Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Christmas Wish

I've been staying away from the computer lately. I tend to spend so much time on the Internet I never get anything done. So I had to put myself in Internet time-out for a while. I have found that there is life without the computer and it is so much easier to get things done now.

I am currently going through all of my scrapbooking, art journaling, writing supplies, etc. and organizing everything. My studio is starting to form and it will be beautiful when it's done (but the process for anything is that it gets messier before it gets better). So I'm in that super-messy stage. But I'm finding so many cool things that I bought (and I'm realizing where all my money went over the years (lol)).

For NaNoWriMo winners, the prize includes a free print copy of our NaNo story. So I'm working on that to get it ready by the due date so that I can get this crazy story (unedited and beautiful anyway) in print (good motivation to get some revising done.)

Yesterday I did some last minute shopping (the traffic was disgusting) including an (expensive) visit to Woven Treasures in Lake Charles. I ate lunch at one of my favorite Greek restaurants with my oldest friends, Crissy and Greg.

I find that there are times when I simply do not understand much of anything in life. Whatever is my purpose? I wonder. Or is it simply to take up space. Who knows? Probably none of us ever do. I guess others just have better things to do with their time then sit and analyze everything to death. But I find that sometimes I am tired of hopin' wishin' and dreamin' day in and day out.

Despite my doldrums, something remarkable happened. (This is not news to me for sure) I have the best friends and family in the world. They are so supportive and loving. I mean what more can a girl ask for?

My sis made me a fantastic Christmas present (and she just couldn't wait until Christmas to give it to me!! lol) She took my blog posts from day 1 until the end of November and copied my short story Heading Home and had a book published for me. So that I would remember how much they love me, support me, and are proud of me and my writing, and so that I did, in a sense, become published in 2008. I cry just thinking about it. My family rocks! (and are so much better than I deserve.) Because bad aunt that I am, I missed my nephew's last soccer game of the season because I was out chasing rainbows. Talk about make a person feel like a mess.

Had a girls day out today. Stacey, Lauren, Katie and I went to the movies - we saw TWILIGHT!!! Woohoo. It was great. So much better than I thought it would be. There are some parts that I would change to mirror that which was in the book, but you know Hollywood. It definitely makes me want to finish reading the series. I mean, I only have 1 book to go. So finish it already.

My niece and I are adamant that we will shift my sister's reading tastes to the paranormal. She left my house today with Christine Feehan's Shadow Game to let her dip her toe in. It's more scientific and not vampire/werewolf oriented so it may be just what we need to get her into viewing our kind of weird. lol. We shall see. (we'll have her hooked on vampires in no time!!)

The passage of time is usually never a beautiful thing in my life, but I find myself watching the calendar and anxiously awaiting the arrival of 2009. Hopefully the new year brings the end of constant disappointments and sadness. I pray that we are able to get through the tough times ahead. To my wonderful family and friends, I love you guys more than anything!

My wish: Keep my friends and family safe and happy this holiday season. Help us get through the troubles up ahead and let us always remember what really matters.

Have a safe and happy holiday to all!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Another Dreary Day in the Life

This is the part of myself that I really dislike. I get lazy. The semester is over; I received a B in that dreaded English class, so I'm bummed. I have no deadlines. I have some down time. And without lists and deadlines, my productivity grinds to a halt.

The end of the year is coming to an end, and as usual as much as I love the holidays, I hate the holidays. Nothing else ever seems to so glaringly point out the things that I miss in my life. So I beg 2009 to hurry up and get here.

I started the reading frenzy but the anthology I choose had a short story from one of my favorite authors and it was surprisingly disappointing. Don't get me wrong the characters and the story line are fabulous, but some of the word limit restrictions of a short story can sometimes cause the story to be rushed. Needless to say, I haven't picked up another book yet. So much for the frenzy. I seem to be constantly disappointed lately. It was so much easier when I had no expectations. Now I seem to set the bar to high in all aspects of my life and nothing ever quite lives up to it.

Phase 1 of Operation Studio/Organized Creative Space is under way. I moved the treadmill out of the living room, making room for my new desk; I moved 2 pieces of bulky furniture out of the workroom and now I'm getting everything out of it (and stashing it in the other rooms in the house - its scary for sure!) I want to see nothing but walls and a floor before I start organizing and deciding if I really need to bring some of my (junk) back into the room.

Stacey, Lauren, and I had a scrapbooking night last week. Stacey, who is new to scrapbooking like myself but she's actually good at it) had a new tool. And it seems I always want what my big sis has so I ordered a crop a dile (for scrapbooking and alter journaling) off of ebay and it came in yesterday. I can't wait to start using it. (That's really sad when I get excited about scrapbooking tools - I need a life!). I currently have 3 working art journals: my travel journal (which I recently had to relocate to a new book because of book malfunctions), my 2007 life journal, and my new writing journal (old poetry instruction book - just bought it). I need to hurry up and finish 2007 since 2008 is almost over and I need to catch up. I still haven't found the perfect book for my 2008 life journal - but I'm scouring second hand bookstores until I find the perfect one. I'm currently prepping the pages in the 3 that I have so that whenever I have another scrapbooking night, I can actually come prepared to work!

My novel is percolating. I stopped it after a key moment, and I can't wait to see what my character does next. But her and I need some serious time apart. So I'll give us the space we need. But my new goal is to have the first draft DONE by March, 2009 (I'm expecting Lynn, Regan, and Skeeter to hold me to that!!) So we won't be apart for long.

We had our monthly Writers Guild of Acadiana meeting last night at my fav bookstore B&N. I actually have an introduction now. It's cool being able to say your name and a few accomplishments. And my good friend and loudest cheerleader, Lynn, gave me a great shout out for my BWG newsletters, and the word on the street is that I'll be giving an altered journal workshop for WGA in 2009 (excuse me while I go throw up at the thought of me in a room when people staring back at me expecting me to say something - uh yeah right).

President Deborah Leblanc gave quite a motivational speech. (I almost left to go write something) But I'm glad I didn't because the speaker was FANTASTIC. One of the best meetings I have attended this year. Guest speaker, DAVE PIERCE, came complete with a wonderful reading voice and great 60's music by a local musician - I missed his name - while Dave told tales from his life as a DJ during the 60's with the conversion of Rock onto FM stations.

Another boring day off of work with nothing to do, sigh. Maybe I need another hobby or something. I'm guess I'll go see Twilight after my dr's appointment this afternoon.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Challenge me!

I'm looking for some ideas. I'm trying to start a few small journaling/altered art projects that are outside of my comfort zone. I have tons of topics that I can come up with on my own, but I figured it would be more of a challenge if I use someone else's topic(s). And I'll let my blog readers give me the assignment. If you never post comments - now's a good time to start. You can post anonymous and just let me know your name in the body of the email or some clue who you are!!)

So help me come up with topics (general themed like the writer's journal for the party was unisex and general in relation to writing). Though I'm Curious George, I'll try not to read any of the comments until the challenge ends. After 10 days from today (end of day)I'll close the challenge.

Any comments after that day will not be included in the drawing or challenge topics. Once the product is complete. I'll put the names of all the posts (multiple posts equal multiple names) in a bag and the lucky winner will get the finished product (keep in mind it will take some time to percolate the original idea into the altered art.)

And I won't know who gets it until after product is finished so my impression of the person will not affect the outcome of the product. And if the topics are great (say I get a challenging word included in the options) I may combine one or more of the topics to make it more challenging!!

