Writers, the fate of civilization is in your hands.

 

Over at Facebook, I moderate a session every Thursday with WE PAW Bloggers called “Thursday Talk Shop.”   This week we’re looking at a particular quote by a French philosopher, author, and journalist, Albert Camus:

“The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.”

These are the questions I posed to the group:

Do you agree with this?

What do you think he meant by this?

How does a writer do this? I mean, wow, this is heavy! Can you name ways how a writer can save civilization?

This goes to show the kind of power behind the “written” word. Can you name writers who in your mind changed the course of history?

Feel free to participate!

Writing and Energy (Poll)

Writing: 3 Reasons Why I’m in Camp For April

 

April is generally a busy month for writers with NaJoWriMo, NaPoWriMo and CampNaNoWriMo.  In the past, I participated mainly in NaPoWriMo; but this year I decided to do CampNaNoWriMo.

Why?

I have mainly three reasons:

  1.  Being a stay-at-home Mom, I have lots of difficulty with set writing schedules; however,   I found that setting an overall monthly goal works better for me, and CampNaNoWriMo fits that agenda perfectly.
  2.  I discovered writing serial fiction was much more enjoyable than writing novels (I can explain my reasons in another post if you’re interested-just let me know! 🙂 ).  A current serial I began back in December stalled due to busyness that goes with family-life.  I’m looking to Camp to help jump-start it.  I’ve set a word-count goal for the month at 10,000 which should give me the spark I need.
  3.  Community.  I crave connection with other writers, and Camp gives it to me.  Each participant is assigned to a cabin with other fellow Campers where we announce our goals; from there, our cabin mates encourage and support one another as we each  try to achieve those goals.

What about you?  Are you participating in any of these mentioned above?

Too Much Time On Hand=Lack of Focus

Photo Credit: wastedwriters.com

Photo Credit: wastedwriters.com

 

A few weeks ago I blogged about having too many creative ideas, but with no clear direction to take.

This past week, depression settled in as well two severe migraine attacks sapped the energy to do anything out of me.

It’s been a long winter thus far.  I’ve been pretty much house-bound since late November, and it is starting to wear me down.

For those of you who may not know, I “retired” from the workforce two years ago (I’m only 46) due to a progressive disability (Usher Syndrome).  Because of this disability, I’m unable to drive.    We moved to a rural area north of Grand Forks, North Dakota.  Rural in that I am at least 15 miles from the closest town, and closest neighbor over a mile away.  There is public transportation which I use on a weekly basis so that’s been good.  But with no friends or church (yet), I’ve been pretty isolated and alone most of the time (outside my family).

I hope to change this once Spring finally arrives.

Anyhoo, with all this “free” time on hand, believe it or not, I have NOT been very productive with ANYTHING.  In fact, I got more things (including writing) done back when I was working full-time.

Funny.  When I worked, I used to dream about being home and writing full-time.  Now that I’m in that situation, I’m finding it difficult to focus.

Anyone have this experience?

I’m wondering if I set up a schedule, would I stick to it?

Bottom line, I’ve noticed a trend since I left the workforce, and it’s disturbing as I really don’t want to admit it.

I lack self-discipline.

There, I said it.

Whew…

Now, just need to figure out the accountability part.

 

 

 

Sometimes Having Too Many Creative Ideas Hurt

Click on the image to access this group's official page

Click on the image to access this group’s official page

 

“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

For the past few years (longer perhaps), I’ve struggled with NOT the writer’s block (blank mind) but with having my brain so crammed with ideas and stories that need to be told, I have nearly stopped writing altogether.

How do I separate these ideas and stories out, and prioritized them?   I mean, they are all screaming as loud as they can…

Me!  Pick me!  No, pick me! 

*Slap!*

You idiot, I’m the one she need to pick and not you! 

And so on.

All day and all night.  Every. Single. Day.

No wonder some writers go completely bonkers.

I’m about there myself.

voices-in-my-head

What makes it all worse is feeling a growing sense of urgency that time is running out.

With so many various life experiences, I desire to use them to help others (through essays and poetry) as well as sharing certain messages that I feel people need to hear/read (through stories and films)…

I–I just don’t know even where to begin.

Which idea…which message should I start with?

What if that one is the last thing I ever do…will it be enough?

