Monday, June 30, 2008

Writing Challenge end date

I didn't complete my writing challenge. No big surprise to me. I worked on it, I learned a lot, but ultimately ended up hating the story. So, it will never see the light of day, but will be filed away as valuable lessons that I can take to my next writing project. And yes, the good news is there is another writing project in the works. Slow and steady wins the race, persistence is the key, and for me, planning it in just enough detail to move it forward. I am pleased that I did the exercise I did, I am pleased that I am willing to move on to a new project undaunted. I am pleased I have a writing buddy to encourage me and push me. I may never be published, but I know the pleasure that writing brings me, how it grounds me and centers me; a sort of meditation. I know what I need to do to make writing sessions productive and that there is not a huge amount of time required each day to make it happen.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A writing buddy

I found a writing buddy. The published author I met a couple of days ago thought we'd be good motivation for each other to get pages hammered out and have someone else to read them at the same time. He's tried some of the writing groups here and feels like I do, that they are too critical and not conducive to production. I know for me that I don't need a critic right now. It has taken me a lot of time to recover from the criticisms I've received in the past and put my work out there for any one to see. Even these entries are challenging for me, but necessary to move beyond my thinking that my writing is useless. This is exciting to me. Someone to read my work, give me constructive feedback and help me grow minus tearing me apart.

While we were visiting this morning, Callie was practicing her swimming again. She's a good reminder for me. Progress not perfection. She didn't know how to swim, and now she's learning and will get better each day we practice. Kind of like my writing will get better each day I practice. I don't think I look cute doing my writing practice; but I have say, she looks adorable doing her swimming practice!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Callie has discovered her swimming personality

Callie and I went out to Connected Lakes this morning to enjoy the nice cool weather before it gets horribly hot as it has been for days now. Connected Lakes is part of the Colorado River Trail system that meanders through Grand Junction and will eventually connect the entire valley from Palisade to Fruita. Right now it is about 27 miles of trail and will eventually be about 100...I think. Anyway, we wandered around the trails for a while and I went over to the shore of one of lakes to let her get a drink of water and wade a bit. She started jumping around and splashing water, she liked that a lot, then went a little further and her feet left the bottom. No panic, no freaking, she just started swimming! I'm so thrilled, I've wanted a water dog for a long time. Ozzie couldn't do it because of his hips, but Callie took to it...sorry for the a duck to water. I'm convinced I have the smartest dog on the planet! Now the trick may be to keep her out of it when I need too. The rivers are running high and fast this year, but I think if I'm careful where I take her she will be just fine. I have to say I'm having such fun with her. Everything is new and fresh and exciting and she makes everything a new adventure.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Met a published author

I met a published author for coffee last night and talked about my story idea. It definitely is more literary than genre, which I knew, but was trying to fit the writing into genre method. As we discussed it further, it became clear that I can use some of the tools of genre writers, but have to work in more detail since it has a literary slant. It will not be done quickly as I had hoped, there is too much detail, too much balance that has to be worked out in the story line, but there is hope. It was really good to meet with someone who has been through the process of idea to shelf and learn more about what I have to do as a writer, but also to meet with someone who didn't critique my work, or shut me down. Encouragement is a must for us beginners and it keeps us going.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

New Beginnings and new relationships

It's been over a year since my last relationship ended. Honestly, longer than that. It was really over before it started. My emotions over the last year have been all over the map. Not only have I been dealing with that ending, but also have been attempting to define a new life. I am a recovering alcoholic, and my disease when active, makes me an indescribably horrible person. I had the disease arrested for a short time in 2006, and then made a really big change way too early in my recovery. I didn't protect my recovery and lost it very quickly, and eight months later lost everything, most importantly the love I had always said I wanted. I spent a long time after I finally got sober (for what I hope is the rest of my life) blaming him, blaming the move, blaming everything except my actions. Recently I found evidence of my egregious behavior in black and white. Most of what happened I don't remember, I was that far gone. Some has come back to me, but seeing it in my own writing has made everything crystal clear. He says there is truth that comes from losing ones inhibitions while drinking. I agree to a point, though I argued against if for months. In documenting my journey through sobriety, he says I was trying to convince myself of something. Yes, I was. I was really trying to convince myself and ingrain in my head and my heart that there is another way to live. That sobriety is possible and life on the other side of that hell can be better. I'm here to say that it can be infinitely better than I could even imagine. Giving sobriety a fighting chance is well worth the effort.

There is another piece. I was at the same time trying to convince myself that it was his fault. I can't remember him ever pouring alcohol down my throat. I can remember him doing everything to try and talk me into getting a handle on myself. I railed against it violently. I hated the move I made. I hated being away from my family and my beloved state of Colorado, I hated him for talking me into making a move to what I considered such an awful place. I hated not having friends or social contacts. The truth is that had I stayed sober, I could have made trips home, been in Colorado as much as I wanted, and made social contacts. I didn't do any of that. I drank. I sometimes live in the woulda, coulda, shoulda, but it does no good, and I do it less and less every day. I did what I did and lost the most important relationship with a man I have had to date.

I do believe that I will find another relationship and will enter it more wise, more honest, and with more humility than I ever have before. However, any other significant relationship with a man will be founded on something entirely different and new to me. It will have a foundation of sobriety, integrity and respect, or it cannot be a relationship. I have an entirely new outlook on life that is lucid and rational. I no longer have expectations of a prince on a white horse, or my knight in shining armor. I have learned to accept my humanity and the humanity of others and appreciate that we are all way less than perfect and celebrating our flaws together is a joy to be cherished. I do also know that my new found respect for myself is the key to opening the doors that allows other people into my life.