Are you game? Give me some ideas! Astound me (I love a challenge). The new dictionary that I received from Judy's gift at the Christmas party is beside my computer. I'm ready to be boggled!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I've got a Dirty Santa in my Life

Life is pretty good right now!

Work is actually going well. Nothing like major headlines that your company is "looking to get rid of 12,000 jobs" and HELLO productivity suddenly goes through the roof. Started a new healthy lifestyle this week. Things seem to be going great so far.

I'm working in my art journals. Bought 5 new potential books to alter. Looking forward to the process. I'm still avoiding my writing like the plague, while I bite my nails in fear, waiting for my English grade to post.

I traveled to Lake Charles today for the Bayou Writers' Group monthly meeting and Christmas Party. Talk about fun times. Those cookies and my fav cheeseball (thanks Bev) (I'm in MY version of heaven). We played Dirty Santa and while my present was one of the last few to get chosen, it seemed very popular, right up there with the bottles of wine - great competition.




This was the project I worked on with the Sassy Scrappers on 11/22/08. The secret is out now. Great book - I think I need one for myself. I hope the new owner enjoys it as much as I enjoyed making it.

Just a recap of the meeting fun. We counted the library table decoration as a christmas present, somebody (dummy me) picked the table decoration as a gift (it was cute!!!), Jessy's gifts were stolen continuously - poor jess. Our gallant gentleman new member rescued my sunglasses for me, sigh! We knocked a table over - sounded like glass breaking - scared me to pieces. (opps! It wasn't me!) And two bottles of wine were present. Did I mention Bev's cheeseball. Yeah BWG knows how to throw a party lol!

Today, a friend discussed with me the opportunity to add something wonderful to my life and writing career. The problem: If I add one more thing to my pile, I may lose them all. What do you do when you cannot fit one more thing into your life without getting rid of something else? How do you decide what, if anything, to get rid of? How much will you regret it if you do not jump at this chance? (Sigh! making decisions sucks!)

Drink: Coke Zero

Currently: Working (Yuck)

Eating: Nothing (I'm becoming one of those people who eats carrots. Quoting from 1 of my fav movies "A Mirror Has Two Faces" - "Isn't that tragic?")

Music: You don't want to know!

Mood: contemplative

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Finally! Some Down-Time.

My schedule is now quite "Open." If I close my eyes, I swear I can hear singing. Trumpets. (Wait, I think I hear rap, too!) Okay so maybe its not as tranquil as I thought, there's a bit of kick to it!

The Fall 2008 Semester is officially over for me. I passed my History Class and opted out of the final - and went into the final for my English class with a low A. Hopefully (keep your fingers crossed), I was able to BS my way through the three final essays. I have to get my GPA up.

Now I have about 7 weeks to get everything on track before the next semester starts. Here's the lineup of my WIPs:

I'm putting my novel on hold for a sec. NaNo has worn me out, and Nalia and I need some time apart. I'm all written out. The story is not over. It seems there was a kidnapping, the victim has been found but they are trying to track down the 5 baddies. We found one and he's being interrogated by big bad shapeshifting hotties. And we got a name for another one. So we're stalking him. But a new baddie from a whole other direction just showed up and messed with my mind. So I'm looking forward to this time apart while I give Nalia time to figure our how she's gonna get out of this mess. (I don't know why I keep writing stories so complicated that I confuse and aggravate myself until I bury the WIP's under the bed and pray the dust bunnies get them.)

I want to get dirty - with paint and glue and glitter. I'm going to learn how to scrapbook and work on my altered journals for a bit.

I've learned a lot in the past year about altered journals. And it looks like I'll have to start a new book and try to salvage the ones that I've already started because they are not sturdy enough to stand up to the altering. They are already showing signs of not holding up. Instead of letting it progress to my current nightmare (my first journal is in 4 pieces), I'm going book shopping for a new journal that makes the grade, and I'm going to transplant the pages. Some kind of way.

I'm looking forward to this time of creating and hanging with my sister, Stacey, and my niece, Lauren, and old pals, Tanya and Jill. A bunch of creative ladies to spread and share the creative inspiration. Good times.

But my next plan of action: READING. I haven't read in 2 and a half months (I got some reading done during hurricane season!) So I have some catching up to do. Stacks and stacks of goodies - Sherrilyn Kenyon's newest Darkhunter novel and Laurell K. Hamilton's newest Merry Gentry novel - those are first on my list and the only two new ones I am allowing myself to buy (I have stacks and stacks already of the "to read" variety). So I'm planning about 2 weeks of marathon reading. That should give me my needed reading fix.

During this time, Operation Studio is in effect. I am currently "Fall" cleaning (must have missed the spring version) and I have to get everything out of my second bedroom because I'M GETTING A STUDIO/WORKROOM/WRITING ROOM/DREAM ROOM lol. So there are boxes to pack and move and furniture to haul out and new shelves to put up and walls to tear down. This is going to be so much fun. Well, now that I'm thinking about it, maybe not! Deadline: First day of class. So the clock is ticking. I cannot write or create in a room that is so cluttered it makes me ill and where I cannot find anything so I go out and buy more junk (And downsizing isn't an option - I'm a collector, a thing-finder; so I need stuff).

I have a stack of critiques to go through - nightmare - of stories that my wonderful critique group slaved away at for me that I've neglected until I "have more time." (Does anyone even know what that means - that's fiction, right?). Gotta get those onto my computer and out of my studio.

Yep, I love the break in between semesters. I usually wear myself out and need a vacation from my vacation. But it feels so good to have my life back. I need some down time.

Drink: Water (yuck)
Music: Sade - The Sweetest Gift
Mood: Hopeful
Saying of the day: "It can only get better, right?"

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Some Days Are Harder Than Others

I went to bed last night just 1700 words short of my 50,000 go for NaNoWriMo. I woke up fresh and early and got it done! I have completed the 50K words in 30 days that I set out to do and I feel great!

Sadly the story is not done. My character has a new bad guy after her, and she still has a kidnapping to solve. So her and I still have some time to spend together while I get to the real end of her story, but it was a great month. We really learned a lot. I'm taking a break for bit. I really need to catch up on my reading!! And I have a pile of critiques to clear out of my studio. And a studio to create!!

My English final is due tomorrow - 3 essays. I have finally finished them. YES!!! I can't wait for this darn class to be oooooooovvvvvvvvvveeeeeeerrrr!!!

The funeral was exactly what I expected. But I loved seeing my aunt and uncle.

I needed some cheering up, so my long-time BFF Crissy, cute preK teacher extraordinaire, and I went out for dinner and a movie. We watched 4 Christmases (HILARIOUS! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT) and had a bit of my favorite Italian cuisine at Olive Garden. (I would have loved an Italian Margarita but guess I couldn't finish my paper drunk, and I don't want to be hung over tomorrow - those drinks have kick).

An uneventful weekend for sure. I went shopping at some local flea markets - bought a bunch of stuff for my new studio. And I have some great new vintage pieces for my altered art and art journals. (I can't wait to get into some paint soon!) My niece and sister are going Sassy Scrappers with me. Woohoo! I've created monsters. My brother-in-law is mad at me (my sis keeps buying scrapbooking supplies - hehehehe). I look forward to working in some art. Words are kinda getting on my nerves this week.

My first short story is published and available for viewing online at www.theshinejournal.com/blanchardm.htm . Go check it out!

