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25 March 2010

Thursday Catch-Up

"The only difference between a rut and a grave
is there dimensions." ~ Ellen Glasgow

I have talked a lot about change it seems. Just about every week I'm posting something about it. It would be safe to assume that I need to implement some changes in my life.

There is nothing wrong with change. Change is often for the best. At least, the kind you go looking for is. We've had a few changes lately. Jon got a job (hallelujah!), and while it's not "the" job, it's something until he can find it (whatever "the" job may be). He'll be working afternoons and early evenings which is strange because I work 8:30 -5 and he won't be getting home until around 9 or 11 most nights. But it's for the best: we've been needing two incomes for a while now.

I'm writing a script starting next week. That's a huge change! One I'm welcoming and excited about. I've decided on an original story and we'll see how it turns out, crossing from novel to screenplay in a matter of 30 days.

My other writing is changing as well. I've made strides in that I realize I've been holding myself back for fear of being misunderstood. For the fear of no one "getting" it and it never getting out there on the shelves. But a decision based on fear is never the right decision. Over the next 30 days I'll be wide open, letting it all pour out, being held together by this new structure called "script".

"The birds are molting. If only man could molt also -
his mind once a year its errors, his heart once a year
its useless passions." ~ James Allen

Perhaps this quote sums up what I'm feeling lately. Ever feel like you could crawl out of your skin? That's how I've felt for years. It's been building and building until recently I've just wanted to scream! Claw my skin until I am able to shed it like a snake. Problem: shedding skin takes away the protective layer that's built up callouses and been hardened to weather and work. Tender new growth is painful and sensitive and not in the mood to be stretched. And dear friends, I am being stretched.

But it's good. Very good. It has been a long time coming. The only way for it to be implemented is to focus, to cast off the distraction and run my race no matter how painful it may be to begin with. I need discipline to recover my passion for writing and for creating, something that has been sorely missed for several years now. And the only way I know how to do it is to take a break.

I know. I've taken breaks here recently. I took a long one around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Two weeks, if I remember correctly. This time, however, it's going to be a bit longer. I'm unplugging for the entire month of April. Starting Monday (the 29th of March) through the 3rd of May. I'll be back on 4 May and I'm excited to see what changes have been wrought.

I will miss you, dear friends, but this is something I must do for myself. One of my favorite scriptures is Hebrews 12:1. "Strip off every weight and encumbrance which does so easily distract and run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that has been set before us." It has come to my attention that, despite my best efforts, I have still be trying to run someone else's race. It's so easy to do. We see other races, those that look so much better, easier, nicer than ours. We change lanes only to stumble and wonder why. The path wasn't made for you. And I'm standing on my own path again, waiting eagerly for the pistol to sound. I'll probably start at a swift walk. I've never been much of a runner. Maybe I can kayak the race sent before me?

"We all have big changes in our lives
that are more or less a second chance." ~ Harrison Ford

All I ask of you, dear friends, are your prayers while I'm reclaiming this path of mine and your smiling faces when I return! I wish you all the best of April. Happy Easter, happy spring. I'm looking forward to catching up in May. Until then, in the words of Garrison Keillor, "Be well, do good work, and keep in touch."

Vive la revolucion!
Jen

"Stand at the crossroads and look, ask for the ancient paths
and there you will find peace for your soul." ~ Jeremiah 6:16

22 March 2010

Where did the sun go?

Okay, who took it? The sun! The warmth! The spring like weather! It was just here Saturday. I don't mind sharing but we'd like it back now :)

How was your weekend? I hope it was wonderful! We had some awesome weather on Saturday and I got out in it, allergies and all! I paid for it later, but I didn't care! What are a few sniffles compared to sunshine on my shoulders making me happy (hm, that sounds vaguely like a song...).

But alas, it's Monday and the skies know it. They are positively weeping. But I see the blue and soon the skies will blaze with fierce Georgia intensity and come August I'll be pining for fall. It happens every year.

But enough talk about the weather. Thank you all for your sounding off on my question Friday. I really appreciate your wise words. I'm going with an original idea. The one that's been calling. I have no idea how it will pan out but I'm willing to give it a go. I'm looking forward to it, actually, more so than the adaptation idea.

Thank you all for bearing with me and my fickle wanderings (ramblings). Not much to post today other than that! Have a fabulous Monday and I hope wherever you are today it's beautiful.

