Thursday, May 31, 2012

Is Today Over Yet?



Supposedly all I need to do is start singing.

It's been a long day.  This is the first of five that I will be on duty with Mom--until Monday evening late--while my sister is attending a training camp for her work with troubled kids.

I started it off with only three hours of sleep so it is no wonder I'm feeling a bit whammied.

But also quite pleased as it went well.  No accidents, no major frustrations, no mistakes.  I fixed quesadias for lunch and chicken burgers for dinner.

There was one snag tho I wouldn't call it a major frustration.  I got nervous when the George Foreman Grill started ticking loudly a few seconds after I plugged it in and kept it up at intervals of several seconds to half a minute.  So I unplugged it.  And it continued to tick away.  So I had my nephew text his Mom to ask if that was normal and after twenty minutes got back the reply that it was normal and that it was the thermostat.  Silly me.  So inexperienced at my age.

During dinner I was sharing with Mom my enthusiasm for my current re-read of The Secret Garden and after I'd given her a near play by play of the plot so far I said I might as well have gone and got it and been reading it to you.  She seemed to like that idea so I did.  And I backtracked about ten pages and then read about thirty before she said she was ready to head to bed--nearly ninety minutes past her usual time to do so.

By reading aloud to her I got to continue reading without feeling like I was being rude or anti-social.  When we quit at nine-thirty I said I would refrain from continuing until she was ready to hear more tomorrow.  I do after all have five books I'm advancing through currently and two of them for blog tours in the next two weeks.

I discovered something though.  Or maybe rediscovered it.

I like to read aloud.  Who'd a thought.

Read more...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Read-A-Long: The Secret Garden

Bookjourney's Read-a-Long for
The Secret Garden
by Frances Hodgson Burnett
I haven't finished reading The Secret Garden yet but I'll go ahead and share some of the thoughts I've had so far.

One of my impressions is that Frances Hodgson Burnett is a meticulous observer.  Another is that she could tell modern child psychologists a thing or two while they might have little to tell her that she could not say 'Duh!' to and wonder why they were just now figuring it out.

I base this on her finely drawn character study of a child whose social and emotional skills were stunted by inappropriate care giving in her first years.  

The behaviors 'Mistress Mary Quite Contrary' Lennox exhibited in the early chapters are just like those of the kids my sister works with--kids with emotional and behavioral disturbances due to abuse and neglect in the birth families or orphanages they spent their infancy and early childhood in.

Among the traits Miss Mary Lennox of the early chapters shares with these children are: tantrums, cruelty, disrespect towards others, sneakiness, boredom, detachment, distrust of others, moodiness, demanding, selfishness, lack of empathy, contrariness.

Not only does Ms Burnett have the traits right she has also pinpointed some of the elements that contribute to their dissipation.  Like vigorous exercise, fresh air, nutrition, friendship, boundaries.  Even the interaction with the robin in the gardens that awakens empathy and the desire for friendship is spot on.  Watching this little girl blossom is a delight.

Another thought I had is that reading this at fifty-something is quite different from reading it at nine or ten or eleven.  I remember being more wrapped up in the mystery of the garden and the crying child in the house back then while this time I am more interested in watching the character development of this child.

_____________Update________________
[the following is the comment I left at Bookjourneyabout 3am Friday.  I wanted to preserve it where I could find it fast and couldn't think of a better place.]


I was unable to participate as the discussion earlier as today was the first of five days I will be on duty here at Mom's while my sister is out of town.  I really should be calling it a day right now too so I can't go down the list as so many have but I'd like to add a few thoughts that I didn't see already mentioned above.

I recognized in Mary of the first chapters the children with attachment disorders that my sister works with.  When the bonding with a primary caregiver in the first three years is disrupted or non-existent due to neglect, abuse, illness or neurological issues the child's ability to relate to others as entities with needs and feelings like their own is stunted.  Empathy may be missing.  They tend to 'live' in their hind brain where emotion unrestrained by reason rules more than the frontal lobe where reason and the ability to comprehend cause and effect is.

Why is no one talking about Martha?  It seems to me that it is Martha's relating to Mary that prepares the way for all the rest.  She is the first one to nurture Mary in an appropriate manner.  Tho she notes the child's issues she exudes acceptance while gently nudging her in the direction of more autonomy where such is expected ie teasing her as to how her very young sister can already put on her own stockings. And that wonderfully wise: 'How do thy like thyself.'  Martha is the one who sent her outside to play.  And all those stories of her siblings and her mother were no accident either.  They are on a par with the parable of Jesus.  They are testament to the power of story to effect real change in a person's soul.

While I was reading the book aloud to Mom after dinner and came to the scene where Mary first entered the garden and the description of it and her reaction to it it hit me like a lightning bolt that the garden was a metaphor for her psyche.  Neglected, left to grow untended, unbounded, unnurtured, locked away, unseen by others.  This is what called to her and opened her up to receive its blessings.  As she begins to tend it she is tending her own soul as she learns to care about and nurture something other than her own ego.

The robin is a winged creature which are often symbols of spirit in literature.  Especially of Burnette's era.

I believe Burnette was using nature as a symbol of or to showcase the importance of nurture. Every living, growing thing must be nurtured to thrive and every one of them is in a matrix of other living, growing things and dependent upon the well-being of those others for their own well-being.  Dickon is the consummate nurturer.

Burnette is not an advocate of letting nature rule as in the proverbial law of the jungle.  She obviously believes it needs to be tended and trained for the sake of both beauty and usefulness.  Whether the nature in question is biological or psychological.

I find Mr Craven's name interesting.  To be craven is to have a character driven by fear. Cowardly and weak and willing to sacrifice integrity for a sense of safety no matter how illusory.  Keep in mind when considering his behavior and character that he was raised by the servant class himself.  That was the way it was done in the British aristocracy then.

I wonder if Colin and Mary don't act as mirrors reflecting unlovely behavior back to be recognized and changed.

wow one thot leads to another.  and I haven't even finished the book yet.  can't wait until its time to read to Mom again. :)  But if I don't get to bed like NOW I'll be setting myself up for another long sleep deprived day which is not good when remaining calm and competent is paramount.




_____________Update________________
[from the comment I left over at Ryan's Wordsmithonia]


kudos for fighting against cultural prejudice to give The Secret Garden a chance to charm you.

I can see why you might think the transformations in the children happened too abruptly to seem realistic but I'm not sure I see it that way--at least for Mary.  There would have been months between the death of her parents and arrival at Mistlewaite.  A lot of time during which she would have encountered  much to mull on the difference between her family life and the families she  interacted with in those months.  First the pastor's family in India, whose children gave her the nicname, then the mother who chaperoned her on the sea voyage and then Martha's.

I believe Burnette put more emphasis on the power and influence of relationship to effect change in the children than in the other elements like fresh air, exercise and nutrition which she considered essential yes but not enough on their own.

