Posts Tagged ‘writing’

So, …my blogging friend, Jo nominated me for this challenge. She had been taking an extended break from blogging, and because I am SOO glad she is back, I’m going to try it. 🙂

yellow and blue benches

Blue and Gold — Together

When I was a sophomore in high school, our class moved to a brand new building. That part was exciting. But at that same time they decided to introduce the concept of “houses.” Because our school colors were blue and gold, they divided us into the “blue house” and “gold house.” How they decided who became “blue” and who because “gold,” I don’t know. I only know we didn’t have a “sorting hat” like in the Harry Potter books. 🙂

I remember not adjusting well to the concept. I was now “separated” from friends I had for years. Each house had its own cafeteria, where we were supposed to eat our lunch. What???!!! We can’t eat with my our friends? “It’s good for you,” the administration said, “Make new friends.” Well, we weren’t going to obey THAT rule!

I don’t remember how we did it, but I remember being a member of the Blue House and sneaking into the Gold House cafeteria to have lunch. It’s 40 years later, and I’m still friends with members of the Gold House who were my friends from grammar school. You just can’t separate true friends.


Here are the rules for the “Five Photos Five Stories” challenge: “Post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge.
(Sporadic posting is alright if you’re unable to post each day.)

Today I am nominating…Susan!

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Yesterday I had a poem posted on Poet’s Corner (click here to read it).

If you haven’t checked out the blog before, you should! They post a poem daily; many different poetic styles are featured. It’s a great way to discover some creative bloggers!

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goal post

goal post

Jakesprinter’s topic this week is Goals.

In sports and often in life we concentrate on the goals or the end point, but the story and satisfaction is often in the journey.

My biggest problem with goals is that I always set too many and they are too ambitious. I end up discouraged and disappointed. This year I decided to write down only a few reasonable goals so that not only would I have an opportunity to actually achieve them, but so that I would also have the time and energy to enjoy the journey towards achieving them.

My two most specific goals this year: to send out a batch of poems once a month and to do an Adobe Photoshop tutorial. This may not sound like much, but coming from not having sent out more than two batches of poems in the last few years, I think the first goal is a reasonable and attainable one. And if I happen to do more? Great! As for the second goal, the Adobe Photoshop program is not new, we have had it for a few years (although I only recently loaded it on my computer). After playing with it briefly I found it daunting and defaulted to basic editing using Microsoft Picture Manager for these challenges. But I want to grow and improve!

As usual, my resolutions also include general goals like maintaining healthy habits and getting better organized, but these are general goals that I strive for; they are always a part of my life’s journey. May you all have the satisfaction of achieving some of your goals but also enjoy your journey in 2013!

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This week’s photo challenge topic is Resolved.

Typically I start my year resolving to write Morning Pages (3 pages of off-the-top-of-my-head writing),which I wrote about on my other blog. But this year there is a catch. I seem to have suddenly developed arthritis in my thumbs. For someone who likes to write longhand, this is a major problem.

I haven’t been to the doctor. I have an appointment in February for my annual exam and don’t want to spend the money for an extra visit, so in the meantime I have done Internet research. At first I thought it might be carpal tunnel so I bought a wrist brace.

wrist brace

wrist brace

Although it helped a little because it kept my hand from moving too much, it wasn’t the answer. I did some more reading and my symptoms were spot-on with arthritis of the carpometacarpal (CMC) joint.

I’ve been blessed with pretty good health my whole life. To people with serious illnesses, this is not even a blip on the radar. But for me…I like to write; I like to do crafts. I started thinking about all those crafty things I wanted to learn: knitting, quilting…and all those unfinished and not yet started needlepoint and crewel embroidery projects sitting around the house. Starting a new year discouraged was not where I wanted to be.

The wrist brace was a lot of money to me, and I need one for my other hand too (my left hurts also, but not as badly because I am right-handed). My mom told me she had a thumb-brace; we thought that might work better for arthritis in the thumbs. Finding anything in my mother’s house can be a challenge; she has everything…somewhere…

But yesterday we found it!

thumb brace

thumb brace

I tried to wear it when I wrote my Morning Pages today. It was awkward and slow-going. I took it off half-way through. BUT…I do think it is good to wear when doing other activities and when simply sitting and watching TV. It keeps me from using my thumb and allows it some rest.

The other thing I did was get some e-z grip pens. The light blue one, I bought. Not liking it, though it does write smooth. I think it will take some getting used to. The darker color one my mother had at her house; she picked it up at the vet’s office. I rather like that one; it is definitely better than a skinny pen.

e-z grip pens

e-z grip pens

So…these are my tools. I am RESOLVED not to let my new pain stop me from fulfilling my writing goals this year!