Mood: tired
Music: Katy Perry - Hot n Cold
Motivation Level: 1.5 (out of 10)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Taking a Step Back

As the end of the month approaches with the NaNoWriMo Challenge due, 3 English papers due, and a newsletter due, I found myself a bit overwhelmed today. So I decided to take a step back from my life.

I threw my obligations into the (recently cleaned) backseat and opted to have a grand day filled with spur of the moment activities, like shopping at local flea markets, buying stuff for my new studio/workroom/writing room, visiting the local scrapbooking store which I never seem to find time to do, and watching a movie I purchased 3 months ago and never got around to opening much less watching, called Dedication, with Billy Crudup and Mandy Moore. (I'm a Mandy Moore movie-fanatic). He's a writer, she's an illustrator - really good!

Seeing Billy put me in the mood for another movie of his, so I pulled out one of my favorites, Stage Beauty. I started the day in a rut, depressed about a funeral I'll be attending this weekend, not wanting to write anymore, for my novel or my English class, and just in a general funk. (Wait! Me without words, (shudder); now what kind of world is that - a scary place for sure. But don't get too excited I can still manage to talk your ear off!)

Regardless, I made the best of it. And while the words were lost, I did the next best thing. Chin up with a smile, I escaped. And finding that escape I returned to my precious movies and found the passion and emotion that is missing in a lot of the movies that are made today.

I guess it's easier to show passion and emotion when you're quoting Shakespeare but Claire Danes and Billy Crudup really light up the screen, which is just what I needed right now. Because my character is headed for her onstage debut - which leads to her next BIG (hot) scene with the hero. Hmmmm. I should be able to breeze through 6000 words now!!!

Drinking: Coke Zero
Music: Sick Puppies - My World
Mood: Melancholy.

It's sad to see the heroes of our past fall. Rather than think of the recent situation - where I'm the hated black sheep of the family - I will remember us as we used to be. The family get togethers, crawfish boils, cousins everywhere, and the 6 men who stood strong as one family. I'll remember the man who came to the circus with us, who hung out with us, and who made us laugh. I'll remember the good days. Rest In Peace.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

So Much To Be Thankful For

What a wonderful day! I love having the day the off!!!!

My family does not believe in a traditional turkey dinner. I can't remember what we ate when I was a kid, but Thanksgiving, as with most holidays, were usually at my grandmother's house with the whole gang (aunts/uncles/cousins). But the tradition seems to have changed as everyone got older, and Thanksgiving is at my mom's house each year. It's a small affair. Lunch is cooked by 10 am, and you had better be finished eating by 12:30pm cause the 'kitchen's closed', and we get kicked out. The rest of the day can be spent doing whatever we want to do, at our own houses (lol).

Until I started working at AT&T 6 years ago, I have never experienced a "real" Thanksgiving feast like I read about and see in the movies. A friend of mine, Licia, decided to cook a Thanksgiving meal for me. She started at 3am and by 12pm (what is taking so long) I still had not eaten. After we raided her neighbor's apartment for some of their turkey grub, I decided the whole turkey fiasco was not for me.

This is the Blanchard Family Thanksgiving meal:




Some of my Mom's finest seafood gumbo and potato salad (the potato salad was a bit dry this year - so it may not look that great but it sure tasted good). My niece and I usually are in charge of washing dishes so we love using paper plates instead of the "fine china." You can keep all that meat and mess. I'll stick with the easy fixin' foods.
On this Thanksgiving Day 2008, I have a lot to be thankful for. I have family and friends who love and support me. I have a great critique group and writer's group. My life is full of hobbies and dreams that I get to work toward every day. My first story will be published, hopefully, in 3 days. And I seem to be working toward finishing a novel; a first for sure.
These are two women that show me courage and strength each and every day. Intelligent, beautiful, resilient. They inspire me and make me want to be a better woman, mother, sister, friend, just like they have been every day of their lives. Yvonne (mom) and Belver (grandmother):



Stacey, the world traveler and scrapbooking fanatic, wonderful mother of 2 beautiful kids, photographer, best big sis a girl could ever ask for:



Jason, my fav and only little brother, electrician extraordinaire, dare-devil, hard working, lover of toys (trucks, bikes, 4wheelers, etc)
Lauren, my beautiful niece, honor student, Harry Potter loving, smart alec Jr., lover of music and dancing
Michael, my sweet, sweet nephew, so cute in his new glasses, gameboy playing, soft spoken, I just love his blue eyes and his sweet smile
Paul, my brother-in-law, smart alec Sr., comedian, iPhone lover, motorcycle riding, foosball playing

Today I'm feeling a bit melancholy. Our family is growing and changing and yet for me it feels like my life is standing still. Daddy's birthday just passed on the 22nd, and I miss him more and more every day. How different would our lives have been had that one moment been altered in our pasts? Who would we be? But what happened happened and cannot be changed.

But I miss you, Daddy. I wish you could see us now and see Michael and Lauren grow up. I wish they could know what a wonderful person their grandfather was. I wish I could see your smile and your eyes light up in laughter just one more time.

I'm thankful for the day spent with my wonderful family, and for the fact that we were all together this holiday! Thanks for keeping my family and friends safe and healthy. Thanks for every day that you give us. Thanks for life!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sassy Scrappers

Today I attended the Open House for the Sassy Scrappers MeetUp group in Lafayette (LA) with my long-time friend, Tanya.



She was working hard:

And I was hardly working:

J/K. The final piece is a secret so I can't post that picture (I know you're so disappointed).

This was a great opportunity to enjoy the company of some wonderful ladies while creating on such a beautiful Saturday. I plan on attending many more meetups as I learn what scrapbooking is all about. Anyone in the surrounding areas who loves to scrapbook or create altered journals should check it out and JOIN US FOR SOME FUN-FILLED meetups.

Its amazing how much work we accomplished. I thought I had brought too much stuff (okay I had) but I could have brought more because this meetup was SO PRODUCTIVE.

Find out more about this group at http://scrapbook.meetup.com/624/ . I hope to see you at the next one!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Every Day is a Blessing!

Sometimes, I hate being such a pessimist. Things are going so well in my life, and I keep looking around for the other shoe to drop. Of all the things I could change about myself that would be the first one. How did I ever get this way? But the believers of The Secret say that such thoughts welcome negativity into your life, so moving on.

The Good News:

I did the impossible and passed that History test with flying colors (yep I set the curve) - Go Me! It seems the answers I got wrong were only worth 1 point. The big points were in the short answers, identification, and essay - and guess what - I'm a writer so I rocked that test! WooHoo! So my History class is officially over. I don't have to take the final - YES!

In English I only have one more assignment, which my professor will give out on Monday - a take home test - dealing with Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson - good times. I'll have to struggle with that during Thanksgiving week. But the semester is definitely winding to a close.

My first story will be published online IN 10 DAYS, YIKES. I'm experiencing mixed emotions of super excitement followed by the need to vomit in fear. And this is only for less than 800 measly words - jeez.

We bid for vacations last week at work - it goes by seniority, and I received the three weeks that I bid for: Easter - Washington trip with my girls!, My Birthday Week - hmmm maybe a cruise like in 2007, and Christmas - I'm really hoping there's a good reason to take Christmas off! (Even though Shawn cursed me out because I got it - sorry, love, I know you wanted it, but ITS MINE! lol)

Celebrated the great day with supper at my favorite sushi restaurant - SHANGRI LA - I love how the waiters just bring me my drink without having to ask what I want. Kind of sad really. But anyway I NANOWRIMOed over complimentary edamame while I people-watched. Life is Good!