They seem to me analogous to turning the winter soil to prepare the ground while relationships are the actual planting of the seeds.

it also seem no accident to me that the entire story took place inside one growing season--winter thru summer.  That seems to me an extended metaphor for the step involved in change and growth--fallow ground, tilling, planting, nurturing, blooming, harvesting.



Read more...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

6th ROW80 Check-In


Today I was reading The War of Art by Steven Pressfield  and ran across this Goethe quote.  I wanted to do something with it to help engrave it on my mind so I went looking for an image to caption.

I began the book today for my 30 minutes of reading about writing which is on my goal list for ROW80 but lost track of how many minutes I actually read.  I had to stop in the middle of part three to  prep this post.


A Round of Words in 80 Days

I have copy/pasted the goal list  each time from the most recent Check-in going back to the original Friday's post of intent.  Tweaking each time as well as crossing off finished goals and adding new ones. If you want to see the way it has morphed over the last two weeks you can use the ROW80 label.

This past Friday Foray's in Fiction may be of interest as I discussed having learned something about the fearsome file messes that tends to defang them--or would if I allowed it to sink in and become as real to me as the decades of anxiety I'd invested in the sense of those files as monsters or chaos personified.

Last Wednesday per the recommendation of two of my ROW80 commenters I rearranged the bulleted list of tasks under goal four to indicate priority.

1. Choose 1 of the finished short stories to be the first ebook to publish on Smashwords or Amazon and prep it for take off by the end of June: any revision, line edit, format, convert.  
___[Blow Me a Candy Kiss  part 1; part 2; part 3; part 4; part 5;] -  
05-12-2012 Yes on choosing the title.  This story is set in my Fruits of the Spirit story world and aspires to be literary.  It has elements of romance in it but that is not the primary focus since the couple involved are already married.  The focus is on loss and grief over infertility and the death of a child/sibling.  Aprox 6000 words.

___05-29-2012 Still have not started re-reading it.  It's been over two weeks since I set this goal and prioritized it at the top of the four goals and yet I've still not started re=reading it.  That looks a lot like the RESISTANCE discussed in Pressfield's War of Art.  So I'm tempted to explore that but I sense Pressfield would call that RESISTANCE too--just another way to avoid DOING.  Besides, according to Pressfield, RESISTANCE is always about fear.  What more do I need to know?  At least before I begin.

Decided last week I needed fresh eyes so set new goal:

Find beta readers outside of current circle of close family and friends.
___05-29-2012 - N


My sister Jamie re-read Candy Kiss while she was here last week and my Mom is currently reading my entire portfolio of hard copy manuscripts.  Some of those are re-reads for her like Candy Kiss will be when she reaches it about three quarter of the way through the binder.  But family and close friends is not what I had in mind when I set this goal.  I think I need eyes with more objectivity than that.

The binder Mom is reading through which I call my portfolio contains all of my complete short stories and a number of scenes pulled out of WIP that I deemed worth wasting ink and paper on. There is another attitude steeped in my pesky perfectionism that I need to change and I would have put printing hard copy of all my WIP including the NaNo Novels on this round's goal list except that my printer is not working.




2. Spend 30 minutes or more per day reading a book or quality web article on Writing or Publishing from my ever growing TBR of books on writing and/or blogs or websites with professional level content on writing or publishing.  Will compile list for future updates.
___05-27-2012  - N  
___05-28-2012 -  N   
___05-29-2012  - Y over 2hrs



  :(  Tsk tsk tsk.  1 Y is better then no Y but one in three days does not establish a habit.

Have been reading a novel I'm doing a blog tour review and giveaway for on June 7.  Need to get a good head start on that now as from May 31st thru June 4th my sister will be out of town which puts me on duty re Mom's needs and meals for three twice a day for five days.  Plus I'll have to stay on a day schedule for those days.  No staying up until dawn to court the muse.

3. Spend 30 minutes or more per day daydreaming in the story world with pencil and pad at hand

___05-26-2012  - Y  
___05-27-2012 -  Y   
___05-28-2012  - Y 



This has been easy since daydreaming my stories is as natural as breathing for me.  Especially when I'm crocheting which I'm doing a lot of this month.  What makes the difference is making sure the notebook and pencil are at hand for the quick jots of thoughts.

And there have been some exciting ones.

The fact that this is so easy made me wonder for a moment if I wasn't expecting enough out of myself but then I remembered that this is how Robert Owen Butler begins the work on every novel as related in From Where You Dream.

The importance of this is that it is getting my head back into it with the expectation that something more than daydreaming will come of it.  This is not a minor development.  Because of the time spent daydreaming and contemplating the story begins to live in me again.  I may not have new words yet but I feel the pressure building that will push them out if I just keep attending to the story world.

ATTENDING.  Think on that word awhile and all it implies.

It means paying attention.

But it also means serving as well as being in service to.

4. Spend 30 minutes or more per day on one or more of the following tasks:


___05-27-2012  - N  
___05-28-2012 -  N   
___05-29-2012  - Y



I have started to dabble in the files but haven't done anything that I can cross off yet and it is hard to list anything specific that I've done and yet it feels more than a bit productive since it has, like the daydreaming, stimulated ideas and joggled memory.  Mostly I've just been reading in them but I've added a few jots and moved a few things about.  Again, it is all about ATTENDING.  Miracles seem to happen when attention is paid to something.

This is the list I referred to above. On Saturday I reorganized it according to priorities as I see them now.  And added a couple of small items and grayed the text of some of the WIP titles to indicate that I'm taking the pressure off for this round.

