Sneak Peek

peeping tomYou’ve been asking about what my next novel is about. Here’s a little sneak peek;

How do your write about magic when the protagonist doesn’t know anything about it herself?

Well, you just write. You dream it up, because nothing has to make sense. Sense is over-rated and we often forget that.

Sometimes the best existence is just feeling; living in the moment as a big, fat, YES!

Sometimes witches don’t wear black velvet dresses or have long, black hair. No. Sometimes they wear jeans from the church rummage sale and men’s white undershirts.

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Snow Days & Simple Things

My blogs are generally my writing warm-up. Some writers paint, pray, meditate or cook. I write.

This morning as I pulled open the blinds to let  the blue light of morning into our little home, I was grateful to be inside where it was warm. My writing coach, Willy Nelson, blinked as he stretched awake from the warm folds of his new, fleece blanket, and Dinger, our in-house mad-man sat up from his lolling on the living room rug.

As I dug through the laundry pile to find my favourite slippers, I decided that today, I would share with you some very simple things that bring me great joy. Let me clarify; this will not be a deep, meaningful post. It will truly be about little things, such as Willie Nelson leaving the comfort of his snuggly blanket to keep me company at my desk.

My hope is that my writing warm-up, will warm up your spirit on this dreary, icy, cold and wet winter day. My wish for you is that  you are able to rest in the gratitude of simple things.

10 Simple Things I’m Thankful For Today

  1. My Snoozies skinny slippers (also the skinniest thing about me). Seriously, best, most cozy couture for your tootsies.

snoozie

2. Vanilla flavoured President’s Choice Coffee. De-freaking-licious, especially on a morning when the snow and ice make going to Starbucks seem about as sensible as taking a trip to Mars for a margarita.

frenh-vanilla-coffee

3. My internet connection. Seriously! I can stay in touch with friends, research and feel connected all from the solitude of home without having to if I choose not to. Email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram…

4. Well designed, super-sized coffee and tea mugs. Not the ones with wide brims, that any science amateur knows will cool down before you get to the last drop. By well designed, I mean they actually keep your coffee or tea  hot while you swill down a bucket sized portion.

giant-mug

5. A great story. Too often people gravitate toward the obvious and logical as we age. Stories stir our creativity and open our minds.  I will indulge in one today; The Witches of New York by Ami Mckay.

witches-of-new-york

6. Beautiful lotion to make my skin feel less like a cold-blooded reptile during the dry, winter months. I’ve fallen in love with Lush’s Charity Pot.

charity-pot

7. A view of nature. Laugh if you must, but it’s rare in the city. Even though I have a small space, the green space that is right outside my window is soul-soothing.

lake-aquitaine

8. Little knick-knacks that remind me of special people and places.

snail

9.  Silence. Yes. Silence is so necessary. I promised this wouldn’t be a deep, meaningful post, so I’ll leave it at that.

silence

10. Bookshelves filled with writing from great authors like M. Scott Peck, Maya Angelou, Pema Chodron, Caroline Myss, Charles Bukowski, Leonard Cohen, Atul Gawande, Margaret Atwood, Haruki Murakami, Rupi Kaur, Diana Gabaldon, Simon Sinek, Carl Jung, Thomas Moore…and being able to dream about having a library at home one day.

library-home

When You Least Expect It

digin

Why We Can’t Get No Satisfaction

"...Fair youth beneath the trees, thou canst not leave Thy song, nor ever can those tress be bare; Bold lover, never, never canst thou kiss, Though winning near the goal - yet , do not grieve; She cannot fade, though thou has not thy bliss, For ever wilt though love, and she be fair!" ~ John Keats~

“…Fair youth beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those tress be bare; Bold lover, never, never canst thou kiss, Though winning near the goal – yet , do not grieve; She cannot fade, though thou has not thy bliss, For ever wilt though love, and she be fair!”
~ John Keats~

Some people think that it’s the tension of being left wanting  that makes the artist, the writer, the musician.

Sometimes the beauty of the human spirit expressed through art shines the brightest in the darkest of situations, where want and need constantly lurk behind the corners of our comfort.

Contentment and satisfaction are often short-lived, a tension always pulling at our attention, our ability to focus, and our ability to be at ease with less.

So it is with art, the same as with our lovers.  “Are you tired?”. My head was tilted back, my vulnerable neck left exposed, and my eyes were closed. I felt nothing of hunger, or cold or wanting. “I’m content. Sated.”

I like that,” he said, reclining back on his elbow.

Sated. That’s an evocative word isn’t it?  It’s so much better than happy, ok, or even relaxed.  Sated, it whispers hints of sloth after completely satisfying the deep hunger of lustful  greed and gluttony.

Being satiated rarely leads to ground breaking creativity. It usually just leads to deep, restful sleep.