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It’s great that the latest Daily Post topic intends us to use a gallery to display what makes us happy. There are so many things that make me happy: my family, my kitties, tea, books, gardening and flowers, Christmas, and writing!

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The ones left behind are the oldest ones — is and are, have and had — the plain, vague, and inexpressive ones. Too old and entrenched to leave I guess. I don’t know how long the others have been missing; somehow I took them for granted. I thought they were mine forever; I thought I owned them.

The first clue came in an interview. “You DID four books,” she said, “What does that mean?” Then I noticed it in my writing. When did it become like a low-level elementary school book? I perused old entries in my journals and old blogs; sure enough, the voice no longer sounded like the grown-up, well-read, well-educated me. It was official — my colorful verbs had run away. Did they all leave together because I stopped being mindful of them, playing with them, appreciating them?

What caused this catastrophe? On the one hand, I’d like to think there is a physical or medical reason behind their disappearance like too much alcohol, middle-age or (heaven forbid) early onset Alzheimer’s, then I wouldn’t have to feel so responsible. But I think it was just laziness and inattention; they left me for a younger, busier, more dynamic woman. I let myself get beaten down and distracted by depression, the economic conditions, and everyday life. It seems my mentally defeated survival mode sent them running for the hills.

But now that I know they are gone, I can ravage and rip apart my world for them. I can spit out the simple Internet stories and savor my literature books, maybe even devour the dictionary! I refuse to believe they are gone forever. They are just teaching me a tough lesson. It may take some time, but like Daniel Day-Lewis’ character in “Last of the Mohicans” — I WILL find them — and promise never to take them for granted again.

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The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge this week is Inside…a secret place…a quiet place. Inside all of us lurk our real feelings, the things we don’t necessarily feel comfortable telling others.

The best gift my husband ever gave me was a 10-year journal. I treasure it; I write in it almost every day.

Mostly I write little things: daily weather, tasks I performed, and current events…longer entries I save for other journals.

But this journal has a lot of wonderful features: a section where you can record quick entries by month: your weight, for example, or the phases of the moon. There’s a yearly section in the back for medical procedures and automobile maintenance records; if you are not an Outlook person, there’s an address book (I haven’t used that part). There are also extra pages if you want to write more on a particular day than there is room for in the regular pages. How you use the journal is up to you.

My favorite feature, though, is that 10 years of the same date is on the same page. So as I write my entry for July 21, 2012, I see what was happening on the same date back in 2005.  It makes writing entries every day an adventure. As I write my present entry, I reread my entries for the previous years. There are many times that we have wondered when something happened and I am able to go back in my journal and look it up.

Our inside life can sometimes be more eventful that our outside life; no one knows what happens there unless we want to share that knowledge. I hope someday someone else will appreciate the journal as much as I do now.

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At my former workplace, they sometimes held events when authors came in to read and speak with a book signing afterward. For me, meeting an author I admire is a dream come true.

The author at this event was Andre Dubus III, who wrote “The House of Sand and Fog.” The novel was made into a movie with Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly. The book was very well-written and received good reviews though it was a difficult topic; the movie did not get an overall favorable reaction because it played up the cultural conflict and deviated from the book. I might not have read it if it weren’t for the event, but I was glad I did.

Andre read an excerpt from a new work, and then gave a talk about writing and about his present experience teaching at a local college, learning to inspire students and questioning his ability to do that. (To be honest, most of his audience at this event were women, and many thought he was quite handsome.)

I stood in line after the talk to get my book autographed. Andre and I had a brief conversation about the book I was reading in my book club, which I found much more depressing than his book. I was feeling emotional that day.

A bit later I was walking through the building’s lobby as he was leaving. I called to him and he stopped to speak to me; I confided to him that his talk and his writing had inspired me. I felt frustrated with my job and told him I had always wanted to be a writer but felt like it would never happen. He encouraged me and hugged me.

One of the other women from my book club had witnessed the exchange and emailed me as soon as I got back to my desk: “How did YOU get a hug from Andre Dubus????”  My secret…until now.

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I have suddenly found myself not writing. I have suddenly found myself spending more time reading others’ blogs instead of working on my own. Is this some kind of online quicksand? Is this the trap under the leaves?

At first it was a great source of inspiration and and a great way to learn and make contact with others, and now I find it sucking my time away. How do I break free?

How do others balance reading others’ blogs with putting the time and energy into their own? Do you assign a time limit to each? Do you sit down and make sure you write your own posts before looking at others on any given day?

My friends, please advise me and drag me out of here before I sink…glub, glub…

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