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September Reflections

“when I connect with a good book, often by somebody dead, and they are telling me a story that seems true, and they are telling me things about myself that I know to be true, but I hadn’t been able to put together before—I feel so much less alone than I ever can sending e-mails or receiving texts.” Jonathan Franzen courtesy of Madame Librarian’s blog

Trying to keep that quote in mind but got really caught up with my new iPad for awhile!! And yes, got back to three times a week yoga and (finally) to doing a complete Primary Series but then lapsed and lost it all over again while traveling. I did a lot of walking & meditating but feel like all my upper body & core strength have ended up as flab storage around my middle…

September Reflections:
1. Mystery Novel–no, I didn’t reach my 15,000 word target but I’m comfortably just under 10,000 words and to my surprise I’m enjoying it! New stuff is in there, yes, and it’s feeling more and more like a complete rewrite given that I’m re-writing everything (not just changing POV the characters are starting to ‘tell’ me who/what they are!)

2) Children’s Book. Outline is done & again here I’m just under 10,000 words. But I like the outline I’ve done and the writing is good when I sit down to it but the problem is sitting down to it!!!

3) Yoga. Dropped out again thanks to traveling and a minor eye problem that’s making it difficult to do inversions & balance poses. But that’s getting seen to next week so hopefully… synchronicity coming into play though–met Monica while walking dogs this morning and she’s interested in finding people to do self practice with right here in Varsity Park!!! If this comes off I’ll still try to go to Back On The Mat two to three times a week but I could do regular home practice here!

4) Reading: Finished The Artist’s Way Journey (in Paris, no less!!!) and enjoyed it tremendously. I loved the people who were taking this journey with me and I’ve learned so much from them and what they are all doing with their lives. Read some other books too–was in the mood for old ‘classical’ murders so read Black Plumes, Christmas Guest, Death at La Fenice (my favourite Donna Leon I think!) and Monsieur Proust by his housekeeper of 9 years, Celeste Albaret. I was very impressed by her picture of how hard he worked and how obsessed he was with finding models for his characters. I end up observing people too & desperately scribbling down ‘pointers’ to help me remember. A warning to myself though… I don’t want to end up spending all my time in bed writing–though the temptation is very very very great!

5) Travel: Geneva and then Paris for almost two weeks was really, really wonderful. What struck me most were the monks’ working/sleeping quarters discovered in the archaeological site of the Cathedral of St Pierre in Geneva. They had one room with a large table and chair downstairs where they did their work and upstairs a smaller room and bed with external steps linking the two. All this was against the North wall of the Cathedral so they were part of yet not inside the Cathedral. And what’s really great is they had heating! Pipes carrying for conducting hot water were found beneath their cells! I liked the simplicity yet with heating & ‘running’ water that must have been luxury in that time!!

My dream writing lifestyle–monastic simplicity with heating & meals provided!!!

6) Blogging–Haven’t been doing much writing here but what’s sadder is I haven’t been following any of my favourite blogs–there just seems so little time especially as reading for any length of time makes my eyes hurt & leads to headache… but after the (minor) surgery planned for next week I hope things will get better! Haven’t been watching television or reading the newspapers either; yet when I do make an effort to flip through a newspaper (before putting it beneath a doggy bottom) I haven’t found anything I want to stop and read.

7) I have an iPad now!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂


New Start & September Anticipations

If this is scattered (more so than usual) it’s because of 1) slight stress headache due I think to 2) EXCITEMENT because I’ve been told to watch out for a DHL delivery today–it’s a present and I’m pretty sure it’s an iPad!!!

But I’m telling myself it may not be, no point looking up apps/getting excited. There are lots of things that qualify as a ‘portal to new experiences’… it could be concert tickets, tarot cards, an umbrella…

No, I mustn’t speculate. Must wait & see. Must stay calm and have lunch first…

I haven’t been writing regularly here since all the excitement of last year’s AWARE takeover partly because there hasn’t been anything big and public I wanted to focus on and all my little issues/doings/happenings get aired on Facebook; and partly because I was taken aback by some of the comments I got on those pieces–fundies who send ALL CAPS rants in bad English and links to Pastor Prince sermons–but I realise that even with my morning pages (on the wonderful 750 Words site) I miss this blog.

