15 September 2014

Top Ten Travel Lessons Learned

"The only way that we can live, is if we grow.
The only way that we can grow is if we change.
The only way that we can change is if we learn.
The only way we can learn is if we are exposed.
And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open.
Do it. Throw yourself."
~ C. JoyBell C.

The Harvester Island Wilderness Workshop was incredible.  I went to write with 11 strangers, and I left with 15 new friends.  In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting my photos and thoughts on the workshop and on the beauties of Kodiak, Alaska.



T
ime Lords with British accents who roam the universe in blue police boxes aren’t the only ones who view time as a “wibbly-wobbley timey-wimey thing.”

Before I ever set foot on Kodiak Island, I already had a growing list of Lessons Learned on an Alaskan Adventure.  Such foibles are to be expected with any endeavor we undertake, but especially so since I’m all about relationships and not logistics.  And I have a wee bit of ADD.  

So here are my Top Ten Lessons Learned that might also help you get ready for your next trip.

#1 – Three Months Does NOT Equal Ninety Days
This is part of the timey-wimey thing.  I know I can’t be alone in thinking, “I have plenty of time to prep and buy X, Y, and Z for my trip.  I don’t leave for another three months!”

Oh not so, my dear, not so.

Out of those ninety days, you have twelve Saturdays and six Fridays.  If I had remembered this fact back in June, REI, Bass Pro, and Dick’s Sporting Goods would have met a much less stressed version of me.  As it was, I was running around like the proverbial guillotined chicken, desperately searching for hip waders.

#2 – Solar Chargers: For Airplanes & Airports without Plugs
Even though I planned on being out of cell and wifi range while on Harvester (where happily, I had wifi for a few hours in the morning), I needed to keep my phone charged while waiting in airports and on planes.  

Alaska Airlines became my favorite airline because they are super polite, friendly, funny, and have plugs on the backs of the seats.  This was a gift from on high on the flight from DCA to LAX as my Kindle app drains my battery like Vlad the Impaler.

#3 – Rent a Bad Ass Camera & Back Up Your Photos ASAP
This is something I actually did and would definitely do again.  I rented my Nikon D3300 with an 18-300mm lens and camera bag from Borrow Lenses.  It was simple and affordable.  Without that sweet set up, I wouldn’t have been able to get the close ups of the Kodiak brown bears (aka grizzlies) in Katmai National Park or the snow-capped Alaskan Range.
 
Bear Tour with Kingfisher Aviation
Totally worth the money to get these close ups!
This was part of a lesson learned from my last trip to the West Coast.  I bought a Canon point and shoot (not terribly expensive, but still) and two days later, it took a swim in the Pacific. 

Related lesson #2? “Don’t drink several cocktails and then walk along the beach in the dark while taunting the waves.”  But that’s another story.

Related lesson #3?  “Back up your data as soon as you get home.”  Because I didn’t and I lost all 1,000 pictures except for a few I uploaded to my Facebook album.  I have someone trying to recover them, but if they can’t do it, those are a lot of money shots just…gone.

#4 – Saltwater and Skiffs Equal Waterproof Camera Bag/ Storm Jacket
My note to self reads: “You will want to take pictures while in the skiff.”  I used a plastic bag to protect it when I wasn’t taking pictures, but I missed a few shots because I was worrying about keeping the camera dry.  And the Storm Jacket by Vortex comes recommended by a National Geo photographer.  Sweet!

#5 – A Polar Plunge is Awesome – with a Wet Suit/Dry Suit
Call me crazy ~ I already know it ~ but I really wanted to snorkel in Uyak Bay. The water was so clear you could see all the way to the other side of the world.  It was also turn-your-skin-blue-ice cold.  Since I was returning home to 90° weather, I did manage to get my Keenes off and walk in the Buskin River for about ten seconds before I had to admit defeat.

#6 – Fly Fishing Makes Salmon Taste Even Better
Got some great shots (now erased *&^$%) of salmon jumping and struggling on a fly fishermen’s line in Buskin River and wished I could have gone out in the river and fished too.
I mean, I already have the hip waders.  And I like fresh fish.  

Just need to make sure there’s a manly man around to scale and gut it.  Tried that once ~ ick.

