Tag Archives: The Lost

Winding Down

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I am sad to say that my summer break is almost over. This summer went by faster than any summer in my memory. It was good in many respects, but I am sad to say goodbye to the luxury of time. Recently, I went swimming and had the whole pool to myself. I floated for a long time, and then finished one of my favorite summer books in the sun. 

This summer was busier than I really wanted it to be, and I’m going to have to be cognizant of scheduling less next year. I taught and volunteered. I spent time with people I love. I got a new tattoo. I took lots of naps. I finalized two short stories and submitted them to contests. I ate good food and did a lot of dancing and yoga. I organized my bedroom and bathroom. I was able to slow down. 

I am excited to see students and staff I care about, but am sad to let go of the ease in my days. So often during the school year, I run too hard and over schedule and it leads me to exhaustion. I am hoping to be able to hold on to some of these summer practices, as I move into the coming months. 

There are things that I wanted to accomplish that didn’t happen too.  I wanted to write more and finish a novel this summer. I wanted to complete more short stories and re-organize my whole house. I wanted to find more freelance writing opportunities and make more money. It is easy to berate myself for the things I did not accomplish. Yet I’ve learned it doesn’t serve me to focus on those things. At one point, as I was complaining about not getting more writing finished, a close friend said, “You chose to work and volunteer this summer, so you didn’t have enough time to finish that. You’ll still get it done, just not before you head back to work. ” 

That should have been obvious to me, but it took someone else pointing out that certain choices, made other intentions difficult. And there wasn’t any reason to judge those choices or intentions. When I am honest, I didn’t finish the novel, but I did fix a lot of plot holes and I am in a better position to finish it now. 

I also have continued to build a yoga practice over the summer. I am coming to the mat for exercise, yes, but I also come to the mat to breathe and become more centered. The yoga challenges me and supports me mentally and physically. I still have a long way to go, but I am finding solace in the strength and flexibility I am building. I have come to crave the time spent there, to turn off my brain and slow down. Perhaps yoga is another way of bringing my slowness and intention of summer into my daily life during the busy school year. 

I often feel that my new years observation and reflection revolve around the school year beginning. I think a lot of teachers feel the same. I have been thinking in the past week of all the things I want to do during the year, but in the last couple of days, I have been rethinking building any more “shoulds” into my life. Yes, I want to write more and I am the kind of person who always is loooking for ways to learn and grow, however, this year I want to continue to cultivate a blend of presence and stillness. That means I want to write as often as possible because it’s a part of me and I feel better when I’m doing it. It means that I might also take a nap instead of writing one day because that’s what I need more. I am also going to try my best to continue to let go of my judgment as to what constitutes a good, productive day. 

My personal life is also changing and in anticipation of these changes, I am choosing to build more freedom into my life. A schedule is helpful, but sometimes I get too many things on the calendar and don’t have the freedom to just be spontaneous. I hope I can change that this year. 

Here’s to a beautiful summer that went by too fast. Here’s to a new school year and a continued commitment to whatever feels best to me in the moment. 

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Into the Woods…Again

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mbm2011Into the Woodswtmk

This has been another quiet weekend, after a stressful week. I had a couple of opportunities to go out last night, but I was feeling reflective and still not breathing great, so I ended up staying in. I slept well and wrote. Baked and organized. I also found some scenes from my story that I have been interested in reworking. It was interesting to read them back after so long. The writing is fine, but with this distance, I am able to see that all of these pages add up to back story and not much real story I can use.

In the past, this would have frustrated me, but it didn’t feel like a waste today. These scenes gave me insight into the character and I can still use that insight as I move ahead. I am basically having to start from scratch with this story, but I think I finally understand what the story really is and how to write the moment in time. All the pages I’ve already written won’t go to waste. There are some scenes I can use, but much of it is a wash.

I have been nervous to attempt this story again, but I am itching to head into the woods again.

Summer Vacation – Sort Of

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I’m officially out of school, for about two weeks. I will be taking two classes this summer and that is sure to keep me hopping. I’m looking forward to a couple of weeks of reprieve though. I spent a wonderful weekend in the mountains with my family and the weather could not have been nicer. I slept well and just had some time to breath and think, which was very nice!

I survived the semester and came out on the other end with straight A’s. I’m not sure I’ve ever been more proud of good grades. This was a tough semester with so much on my plate, but I did it and that’s all that matters!

On the writing front, I’ve been working on The Lost again and I feel super re-invigorated with the story. My goal is to finish the first draft this summer and I think that is definitely doable. I’ve also been outlining a new historical fiction middle grade novel. I’m getting excited about that, but I have to be careful not to give too much energy to the new shiny novel idea and abandon my current project. Repeat after me, “I am not a cheater. I’m not a cheater!” I am committed to The Lost and that’s that 🙂

I started working on a website for Monkey Beth Media as I prepare for marketing/promoting/continued selling of TCC for the 2010 year. I have some interested independent book stores and there has been interest in an audio book and e-book as well. I had to learn a lot of the ropes as I went along last year and I feel much more prepared this time around. Lots to plan and plot!

