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philosopher and a student of Nature and that I maintain websites connected to THOSE parts of me (which are woefully out of date).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!)

The Velcro Toss

I had an idea many years ago on how to deal with my progeny when they hit my last nerve. The “Velcro Toss”.

Picture one large blank wall, covered in one half of velcro…the sticking part.

Now picture a kid’s jumper (overalls to our followers who actually speak the Queen’s English!) made out of the stickY half of velcro.

Kids get rowdy…toss them in their velcro jumpers onto the velcro wall. Let stew for an hour or two. Peel off. Repeat as necessary!

I have had a stroke and will now be an annoyance to my children. I hope they’ve forgotten about my threats of using the Velcro Toss when they were small and lovably annoying.

Just sayin’.

“The scholar and his cat, Pangur Bán” by Robin Flower (or: “Pearl and Rain”)

The scholar and his cat, Pangur Bán

(from the Irish by Robin Flower)

Illustration from "Medieval Cats" by Kathleen Walker-Meikle ( it's on Amazon - click! )

Illustration from the book “Medieval Cats” by Kathleen Walker-Meikle ( it’s on Amazon – click! )

I and Pangur Bán my cat,
‘Tis a like task we are at:
Hunting mice is his delight,
Hunting words I sit all night.

Better far than praise of men
‘Tis to sit with book and pen;
Pangur bears me no ill-will,
He too plies his simple skill.

‘Tis a merry task to see
At our tasks how glad are we,
When at home we sit and find
Entertainment to our mind.

Pearl's kitty, "Rain". NOT available on Amazon!

Pearl’s kitty, “Rain”. NOT available on Amazon!

Oftentimes a mouse will stray
In the hero Pangur’s way;
Oftentimes my keen thought set
Takes a meaning in its net.

‘Gainst the wall he sets his eye
Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
‘Gainst the wall of knowledge I
All my little wisdom try.

For the cat person in your life! ( Amazon - "Click!" )

For the cat person (or cat loving writer) in your life! ( Amazon – “Click!” )

When a mouse darts from its den,
O how glad is Pangur then!
O what gladness do I prove
When I solve the doubts I love!

So in peace our task we ply,
Pangur Bán, my cat, and I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine and he has his.

Practice every day has made
Pangur perfect in his trade;
I get wisdom day and night
Turning darkness into light.

“To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time” by Robert Herrick – or – “Gather ye’ rosebuds”

Even in poetry, do I find inspiration. Case in point: the poem, To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time, was a 17th century work by English poet Robert Herrick which has had the power to gently urge me to write now, before my own words fade. From this poem we understand Herrick’s belief that life is very short, that the world is beautiful and love is splendid. Above all else, we must use the very short time that we are here to make the most of that life, leaving negative tendencies by the wayside and not to rely on fate to dictate the terms of life to us.

The older I get, the more I feel the same. Negativity has been banished from my vocabulary, for the most part, as has the word ‘can’t’. Even though I must live in this world with eyes wide open, seeing the harshness of reality, fortunately I’m able to dream…and write. I can think of no better inspirational quote than that by Tom Schulman, the screenwriter: “But only in their dreams can men be truly free. ‘Twas always thus, and always thus will be.”

carpe-diem

    ~ To the Virgins, Make Much of Time ~

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
To-morrow will be dying.
The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.
That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.
Then be not coy, but use your time,
And, while ye may, go marry:
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.

Writing is my way of ‘gathering rosebuds’, I suppose, even if the tendency is to go cautiously – so cautiously, sometimes, that I cease to make the effort. I may not be the virginal maiden to whom he speaks, but Herrick’s poem is certainly an inspiration for me to make much more of my time.

Avoiding Plagiarism – or – “Reading off-genré while writing”

When you’re a writer, there’s always the chance that you’re going to be accused of plagiarism, no matter how hard you try to avoid it. The problem is that plagiarism isn’t only taking someone’s work and passing if off as your own, but is also defined as taking someone else’s ideas and doing the same. Considering that original ideas are as scarce as hens’ teeth, how in the world can a writer hope to avoid such an accusation? Well, my personal practice is that, if I’m going to be reading in between bouts of writing, I read off-genré.

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At present, the genré in which I’m writing is Visionary Fiction. This is a relatively new designation which includes a combination of fantasy, scifi, metaphysical and so on. I knew that it was going to be a bit difficult to find something to read, but I didn’t realize just how difficult until I ran into a bit of a writer’s block and decided to take a break. It seemed as though every book I picked up involved a portion (no matter how small) of something I address in Folded Dreams, even if what I’m reading is historical fiction, elves, magic or romance. As a matter of fact, I have a half dozen books open in Kindle right now because I only got so far before running into a similar story-line as my book.

The same situation arises when I watch a movie. I can’t tell you how many times in the past week that I’ve had to change channels five minutes into some film or another because I didn’t want it to influence my writing. That’s not to say I avoid all of them; I do look for inspiration for surroundings and descriptions (adjectives, phrases, etc.) from whatever I read or watch, but I’m so paranoid on the subject of plagiarism, that if a subject comes even close to what I’m writing, I step away from it and go watch PBS, read poetry (and I have to be careful there as well!) or either take a walk or a nap. About the only thing I’m safe reading – and that only relatively – is non-fiction.