Speaking of NaNoWriMo, I'm at 27,334 words which is way behind schedule. I only have 10 more days to meet deadline, but the story is coming along. My plot has progressed from where I started in November and it seems to be headed toward an ending. Hopefully, I finish this one.

Some days, I feel like a wannabe talking about writing novels and never actually finishing anything. It's not my fault. I sleepwalked through life for about 5 years, and I'm finally awake and living. So I have to play catch up with the dreams, new and old, that I ignored for so long. Part of the problem is being a Gemini and part of it is just being semi-ADHD. I can't sit still. I'm afraid if I stop for a minute, I'll fall asleep again.

Those who have known me for a few years know what I'm talking about. The person I was even 3 years ago is not anywhere near the person I am today. I was absent from life, just getting by. In 2007 I woke up and I changed my life and now it just spirals, and I have to follow where it leads because there's no going back.
Yet that drive, that fear of being back in that place where I started pushes me away from people and pushes them away from me. It makes me a bit intense, a bit single-minded, selfish; I'm well aware of my own faults thanks. but I guess sometimes we need to be made aware of them. We need to see ourselves as others see us, like a glaring mirror in the harsh early morning light.

Sometimes, I'm so focused on the "prize," I miss out on the obvious, like those people standing beside me along the way. I forget to ask, "how are you, do you need anything, whats going on in your life?" It's not that I don't care. I'm making excuses, but I just figure that since I say what I have to say when I feel I need to say it, you will, too. But that's me and you're you and you don't. And I'm sorry. I'm aware now, and I'll work on it. (That's the best I can do).

I guess the point of all this is that it's going to be okay. No matter what happens, even if or when the other shoe falls, you'll deal with it, however you need to and you'll get up even when you want to crawl under the covers and hide, and you'll keep on going. And it doesn't help to look for the bad when there is something good staring you in the face.

During the month of November there is so much to be Thankful for. Every day is a blessing to me, and I hope it is to you, as well!


Mood: Melancholy
Drink: Pibb Zero
Tunes: Sade - Lover's Rock
Question on My Mind: Is it possible to be alone but never lonely? - (English professor asked us in class on Monday)
Lesson Learned: Do not let the errors of the past guide your future.

Strive To: Let hope in. Dream of the possibilities. Do not be afraid to close your eyes, and leap - You haven't sent anything out since August so submit something already!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

First Collage on Canvas

Here's my first collage on canvas:



It's for my mom's orchid society auction. Couple screwups on there but it's the first. Hopefully it brings the society some funds and she doesn't bring it back home because she felt she had to buy it herself rather than hurt my feelings. lol

The day is gone, and I have done nothing! Only accomplished 2400 words. Have only 4400 left to be caught up for the month. Then I can worry about my 2000 words each day from this point forward rather than continuously playing catch up. YEEEYYYY! Why is it that I always accomplish more when I spend 8 hours at work yet when I'm off I have no way of functioning and I get nothing done!?

School Update: The LAST ENGLISH PAPER assignment I was supposed to receive today has been pulled!!! Professor decided she will only give us the Final - Thank GOODNESS!!!!

Work Update: just found out I will be out of my second job come July - the state is downsizing ha - and that's my spending/spa/extra/vacation/book/art supply money job. Darn! I'm so bummed. I never save money like I should. It is what it is I guess. I'm lucky and will not complain; I still have another to fall back on - for now and its not until July. It's been over 2 and a half years since I didn't have 10 jobs. Whats a girl to do?!!?


Music: Gavin Rossdale - Love Remains the Same

Drink: Sprite Zero and Water

Mood: Too bummed out to write; but I would love to lay on a hammock among these flowers and listen to the waterfall and relax with a glass of red wine:


Ahhhhh.....peace at last!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

All Conferenced Out

Going a-conference-ing:




I wonder what I ever did before Blogging? Oh I probably wrote, created or did stuff - had a life maybe. I've only written 1000 words today. Stupid distractions and procrastinations.

The Bayou Writer's Group Bridge to Publication 2008 Conference is now over, and I'm washing clothes and trying to get ahead of myself while I'm so far behind already. The Lafayette crew consisted of: Mike (taking the pic), Me, Regan, Lynn, Skeeter (in order of seats at the table).



We're getting so much smarter - I can tell. The Conference was wonderful, and the Speakers were Fantastic. My notebook is full of info and ideas but I think I'm so intimidated by all of the WORK involved with writing, that it may take another 2 weeks for me to write again, which does me no good because I have to finish NaNo.
Here's one of the door prizes that almost all of the Lafayette crew wanted:


Darn, Mike got it! (He's trying to play it off but he was super excited!!! I think there's...a tear..corner of his eye...so happy!)





Couldn't wait for it to get here, and now its over. I feel it was a wonderful success, and I hope the fantastic Conference Committee realizes what a great job they did to make it all happen. I hope it is as successful next year.

Regan won the First Page contest! We are so proud of her. She's not bragging nearly enough. (I may have to start sending out emails on her behalf to brag about her wonderful win.) I have found that I must be the president of the Regan Rules! fanclub as I keep getting congrats on her behalf. (Yes folks, I am her minion and will do my best to get the fanclub newsletter out next month. lol) I had such high hopes for my page, Blood Kiss; oh well guess serial killers, blood, shit-kickers, and demons are not for everyone. There's always next year!!!

I always leave Lake Charles with a touch of sadness. There are some people that I have come to care for in the group and that I just hate not being able to visit over coffee on random days like my friends back home. To make matters worse, it seems my friend, Nona, is going away in December so I won't see her again until NEXT YEAR!! Oh no! She is the twin of my heart! I just love her to pieces.





It was a great conference. I would fawn over all of the speakers but I think I may be limited in blogging space. And kudos for the food; the cheese ball and wine have my vote any day.

The road trip, as always, was a treat. This gang cracks me up! Please do not give us ANY alcohol. Who knew an hour and a bit could be so much fun. You really don't want to know some of the conversations we had (and in front of mixed company - such a bad idea). I may not be able to show my face again! Here's the girls!

I had my first creativity session with my little "student" today. I'm giving my friend's daughter lessons/time on/for creativity. Basically we just have tons of fun at Allison's house and then I leave and her hubby, Chad, has to clean paint off the ceilings - j/k (if there's any there it wasn't me, Alli - I swear. and no I'm not blaming the kid) lol. Creating with Jenna is such fun. Can't wait to see the results after she is finished.

Well, I've done all the procrastinating I can allow myself to get away with for today. Have to put the clothes in the dryer and start NaNo-ing. Only 1 zillion words to go!

Music: Tool - Eulogy (HA!)

Drink: Nothing - I need more water

Mood: Lazy

Plans: Reorganizing My Life - Major spring cleaning is needed!

School: Almost over; thank goodness

Art: Working on Orchid Project (keep your fingers crossed)

Friday, November 14, 2008

LOVE is a Beautiful Thing!