Journey on,
Jen

19 March 2010

Happy Friday!

Still searching through a wilderness of plots and pollen...


So the pollen bug is still here and my voice is slowly vanishing. Not too fun when your job consists of answering phones all day. Le sigh...

While pondering my script writing conundrum, as in what oh what to write, I had a revelation. Sure, an adaptation would be easy practice. I would already have the story out there, a story I know front ways and back ways. All I would have to do is create an adaptation of the story and put it in script form. I know, easy-peasy (ha!).

HOWEVER

I got to thinking (a dangerous thing) and wondered if I should just scrap the "easy" way and dive in with my own story? In this case, there are three ways I could go.

1) I could take a story I already have written and turn it into a script.
2) I could take a story that I am itching to write and turn it into a script.
OR
3) I could take the story that came to me in a dream that WAS a film, complete with cast, crew,
film location, and a big banner that stretched over the high school gym where I was filming it. (Okay, the story has nothing to do with high school, but that was where my dream had it being filmed...)

So I'm looking at these choices. I'm seeing the easy one. I'm seeing the obvious one. I'm seeing the one that would be a midway between the two that would allow me the ease of turning a novel plot into a script. Could I make this any harder on myself? :)

So, here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to think on it. All weekend. Weigh the pros and cons. I know, it's not like Tim Burton has asked me to do this (oh, if ONLY) but it IS something I want to possibly pursue beyond this script writing frenzy.

What would you do, dear friends? Would you grab the bull by the horns and tackle the movie that popped into your night thoughts? Would you take the middle road, the story you have outlined and weave it in and out of a script writing format? Or would you take the story written, add some bold type here, some slug lines there and *poof* script-ish?

I already know the answer.

What say you?

Happy Weekend,
Jen

18 March 2010

Under the Weather

Hey guys! Just a little update. I won't be circling the blogsphere today. I'm feeling a bit under the weather. Pollen is already lashing out at me. But as long as that means Spring and warm weather are on their way, I won't complain too much!

Happy Thursday,
Jen

17 March 2010

A Wednesday Script Writing Update


Good day all! I know my presence in the blogsphere has been limited of late but I am here, I do read, and I try to comment as I can.

I've been doing a LOT of research on script writing. Considering this is my first attempt at writing a script, I figured this was an excellent way to spend my Monday at work. I found LOADS of info as well as a list about a half a mile long of books on the script writing and film making process.

Surprisingly, it's not that complicated. There are strict rules one must adhere to in order to write a screenplay, but I find the form and function of those rules strangely liberating. Coming from someone who can pen a 500+ page novel and cry if she has to delete anything, knowing I have to limit myself to between 95 and 140 pages and NOT throwing a royal tantrum is a miracle indeed.

I narrowed my script down to two possible stories. One would be an original that, strangely enough, hit me yesterday while riding home from work and seeing a police officer cutting grass on a riding lawn mower (don't worry: if I don't write the script for this one in April, I will write in eventually...the idea of a police chase on riding lawn mowers is just too hilarious a mental picture to pass up). My other idea (the one I'm going with) is to do a screen adaptation of my favorite book. SADLY an adaptation has already been done. It was horrible. It was vile. It was...well...let's just say it should not have been at all. I have to wonder, did the producer/script writer/director even READ the book before making the film? I think they read the back of the book and said, "Hey, that's a neat idea!" and read no further. I shudder to even remember the horror.

That being said, I have always dreamed of seeing A Wrinkle in Time on the big screen. Not a made for DVD butcherization of a classic, but a real, honest to goodness portrayal of the story, the characters, the magic of the book that made me want to write.

Am I the person to do this? The thought is humbling and, quite frankly, frightening. There's no promise my screenplay will go beyond this little free-for-all in April. But what if? Is it wrong to think a POSITIVE what if for a change? Too often we think the opposite: What if I fail? What if no one likes it? What if I can't find a publisher? What if it sucks and I might as well just hang up my pen and become a taxi cab driver?

Right now, I'm wanting my imagination to wander. I want to challenge and stretch my writing muscles in a way they've never been stretched. I want to sit down on April 01 and write with abandon. I want to bring this story to life to the best of my ability and see what comes of it.