  • Input any material from the daydreaming session into it's appropriate file or task list.
  • Clean up the Fruit of the Spirit storyworld worksheet.  ___05-26-29-2012  - this is where most of the dabbling this week has occurred.   
  • Create a master task list in FOS story world worksheet file and add any actionable task that comes to mind while working with the files: research and fact check, character development, scenes needed etc.  Future goals can be taken from this list.  ___05-26 -29 -2012  -  ditto  
  • Create topic pages in the FOS story world worksheet file for every character from every existing story and novel finished or in progress that is set in this story world. Add any of the characters known life events to the master timeline.
  • Re-read the incomplete short story Home Is Where the Horror Is and consider returning to work on it with an eye toward finishing it this summer. 
  • Do a line edit of all of the completed short stories
  • Blow Me a Candy Kiss
  • How Does Your Garden Grow
  • Running In Circles
  • Of Cats and Claws and Curiosities
  • Making Rag Doll Babies and Million Dollar Maybes
  • During the line edits consider whether any significant revision is still needed--scenes to add or delete, rearrange or rewrite; timeline issues, facts to confirm or to change--and create an actionable task topic in the file.
  • Choose 10 POV level characters from FOS and write a first person rambling monologue for them. 
  • Write fresh scenes whenever a spark is lit by any of the work on this list or the daydreaming or reading.
  • Clean up the 8 NaNo novel files: quarantine the mess, create work space for new writing, and create a system for  storing the material salvaged from the mess in such a way as it can be found when needed. i.e. linking it to appropriate topic pages in the FOS story world worksheet.
  • ____ The Substance of Things Hoped For 2009
  • ____ Mobile Hopes 2008
  • ____ Storyteller's Spouse 2006
  • ____ Spring Fever 2007
  • ____ Brooding Instinct 2005
  • ____ Majoring in Marine Biology 2004
  • ____ Everything That Rises Must Submerge 2010
  • ____ A Trick of Light 2011
  • Read and notate the scene text of the 8 NaNo novel files 
  • ____ The Substance of Things Hoped For 2009 
  • ____ Mobile Hopes 2008
  • ____ Storyteller's Spouse 2006 
  • ____ Spring Fever 2007
  • ____ Brooding Instinct 2005 
  • ____ Majoring in Marine Biology 2004
  • ____ Everything That Rises Must Submerge 2010
  • ____ A Trick of Light 2011 
Some of the work of these last two task can be done concurrently so I was tempted to collapse them under one task and have just one list of the WIP but they are very different tasks when you look close with this last one being more about the writing and the other about information organizing and story outlining.  I could conceivably do the work of one task with one novel while doing the work of the other with a different one.  The two tasks require different frames of mind.

Read more...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day: Remembering Is Only the Beginning


Hope your Memorial Day was every good thing you anticipated and that you dedicated at least a few minutes of the day towards its intended purpose: remembering and gratitude for the service and sacrifice of those who have served our country in uniform.


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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday Serenity #287

 These are the crochet projects my focus has been on since I finished my sister's gifts last Monday.  They are all gifts which need to be finished by the time I leave here on June 9th.

This first one is the mini diaper bag for my cousin's grandbaby who was born in November which is when I began this.  *sigh*

I learned the Catherine Wheel stitch off of a video on YouTube and had to start a project with it.  I'musing size 10 bamboo crochet thread in white and coral for the wheels and twig for the bottom.

I timed myself on a row of wheels tonight.  Each wheel is actually twice around--once for the bottom half and once for the top half.  Turns out it takes me well over an hour to put in an entire row of wheels.

Then I measured the height--which is two wheels taller tonight than in these pics taken Friday night--against a water bottle approximately the size of a baby bottle.

 Then I did the math.  It was going to mean six hours per day of the remainder of my visit.

My sister said that was not reasonable and I should consider switching to an easier stitch for part of it.  She is right and I'm considering.

I finished the bottom panel tonight and started crocheting it on.  I am tired of the ring twisting on me and the thread wrapping around the band.

While I'm crocheting the bottom on I will continue to contemplate my options for a redesign using a quicker stitch for some portion of the top.  Because if I don't finish this while I'm here I'll have to mail it if I want it to read them while the baby is still in diapers.


 This motif in lime green size 3 thread I am going to use in the side panel of a handbag.  I will make a second one of these and then surround them each with black chain mesh to make squares.

It took me only about four hours to make this approximately 8in motif.  So another four hours for the second one and I'm guessing another four hours to do both mesh.  I'm still deciding on how to connect the two sides and what kind of handle to make.

I have a bit of leeway in time with this one as I can still be working on it in the car on the way home if I need to since the intended recipient is not in this area.  But it is a grad gift so still needs to be done by mid June.

Mom's Mother's Day gift--the scarf done in hand painted lace weight silk thread--is still unfinished and must be done before I leave.

But it is nearly done.  I have stopped adding rows of the love knot stitch and am putting in a shell edge and am almost half way around with it.  Probably eight more hours will do it.

The shell or fan stitch I'm using is 4 double crochet, 1 chain , 4 double crochet inside a two chain loop that I crocheted around the entire edge first.

The weight of the edging helps to pull the mesh apart.  It tends to bunch so that the entire twelve inch width could be pulled through a ring no biggeer than a nickle

Read more...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

5th ROW80 Check-In

A Round of Words in 80 Days

I have copy/pasted the goal list  each time from the most recent Check-in going back to the original Friday's post of intent.  Tweaking each time as well as crossing off finished goals and adding new ones. If you want to see the way it has morphed over the last two weeks you can use the ROW80 label.

Yesterday's Friday Foray's in Fiction may be of interest as I discussed having learned something about the fearsome file messes that tends to defang them--or would if I allowed it to sink in and become as real to me as the decades of anxiety I'd invested in the sense of those files as monsters or chaos personified.

Last Wednesday per the recommendation of two of my ROW80 commenters I rearranged the bulleted list of tasks under goal four to indicate priority.

1. Choose 1 of the finished short stories to be the first ebook to publish on Smashwords or Amazon and prep it for take off by the end of June: any revision, line edit, format, convert.  
___[Blow Me a Candy Kiss  part 1; part 2; part 3; part 4; part 5;] -  
05-12-2012 Yes on choosing the title.  This story is set in my Fruits of the Spirit story world and aspires to be literary.  It has elements of romance in it but that is not the primary focus since the couple involved are already married.  The focus is on loss and grief over infertility and the death of a child/sibling.  Aprox 6000 words.

___05-26-2012 Still have not started re-reading it.  Decided last week I needed fresh eyes so set new goal:

Find beta readers
My sister Jamie re-read Candy Kiss while she was here this week and my Mom is currently reading my entire portfolio of hard copy manuscripts.  Some of those are re-reads for her like Candy Kiss will be when she reaches it about three quarter of the way through the binder.  But family and close friends is not what I had in mind when I set this goal.  I think I need eyes with more objectivity than that.

The binder Mom is reading through which I call my portfolio contains all of my complete short stories and a number of scenes pulled out of WIP that I deemed worth wasting ink and paper on. There is another attitude steeped in my pesky perfectionism that I need to change and I would have put printing hard copy of all my WIP including the NaNo Novels on this round's goal list except that my printer is not working.
___05-26-2012


2. Spend 30 minutes or more per day reading a book or quality web article on Writing or Publishing from my ever growing TBR of books on writing and/or blogs or websites with professional level content on writing or publishing.  Will compile list for future updates.
___05-23-2012  - N  
___05-24-2012 -  N   
___05-25-2012  - N 
___05-26-2012  - N

  :(  Tsk tsk tsk

Have been reading a novel I'm doing a blog tour review and giveaway for on June 7.  Need to get a good head start on that now as from May 31st thru June 4th my sister will be out of town which puts me on duty re Mom's needs and meals for three twice a day.

