New year, new reads

My reading year has come to a close, now, seeing as how the calendar year has done the same. 😛 I only just realized this pas weekend that Christmas has already happened. The Christmas music will not play anymore. The Shop Around The Corner has closed.

With all of that has coke the close of the year and my 2020 reading challenge. Good for the eyes and for the spirit, it has been. Alas, here following is my collection of finished books for the year 2020. I achieved my goal and surpassed it. And I very much enjoyed all of the reading it involved. I am looking forward with delight to this year’s challenge and reading. 🙂

May you have a happy and book-filled new year!

Post-a-day 2021

^ I Still missed it at first, again! And I was just talking about how it is a new year! ::facepalm

Goodnight with Green lights

This evening, I did my first workout in what feels like quite a while. This Friday will make five weeks since I had that dreadful fall while on a workout run, and found myself tumbling through the street, and then lying in un-breathing shock and pain in the middle of a neighborhood road, while everyone around was too afraid to help me, for fear of catching COVID-19 from me… which, as it happens, I did not have at the time.

I was a total mess in a way I hadn’t been since last year, when I had fallen off the Vespa, going about 30-35 miles per hour one night… I guess I lacked all the padding and protection for falls this time, so such a fall, though at a significantly lower speed, left quite similar effects as a road accident, but with a lot more blood.

I tried jogging on Sunday or Monday, on a long walk with my mom, and it was fine at first, in a sort of lazy, easy, short-stepped jog. But, as soon as I increased to a regular stride for genuine but still easy running, the quivering feeling in my shin shook me to a quick stop.

Not ready yet.

Today, Wednesday, though, I was feeling very comfortable in my leg’s ability to function on low-ish-impact, smooth, easy activities. And my whole being wanted to exercise. So, I tested out a workout that didn’t involve much knee work at all…, and it was spectacular. I even was able to do walking lunges gently. And it felt really good to use my muscles in such a way again… gosh, it was lovely. One might think they were made for such things, even… 😉

Yeah, I’m going to bed tonight feeling both relieved and enlivened. Thank you for such a beautiful opportunity and result today, World. 🙂 As Matthew McConaughey might put it, thank you, World, for these red lights turned green lights.

P.S. I started listening to his audiobook during the workout. It is delightful so far, as is he, the author and reader.

Post-a-day 2020

Capisco

Sometimes, I feel it is the people who have known me the least in person who know me the most. I was thinking about how, today, I was messaging with my buddy in Italy. We haven’t been in much contact the past month or two, mostly because he has been in a big planting season – I think it was planting… oops – and has been working really long, rough hours, and sleeping when he can. But he let me know this would be the case, so I haven’t worried much about it. Anyway, we were messaging today – it has been a more frequent thing the past week or two – and I found myself just suddenly sharing with him about some of my book-writing concerns.

You see, I know I can tell stories, and I know I can write. Yet, I keep not writing for a book. Not officially or directly, anyway. And I was suddenly blurting out the concerns I have around that today. Why? Because it seemed like he was the person who could hear me the best. Despite ay risks of its being lost in translation, of course. 😛 But seriously, it felt like he could respond in a way that wouldn’t give me the excuses that other people in my life might give me. Nothing about why I probably haven’t done it or about how life has gotten in the way or anything like that. He couldn’t feed me any of my own excuses. And that might be because he has been around me the least. He knows the daily me the least, if that makes sense. Because we have had such a low-risk friendship, we have been open in ways that have kept our personal excuses out of the mix, and almost entirely so.

And so, I shared my concerns and how I’m not writing yet, and he asked a couple questions or so, which I answered. And then he just told me to do it. If I want to do it for myself, then do it. If it isn’t for myself, then don’t do it. But, if it is for myself, then go for it, and get started – do what I need to do to make the beginning happen, and now. Just as we say here, he reminded me of the ideas that 1) life is short, and 2) it is better to have regrets for things we’ve done than remorse for those we never attempted. I do not want to live a life unexamined – I want to live a life well-lived, and true to myself.