I miss the accountability. Thanks to the Artist’s Way Journey I’ve been taking (we’re on Week 10 now) I’m going to miss this group so much when the journey is over!
Of course it’s possible we’ll all stay in touch but that won’t be the same as knowing we’re all working on the same chapters week by week all over the world.

(Sorry, I know it’s a lot of links for one post but these are places I’ve been en route to here!)

Thanks to The Artist’s Way Journey and the books & experiences it’s led me to explore I’ve become more aware of the incredible energy, blessings & synchronicity surrounding me now. I want some kind of record for myself that can also serve as a general route guide.

Like I find I walk more when I wear a pedometer & set a target I hope I’ll be more focused in my reading and writing and yoga practice if I write about where I hope to be going in these areas. Setting goals helps define them so at least I know what I’m trying to do!

Reading is on my current list thanks largely to Steve Leveen for pointing out 1) We each have individual ‘great’ books lists 2) Don’t waste your time on books you don’t connect with–there’s so much great writing out there waiting for you 3) With all the great writing and so little time it’s a huge waste not to plan what we want to read/love to read.

He may not have meant to say those things in his book The Little Guide to Your Well Read Life but that’s what I got out of it and according to him that’s what counts!

Another book that’s inspired me to try this is Nick Hornby’s Housekeeping vs The Dirt, a chronicle of fourteen months of reading which starts each chapter/month with Books Bought: and Books Read. Haven’t finished it yet but I’m enjoying the read so far. It’s tremendously freeing to feel I don’t ‘Have’ to finish what I start reading if it doesn’t work for me at the time.

I’m hoping to post twice a month: Once in the first week and once in the final week.

September Intentions:
1. Finish corkboarding the mystery novel on Scrivener. I’m switching from first person to third person which means rewriting it completely, also cutting it down from 70,000 ++ words to 50,000 words. For a while I thought ‘no way’ I can do that in 3 months but that was exactly when ‘Creative U-turns’ came up in TAW and it could have been addressed directly at me. I’m going to practice the process and keep going till I’m stopped–this time I won’t stop myself. I’m also reminding myself that a publisher giving rewrite suggestions is a very GOOD sign and actually once I got over the panic most of the suggestions are very very good. It’s due at the end of the year so if I manage to put down a structure I’m happy with I think I can make it. In September I hope to put down at least 15,000 words.

2) Children’s Book. Why not? I wrote 2 for SPCA (they’re only taking one) so when I heard about the NBDCS children’s book competition I thought–why not? It will be an interesting experience. I’m targeting 40,000 words for this. In September I hope to finish the outline & roughly 12.000 words.

3) Yoga. Back at yoga after so long I realise how limp wimp I’ve become! But I’ve cut myself down to doing part of Primary Series at least twice, ideally three times a week. September goal: Back to doing Full Primary Series three times a week

4) Reading: I’ve just discovered the world of audiobooks but don’t want to give up reading paper just yet so… first step is to finish the Nick Hornby and the Artist’s Way course and then I’ll see. I have 4 library books and Swan Thieves and I feel like rereading stuff after surprising myself by enjoying The Scarlet Pimpernel so much…

5) Travel: Going to Paris for just over a week–hoping to try art journaling the trip. If that doesn’t work out just mean to enjoy it.

6) Blogging–mean to get back on the page for my September round up!

Yogic Writing

Okay… thinking about it, I had no reason to want to link to authorsblog…

I was driven by how well WoYoPracMo has been working for my yoga practice so far & looking for some way to do the same for my writing. But–it’s all a matter of accountability. With Yoga Practice Month, it’s not as though YogaMum is going to come round & haul me out of bed if I miss a day… but I do it because I want to feel that measured up to some goal I’ve set myself.