#7 – “The Mummy” Ride Makes Bush Planes Look Like a Merry Go Round
I owe an apology to my friend Gregers and his buddy Curt – I hate roller coasters and that roller coaster at Universal Studios on my layover at LAX was vomit-inducing horrific (although I just closed my eyes and kept my In and Out burger safely in my stomach) and I cussed them up one side and down the other for telling me it wasn’t a roller coaster.

But I was grateful once I reached Kodiak and had to ride in a bush plane and a float plane ~ both which are seriously under-rated.  They’re awesome and you get to see a side of the island/mountain you wouldn’t see otherwise. 

Plus, if you’re lucky, you get a Scots pilot.  That vortex of Scottish charm is potent in a five-seater Cessna.

#8 – Forget the Treadmill, Stairmaster Is Your New Bestie
There was a gravel path that I swear was vertical.  Okay, maybe it wasn’t really vertical.  But the gravel was loose and squishy, so I got a real workout to and from the banya and the main house.

On second thought, forget the Stairmaster.  Just put your hip waders on and walk in mud or wet sand.  Same result.

#9 – You Can Never Have Enough Travel TP and Hand Sanitizer
Packing light was essential to me, so I only took one roll of travel toilet paper and a handful of hand sanitizer wipes.  This was not a good idea, especially when going for long hikes, or in my case, long ocean skiff rides.

#10 – Make the Magic Last
Don’t be in such a hurry to get back home.  Actually, I didn’t want to go home.  Still don’t ~ I need a bumper sticker that says “I’d Rather Be in Alaska.”  So I booked a hotel in Kodiak and left a day later.  But I wish I had arranged to stay a few extra days in Anchorage.  Denali was calling my name and I couldn’t answer this time and it broke my heart. 

Yes, I’ve got it bad.  At least now I am better equipped for wherever the longing for wilderness adventure takes me.

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela

What are your travel lessons learned?

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09 September 2014

Return from Harvester Island

Why do you go away?  So that you can come back.  So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors.  And the people there see you differently too.  Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.
~ Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

The Harvester Island Wilderness Workshop was incredible.  I went to write with 11 strangers, and I left with 15 new friends.  In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting my photos and thoughts on both the workshop and the beauties of Kodiak, Alaska.



P
eace equals absence.

The absence of stress.  The absence of critical words.  The absence of anxiety.  The absence of negativity.  The absence of a frenetic pace.

Peace is the space in between ~ where I am free to be myself and free to grow. 

And I found that peace, that in between space, on an island in Alaska called Harvester.

Beauty Inexpressible
From the moment I boarded a 737 (one of eight modes of transportation to get to my destination) to the first white-knuckled, sea-sprayed skiff ride, I felt like I lived in a dream.  Nothing, not even the realities of bathing only twice in eight days and ‘marking my territory’ in a patch of sea grass, dispelled the watercolour surrealism.

Don’t believe what you hear about Texas ~ everything is bigger in Alaska.   

The snow-draped mountains of the Alaskan Range make my Blue Ridge and Shenandoah look like ant hills.  The ice cold, hazel gaze of Uyak Bay is more seductive than Caribbean blue.  The air and the wind and the waves and the rain taste sharper, strip you bare, and caress you deeper, than any you might encounter on the West or East Coasts.

This shouldn’t surprise you ~ the Last Frontier is bigger than Texas, California, and Montana combined ~ twice the size of the Lone Star State.

And the beauty.  My God, the beauty. 

The View from Harvester Island
© 2014 La Belle Dame de Merci
Everywhere you look, in any direction, there is nature, in all her raw and aching glory.  It tightens the chest, fills the soul until you are overwhelmed and breathless, leaves you spent and satiated.  It is almost too much.  And yet, never enough. 

But what is Paradise without some sorrow, some darkness to spice and sweeten the day?  Such glory, such beauty is not enjoyed without cost.

The Price of Wild Salmon
On two occasions, our small band of writers and adventurers sat spellbound in the skiff, clinging to humongous bins filled with the sloshing remnants of ice, sea water, and fish guts.  Our cameras snapping madly, we watched hardy Alaskan fishermen haul up their purse seine nets for their third or fourth salmon catch.  The sun gilded the hair on their brawny arms, muscles bunching and straining against the heavy fish and gravity. 