So why is it, that with our partners we always want more? What’s wrong with a partner who completes you intellectually, another spiritually, and another sexually? Why can’t we just let go of the faults, the tension, the wanting the impossible of knowing someone completely when we never really ever know ourselves? Why do we always want more?

The beauty of all of these relationships; the spiritual, the intellectual and the physical is that they stand incomplete against the measuring stick of perfection. I believe that the beauty in relationships is much like art; the sublime shines brightest against the darkness of lack.

A Writer’s Slow Torture

cohenIf you’re a writer, you’re likely reading this, thinking to yourself, “I’ll just finish this and then write.”

Writers are inevitably readers. To write well, one must read. A lot.

Unfortunately, one must also pay the bills. This often means, for those of us posting blogs, scratching out articles, and completing the novels our souls just can’t let us forget, that we must also work at something other than writing.

Fortunately, I happen to have a very full-time gig doing something that I’m good at, and that I feel called to do. Instead of being a cog in a corporate machine, I get to do meaningful work. But it’s not pounding out the stories, ideas or observations that constantly rap at my concentration and drive me to distraction.

Alas, it’s not writing, and writing is what I crave.  The more I do it, the more I want to do it. It’s a vicious cycle darlings.

Between the craving, the suppression of my creative observation of mundane life and fascinating people, and having to work for a living, well, let’s just say, it’s enough to drive a girl to wine, men and ballads sung by Aretha Franklin played at a startling high volume.  Le sigh….

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, then nine-tenths of it is thanks to writers and artists who, like myself, must also work at something else for a living.

So, if you’re a writer like me, I hope that you make a promise to yourself to set aside some time to perfect your craft.  The real challenge is to set aside time when you feel rested,  and full of energy, not just the 10pm onward time when all you really want to be doing is snuggling in, or sound asleep.

Without writing time I feel like I’m being smothered. I feel like a part of me is dying a slow, painful death. It’s time to re-establish my routine, and to commit to what brings me joy and vitality.

 

 

 

The Writer vs. The Writing

Halloween Costume 2009

Halloween Costume 2009 (Photo credit: PrincessFroglips)

The first time I realized that some people don’t understand the difference between the writer and what writers write came as a shock to me.

Last year, a  man (why don’t we call him Dick?) I had broken up with read some of my blogs  in a pathetic attempt to spy on me(otherwise he couldn’t be bothered with my writing habit) and was appalled at what he read. It didn’t fit into the loving, domestic relationship we had tried to build.

Dick didn’t understand that I could write about something and not live and breathe and be who or what I wrote. ” I don’t know you,” Dick whined at me, in his passive-aggressive, pathetic way.

I knew it was over.  After all of the time we’d spent together he hadn’t a clue what was dear to my heart. He was right, he didn’t know me at all.

Rest assured my dear ones, heartaches heel and our Dicks fade away. I have been happily writing ever since  my Dick disappeared. Just this week I had a wonderful opportunity to read part of my novel on a radio program dedicated to writers and artists of all sorts. One of the two short pieces I read was a bit racy, but best illustrated the crux of the novel.  “Very risqué,” one of my pals commented. “Very brave,” another piped in. Burlesque was the word that my host used.

The feedback I have gotten since then is quite interesting, some flattering, and some rather questionable.   Just for the record, I do not whore around in back alley-ways, nor do I cavort with my co-workers in a sexual way. I do write about that though.

So, to my radio fans – don’t mistake me for the girl in the alley with her petunia sticking out in the wind. You’re likely to get a slap for your appetizer and your very own teeth for an entree.  You see, despite being a fearless writer, I save my delicate flower for my own, very private life. Be it with  Tom, (not Dick) or Francis.  Those intimate moments of my personal life are shared only with the  wonderful man who shares my bed and my heart, not the pages of my novel.

For those readers who may  have mistaken the writer for fictional characters in a novel, or poem, or  blog, I will clear up the confusion.

Writers write to entertain, communicate information and ideas. In my humble opinion, the best writers write to provoke thought, question our ethics and politics.W riters inspire conversation. Great writers inspire change, courage and social revolution.

Lucy Maud Montgomery did not stroll around with long, braided red locks and daydream her time away. She was Lucy, not Anne of Green Gables for goodness sake!  As far as I know, J.K. Rowling did not fly around on broomsticks and sleep under the stairs. Nor did she wear dorky glasses and sport a cape.

Writers do often ‘write what they know’, as the saying goes, but they are not the characters in their works of fiction. Writers are their own, private, wonderful selves.

Don’t get me wrong, I stand by a lot of the advice I dole out here in my ANDSHELAUGHS boudoir. I also like to tease you with ideas and thoughts. I hope those provocative little stories I tell to inspire all of my delectable, luscious, readers encourage you to be fearless and love the life that you live. No guilt. No regrets

Advice; For all of you readers out there….don’t be a Dick.