Steps to Success; How Sweet It Is!

How sweet it is, indeed!!

Sunday afternoon I went to something called The Irregular Writing Meetup of the Mid-Michigan Prose and Writing Group. It was called Irregular because it normally meets on Tuesday nights in Ann Arbor.

A factoid about me: I have a touch of social phobia. So lots of times, I desperately want to do things, but I find myself unable. So far, there had been three times I keyed in yes I would be to the Tuesday night meetup, and hadn’t showed, out of nightmarish fear.

What changed this time?

1. I asked for help. I told my friends on FaceBook and my therapist and my super sponsor, and other friends about the meetup. I TOLD them I was scared, and what I was scared of. They wrote back encouraging words, told me things they know to be true about me and other writers, and made it seem a lot less scary.

2. I prayed. If you pray, of course, pray. I used to think it was silly to do this, because God already knows everything about me, so He would already know I’m terrified. But – it keeps me humble, and it also brings me closer to God at the same time. It helps me feel that conscious contact with something greater than myself. And I know He’ll be right there with me.

3. I saw it going well. I pictured it in my mind. I saw myself walking in the Cafe Ambrosia door, NOT tripping and falling flat on my face, sitting with the other writers, having intelligent discussion, laughing, supporting each other in the loneliness that can sometimes grip us . . . Try that the next time you want to succeed.

4. I left early enough to feel calm when I got there. Or – I tried to. It was my intention. But I left the house at 1:10 without checking my laptop for the address to input Stella, the GPS. So then I thought, “Well, I’ll just check at the 7-11 when I stop and get an iced tea for the road.” DUH. Last time I looked, 7-11 does not have Wi-Fi. So I had to hop back to my house and check it in the drive way. By the time I REALLY left, and was on the highway, it was 1:25. Stella informed me it would be 1:58 by the time I got there. It was 1:57. 😛 So there, Stella. But really, try to leave early enough so you don’t feel rushed – so that you even have time to settle in, by a coffee, set yourself up, the usual.

5. I relaxed and had fun. I really did. I don’t know how that happened, but – I thought the writing group was scheduled from 2-4 pm, but then when the group’s founder told me they all actually stay until 5:00, I ended up staying too! Usually, I’m the first one out the door.

Those are my steps to success. They worked for me, and I hope they will work for you. I truly had a blast, and I would be going tonight, but they are setting up for the Ann Arbor Art Fair tonight, and I would have to be crazy to go. The several people that ARE going maybe should be checked out. 😉

Have a great day everyone. Peace out.

 

 

Insecure Writers Unite!

Often I wish I were already famous, like Hemingway, or Fitzgerald. I wonder how they would have dealt with family problems. Would they let it stop their writing cold, or would they just plow full steam ahead, as if nothing had happened?

Last month was a difficult month for me. I got zero done on my WIP. I did start a new story. It’s based on truth, fictionalized of course. I’m including the very beginning of it here for your perusal and, of course, critique and comments.

Barter for a glass of vodka is like a highly-skilled hostage negotiation. I have nothing tangible to offer, no currency. There is nothing more valuable than what she clutches in her hands.

She looks up at me from hooded lids, slumps against the back of the couch, sits on a carpet stained with wine spills and holes where cigarettes have missed their ashtray. 

“Here’s the thing,” I venture. “How about I hold your glass for you just until we can get you on the couch and off the floor, then give it back to you?”

She mumbles something unintelligible but I think I hear the word “okay” somewhere which I mistake for compliance.

As I reach for the glass, she bends forward with it awkwardly, like a puppet on a string, careful not spill a drop.

“Julia, I promise to give it back to you. I promise.”

She still holds on. I know EMS will be here soon. I sit down next to her on the floor. 

That’s it. That’s all I have so far. Tear it up. Be as critical as you can. I am subbing this to Glimmer Train hopefully. It won’t have a happy ending, but I don’t think they always expect that.