3. Spend 30 minutes or more per day daydreaming in the story world with pencil and pad at hand

___05-23-2012  - Y  
___05-24-2012 -  Y   
___05-25-2012  - Y 
___05-26-2012  - Y

This has been easy since daydreaming my stories is as natural as breathing for me.  Especially when I'm crocheting which I'm doing a lot of this month.  What makes the difference is making sure the notebook and pencil are at hand for the quick jots of thoughts.

And there have been some exciting ones.

The importance of this too is that it is getting my head back into it with the expectation that something more than daydreaming will come of it.  This is not a minor development.  Because of the time spent daydreaming and contemplating the story begins to live in me again.  I may not have new words yet but I feel the pressure building that will push them out if I just keep attending to the story world.

ATTENDING.  Think on that word awhile and all it implies.

It means paying attention.

But it also means serving as well as being in service to.

4. Spend 30 minutes or more per day on one or more of the following tasks:

___05-23-2012  - N  
___05-24-2012 -  Y   
___05-25-2012  - Y 
___05-26-2012  - N


I have started to dabble in the files but haven't done anything that I can cross off yet and it is hard to list anything specific that I've done and yet it feels more than a bit productive since it has, like the daydreaming, stimulated ideas and joggled memory.  Mostly I've just been reading in them but I've added a few jots and move a few things about.  Again, it is all about ATTENDING.  Miracles seem to happen when attention is paid to something.

This is the list I referred to above. I reorganized it according to priorities as I see them now.  And added a couple of small items.  Today I've just grayed the text of some of the WIP titles to indicate that I'm taking the pressure off for this round.

  • Input any material from the daydreaming session into it's appropriate file or task list.
  • Clean up the Fruit of the Spirit storyworld worksheet.  ___05-26-2012  - this is where most of the dabbling this week has occurred.   
  • Create a master task list in FOS story world worksheet file and add any actionable task that comes to mind while working with the files: research and fact check, character development, scenes needed etc.  Future goals can be taken from this list.  ___05-26-2012  -  ditto  
  • Create topic pages in the FOS story world worksheet file for every character from every existing story and novel finished or in progress that is set in this story world. Add any of the characters known life events to the master timeline.
  • Re-read the incomplete short story Home Is Where the Horror Is and consider returning to work on it with an eye toward finishing it this summer. 
  • Do a line edit of all of the completed short stories
  • Blow Me a Candy Kiss
  • How Does Your Garden Grow
  • Running In Circles
  • Of Cats and Claws and Curiosities
  • Making Rag Doll Babies and Million Dollar Maybes
  • During the line edits consider whether any significant revision is still needed--scenes to add or delete, rearrange or rewrite; timeline issues, facts to confirm or to change--and create an actionable task topic in the file.
  • Choose 10 POV level characters from FOS and write a first person rambling monologue for them. 
  • Write fresh scenes whenever a spark is lit by any of the work on this list or the daydreaming or reading.
  • Clean up the 8 NaNo novel files: quarantine the mess, create work space for new writing, and create a system for  storing the material salvaged from the mess in such a way as it can be found when needed. i.e. linking it to appropriate topic pages in the FOS story world worksheet.
  • ____ The Substance of Things Hoped For 2009
  • ____ Mobile Hopes 2008
  • ____ Storyteller's Spouse 2006
  • ____ Spring Fever 2007
  • ____ Brooding Instinct 2005
  • ____ Majoring in Marine Biology 2004
  • ____ Everything That Rises Must Submerge 2010
  • ____ A Trick of Light 2011
  • Read and notate the scene text of the 8 NaNo novel files 
  • ____ The Substance of Things Hoped For 2009 
  • ____ Mobile Hopes 2008
  • ____ Storyteller's Spouse 2006 
  • ____ Spring Fever 2007
  • ____ Brooding Instinct 2005 
  • ____ Majoring in Marine Biology 2004
  • ____ Everything That Rises Must Submerge 2010
  • ____ A Trick of Light 2011 
Some of the work of these last two task can be done concurrently so I was tempted to collapse them under one task and have just one list of the WIP but they are very different tasks when you look close with this last one being more about the writing and the other about information organizing and story outlining.  I could conceivably do the work of one task with one novel while doing the work of the other with a different one.  The two tasks require different frames of mind.

Read more...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Forays in Fiction: Reveling in Rough Drafts


I just want to make a quick observation and then get back to working in my files.  I think I've been making gorgons out of gerbils with my fear of the messes I make of my fiction files during the early draft stages--especially when working under time pressure as with NaNo and other challenges.

That fear comes in two flavors the first being in anticipation of a mess not yet made which has the effect of squelching the inspiration or the inclination to write new words and the second being in hindsight over the words already written in both drafts and notes which tends to exaggerate the extent of the 'mess' and always creates a foaming dismay at the thought of opening those files to face the mess.

And then there is that taskmaster part of me that always insists that the messes must be dealt with before any new word can be added which muffles and manacles the muse.

Well as I have been working with my files for ROW80 I have had more than one occasion when the muse created something new out of  concepts that were juxtaposed in the files precisely because of the 'mess'.  Only someone who knew my storyworld well would understand if I tried to explain any of the particulars so I won't even try.  It is not the point anyway.

The point is that I need to defang the mess monster.  I need to re-vision the very concept of 'mess' to mean something that is less like what a mother means when the kids track in the mud and more like what an artist sees when mixing colors on their paint palettes.

Read more...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Why Write?

“If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”―Toni Morrison


“I just don't hear anyone else making the music I'm making in my head, so I'll have to do it myself.”―Bob Dylan

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sweet Dreams or No


Must sleep.

 Sleep?   What's that?

I immensely enjoyed the three day visit with Jamie.   But as usual for such occasions I jilted Mr Sandman.  He's terribly offended and my refuse me tonight.

Read more...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

4th ROW80 Check-In

A Round of Words in 80 Days

I copy/pasted the goal list from the most recent Check-in which had been copied from last Wednesday's Check-in which had been copied fom Sunday before last's check-in which had been copied from the previous  Friday's post of intent.  Tweaking each time as well as crossing off finished goals and adding new ones.

I fell far short of my expectations since Saturday.  Due in part to the frantic rush to finish the work on my sister's crocheted birthday gifts (pictured in yesterday's post) before her arrival yesterday and then the spending time with her.  Thus there will be little on my goal list checked off.

But per the recommendation of two of my ROW80 commenters I rearranged the bulleted list of tasks under goal four to indicate priority.

1. Choose 1 of the finished short stories to be the first ebook to publish on Smashwords or Amazon and prep it for take off by the end of June: any revision, line edit, format, convert.  
___[Blow Me a Candy Kiss  part 1; part 2; part 3; part 4; part 5;] -  
05-12-2012 Yes on choosing the title.  This story is set in my Fruits of the Spirit story world and aspires to be literary.  It has elements of romance in it but that is not the primary focus since the couple involved are already married.  The focus is on loss and grief over infertility and the death of a child/sibling.  Aprox 6000 words.