Knowing that purse seiners go out and do these “sets” as many as twelves times, my heart ached to see jelly fish outnumber the salmon when the net made its final burst from the sea.  Even “pinks,” salmon that is not as tasty as the “reds” that run in May and June, and the “silvers” that run through September, would be a better catch than jelly fish and bull kelp.

So they will lower the seine net and perform this delicate yet back breaking dance over and over, for an hour each time.  If the salmon are running and the schools are big, they may catch two hundred-fifty fish, averaging six pounds each, with every set.  But if the salmon are running thin, they will be lucky to get one hundred twenty-one in a set. The ones we witnessed didn’t have more than fifty fish in one set. 

Nets drying on Harvester Island
© 2014 La Belle Dame de Merci
Working in much harsher conditions than your average postman, “neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night” nor sleet, hail, or hurricane-force winds stays these stout-hearted men (and a few women) from their self-appointed fishing rounds.

Sitting in that gently rocking skiff, shooting moments of a life that most in the Lower 48 romanticize, I wondered, “What in the world draws and keeps a man to this kind of life?”  Some have never known anything but life on the water, picking fish with their fathers from a young age.  Some come to it as a second or third career, some as a hobby.  Yet they all feel the pull, the siren song of the beauty of this at times forbidding tundra.

You cannot come here, live here, sleep here, without being affected by it.

And you certainly cannot leave here without your heart breaking a little at the goodbye.  This is the real reason I believe they stay ~ the blood that pumps through their veins is mixed with salt-water, fish oil, and sea air.  It is more real, more a part of them then their limbs. 

Perhaps that is why this place, these waters, these mountains, these islands, have burrowed a nest in my heart and my soul ~ I understand that need.  The addiction that keeps one from leaving for more opportunities, warmer weather, an easier life.  Because my blood is mixed with dirt and compost and seeds. 

Eugene O’Hara in Gone with the Wind said 
The land is the only thing in the world worth working for, worth fighting for, worth dying for, because it's the only thing that lasts…
And he was right.  But I believe if he had seen Alaska, had visited Harvester Island ~ he would have added the sea to that observation.

I know I do.

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela

What images does this essay conjure for you?  Do you romanticize the sea and fishing?


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28 August 2014

Bound for Kodiak: Memoir as Therapy

To the lover of wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world.
~ John Muir


The countdown to Kodiak clock is winding down fast – as in tomorrow!  As there will be no internet there, I will not be posting again until my return. 



B
eginning tomorrow, Friday, August 29th, I will head out t othe Last Frontier.

For a week, I’ll be writing, relaxing, reading, and hopefully taking pictures of grizzlies and not getting mauled by one.

Oh, and did I mention there won’t have indoor plumbing?

Yeah. Roughing it at last!

Ever since I was seduced by her majestic mountains and clean, brisk air, I have longed to return.  So this trip is a dream come true for me and one I can cross off my bucket list.  And I almost gave up on it barely before I got started. 

All because of negative feedback. 


Ironically, I am going on this trip to work on my memoir.  Sending out those few, vulnerable little chapters was difficult ~ not because I’m afraid of constructive criticism.  But because the content is so raw and painful and intimate and personal.

It’s like stepping into one of my personal journals.  Or sitting in on a therapy session.

Memoir experts say that your memoir shouldn't be about getting revenge or a way to work through your issues.  But I say ~ just write.  Get it all out, vomit on the page, deep clean those memories and wounds and trauma.  Once it’s all out there, then you edit.  Tweak.  Delete.  Reword.

Use your writing as therapy all you want.  It’s only the final draft, the one that’s ready to go to the publisher, that should take your personal story, your personal pain, and make it universal.  Because a memoir is never just about you and your healing.

It’s your story of healing being a beacon of hope to someone else who may be suffering in a similar way.

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela
Do you use your writing as a therapy tool?  Why or why not?