Oh, why do I torture myself so?

Writers have told me to just write about the first thing that comes to mind.

Get one word down.

And then another…and another…

But these voices in my head just won’t allow me to do that..one..thing..

Just one.

One!

That’s all I’m asking for!

exploding-head-too-many-ideas

Desperate, I began looking around online for answers.

It seems there is a name for what I have, and that I am not the only one.

Too Many Ideas Syndrome

(TMIS)

I’ve also found some suggestions that I will view as “treatment options.”   Namely from these two articles that I will highlight and visit often:

  1. Dealing With Too Many Ideas Syndrome?
  2. 9 Ways To Overcome Too Many Ideas Syndrome

Some of the treatment options mentioned were making a list of all your creative ideas (including a short summary of what they are about), then prioritize which one to work on (working on only one at a time); review the list either monthly or quarterly to see if any need to be added or deleted as well as if anything need to be re-prioritized.

I finally feel like I have a game-plan that I can live with; and hopefully, will help calm down the voices.

What about you?  Do you have TMIS?

If so, how do you deal with it?

 

What Will I Write (in 2017)?

Click on the image to access this group's official page

Click on the image to access this group’s official page


*This post is written for this month’s BlogHop for The Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

what-year-is-this

For many I’m sure that the New Year is to be celebrated.

For me?

It’s a time when I tend to freak out.

I’m getting ready to start the second half of my forties, and with each New Year that passes, the ticking clock grows louder.

Throughout my life, I have experienced variety of losses.  And because I am acutely aware just how short life really is, I can’t help but to feel that I’m somehow missing my calling.

A calling to what???

That question has haunted me for many years; and, I’m no closer to the answer now than I was a year ago.

There are clues though.

I’m certain it has something to do with writing, and with helping people.

But, that’s all I know.

I keep writing stuff, but I’m hopping from one form and genre to the next with no idea of which area should be my specialty or niche.

I’ve opened my blog to try and help struggling and/or new writers gain more exposure but feel I should be doing more.

But, what?

clock-animated-gif-18

Now, I’m looking at yet another New Year.

And I’m really freaking out.

What should be my writing goals?

What should I be focusing on that will bring me closer to whatever my calling is?

Is there any point in trying?

which-direction

NaNoWriMo: Why Do It?

nanowrimo_2016_webbanner_participant

 

Why do I take part in NaNoWriMo each year?

  1. Gets my butt in gear (er, in the chair) and fingers moving
  2. By announcing to the world (aka twitter-verse or Facebook-world or even on my blog) that I’m doing this thing actually makes me feel liable to my followers/subscribers to at least ATTEMPT to reach the end-goal
  3. If I don’t WIN,  heck I’d at least feel productive that I’ve done something with an idea
  4. It’s not about the quality, but physically PUTTING the words down  (many famous writers have said that the first draft will always be crappy, but you won’t have a draft if you don’t do anything about a story that relentlessly keeps you up at nights)
  5. Mainly I do it because I’m a crazy writer who likes to torture herself with an insane deadline (for instance, 50,000 words in 30 days or less)

 

What about you?  Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year?  If so, why do you do it?

 

 

 

 

 

Writer’s Block: Does It Really Exists? (Poll)

Here’s your opportunity to voice your opinion in regards to this frustrating subject.  Many believe it does exists while others do not.  Which side are you on?

2016 National Novel Writing Month (Poll)

 

If you are participating, what will your novel be about?

 

 

nanowrimo-quote

Usher Awareness: Own the Equinox

ushequx

 

 

In honor of Usher Syndrome Awareness Day on September 17th, I’m walking at least one mile a day for 25 days. I’ll then join my USH family around the world for the final 1.2 miles in this mile-a-thon.

If you can’t make a donation at this point, help me reach my goal by sharing this page on Facebook and Twitter!

Or, even better, send an e-mail to friends you think might be interested in contributing and include a link to my page!

Thanks so much for your generosity!

Help me own the Equinox. Together, we can make Usher syndrome history. #USHEQX
If you wish to follow my journey, please visit my page for updates.