___05-22-2012 Still have not started re-reading it.  Decided last Tuesday I needed fresh eyes so set new goal:

So new goal: Find beta readers
Nothing new to report on this front.
___05-22-2012


2. Spend 30 minutes or more per day reading a book or quality web article on Writing or Publishing from my ever growing TBR of books on writing and/or blogs or websites with professional level content on writing or publishing.  Will compile list for future updates.
___05-20-2012  - N  
___05-21-2012 -  N   
___05-22-2012  - N 

No reading of any kind in last three days.  :(

3. Spend 30 minutes or more per day daydreaming in the story world with pencil and pad at hand___05-20-2012 - Y est 1hrs
___05-21-2012 - Y est 2hrs
___05-22-2012 - Y est .5hrs


This has been easy since daydreaming my stories is as natural as breathing for me.  Especially when I'm crocheting which I'm doing a lot of this month.  What makes the difference is making sure the notebook and pencil are at hand for the quick jots of thoughts.

And there have been some exciting ones.

The importance of this too is that it is getting my head back into it with the expectation that something more than daydreaming will come of it.  This is not a minor development.  Because of the time spent daydreaming and contemplating the story begins to live in me again.  I may not have new words yet but I feel the pressure building that will push them out if I just keep attending to the story world.

ATTENDING.  Think on that word awhile and all it implies.

It means paying attention.

But it also means serving as well as being in service to.


4. Spend 30 minutes or more per day on one or more of the following tasks:
___05-20-2012  - N  
___05-21-2012 -  N   
___05-22-2012  - N  

No work was done in the list since last Wednesday and I essentially did nothing more than think about the files, the list, the goals and shuffle priorities and contemplate ideas for ways to organize the files.  Oh and I added an item--the incomplete short story.

But now I will reorganize the list according to priorities as I see them now.

  • Input any material from the daydreaming session into it's appropriate file or task list.
  • Clean up the Fruit of the Spirit storyworld worksheet.
  • Create a master task list in FOS story world worksheet file and add any actionable task that comes to mind while working with the files: research and fact check, character development, scenes needed etc.  Future goals can be taken from this list.
  • Create topic pages in the FOS story world worksheet file for every character from every existing story and novel finished or in progress that is set in this story world. Add any of the characters known life events to the master timeline.
  • Re-read the incomplete short story Home Is Where the Horror Is and consider returning to work on it with an eye toward finishing it this summer. 
  • Do a line edit of all of the completed short stories
  • Blow Me a Candy Kiss
  • How Does Your Garden Grow
  • Running In Circles
  • Of Cats and Claws and Curiosities
  • Making Rag Doll Babies and Million Dollar Maybes
  • During the line edits consider whether any significant revision is still needed--scenes to add or delete, rearrange or rewrite; timeline issues, facts to confirm or to change--and create an actionable task topic in the file.
  • Choose 10 POV level characters from FOS and write a first person rambling monologue for them. 
  • Write fresh scenes whenever a spark is lit by any of the work on this list or the daydreaming or reading.
  • Clean up the 8 NaNo novel files: quarantine the mess, create work space for new writing, and create a system for  storing the material salvaged from the mess in such a way as it can be found when needed. i.e. linking it to appropriate topic pages in the FOS story world worksheet.
  • ____ The Substance of Things Hoped For 2009
  • ____ Mobile Hopes 2008
  • ____ Storyteller's Spouse 2006
  • ____ Spring Fever 2007
  • ____ Brooding Instinct 2005
  • ____ Majoring in Marine Biology 2004
  • ____ Everything That Rises Must Submerge 2010
  • ____ A Trick of Light 2011
  • Read and notate the scene text of the 8 NaNo novel files 
  • ____ The Substance of Things Hoped For 2009 
  • ____ Mobile Hopes 2008
  • ____ Storyteller's Spouse 2006 
  • ____ Spring Fever 2007
  • ____ Brooding Instinct 2005 
  • ____ Majoring in Marine Biology 2004
  • ____ Everything That Rises Must Submerge 2010
  • ____ A Trick of Light 2011 
(some of the work of these last two task can be done concurrently so I was tempted to collapse them under one task and have just one list of the WIP but they are very different tasks when you look close with this last one being more about the writing and the other about information organizing and story outlining.  I could conceivably do the work of one task with one novel while doing the work of the other with a different one.  The two tasks require different frames of mind.)

Read more...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pretty in Pink

Today was my sister Jamie's birthday and she came up from Vancouver to spend the day with us.

Now I can finally do more than just say I'm busy crocheting important projects with close due dates.  Since Jamie is one of my faithful reader's I couldn't say what they were for nor post pictures of WIP or talk about the hassles and frustrations or the the successes and pleasures as the work progresses.

The piece that caused both the most frustration and the most pleasure once finished was this two-toned pink drawstring bag I call a coin purse but can be for holding anything small you don't want falling to the bottom of a larger bag--candy, make-up, postage, cell phone...


This is only the second time I've crocheted beads into something and I could get addicted to it.  These beads were more like mini rings than beads--silver bands with pink stones in them.

Jamie's favorite color is?

Altogether now...

PINK

This mini-purse was done in size 10 cotton in the shades French Rose and Dusty Rose.  The bottom section was done in the outline stitch worked in the round and the top was done in chain mesh--2 chain loops below the drawstring and 4 chain loops from the drawstring to top.

As you can see if you are an experienced crocheter, I had trouble keeping the count and the tension on the thread causing the tows to expand and contract on me.  I did a lot of taking out before I finally decided to live with the effect.

When I first started this project in November I intended it to be a beach bag sized bag for Jamie to pack for her frequent overnight stays in the hospital but I soon realized I could not work that stitch for that long.  Besides the difficulty of catching front loops or back loops only and keeping several loops on the hood at once while shifting its position there was the fact that this stitch required finishing off on every row. You never turn and work it back the other direction so that mean there would be two tails per row to tuck.

So sometime in December i decided It was going to be a small something.  Maybe a four by four inch pocket book or wallet or maybe a checkbook cover.

But after having to take out three of the stripes (a stripe = 4 rows) because of dropped stitches I decided that even that was going to be too much.  I resisted working on it for weeks and it wasn't until I got the idea early this month in the first days I was here at Mom's to sew the ends of the one salvageable stripe together and work it in the round thus eliminating the tails that I started working on it daily and in less than two weeks it was dine.

I worked the existing tails down the seam I had made and then braided them together instead of tucking them and trimming them off.

I hate tucking that much.

I would have finished even sooner if I hadn't also been working Mom's scarf whenever she was asleep or busy until after Mother's Day.  Since I didn't finish that scarf I'll be going back to it now.  Along with a few other projects intended as gifts for someone in this area which I hope to finish before I head home next month.  In about three weeks.


