Monday, January 9, 2017

Post flu, post Trump, post post

Wowza! I usually save that word for things that really knock me off my feet beauty-wise. But I now offer it to the flu spirit. Wowza - you knocked me down and kept me down for three weeks. You kept me from celebrating my birthday, the birthday of Bodhisattva Jesus, the Gregorian New Year and a few other things I don't remember. I am the only person I know who came back from holidays having lost twelve pounds. And that wasn't from nausea or any of that nastiness - just no appetite. No appetite for any food - not even my go-to sick food (bowl of rice with butter, salt and pepper) or even ginger-ale. No appetite for anything - not for reading or watching or sleeping. Nada. No appetite for life at all. This flu, which seemed to be mainly a cold and cough, came with a terrible malaise. I have a very new and strong respect for those who suffer from depression. I don't know how folks make it day to day - because one has no energy to change, or belief that one can.

On the up side, I'm loving feeling good. Well, feeling good within the limits of this hip pain. That I know will end. Just get me that new Barbi-doll hip and I'll be back roaming the woods and shore. But truly? If I was told that I either had to have the hip pain for the rest of my life or bouts of depression, I'd take the hip pain (as long as I could have my current medication that is).  I have buckets of energy and just a true appreciation for feeling good enough, that is making each day easier. We have a new gang at work (I work at a residential treatment centre) and I can't wait to get to know them. I am excited for my days at the school on the reservation (Wednesdays) and am also glad for small accomplishments - I cleaned the fridge on Saturday!!

In my writing life I have little to report except feelings of optimism. I'm still waiting to hear back from some folks on Bright Angel and have another set of query packages to go out. I really want to get Crooked Knife finished and polished and ready to go. I have a hunch about that book and I want to check out if I'm right. I also want to compile a manuscript of poetry and photos I've done since I've been in Labrador and see if I can someone to look at that - or self-publish it.

I continue to do a digital painting with writing daily on fb and not sure if I need to do anything about that or just enjoy the discipline.  here's one from a few weeks back. I find that my art has gotten darker since the election. Like Princess Leia said "take your broken heart and make art". It is healing and others seem to get something too.

The river, the ice, the skates - sure, she had them, but the desire to skate away had flown.
 Maybe skating in slow delicious circles was her way now.

So that's me for right now. Feeling better, trying to stay on the up, creating and healing. Howzaboutyou?

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Maybe just a tad insecure

Yes, it is another meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group!  I'm ignoring the prompt today as I truly can't think of a piece of writers' advice that I wish I hadn't read and truly if I wished I hadn't read it why would I pass it on to you?

Instead, I am going to tell you, and remind myself, of the best piece of writer advice I ever heard. It was from my daddio and it was "sit down and write!" Yep - he made it simple - a little dab of bum glue and a fella or gal would be set. Forget about everything else, or better yet, like a holistic farmer, turn all of it beneath your plow. Feeling stuck? Write about that. Bored with your story - make that ennui a plot point.  Furious at all those rejection lettters? Writing well is the best revenge.

It is the start of a nice fresh unbesmirched year. I've begun a new drawing course which has me making at least one drawing a day. I'm back on my cushion meditating. Today I will spend an hour with my most recent ms.

How about you?

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

 Yes, oh my, it is time for another meeting of the Insecure Writers Support Group! Click the name and go to the site to sign up. It's a world of fun.

DECEMBER'S QUESTION: In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what's your plan to get there?

Jeesh - I don't only have to show up - I have to think. Five years, five long crazy years. Will I be back in Nova Scotia? I sure hope so. I suppose that isn't the question but my writing life is entwined intimately with my life life. In five years I would like to have three books published. Bright Angel will be first - I think it will be published in 2017. Next up will be the one I just finished the first shitty draft of - Crooked Knife.  The other one I'm less certain of - it may be one that I've already finished but need to polish before it goes a looking for a home - The Rock Walker.  It, like Crooked Knife, is a mystery and I have another one mostly done that has the same protagonists. It is called Earth Bound. Or I might try another of my literary novels - True  or Feckless.  Hard to say. Both of them need another go round though they are mostly ready. Or it might be a totally new one I'm brewing - Caribou Dreaming. That's going to be a graphic novel so needs a different approach. I like to learn new things. 

I would like to consider my poems too. Last year I wrote 65 poems for my best friend over the year. I finished in September and I really like them. They belong to her though so I'd have to see if she'd let me try and get them published. If not, I have loads of poems with no end in sight.