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29 July 2014

No Means Yes: 50 Shades of Domestic Violence

A real man doesn't slap even a ten-dollar hooker around, if he's got any self-respect, much less hurt his own woman. Much less ten times over the mother of his kids. A real man busts his ass to feed his family, fights for them if he has to, dies for them if he has to. And he treats his wife with respect every day of his life, treats her like a queen - the queen of the home she makes for their children.
~  S.M. Stirling

The countdown to Kodiak begins! For the month of July and most of August, I’m concentrating on writing my memoir, so there won’t be as many blog posts.  Have a book-filled summer!



W
hen is domestic violence acceptable?

Apparently when it sells 70 million copies.

Offended by that statement?  You should be.  And yet, women across the nation seem to think that when the violence is sexual in nature and perpetrated by a sexy rich guy, it’s all good.

Because of course, what happens in the bedroom between partners is nobody else’s business.

Unless of course, it’s your neighbor or best friend, and she covers up the bruises with excuses and a brave face that hides her fear and self-loathing. 

Still,  you do nothing because  you “don’t want to get involved.”  In today’s society, we value autonomy over real freedom and blind tolerance over decency.  But to ignore the signs and symptoms of domestic violence is to silently approve of it.

That’s bad enough.  But to glamorize it?  To make it exciting and titillating? 

That is truly sick and perverted.  Yet make no mistake, that is exactly what 50 Shades of Grey does.

The Sacred Duty of a Writer
As a writer, I am very careful about book and author reviews.  I know what it’s like to pour your heart and soul onto the page and hope that your dreams and imaginings will touch at least one person’s heart and make a difference.

Even romantic fiction, fantasy, and science-fiction ~ incorrectly considered “fluff” writing by many ~ serves a higher purpose: to provide hope and escape to a reader bogged down in a mundane and soul-sucking life.

And yet, such a lofty gift comes with a heavy responsibility.  A sacred duty to your readers: to provide a well-written story, a believable plot, detailed character development, and attention to proper grammar and word usage.

But inherent in that is also a duty to reach out to them and show them that no matter how difficult their personal circumstances, if this character can overcome the odds, they can too.  Because ultimately, we read to know we are not alone.

E. James does none of this. 

50 Shades of Hack Writing
Let’s forget for a moment that 50 Shades is an adult version of Twilight (true story – it started out as fan fiction).  Let’s focus just on the story and plot, which made me cringe.  I’ll be completely honest  ~ I only read about 30% of it and that only so I could see what all the fuss was about.  It was so poorly written and ludicrous, I couldn’t finish it.

Whenever I read a new book that has several 5 star reviews and discover that a sixth grader in private school could write a better plot, I wonder who these reviewers are.  I can only imagine that the women who rocketed Shades to best seller status must be white, middle class married women who haven’t been properly laid in years, and are looking for a forbidden thrill. 

How else to describe this fascination with violence in the bedroom? 
Image Credit

It’s a common human failing, this tendency to romanticize the lives of those we consider different or beneath us.  It used to be called slumming.  

Think married women of the aristocracy of the 19th century consorting with commoners or paying to play prostitute when their other amusements palled.

Violence By Any Other Name
I wish I could tell you that writing such tripe is harmless fun.  But it is not.  It perpetuates the belief that women are nothing more than sexual playthings.  

It saddens me that in our technologically advanced society, we are still fighting discrimination, misogyny, prejudice, and violence.

This is a tough subject, but ignoring it won’t make it go away.

Some statistics about victims to put this in perspective:
2/3 had a prior relationship with the aggressor (age 18-29)6 out of 10 were assaulted by an intimate partner9 out 10 knew their attacker (college age)1 in 6  have experienced rape or attempted rape in their life1 in 4 women has had a sexual experience she did not want by the age of 30
Do you see the pattern here?  Most women who are victims of sexual abuse know their attacker.  While there are cases of women being snatched off the street by a random stranger, that type of attack is rare.

I wonder if you asked these women whether it made a difference if their attacker was rich, sexy, or apologized later.

The fact that a woman has written a book that romanticizes sexual violence just adds insult to injury.

Has Ms. James ever volunteered at a battered women’s shelter, counseled rape victims, or spoken with survivors of human sex trafficking?  

I have to wonder. 

