The Swan & My Other Creative Outlet

 

This post will serve two purposes: Answer the monthly question for IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group), and satisfy today’s word prompt for the #Write28Days Challenge.

Let’s start with today’s word prompt for the daily blogging Challenge.

 

Swan (a writer’s lament)

 

My pen

lumbers like the swan

as this sheet of paper

offers no grace in its blankness

 

Oh, written words, how I long for your

beauty and fullness

-please whisk me away

to a land most divine and true!

 

 

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

 

This month’s question: Besides writing, what other creative outlets do you have?

 

When I’m not writing, I enjoy creating videos of my (as well as other writers mainly poets) written works-mostly poems and microfiction.  I got this idea after working with Motionpoems for three seasons (interviewing award-winning poets and filmmakers).

Click on image to learn more

I loved the idea of taking poetry and turning them into films. I got to thinking-why not do the same with mine? 

By utilizing Kizoa.com, I’ve created several videos (“films”) of my own.  Here’s one, for example, of a one-liner story I wrote:

Since I am a visual person who loves music, I enjoy combining images with music and then watch as my writings come to life!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 Reasons As To Why You Should Accept Your Flaws (As a Writer)

 

 

You know the saying, no one is perfect, right?  Yet, so many are trying to be perfect, and failing miserably at it. Including writers.

Especially writers!

I don’t think I’ve known very many writers who didn’t give a darn about the quality of their written work. In fact, many of us get so hung up in believing that our writing needs to be perfect before we can send it out into the world. The problem is, this way of thinking is probably the number one reason why nothing gets completed (and in many instances, even started).

Heck, perfectionism is one of the root causes of the so-called “writer’s block.”

What a writer to do?

Here are some reasons why we should accept those flaws as writers.

!. It lowers the stress level.  I think Stephen King was on to something when he said:

“As with all other aspects of the narrative art, you will improve with practice, but practice will never make you perfect.”

No matter if you’re an unpublished writer or a prolific, best-selling author, the writing craft is a life-long apprenticeship where there are no masters.  Instead of agonizing over your struggles in grasping certain grammatical rules, realize that we all have issues with them. Every. Single. One. Of. Us. You will never get the story “perfectly” written in the first draft. The sooner we accept that, the easier the words will flow.

 

2. Your flaws are what sets you apart from the others.

“Flaws are what makes people most interesting.” -Minh Tan

Some of the most interesting people in the world have been writers and the first one to come to mind is Ernest Hemingway. Aside from his flamboyant and active lifestyle, he was noted for his writing style. He lived in a time where literary (aka elaborate) writing dominated; but his style ran counter to this. He preferred to write lean descriptions while relying more on dialogue and action to tell the story. Many, at first, viewed this to be a flawed writing style; instead, he gained notoriety and eventually won many awards (including the Nobel). His writing style wasn’t the only reason for his success; it was also the kind of stories, their characters and content, that set him apart from the other writers of the time. Much of this was due to his wartime experiences as well as his battles with mental illness and alcoholism. All of these were responsible for fundamentally shaping  his style of writing.

He was an imperfect man who wrote unforgettable stories.  So, embrace your flaws and make them your strengths rather than view them as weaknesses.  It is our flaws that will set our writing apart from the others, and it is also our flaws which readers can connect and identify with.

3. Your flaws are part of what makes you, well, you!

I love Ann Lamott. She just has a way with words, and putting things into perspective.

Our flaws can make our creative life messy, but they contain some of the juiciest morsels for our stories. And stories are the reflection of who we are as writers. So, stop trying to be perfect and accept your flaws as mere extensions of who you are as a person, and as a writer.

One last quote from Ann Lamott to ponder on:

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life Besides, perfectionism will ruin your writing, blocking inventiveness and playfulness and life force (these are words we are allowed to use in California).”

 

 

 

The Winter’s Sun #Write28Days #Writerslife

 

*Note: Am participating in the #Write28Days (February) hosted by Anita Ojeda. Click here if you would like tp participate. 