Will I submit it? Probably not. No, hear me out. I have several ideas for short films and for feature films. Ideas that I WOULD pursue selling. THIS one, however, is a film I would want to direct. Writer becomes film maker. I think I've heard this tale before, long ago. The story is just too sacred to me to leave in the hands of someone else. When you sell a screenplay, unless they ask you to be the final editor of the script, you have no say so in the final movie. It's frightening, really. To trust my vision to someone else's eyes? But that's the nature of the beast. Hence why I'm also doing some research into film making.

What have I got myself into?

Happy St. Patrick's Day, by the way! Wearin' o' the green. Any of you been to Ireland? I went eight years ago and I've been home sick ever since. If you get the chance, GO. You'll leave a part of your soul there, though. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Jen

PS: I'll be having a little St. Paddy's Day shindig over at the Manor this afternoon. Wander on by if you have the time :)

15 March 2010

A Frankenstinian Tale - Magpie Tales 5


Just lying there...

"This is how you found the place."

I nodded. In my throat was a knot, about as big as the one in my gut. I kicked a book as I stumbled across the room. Glass crunched under my feet. I took off my glasses, wiped the sweat from my eyes.

"Could you explain, again, how you happened to be here just in time to put out the fire?"

"I told you, I was working late, in the lab across the hall. I heard glass shatter and went to investigate. There was smoke...and..." I couldn't finish. I'd already told the story a dozen and a half times to at least as many officers, the dean, and now this hot shot detective.

He nodded, scratched his head with the backside of his pen and scribbled something down in his well worn notebook.

"Don't go too far away," he said gruffly and sauntered over to a group of coffee guzzling professors and the dean.

I rolled my eyes. As a research assistant and PhD student, I had access to the labs at any hour of any day. Or so I was told. It now seemed I was in a heap of trouble just for being on campus at 8pm on a Saturday afternoon. I glanced over at the dean. He held a hand up, shook his head slightly. I'll talk to you later.

Again my eyes fell on her. She was ... just lying there. Like discarded lumber. But she wasn't. O, she was so much more.

I lifted her from the rubble, gently, so as not to lose any of the pieces. Carefully I laid her on the ruined desk after brushing away the ceiling tiles and broken beakers. She'd been there for me, all through my college years. Nervous freshman, confident senior, now apprehensive yet studious doctoral candidate. Now...I didn't know if she'd recover.

"I know you're not to blame for this."

The dean. I stood from the stool I'd been perching on.

"Yeah but that cop-"

"He's just doing his job. I have personally vouched for you. They're going to dust for finger prints. You can go home."

He looked at the table. Winced, "Are you going to be okay?"

"I ... yeah." I swallowed hard. One last look. She'd be thrown out along with all the other garbage. No one would understand.

"Do you want to take her with you?"

I looked at the dean. "Really?"

"I know how much she means to you."

I chewed on my chapped lips. "No. It's time to let go. She was old anyway. Other students will come along and ... and a new mannequin will be needed."

He blinked then smiled. "It's about time. I knew you could let go." He patted my shoulder. As he got to the door, he turned and said, "You know, she's not the reason I admitted you to the doctorate program."

It was my time to blink. "She's not?"

"No. You can do better. That's why I admitted you." He smiled again and was gone.

I looked at my hands. I'd spent six years working on that mannequin. Anatomically correct, used by both the art and the premed department. It was my crowning glory as an artist, as a scientist. My hands started shaking. No. I would not mourn those lost years. I knew she wasn't perfect. But better? How...

I picked her up off the charred table, her knee joint cracked and one foot fell off. Didn't matter. I had plans for her. I'd been working on some other sketches, other...ventures. I'd take her home, see what I could do. Maybe...just maybe...

Besides, there was a thunderstorm in the forecast.

Monday Musings

Good morning (or afternoon...evening...twilight...as the case may be). Thanks so much for indulging my quote-travaganza Friday. Sometimes I get swept away by words.

In case I haven't said so, welcome to my newest followers! I've been a bit swamped lately and haven't got 'round to the old welcome mat. My apologies.

I did a bit of writing this weekend. Just some jottings and ramblings of the contemplative kind. I'm posting one of them over at Sagewood Manor this morning. Wander by and let me know what you think. There's tea and cake for all. The lemony pound cake kind. Oh, and vanilla pound cake. The kind my grandmother would make with pudding in the cake batter so no matter how old it was, it was still gooey and finger sticky amazing. Yeah...wander on by.

