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Artists And Art

Ever viewed the show Abstract? I hadn’t until recently. Only two shows thus far, but the second hit me like a ton of bricks.

It was all about shoes. Athletic shoes. Tinker Hatfield. I came away with a couple of quotes. No, you have to go watch it on your own and find your own takeaway quote.

Still reading the Legend of Drizzt by R.A. Salvatore and finished some regional (to me) authors of the midwest. A couple recently finished- a Maggie Adams and an Amy Hale. (Check them out on Amazon.)

As much as the need to actually sit down to write, there is also the need for encouragement. No one works exactly like anyone else. Honor your own method. That is still a bugger for me at times, like this spring.

Spring is upon us.

The improved weather and sunshine aren’t conducive to sitting in front of a screen or at a drawing table. My mind is drifting to finding ways to work outside for the couple of months before the real heat of summer sets in.

Knowing that other writers have mastered how to craft their stories and manage their time is both encouraging and discouraging at the same time. I know that life has gotten in their way at times, yet they have not let it stop them. They just adjusted and got back to it, otherwise their work wouldn’t be available to read today.

Once upon a time I was comfortable with my writing style, but then I got all caught up in improving and just got completely lost in all the advice. As a writing instructor told me, just write.

There is a lot of advice out there, some is very good, some is questionable and some is scam. Be careful dear writers. Weigh the advice carefully and consider the source. Research! It pays off. And above all stay true to your voice.

Diary of a Middle Age Woman Writer

Reactionary Much?

Why has our society become so . . . reaction oriented? Not that wrongs shouldn’t be righted, but why are we so spontaneously unwilling to listen to the other side? Why are we so adamant that our way is the only right way?

When did we stop trying to find the win-win for us all? When did we stop being aware that others have a viewpoint, perspective that is valid even if we don’t agree with it?

We have become a society of bullies, which is ironic since so many of us are concerned about bullying while in the next breath without self awareness we bully our friends and family when they no longer agree wholeheartedly with us.

Is everyone so peeved that they are taking their balls home, only to come back with a baseball bat? If I were to draw a editorial comic strip that would be the series of images I would put on an editorial page. That’s my sense of what’s the rage on social media.

A societal need to meditate and pray or what ever spiritual renewal needed to instill as much kindness as we can muster for one another. We all need to sigh. Sigh, as my daughter advises me when my emotional temperature is off the chart, so we don’t explode.

Because, people, we are about to explode. We are ostracizing our selves. While we express our thoughts and share our viewpoints, we should also try to be compassionate to the other side.

Myself? I am just as guilty in over reacting; going with my knee-jerk reaction (emphasis on jerk). It is a tough decision to make, whether to react immediately or just allow the response to peak and calm inside; to open our minds before we open our mouths. I fail at making the right choice sometimes, too.

It is something I am working on.

Diary of a Middle Age Woman Writer

So Far This Year

Right now, it is catch up time with the Brit guys motor show. They make me laugh. They also make me feel young again because they are older.

A slight deviation for me from my schedule due to illness, it wasn’t planned yet there it was. A kink in my works. It made me rethink my tight schedule and plans. Once I felt better it was time to rework and put in a wee bit more of fudge room.

So while I was busy moving my schedule around, I mentally compared my driving skills to this Brit guys. Sometimes they make me feel like my driving is not so bad after all. They also make me feel somewhat sharper than I think I am.

It makes me wonder who comes up with their tests and races. I am in awe most of all of the camera crew that film the show. They rival any car movie that I have seen. The bickering is amusing.

So what if my schedule is revamped again. That’s process normal, also why I like watching the Brit guys. So often they start on a journey and something goes wrong and they have to make adjustments midway through, or in some cases all the way through.

So far this year, it is going pretty good, even with some distractions. How’s your year going?

Diary of a Middle Age Woman Writer

Free Form Post

So, back to workout routine. Well, its more like attempting a routine. Problem is that while most of my range of motion has come back, my stamina level is still lacking. Being older, the recovery pace is a gazillion times slower than what my expectations are. This does not help with motivation.

On the bright side, my illustration schedule is on track. Learning to color them is off track a bit, but my production schedule should still have it ready in time for Christmas 2017.

These new fangled phones have given me the low down on my sleep cycle, which since my phone upgrade and accident went from sleeping at 2 hours a pop to nearing a more functional normal of 5-7hrs. Decent rem sleep went missing for several months (my sympathies to those insomniacs among you). The return has been most delightful.

Weather, another topic on my mind. It really hasn’t been much of a winter this year. Which has helped fuel my push to get back in running shape; if the weather was really awful it wouldn’t bother me so much. My happiness at staying in, bundled up would outweigh any desire to get outside until warmer weather. It has been in the 20s overnight and by the next day up into the 60s and 70s. Weird.

Writing habit is back, now if the words would flow a little more freely more headway would occur . . . or maybe not. That is still a toss up, until April when the backstory work and research has to be complete and story writing should be in process.

Then there is the illustrations. Some weeks are easier than others, and some extra times is needed to work the skill more than the necessary drawing. Right now adding in adding color to the drawings. This is very new to me using acrylics, but I am learning.

Diary of a Middle Age Woman Writer

Stilted Progress

Haven’t we all?

Leaps and falls, up and down from one day to the next. Sometimes life is like that. Recently a long time family friend passed away unexpectedly.

