Random

Random Conversations: A man who took our picture

Us

Ben (looking at a crowded bar): Hmmm…do you wanna go in?

Man (comes up behind us): Naw don’t go in there…it’s too packed…

Me & Ben (turn around, eyes wide): Oh…

Man: I bet you’re wondering: who is this weirdo talking to us?

Me & Ben: (Nervous laugh)

Man: Remember? Click Click? Can I take your picture?

Me & Ben: (Look puzzled)

Man: I’ve been looking for you for months…I thought I saw you the other day by the Juice & Java so I parked and hopped out and ran to look for you, but you must have gone inside somewhere.

Me & Ben: Oh…yeah…probably…

Man: Well here you go! (Hands us a little photo folder with two copies of the above photo in it)

Me & Ben: OHHHHH…..

Man: Yeah, I took your picture…

Me: Holy cow, thanks…thanks so much!

Ben: Yeah wow…thanks!

Man: Well see you later! (Runs across the street to his car)

Me & Ben:
Bye…

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Writing is writing

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Things have been crazy because I just started school again and when I meet up with other writers they ask me if I’ve been writing lately.


And I say yes.

But I hesitate. Why do I hesitate? Because I’ve been writing loads, just not fiction. I’ve been blogging a lot about my experiences at school over at my Cosmorphosis blog and it’s been extremely rewarding and fascinating, but there’s some tiny part of me that believes writing = writing fiction.


This is clearly a flawed thought and I have no idea where it comes from. Non-fiction is obviously a valid and important form of writing, from news to memoirs, sharing stories of the real world and our own lives is extremely valuable.

But it’s not fiction.

I think the moment I really committed to writing fiction was the same moment I officially committed to being a writer. Even though I had been writing non-fiction and travel memoirs for years, for some reason I only decided to take the moniker of writer when fiction was my focus.

It’s not a good, healthy thought. Writing is writing and all of it is great.

Whether it’s tweeting, blogging, writing a book, a poem, a single line or even a lab report (which I did for the first time ever this week), writing is important and meaningful because it’s all just various forms of expression. I can find the joy in any one of those forms, as evidenced by the fact that I loved writing the lab report.



I don’t want to limit myself to the form of fiction for my expression and I don’t think anyone should. As a writer, a creator of art, my focus will change throughout my life and as someone who considers herself open-minded and well suited for change I want to embrace that and proudly proclaim my love of self expression, no matter what form it comes in.

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The story of our lives

Last year on our anniversary Ben and I got our wedding rings tattooed on our fingers.

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The three rings symbolized three years of marriage.  We planned to get a new ring each year, but ultimately that idea was unsustainable because our fingers aren’t long enough for all the years we plan to live together.

So the plan changed.

We decided instead to write the story of our lives on our backs.

The plan is to pick a symbol each anniversary that represents the year and our lives in some way and to, over time, create something akin to a page from a spell book on our backs, telling the story of our life and love.

This (the first) year of our project we decided to choose a rune Ben invented when he was twelve.  The letters spell: CRAW.

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Craw is an undead dragon from a personal role playing game Ben and I are playing together.  Currently Craw is a bit of a villain, but I hope to befriend him (as my paladin character Nectar Sweetums) and turn around his heart to the side of goodness in the end.  Either way, he lives on our backs now, as part of our story and our journey.

The symbol represents more than Craw though.  It represents Ben’s early creativity and the recent re-emergence of that creativity in the form of gaming.  It represents Ben and I playing together in a world all our own and it also represents my own emerging creativity and endeavors to reclaim my inner paladin (hero) after a rocky road in the past.

I can’t wait to see what the next year with my sweet, awesome husband will bring!

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On Love

Love

Ben and I got married four years ago today and we met five years ago today. Love is great. Because I love Ben and because I love lists I thought I would make a list of what I believe about love.