On with the muse:

"Carpe diem! Rejoice while you are alive; enjoy the day; live life to the fullest; make the most of what you have. It is later than you think."
~ Horace

More on this later...

Happy Monday,
Jen

12 March 2010

Quotes to kick off your weekend

I'm in one of THOSE moods today...this happens on Fridays. I get inspired!! There. I've given you fair warning. Proceed at your own risk :)

"The key to change ... is to let go of fear."
~ Rosanne Cash

Is there something I know I need to do? Something that's calling to the deep places of my soul? Why am I hesitant? Why do I choose to cling to fear instead of embracing the freedom of my calling?

"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning,
but anyone can start today and make a new ending."
~ Maria Robinson

Today is the most important day of your life. Not tomorrow, not next week, not next year when you graduate, your kids move out, you retire. TODAY. Why? Because today is all you're promised. Today you can choose life. Today you can make the necessary decisions to take the necessary actions to get you where you were born to be.

"Life can either be accepted or changed.
If it is not accepted, it must be changed.
If it cannot be changed, then it must be accepted."
~ Anon

Example: I wish more than anything I could work from home, tend my own plot of God's green earth, grow words and water lives. I must, however, work in a job that is not feeding me creatively, soul-wise. I cannot change this. I must accept it. That doesn't mean that by accepting it, I will never achieve what I wish. No. On the contrary. To accept where you are, right now, is to open yourself up to receive more. When you pine for what is lost, or what is taken, or what cannot be helped, you block yourself from receiving blessings. You loose sight of doors and windows being opened all around you. To accept the unchangeable -for the time being- is to loosen your heart and your mind to see what surrounds you: beauty, love, joy, magic, wonder. Yes, it is there, despite the circumstances. Accept yourself as you are right now and suddenly a whole world will leap out at you.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world."
~ Mahatma Gandhi

Someone else put it this way, "If there is a book you wish to read but cannot find it, it stands to reason that you must write it." If you wish for more peace, be a peacemaker. If you wish for more love, love others. If you wish for less poverty, hunger, hurt, be a giver. If you wish for tales of swashbuckling air pirates who sail on ships made of tree limbs and fight for freedom and justice and silver medallions that look like sand dollars, then you must write it (considering there's not already a story like that out there...if there is, someone please tell me :))

"The great thing is, if one can, to stop regarding all the unpleasant things
as interruptions in one's 'own' or 'real' life.
The truth is, of course, that what one regards as interruptions
are precisely one's life."
~C.S. Lewis

Many a moment have I wasted in waiting for a current issue to leave so I could finally get on with my life. We don't have enough room, we don't have enough money, I don't have enough time, I don't have my own yard, blah, blah, blah. What I am finally beginning to realize is that day to day IS my life. No matter what. If I can't pursue my dreams NOW -without a lot of room, time, resources- then what makes think that when I DO have "all that" I will be passionate about it then? If the passion is in you, you CAN do it. If you are passionate enough about something you can change the world, your world. Don't be afraid to be passionate. Only passionate people do things worth doing. You may fall, you may make mistakes, but that's how you learn. Fall in a hole and you'll either fill it in so you won't fall in it next time, or you'll go 'round.

Now, my weekend warriors: get out there and conquer your world!

Journey on,
Jen

11 March 2010

Just a little something

Greetings! Sorry for the lax in posts (both here and at The Manor), but I'm researching this whole screenplay thing. Boy oh boy, what did I sign up for?

I'm off to do that in a few, but I wanted to lend you a few words for the day. Roll them around in your mind. Taste them, let them trickle down your chin and drip onto your toes, soak into the ground and blossom.

The world is word, and must be spoken, rooted, danced. Cloud and clod are one root, so that a sky of stone, a fell of heaven, are the deepest magic of necessity. So flying is to walk on law. Waking sun will bid it rise. The light is borne by travelling, A springs from O. The way is earth, here and now, though it lie through cloud or commonplace; and elsewhere is the coming home.
~Moonwise pg 218, Greer Gilman

I have been chewing on Greer Gilman's book Moonwise for a month now. That is very unlike me. I usually finish a book in a week and am off to another. This book, however, is not like anything I've ever read. I guarantee it's like nothing you've ever seen. That excerpt is just a taste of the art found between the covers of this tale. Trust me when I say it takes a bit to wrap your mind around her language. It's like reading an epic poem strung out to music that only your soul can hear. This is my third time attempting it and I'm 75 pages out from being finished.