The Dawning (Day One) Part One

12196255_10153141917005667_6710745592747987123_n

 

(*Note: In continuation to the Dusk (Arrival at the School for the Blind) post)

 

Day One

The first full day is done.  It was a good one, I think. Had three one-hour classes in the morning; and three one-hour classes in the afternoon.  My schedule will be the same for the rest of the week. One of the Vision Specialists made sure we were awake by 7:15am by knocking on each of our doors.  Breakfast was held in the kitchen/small dining area on the other side of the building from 8 till 8:30.  Since each one of the residents have varying degrees of visual loss and this was our first day,  Amy (one of the Visual Specialists) led us down a few different hallways to the kitchen/dining room area (also labeled as Daily Living Skills Center). Here we ate cereals and toasts.  It was a fairly quiet meal as we didn’t know each other.  I could sense that I wasn’t the only one feeling anxious about being here at the School.

My first class began at 8:30 with Ken (Daily Living Skills Specialist) so I stayed in the kitchen/dining area.  We just went over tidbits in regards to kitchen skills (which areas I like to work on throughout the week.  Guess I’ll be getting some cooking in too).  At 9:30 I met with Margo (Mobility Specialist).  She took me into an office and we discussed various aspects of mobility and the cane (I brought my own but have never used).  She took me out to a particular (long and wide) hallway and went over the basics of holding on the cane, and tips on how to use it.

parts of walking cane

 

For about 1/2 hour, I walked up and down this corridor, swinging the cane side to side (tip must always stay in contact to the surface), while Margo watched.  Every once in a while she’ll correct my form.

Today I didn’t have a 10:30 class (Specialist had a previous appointed event to attend) so I went to my room, and rested.

At 11:30 I headed back to the kitchen/dining area for lunch.  Again, we were quiet as we ate.

12:30 was a group meeting in a conference room.  From there I went to my 1pm class with the Technology Specialist, Tracey.  She showed me a little about various accessibility functions on a desktop computer (mainly Windows).  2pm I headed back to the kitchen/dining area for my second Daily Living Skills class with Amy.  I had the joy of preparing sliced potatoes and ham for supper.  Nah, it wasn’t that bad at all 🙂  At 3pm, I met with Candy at the Braille Center.  I learned what the alphabets A and B look like.  Oh man, this is like learning a totally new language!  The entire Braille language is based on these 6 dots.  See below:

braille letter z

 

“The braille alphabet is based upon a “cell” that is composed of 6 dots, arranged in two columns of 3 dots each. Each braille letter of the alphabet or other symbol, such as a comma, is formed by using one or more of the 6 dots that are contained in the braille cell. The chart below provides a good example of the design of the braille alphabet.”

braille dots

 

(Courtesy of Vision Aware)

 

Whew…am feeling exhausted after my first full day here; but, in a good way.  Margo told me that I am to be using the cane the entire time I’m here; meaning it has to stay “attached” to me no matter what.  I told her that I would.  Using the cane still makes me quite nervous (self-conscious is probably a better word); but, I think I’m getting a little more comfortable with it (better than earlier today anyway).

The others are a good group of people: Tara, Rosalinda (aka Linda), Marlene, David and Sarnoe.  Several of the Vision Specialists are vision impaired themselves.  I’m quite impressed.

There’s a level of comfort being here. I don’t have to constantly feel like I have to make an excuse for my “clumsiness;” or wonder what the others think of me as a “blind” person.  The other residents know. They understand and can completely relate.  I don’t feel so alone anymore.

Yet…I still feel quite a bit of hesitancy and uncertainty.  Not 100% sure why.

Tomorrow I’m supposed to bake banana bread.  Oh, boy…

 

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

Twilight

dead earth

 

(*Note: This is a short story for the Pandora’s Box of Horrors Challenge)

 

 

Gray clouds hung low in the colorless sky as he watched a group of teenagers clamber down the street littered with rusted and mangled vehicular bodies.   Houses on both sides of the disintegrating asphalt stood in various wretched shapes.   Woods warped.  Windows smashed or missing. Vinyl sidings bent like painful hang-nails.

Like Rome, another giant had fallen.

The group turned down a graveled pathway which led to a large, crumbling brick-laid building that stood three-stories tall.  A sign stretched across the middle of the structure with words etched in the marble slab: Esmond High.

As soon as they crossed the threshold, he turned his eyes toward the heavens.

How much longer now before the imminent end?