What I believe in…

Love at first sight – it can happen and it can work out long term. Sometimes you just know a person from the very first second you see them.
Trial by fire – we were tested in the beginning of our relationship and it was shitty, but there was something wonderful about it too. It forced us to crack each other open and see all the bits inside, all the tough bits, all the rotten bits, all the broken bits. We fought side by side and came out alive and kicking. Even though I don’t recommend what we went through, I still recommend doing something outside your comfort zone with the one you love; travel the world, put yourself into a tough spot you have to get out of. Trial by fire forces you know a person deeply (and sometimes madly) and if you don’t come out of it holding hands, you will know the truth about your relationship.
Love is hard – it’s not perfect and to truly know someone and accept them for everything they are takes work. Endless conversations, sharing feelings, opening up. Working things out. Making sure you never shut up or shut each other out.
• Love is worth fighting for – if there’s a problem that seems impossible to solve, it’s always worth fighting for. Keep fighting until your hands are bloody and your body aches. But make sure you’re fighting together, because if both of you aren’t fighting or you are fighting against each other, something’s wrong.
• You can be with a person every waking moment (literally) and never get tired of them – people always talk about ‘needing space’ but I don’t need it from Ben (and he doesn’t need it from me). Sometimes we just sit in silence and work or read, but I don’t need to leave him to find peace.
Change is good – changing for each other is a good thing and it will happen naturally, but sometimes you need to work for it. It should never mean giving up who you are, but embracing who you are together.
Love changes – just as we are never the same person we were yesterday, neither is love. But if the change isn’t making your love stronger there is a problem. Every change should be for the best, bringing you closer not driving you apart.
Opposites do attract – Ben and I so different, but we hold the same beliefs, values and many of the same passions. As Ben likes to say opposites aren’t black and plant, they are black and white which means they are on the same spectrum. If you aren’t even on the same spectrum as someone and you are constantly clashing, that might be a problem.
Love is scary – because the idea of losing it is terrifying. I never worry we’ll break up, I’m more of a catastrophic thinker and I head straight to the old mortality angle.
It’s hard to find – you have to be diligent, don’t settle and don’t be afraid to turn it away if it’s not working out. But once you find it, work for it, hold it tight and love the hell out of it.
Our wedding was only the beginning – our wedding day meant very little in our relationship, it was cool, we eloped and had a good time. But every day that has come after that is the best day and the more we know each other the better it gets.
Intentions matter – even if someone gets upset it’s important to step back and inspect the intentions. There is never any intention to hurt or cause upset, so is the upset really necessary?
Ben is the best (for me) – although he started out perfect (for me), time only makes him a better match for me because we are growing together. He’s the patience to my impatience, he’s the calm to my insanity, he’s the grounding to my driving, he’s the person who makes me feel better no matter what. He’s the best. Ever.

Happy Anniversary Babe!

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Beating Writer’s Block

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In my experience, writer’s block means one of two things.  Either fear of moving forward, or being lost in the woods of your imagination.  I suppose it could just be a bad day too, but those pass more often than not without much ado, so let’s stick to the big two.

Tell fear to fuck off

Ben said a great thing to me once: ‘being angry is better than being sad’.  At the time I was trying to overcome a phobia (agoraphobia triggered by the subway) and it was the best advice I’d ever gotten.  So I started swearing at my fear, under my breath of course.  I tried my best to think of all the things in the world that made me angry and I got pissed.  I told my fear to fuck off and it worked.  Getting sad or low about writer’s block will probably only serve to send you into a funk that ends with you sitting on your bed, watching the ceiling fan and thinking about nothing.  But that’s just boring.  So before you get sad, get angry.  Try giving your writer’s block a few mental kicks and a little bit of rage then settle yourself down and…

Just write

Write anything.  It doesn’t have to have anything to do with the offending novel or story that got you into this mess in the first place.  Write a list of your favorite foods, make up a character and write about him or her, write about a day at the beach gone horribly wrong.  Don’t think too much, just write, no pressure for greatness, footloose and fancy free.  Once you get back in the saddle of free and imaginative writing, you’ll remember why you love it, I promise.