This is a bookmark.  The rose was made last November or at least the crocheted part.  Last night I had to sew the edges together at the back to keep it from unrolling and then crochet the leaves and stem and sew them together and then sew them onto the rose.

You can't see in the pic Jamie took but the stem when fully extended is nearly a foot long and has a curly cue on the end.
Jamie discovered that by wrapping the stem around her wrist and hooking the curly end behind the leaves she could wear it as a bracelet.

This was made with size 10 cotton thread in Kerry Green and Variegated pink and white.
This hot pad was made with Sugar and Cream cotton yarn.  I whipped that together last night in about four hours.

And then spent another four to six hours dressing the bookmarks pictured below.  They had all been crocheted long ago.  In fact more than half of them had been intended for her birthday last year but I did not get them ready in time.  Many of them still needed to be tail tucked and blocked and none of them had their ribbons or tassels.

At least I had the tails tucked and the blocking done before last night.  In fact before I left home three weeks ago.  So all I had to do last night was select and prepare the ribbons and tassels.







Read more...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday Serenity #286



Busy busy busy.  Putting finishing touches on several crochet projects that are uber time sensitive.

Was wondering what to put  up for Sunday Serenity today when I got this image in an email from my sister.  I'm hoping I'm not stepping on rights by posting it but it was just too tempting.  Anyone recognizing it's source let me know so I can credit it.

Back to work tucking tails, edging, tasseling, beading, buttoning, fringing, blocking, ironing...

I've really got to learn to finish these projects all the way not just to the last loop off the hook and then starting a new one...

Read more...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

3rd ROW80 Check-In

In a teaser pic in yesterday's post I asked for guesses on what I was making with the six granny squares, an old ladies support hose knee-high and a cat's toy ball as seen in yesterday's photo.

The answer is a squishy-soft baby toy.  I stuffed poly fiber into the stocking with the ball buried deep inside, it's bell muffled but still quite audible.

I started this project Thursday evening for a baby shower my sister was going to on Saturday.  I had to have it finished before I slept Friday night and as it turned out even though the squares were finished before 9pm I did not get it put together until after 8am by which time it was too late for me to lay down as my sister was leaving before noon which was putting me on duty for lunch.

I sitll haven't slept which means I need to desperately. Umm 36 hours as of half an hour ago.

It is after 10 pm.  My sister is still not home but Mom has been in bed since 9.

Needing sleep so desperately means I won't get to surf the ROW80 check-ins after the linky goes up at midnight as I'd so look forward to.

But I still wanted to get my check-in post posted so that I won't have preparing it on my agenda when I wake and can be free to surf for awhile.

So here it is:
A Round of Words in 80 Days

I copy/pasted the goal list from Wednesday's Check-in which had been copied fom Sunday's check-in which had been copied from  Friday's post of intent.  Tweaking each time as well as crossing off finished goals and adding new ones.

Choose 1 of the finished short stories to be the first ebook to publish on Smashwords or Amazon and prep it for take off by the end of June: any revision, line edit, format, convert.  
___[Blow Me a Candy Kiss  part 1; part 2; part 3; part 4; part 5;] -  
05-12-2012 Yes on choosing the title.  This story is set in my Fruits of the Spirit story world and aspires to be literary.  It has elements of romance in it but that is not the primary focus since the couple involved are already married.  The focus is on loss and grief over infertility and the death of a child/sibling.  Aprox 6000 words.

___05-16-2012 Still have not started re-reading it.  Decided last Tuesday I needed fresh eyes so set new goal:

So new goal: Find beta readers

Nothing new to report on this front.


Spend 30 minutes or more per day reading a book or quality web article on Writing or Publishing from my ever growing TBR of books on writing and/or blogs or websites with professional level content on writing or publishing.  Will compile list for future updates.
___05-16-2012  - Y  
___05-17-2012 - Y  
___05-18-2012 - N Put 16 or more hours into work on the granny square block between Thursday evening and Saturday morning.  Something had to give.
___05-19-2012 - N 

My focus in the reading has been on ebook publishing.

Spend 30 minutes or more per day daydreaming in the story world with pencil and pad at hand.
---
05-16-2012  - Y est 4hrs
___05-17-2012 - Y est 2hrs
___05-18-2012 - Y est 5hrs
___05-19-2012 - Y est 1hrs


This has been easy since daydreaming my stories is as natural as breathing for me.  Especially when I'm crocheting which I'm doing a lot of this month.  What makes the difference is making sure the notebook and pencil are at hand for the quick jots of thoughts.

And there have been some exciting ones.

The importance of this too is that it is getting my head back into it with the expectation that something more than daydreaming will come of it.  This is not a minor development.  Because of the time spent daydreaming and contemplating the story begins to live in me again.  I may not have new words yet but I feel the pressure building that will push them out if I just keep attending to the story world.

ATTENDING.  Think on that word awhile and all it implies.

It means paying attention.

But it also means serving as well as being in service to.


Spend 30 minutes or more per day on one or more of the following tasks:
___05-16-2012 - N
___05-17-2012 - N
___05-18-2012 - N
___05-19-2012 - N  

Nothing has changed in the list since Wednesday and I essentially did nothing more than think about the files, the list, the goals and shuffle priorities and contemplate ideas for ways to organize the files.

  • Input any material from the daydreaming session into it's appropriate file or task list.
  • Clean up the Fruit of the Spirit storyworld worksheet.
  • Clean up the 8 NaNo novel files: quarantine the mess, create work space for new writing, and create a system for  storing the material salvaged from the mess in such a way as it can be found when needed. i.e. linking it to appropriate topic pages in the FOS story world worksheet.
  • ____Storyteller's Spouse 2006
  • ____The Substance of Things Hoped For 2009
  • ____Mobile Hopes 2008
  • ____Spring Fever 2007
  • ____A Trick of Light 2011
  • ____Brooding Instinct 2005
  • ____Everything That Rises Must Submerge 2010
  • ____Majoring in Marine Biology 2004
  • Read and notate the scene text of the 8 NaNo novel files
  • ____Storyteller's Spouse 2006
  • ____The Substance of Things Hoped For 2009
  • ____Mobile Hopes 2008
  • ____Spring Fever 2007
  • ____A Trick of Light 2011
  • ____Brooding Instinct 2005
  • ____Everything That Rises Must Submerge 2010
  • ____Majoring in Marine Biology 2004
  • Create a master task list in FOS story world worksheet file and add any actionable task that comes to mind while working with the files: research and fact check, character development, scenes needed etc.  Future goals can be taken from this list.
  • Create topic pages in the FOS story world worksheet file for every character from every existing story and novel finished or in progress that is set in this story world.  Add any of the characters known life events to the master timeline.
  • Choose 10 POV level characters from FOS and write a first person rambling monologue for them.
  • Do a line edit of all of the completed short stories
  • Blow Me a Candy Kiss
  • How Does Your Garden Grow
  • Running In Circles
  • Of Cats and Claws and Curiosities
  • Making Rag Doll Babies and Million Dollar Maybes
  • During the line edits consider whether any significant revision is still needed--scenes to add or delete, rearrange or rewrite; timeline issues, facts to confirm or to change--and create an actionable task topic in the file.
  • Write fresh scenes whenever a spark is lit by the above work.


