Blogs I follow and why

I don’t follow a lot of blogs, I just don’t have the time to read them all and sometimes blogs can be a bit narcissistic (ok, maybe that’s what blogging is all about, but why read even more?) But in case you were looking for some great blogs to keep track of, here are just a few of my favorites these days:

1. Saving for Someday. On top of some great tips on saving money, bargains, and deals in stores, Sara also shares some insights into her life and daily living as a giving, caring person trying to raise a daughter in this crazy world. Follow her, you won’t be sorry.

2. Pirates and Fireflies. Vicariously travel through Europe and other parts exotic, with photos that make me say AHHHHHH so many times it may be annoying to anyone around me. The posts are short enough not to be tedious, but interesting and bucolic. You won’t regret this one, unless the jealousy eats away at you. (What? I can’t help it.)

3. Nail Your Novel. Roz Morris, author and editor, shells out some great advice and quick tips to do just what she says…Nail Your Novel.

4. TIPPR Blog. An aspiring writer/editor who blogs a bit of poetry. I’m not a huge fan of poetry, but I do enjoy it sometimes, and I like getting just a bit every so often in my inbox and these are quite nice. Give a look.

OK, that’s four. I’ll put a few more up for you soon. What blogs are you following? Let me know.

 

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Taking Time Out to Celebrate

Just a bit of color

Just a bit of color

Where have I been? I took a break from writing, working, and even sleeping at times, to help a dear friend with her small, intimate, and lovely wedding recently.

w2

A beautiful entry to a wedding

I had great fun being creative and experimenting with all kinds of ideas, and dear Heather was a dream bride and basically approved just about everything I suggested. Ok, some ideas were out there, but creativity can be a strange bedfellow. Or is that politics? I can never remember.

I did suggest making a huge frame and using it as a photo booth of sorts (blame Pinterest, the mother of all time-sucks on the planet and a new passion of mine). She turned that idea down quickly, but then she said the one word that turned it all around — TARDIS. That led to asking the husband to create a 6′ TARDIS frame to be used at the wedding for a photo booth. Yeah, he did it, and he did an amazing job. The wedding party loved it and everyone had fun taking photos in there.

The Daughter contemplating a trip with The Doctor, fez and all.

The Daughter contemplating a trip with The Doctor, fez and all.

What I didn’t plan for was the fact that everything had to be transported to Tucson in my car for the ceremony. While I piled and stacked things on my dining-room table all month, and the pile spilled over onto the sofa, the stash for the back of the Tahoe began to grow. The back seats were removed, then the next row of seats were flattened. The TARDIS (in two pieces) was placed in first, then all the candles, ribbons, bows, glasses, drink dispensers, serving bowls, etc. On top of that, Daughter and I baked 300 gluten-free cookies a few days before the wedding, and ordered 12 dozen bags of gluten-free pita bread that the bride requested from a local bakery. Yeah, I went there and picked it up the night before the wedding. What else was there to do? Two teenagers and I squeezed into the car and took a 2-hour drive while listening to show tunes (OK, that was their idea and these kids are awesome but that’s another post.)

Just a few of the refreshing goodies that made the day special.

Just a few of the refreshing goodies that made the day special.

But the end result was worth all the effort. And on top of that, I did manage to squeeze in some work and a bit of writing on my own WIP in the midst of all the planning, which was quite satisfying.

Now that it’s over, it’s back to editing and writing, which is what I do best and what makes me happy. I’m so touched and glad that I took part in this wonderful celebration, and my days as a wedding planner are over. You can find me back in my chair, listening to Pavarotti and typing away. Right where I belong.

A Year in Photos

My 365 photo for Jan. 1, 2013

“Infinite Possibilities”… My 365 photo for Jan. 1, 2013

I stumbled upon 365 Project a few weeks ago and decided to take the challenge. Quite simply, post one photo per day for an entire year. Doesn’t matter when you start, and even the content and quality of the photos are open. But just by committing to one photo per day, I have begun to see the world in a different way.

For one thing, I am always looking at things from a different angle. Whether it’s closer than usual, or perhaps from the side instead of straight on, I’ve learned to realize the beauty in even the smallest things.

Another fun capture

Another fun capture

A dear friend of mine has been on the site for ages, and not only is she a professional photographer with a keen eye for beauty, but she’s encouraging, thoughtful and funny as hell. If you want to see real beauty and fun shots, check out her 365 shots HERE.

And not only am I having a blast taking photos, choosing the best one for the day, manipulating them to B&W or sepia, but I’m learning from the photographers on the site. they are kind with their comments and helpful. I never would have thought to take such different, artistic photos until browsing all the great ideas on the site. Spend some time there and take a look, you won’t be bored, I assure you.

I see nature in a much different way now.

I see nature in a much different way now.

Check out my photos HERE and comment if you want. I’m open to criticism (polite, of course) and praise.

Why creatives need each other, or, another lesson from Papa Hemingway

Perhaps I need to open a Restaurant and Social Club for Writers and Artists

Being a writer/artist can be a lonely life. Many of us end up sitting for long hours in quiet rooms writing/painting/creating. (I am tucked away in my tiny studio neatly hidden in my backyard as I write this). Now don’t get me wrong, this is not a complaint, it is certainly something we choose to do. I write better when I am alone and I lose track of time. For some writers, the coffee shop becomes a refuge from the solitude. I know people who write all day in a coffee shop, blocking out the chatter and kicking out chapter after chapter. Then others work at home and end up hanging out in public with fellow writers when they have the chance.