Because when you spend even a small amount of time with these precious women, you know that violence in the bedroom (or anywhere in the home) is not sexy or exciting or worthy of glamorization.

Violence By Any Other Name
The reality is bleak, frightening, and too often ends in death. 

The following is a partial list of behaviors: 
JealousyAt the start of the relationship, an abuser will equate jealously with love. The abuser will question the victim about who the victim talks to, accuse the victim of flirting, or become jealous of time spent with others. The abuser may call the victim frequently during the day, drop by unexpectedly, refuse to let the victim work, check the car mileage, or ask friends to watch the victim. 
Controlling behaviorIn the beginning an abuser will attribute controlling behavior to concern for the victim (for example, the victim's safety or decision-making skills). As this behavior progresses the situation will worsen, and the abuser may assume all control of finances or prevent the victim from coming and going freely. 
Unrealistic expectationsAn abuser expects the victim to meet all of the abuser's needs, to take care of everything emotionally and domestically. 
IsolationAn abuser will attempt to isolate the victim by severing the victim's ties to outside support and resources. The batterer will accuse the victim's friends and family of being "trouble makers." The abuser may block the victim's access to use of a vehicle, work, or telephone service in the home.

Review these signs of abuse and ask yourself: 1) do you really want to read or watch a story that makes it look fun and harmless?  2) Do you know anyone who experiences these?

Naked and Unashamed
I am about as far from prudish as you can get.  My Southern Baptist-raised mother is continually shocked by my outlook and some of my beliefs.  What can I say ~ I like a well-written love story with detailed steamy scenes and I make no apologies for my liberal and eclectic taste in reading material.

But it is one thing to write a book that contains violence against women or children (Crime and Punishment) where the attacker is shown to be evil and justice is served.  It is quite another to write a book that tells men that violence is a turn on and even if she says no, she really means yes.

Ms. James, speaking as a writer and a woman, I am disappointed.

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela

"She liked a very particular kind of plot: the sort where the pirate kidnaps some virgin damsel, rapes her into loving him, and then dispatches lots of seamen while she polishes his cutlass. Or where the Highland clan leader kidnaps some virginal English Rose, rapes her into loving him, and then kills entire armies Sassenachs while she stuffs his haggis. Or where the Native American warrior kidnaps a virginal white settler, rapes her into loving him, and then kills a bunch of colonists while she whets his tomahawk. I hated to get Freudian on Linda, but her reading patterns suggested some interesting insight into why she was such a bitch."
— Nicole Peeler (Tempest Rising, Jane True #1)

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16 July 2014

Long Way to the Top: Lynda Cox's Debut Novel

If you have a dream, don’t just sit there.
Gather courage to believe that you can succeed and leave no stone unturned to make it a reality.
~ Roopleen

The countdown to Kodiak begins! For the month of July and most of August, I’m concentrating on writing my memoir, so there won’t be as many blog posts.  Have a book-filled summer!



A
s I scribble down notes for yet another chapter idea, I wonder why the heck I ever thought I could write a book, much less one that anyone but my therapist would read.

It’s a common doubt that writers (and most artists) share: will anyone accept the work we have created?

It’s also one that should be locked away until the work is finished.  There is no magic formula, there is no easy way.  And the road to publication is long and filled with rejection potholes.

Today, Lynda Cox, tells us about her journey to publishing her first book, The Devil’s Own Desperado.

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela

Long Way to the Top
Lynda Cox guest blogging here. Give me a few seconds to make the introductions and then we can get down to brass tacks, as my grandmother used to say.

I’m a fifty-something grandmother raising one of the grandkids, and when I’m not writing romances, I show collies. I’ve been involved in the sport and insanity known as dog shows for better than thirty-five years.

I’ve been a Star Wars AND Star Trek geek all of my life. I grew up watching syndicated westerns, with a steady diet of John Wayne westerns thrown in. I’m also a huge Harry Potter fan.
The AC/DC song “Long Way to the Top” kept running through my head while I was thinking about writing this blog.

In my late thirties, I enrolled in college. My first day of classes, I looked around and realized that I was old enough to be the mother to almost every kid in the classes I was enrolled in. During my freshman year, I took a creative writing class. Maggie Wheeler, the instructor in that class, encouraged me to keep submitting.

