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!

Buffy’s Prayer

May The Artist’s Way Circle
attract all that need it the most.
May we forever be connected to our
higher power as we proceed on this journey.
May our inner child come
out and feel free to play.
May we go along this journey and our
relationships to each other grow and prosper.
We may not know for certain where the path will lead.
However, we trust following our higher power
will lead us to the right road.

~Buffy

I’m not part of the Artist’s Way Prayer Circle–one new thing at a time, I think (& I’m already starting on my first ‘group’ journey!)

For now I’ve got my morning pages notebook ready & ‘warmed up’ to it by doing my morning pages for the last 3 days.

I also made a nice contract for myself using stickers of books and flowers–it’s true that when you put more effort into something you respect it more. I hope to carry that lesson over to my writing too.
For now I like how the contract focuses on taking care of our sleep, diet, exercise as well as pampering ourselves for the duration of these next twelve weeks. After all our bodies are the tools are spirits get to use and work and play around with for now!

I think I can keep up with my body’s sleep & diet requirements but I would also like to get back into a regular yoga practice. Not too much too fast but maybe starting with two days/week then to three & maybe after a month at this level back to five/six mornings a week.
The difficulties I foresee comes from
1) Which comes ‘first thing’ in the morning–yoga practice or morning pages?
2) I would like to spend more time in the gym working on my core (I did shoulderstand as a computer break today & could Feel the wobble!) & my stamina. Much as I would like to believe it, walking a ‘huahua & a moodlet twice a day probably isn’t enough to get me back in shape for 75 minutes on the mat!

I know. The only way I’ll figure out what works for me is to try them out & see how they work for me.

But I’m also going to get started on my ‘God Jar’ so maybe all this will work out beautifully after all?
Maybe even in the next 12 weeks!
And so far I’ve been keeping up with my 5000 words/day ‘collage’ process trying to cut & paste stuff that does work into draft 5 of ‘Dead No Bodies’. And I discovered a drawing site that I’m letting myself play around with. No, I don’t have to ‘work’ at drawing/painting/collage I can have fun with these things without feeling I’m wasting time. I think I forgot that somewhere along the way.

Walked the dogs late today, not till almost 6 pm (morning walk was 8 to 9am and they didn’t get a midday outing today) but it was wonderfully cool in the park by then & we did some jogs & some sprints & snuffled some new cut grass so I think we’re all happy now.

Really excited about Monday!

This Monday I’ll be starting the Artists Way 12 week journey with my facebook group

It will be my first time working with a group. Haven’t been very good about group work previously but maybe an online group will work better? (no need to spend time deciding whether to get drinks or trying to dispose of food provided by well meaning members!)

I’m hoping that by the end of these 12 weeks I’ll be able to sit down write systematically rather than play Bejewelled or Zombies till I feel in the right ‘mood’ to write.

I also hope that when I do write I can get out of the ‘mechanistic discipline’ mindset that too often takes over when I’m self-imposing deadlines–which seems to be the only way I can get things finished!