I return to A Moveable Feast often, and I find that I do that when I’m feeling isolated or I start to get into a self-defeating mindset. Even Earnest Hemingway understood the importance of surrounding himself with creative people, including T.S. Eliot, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Picasso, etc. He liked to be alone and write, but he kept acquaintances and friendships with many creatives. I realize that this glamorous era in Paris when all of these creatives were drinking and socializing and sharing their work makes more sense every day. Yes, they had arguments and it wasn’t all rosy, but the bottom line was that they all encouraged each other. (OK, maybe Fitzgerald and Hemingway stopped encouraging and started bickering, but that’s later. Follow me here for a moment.)

Surrounding yourself with creative people fuels your creative juices. It has to. Being around that kind of energy and enthusiasm and angst can’t do anything else. We are all in the same boat, trying to create and share our work. We all understand the depression and elation that comes with being creative. Why do you think that writer meet-ups are so popular, or that writing groups meet all over the country in bookstores and cafes?

Who do you surround yourself with? Do you have a circle of people who knit with you, scrapbook, etc? If you’re a writer/artist, do you have a core group that “gets you?”

I realize that although I have a few friends who are writers, I don’t frequently hang out with other writers or artists. I had the chance to meet a lovely, encouraging writer recently and what a great feeling it was. Just hearing that someone else had doubts about her success or talent, or that someone else felt the need to create and didn’t know why. It’s a grand and fabulous feeling to talk about your work and be validated, and that’s what all those lucky people in Paris were doing. And that’s what all those lucky people in writing retreats do, and writing meet-ups in cafes. And yes, I know that the cyber world enables us to have relationships with other creatives from the comfort of the back studio, but there is nothing like being face to face with another writer and nodding your head as they express feelings you’ve had so many times.

So, my goal is now to add to my creative circle of people to share my journey. I know it can only be beneficial to me and to everyone else who has a chance to grow from it. Thanks to Shannon for adding me to your circle!

 

Recharging Your Life

I spent the past week in New York with a dear friend and I feel marvelous. Why? Part of the trip was to celebrate her birthday (Happy Birthday, Dawn) and it was wonderful to be with someone I truly love. Old friends just get you and that is so comforting. And like a warm cup of tea held gently in your hands, a friendship like that is soothing, peaceful and restoring in its simplicity and beauty.

The other part of the trip was meant to recharge my life. I’ve been feeling doubtful and hesitant about making changes in my life lately. Ever get into a slump where you feel as if life is charging past you and all you can do is watch? Yeah, that’s where I’ve been lately.

Some of those changes are happening whether I like them or not. My daughter is just a few years away from flying the coop and joining the world on her own and I’m so excited for her. But that means eventually I’ll be here alone (OK, Husband will be here, but you know what I mean.) Of course, that’s a change I’m coming to terms with slowly, but not something I can alter too much.

I was lucky enough to spend a few days in New York City with my daughter and I will cherish those few days forever. We ate pizza, rode the subway, strolled through Central Park and wandered the streets of the East Village. We shopped for used books and ate mac & cheese till be could have barfed. And then we ate a little more.

We found the perfect studio apartment in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, (that’s ours on the second floor right with the flowers) just one block from Central Park and a few blocks from the Dakota Building and Strawberry Fields. We awoke to the sounds of the city and felt a little like New Yorkers for just a few days.

The apartment was on a Bed & Breakfast registry and a last-minute decision, which always seem to be the best kind of decisions in my life.

Having this time away also gave me a chance to reevaluate my writing life, and my writing ambitions. I realize that I’m secluded in my studio, writing and editing day after day without input from other writers. Why? I’m a typical artist who doesn’t want anyone to criticize my work so I keep it to myself. Yes, I realize how foolish that is. All artists need input, right? Who wants to die with a computer full of stories that nobody has ever read?

I am recharged and ready to write, edit and get serious. And I love blogging and I’ll be jumping in her more frequently. I love connecting to other writers through this medium and I cherish the friendships I’ve made here. Plus, I feel just a little like Carrie Bradshaw as I write about my life, only with less shoes and a bigger ass.

The studio built by love

Finding joy in the process is half the fun

This is the studio that love built.

The writing studio (I’m calling it a studio now instead of a shed, which sounds too much like a storage room) is coming along amazingly well. Husband has been working his ass off these past few days and put a big window in yesterday and the wood floor went in today. Floor trim tomorrow, then window trim, and then we’re done. Did I mention he painted it last weekend and cleaned it out every night after work? He won’t let me help, says I can decorate but this is his gift to me. How awesome is that?

I thought of the foundation that went into the room today and realized that the foundation to my writing must also be as strong. Husband wore the skin off both knees laying that foundation today, which means that I can’t screw around after this studio is ready. I must be serious. I’ve been thinking about what this studio means to me, why I write and when I write. I can write anywhere, anytime, that’s true. But now I have a serious, dedicated space to hide… I mean retreat to… and write. No excuses, no procrastination. It’s been a dream for so long and it’s finally coming true. I love him for loving me. Thank you, my love!