So I did…and kept getting rejections.  But I didn’t stop writing or submitting.

It took almost twenty years to get published. I refined my writing, submitted my manuscript to an agent, and received countless form rejection letters.  Sometimes, I’d get a very personal letter that gave me hope to keep on trying.

There were times I stopped writing, but never for very long.

After my undergrad degree in English, I went back to work on my master’s. I concentrated in creative writing. One of the instructors I had as a grad student also served on my master’s committee and that man pushed me harder than I had ever been pushed. Aaron Morales told me after I’d defended my creative piece for the masters that the reason he pushed me so hard was he hadn’t seen the kind of writing talent I had in a long time. That was funny, coming from someone who’s almost twenty years younger than me.

But Aaron not only pushed me to go in directions I never would have thought I could go with my writing, he pushed me toward publication.

In a class of twenty five students, more than fifteen of us were published at the end of that semester.

Because I was concentrating in creative writing, I could take Aaron’s class more than once. Each semester, I found myself being published in a literary magazine: Blue Mesa Review, The Heartland Review, and Indiana English.

Those short stories opened the door for me to be published in novel length. I was better prepared to research where to submit. I now had publication credits in highly respected literary magazines. I decided I didn’t need an agent, that I’d work my way up through the slush pile. I submitted to The Wild Rose Press and waited. I received the standard form response that my query had been received and I should hear something in six to eight weeks. Almost twelve weeks went by without a word, so I sent an e-mail to The Wild Rose Press, asking if there was any news.

I received a very personal e-mail back, apologizing for the delay, and oh, by the way, if I would be willing to make some changes to the manuscript they were very interested in publishing my romance novel. I was working at Indiana State University at the time, directing the operation of the Writing Center, and I made my boss, the department chair, read that e-mail because I couldn’t believe what I was reading.

I made the changes that Susan—who then became my editor—asked for and within a week of submitting the changed manuscript, I had a contract for The Devil’s Own Desperado.

From signing the contract to release date was just a little under a year. I spent that year alternating between being so happy I was giddy to incredible self-doubt. The self-doubt grew worse when I thought about submitting a second romance to The Wild Rose Press.

What if I was only going to be a one hit wonder?

That doubt was removed when I was offered a contract for my second book, Smolder on a Slow Burn.

After The Devil’s Own Desperado was published, one of the professors at State asked me to come and talk to his Popular Literature and the Mass Media class, as one of the books read in that class is a romance novel. I was shocked to learn that Dr. Connelly was using my romance in his class. One of the questions the students asked was if I’m any different now that I have a published novel to my credit.

And the answer is, no. I’m still the same person I was before I signed my contract, before I saw the cover to my first book, before I held my first book in my hands. I’m just one of the lucky ones to have a romance novel published.

Yep, I’m one of the lucky ones. And, it’s still a long way to the top.

Lynda J. Cox will tell anyone who will listen that she was born at least one hundred and fifty years too late, and most definitely in the wrong part of the country. Her heart has always belonged to cowboys, the wide open spaces, horses, and Lassie. She grew up on a steady diet of cowboy movies, syndicated Westerns, and Lassie. All of those influences play a role in her life now. She writes western historical romance and raises and shows collies. She holds a master’s degree in English with a concentration in creative writing from Indiana State University after earning her BA from the same university as a non-traditional student. (Think being old enough to be mom to 90% of the students in her freshman cadre.) She’s kept busy with two spoiled rotten house cats, a 30 plus year old Arabian gelding who has been nicknamed “Lazarus” for his ability in the later years of his life to escape death, and quite a few champion collies. When she isn’t writing, she can be found on the road, travelling to the next dog show. She loves to chat about books, the writing life, and the insanity which is called a “dog show” and can be reached through her Facebook page.

Media and Web Links
lyndajcox.com

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26 June 2014

Falling Off the Writing Wagon (or No, My Brain Wasn't Eaten by a Zombie)

You must write every single day of your life...
You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders 
to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads...
may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. 
And out of that love, remake a world."
~ Ray Bradbury

June is the FLX/WordCount Blogathon!  Join us for 30 Days of blogging madness!



