Sunday, April 25, 2010

Calling all poems/stories/essays about death

I might be teaching a course this fall on writing about death and grieving. I'm in the process of gathering up ideas for readings--ie published stories, poems, or essays that deal with the subject. Here's where I turn to you, dear readers: to pick your brains. Any idea are most welcome! (One caveat: they have to be relatively short, ie, it's not helpful for me to get a list of novels that focus on death or dying.)

Thanks in advance! Best Blogger Tips

Loving, Coveting, Sharing

Susan over at the Fiber Farm Blog has a great recurring series that features items and articles she thinks her readers will like. She calls it Probably Something You Would Like.

Well, I, too, come across cool things and want to share them with my readers. So...I'm stealing her idea and calling it: Loving, Coveting, Sharing (LCS)

Here's my first LCS post! Let me know what you think of my finds--and add things you love, covet, and want to share in the comment field.
1.
I so could have used this shoot-through camera bag when we were in Costa Rica. It's basically a camera carrying case with one end uncovered, so you can actually use the camera while it's snug in its carrying case. One day we rented an ATV and drove all over crazy dusty, very pot-holed roads. I took pictures as we went, but I would have felt much more secure if I could have had the camera protected AND been able to shoot the awesome scenery.

Me and the ATV

2.
I am in love with this all natural face cream, The Soy of Life. My sister-in-law, who's an esthetician, has commented when she does my facials how much less dry my skin is since I started using it. It's pricey, but worth it. And it's a small business run by a husband and wife team. I met them at a local fair where they were selling their products and they were nice as could be.

3.

For a long time I've wanted to grow my little menagerie of animals (currently two dogs, a cat, and two bunnies). At the moment, I need, in a deeeep way, to simplify my life, not add to it. But a girl can dream, no? If I ever have the time and energy to take care of more creatures, I'd buy these two books on beekeeping and raising chickens

4.

This time of the year, I'm usually getting package after package from Michigan Bulbs, a great gardening catalog whose products never fail to impress. But, see my note above about simplifying. So I'm limiting myself to growing veggies and a few flowers from seeds, and otherwise just tending the stuff I already have.

(I promise I'll post some garden pics this weekend--the tulips I planted last year are gorgeous!) Best Blogger Tips

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Welcome Writing Space readers

I'm so honored that Kim Smith, over at Writing Space chose to highlight my blog this week. Welcome to all her readers! Pull up a chair, read some posts, and say hello in the comments, if you please. :) Best Blogger Tips

Some good (scary!) news!

An essay I wrote about struggling with my body image got accepted for an edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul, to be published later this year!

The essay was one of those pieces of writing that came out quickly. I thought about it in the airport and during my plane ride to see my writing buddies in Canada last summer, and then when I sat down to write it was like the words and paragraphs were already there. The two writers I was with read and critiqued it, and with some minor edits, I sent it out the door. Lo and Behold, it got picked up! If only all writing/publishing were that easy, huh?

But now that I know it's going to be Out There., I'm freaking out a little. I reread the essay and frankly, I don't remember being so candid! Of course, it's that honesty that makes an essay worth reading. But man, do I feel naked knowing that other people are going to know all the crazy things I've thought about my body over the years.

It's a good lesson--In journalism/marketing writing, you hear all the time, "Know your audience" and "Write for your audience." In creative writing, I think the opposite is true. Don't think of your audience at all. Write for yourself, write your truth.

Otherwise, if you're anything like me, you just might take out the most interesting bits because they don't put you in the best light (or, to stick with the body image theme, they make you look fat). But it's those private bits that make an essay (or poem or story...)good and make people able to relate to it.

Exposing those bits, of course, is a very scary thing. But, as Elanor Roosevelt advised, "Do one thing every day that scares you." Best Blogger Tips

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I'm back...take two

I got back from vacation and then immediately took a sick leave from this blog, and lots of other stuff.

I'm feeling about 40% better these days, and I'm trying to find a balance between:
--Not doing too much as to start another stress/headache cycle
--Doing enough of the things I find fulfilling to not get depressed

Not an easy balance, let me tell you. Add an insanely stressful time at work into the mix and you have...well, let's just say I'm not having the best time of it. But I'm not having the worst, either. So, anyway. I'm hoping to be able to commit to blogging more regularly again.

***

I've been away from my novel for a few weeks now, and I miss it. I had to write something for my writers' group, which meets Thursday night. I'm not at all happy with the chapter I handed in--I'm kind of embarrassed really. It was really hard to get back into it after such a long absence--my writing muscles had certainly weakened. But at least the deadline got me going.

And I'm committing to try to write a scene a day for the foreseeable future. Just one scene. Just something. Just enough, hopefully, to get the wheels greased again.

***
I'm doing a lot of meditating these days and let me just say that that is brightest spot to come out of all this pain/stress sh*t. Meditating is such a truly wonderful practice, and yet one I find hard to fit into my life on a very regular basis. These days, it's part of my slowing down activities.

I can't read much on my commute because of the headaches/potential for headaches, so I'm listening to my iPod. Sometimes I put on music and just breath. Sometimes I listen to a guided meditation or a podcast of a talk given at the Insight Meditation Society or Vipassana Metta Foundation--both of which I highly recommend. They offer such insights into life, in a completely accessible, not-religiously-based form.

On the weekends I'm taking some time to read about a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program based out of UMass Amherst. I hope to be able to take a class based on the program in the near future. Reading about it and trying to do it on your own are one thing, having a group to do it with is something else...

Good night for now. Hope to see you again soon! Best Blogger Tips
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