I have posted a few flash fiction pieces that were entered into various competitions and didn’t list (or they wouldn’t be on here yet!) I’ve enjoyed writing these. I’d been stuck on my two big works in progress for a while. The Sci-Fi novel is finally “unstuck” and I plan on writing 50K on it during NANOWRIMO in November. That will keep me from a social life for the month!
This month, I turned 53. It was an anti-climatic event. I quietly celebrated one more year. This year has been one of self-discovery, spiritual renewal, travel, and change. I wanted to openly share:
I made a commitment to a celibate life. Not one without intimacy, but definitely one without sexual interactions. It is interesting that I had already been ‘celibate’ without really thinking about it. It has been years since I engaged in sex with another person. Making a conscious decision to continue to pursue this path has been freeing.
I made a commitment to domestic travel. I have made good on that with trips to California, New Mexico, Arizona, New York, and a number of Florida trips. I have enjoyed meeting new people and visiting lots of different spots. Much of my travel has included art, outdoors and spiritual exercises. I have strengthened friendships and family relationships. Seeing new things has sparked my creativity.
I made a commitment to my mental health. I have engaged a counselor, mediation and prayer, and actively monitoring negative influences. I have moved well away from traditional news outlets and really worked at not only knowing what’s happening in the world but also gaining a more in-depth understanding about the facts around the headlines. This has reduced my sense of stress about the state of politics, planet, and people. Our news seems determined to keep us in fear and division. I have decided to stop functioning from an attitude of fear and mistrust. It is incredible how much more peaceful life becomes when you choose to function from a place of curiosity and love.
I made a commitment to exercising my creativity. Writing poetry and prose had taken a back seat to other parts of my life. Igniting those flames was cathartic. I have a strong group of authors, online and in person, who critique well and help me grow. I have been painting and sketching. I have put aside my self-doubt and fear of being judged by others to allow myself these expressions without censoring my art as “not good enough”. I have taken a few classes. Created new things. Chased the art muse. It is good and makes me happy. That means I am good enough. 🙂
I made a spiritual commitment. To learn and grow and find a place where I fit. This included meditation, crystals, stones, grounding exercises, chanting, a fire walk, cards, prayer, and lots of reading from the Bible and from other sources. What did I find? God loves me. I found a Christian church that feels like home. I put aside my negative attitudes about religion and imperfect people. None of us are perfect. I don’t need to fit. I need to follow. I am not ever going to be all the things… and that is ok. God knows me, and I’m a hot mess. I will keep walking my path, focused on forgiveness and the grace of God. I have opted to commit to developing a personal relationship with God, religion aside. This will be part of my new year… to Live what I believe.
I began, and continue, to take charge of my health. Cleaner eating, better sleeping, more exercise. This is another area I’ll continue in my next year.
I took a new job, on my Birthday! I have spent 8.5 years with Raymond James. I take my new job on Nov 4. It has been a good run but I needed a change. It will be exciting.
That’s the short version … The people I’ve met, the stories, the joy… those all keep coming.
I’ve been writing and painting and sketching. The writing is flash fiction, poetry (new: Gone), blog post (ta-da), etc. One of my latest is a flash story, from assigned prompts, titled Bait. I missed the deadline to submit as I was on ‘Nanna’ duty. Being Nanna takes priority any day.
I’m doing these exercises to help me break the mental blockage on my large work in progress, Irregular Orbit. I’m +40k words into it now. It is a sci-fi novel, heavy with universe / world building and character development. I am struggling with getting onto paper what I see in my mind, how the story goes, how the characters evolve, how good and evil can switch places before the actors recognize what’s occurred. It is broad and beautiful in my brain… now if I can just get it onto the page intact.
Overcoming the ‘stall’ is challenging. Fortunately, I’ve developed a good social network of writers. Online and in-person groups of talented and successful authors who, in varying degrees, have their work in the hands of readers. This has been hugely helpful. The writers help me hone my craft and sharpen my skills. They provide real feedback. Not polite platitudes of ‘oh, that’s nice, you write so well’ but the real, “hey this is awkward,” or “this doesn’t work the way you meant,” or “this word is flat wrong,” feedback. It has been a good exercise in actually sharing my writing as well. Not hiding it in files or on obscure blogs. 😉
I’ve committed to posting an excerpt from I.O. here by the end of the month. Stay tuned!