You don't read this book, you savor it. It devours you, demanding attention. I wish I could give it all for a day, to be fully consumed with prose. But alas...

Happy Thursday all!
Jen

Question: What book(s) have you read that completely turned your world upside down due to language, imagery, voice or vision? Open my eyes to some wondrous tales. I'm waiting :)

09 March 2010

Frenzied, Frazzled and Fantastically Inspired


First off, some apologies:

Mr. Toast - I failed to produce yet another piece of art for Creative Tuesdays. My head is hung in shame.

Willow - for one reason or another, I have YET to post another story for the Magpie. My head is hung even lower in shame.

There. Now to help me pick my head up out of the dirt, I want to say thanks to the comments from Friday's post. It's a topic that's really been on my heart lately. My work in progress (or rather, my finished trilogy that glares at me from across the room) just isn't cutting it. I've edited it, I've renamed it, I've even rewritten it to no avail. I'm not trashing it. I'm not even giving up on it. I'm just putting it aside. I know what it needs but I don't have what I need to take it apart, give it a new voice, paint it a deeper shade of blue. The requires lots of tools, time, paint stripper, elbow grease, and voice lessons. What better way to remove myself from this project then to dive into another.

I posted last week about A Book in a Month, a splendid guide to writing a novel in 30 days. It is a fabulous book. But it, too, has to go by the by...for now.

I've had this dream for a year now about a story. I'm not quite sure of the ins and outs, but I know how it feels, how it looks, what it tastes like. I can smell it. Sometimes, I even see the characters. The vision causes me to burst into tears in movies that wouldn't normally cause me such emotion. Or, maybe they would, for a different reason.

I have literally dreamed this story three times. THREE. For me, that's sort of a magic number. If I dream about, hear about, experience, stumble upon, what have you anything three times I feel (honestly and deeply) that God is trying to get my attention in that area. He could just hurl the universe at me but instead he quietly slips little, serendipitous notions that all point back to one, central theme. This story is one of those.

As I said, I don't know the details, but I do know the emotions, the colors, the senses. And that's what I'm going to start with. I'll be outlining and constructing a skeleton, laying the architectural groundwork for the rest of this month. And then...and then...

I'm going to do something absolutely mad! Many of you know NaNoWriMo. Many of you participated and completed it. I signed up for it but focused, instead, on my trilogy. I did complete the edits I was hoping for so all was not lost. I got a message from the creators of NaNo this morning announcing a little thing called ScriptFrenzy.

Did you read that right? Script?

Yes. You did.

My new story, my dream, my obscure, insubstantial dream is begging to become a screenplay.

See, I told you I was mad.

But then again, we're all mad here", said the cat to Alice. Yes. And I'm in spectacular company.

Writing a screenplay has always been a secret desire of mine. Now the cat's out of the bag (Cheshire cat?) and I'm putting the announcement here for several reasons:

1) I need some solidification on this monumental venture. I've never even attempted to write a screenplay before. I have a Dummies book on it. I read M. Night Shyamalan's book about his journey to Lady in the Water. I watch the Oscar's every year and cheer for the screen writer's category. Other then that, I'm clueless.

2) I need encouragement. Have any of you even attempted this before? If not, I honestly don't blame you. It's another animal all together. I once mentioned it to my writing mentor and she told me it was crazy but if anyone could do it, I could. She said that often. She believed in me. I miss her terribly.

3) I will need a place to rant about this adventure. Congratulations, you're it.

4) I have commitment issues. They say admittance is the first step to healing. Well, there you have it. When it comes to making a decision, I waver like a ship tossed at sea. Not any more. The decision is made. From April 01 - 30 I'm working on a script.

Do I have any expectations? Just to finish. 100 pages in 30 days. Beyond that, we'll see. I just want to do this, to remove myself from my usual canvas and explore other worlds. I may hate it. I may love it. I may curse the day I ever saw a movie! I may pursue it further. Who knows.

All I know is that I've need a change in scenery for a long, long time. Finally, I've found a trip worth taking.

