You Don’t Know This About Me

The title says it all! You don’t know this about me, but I like to change where I write, on a regular basis. Sometimes I go through a real outdoors stage, taking my notebook and laptop outside, on my front veranda or to the park or onto my back veranda while I throw the ball for Sally. If I can accidentally discover a new place to write I get very excited, and this week while I was on Facebook a wonderful thing happened; I found a new way to write anywhere I want!

In the marketplace area, someone was advertising a laptop table and it was only twenty dollars, which I could afford, so I jumped on that baby. I had to drive twenty minutes to pick it up, but it’s just like a new one and the new ones are expensive. The cheapest new one I found online was forty bucks and it wasn’t nearly as nice as the one I bought, so I am very happy. Now I am typing this on my little white laptop and it’s on my new table which is tilted at the perfect angle and it’s at the perfect height. Perfect new writing space!

Something else you don’t know about me is that when I look back over my first draft writing I cannot tell where one day of writing ends and the next day of writing begins, even if I had terrible days mixed with happy days. It amazes me that I can feel so different facing my work from day to day and yet produce content that is homogeneous. This, of course, shows me that there is never any excuse not to write, no matter how crap I may feel. As far as productivity is concerned, I love that this is true. On the other hand, when I’m having a shocker of a day, I have no out. I guess I’ll keep on writing each day and just trust my process.

I recommend to beginner writers that they write every day, aim for a word count of their choosing, trust that their daily writing will be useful no matter how they feel about putting their butt on the chair, and definitely try switching up the place where they write. Of course, these are things that work for me and might not work for everyone. I acknowledge that. So, whoever you are, find what works for you, what gets those words on the page, and do that until you reach the finish line.

 

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I am Writing Again

I’m finally writing again. At last. I was so twisted up about wanting to write and not being able to write that I had a session with a brilliant local creative counselor, Jenneth Graham, and she helped me work through the issues that were messing with my head and preventing me from writing. Now I’m back in my favourite creative space which is; just get your ass on the chair and do it, girl. I’ve written ten thousand words in one week. it feels great. Thanks Jenneth.

I’m writing a novel that has a few main characters, and I’m enjoying going from one to another. I have a heart for each of them, even though to be honest, I don’t like them all equally. As I write about each character I imagine myself interacting with them, wondering, would we get along in real life? I’d definitely be able to hold a conversation with all of my current characters, and a way that I find out more about any of my characters is to meditate and imagine we are talking to each other and ask them questions about themselves. It’s a powerful writing tool. It works for me.

I may or may not send this book to a publisher. I may self publish. I may go straight through Amazon. Lots of options. I might just write 2000 words of first drafts for the rest of my days. But hell it feels good to be back writing like this again.

Be you. Rachel

Trying to Meditate When You Need to Scream

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OMG. It is really hard to meditate when you need to scream. I want to do this meditation which is the next step in an online art course I’m doing called Ever After, but there are things happening in my home that are beating me about the head trying to get my attention. Nothing terrible or horrible, but definitely shouting my name. I want to meditate. Be all chill and arty. Unclench my teeth. Loosen my spine. But hey, no, I have to keep on the alert for what the three other adults in the house are doing and whether they might need me at a moments notice. I might have to Mum or Wife at the drop of a bloody hat.

I love my role in the family, and I always give as much as I can in my mothering and wife-ing. But now I’m in my fifties and everyone is grown up I seem to still be on call in a way that has me on high alert, even when I think hey, it’s my turn and really, I want to art. Thinking that things will change in life without actually making any changes is silly, I know this. I’ve done loads of self awareness work and counselling through my adult decades, I know how this stuff works; you change something then everything around you shifts as well. Not always in ways you expected, but still, there are alterations to the status quo. The new way of being invites more new ways of being and the ripples go out into the world. Argh, at times the ripples can cause quakes and everyone in the house is suddenly snapping and sniping about nothing because we aren’t very good at change, us humans unless we are the masters of that change.

We do like to be the Masters of our own Universe, us bipedal geniuses of global warming and the interwebs. We like to think that we choose our own fate, no matter how obvious it is that things work randomly for and against our wishes, whims and wants. There just is no real way to control the pinball machine of a life we lead. We ping this way, hit the right flipper and watch, open mouthed as the ball shoots past the left flipper instead.

I am very loved, and for that I’m grateful. I’m grateful that people need me. It seems as though I still have lessons to learn about getting what I want, doing what I want, feeling happy to block out the time to be arty me. The word ‘no’, or at least ‘later’ needs to be a mantra I practice maybe in the shower. I’ll be busy for the next hour arting. Please do not disturb unless there’s an emergency, or ice cream. Yes, I can be strong, I can be me, I can have, uninterrupted free time. Maybe I’ll just bake some cookies and some finger foods first, you know, in case anyone gets hungry while I’m doing my thing, because god forbid I should let them make a jam sandwich for themselves. I really need to watch Frozen again and just Let It Go.

be you xx Rach

 

Family Christmas Prep

sally canteen

Will I blog more often in 2016? I’d love to get to this day next year and find a whole lot of posts on this blog throughout the year. The consistent bloggers choose one or more days each week and are sure to blog on those days, if not more. I think this is a brilliant idea, but hey, look, a butterfly…

Yes, I get easily distracted by a new project and then forget to blog about the amazing new project. I do some fun art projects, and I get a lot out of them, they are better than therapy at times! I’d like to blog about that process, the art to health thing. It really seems to work sometimes, although not always. When I’m in my studio, with my three legged cat Luigi on the desk snuggled up beside my laptop, and my labradaughter Sally sprawled out on the floor at my feet, I feel like I can do anything; no Pinterest artwork is beyond the scope of my ‘try this’ folder.

