Friday, March 25, 2011

Disaster Ahead - Take a Break

My life is a disaster.   Not on every level, just from a writing perspective.  My physical space is in turmoil.  In fact last weekend I didn't write at all.  A break - now that should be a refreshing change.  But there's something about living amidst a disaster that takes the refreshing right out of the break.

So what is said disaster? 
Renovations have caused an office disaster.

The basement is being renovated and that's where my office is.  So the refreshing break became a chance to haul nail pocked boards to the garage for future disposal, sweep sawdust, tear out nails and rip up carpet.

A contractor I'm not.  Agile - maybe.  At least so I thought as I dangled from two by fours and removed nails.  That was until I reached the two by four that was held up by only one nail.  Of course, I learned that after the fact.  It was a slow dance from ground to floor as I hung in mid-air before maneuvering around obstacles and safely jumping off before it hit the ground.  Not bad all things considered, no injuries or broken tools - and hey, I still had my hammer in hand. 

My basement is full of electric tools and I'm comfortable with none of them.  I'm sure some of them may have featured in a horror movie or two.   And my dislike of them all was justified when the nailer attempted to take off someone's thumbnail.  Apparently, a dab of crazy glue fixes that!  All I know is that it was a relief to see that there was no blood. 

Welcome to my nightmare
I think you're gonna like it,
I think you're gonna feel
Like you belong,
A nocturnal vacation,
Unnecessary sedation,
You want to feel at home
Cause you belong,
Welcome to my nightmare.

With an office hiding behind an old sheet, I've been away from the computer more this week than I've been sitting in front of it.  Definitely not the norm.  A friend actually had to phone me after there was no response to her e-mails.  Usually e-mail is a fairly efficient way to get my attention.  Not this week. 

An old flannel sheet becomes a dust break.
I learned something from being away from the computer.  The longing to write came back.  Not that I didn't want to write - but that sense of anticipation to get that line down got to be savoured more times than it was acted on.   I can no longer blithely charge to the computer especially when even getting into the basement is no longer a matter of just running down the stairs.  It's an obstacle course down there, complete with a wayward nail or two - shoes are a necessity.  So hours go by and I have to collect those fantastic lines and wonderful ideas (that's the great thing about the muse - each word screams that it's the best you ever wrote, until edits reveal otherwise) before I write anything down.  Yes, I know I have heard of pen and paper - but...give me my computer any day.  Besides, one idea always leads to a paragraph and then a page and then...  

So back to the urge to write and the break from writing.  A break is the best thing that ever happened.  It brought back the passion, the bite that makes me ache to write. 

You might ask why I didn't just move my computer upstairs.  But hey, behind the flannel sheet, my office is still intact and the place I want to be - for now.   So now with projects calling, it's time to get to work.  I miss my routine and me and the hammer, despite spending time together, will always be reluctant partners.

Anything different in your week?


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Self Help Blogs

Novice Monks, Cambodia

Have blogs become the 21st centuries version of the self-help book?  No matter what the subject there's a blog ready to give advise.  I'm sure there's even a blog available to point out problems to those who may perceive that they have none.

Some blogs are just ones that are fun to follow or people who I enjoy their style of writing.  Light, easy blogs that are a break in a busy day.  There's the travel blogs I follow that give me a taste of the world through anothers eyes.  No self help there.  No - wait, didn't I read in a number of blogs that travel as opposed to tourism is the best self help of all?  And then there's the blogs who advocate leaving it all behind.  As in selling it all and carrying your possessions on your back and travelling the globe.  I love the concept but I can't get my head around leaving the beer fridge, never mind my electric piano, behind and I haven't even reached the bookshelf.  Hmmm, a topic for another blog. 

But onward, there's the zen blog, and the daily brainstorm which exactly like it says storms your brain with bits of motivational rah rah.  And of course there's the writing blogs.  Everything from industry news to the trials and tribulations of other authors.  Nothing like reading the trials of others followed by a story of success or two to make everything feel right with the world.  There's even yoga blogs where I mistakenly thought I'd learn meditation.  Apparently that is a physical art.  One where I actually have to get out of my writing chair and practice.  So I moved on.  There's only so much self-help a girl can take.  

Blogs - how do you look at them?  Fun or a little support along the way?

Ryshia on Twitter

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Good Host and Comments

Have you ever commented on a blog and gotten no response?  I wonder about that, the blog owner I mean.  Why are they blogging if not to interact with the people that read their blog.  Knowing first-hand how rare comments can be, why would you ignore them?  I know there is the occasional comment that doesn't warrant a comment be it a commercial inquiry or other.  And sometimes responses to comments are best made in a less public forum.  But for the vast majority,  I think the blog owner has a duty to respond unless their site is so crazy busy that it is impossible.  To me that is really the only excuse. 