He carefully hobbled inside, turned right and entered into a large room.  Inside, several long tables spread across the dusty tiled floor, each partnered with two deformed metallic chairs.   Large windows lined the far wall, and like the others, many were either missing or broken.  They also provided the only source of lighting.

The younger version of adults sat at the three front tables, their eyes rested solely on him.

He shuffled across the room.  Long, wispy white hair hung from his head.  White-black beard partially covered his face, its bottom touched the ragged red and black plaid shirt.

“Good morning, class.”  His voice crackled as he slowly limped to the front where a small wooden desk stood.

“Good morning, Mr. Pike.” The teens replied in unison.

He gingerly set down a plastic bag on the desk which wobbled with the weight being pressed on it.  Mr. Pike turned his cataract-riddled, hazel eyes to the classroom before him.

“It seems our number is ever growing smaller.” He sniffed.

“Marge’s parents have married her off to the Mableton clan so she won’t be coming back.” The lone female in the room spoke in a quiet voice.

“Ethan, Sam, and Levi have been recruited to the front line.” The dark-haired male at the center table said.

“Sal was killed with his parents  by  thieves last night.” The smallish boy next to the brunette female muttered.

“Madness.” The old man whispered as he rapped his arthritic knuckles on the wood.  “This is what we’ve been reduced to.  Constant warring with one another.  Servitude and slavery.  Mockery and misery all around us.  All due to stupidity.  Stupidity.”

“Mr. Pike?”  The girl’s voice drifted to his ears.  “Are you all right?”

He shook his head hard and blinked several times as he struggled to regain his focus on the remaining kids.

“Yes, yes of course I’m alright!” He snapped as his hands gripped the plastic bag.  “It’s a bit disconcerting when I see our future being ripped from us, that’s all.”

“What’s in the bag, Mr. Pike?” A petite oriental boy from the table directly in front of him asked.

The elder released his grip on the bag and began to pat it. “Ah, yes.  The bag.  I discovered the content last evening when I was rummaging through a building that was once a library.”

“What’s a library?” The girl asked.

“My dear Oona,” he said, “a library was used to house what we called books.  Books were once the foundation of which we built a great civilization. Books were what brought us out of the last Dark Ages.  They enabled us to become highly advanced and educated and enlightened.   They were the glue that held us together.”

“What happened?” The small boy next to Oona asked.

“Man grew stupid, Darrin, “he answered. “We grew so enamored with technology and all our wonderful advances, and decided to get rid of books, which contained everything, our souls, to rely completely on digital machines.”

He glanced across the room and saw that all eyes and ears were attuned to him, and continued. “Then the storm happened and wiped out all the technology, and with it our heart and soul as a specie.” He raised a hand into the air. “Hence, you see the result all around us.”

“So…” Mr. Pike reached a hand inside the bag. “For the next few weeks, or for as long as we are able, we’ll be reading two of the greatest books ever written, in my humble opinion, by man.”  And pulled out two heavily worn, hard-covered books. “Moby Dick and War and Peace.”

“Could we take turns reading them?” Oona breathlessly asked.

“I don’t read too well,”  the oriental boy said.

“Don’t worry, Mai, I’ll help you,” she replied.

For the first time, Mr. Pike smiled.

 

Darkness Abound

dark valley

 

 

 

 

One of the most difficult challenges for me was accepting the fact that I have a progressive disease (Usher Syndrome).  The next challenge was admitting that I needed new skills/retraining.

Coming to terms to both of these took twenty-four years.

Better late than never, eh?

Even then, it was difficult.  It’s been like going through the grief process that spanned over two decades.

I was not only losing my vision while dealing with moderate hearing loss, I was also gradually losing my independence.  And that was the most painful part of all.

I felt diminished as a person. Inferior.

Worthless.

A liability to others rather than an asset.

I loathed feeling that way.

But, what could I do about it?

So…depression and anxiety invaded, and for a time, won.

 

Darkness

 

Darkness is my constant companion
Everything before me veiled
Stumbling I cannot find my path
The way is shrouded
Uncertainty fills my future
Which path to choose?
Dreams seem just beyond my reach
What is the point of even trying
When darkness is all that awaits me?

 

*Stay tuned for the next post on what I finally did about my situation