 

Up here in northeastern North Dakota, I am greeted with this outside the front door:

The actual temp is hovering at about -4 with the wind chill of -20 plus. At this stage, all I’m dreaming about is the beach scene above. I long to feel the warmth of the sun on my face, its heat simmering over the exposed skin.  These are the days when I miss living in North Carolina where we were just a few short hours from the Outer Banks. My mother (who’s still living down there) had the nerve to tell me it was a mild 60 degrees there.

*Sigh*

Yet, on the other hand, up here, away from the harsh and dangerous and not to mention, hectic lifestyle that went with living in an area with high population (Raleigh/Durham/Cary/Chapel Hill), life is simple, and the people friendlier. Up here in North Dakota is the kind of place where my son can play outside without fearing for his safety, where schools have little issues with gangs and drugs…

Nah, I think I rather endure the frigid and snowy winters.

 

#Write28Days: Strive

 

 

For the entire month of February, I will be participating in a daily blogging challenge called #Write28Days (click on it for more information).

 

Strive

 

According to Dictionary.com, strive is a verb (action) meaning “to exert oneself vigorously; try hard: to make strenuous efforts toward any goal: or, to struggle vigorously.”

I believe each one of us have spent at least some part of our lives striving for something. It may be a singular thing, or it may vary over the course of our lives.

For me, it was trying to find the one thing I could be really good at.

Diagnosed with moderate to severe hearing loss at the age of 5, I battled with feeling inferior to other “normal” kids. When ,at the age of 8, I discovered I could run faster than most kids (even those who were several years older), I latched on to it, and strove to become better at it.  Running became an integral part of my life for over seventeen years. I competed in college as well as after, and have placed (in the top 3) in a number of meets/races.

Then came the next challenge.

While still in college, I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (a disease where I was slowly going blind). Devastated, I gave up on any dream aspirations I had. I did finish college, but the degree was just a piece of paper. Nothing more. A few years after my diagnosis, I married only to be widowed less than two years later.  Broken. Severely depressed, I withdrew from the world and into one filled with darkness and loneliness (of my own choosing).   Through two special people, I learned to embrace another gift I’d discovered as a young girl but never truly took seriously, writing.

In the beginning, my writing sucked. I mean that sincerely. But, over time, through hard work, it did improve.

Poetry. Short and long fiction. I strove to find that niche I was destined for.

I’m still striving, still learning, still writing.

Since then I have remarried, and gave birth to a son who is nearly sixteen now. I have faced many other challenges as well but the same thing remained for me.

I’m still striving to be good at that one thing, and this keeps me going no matter what life throws at me.

Starting a New Challenge #Write28Days

Pixabay Free Images

 

For the entire month of February, I will be participating in a daily blogging challenge called #Write28Day (click on it for more information).

 

Begin

 

Back to the starting point
Easing my muse into yet another story idea
Grateful that she’s willing to oblige-
Immersing both mind and soul in the
New world of our making, not knowing if we’ll ever return to the old

Thursday’s Tale: The Beast In the Woods

Pixabay Free Images

 

 

I once had a friend named Blue who swore there was a beast in the woods. She claimed it was a wolf as big as a house. It had red eyes too. Of course, none of us believed her until one day, she simply vanished.  Weeks later, a park ranger stumbled upon a boot, the same kind she usually wore.  But that wasn’t all that was found. Apparently, he nearly fell into a large hole . He quickly realized it wasn’t just a hole, but an enormous paw print the size of a small car.

I guess Blue didn’t fib after all.

Monday #FlashFiction: The Suitcase

 

 

*Note: This was taken from a prompt suggested on the DIY MFA website. To retrieve a prompt to ignite a story or poem in your mind click here

Here are what I had to work with:

Character: Night-shift nurse

Situation: Must face his or her worst fear

Prop: Suitcase

 

It was a quiet night as she walked the halls. Most of the patients slept as she carefully checked their monitors and IVs. In one room she paused to study the milky rays as they filtered through the thin curtains covering the wide archaic window. From the 16th floor of the aging building overlooking the city-that-never-sleeps, she could barely hear the sounds of the street life below.