And part of that is writing books. So, novels, here we come.

P.S. They might be more like novellas, or novelettes, just FYI… I’m not sure they’ll be long Twilights or Harry Potters. ;P

Post-a-day 2020

Normal life, again

Reading the epilogue of a book tonight, I found myself smiling and marveling at one of the ideas presented by the man to his love. He is giving her money to live a life she never anticipated or even hoped to pursue, because he wants her “to live”. He doesn’t mean, he says, that she needs to be jumping off tall buildings or swimming with whales – though he very much likes the idea of imagining her doing just that – just that he wants her to live life fully, out in the world as a full participant in it.

I was truly marveling at how amazing that would be… her going out and bungee jumping off a tall building and swimming with whales. That any average girl (well, woman) would have done such things, and that it inevitably would be a surprise to anyone who found out about it, because she was just so normal a person – as opposed to an obvious thrill-seeker or adventure type, I mean. How amazing that would be if I could ever have my life be such that I could go do such things.

And then I had a thought that rather shocked me, and that I mentally sputtered over: I have.

My eyes wide, I searched my inner head for clarification on the thought that had just popped up. I already have done that…. both of those…

And then, clear as day, I saw how I truly had actually done both of those things… and I’d forgotten about them. I see myself and my life as so utterly normal, even I forgot that I had pursued such adventures. Now, to be fair, the bungee jumping was more like jumping off of a tall platform led structure than a downtown skyscraper or anything. Though, I’m not too sure it’s safe or possible to bungee off those buildings in the first place… anyway…. But that was in college. I helped a small group of folks go, and it was a total blast. And, for the whales, I have to check to verify that they count as whales. They were whale sharks, you see. One even ran right into me, and I got to feel he fellow, skin to skin, while we meandered together in the waters.

**Okay, I just verified: They are sharks. So, in a way, that part is even more shocking: I’ve swum with sharks. And not while in cages. Haha. Frightening, really. But perhaps it would be even more frightening to swim with something two, three, or four times the size… with perhaps several of them around. Hmm… how could I have that happen safely in my life? Goals… 😉

Anyway… when did I turn into this person? This person who adventures so easily, she hardly even considers herself as someone who adventures at all? Perhaps that is exactly why I keep feeling like I’m not doing the right things with my life. I feel that I am being unproductive, slow, and not myself…, and it might just be because myself is accustomed to adventure as the casual, the regular, the “Let’s grab lunch next week,” kind of statement – it’s just plain normal. And that’s why pursuing any semblance of normal life never quite feels right.

… Wow…

And that’s why pursuing any semblance of normal life never quite feels right.

Remember that, Banana.

Post-a-day 2020

Música

I started watching the recordings for another five-day songwriting workshop that a family friend is doing this week. I watched the first video at 11:00 this morning, and glanced st the homework front he next two days before joining the noon live video for today. I’ve done one of these workshops before – that’s what got me those first several songs earlier this summer – so I wasn’t too worried about participating today without having finished the other videos yet. I just followed the guidelines from Monday’s video, and from the snippets I’d watched of Tuesday and Wednesday for the homework for each, and I was ready for today.

While the basic process is rather the same, the approach and specifics were different this time around, so I embraced the opportunity for something new. We were told to find a specific song for inspiration, after doing some topic-finding and lyric-writing work; a song that held a comparable space to the one we wanted our own song to hold.

My song? “When There Was Me And You”, as sung by Vanessa Hudgens in High School Musical. And the topic I had chosen and the lyrics I was writing that had this song somehow be appropriate for portraying the write musical feeling? Overcoming emotional and sexual abuse. Kind of an odd combination, don’tchya say?

Nonetheless, it all turned out beautifully. Hours later, after many, many breaks to go do other things and to allow stuff to sit or to mull, I had a completed song, recorded and shared with the world of my social media friends. And, what’s more, I went back to the piano just about ten minutes ago, and I played through the song again – and I remembered how it all went, and I loved the sang (two very good and rather important signs of song completion).

