writing and finishing my other books!

Ta Dahhh!! The Old Fossil is Celebrating 1 Year with WordPress!

Yeah. I'm cool like that, too :)

             Yeah. I’m cool like that, too 🙂

It’s The Old Fossil’s 1-Year Anniversary on WordPress!!

“Where do you go for research?”

While I may be only beginning my book publishing journey, I’ve been publishing posts and articles on other blogs and websites since 1996. I retired as a content writer for my last employer’s company and his main concern was summed up thus: “Where do you go for research?”

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My final employment was with a telemedical services company. The owner eventually approached me to work with his social media manager to learn to write content for our company web and blog sites. He also requested that I post original content about the subject of telemedicine on two of my own blogs.

I learned a lot working under ‘Shell (the social media coordinator). She was a brilliant teacher and mentor and not only understood exactly what content was needed, but suggested professional websites that would help insure the accuracy of my posts. Ultimately, my preferred research sites were under thimagesca94x3kne auspices of John’s Hopkins Hospital and University, the Mayo Clinic, JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association, NIHL (National Institute of Health Library) and the research libraries that Duke University, Princeton, Harvard, Yale and Oxford make available to the general public.

When I began to evolve my book, Folded Dreams – the Beginning, into novel form, I made full use of the experiences I’ve had with these online resources. Beyond having used these resources for research on previous site content, however, I have learned a good bit more about using my favourite search engine, Google, to research such subjects as physics, theology and religion, neurology, psychology and history (both social and geographical). And of course, I still research the old school way.

Go old school: read a book!

        Go old school: read a book!

From the results of my searches, I have come in contact with writers and authors, individuals who are experienced in the publishing world, whether as lay or professional persons, physics professors and students, clerics – including priests, rabbi’s and teachers of eastern mystical religions – and a number of other writer’s resource materials.

When I have completed Folded Dreams, the novel, rest assured that, while what is written may not be factual, it is done so purposefully. It is, as I have many times stated, a work of fiction after all.

I hope this post as to where I go for research helps those who are not yet familiar with my work, whether as an author or a site administrator/content writer, to understand that I take authorship very, very seriously. Let it not be said that amateurs can be spotted a mile away!

Speaking of which, there are only 15 days left to enter my Goodreads Giveaway, where you can win 1 of 10 print copies of my precursor book, “Folded Dreams – the Beginning”!

Where book characters are born or ♪ ♫ “Who’s that girl?” ♫ ♪

THIS...is one person!

THIS…is one person!

Regardless of genré, all fictional book characters are born in the writer’s mind. Whether historical fiction, scifi, metaphysical, visionary fiction or any other genré, the character is either a faithfully reproduced version or a conglomerate of individuals the author has known or seen. How many times have friends, acquaintances, family members…or anyone who reads a book…quoted, in essence, the old song – “Who’s that girl?” – when they find that they can relate to the protagonist. Or antagonist?

My sister was (and still is) one of my heroes, as are my mother, father (may they rest in peace) and children, in some way or another. They are, or were, not perfect. Everyone has their bad sides, no matter how easy it is to forget when they are such awesome and admirable human beings 98% of the time! It is worth it to bear in mind, however, that there are two or more sides to every single person who has been born on this planet, and any writer worth his salt will be able to objectively access these when creating a book’s characters. Of course, this is only my opinion.

Let’s be perfectly honest; how do we define certain adjectives or adverbs as they might apply to a protagonist or antagonist – if only to ourselves? As for me, all of you who follow this blog or have corresponded with me have often heard or seen me say, “Mama always said…”, usually followed by some tidbit of wisdom. Elsewhere, I also relate stories and memories of my childhood, experiences with my own children, strangers, hospitals, employers and even my own attitudes and beliefs as an adult when describing something.

For example: “That character is like one of the people I used to work for; he has a good heart, but unlike my granny, he lacks the strength of character to do the right thing.” The character in question is built on memories of my boss and my granny, and probably with a few other character traits from others I have known.

Now read my books. You will find all of the above in the personalities and experiences of the characters I have given birth to. Sometimes those characters are patched together as though I was the long lost great-great-granddaughter of Frankenstein, only not so evil…usually!

The human mind is like a computer: data is never completely lost no matter how many times you delete and “Empty Recycle Bin”. It is from all the data that has ever been entered into the writer’s brain that the characters in their books, short stories or poetry and prose are born. Experience is how we learn and experience is what fuels our imaginations.

“Who’s that girl?” Well, that’s my sister and her compassion, my mother and her wisdom, my granny and her strength of faith, and my father and his boardroom persona. When I state in the Disclaimer at the beginning of my books, that “the characters in this book are fictional and created strictly from the mind and imagination of the author”, it is true. Mostly. But then, so it goes with other authors.

Just sayin’.