"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing." ~ Dame Agatha Christie

Friday, December 31, 2010

What a Decade it Has Been...And a Glimpse of What's Ahead

First..the glimpse (if you haven't already noticed LOL)--I've remodeled my blog!  Since the apartment got remodeled this year, I felt I could do no less for my blog.  For the moment, the changes are mainly cosmetic, but my post tomorrow will outline some plans and ideas I have to improve Multicoloured Imagery...as they say on more traditional media, "stay tuned"...

Now, a look back--a bit of reflection on where I've been...

Ten years ago, I was in a loving, committed relationship and working for a major metropolitan city.  We were anxiously awaiting whether or not the entire computer world would come crashing down on our shoulders due to Y2K.  It didn't.  We survived.  Then came 9/11/2001.  I'm a native Dallasite who was in fourth-grade music class when JFK was assassinated; I was a housewife shopping for groceries when Challenger crashed.  Neither prepared me for the tragedy of 9/11, but neither brought up from the core of my being a love of the United States of America that the aftermath of 9/11 stirred from my unconscious self.  That intense patriotism lives to this day.

On a personal level in the first half of the decade, I realized commitment from one party in a partnership is not enough to sustain the relationship.  I left (he was grateful).  I changed jobs after hitting the glass ceiling repeatedly (I was happy).  Looking back, there was a year or two when the outside world may have thought I was floundering a bit.  I certainly realize now that while I was reinventing myself as a single woman in my late forties, I was also suffering from depression.  I tried a geographic cure, thinking that a complete change of scenery would do me good--and it did.  New Orleans gave me strength and a sense of self I had never experienced.  I fell in love with the people and the character of the city--it was quirky enough that I could allow myself to simply be me.  Sure, I didn't like much of the social inequity I saw, but I also understood its roots and was accepted into the lifestyle and community in a way I had never before experienced.

Then came August 29, 2005 and a hurricane named Katrina.  Once more, I faced a crossroad.  Rebuilding my life from scratch back in Dallas just seemed logical at the time simply because I still had friends and family here.

Fast forward five years--I'm single and loving it.  I have a great job that supplies all my needs and many of my wants.  I live in a fantastic apartment in a decent section of town.  My friends and family ebb and flow in and out of my life as we grow as individuals--some stay for a season, some for a reason, and a few for a lifetime.  All is as it should be.  I salute the challenges and accomplishments of the last decade and I give thanks to the Creator who made all this living of life possible.

And I look forward into a future filled with hopes, dream and possibilities...Welcome to the world, 2011!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Today is Christmas--some folks celebrate the day as a religious one and others celebrate home, hearth and family while still more observe the commercialism of the season.

Whatever you do on the 25th of December, I hope you enjoy it with all the wide-eyed wonder of a child...and if you have health, hearth, food, family and friends, consider expressing gratitude for all the Blessings that are manifest in your life...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

"Why it is Good to Write"

A quick addendum before bed--one of the cozy mystery authors I follow posted this on her blog today and the Universe in all its wonder decided I needed to have some of my thoughts validated...how cool is that?  If a published author can make it through horrendously bad first drafts and still come out the other side, why can't I?

Go check out Elizabeth Spann Craig--she's cool ;-)

Lessons Learned from Losing

I "lost" NaNoWriMo 2010 by the rules of the whole thing--I wrote only 19,000 words during the thirty days from November 1-30.  The goal is 50,000 and I personally know it is doable as I did it last year.

But did I really lose?  I prefer to think not--I am using this NaNo "non-win" to learn some lessons as to how I personally can become a better writer.  These lessons may mean nothing to my readers, but simply putting them into a public forum will help me be more prepared for the task next November 1st.

#1:  I am a planner, not a "pantster"--I write much better when I have my historical facts already researched and a simple outline of my plot and characters.  Since I am currently writing historical fiction with a time-travel twist, stopping to look up facts in the middle of a sub-plot slows me down considerably.  Because of my apartment remodel this year, I had not planned anything as far as plot, minor characters, settings, etc. and it showed from the very beginning.  Much of the time I would have spent in the actual writing process was spent in figuring out who was who, why they were where they were, and what difference it really made anyway ;-)

#2:  NaNo is about getting the words down on paper and shushing your inner editor as to grammar, spelling, etc.  I gratefully use spell-check at the end of each session, but I have learned that editing the story's flow and punctuation can definitely wait until later.

#3:  I am NOT a linear thinker.  That may sound strange from someone who just said she has to plan out a plot, but when researching history, I usually find myself jumping from settings to personages to food to transportation to economics to... (well, you get the idea).  As any and all of this minutia may come in handy, I hesitate to stop researching in this fashion.  I simply need to do it during the other eleven months of the year LOL.

#4:  If work can get in the way, it will LOL.  And I am not just talking the "9-5" job I have that pays the bills; I even took some vacation days during November in the hopes that I could dedicate those days to nothing but writing.  Some writing got done those days, but I also had housework, laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, granddaughter's birthday party--again, you get the picture.  Since I have neither a personal assistant nor a spouse/roommate, if these "general living" tasks are to be done, I must do them.  And since I cannot think well surrounded by cluttered chaos, I defeat the whole shebang trying to work with a mess around me.

#5:  I don't create well when fueled only by caffeine and chocolate.  Perhaps because both of these (especially caffeine) are a part of my daily life, they are not efficient pick-me-ups when my body is weary and my word count is flagging.  Actually, I am now reducing my chocolate intake on a regular basis since I have discovered that protein actually boosts me into extra energy.  I'll never totally abandon my dark chocolate, but I no longer consume it in quantity at a sitting.  It gets savored only as a treat and for energy I turn to dried fruit, protein, nuts, and healthy low-glycemic carbs.  Coffee, on the other hand, is still very much a daily staple LOL.

So, I lost the battle of NaNoWriMo 2010, but I won the war.  I learned more about my writing and research style and I learned how to fuel my older body to respond more proactively to stress.  Onwards and upwards toward NaNo 2011 and I'll see everyone at the finish line--I'm off to write another chapter...