Virginia Woolf

I'm reading A Writer's Diary. It is one of a five volume series published by Leonard Woolf after his wife's death in 1941. Virginia Woolf began keeping a diary in 1915, and when she died, she left 26 volumes of diary behind. Her husband chose not to publish it as a whole because it is a diary, and therefore, very personal. I know my diary (or, as we call them now, journal) is my one sacred place to say anything that I would never want exposed to the world. But, Leonard Woolf published it as an analysis inside the writer's mind, to show her commitment to her craft and the art of writing. In reading it, she provides critiques of other writer's works of the time, analyzing them for her own possible use in her work, she discusses everyday problems, and simply uses it for writing practice. It is interesting to read. For years my journal has been the dumping ground of my petty problems in an attempt to free my muse for better work. It is interesting to see that writers have faced that issue over the ages. Slowly, as problems become fewer and I deal with them at hand and move on, my journal has become more a place of writing practice. It is a great place to focus my mind on a topic, any topic (I have prompt cards to assist me), and get out of the mundane of everyday life. This book is showing me that no matter what book project I am working on, neglecting writing practice is not an option if I want to clear the clutter of my brain to focus on my work.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Power of Laughter

The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter. - Mark Twain

I have a friend that sends me good quotes. I like that one. I've learned to really accept my humanity and therefore, sometimes stupidity, and learned to laugh about it all. I was the girl to beat the crap out of myself mentally for days, months, years for the slightest misstep. Life is much easier if I cut myself some slack. I've decided that looking at any situation and responding appropriately is a learned skill. I'm a little slower than most, but am learning as I go. One of the great tools that has helped me are pets. I love having them around. They teach me so much about fucking up and moving on. Especially my cat. She's not the most graceful of kitties that I've ever met, but she doesn't pound herself into the ground emotionally over it. Callie, my new puppy, has been an absolute God send in the area of laughter. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING is new to her. And she grabs the exploration of life with total zeal! Nothing stops her, nothing frightens her, and absolutely everything has some remote value as a play toy! Laughter is a great tool and effective weapon to anything that may get us down, especially if we are being too hard on ourselves.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pictures of my new Fruppie

I couldn't wait to get these posted. Her name is Callie, she's my new furry, fuzzy, fluffy friend. I'm so thrilled with her I can't stand it!

As you can see, she's pretty tiny, and is having a hard time adjusting to her surroundings :).

I've had her about two full days now and love her to death. I'm struggling with the house training, but am cutting us both some slack. I haven't had to house train in a gazillion years, and she's only ten weeks old. I'm sad for her first few weeks on this planet, but am finding myself glad that inbred redneck jerk kicked her out of the car. I now get the years of joy of having a really great friend. I know that Ozzie would be pleased that she was getting all the love and attention he got, and I'm sure he's happy to share his bed!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A New Love

A friend of mine came into the store, I think the same day I wrote about losing Ozzie. I was lamenting about how empty the house is now even though I have Abbie. He pointed a finger at me and said, "I may have something for you". He told me a story about a puppy his partner brought home the day after I put Ozzie down. It's a sad story. A car pulled into the Burger King parking lot where this guy is a manager and door opened and the puppy was thrown out of the car. Then the guy driving the car got out and kicked the puppy, got back in the car and drove off. The manager, of course, retrieved the puppy, gave her some water and took her home. They both love her, but have two dogs already. They also have a very compassionate landlord, but to a point. I said I'd love to look at her. He went home and came back five minutes later with this little, precious, beautiful lab puppy! What a love!

So, she comes home to me Tuesday. I have been working but have Tuesday and Wednesday off so I can be with her and take her to the vet, and let her get used to me. I so appreciate these guys who brought her to me. They've kept her, loved her, bathed her, fed her and kept her safe, but also know they can't keep her and have faith that I will do for her what they've done. I'm thrilled! Ozzie would be happy that I'm passing my love on. I've been trying to think of a name, but will probably spend a couple of days with her and see what she looks like. I didn't have much time with her because I was working, so we'll see.

I got on Google today and did some research on housebreaking. Ozzie was over a year old when I brought him home from the shelter, and the dog my ex-husband and I had he had to house train because I could never tell if Murphy was sitting or squatting :)! So I could be writing about how terrible that process is going, but am going to give it my best shot. She's had a very unfair and rough start to life. I'd like to make all of her years the best possible. She's earned it!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Goodbye to the Great and Powerful Oz

My writing has been stalled by a death in the family. I lost my beloved Ozziedog finally to his crippling arthritis. He kept falling every couple of steps and couldn't go more than a few feet without being exhausted from pain. I couldn't watch him suffer any longer. I think he was in more pain than he let on, dogs don't like to show how much they're hurting. I put him down a week ago and picked up his ashes on Tuesday. I'll be taking him to our favorite hiking spot south of Boulder so he can play forever with whoever shows up there. I miss him horribly. I have the Abbie Cat, but the house feels empty without a dog. I'm on the hunt for a new rescue fruppie. The Humane Society is full of lovely dogs looking for a good home. I'm off work a couple of days next week and will go and visit. Abbie will be less than thrilled, but will adjust, and I will have a warm heart next to me to ease the pain of losing the truly best friend I've ever had. I swear he was an angel sent from heaven. He made my life so wonderful and full. I love that great dog so much! And I know the great thing about love is that my heart is big enough for anyone who wants a piece of it. I miss you Oz!