E
very time I thought about writing a post last week, I felt exhausted.  Tired, drained and unmotivated were the trending words in my little writerly bubble.

Basically, I had a six year old living in my head all week:

But I don’ wanna write!
No one reads my writing anyway!
I wanna read!
I’m bored!

Stomp! Stomp! Stomp!

A couple of sleepless nights didn’t do the little brat any favours either.  Add to that, severe adrenal fatigue, the possibility of Lyme, and an unhappy digestive tract (bet you saw that one coming) and you have a recipe for a writerly clusterfudge of epic proportions.

Also known as lethargy.
Also known as radio silence.
Also known as writer’s block.

I didn’t just fall off the Blogathon wagon, I rolled down the hill, through a cow patty, and into a haystack.

Where I stayed, on my back, staring blindly at a blank paper sky. 
Image credit: Quickmeme

Just Keep Writing, Just Keep Writing
But what is the one rule of writing that all writers must learn and re-learn? 

Just write.  Type until you can’t type anymore and your hands look like claws and your wrists fall off and your eyes are as “raw as meat in a butcher shop.”*

Even if it’s gobbledygook. 
Even if it’s  painful. 
Even if it’s messy. 
Even if it’s rough.

And don’t stop.

Because if you stop writing, you’ll start editing.  Erasing.  Cursing.  Eating things you shouldn’t (hence the rebellious digestive tract), and eventually, you’ll stop writing altogether.

The only time it’s acceptable to stop writing is when you’re out living and listening.  So you have something to write about.

Or reading.  So you have writing prompts that will kick start your writing.

Or if a zombie ate your brains.  Because then your thoughts would really be scattered and your writing wouldn't make any sense.

So you didn’t blog all 30 days.  Did you write every day or read something that you could write about later?  Yes?  Great!  Then it was a success!

The Three Rs: Rest, Reading and a little Rx
But my name isn’t Pollyanna or Bright Eyes, or Dorothy.   And sometimes, even the smallest task is simply too difficult when you are exhausted and tired and starting a new medication.

That whole myth about writers and artists churning out masterpieces while high or drunk is definitely a myth.  Not that I was high or drunk, but the new medication…oh wait, it was to help calm me down and make me feel happy. I think.

Nevermind.  Maybe it’s not a myth.  Still not really that interested in testing it out.  Oh, Mythbusters!  Yoo hoo!

Bottom line: I wrote abso-freakin-lutely nothing last week.   Instead, I threw myself a writer’s pity party.  Anne Shirley would have loved it.  I was in the depths of despair over my lack of talent and my shoddy consistency ~ blame it on the ADD. Wait.  Isn’t that a song? 

But I read.  A lot.  Some really good stuff.  Some gloriously trashy stuff.  Some books I laughed at ~ not because they were funny, but because they were just that awful.  Some made me cry.

And some…inspired the Muse.

Which is the whole point of reading when you can’t write and writing all the time even if it’s horse caca.  Because that fickle, beautiful Muse ~ she better not find you napping.  Or at the least, without some way of capturing the bones she throws you.

I mean, it looks like she was also able to get that inner 6 year old to shut up and go play in someone else’s head.

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela

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15 June 2014

How to Have a Healing Father's Day: Reblog from Leslie Leyland Fields

When my father would yell at me, I told myself someday I'd use it in a book.
~ Paula Danziger

June is the FLX/WordCount Blogathon!  Join us for 30 Days of blogging madness!



L
ove.

We learn it first from our parents.

And more often than not, it’s an imperfect lesson.  Because our parents are human.

Today is a tough day for some people.  Either because they had a rough childhood, or because their father has died without there being a resolution to the past.

 
Image credit: whatwillmatter.com
Today, I’d like to direct you to read a post by author Leslie Leyland Fields, author, Alaskan fisherwoman, and leader of the Wilderness Writers Workshop I’ll be attending this fall!  In her post on What Are Fathers For, she explores this often painful relationship and offers some advice on how to cope and live your life in the present.

Read and be moved.  And let’s talk some more on Monday.

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela

What will you do to celebrate Father’s Day today?

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