A joining of friends under one cause, standing together to speak out to those who need us, supporting each other regardless of how silly the act may seem...these are the actions of LOVE and friendship.
I am proud of those that made a stand and spoke out on our new cause To Write Love On Her Arms on 11/13/08. We did it for ourselves, for our friends, and for those that need it most yet remain unheard.
Great Job Girls!
On one of my previous posts, I wrote about To Write Love On Her Arms, which is a non-profit organization to help kids with suicide and depression which often leads to other problems when untreated: drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, or self-injury.
To support this cause, my friends and I vowed to write the word LOVED in red on one of our arms on the 13th of each month; people will be curious and ask, and we can spread the word.
**** STOP****
It's about to get personal, so those who do not want to read a personal story, please move on - either further on down the blog or to another blog.
****Last Chance****
In honor of this cause, I will share a story of my own pain, my own "brokenness," and my own struggles.
Years ago I never believed that I was anything, either beautiful or ugly. I was me, whole and unafraid. I was happy and secure. I felt loved by my family and nothing else really mattered.
Then everything changed.
I became something else. Something worth hiding. Something to be ashamed of. The views of other people took precedence over my own. And this is when I first learned that I was different. I was overweight.
I was 5 years old.
The moral of the story is that we never realize how much the ideals and views of television and others are spreading into the minds of our precious children. Who would think that 5 year olds would be so caught up on weight issues, on the differences between them and their new school friends.
Well, it starts early these days. And that's a sad, sad thing.
I have friends and loved ones who at one point in their lives have suffered with the struggles associated with this cause. We find our weakness or channel of self-injury and we "feed" it each and every time we feel different, alone, unloved, etc. And with time and untreated, it just gets worse.
There is a way to stop hurting ourselves and to find a healthier way to get rid of the pain. I don't know the answers, but I'm willing to research other alternatives for anyone who needs a hand. All you have to do is reach out to me!
So from here on out I take up the cause for myself and for you. On the 13th of each month, I’ll write LOVED in red on my arm to let you know that I’m here for you, and you are LOVED!
Have a LOVED day!

Monday, November 10, 2008

What Gets You Through?

I'm writing like mad trying to get to where I am supposed to be for NaNoWriMo, and I'm so far off, I have no idea if I will make it.

The projects are piling up: doorprize for Momma's orchid club, doorprize for BWG Conference, present for Christmas Party BWG, baby blanket for baby showers. Jeez! (Everybody wants some altered art lol)

Well I have found a way to get rid of some of my clutter. I found a Girl Scouts troop to donate some of my wheelchair/walker bags to bring to a nursing home for the holidays - YAY! Frees up a bit of space for more junk.

History test this week to study for; I'm taking a break every 30 minutes to write for 15 minutes - really keeps me from passing out at the table at Barnes and Noble! So I'm writing away. The iPod is blaring. And I'm oblivious to everything. I move along to another place as the day progresses and realize that...I don't have my iPod.

OMGoodness, whats a girl to do?

Have I become too attached that I cannot function without something in my writing process.

I listen to a particular musician for all writing time dealing with a particular story (only on the longer ones). I can go anywhere and turn that music on and the words flow onto my Word Processor. I don't listen to this particular musician at all, unless I'm writing THIS story - no excuses. This establishes a pattern and the writing just happens.

I didn't realize that what I do in my writing has a negative side. What happens if I can't listen to the music? The words take a lot longer to come. I get them but its after I've bitten all my nails, twirled my hair into some freaky 'do, and cleaned my purse out two times.

So now I'm curious. What do you do? Do you have a system in place for your creativity? Is there something that you do to get into the creative "mood" and get the work flowing? (This is for writing, art journaling, scrapbooking, anything.) Let me know!!!


Word Count for NaNoWriMo: 7545 (yikes!)
Music Playing for Wolf Moon: Sick Puppies
Accomplishments This Week: I finished the first chapter (or prologue?) to Wolf Moon and sent it to my critique partners - can't wait to hear what they have to say!!!

Things On Hand During the Writing Process: Alphasmart 3000, iPod, pen, paper/napkin/post it, water, mints (I'm nauseated all the time - thanks Alli! lol), and a window - so I can see what's going on outside.


Tell me what gets you through the creative process!

Friday, November 7, 2008

To Take Up Arms

I find inspiration everywhere. And the people that know and love me know that I'm a sucker for this kind of thing. A friend brought this cause to my attention and after researching it, I am inspired and touched and need to spread the word!

To Write Love On Her Arms is a non-profit organization to help kids with suicide and depression which often leads to other problems when untreated: drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, or self-injury.

This organization started over one young woman’s struggle with drug abuse. She was considered too much of a health risk to be admitted to a clinic. Her friends stepped up for this girl they loved, and they stayed with her for 5 days to help her overcome her addiction. They helped her save her life. She is alive and well today.

This group of remarkable people has a mission to spread the word and help others. They speak out on this “brokenness” that can be found within a lot of us, promoting love and help for anyone who has or knows someone who struggles with self-injury, depression, drugs, alcohol, body image issues, sexual addiction, etc.

There are many variations in place for spreading the word by other groups that have been inspired by this original group. Here are two:


(1) Have a day where anyone who wants to support the cause will go around their schools/jobs and write LOVED in red on other people’s arms; that day is December 13th.

(2) Write the word LOVED in red on your own arm for one day each month; people will be curious and ask, and you can spread the word.


The story of the original group who worked so hard to save a friend they loved and the inspiration and help that they have given teenagers with the many issues that they have to deal with has really touched my heart and inspired me to take up the cause.

I have friends and loved ones who at one point in their lives have suffered with struggles of self-injury, depression, body image issues, etc. (including ME). And I never want them to feel that they do not have a place to turn. So I’ll take up the cause, and on the 13th of each month, I’ll write LOVED in red on my arm to let them know that I’m here for them, for everyone, and they are LOVED!

Who’s with me?


Can be found at http://www.twloha.com/ and http://www.myspace.com/towriteloveonherarms .

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Where I Stand



Trying not to be negative is hard, but here's where I stand:

NaNoWriMo = 1965 (someone's behind - should be 6k by now)

School = can't even talk about it. Only 5 more weeks and ITS OVER for now.

Art Journals = 3 projects pending, I need to clear out my OTHER stuff first.

Newsletter = I tend to be a pain when it comes to the newsletter. I notice that I'm bossy about what I want for the newsletter, and that is so not me. But I have a whole month to worry about December's issue, so I'm putting it off - PROCRASTINATION ROCKS!

Healthy lifestyle = FANTASTIC!!! I worked out today!!!! Feels great and I'm not as tired as I normally am at this time of night (go figure you mean what other people have been saying about exercise being good for you IS TRUE?!? lol)

Writing = wrote my first "kiss" scene today. whew! (Don't know why I write romance if the gooey parts make me queasy. And I'm working up to that assignment Lynn and Regan gave me last month - beware, ladies...); have a meeting at the writing center at school tomorrow about my Mnemosyne story. Maybe they can help me figure out what she needs.

Work = smooth sailing. No news about any November Madness repeat or anything. My stats are better than they have been all year; though still not at goal.

Newest Bad Habit = I notice that I'm cutting people off when they talk. I don't remember doing this before? Before when? I don't know. Maybe a result of trying not to be anti-social. Who knows?

Some Other Stuff:

Question of the Day: How did the writings of the Transcendentalists lead to the abolitionist movement?
Answer: No clue! I have 5 pages of quotes and no idea what to do with them. Deadline: Yesterday (Yikes)
Mood: Complemplative
Drinking: Diet Coke (yuck)
Music: K's Choice - Believe
Working: Yes! But I'm off for half the day tomorrow! Woohoo!
Dreaming about: Life and this dock:







If I could walk along this dock every day,
I would sit and dream and write
In solitude or among friends.
Finding peace. Finding joy.
Forming moments that are mine,
Moments that are shared,
Moments that are never forgotten.