I sent off the audio recording to my small list of private listeners – you could call them the in club of my music-writing – got a bit of feedback (positive – woohoo!), and then shared the video recording of my playing and singing online. We only were supposed to select five people to hear our songs so far as part of our homework tonight… I had forgotten about that until just now… guess I did much more than five… haha… that’s silly.

Anyway, I shared it with four people privately, and I am planning to play it live for a student of mine tomorrow morning, so I guess that handles the five intentional shares, as well as an open share with my somewhat large but private world on social media.

Well… this has felt really, really good today. I even screamed just before showering a bit ago, I was so filled with excitement and energy that I needed to release in order to begin to relax for the night. It was a very, very good and satisfying scream. Man… these songs just feel right. I’ve been wanting to write novels, yet, when I set myself to work for only a few hours on a song, one just kind of evolves like the chia seeds in the chia pet commercials (“Ch-ch-ch-chia!”). Perhaps today was an opportunity for me to see how ideas that get in the way of a different story I want to use for writing my novel, those ideas can go into a song – they can be heard that way. Then, I can go back to writing my novel’s story, no longer with the former distraction of a different story asking to be told. Today’s song topic was definitely one of those ideas…

Hmm… interesting.

Anyway, I’m off to read some young adult fun and then pass out hardcore (Please…).

P.S. My song doesn’t sound almost anything like Vanessa Hudgens’ song, by the way – it started with the same foundation of chords, but quickly developed into a very different song. If I hadn’t told you they were connected, you likely never would have noticed. 😉

Post-a-day 2020

Poetry for novels?

Is it weird that I am reading a poetry book as part of my novel-writing homework and training for myself?  Or that I can’t even quite remember where I got the recommendation to read this particular book, but that I am still sticking with it, years after the fact?  I’m not one to take recommendations and follow through with them, unless they come from specific individuals or have an extremely powerful and supported argument behind them.  I think this recommendation came from someone I do not know personally, so the argument must have been amazing for the recommendation.  I just remember that whoever it was said that this poetry book was a must-read for writers, because, though it was focused on poetry, it was 100% applicable and important for writers and novelists as a whole, and was even one of the most important of all reads for them.

So, I’m reading it.  I actually started while up at my brother’s in Wisconsin, and pulled out the highlighters and everything with it, treating it as a textbook of information I likely will want to reference in the future.  (I’m not one for writing or highlighting in books, so it really takes good convincing for me to believe it a good and even viable option as my own practice.  Aka it’s a huge deal that I am doing the highlighting, and it shows how seriously I am taking the idea of this book’s being a valuable and important asset in my writing, one I will benefit greatly from referencing further in the future, as well as reading now.)  So far, it has been kind of amazing.  I am extremely grateful for the recommendation, and grateful that I followed through with it.  (I mean, I even went out and found the book and bought it immediately after receiving the recommendation, that’s how powerful a recommendation it was.)  It has already been well worth it, and I can tell that so much more is to come, it will blow this beginning stuff out of the water.

And I am very much looking forward to that.

It has been not so easy to produce a story yet, but I have finally begun the beginning steps in a way that now can lead somewhere rather easily.  Moving forward, I will need to set myself down at table, and actively pursue certain thought processes and brainstorming and writing, in order to start getting into the real stories of it all.  I am afraid of dong that, but I trust that I want to do it… so, I am slowly but finally getting myself there, little by little, baby steps… baby steps…baby steps write a few words…baby steps write a few more… I can do anything!*

*Get that movie reference, and you have a special piece of love from me and my childhood.  😉

Post-a-day 2020

Gratitude in Turmoil

I have begun sorting things out for my first series of books.  And I am thoroughly enjoying it.  I imagine that the assignments will change somehow after tomorrow, seeing as how it was only a three-day assignment.  However, I have so enjoyed doing this assignment, I can tell that it is on the right path, at last for myself with this whole book prospect.  I am grateful for the opportunity to work with this coach, and I fully feel how blessed I am to have the opportunity, especially right now in my life.  It has been an extremely rough few weeks for me – kind of an extra-raw subject right now, after such an amazing high from all the hiking and road tripping from last month – and this is helping me to chug through the low at which I have recently found myself to be.