This threw a curve in my day, week, and life. It made me aware of how families relate and over time can twist the end of one’s life, leaving so many others touched by the deceased hanging waiting for word of when and how they can pay their respects.

Personal, yes, but also something that made me delve a little deeper in the psychology of relationships and how we deal with lack. It isn’t just when relationships aren’t answering our needs that we struggle to cope, it also hits us hard when they end.

Each relationship depends differently on the source and circumstance that the failure to meet exist. Relationships are complicated. Not being in the middle of this recent one, gave me a broader perspective.

Losing a friend that was like family, difficult. Losing a family member that is a friend is downright painful. Losing a family member that isn’t even a friend crushes any opportunity for amends to be made.

Everyone has a perspective and opinion on death and relationships. What are yours?

Diary of a Middle Age Woman Writer

Sleep

Sleep is often a luxury but for health and happiness, a necessity. How much maybe arbitrary and individual (there is a general consensus, that somewhere between 6-8 hours on average).

Being ill and recovering, the need for sleep is even greater. Unfortunately not all health issues make getting decent sleep easy, much less obtainable the needed extra that healing requires. That is something, personally, that has become very apparent to me.

Finding a comfortable sleeping position has been an adventure as well. Pillows, no pillows, ice, heat, and an assortment of NSAIDS, (initially after surgery prescribed pain medications) were at one time or another apart of my arsenal. Then herbal remedies (after research and medical consult) were included in the mix.

Not everything works all the time. Progression and regression of getting enough sleep, as each week passes, the overall the amount of quality sleep has grown. Presently, am nearly back to normal and no longer needing pain relief.

However, the exhaustion from not enough and poor sleep made everything a struggle. Cranky doesn’t cover it. Communication was difficult sometimes. My thoughts and actions were fuzzy. Memory, at first, was hit and miss. The first couple of months it was all extremely frustrating.

Until experiencing it myself, even for a short time, my imagination wasn’t even close what those with chronic pain and insomnia deal with. Now with sleep returning and painful days rare, my journals will be a resource for my experience. They will help me remember and be compassionate with helpful to others.

From my experience, being heard and acknowledged was important. Being able to vent when necessary, helped release the frustration and gave me the space to turn the whining into a more positive perspective. My husband never complained but am sure he got tired of listening to me, his kindness meant a lot. (Often I felt bad for not being able to be more upbeat about it all, and that only added to the frustration.) Looking back, I am grateful for the wisdom.

Asking if there was anything he could do to fix it was nice, the best thing often was just listening to me bitch and whine. Thanks, babe, for letting me complain when my patience was gone. My being able to sleep, as well being out of pain makes him happy as well.

Diary of a Middle Age Woman Writer

Moving at a Snails Pace

It was 60 degrees this winter when it should be in the low 30’s. I took a meandering mile long walk in just a hoodie.

After attempting an outline for the next children’s book (struggling with the story and the dialogue) more research might help me flesh out the story. Efforts so far have included recording myself telling the story, but that sounded murky. The story itself is muddled. Truth is the story isn’t clear in my own head. Maybe some more back story work is necessary before it can really be told.

Over on the blog for my children’s books I wrote about Lauren Graham’s recent memoire, Talking as Fast as I Can. She wrote about Don Roos and his kitchen timer method. I have been trying that as well. That’s when I realized that my previous work on the story has been haphazard, leaving holes.

All of these projects are helping me learn about not just writing but book production. Believe me, there is still a lot left for me to learn. But along the way, my grandchildren will have personal gifts that I have made for them.

All this has slowed my progress at finishing Sinister, which has stalled; not because I quit writing, but am currently writing something entirely else. You see, I have five (currently) grandchildren of varying ages.

Living by my grandparent rule: “What I do for one, I must do for them all.” The first book finished and published was an early reader chapter book Snowball, for one of my granddaughters’ tenth birthday. One down, four more to write.

Now working on illustrating a picture book, number two in the works. The current writing project is a second picture book. The first should be completed in time for Christmas 2017 and beta reading the second picture by summer so while I am marketing and selling the first, work on illustrations for the second can be started. This should make the second picture book ready for Christmas 2018. Numbers two and three done by end of 2018.

The last two books are in concept and backstory stage. One will be an older middle grade chapter book and the final will be a young adult. That YA may end up being a sixth book instead of the fifth, a bridge book from all the children’s work back into the adult mode. Maybe, my mind isn’t quite made up yet.

Last year going back to college to study creative fiction threw another kink in getting all the projects currently in play complete. Truly, this path for me has been a meandering, lost in the woods at times, awkward journey.

Thank you to those of you who have been with me from the beginning. Keep hanging in there. I will get back to finish Sinister posted here and it will be a much better book from all the experience I am gaining.

While it looks like I have been stagnating, I have been growing as a writer, publisher, and now novice artist. In order to complete goals, it really helps to be in touch with a strong motivating source. I found my source to help me conquer my fears and lack of confidence. Writing for my grandchildren was and has been the contract I could sign and the motivation to finish.

I also found a source of strength and encouragement in my husband. He contributed untold hours and conversations cheering me on, as well as doing what he could to help me make this all happen. My grown children have contributed as well, helping me directly and indirectly with the follow through actions. This has been a family effort.

I thank my grandchildren for the inspiration. My kids for the umph to carry me over the doubt. And my husband for the belief.

This may be a snail’s pace, but it is progress towards my goal.