I read an incredible book by Rebecca Stead called When You Reach Me over the weekend. I haven’t read a book this well written in a long time. It was like a weekend master class in storytelling. It has wonderful, rich characters and great pacing – I loved every page. The book talks a lot about one of my other favorite books, A Wrinkle In Time. I loved that book so much when I was younger and read it more times than I can count. It’s really awesome to think that Madeleine  L’Engle has touched so many readers and writers with her brilliant storytelling.

I love to think about the ripple effect of creative endeavours. If A Wrinkle In Time hadn’t been written I would have never been able to enjoy reading When You Reach Me. That’s reason enough to put your artistic works out into the world – you never know who needs to read it, hear it, see it…What amazing works of art will the world be missing out on if you don’t?

So, the summer will be pretty busy with school and some not so fun back surgery that my mom will have to go through, but I’m looking forward to playing outside, maybe rolling down some hills, BBQ’s with friends and lots of creative fun!

Babies and Comfy Shoes

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Today has been a weird day. I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster. I was thinking about my emotional theatrics today right before I started blogging and I realized why I’m extra emotional, but it sucks nonetheless.

I yelled at my brother for no reason. Well there was a reason, but that wasn’t what I originally yelled at him about. I didn’t apologize either. But we don’t always have to apologize when we have emotional breakdowns and the other sibling always seems to understand. I will apologize eventually, but it might get me crying again and it’s best to keep to myself at the moment.

On a happier note, I played with a wonderful one-year-old little girl this morning who smiles and my insides melt a bit. There is just something about babies. The way they hold onto your knees as they steady themselves. I’ve always loved little kids, but that love seems to get deeper as I age. I’m sure this sounds like a clock ticking and maybe it is. I just have some other things to focus on first.

I wrote a couple prologues for TCC this weekend and I am really pleased with one of them. I will run it by my trusted readers this coming week.

I also spent my wad on new comfy shoes for teaching. I wanted to get some Dansco’s, but I can’t afford any right now. These will do in the meantime.

And…I will be working on editing TCC the rest of the day. I also promise that I will sit down and write at least 500 words of The Lost. There it’s out in the universe and now I have to do it!

Books Stuff

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Yesterday, I had the day off.  It didn’t really feel like a day off because I was running just about every minute. That said, I got a ton done for the book, which feels really good.

I now have a business bank account, merchant paypal account and I signed off on the brilliant cover that Sharon designed for me. I also paid a bunch of bills and bought the materials for the binding press. I’m having a hard time finding Plexiglass that is thick enough. I thought some local art stores might have some, but no luck.

Late last night, I saw Julie and Julia with my mom and dad. Is there anything that Meryl Streep cannot do? I mean seriously. And Stanley Tucci was divine. I laughed and cried with them. What a wonderful love they shared. It would be interesting to read the letters that Julie mentions in the film – I will have to find them and do that.

I have really been slacking on The Lost. I’m not stuck, but I’m in that spot just over half way through the first draft where I am being courted by another manuscript. The middle is a hard spot. And The Christmas Child is so close to release and I have so much to do…it’s just been too easy to ignore The Lost.

I have to commit to it again, even if I’m only writing 500 words a day. I just have to buckle down and do it. I can’t use my wonderfully chaotic life as an excuse. Note to self – writers must sit down to write…remember?

It’s strange and bittersweet to think about leaving the book store. I know I’ll be in and out, working part-time, but it won’t be the same as being here and having my hands in it everyday. I feel that it’s the right time to move on, but it’s always hard to leave.

I’m finally reading The Celestine Prophecy. I really like it so far. I believe that books pick us when it is the exact right time for us to read them. I’m excited to learn why this book picked me…more on that later!

Cool Breeze

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Wednesday marked a better turn of events, which was so nice. It’s like a cool breeze to have things falling into place. I haven’t felt such an ease in stress for months.
Change used to make me crazy, but this time around I needed it and I am looking forward to this new burst of positive energy in so many areas of my life.

The writing is going well. I’m over half way done with a last minute edit of TCC, before I send it off to a copy-editor. Sometimes it’s odd to re-read scenes that I don’t remember writing and laughing out loud or feeling my throat catch. I’m excited to finally present it to the world in a couple of months.

The Lost is also going well. The time line of this novel is so much shorter than TCC. I like how tight this first draft is. It rambles on in some spots and I’m sure it reeks of first draft, but I know I will have less road to travel with this manuscript.
That feels like growth!