Read more...

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Forays in Fiction: Threads of Thought

It's hard to believe it has been a whole week since I joined ROW80.  It seems like yesterday.  It seems like a year.

The one goal I set that I've met daily is spending 30 or more minutes a day daydreaming my FOS story world with notebook and pencil at hand.  This has borne a lot of fruit already.

So what do these pics of crocheted granny squares have to do with fiction--either writing or reading?

Well as I've related here before, I do a lot of my story daydreaming while plying hooks or needles on fiber art projects.  One of the reasons I was able to keep up this particular daily goal was because I have several crochet projects for gifts that are on tight deadlines so I've been crocheting many hours per day.

Now some of that I must admit I do while watching videos--news pods, streaming TV or movies, Youtube... but in honor of my ROW80 commitment I sat with silence and no extra visual distraction for a minimum of 30 minutes which almost always turned into more than an hour.

Not only did I come up with new ideas but old ones that I had not thought about for a long time came to mind.  Some of these had never been written down so had essentially been lost until they returned while I had pencil and pager handy.  There was something about thinking while crocheting that seemed to stimulate my memory as well as my muse.

I wonder how and in what way the muse and memory are related.

The project pictured here was begun last night.  Almost exactly 24 hours ago as I type this.  I got the idea for during dinner and gather materials and started working as Mom was preparing for bed.

It is for a gift that has to be ready before10am Saturday which is about when my sister is leaving town for the day.  One event of her day will be a baby shower for the daughter of one of my sister's closest friends who I used to babysit many moons ago.

Yes the kids I used to babysit are becoming grandparents!!  Wasn't it bad enough when the started becoming parents?

Not only that but my Faye character was old enough to be my grandmother when I first conceived her an put the first words of the first story she appeared in on paper.  Now I am older than she was in the first scene.  *sigh*

At any rate I decided I wanted to make something for the baby.  But what could I make in less than 36 hours.

You tell me.  What am I making with six granny squares, a cat's toy ball and an old lady's support hose knee-high?

I'll post the answer along with the pics of the finished product tomorrow or Sunday.

Read more...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Spring Fling Finale

SITS Girls Spring Fling Event:
A Blog Improvement Challenge--
Build Your Community &
Improve Your Blog
Today was the last day of the SITS Girls Spring Fling.  I spent a lot of time working on the assignments for Tuesday (About Page) Wednesday (Best Of Paage) and Thursday (Do Something New).

The new thing I'm doing is setting up Pages in Blogger.  I've known I had the capability for over a year but kept putting it off.

You ought to be seeing the About Page in the top section of the left sidebar.  I tried to get the links to show in tabs across the top but it wouldn't take for some reason and I think I actually like it this way better anyway as there are going to be over six total when I'm done.

I put a lot of time, thought and effort into it over the last several days and still have only the About Page ready to publish and even yet consider it still under construction.

I don't know if I'm going to have a Best Of Page as I am planning to have several others that serve a similar purpose only splitting the best posts into categories: Reading, Writing, Fiber Art etc.  Once I have them ready they will replace in function what the Portal Posts have been for:

Book Review Portal will become part of the Joyread Page
Poetry Portal will become part of the Joywrite Page
Fruits of the Spirit Story World Portal ditto

Read more...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Everyone Talks About Getting One


so few ever do.

I've put so much of my blogging time into visiting ROW80 peeps and working the Spring Fling assignments inthe last couple of days, this will have to do as a post for today.  It speaks to the goal setting that has been so much on my mind for over a week now.

Read more...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

2nd ROW80 Check-In

A Round of Words in 80 Days
Since I generally do most of my blog post prep late evenings I am going to allocate Tuesday and Saturday's posts for ROW80 check-in.  But they are likely to go up quite late

I copy/pasted the goal list I created in Friday's post of intent and then added and adjusted and noted what got done for Sunday's check-in.  I will do this for each check-in.  Watch the strike-throughs accumulate.

Since I've identified the mess in my fiction files created by the 8 NaNos and 2 or three 70 Days of Sweat challenges as the worst stumbling block keeping me from working my fiction WIP and also since I'm jumping in at nearly the mid point of round 2 for 2012, I have set my goals for between now and the end of June accordingly:

Choose 1 of the finished short stories to be the first ebook to publish on Smashwords or Amazon and prep it for take off by the end of June: any revision, line edit, format, convert.  
___[Blow Me a Candy Kiss  part 1; part 2; part 3; part 4; part 5;] -  
05-12-2012 Yes on choosing the title.

___05-15-2012 Have not started re-reading it let alone doing any revision or line-editing.  It has been years since I have reread it and by then I had worked it over with revision and edits so many times it began to feel frayed at the seams to me.

I think that before I commit it to the ebook ap I need to have fresh eyes on it and that counts out all friends and family who are even willing to look at it as they all already have.  More than once.

So new goal: Find beta readers:

I saw a lot of talk of beta readers on my ROW80 blog hopping.  So I thought I would put out a call for beta readers.  How does that work?  How does one acquire a beta reader and what is the protocol?

The links I put next to the title above are to the four posts in which I posted the full story in installments for Friday Snippets several years ago.  Anyone interested in reading and critiquing that version on any level from story mechanics to grammar, punctuation and spelling can do so by leaving comments on those posts or emailing me at joystory AT gmail DOT com.  Also if you are then interested in seeing it all in one piece after this next round of edits let me know.

FYI for anyone considering it: this story is set in my Fruits of the Spirit story world and aspires to be literary.  It has elements of romance in it but that is not the primary focus since the couple involved are already married.  The focus is on loss and grief over infertility and the death of a child/sibling.



Spend 30 minutes or more per day reading a book on Writing or Publishing from my ever growing TBR of books on writing and/or blogs or websites with professional level content on writing or publishing.  Will compile list for future updates.___05-12-2012  - Y  Read several chapters in Let's Get Digital: How to Self-Publish and Why You Should by David Gaughran.  I picked up the Kindle edition free on Amazon earlier this week.
___05-13-2012 - N  Mother's Day was over committed besides which I stayed up all night crocheting on the scarf/shawl I was giving Mom.  Still not done had to take it back after showing her Sunday.
___05-14-2012 - Y Not a book but Gaughran's blog and a couple other websites.  Decided that counts since it is more about the information and education than it is about the form it takes.
___05-15-2012 - Y Again it was the web.