I love the blues in the pic.


My Favorite Things/Memories/ETC associated with Blue: Daddy, Journeys, Adventure, Cozumel, Micheal's eyes (nephew), Bluejays, Blue Jeans.

And despite popular belief, my eyes are NOT blue.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Weekly Review and Challenge

Whew! What a week. I haven't blogged in a while, opps. Bad Mindy! Life seemed to get away with me this week. Quick recap to make up for the lost time:

Monday: work, class
Tuesday: work, dinner date with the Baudoins
Wednesday: work, class, work
Thursday: work, intense critique session with critique group - WOW!, Birthday celebration for Ryan - fell through for me because I had to go to work

Blah Blah. nothing interesting there. But I have joined a few altered journal groups and scrapbooking groups so we shall see how that goes. "Go Me!" for trying not to be antisocial. Possibility for giving a workshop (or 2) on altered journals may be in the works for next year.

Here's a pic from my newest art journal (Image and any posted like it were inspired by the work of Kelly Rae Roberts (Find out more at http://kellyraeroberts.blogspot.com/.)):


All Hallows Eve: work, shopping, went to a costume party hosted by one of my friends from high school. As I get older, I'm reminiscing about the 'good ole days.' I find myself thinking more and more about the friends I lost touch with along the way. I decided to go see some old friends at a Halloween party. Though scared to pieces, I ended up having a great time. There are some people that you meet up with and its almost like no time has passed. You get together and talk and laugh and it seems like not a day has gone by since. That was how it felt last night as I became reacquainted with my old friends, who are two fellow artists and extraordinary women. Here's me and the hostess, Tanya:





Saturday: Ugh!!! I'm too old for staying up til 130am. Way past my bedtime. Woke up tired and late. Rushed to get ready and to Lake Charles for BWG.

At BWG meeting, we elected new officers and had a guest speaker. I'm now officially Newsletter Editor for Bayou Writer's Group. Great lunch with friends and then Nona and I had a NaNoWriMo writing session at Starbucks. Its that time of year again! National Novel Writing Month is upon us and the goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I didn't reach the goal for today, but I just barely missed it. All in all it was a great start though.

I went to the Hobby Lobby in Lake Charles, OMG it's huge. Boy, did I spend some money! Drive home was horrible, I was so tired. Took a nap and now I have to start my English paper that is due Monday. (*sigh*) I need a vacation!


Words Written: NANOWRIMO Day 1 = 1608
Mood: Reminiscent
Work: OFF YAY!!!!
Drinking: Dr. Pepper from Taco (Sm)ell
Dreaming About: Chunky choco chip cookies
Class: Paper due in two days. Haven't even started yet!
Music: Hilary Duff - Reach Out

Challenge: Take the plunge! Make the time. Choose to use the NANOWRIMO fire to get some productivity in your own creative life. Whether its a self-inflicted goal of writing a poem, short story, song etc or creating one page layout in a scrapbook, altered book, etc. Even just trying to write or create for 15 uninterrupted minutes a day. Get those ideas and craft/writing projects out and start CREATING. You can do this!



Side note: There must be some kind of secret challenge going on to get me 'hooked up' because I can't even count the propositions from today. Whats up with THAT?

Friday, October 24, 2008

True Blood Fever!

What can I say, “sugar and spice and everything nice” was never the quote for me. Give me tall, dark, and dangerous. Fangs and blood in dark nights by the light of the full moon. Throw in a howl or a growl, and we have the makings for my kind of story. As Halloween fast approaches, I figured I would get with the program, or at least a little more in the spirit, of all things spooky.

I force my friends to read my work, and most of them aren't ashamed to admit that they don't read a lot, especially paranormal. But they love me, and they read each and every one of my stories anyway, helping me with countless corrections and versions as I critique the stories to death. I love my dear friends to pieces.

My critiquer/friend Shavonne, got hooked on a new TV series (and I'd like to think that the reason she was so open to watching such a show was because of how interesting my own stories are - lol). Anyway, she said I had to check it out; so last night I celebrated having the night off with a TV Marathon at her house watching nearly 6 hours of what has become my newest addiction: True Blood, the HBO Original Series based off of the novels of one of my favorite authors, Charlaine Harris.






Taking place in Bon Temps, Louisiana, waitress and mind-reader Sookie Stackhouse, played by the lovely Anna Paquin, lives in a time where Vampires are trying to integrate themselves into society becoming citizens with the same rights as humans. A unique woman with her open-mindedness towards the Vampires’ plight, Sookie is ready to befriend the first vampire she meets, the handsome William Compton. Weird and deadly happenings occur soon after his arrival to Bon Temps, including deaths of Sookie’s nearest and dearests. Surrounded by a “colorful” team of friends, Sookie will have to use her special abilities, instincts, and smarts, resulting from her life as a backwoods waitress no doubt, to find the killer, and save the people in her town, all while being awakened to her first experiences of love and passion.





The southern accents leave much to be desired. Tera and Sam’s accents are okay during some episodes, but I have no idea what accent Rene’ is supposed to be pulling off. I guess the idea was for a strong Cajun accent but it sounds more like a mix of Jamaican, Cajun, Latin, I don’t know. (But the actor is kinda hot – in that special way of Cajun men). My favorite part of the show is the particular brand of stupid some of the characters are portrayed as, from the crack team of local law enforcement, with their ‘Uh Miranda rights? (scratching forehead) Yeah, we forgot about those’ to the ignorant townsfolk. But its Hollywood and television and fiction, right?

But seriously, my fav part is Sookie and her little love triangle. I’m currently in a weird Bill-Sam debate. I just can’t decide which one I want for her (depends who is on the screen, I guess). Her BFFs, Lafayette and Tera, are fascinating characters, and I can’t wait to see more of them. And her brother, Jason Stackhouse is headed for trouble; however will he get out of jail this time.


Despite the horrible accents and hilarious “fangs,” I’M HOOKED. Which is exactly what happened a few years ago. When I first started my paranormal addiction, I flew through the series by Charlaine Harris; I stopped at the 6th book because life got in the way. But there are 8 books in the series, with book 9 coming out soon, and I can’t wait to start them from scratch and refresh my memory on the escapades of that Sookie Stackhouse.

This is a great series for anyone who loves Paranormal/Fantasy or anyone who may want to get their feet wet in the genre. Look for the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Series and start with Book 1 today! And Sunday nights at 9:00PM ET, if you’re tired of reality TV (yuck) and looking for something different to watch, check out HBO.

Mood: Happy (though a bit bummed that I'm missing VooDoo Fest '08)
Drink: Hazelnut Hot Chocolate from Starbucks
Song: Right to Be Wrong by Joss Stone

Monday, October 20, 2008

Good Times

I haven't been feeling much like writing lately. My words are hiding. I'm going to pretend its because I'm gearing up for the big NaNoWriMo 2008 that starts on November 1st. Sure that must be it.

I'm back at my workstation, arm deep in paint, glue, 'what is that in my hair?', etc. I'm working in my art journals. It's weird using words and colors and pictures for express myself. But I'm loving it. Since Friday, I have completed 3 pages and started the groundwork for 3 more.

And I just received the books I ordered last week, so now I can learn what it's really about.

Life is good.

I relaxed. I'm well aware that I have another History test and English paper coming up. There are classes to register for and I'm fresh out of night classes so I'll have to shift my whole life around to go to class in the morning. But is anyone worried? No way. Nada. Uh-uh.