The other day I commented on a blog, me and a few others.  Not that this was a heavily trafficked blog, there were many posts where there were no comments at all.  So when there was a comment, you would think you'd want to encourage comments by interacting with them.  Not this blogger - instead they carried on as if no one had knocked on their door.  That's what it is really, a guest has arrived, acknowledge them.  And this blogger didn't.   Maybe it's just me but it seems rather like hosting a party and then refusing to speak to the guests.  Isn't that just plain rude? 

It's definitely a missed opportunity.  I don't know about you but ignore me once maybe, twice and I won't stick around unless you're offering some pretty awesome material. 

What's your take on a blogger's response to comments?  Or are you a blog owner sans the comments?  And if so - you must have your reasons - care to share?


Did you know that summer is only 98 days away? Is is time to get out the ice and the blender?  Maybe save some of that winter surplus of ice before hallelujah, we hit the big melt!

Monday, March 7, 2011

On the Edge of Spring

Nothing but snow, snow, snow - no flowers

There's no visual sign of spring up here in the frozen North.  The snow hasn't budged a centimeter and the thermometer is determined to continue it's spate of record lows.  But something is changing.  Beneath the surface there's rumblings.  The trilling of birds, a variety of songs previously unheard since sometime in mid-fall are tentatively testing their voices and in the stripped and shivering trees...

Okay, enough already!  Let me just say that it's still flipping freezing up here.  And yes, there seem to have been a few birds crazy enough to arrive on the early flight. Other than that, it's cold - crazy cold!  So on a day when again, as I've posted before, I'm sick of winter, this time I mean it.  And I'm seeing the signs that everyone else is feeling the same way.  Change is in the air.   Hubbie is culling items we've stored for decades, things I'd either forgotten we owned or why we had kept it.   That is when he's not unnerving me and standing silently in my office and looking at my office walls.   He's moving into renovation mode and I'm not sure when to gather my laptop and run.  Meantime the dog also senses a change in the air and has hauled out every stuffed animal he owns.  And for a dog with a fetish for stuffed animals, that's a lot.  Forget vacuuming, it's a project to contain the wildlife.

Seriously, as the calendar says that it's almost time for winter to wind down, I'm beginning to panic.  I've finished one story and begun another and there's one waiting to be finished.  Never mind a slight matter of a grant application whose deadline is now only days away.   Not that winter is my only time to write.  It's just that after a long winter, the thought of a warm day seems that it should be savoured on the deck with a glass of your favourite drink in hand. 
And on a completely different topic.  I had a fantastic surprise this morning when I opened my mail and read that  this blog, Once Upon a Time... was named by Masters in Project Management in a post called The Tales of Tale-Tellers: The Top 50 Novelist Blogs as one of the top romance novelist blogs!  How wow is that?  Head on over and check it out.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Airline Travel With a Twist

Remember those days when riding a plane was fun?  When seats were wider and actually spaced with adequate leg room.  When the man reclining in front of you didn't land in your lap and when being assigned a middle seat didn't involve an intricate dance of dodging elbows. 

Airport - Seoul
I remember a time, not too long ago, when water was something you didn't purchase after being frisked in a security line up.  Although this is not such a bad procedure.  I mean from a writer of romantic suspense point of view, it gives me a sense of what frisking is all about.  An experience I might never previously have had.  Seriously, while I realize that the world has changed and we need a certain amount of security, some days I long for what was.  I think fondly back to days when I wasn't scrambling for plastic baggies for my midget size toothpaste and someone wasn't scowling over my mascara while I juggled my shoes and slipped on tile floors in sock feet.  Days when, should my luggage have been lost or the in flight meal insubstantial, no problem, my carry on had it all.

My second plane ride ever was to Hawaii.  Wardair was a Canadian airline that provided luxury even in economy.  An airline that like many things, is now history.  I remember a 747 with wide seats and excess legroom.  There was a circular staircase up to the lounge area that was open to all passengers.  There was a bar complete with bartender in the main passenger area in the forward section (economy) that served free drinks for the entire flight.  The drinks morphed into Mai Tais as we neared our destination. 

That journey included a tour of the cockpit for a few select passengers of who I ended up being one. I can still remember my first encounter with the concept of auto pilot.  I think shock registered at walking into the cockpit, being overwhelmed by complexity of it all and then realizing that both the pilot and co-pilot faced me with their back to the wide open sky.   "It's on auto-pilot," the captain assured me with a smile.  And really, his smile wasn't wide enough.  Auto-pilot had me uneasy for the duration of the trip.  Thank goodness for the Mai Tais.

A Staircase in a 747 - leading to lounge
It's amazing how quickly what was once reality slips into the realm of history.  It's hard to imagine a plane now where the cockpit would be that open, or where a lounge would be available to anyone other than first class or where there would even be a lounge at all.  For better or worse, it's another world. 

For a writer, nothing is really over.  Those times that fade into history can come alive again with a pen and a flight into imagination.   And you - any memories of times past?