What a very fun topic this is. 

Now - how do I get there? One word at a time - whether it is a shitty first draft word, a revision word, or a selling package word. I feel really good about Bright Angel. It is out there and I'm not worrying about it. Oh - I haven't forgotten it - but I'm not stressing one way or the other. I know my package works and I trust the novel so we'll just see. Once it is published I'm well aware I'll have lots of work to do. No one handles the whole thing for writers anymore and I'm good with that. I was a publicist in a past life and I have no problem publicizing the heck out of that one. I like the story it tells and I think it is an important one. As to the other ones - I have to finish the one I just got up to 80 thousand words on. That will take me a bit of time - it is a holy mess. And then when ever I get bogged down on that I will polish on one of the other ones. Yep. A plan!

That's my plan - how about you all?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

I did it!

Hello peeps - through my tears, my rage, my deep deep sorrow at what is going on in the world - I finished my NaNoWriMo challenge. I wrote thirty thousand words on last years ms - Crooked Knife - bringing that up to 83 thousand words - a manuscript I can edit - though - I have to admit - it is not finished. I'm still unsure how to do the ending so I can't say that I have a finished shitty first draft - but it is in there somewhere! I'll put it away for a bit and then start carving away some, adding some and making it so. I also wrote about twenty thousand on my new project - Caribou Dreaming - which I'm hoping to morph into a graphic novel.

I know these challenges aren't for everyone but they work for me, so I'll keep doing them. I was happy this year, as I figured out a way to use that word count button to my benefit - even though I didn't have a new piece that I was focusing on.  Caribou Dreaming was a carrot to get me to finish Crooked Knife. Point is - it worked for me.

Because Crooked Knife is set on the reservation where I work - I could put all sorts of my feelings about Muskrat Falls and the terrible project that Newfoundland Hydro has going there - I could make it part of the mystery - and yep get out all my rage at what big industry is doing to our world. I could address indigenous issues and as my protagonist is a cop who is not indigenous but works on the reservation - I could feel fairly free to discuss her dilemma's and awakening to what is really going on. I could politicize myself without it being at all preachy - I hope - there is lots of humour and fun in the book and it is a mystery.

And that brings me to another point - I do want my writing to enlighten and inform people. That is why I write - it is why I live actually. I love reading and watching and enjoying art that is not political - but there has to be some human in there somewhere who wakes me up - or I'm not interested. I went to see The Once the other night. They are an amazing trio from Newfoundland and I can't describe their music but it is genuine - fun and full of love. The first song they did was one of Cohen's - Coming Back to You  - and I was positively awash with tears and in the front row. They did it acapella  - the words seemed to hang in space like jewels. The point is that their music helped heal my sore old heart and it amused me and inspired me and in one of their songs - The Nameless Murderess - I was positively elated at the innovative and wild sound they got.

What is art for? What is beauty and inspiration and innovation for? I really don't have an answer - I just know I need it. I hope with Crooked Knife that the readers will put it down and say something like 'Holy Hell - I had no idea that was going on in our world!'.

How about you all -what do you create for? And here is a digital finger painting of mine called 'Come Home'.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Dark Days

It is November 11th - Remembrance Day in Canada. I'm at work on my break and thinking of everything that has happened this week.

  • The flooding was begun at Muskrat Falls and it is clear we were lied to again by NALCOR and our government as it is higher than it was supposed to be. We were offered a compromise and we took it in good faith and they have reneged on that promise.

  • A sociopath has taken control of America with at least some of them blessing the change. This is truly frightening. 

  • I went to see a orthopedic surgeon about having a hip replacement and he completely dismissed what I was saying and what other orthopedic surgeons had said and declared that I don't need one yet and maybe not at all. Instead, against my wishes, when I was confused and vulnerable he gave me a steroid shot. My face is now a vivid red - two days later - I am uncomfortable and of course still have a sore hip.

  • Leonard Cohen has died.

The night of the election, restless and worried, I kept reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. I've read it a gazillion times and I usually read it when I need cheering during the writing process. She is so sane and generous and funny - all of my favorite attributes. Even through all of this I have kept writing on my two projects for NaNoWriMo. I've written in my disappointment, my anger, my grief. It has all come out and it enhances the work I'm doing. As a Buddhist I understand the suggestion that we take it all to the cushion - an offering of our wounded messed-up stuff. It is the offering the Dralas (protective spirits - sort of)  like to receive because it is given whole-heartedly. I believe our art is the same.

 I will dance me to the end of time.