Spend 30 minutes or more per day daydreaming in the story world with pencil and pad at hand.
---
05-12-2012  - Y est 3hrs
___05-13-2012 - Y est 2hrs
___05-14-2012 - Y est 4hrs
___05-15-2012 - Y est 5hrs


This has been easy since daydreaming my stories is as natural as breathing for me.  Especially when I'm crocheting which I'm doing a lot of this month.  What makes the difference is making sure the notebook and pencil are at hand for the quick jots of thoughts.

The importance of this too is that it is getting my head back into it with the expectation that something more than daydreaming will come of it.


Spend 30 minutes or more per day on one or more of the following tasks:
___05-12-2012 - Y
___05-13-2012 - N
___05-14-2012 - Y
___05-15-2012 - N  


What I did do was mostly glancing around my files, re-familiarizing myself with what was what in them so nothing has changed in the list

  • Input any material from the daydreaming session into it's appropriate file or task list.
  • Clean up the Fruit of the Spirit storyworld worksheet.
  • Clean up the 8 NaNo novel files: quarantine the mess, create work space for new writing, and create a system for  storing the material salvaged from the mess in such a way as it can be found when needed. i.e. linking it to appropriate topic pages in the FOS story world worksheet.
  • ____Storyteller's Spouse 2006
  • ____The Substance of Things Hoped For 2009
  • ____Mobile Hopes 2008
  • ____Spring Fever 2007
  • ____A Trick of Light 2011
  • ____Brooding Instinct 2005
  • ____Everything That Rises Must Submerge 2010
  • ____Majoring in Marine Biology 2004
  • Read and notate the scene text of the 8 NaNo novel files
  • ____Storyteller's Spouse 2006
  • ____The Substance of Things Hoped For 2009
  • ____Mobile Hopes 2008
  • ____Spring Fever 2007
  • ____A Trick of Light 2011
  • ____Brooding Instinct 2005
  • ____Everything That Rises Must Submerge 2010
  • ____Majoring in Marine Biology 2004
  • Create a master task list in FOS story world worksheet file and add any actionable task that comes to mind while working with the files: research and fact check, character development, scenes needed etc.  Future goals can be taken from this list.
  • Create topic pages in the FOS story world worksheet file for every character from every existing story and novel finished or in progress that is set in this story world.  Add any of the characters known life events to the master timeline.
  • Choose 10 POV level characters from FOS and write a first person rambling monologue for them.
  • Do a line edit of all of the completed short stories
  • Blow Me a Candy Kiss
  • How Does Your Garden Grow
  • Running In Circles
  • Of Cats and Claws and Curiosities
  • Making Rag Doll Babies and Million Dollar Maybes
  • During the line edits consider whether any significant revision is still needed--scenes to add or delete, rearrange or rewrite; timeline issues, facts to confirm or to change--and create an actionable task topic in the file.
  • Write fresh scenes whenever a spark is lit by the above work.


Read more...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Of Spring Flings, Sidebars & Social Networking

SITS Girls Spring Fling Event:
A Blog Improvement Challenge--
Build Your Community &
Improve Your Blog
While working so hard to finish Mom's scarf/shawl before Moother's Day I dropped the ball on SITS Girls Spring Fling for Thursday and Friday assignments.  So my goal today was to catch up those two assignments and do today's which was to declutter our blog.  Thursday was share your Google+ link and Friday was share your Pinterest link.  Though I had a Google+ page I hadn't done a profile for it.  I didn't have a Pinterest account at all.

Earlier last week we shared our facebook and Twitter links.  Those I already had well establishes so those two assignments took only minutes.  Except for the visiting others part.  That always takes me a looooooong time.

But today I spent hours on Google+ and Pinterest.  Signing up for the latter and setting up profiles on both and following and pinning and liking and...


I was so bummed that both JoyRenee and Joystory and Joywrite were already taken as usernames.  I probably spent half an hour just staring at the sighup screen before I finally went with 'storyismyjoy'


Might as well round them all up here:

Joy Renee on Google+
Joy Renee on Pinterest
Joystory fanpage on facebook
Joy Renee on Twitter


For the declutter project I chose to begin with getting rid of all of the old buttons for events and challenges from the past.  But I didn't want to just delete them.  So I moved them into a footer at the bottom of the page in a section I named Once Upon a Time.  That was so easy I wondered if maybe I was about to loose my aversion to sidebar fiddling caused by a frustrating experience every single time I attempt it.

But then of course it happened again.  One of the buttons I wanted to leave in the sidebar above did not reappear after I'd removed the others and saved the widget.  I spent nearly two hours beating my brain over the problem.  If it had been any other button but Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon I might have given up and deleted it after fifteen minutes.  It wasn't until I did a character by character comparison of the code in the sidebar widget with the code in my last read-a-thon post that I discovered that somehow the url for the image had lost all its capitalization.  Once I'd copied the url again from the post and inserted it in place of the deformed one it worked again.  Now, tho, I'm left confuzzled as to how it happened.  All of the letters were still in place but had converted to lowercase.

So altogether today I must have put in seven hours on the Spring Flling.  Including a few comments left and reading some of the posts on SITS Girls about Google+ and Pinterest.  Some of that time in the last three hours has been about waiting for pages to load and tabs to unfreeze. It must be time for a browser restart or computer restart.  Or both.

My mind feels like a pretzel.

If tomorrow's assignment looks like it will take me more than thirty minutes I might have to pass so I can focus on getting caught up on a crochet project that has to be done a week from today.


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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sunday Serenity #285 Mother's Day Blessings


This was the state of Mom's scarf/shawl when I had to give it to her today and then take it away. It might be a bit over half done. I have 21 of the long rows. I'm aiming for 33.

I've been awake since before noon on Saturday because I kept crocheting so long this morning I lost my chance to get more than a nap before it would be time to fix lunch for Mom so I elected to keep on crocheting until time to fix lunch.

But then my brother surprised us by calling from Portland to say he was bringing his kids [only the youngest is technically still a kid] and Jamie up to take us all out for dinner.  And we all decided to save our appetites for that and just nibbled a bit on our own instead of me making lunch.

So I was off the hook for making lunch and dinner which was a huge blessing.  Considering how yesterday when well rested I manged to knock the cutting board off the sink rim onto my bare toes.

I showed Mom the scarf/shawl at the restaurant after she had looked at the Family Mother's Day card.  She asked me if I was making a 'fascinator'.  A word I'd never heard but she said it was like a scarf but bigger and could cover your hair and wrap around your neck.  She said they were popular when she was in high-school

So maybe that is what I'm making.  A fascinator.  [not sure of tha spelling

Well I have been nodding off over this from the moment I started prepping the pictures.  I better surrender to it.
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