Don’t try to be amazing

While in the midst of this ‘just write’ trance, don’t try to be awesome, don’t try to write the next great novel or story that you want to have published by the New Yorker.  Just write because you love it and it feels good and real and wonderful.  Trying to be amazing is a fool’s errand anyway because everyone has different opinions on what greatness is, so it’s up to you to find out what YOU love, not what everyone else loves.  So after you’ve done the anger, then the free form joyful remembering why you love writing, it’s time to find your way again.

Make a map

Don’t be one of those people who doesn’t want to ask for directions out of pride or the feeling that you ought to just ‘know’ which way is west.  Make yourself a map.  If you’re writing a novel this will look an awful lot like a story outline and if you’re like me and writing a fantasy novel (yes my short story suddenly turned into a novel) then it will be an actual map.  Structure and form can often be helpful for writers, even if we’re used to flailing about and simply ‘being creative’.  Order is good, but remember you only make lines so you can colour outside of them.

So now that we have the big two covered, let’s take a quick peek at the other options for beating that jerky writer’s block.

Exercise

I know you’ve already done your 30 minutes of exercise today, because it’s healthy and you can’t just sit around writing all day long letting your muscles atrophy, but when writer’s block strikes, it’s time to get up and move.  Exercise is awesome for a million reasons.  It loosens you up, gives you time to think, makes you feel good and apparently, makes your brain bigger!  Holy cow, how awesome is that?  Go now!  Run or walk (preferably in nature as that has stress reducing benefits as well) and get your brain working for you!

Talk to someone

Ben is my muse.  We get endless hours of enjoyment from planning out my stories and novels together.  If I’m facing writer’s block there’s nothing like a half hour walk with my honey to get me back on track.  Find yourself someone you can trust and bounce your ideas off them.  Writing doesn’t have to be a stoic, lonely thing and there’s no shame in talking it through.

Have an adventure

Go out there and live, then come back and write about it.  The world is a big place, filled with inspiration and excitement.  If you spend all your time at your computer writing about life, you might just end up not having anything to write about.  Go live it up and don’t be afraid to take a moment away from your writing, it will still be there when you get back…I promise.

Okay that’s all.  If you’ve done all these things and still have writer’s block, perhaps it’s time to switch gears and start a new project.  Leave your old one behind and give it some breathing room, then come back to it in a couple of months and see if it still has legs.

What do you do to beat writer’s block?

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This is a post for www.writesofluid.com’s blog writing challenge.  One blog post a day for all of June!  Check it out at the website or on twitter: @sofluid or #wpad!

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Write Whatcha Know

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Your life is fascinating.

No no, you say.  My life is boring, dull, I haven’t gone anywhere, done anything.  Not really…

One time when I was in Scotland and I was looking around, wide eyed with wonder.  I was raving about the wild hills, the ancient castles, the way the dark stone gleamed and the green moss sparkled like magic.  A local looked at me with a bored sort of expression and shrugged.  “It’s no big deal,” he said.  I was shocked.  How could he possibly think all that untamed beauty was no big deal?  He was acclimatized.

You are the Scottish local, acclimatized to your life.  We all do it.  When I was a bit younger I had some crazy times and now when I look back it all feels a bit…mundane.  But it’s my job as a writer to make sure I remember it isn’t.  It’s your job too.

Remember that, just because you have lived your life and are used to it, doesn’t mean other people have.  Humans are a nosey lot, they want to peer into other lives, other moments that aren’t their own, find the juicy bits and chew on them.  Your juicy bits are in there, I promise.

I’m currently writing a book tentatively called ‘A Girl Out There’, it’s a story of a girl hitch hiking through America.  I was a hitch hiker once, around Europe.  So I’m having the time of my life writing this book and finding juicy tidbits from my time on the road, embellishing them, changing them up and incorporating them.  It allows me to go back in time and gather up all the things that made me who I am.  A ride down memory lane.

So maybe you didn’t hitch hike around Europe (probably for the best), but I’m positive you have done other fantastic and amazing things.  It doesn’t matter how grand, or small they might be, your experiences make you who you are and that is a story well worth telling.

When we write we allow ourselves to share our voice and this is what people want to read.  People want to feel like they have a connection to us, because they’re acclimatized to themselves and want to hitch a ride with someone else for a change.

Tell me how you write what you know.