Doing fauxbonichi journalling daily has been a real pleasure the past few months. (To see what fauxbonichi journalling is, click here to go to my art blog) I have really enjoyed sketching a little, painting a little, writing a little about each day. It’s become a habit. A good one for a change.

Today I have to go grab some things for the family Christmas I’m hosting here on Tuesday. Just a few bits and pieces. I’m drinking coffee and putting it off, really should have left early to avoid the crowds. It looks like I’ll have to go alone, which is like doing public speaking at a venue for a thousand people for those of you who do not have chronic social phobia. Sure, I can do it, but when I get home there must be hot tea, maybe an hour in bed, maybe more.

I’m very grateful for the mild Christmas weather. Cool, windy, cloudy, rainy, it all makes for lovely times when you’re not an outdoors kind of person. I’d better go jump in my little car and go shopping.

be you xx Rach

Face to Face Time is Precious

free yacht on sea

Right now I’m saving my face-to-face time for my family and close friends. This is really easy to explain to my family and close friends and to people who are only acquaintances; my acquaintances are so understanding. They let me off the hook, Facebook with me, enjoy our online connection, which is so much easier for me to manage and requires very little recovery time.

This is much harder to explain to people who outside these categories. Yes I care about you, but no I don’t want to see you for coffee. It doesn’t matter how much I like who you are, or how understanding you can be, or how great it would be to catch up; getting together spends some of my limited people time. Precious time that I don’t get much of. I have never found an easy way to explain this about myself. What I mean is I have never found a way to explain it so the other person doesn’t get hurt. I hate that. But still, my limited face time will always belong to the ones closest to me.

Do My Magical Characters Brush Their Teeth

sally august 2015

Today I washed the kitchen floor. Not very exciting, but it made me think of the characters in my book, as always. Had they ever washed a kitchen floor? If so, how did they do it? If not, who has done this for them and why? Every action in my life has a corresponding thought, a wondering about my characters. Thinking about one guy I’m writing, I had to laugh at the thought of him ever cleaning anything with his own hands. As I thought about another character, a woman, I decided I couldn’t imagine her having ever cleaned either, but in a very different way. My female character wouldn’t consider herself ‘above’ such things, like the guy might, but it would never have occurred to her to clean with her hands when she can wave it into being done magically and get on with some form of fun or adventure.

ShoweringĀ is another intriguing one, does a magical character clean itself or does it perform a ritual or a spell, or do they have the ability to kind of pre-set a regular cleaning spell that kicks in every certain number of hours or so? Do they brush their teeth? Do they floss? Imaginative minds want to explore everything and anything in the life of a character. Not all of this will end up in my book of course, maybe only a small fraction of it needs to be in the story to show who the character is. The rest still has value for me as I write, though, to add to my encyclopaedia of the story.

I have a handwritten encyclopaedia and a computer file as well. The computer file mostly holds parts of the book that I write and then decide to cut, character descriptions, place descriptions and bits from the text of the book that I want to be able to reference easily for consistent writing. I also have some pages in the file for things I find online, like a photo of someone who looks like one of my characters, or places that look similar to places in my book. My handwritten encyclopaedia is a collection of information I’ve written by hand about my story. I’m thinking about taking a photo of these bits so I can have everything in my computer file, all set out alphabetically. Ease of access when I’m writing is the most important thing.

Sally, in my photo above, is my muse. She lays at my feet while I’m writing and takes me out to our big back yard to run and play ball when I need a break. I love my labradaughter.

be you xx Rachel

Cricket on the TV and I’m Thinking About Roller Skates

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Today is the first match of the cricket season. Having the test match on in the background of my day is so comforting. It reminds me of a very nice part of my childhood; dad being home for a change, watching the cricket, calling out advice to the players, shaking his head at the errors and jumping to his feet at the sixes. When dad was home watching the cricket, mum was in a good mood; we were all safe and as relaxed as we got in our crazy, chaotic home.

The running commentary of the cricket is like happy white noise, the commentators voices and the crowd response are the cues to me to look up from whatever I’m doing and take a look at the screen. Woohoo a boundary from Warner, AUS 0/12. I can even edit chapters while the cricket is on, which is great because even music with the pull of the lyrics can be a distraction while editing. Cricket is a nice background for housework as well, except vacuuming of course, because that drowns out the exciting parts.

The cricket reminds me of school sport, which I didn’t completely hate because I got to try a few different things I’d never done before like badminton, softball, tennis, bicycling, and of course my favourite; roller skating. Yes, with actual roller skates, not roller blades which didn’t exist at the time. I started roller skating with my brothers at the local rink and others. It was allowed because we were all together and therefore not in too much danger of making friendships with other people. That was the big issue for my parents, any of us becoming friends with people outside the family cult. That was a big no-no. Hang on, I didn’t say that right, it was in fact forbidden for me to have friends, even at school. But roller skating meant I got to wear cute outfits I’d never have worn otherwise, I got to talk to people outside the cult. It also meant watching music videos, skating to Michael Jackson, Madonna, Kiss, ABBA and all those great bands I had barely any access to except for the local radio station playing in the kitchen. Buying worldly music to listen to was of course forbidden.

I still have my speed skates. I haven’t worn them for over thirty years, but I can still remember exactly how free I felt skating around the rink to Wake Me Up Before You Go Go and speed skating to Take A Long Line. I was completely me in those moments, separated from all of the rules, the strict control. Those were moments when I experienced a small taste of how my future life would be, free from religion and free from the cult. Insert really big smiley face.

be you xx Rachel