Here goes nothin'.
Jen


PS: If you have not seen Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, drop everything and run like mad to your nearest theatre to see it. It is visually astounding, richly thematic and beautiful. Beautiful, beautiful! It revived my waning creativity in a way I haven't experienced in several years. Movies do that for me in a way books can't. It is a creative feast! Enjoy :)
PPS: I actually posted a story for Willow's Magpie Tales. The apology, however, still stands because I've been lax in doing so before now. Find it over at Sagewood Manor.

05 March 2010

Write What YOU Care About

"Write what you care about."

I read those words this morning in an email from the Highlight's for Children workshop email I get periodically. Author Jerry Spinelli said it doesn't matter what you write, if you care about what you're writing, it will do more than any query or any synopsis could ever do. "Bleed your words onto the page" he said. Hmmm, I've heard that one before...

What do we care about? Our families, our friends, our beliefs, our convictions. How do we put those into story? How do we take our deepest, most elemental level and cram it into 300+ pages that will grab a reader, wring them out dry and fill them full of whatever it is they need, crave, desire?

That's for the writer to decide. That's for the word weaver to determine. A pattern, a quilt, an intricate ivy that follows, not the bricks and mortar, but the delicate iron work it was planted around. The bricks and mortar. The book. The structure. The Elements of Style, the Shoots and the Leaves, the Woe is I. The iron work is the filigree, the waltz between craft. A reader doesn't know they care about syntax. But they do care about the dance. They care about the music.

What do you care about? Do you care about your work in progress? Did you at one time? If you don't any more, why not? Starred at it too long? Trying to write for a more popular genre than what you enjoy? Hmmm...a quandary indeed.

I find I don't care about my trilogy. I don't. Honest to goodness don't. I try to edit it and I cringe, shrug my shoulders, hurry through. Why, I ask. I was so passionate about it for so long and then...kaput. Nothing. Did I look at it too long? Did I pick it apart too much? Perhaps. But - and here's what troubles me - I'm not happy with it. It's a deep unsettling. Something is not right with it. What? I don't know. But I don't believe it.

How can you care about something if you don't believe it?

So, I ask you again, ask myself again, "What do you CARE about?"

If you once cared about your wip, why no longer? If you're writing and feel aimless, why? Take some time this weekend, just a little will do, and remember why you wrote that story to begin with. Chances are, it wasn't to be the next J.K. Rowling. It was to speak and be heard. Remember the message. Care again. And believe.

Cheers!
Jen

04 March 2010

To the Best Blog Friends Anywhere

(That would be YOU!)

I can not thank you guys enough for the kind comments and the wishes for a brighter day today. They have truly brought a smile to my face. Sounds cheesy, but it's true. You guys all deserve an award. Like the "Freaking Awesome Totally Wicked Cool Blog Reader" award. I have yet to see this award, however, if I ever find it, consider yourselves all tagged :)

~ Jen

This just in...


...another award! Woohoo! Seriously, I needed this today. NOT a good day at all. But this brightened up my little dusty corner tremendously. A huge shout out to Kristi over at Random Daily Thoughts. Do stop by and tell he I said hello! You'll be very glad you did :) And Kristi, thank you ever so much for this. It really did help shed a little light on an otherwise glum day.

03 March 2010

It's a Blog Parade!!!

Ok, so I didn't have enough to do. I don't have that many blogs that I love to read every day. I seriously love biting off more than I can chew.

I signed up for a blog parade!!!! I found out about it in a rather round about way. Sandra over at Thistle Cove Farm pointed me to Abigail at Rear Window and *poof* I found myself swept along in all the excitement!

If you're interested in joining (or just finding a bucket load of blogs to peruse in your leisure), hop on over. I posted a link on the right side of my blog. It's the bright, happy button that says "Blog Parade" above it (you can't miss it...really). If you want to participate, all you have to do is sign up and answer 14 questions that let us get to know you better. Yep. That's it! I know...I'm crazy. Must be the lack of life in my life getting to me...

And now, on with the questions:

1) What is your favorite time of day and why?
This actually depends on the day. If it's a week day, I love evenings because I'm at home and can work on projects that mean something to me, spend time with my husband, and relax. If it's the weekend, I love mornings. I get to get up slowly, brew some fresh ground coffee, cook and eat a real breakfast, and enjoy lazing into my day.

2) If health wasn't an issue, what food could you live off of?
I sort of answered this in my award post earlier today. It would be cheese. Any kind but Blue. Bleck. I could seriously live on cheese alone!