I'm kicking back, putting my feet up.

I spent Saturday afternoon with my friend, Crissy. Her fiance was working out of town so we enjoyed some girl-time. We saw the Duchess - it was wonderful. I cried through most of it, though. Boiled crabs and shrimp for supper (yum yum). Then we shopped til we dropped and we were too tired to do anything but veg out in front of the tv.

Great times!

Sunday, I went with some friends to see a play at the Abbey Players Theater in Abbeville, in celebration of Rhegan's B-Day. The play was fantastic. It was hysterical. If anyone is heading that way check it out at http://www.abbeyplayers.com/ .



I had never been to Abbeville, much less this fantastic theater. I've found a gem. I'm planning on spending some quality Sunday afternoons in Abbeville from here on out.

I love Bridget Jones and her diaries, and every time I do this I think of her movies. It cracks me up:

Words Written: None
Mood: Reminiscent
Work: Super easy
Drinking: Nothing, boy am I thirsty!
Dreaming About: Chunky choco chip cookies
Class: Skipped!



Friday, October 17, 2008

Accomplishments

As the Newsletter Editor of the Bayou Writer's Group, I'm having less and less time to do all of the things I already don't have time for. I become so obsessed with the newsletter that I start planning well in advance to make sure theres great information in there. So basically I spend 25 days out of the month stressing, planning, thinking, plotting, researching, living, breathing, eating everything that is "the Newsletter."

I'm not complaining. Its just harder to fit it in than I originally thought. There are some wonderful articles and pieces that will appear in the upcoming issues that I am really excited about, and I'm receiving the opportunity to network with some amazing writers, which I normally don't do and desperately need to do, and to help put the word out on BWG in any way that I can.

There is so much talent in the group, and the members are wonderful. Of all of my accomplishments in 2008, I feel the most important was when I walked through those library doors in February and joined Bayou Writer's Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. I have grown as a person and in my writing as a result of this fine group and the truly amazing members, who are so welcoming and willing to help others.

Words Written Today: None (But I'm working on two pages in my art journal and on the November Newsletter)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

To A New Healthy Life

My Aunt, best friend, co-worker, life-saver, sounding board..my heart...just found out that she has cancer. So she's dealing with the decisions about what to do as her next step.

After she left, I cried. She's my heart. Over the past 2 years we have gotten so close working together for my second job. (We have lived next to each other for 20 something years). She's the one that stays late at work so that I can go to a writer's group meeting, critique meeting, night classes, attend a writing workshop, etc. She's selfless and I take way to much advantage of her.

I love her to pieces. Here's a pic of her at Christmas time:



Having this happen has opened my eyes, has made me realize that I can't keep putting off the things I don't want to deal with hoping I'll have a chance to fix them later. Because we never know if there is a later. And I want to live the life I want now rather than hoping and dreaming for it later.

So, Nona and I have made a promise to each other to take a step towards a more healthier "us." So we'll vent, rage, motivate, cheer, etc., to and for each other. Tomorrow will be my first day. (So I can still have whatever I want today. ha! Always find a way to beat the system!)

All jokes aside, its back to Weight Watchers and making better choices. (no more pecan pies at Picadilly - sigh). A few weeks ago I was talking to someone and they asked if I had kids or a husband. When I said 'no' to both, he asked what was wrong with me. Now what kind of a question is that?!?

Needless to say, part of my problem with being in a healthy relationship isn't my weight from the guy's perspective but more my weight from my perspective. And its my psychological issues, and losing weight will not make my "problems" go away since I still see myself as I see myself.

But at least I'll be able to walk in Crissy's wedding in May and not feel too much like a nightmare in the bridesmaids dress. And at least I'll be able to go on vacation with Stacey and Lauren and not need a nap in the middle of the day when we take Virginia, Pennsylvania, Washington DC by storm in April.

So these are my goals and I'm sticking to it, one day, one pound at a time. Going through my goals from the beginning of the year, here's my last attempt at this same goal:




I started a new art journal on...witches. And you use the words on the page to make some little saying or sentence to associate with the work on the page. This one says "cow, cow, hide the old witch" so I used the skinny cow symbol (lol I love that skinny cow) and the old witch being the old me.

So anyway, here's to better choices. Starting on 10/12/08.

Words Written Today: none - I lived! I went to watch my niece play in a volleyball tournament.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

What do you write?

So my friend and fellow writer, Rhegan, recently asked me the difference between the whole Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction, Fantasy confusion. And let me say that the explanation I gave was so far off the mark.

After reading my blog entries and a few of my recent short stories, she believes that my niche may not be in the "Paranormal Romance" field as I keep saying, but may actually be in a lighter form of fiction with more comedy and such - apparently, I tend to be quite comedic, and the girl usually doesn't end up with the guy...hmmm.

So I decided to do some research. Due to my Nancy Drew tendencies, I have tons of info on the genres now and may have figured it out. I looked over all of my previous stories and found that I have 2 series in Urban Fantasy and 4 in Paranormal Romance; so maybe I do belong somewhere in the genre mix. But my short stories of late are lighter and perhaps better. The problem may be that I tend to go towards dark paranormal but my voice in the stories keeps trying to go lighter with humor. Hmmm....I may have to see about all this. But thats for another day.

Looking over this massive list of unfinished projects, I wonder why I keep stopping in the middle of the story. It may have something to do with the fact that I dream in terms of a series (yeah can't finish 1 book though) so I know all the players and such so far down the line that I intimidate myself and put it aside for something new, simpler, easier. Only to repeat the vicious cycle. It may have something to do with what I feel I lack: I don't know enough, haven't lived, enough, aren't smart enough, etc. to tell the story the way it deserves to be told, so I'll put off on it until later - I'll be a better writer by then.

And so I do exactly what I do in my own life, I cover it up with comedy, a bit of laughter and maybe no one will notice that I don't know what I'm doing.

I had a meeting with my new advisor today. Apparently, I've been putting off my foreign languages and now have 4 classes to take before I can start taking my 400 level classes. So I'm running out of time and procrastinating too much. At this rate, I may be in school forever. Luckily, I can barely handle more than 2 classes a semester anyway.

My Fortune Cookie: Reading is for the brain, What exercise is for the body.
My changes to the Fortune Cookie: Writing is for the soul, what reading is for the brain, and what exercise is for the body.

Total words written today: 1,205 (just bypassed the 30,000 mark!!!)
Music Playing: Anouk
What I'm Drinking: Grande Hot Cinnamon Sunset Tea from Starbucks
My Current Mood: exhilarated
My Purchases for the Day: Jemima J by Jane Green (my old time fav) and two books on Art Journaling

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Finding Art

There was a period of about 7 years where I did not write.

In 2007, my life changed. I had lasik surgery.

Going from being severely myopic to having 20/20 vision enabled me to "see" the world for the first time. Without corrective lenses, I could see the leaves in trees, and not just the shape of the leaf, but veins and the differentiating colors and uniqueness of each individual leaf. I could wake up in the middle of the night and look at the clock and see what time it was. I could wash my face in the shower and open my eyes without being afraid I would lose my contacts.

My attitude slowly started changing, also. I met an artist at a bookstore. I was crocheting with friends. Yes I have no artistic talents. But this newcomer stopped to see what I was doing, and it was art with yarn and patterns. This is my masterpiece, a blanket I made for my wonderful grandmother, who loves birds and flowers:






There was an exchanging of numbers and for once I called someone back. We become close friends and would meet up after rough weeks and crochet the night away surrounded by books and coffee, while her husband laughed at our antics.