Whereas for my writing the goals have always been too hazy–even now as I think about it. ‘Write a 1000 words a day’ works until you come round to editing. And then what do I do about this great novel idea that suddenly hits me in the shower? Can I simply total up hours on the computer? What if I end up blog surfing & playing scrabulous, calling it ‘research’ & ‘vocabulary enhancement’? It’s happened before, believe me!

And I want to rewatch Driving Miss Daisy because I’m getting twinges from having household help again… but I’m having a bit of trouble with my left arm & shoulder now, as well as left leg & it’s really kinder to the cats to have regular litter clean up…

Going for doc appt at 10, which is why I’m surfing now.

Otherwise the new plan is: I do my yoga first thing in the morning, then my writing, then any ‘research’ or ‘vocab enhancement’ can come in. And I’ll post what I’ve done on this blog here–much as I’m posting my Yin practice even when I can’t do Ashtanga. Perhaps that’s the solution–instead of trying to repeat the yogablog method to solve my writing tangles, I should just Use the yogablog method.

The Writing Yogi’s Practice Mantra:

Write every day (10 minutes or more with correct breathing counts)

On Saturdays & Moon Days, do a lighter, more ‘Yin’ writing practice

Get on the mat (sit at the computer or take out the writing pad) even if I don’t feel like it

Be gentle with myself & listen to what my body/mind/emotions are trying to say

Being an ‘Ashtangi’ in writing as well as yoga, my daily writing practice when I am fit & well would probably have a 1000 word target

I should feel stretched & challenged but not strained or hurt by each day’s writing practice

Dropped the Blue Hibiscus blogname–

Because I’m using a blue hibiscus (title & twist) in the story I’m writing now and I don’t want to end up resenting writing stuff here if things start getting clogged there. Which is probably going to happen as soon I get past the first ‘vomit’ draft… (no–not being negative. It’s just when everything comes out) Anyway, this is where I’ll anchor myself for now.

Still having some knee twinges, but I got a ‘good’ Yin practice in. Yoke Cheng came in to help out this morning & the girl next door will be coming over mornings & evenings next week. After that I should be back to walking normally.  Getting little mouth bleeders too, which makes eating a bit unpleasant. But it will pass, as all such things will pass…

Listened to very interesting & relevant Richard Freeman podcast: Obstacles to practice–sometimes being sick is not something that stops us from practice, it can be made part of our practice. He talked about how our bodies change & how we will age and how, ideally, our practice will change & adapt with our changes. That quite perfectly led me to the Paul Grilley ‘Spine’ sequence which I managed to really enjoy instead of being upset/angry/disappointed with myself for not being able to make it to mysore this morning. I think that my practice has really grown. Later I will do puja (meditation) before bed.

Put another thousand words into the Blue Hibiscus story. It’s taken another turn I didn’t expect, but I think it works.

And someone passed me the link to Neil Gaiman’s website this morning. Been saving it as something to look forward to all day…!

WordPress 2, Safari 3, Paragraphs all… not compatible

Anyone else having problems here?

Innocently upgraded to Safari 3 & found all my blog paragraph breaks vanishing. Being full of residual Methodist guilt I decided it was a sign from the heavens that I was spending too much time on the computer–in particular my blog–& went to do laundry/pay bills/cook a real dinner/clean the fishtank/clean my shoes… but when I came back my paragraphs still kept vanishing.

Now if it was my scrabulous games the heavens were wrecking I would take the hint–but my paragraph breaks?

What happened was–I typed my stuff in–put in paragraph breaks–viewed in ‘visual’ it looked fine–once I switched to either ‘preview’ or ‘code’ my paragraph breaks vanished.

But everything works fine in Firefox, so all is not lost.

Except maybe a little of my faith in WordPress or Safari… haven’t decided which yet.

Hope some god or geek solves the problem–I have so little faith left… open source software, one of the last bastions…