3) If you could have one wish granted (besides wishing for more wishes), what would it be?
That my creative pursuits would lead to success so that I could make a living doing what I love, inspire others to do the same, and spend my free time traveling the world to feed the hungry and teach them to sustain themselves by farming.

4) What's the one thing you get teased about a lot?
My over active imagination and incurable optimism. (whoops, that's two!)

5) If you could choose one movie, book, or TV show to spend your life in, which would you pick? What type of character would you be?
Hmmm, this would depend on mood. I think it would be the Harry Potter series. I would have been a main character, sorted into Slytherin, friends Malfoy AND Potter, played Keeper in Quidditch, excelled in Herbology, Potions and Care of Magical Creatures, and my subplot woudl have intwined around Malfoy's and Potter's because later we find out I'm really Voldemort's daughter. Before you freak out over the detail of this, I must confess I write fanfiction :) This kind of thinking is normal in that world. You should try it ;)

6) If you could have one talent that you don't already have, what would it be?
Bo Staff skills

7) If money were no object, where would you go on vacation?
A different country every other month. This month: Tahiti!

8) If you were an awesome singer, which genre would you sing?
Opera and Celtic folk music ala Loreena McKennitt and Kate Rusby.

9) If you could have a $10,000 shopping spree to one store, what would it be?
***HA! I just noticed I skipped this one when I originally posted it****
Barnes and Noble. There really isn't anything else to say about this. Oooh, or Title Nine. Ah dang it...

10) If you could live in any point in time, when would it be?
In an alternate Neo-Victorian/Steampunk England. I would have been the daughter of a mad scientist and a botanist and would have captained an air pirate dirigible.

11) If every outfit in your wardrobe had to be one color, what would it be?
A different, but beautiful and unexpected, shade of grey.

12) If you were one of the seven dwarfs, which one would you be? (Doc, Grumpy, Sneezy, Sleepy, Bashful, Happy, or Dopey)
Sneezy. I live in the South.

13) What's the last album you listened to?
Jack Johnson, On and On

14) What's something we'd be surprised to know about you?
I have never been deemed certifiably crazy.

The blog parade goes on through Monday, 8th of March. Do on, you know you want to march too ;)
Jen

Disclaimer: I did NOT have too much caffeine or sugar before this post...

Colby



Someone, not to long ago, requested a picture of my cat. My 22 pound cat (he's put on a few pounds since I wrote up my profile, but he's on a diet so I'll keep the 22 pounds as a prophetic utterance). I can't remember who asked for it. For that, I am sorry! I took some pictures of him last week and wanted to share them. So here's a totally writing-unrelated post devoted to Colby, my extremely rare, long tailed, miniature polar bear (ahem...ragdoll cat).

Here's to laying in the sun and napping,
Jen

PS: Unfortunately, the quote is too small to see in the picture. It reads: "Happiness is a butterfly which, when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you." ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

Another Award



Yes, another award. I'm flattered. Truly :)



This one is from Tamika over at The Write Worship. If you want to read some beautiful, honest posts, then do wander over. I promise you, you'll make a new friend and receive a big old dose of encouragement with every read!



Now, to list five fun-tastic things about m'self:



1) I have superpowers. Yes, you read that correctly. I was informed of this in India last year. I don't get jet lag. I do have culture shock when I return home, but going places is a breeze! (Would you call this reverse jet lag?)



2) I secretly wish my cat could walk on two legs, wear a dress coat and top hat and dance. Yes, I have read too much Lewis Carroll in my days...



3) If given the choice between cheese and chocolate, being told I could have only one and never the other, I'd choose cheese.



4) I love marshmallow Peeps! I could eat them year round! Except for the red ones...that's just morbid.



5) I dream daily of being a beach bum, writing novels by the sea, sipping pina coladas with TWO umbrellas, and making necklaces out of seashells. I would wear tank tops and flip flops year round and dance under the stars every night! It would be one big party and you're all invited :) I fully intend to make this dream a reality.


Happy Wednesday! I'm going to break rules here. Why? Um...because it shakes up the ozone and makes people take notice. I'm only passing this to one person. Kristen at Write in the Way. Because she's splendiferous, always wears purple flip-flops, doesn't mind if I call her Tolkien (she calls me Lewis) and she just got back from the Amazon and is having some reverse culture shock of her own. Go wish her some love :)

Cheers!