I subscribed to Bright House cable television service for the first time in about 2 years this week. Movies, y’all. Lots and lots of movies that I haven’t seen…and all in my favourite genrés: fantasy, time travel, ghost stories and so on. I’ve been lucky that we now have a 24-hour news channel, Food Network and The Travel Channel, and that one of the channels has been showing nothing but all eight Harry Potter films for days now, and that The Conjuring and The Conjuring II (stories from the files of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren) were On-Demand, otherwise I would have slept my week away!

Maybe I am paranoid, but the idea of anyone finding cause to say I plagiarized any part of Folded Dreams is horrifying to me. So I stay off-genré as much as I can when I’m reading or watching television. “Writer’s Life”. I swear, sometimes it can be hell. Just sayin’.

 

To Heather Hobbs: FINALLY! The Long Awaited Response to the Liebster Award Nomination!

www-kirstiekinsblogs-co_-uk_liebsteraward

LIEBSTER AWARD!!

I was flabbergasted when Heather, at  HeatherHobbsBlog, nominated me for a Liebster Award, back in June! I didn’t have but a couple of dozen people following me at the time and I really never expected that anyone would be all that interested in my blog. To say I was tickled pink would be an understatement!

Heather does a fair bit of reading and I always like checking out her ‘Recaps”, and her “Classic Remarks” on older books (her last was on Dr. Seuss and Roald Dahl!). You should visit her blog!

I hate that it’s taken me so long to do this. Working on two novels and trying to get a book of poetry together has me so busy that I just haven’t had a lot of time to buckle down and do my part for the Liebster, and for that I’m really ashamed. But now, by golly, here it is: the long awaited response!

First, a bit of explanation:

The Liebster Award is passed around the blogging community as a fun way of getting to know each other. Here is how it works – once you get nominated:

  • Thank the nominator and link back to their blog
  • Answer 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you
  • Nominate other bloggers that you think deserve the award
  • Write 11 questions for your nominees
  • Let them know you’ve nominated them

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Here are the answers to the 11 questions that Heather asked me:

What is your favorite book or book series?

  • Well, about a hundred years ago that would have been the old Nancy Drew classics (Heather should appreciate those!). Now, though, I only have 3 collections, and they are, all of them, my favourites:  Harry Potter, naturally, Lord of the Rings and a growing collection of poetry by Roger Moore. My single favourite book has always been, and still is, the Bible. I just can’t help it!

If you could do anything (other than your current job), what would you do for a living?

  • I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing: writing, painting and sculpting.

What is your favorite book-to-film adaptation

  • Jane Austen’s books have been brilliantly adapted to film. Oh! And I’m crazy about Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing”, with Emma Thompson, Kianu Reeves, Kenneth Brannagh and Denzel Washington…it was hilarious!!

What is your least favorite book-to-film adaptation?

  • Goodness. The book may be better 99% of the time, but I can’t really think of any film adapted from a book that I could call my least favourite, although I can think of one or two books that were terribly written, but that made excellent movies!

On average, how many books do you read per month?

  • It varies from month to month by a lot. I may go several months without reading anything other that my own edits, then I mayn’t write a word because I’m reading! During the months that I read, I can consume up to 40 books a month, as it only takes me about 8 hours to read a 300-400 page novel, and about three hours to read a 200 page book.

What is your favorite thing about blogging?

  • Although I do like sharing my progress, processes and thoughts along the journey of writing, my all-time favourite part is ‘meeting’ and talking with so many talented, dedicated and just plain interesting people. I like to think that I’ve made as many friends on this particular blog in the past year, that I have in my entire 62 years of life!

What is the most challenging thing about blogging?

  • Balancing my time. I will either miss posting for days on end, or I will post eleventy-seven times a day! One of these days, when I have a lot to say, I’ll remember to schedule the darn things!

Why is your blog focused on the topics you’ve chosen?

  • I’m a writer and a reader. I write about books, whether mine or someone else’s. But then again, sometimes I just write to see myself put words on paper…erm…the screen!

How often do you blog?

  • I try to make sure I post to one of my 5 blogs at least every 2 days.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

  • For decades I’ve dreamed of traveling to Europe. I want to visit the lands of my grandparents (England and Ireland) and make an unexpected phone call to some of my friends in Wales or Belgium and also Australia and New Zealand. Then I want to visit Hawai’i again, see Alaska and finish traveling across the US and back up to Canada (there are people I’d love to meet in-person, everywhere!). I suppose the easier question would be, “Where would you not go?” 😀

Tell us one fun fact about yourself:

  • I love being old! When you’re old, you can flirt and pretend that you’re just looking to adopt that fine looking young feller! Plus, I get to call out, “Hey, kid!” to a 50 year old!!!

So there you have it! Now, I’m supposed to nominate a few other bloggers for the Liebster Award, but how in the world do you choose from 100+ great people?? I know a lot of them specifically state that they don’t really have time to participate, but I can’t remember which ones they are – so I’m just going to take a chance here.

As for the questions, I’m just going to pass along the ones up there that Heather gave me (I’m anxious to know everyone’s answer to the last one!!)

I’d like to nominate:

Anne at Inked Brownies and Danielle at Books, Vertigo and Tea, who have a couple of awesome – and most times hilarious! – book review blogs between them, and Julie at Cookie Crumbs to Live By, whose spiritual posts keep me on my toes.

I would really like to also nominate Roger, Roger Moore – Poet and Meg, at Meg Sorick Writes, for their fantastic poetry that never ceases to amaze. Of course, with their schedules, I don’t know that they would have time for it. Meh – I’ll let them know anyway!

There are so many that I’d like to mention, but I really need to get to bed. After all, it’s 8:00a.m.