It really sucks when the body doesn’t do properly what it’s intended to do, but I guess it wasn’t made to live the life I live, anyway, so it kind of makes sense in a way… hmm… I hadn’t ever thought of it that way… I’m going to pursue that casually, now…

Anyway, life has been rough, and this coaching has been a well-timed blessing for me.  Thank you, Life, World, and God for such blessings.

Gratitude here.  🙂

Post-a-day 2020

So, it begins…

Today was the first day of writing for me.

I got myself signed up officially with a coach of sorts, and we began working together on Sunday.

By last night, I was ready to go for today with my first writing assignment on the topic that most called me.

Suffice it to say, I was surprised by what topic and book style called most to me.

See, it’s been really cool working with this coach, because she all sorts of coaching, including art coaching.

(Art coaching uses art to help sort out things in one’s life.)

Sunday, through the coaching, I got to write out a whole list of book style possibilities, and then I did an art coaching assignment with them all, in order to find which type of book most called to me… and I was blown away with how low on the list a novel was, and with what was way up at the top.

But, today and tomorrow and the next day, I have a specific writing task to go with this topic, and I will get to re-evaluate after the three-day assignment…, but I’m not sure I’ll want to change the selection – from the assignment today alone, I saw not only how much I have to say for this particular topic, but also how easily it all flows out of me… and almost in a flood of words being released, with style dropped out the window, and the information itself reaching for the page in front of me with an intensity I hadn’t realized was really there, waiting to come forth…

Anyway…, I’m enjoying it so far, and I am excited for the next to days especially, and the next few months as a whole. 🙂

Yay!, for getting things handled that matter to ourselves, right??

Right! 😀

Post-a-day 2020

Beginning with the past

I have begun writing.  And I mean for a book.  It was bizarre at first, wondering what on Earth I would use to start off things.  But, rather than titling the page “What to write first?”, I switched it to “What to write now?”.  It seems simple enough a change, but it was a transformative effect on my brain.  The idea of first suggests importance, that something is the most important, and so should be shared first.  The idea of now, however, just means that I can write about anything at any time, and I just happen to care about what’s on my mind right this minute.  It might change in an hour or a day, or even five minutes.   But, for right now, what’s on my mind?  And that is the question I answered.

And it actually surprised me somewhat, what came up and out.

I have begun writing, I believe, the backstory for the main character of this story.  She is, in essence, a copy of myself, but with certain subtle and not necessarily intentional differences.  An intentional difference, of course, is her name.  However, I have found that, while when recounting something in my own life, I feel a need to be precise and exact, when recounting that same something in her life, I can pick whatever words the person said that still express the same idea.  I do not have to go back and forth with myself, trying to recall if the person used the word “normal” or “real”… I can just pick the one I want to use.  because I am not writing nonfiction here.  I am writing fiction.  It is based on my own life, of course, but the key words here are “based on”… and boy, do they give me so much freedom and ease.  I don’t have to get it right.  I can choose how I want it to be.  And that’s really, really cool.  🙂

Post-a-day 2020

What’s next, my dear Watson

I can feel it… my daily life… it is time for it to change.

I’m not sure yet how that is going to look, but I can tell with my whole being that something is about to change… and somewhat drastically so…

My life will not be quite the same as it has been lately…. and it will be a spectacular improvement, I can just tell…

What is it???

What are you, change???

This “What’s next” is slow to start, but will be big rather quickly, it seems…, and I am looking forward to it with delight…

Tomorrow morning, I will get myself to work on whatever this happens to be…, and we shall begin to discover what’s next.

P.S. Dearest World, would you kindly allow me to sleep really well tonight and to wake up refreshed in the morning?? These late-night storms have been waking me like crazy the past several nights, and I could really use a solid night’s sleep. 😉

Post-a-day 2020