Jen

02 March 2010

Writing down the bolts


Nuts and Bolts. Little things. Small shards of metal in an otherwise grander machine. And yet, without them, the car would fall apart, the building would collapse, the wharf would crumble. Two years ago I discovered a most amazing book. Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, PhD promised me a fool-proof system for writing a novel in 30 days. Sure, said I, the skeptic. But I bought it. It seemed the most legitimate book claiming such impossibilities. I already had an outline, already had characters in place. I was working on a sequel for crying out loud but I needed some structure, some oomph to get it out of the cracks in my mind and onto the page. And you know what? It worked. I wrote an entire novel (ahem...300+ pages) in the span of one month.

I'm doing it again.

This time, there is no outline, no plot in progress. In fact, there's barely a skeleton to hang clothes on. But I'm giving it a go. Today is day four (I'm skipping weekends because, let's face it, we all need some time off) and so far, I have ten scenes outlined, a one sentence summary AND a general outline for what she calls Acts I, II (part 1), II (part II) and III. I'm still not quite sure what's going to happen. I have ideas; they flit in and out from between my ears as I rattle out the bolts. Slowly but surely, however, I'm tightening and hammering and I'm seeing something that vaguely resembles a plot.

A daring undertaking? Perhaps. But I've done it before so I know it can be done. If you're in the mood for some no holds barred writing, or if you just need some help getting started, this book may be the key to unlock the stories hidden in your mind. It's helped me. And after this book, I intend to use it for the next, the next, the next...you get the picture!

Cheers!
Jen

01 March 2010

Monday Musings

Dreams rarely come true by accident. You have to PURPOSE and DECIDE to go after what it is you're after. Make up your MIND and your FEET will follow.

BlogSplash : Fiona Robyn

Author Fiona Robyn has a brand new book Thaw. She sent out this wonderfully printed introduction to her novel. I was going to post it here. *ahem* My blog will not let me copy and past ANYTHING. Nada. Nothing. This is not the first time I've felt the extreme frustration of finding something myself or someone else has typed (a lengthy something) and not been able to simply copy and past. If anyone knows how I can remedy this situation, you will forever be my hero (I know, incentive, right?).
That being said, I committed to helping her promote her new book so promote it I will! Here's Fiona's blog link: Planting Words. Go there. Read her intro. It's moving, graceful, and thought provoking. You will want to know more. I know I do!

Cheers!
Jen

It's good to be back.


Good morning blog world! Can I say, I missed you? Honestly, I did. But (also honestly) the break was needed more than I knew. I considered taking another week off, but withdrawals would have kicked in about Tuesday.

Thank you ALL for your kind words and thoughts during my brief hiatus. And welcome to my new followers! I was pleased to see a couple of new faces when I signed on this morning. Always a pleasure to meet new friends.

It amazes me how little time we take off and yet how much rest we really need. I'm not able to take a week off work, but the simple act of removing one commitment from my schedule for a week did wonders. I was able to focus on some other things that have needed attention. I have a clearer direction for life and I even started a new book. Yes, a new book. And this one even came with a title!!! Trust me when I say THAT is a miracle in and of itself.

It's hard to take time for ourselves, but I encourage each of you to do that. Even if you can't leave work and home responsibilities, even if you can't leave blogging for a week, find some scrap of time that you can claim as yours. You don't have to do anything during this time. You can lay on the floor and stare at the ceiling. Or you can read, write a poem, pull weeds, turn on the radio and dance wildly about your living room. WHAT doesn't matter. The fact that you seized a snippet of time for yourself DOES.

I have stories to share but I'll spare you from having to read them all in one post. So, throughout this week I'll be posting a little off schedule. Shake things up a bit, you know? We all need to rock the boat now and then. Consider this my minuscule contribution to doing just that :)

I will go ahead and let you know that my next post (which will follow closely on the heels of this one) is a book promo for an author I met in one of my many ramblings through the blog sphere. Her name is Fiona Robyn and you can find her at Planting Words. Fiona asked a number of followers to participate in what she's calling a "blog splash" to help promote her new book. Since I'm a huge fan of authors (big grin), and I know how hard it is to see one through to the end, I gladly agreed to lend a hand. So, prepared to be splashed shortly :)

Marvelous Monday. So good to be back!
Cheers,
Jen