I hope you are all doing well. Peace out.

~~~~~

This has been a post for the Insecure Writers Support Group, which meets the first Wednesday of every month.

The Morning After A Good Sleep

I SO LOVE this picture. In case you can’t read it, it says: “So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.”

Had THE BEST sleep last night. I mean, if I could call The Guinness Book of Records and report it, I would, but I’m not sure how they rate the scale. In terms of number of hours slept, it wasn’t amazing: eight. Lucy woke me once and I took her round back, eyes at half mast, to do her thing before I slid under the covers once again. But I went to bed at 9:00 last night. THAT’s a personal record. Slept until 5:00.

Everything looks better in the morning. I’m on my 3rd day in the Summer Reading Program, and enjoying my 2nd book.

This photo reminds me of a trip to Ireland I took with Karissa, to see mutual friends of ours who lived in the countryside of Dublin. The roads out there are so narrow that when another car approaches one has to pull over in the next available spot on the side of road. And I don’t remember seeing any posted speed limits. LOL Maybe fast and faster? But it was so much fun, and very, VERY spiritual to be there. I’m an early riser, and Karissa as well. We’d both get up, she to read her Bible, and I to walk along the winding path, pray, meditate and smoke, commune with the sheep in their pastures. We had lovely hosts. I did try a Guinness while I was in Dublin for the day. Our hosts laughed at me, because I couldn’t tolerate the dark ale.

This other picture reminds me of a weekend Mom, my sister and I went to a place halfway between here and Traverse City. It was

during National Novel Writing Month. I was working on a novel and my sister was working on her memoir. Being late November, we decided to celebrate Thanksgiving there, and were treated to the worst blizzard they’d had in years. I was in my element. I’m a snow bunny. If I’d packed proper boots, I would’ve been traipsing about in the woods every day.

Good times. It’s a grand Wednesday after a proper sorting in therapy. I hope you are well.

Peace out.

Filling My Cup

Is this not a beautiful picture? I couldn’t resist it when I saw it. If I could get my heart started every morning on a cup full of sparkles instead of caffeine, I’d be all over it. 🙂 That is SO pretty to me.

It made me think about what I need to fill myself with every day. Like, how does what I read, watch on TV, and look at on the internet affect me? How does who I talk to on the phone or in person affect my mood? How does what I write about or not write about make me feel? If I don’t spend time in knitting do I feel that loss of my center?

What about meetings? Sometimes who I sit with at a meeting affects my ability to share more . . . not freely, necessarily, but – without stumbling over my words? I get very nervous, and if I don’t  know at least half the people at the table pretty well I get very skittish, like a cat.

But wait–let me back up a second here. My super sponsor and I were talking about books and what we read, and she said that if she reads horror, like Stephen King and stuff like that, it affects her too much in a negative way. Now, I can read Stephen King-like stuff all the livelong day and it does not put me in a negative mood. But let me read some self-help book that tells me I’m doing something wrong — and I’m in a pissy mood the rest of the day.

So the only self-help I need in my life at this point is Al-Anon related material. That’s what I can fill my cup with.

I used to be able to watch the different Law and Order spin-offs all the time. Now I can only watch the main one and Criminal Intent (okay, okay, because I have a thing for Vincent D’Onofrio, happy now? :P) He’s married. So I have to admire from afar. I still watch The Waltons on The Hallmark Channel, and I once watched a whole 24-hour marathon of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. If you remember that, I’m your friend for life. 😉 Too much violence isn’t a good thing to fill my cup up with. Humor is great. 

My mom thinks I’m too open on here, and on FB. Psh. It’s my blog. And —okay, I’ll be more careful on FB. I don’t exactly have to say where I’m going, or where I am. I still think she worries too much. I guess that’s what Moms do. It’s one of the many ways they offer their love up.

And I’m babbling. What positive ways do you have to fill your cup on a daily basis?

Peace out.

Just Do It ‘Til You BELIEVE It

The popular saying in AA and Al-Anon is “Fake it ’til you make it,” but for the purposes of today’s post, I’ve made up my own slogan. Yeah. I did that. 🙂 Well, they all have to start somewhere, right?

So one of these days I’ll be walking down the street and I’ll hear someone talking to a friend, chatting them up, saying, “No, you just do it ’til….” ooor maybe not. 😛

It’s nice to dream, though.

The point is for whatever you are dealing with, whether it’s another person’s behavior or your own behavior you are trying to change . . . I’ve always found that taking action, putting one foot in front of the other and actually taking small steps is what helps me BELIEVE. Because, look it’s either working (the action) or it’s not. And if it’s not, well that quickly I can take steps to change it.