I had a couple comments from the writer’s group about my character, Teaka, from my flash fiction entry: Evolution. I had confused some readers by not providing a clear enough description. I thought I’d share the crudely executed character sketch I cobbled together. I am not much of an artist but it gives a general idea. Think.. sentient song bird with arms and hands. She loves to preen with her comb and horde the treasures from her little bags of stolen goods…
Update on 7/1 – Scores are in… 22.56 out of 30 not too shabby for a first competitive try.
It has been another whirlwind couple weeks. Writing took on a bright shine as my interaction with the Facebook group “Write Around the Block” has fired some sleepy brain cells into creative action. Evolution got fairly good critiques and I was happy the readers didn’t pan it as drivel. Jasmine didn’t make the long-list for the Australian Writers’ Centre, June Flash Fiction contest. I’m ok with the outcome, the talent pool is deep, the skill sets are wide and I am a babe patting wet sand on the shore. I’ll keep working. I like the story.
I am just starting to get things out into the public eye, beyond the eyes that see things here. It was quite the jump for me.
The painting I entered in the art show received little comment. I’m happy in that regard as it was quite challenging for me to let it out there.
All these exercises are me, working to be more me. I am trying to be less in the “closet” when it comes to art and writing. These are my winsome babes, perhaps with faces only I love. Yet, I have pushed them from the nest (my soul jumping with them) in an effort to hone my craft, sharpen my skills and spread my wings. Fly or fall, lessons are learned and applied. I’ll take critique, apply what makes sense and continue.
On another note: Irregular Orbit is making its way through my creative process. It has been 8 months since the seed sprouted. It has resulted in 50K words and its about halfway to complete. I’ve overcome the hurdle of the middle dregs… I found the catalyst to keep my characters moving along toward climax and resolution. Onward, onward…
Greetings, I have been having an amazing time of late. Between travel (two great trips I’ll blog about later) and work and writing and playing Dungeons and Dragons (yeah, that one) I have been having a good run! I’ll be posting some Flash Fiction I’ve been dabbling with in various contests. The first is up in “Fiction and Poetry” tab. Evolution is for a flash exercise, 1500 words, 55 hours, Location must include a boat of any kind and a bag of marbles… See what you think. Evolution
Jasmine is a 500 word flash which had to be set at a party and include the phrase “The air was filled with…” Jasmine
The novel, Irregular Orbit, stalled for a while then sprang back to life, and is a slow haul. It is at 46k words now and is likely to head to 100k before first cuts and a bunch of hard core editing. I plan to have that one professionally edited as I feel like it will be something to publish when its done. One chapter that I pulled out already feels like it may be a second in what may be a trilogy. Lord help me.
I am back to writing more frequently now so I hope to see you here on a regular basis.
Until then… let me know what you think of the flash fiction pieces.
I art diligently working on this novel, Irregular Orbit. I am having a good
time letting these characters tell their tale of space mystery and murder. They are rich and deep with holey formed personas and motivations. They story flows and grows and forms around them, like a gaseous cloud in this vast universe. WOW! I am 40K into the story… things are getting weird. Space Weird. String Theory weird.
I have met a wonderful and supportive group of writers. Most of them are successfully published and doing tours and things. Most are mystery writers, a few write historical fiction, one is giving the classic detective serial a new face, one writes stories from a dog’s perspective. There are poets and biographers. One woman is writing the story of her marriage and her husband’s descent into Alzheimers. She make me cry every time she shares. There are new writers too, who like me have been at this a while but just surfacing. I have to say, having a community of like minded writers makes me want to show up and present my best every Saturday.
Having support is key to success in many endeavors and writing needs bolstering more than some hobbies. Breathing life to a work is exhausting and exhilarating and terrifying. It takes a village to keep you sane and producing. It takes a calm set of mentors to encourage cruel edits without undermining courage.
It takes coffee. Lots of coffee.
I will visit again soon. It will be fun to see the two chapters here compared to the same two chapters now…
I haven’t written much sci fi before so this has been quite fun… if you read it, leave me comment on if it is worth chasing a little more.
I’ve been painting, writing, going and doing. I went to an Axe Throwing class… it was totally worth every penny, so much fun! I highly recommend you find a groupon for one in your area.
I also joined a local writer’s group. They are amazing, many of them published, and intimidating to a certain extent. I love hearing them read, and the groups provides positive, solidly reasoned critique. To think that I may read some of my stuff with that advanced a group makes me worry but it will make me a better writer.