She used to find comfort in these quiet moments but that was before the Suitcase Killer which she barely survived some ten years ago. Her body shuttered as the image of a hand reaching out of the suitcase she’d packed earlier in the day for her red-eye flight home. Other than that, she remembered nothing of the three-day ordeal with the sadistic monster (which her psychologist have labeled “Dissociative Amnesia ” ) but it left her infertile and with a mountain of medical bills.

Over the two-year span, there would be twelve victims before he was caught, tried in court and sentenced to death by lethal injection. The state invited her to witness his demise, but she didn’t attend. She couldn’t bring herself to look at his face again in fear of triggering the traumatic memories. Memories she just as soon forget, forever.

The execution took place two years earlier. With him gone from the earth, she’d thought she’d moved on with her life until she turned to check on the comatose patient.

Setting on top of a chair nearby was a suitcase.

Her breathing hitched and held.

It looked strangely familiar. No, it couldn’t be.

Can’t be.

She had it destroyed in an incinerator immediately after she was discharged from the hospital.

Her head began to spin as the darkness encased her.

Breathe. Don’t forget to breathe as she forced the air to move in and out of her burning lungs.

Her eyes fixated at its brown leather body until they zeroed on a flaw. The same flaw her suitcase possessed. A circular shaped white patch on the upper right corner. They said hers was damaged during the manufacturing process, and because of this, she got a steal of a deal on it.

What were the chances of finding another with the same damage?

Next to nothing?

She wanted to tear her eyes from the bag, but couldn’t. Her feet was rooted to the spot. Her skin felt frozen and yet she was sweating under the white uniform.

Pain radiated through her chest as she tried to slow her hysterical panting, but failing miserably.

The deafening roar in her head blurred  everything around her until the suitcase was all she saw.

Oh god, oh god.

Horrific images pricked somewhere from the deep recess of her mind as they threatened to explode into her conscious.

No, no!

“Nancy?”

The voice sounded so far away at first she’d thought she was imagining it. Then it repeated her name.

Blinking several times to clear the fog that seemed to have enveloped everything, a woman’s form came in view.

“Are you okay?” She was asking, in her hands a tray of carefully measured meds.

Nancy slowly shook her head and returned her attention to the object on the chair, and had to close her eyes for a moment before looking again.

The chair was empty. Void of luggage of any kind.

“Nancy, you’re scaring me,” the younger woman’s voice rose to a higher pitch.

Nancy forced herself to meet the woman’s wide-eyed expression with an unquivering smile, “No worries, Beatrice, he’s not here anymore,” and walked away.

 

#Writerslife: Honor Your Reality

 

*If you’re interested in joining the DIY MFA Book Club to take part in the writing prompts, click here

 

I’m in the “honor your reality” period at the moment with my husband’s on government furlough.   Since I am a stay-at-home mom with a disability, I usually spend my mornings writing/blogging/reading; however, with hubby home since December 22nd 2018, my writing schedule has been erratic at best.  It’s been very difficult to set up any kind of routine or get into the “zone” with him underfoot (it’s like having another child in the house as he craves my constant attention) or he needs to be on the computer several hours each day monitoring the news for federal employees/juggling financial issues/etc. which take precedent over writing at any given time.

Now that we’re approaching 40 days into the government shutdown, stress is starting to mount in the household which adds additional distraction for me as I’m watching our small savings quickly dwindles.

*Sigh*

While I have been unable to continue working on the few manuscripts I began late last year, I’ve been utilizing the notebook and quick bursts of microfiction (posting them to my blog) to keep me from becoming completely frustrated with hubby and the current circumstances we’re in.

So, I’m taking a deep breath as I recognize the reality for what it is and accept it while knowing that this won’t last forever and that I will be back to my regular writing schedule (soon I hope!).