Recently I’ve had someone try to take advantage of me. Try being the operative word. Because I’ve learned so much in Al-Anon, and because I talk regularly with my super sponsor, I know the things to say. I know how not to get walked on anymore. I didn’t “fake it,” I just did the behavior and the consequences were ten times better than they would have been had I taken the actions years earlier, putty in the hands of a master manipulator.

One can use this new “slogan” 😉 for anything. I think of it with my writing as well. As soon as I finish this blog post, I’m going to tackle an hour of writing, straight through. I’ve been thinking of myself as a writer, believing it as it forms in my mind, speaking it to my mother and people who normally don’t commend such statements from me.

What are you hesitant about? What do you need to do ’til you BELIEVE it? Do it today!! What’s stopping you?

Falling

NB: This blog used to be called K2together: Yarns and Words. If you came here looking for that, you are in the right place. 😉

Welcome to my first ever post for the Insecure Writers Support Group. Ahem. My name is Chris, and I’m an insecure writer. And, may I just say, I’m insecure about this post? I thought and thought and prayed and prayed about what I wanted to say this morning. Then I realized it was almost like Bonnie Friedman swatting flies in Writing Past DarkI was distracting myself from just writing the dang post by thinking about it so much and what your reactions to it might or might not be.

I keep a Where Is Taylor word count meter on my blog (you can see it you scroll down a little), even though it’s so totally embarrassing. Out of 63,000 words I’ve only written 2,154. And that’s after I dropped out of Camp NaNoWriMo for June.

Dropping out was actually a good decision for me, though. I thought I wrote well under pressure, you know? Like usually I do well with the November NaNo (unless I fall catastrophically behind), but this past November I wrote crap. I went back to read it recently, and I just cried. It was that bad.

So when I noticed that I’d fallen way behind on Camp NanoWriMo because of some family issues, I panicked. I knew I’d be pumping out that same kind of drivel again.

Instead, I just put my head down, went onto Write or Die for half an hour and wrote a little over 1k. This time, because I wasn’t under any pressure, not even of my own, it felt just like Bonnie describes it in her book, like I was falling into a dream state. I was descriptive, which is usually my prickly pear. I could feel Taylor developing in 3d while my fingertips touched the keys. It’s almost like . . . you know how you can feel the rest of the world just kind of “go away” when you get to that place in really good writing?

Yeah. I was there for a little over 1k. And I don’t think I can fall again. It rarely happens for me.

Usually I’m afraid to touch my writing because I want it to be something it can never be. I’d rather read and hide behind others’ words.

Peace out.

~~This has been a post for the Insecure Writers Support Groupwhich happens the first Wednesday of each month. 

Whole Vs. Hole

Right, I was going to post more pics of Tweetybird. Well, I got sidetracked by preparing to write my novel, Where is Faith?, for Camp NaNoWriMo, starting tomorrow. I promise I’ll post pics tomorrow. Pinky promise. 😉

Today I want to talk about a book I’m currently reading and about how a certain passage resonated within me. It’s a YA novel called Clean by Amy Reed, about a group of teens in a rehab together. They are asked to write essays about themselves, what got them in their situations and so forth.

One of the teens, Eva, writes so beautifully, she breaks my heart. Here is an excerpt: Do you remember? Do you remember being solid? Do you remember life before the hole? Before you were empty and needed to be filled? There was a time when everything was enough. There was a time you didn’t try to get out of your own skin. Remember. 

Wow.

I cried when I read that, because I do remember that time. It was when I was three years old riding my tricycle and when I was five years and my mom gave me a huge birthday party with all my friends over. I can see everything, smell the grass outside, see the trees in our neighborhood, all my friends smiling, I can remember playing red light green light, red rover (memories get mixed up, so I may have been older here).

Then there was the hole. Really it was a void. That’s why I picked that picture. It was a void so huge nothing could fill it. I tried to fill it with food, with fixing people, with trying so hard to be perfect, with trying to please other people, with anticipating every need. . . I even tried to fill it with screwing up in college when the other stuff didn’t work. I tried to fill it up with self harm and suicide attempts and dark, dark thoughts that would never go away.

Then two wonderful things happened. First, I became a born-again believer. That was a very good day. March 5, 1997. I don’t push my beliefs on anyone, but I’m not ashamed of them either. Then, I keep thinking it was longer, but it was only around September of last year, I found Al-Anon.

Now, I have that W- in front of the Hole again. I know and feel what it means to be whole. Not all the time, because sometimes I forget and slip back, but most of the time. And it feels . . . FANTASTIC. 

Peace out.