She introduced me to her art and encouraged me to reach inside myself and find my own. What I found was something I had lost years before...myself.

Many years ago, I used to love to draw, and with training I may have gotten good at it, but an ex belittled me. So I put my pencils down, for both my writing and my drawing because he thought everything I did was "silly." And for years I denied the part of myself that needed to grow, to breathe.

But this new friend helped me dig deep and find whatever parts of me I had lost along the way. She gave me a way of expressing myself and working through my problems or issues by using an art journal, a place where I could write poems, mini stories, or just combine different mediums and paper to form something else...something that maybe only I will understand.

I found my art before I found my stories again. Using a totally different form of creativity, I found my way back to writing. And I haven't stopped since.

I was discussing with some friends, Lynn and Rhegan, the importance of this art journal in my life and how I wished I had time to get back to it. And they wondered what this 'art journal' business was all about. Here's a sample of my favorite pieces. Keep in mind I have no training and skill and just used this media as a way to heal. This is a piece using altered images and my favorite picture of me and my dad:



These are pieces on reflection and the two pages would be looked at side by side:





I'm hoping I get a chance to go back to my journaling. And maybe one day I'll take some classes so I can draw more than just cartoon images.

Anyway, my journals help me when I find myself lost and unable to write. I look through my journal and a picture or expression or color gives me inspiration, and either I find myself creating a new page or I find myself writing something that I normally would not have thought to write.


Lesson: You always find what you're not looking for, when you're looking for something else.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Day of Fullness

Yesterday proved to be quite interesting. I awoke at the crack of dawn to get dressed for the BWG meeting. I Googled the address - I'm such a Googler - for Skeeter's house. I was meeting up with Skeeter, Lynn, and Rhegan for a road trip to Lake Charles, La.

45 minutes after I left home, after I turned around 3 times, after I missed 2 roads on the Google map thanks to the recent hurricanes taking away the road signs - road signs are good, I received a phone call from Rhegan (yeah the phone had fallen to the passenger side back seat - what a mess) to tell me I just passed them by and to turn around, again. (sigh) I finally made it; I was aggrevated and tired already. And the trip had not even started yet.

But the trip that followed was extremely productive. Among the talking, gabbing, laughing, etc., we managed to fill pages in our notebooks with ideas, topics, goals. We each received writing assignments. Though I can't remember the due date. Mine was a doozy. You gotta love friends who coerce you into facing your demons - thanks, guys, love ya, muah.

So much accomplished, and we hadn't even made it to the meeting yet. The young authors at the meeting rocked. Their stories were fantastic. Its so good to see such potential in the younger crowd these days. We met up with some old friends. And met some new ones. Had some 'good eats' for lunch with the whole gang.

And then it was time for the trip back. We passed some kind of airplane show. So we stopped by. It was quite a show, especially watching Skeeter and Lynn talk airplane parts - hilarious for me since I felt like I was in a foreign country. The trip continued without much happening in terms of writing, but we learned a few stories about each other.

We parted ways and then Rhegan and I went shopping and to the movies. I wanted to see Nights of Rodanthe but it was sold out. So we checked out My Best Friend's Girl. I'm not even gonna talk about the movie. (Sorry I dragged you to that nightmare, Rhegan. I owe you one). I was already upset I couldn't watch the one I wanted. The showtimes on the internet differed from the ones at the theatre. We went to both Grande Theaters in Lafayette to find we were at the wrong one. We paid for the 7:45 show and by the time we finished w/ snacks and such we were seated at 7:38 and the movie was already underway. We missed the previews and the first few minutes. Pissed me off.

Despite all this mess. It was a good day. I have pages of ideas to look into, to add to my to do list. And now my brain is roasting on the possibilities for my "assignment." Watch out ladies. Its going to be a wild ride!

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Little R & R

Work was alright. After work, I had a strange meeting with a blast from my wild childhood days. Weirdness. But its something to laugh about now (I guess)! And just when I think my life was getting boring.

So I took the night off. I'm currently watching my man Robert Downey, Jr in IronMan. Hot!Hot!Hot! When he's building the first suit in front of the fire with the muscle shirt. Wooohooo! When he's talking all technical-speak to his computer, gotta love an intelligent man!

Writing:

BWG meeting tomorrow. Bringing my WGA friends. Should be a hoot!

I'm putting some finishing touches on some brainstorming I did this week. A friend and I ate at a Cuban restaurant (Serranos) and did a bit of brainstorming on some stories we were working on.

The name 'Jamaican Jerk Sauce' can get the creative juices flowing for sure. Nothing like mojitos and some good Cuban food to give a story clarity, to allow you to see the gaping holes the size of craters in the plot.

Brainstorming is good. I guess it takes another writer to look at you like you are insane and say, 'what are you talking about? that makes no sense,' for you to see the error of your current thought process. Hmmm. Back to the drawing board.

Daily review:


Emotions: Muted

Movie: IronMan

Work in Progress: A story about a Louisiana girl named Nalia.

Song: Addicted by Saving Abel

Memory Evoked by Song: 4AM visits...Malibu/Pineapple Juice/Splash of Cherries...Smiles in candlelight...A single red rose of greeting in the daylight hours...A Different Shade of Happiness

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Drainage

At this point in the game, I am emotionally, physically, and chronically (ha) drained - (sorry it seemed to need another "-cally"). I'm reviewing the recent tasks that I have taken on in my life, and I realize that I took on a few too many. I missed my critique meeting today because I needed some serious naptime. I let down my friends because I simply could not go one more step. I let down my writing to snooze.

And I realize that for the past few days, I have been testy with the mood swings flying at the drop of a dime. (Yeah testy is a bit diluted of a word). How many people did I piss off today alone? Too many to count. Day two of the new month, and I'm not doing so hot. Sorry, peeps - will do better...tomorrow?!?

One of my friends, Allison, just found out she is preggers. And the last time she was preggers (the start of 2008 when I was on my Weight Watchers trip) she ate whatever she wanted and managed to lose 20 lbs more than just the baby weight when it was over. This was damaging to someone like myself who dieted for half of the year, eating celery-like foods (yuck) and barely moving a centimeter on the scale. (sigh) Note to self: Need to exercise more.

People say they love the fact that when I become comfortable with the people around me, I open up and say what I have to say. But I usually alienate those around me because I say what I have to say. Its a viscious cycle.

My soul is crying out to read a good book. To get lost in a story. To run away and find myself in a new adventure. I started reading a book three weeks ago and I stopped half-way through. Its a fantastic book - in the Aisling Gray series - I loved what I read but life has other plans for me. And if there is anything I hate its not finishing a book. I can read a book in 1 sitting - 3.5 hours max. What happens if I never find out the ending? Does she get the guy? Do they survive? Do they find the killers? (Sigh - I don't know). One of my fav authors came out with a book a few weeks / months back and I just have not had the time. It beckons.

My first history test is next week; I barely studied half of my notes, and I have no idea what's what. My take home English essay midterm is due Monday, and I got nothing. My characters in my story are crying out to me, "Mindy Come Back!" Haven't written in three days, while I struggle to figure out where to go now.

I think I need a vacay! I just woke up from my power nap. Off to work and some serious brainstorming for English.

Goal: Be a better person. No bitching! (ok realistically will change from "no" to "less").