The Tools Used

I usually prefer typing. I can’t explain but I seem to write more clear. Typing I’m less likely to skip words. During the last few creative groups I have been writing longhand and I think it has helped but in a different way. I feel I’ve been a bit lost with the writing direction I’m going. Longhand let’s me take my time during the session. I can let a topic flow in more detail. I still have major issues with longhand. I skip words, there are spelling mistakes, and trying to read back what I scribbled…ugh! 

So far this has been working. There is an ease to the group. We chat, laugh, and everyone does what they need. A scribbled page, a sketched panel, or reviewed research. Look at me. I hadn’t had a blog post in a few months and even when I did post it was far between. I had trouble finding the time and energy to write with the weight of my job’s increased responsibility and it’s crazy scheduling. Now, two in a short amount of time and I’m feeling good. Confident. I know I need to start rework on a story but I’m not upset because I’m writing and with every piece (Whatever the piece is) I can hear myself improving. When I’m writing and it’s all working out, it feels right. As if this is what I’m meant to do. I know the struggles of creativity. When you can’t string a sentence together and a story seems impossible. It feels like the worst job in the world. But right now it’s what I need to do. 

I worry what will happen when I don’t have this group of like minded struggling artists. Will I fall off again?  No! I have to believe that will not be the case. We hold each other accountable in a friendly/challenging sort of way. It’s not a competition. It’s team work. We encourage each other so we all produce. Whatever that should mean to each individual. For me it’s simple right now, I’m writing again! 

 

We Work

What do you do with a blank page? It is probably the hardest thing to fill. Only be creative. Right? Words form sentences that then tell a story. Finding the story is the hardest thing. Look at all those artist out there pushing their works like it’s the easiest thing in the world. But here I am typing away. Trying to find a story to make my voice heard. My voice.
The true problem, I’m unsure what to post. These posts have become too few and far between. I think I have a topic to write about, I want to post about my anxieties, but I don’t want my job to find out since some of my anxieties come from work. Also, I don’t want to sound as if I’m complaining. In the height of a moment it never sounds amusing. Humor takes work.
But I have been writing more often lately. I leave, take a bus to the train, to find encouragement from a creative group, to write. It’s fun, relaxing, and we also do work. More than I do at home. At home it’s easy to turn on the TV or search the Internet. TV is not the only problem. I don’t feel I have a space at home. My desk is a mess, my area cramped with objects, and a hole in the ceiling from a leak that gives a draft and amplifies the noise from the apartment upstairs. Upstairs the children run with heavy feet but the screeching or crying scream of a child, the yelling discipline that only seems to make more noise, and tense situations makes it impossible to concentrate. In a moment the thought hanging on the end of a sentence is gone.
A cafe is a space of noise but it’s static. Yes, people talk, and the machines make food and drinks, but it’s not familiar. There is no WiFi so my computer is only a recording machine. WiFi hasn’t been a problem outside my home. Cafe WiFi has only seems to encouraged me to write in the past. My words come faster. The conversation may be a little too long but its just the creative energy from pears with the same struggle. We all agree to work with easy and funny conversation, overcoming our insecurity whether it’s writing in public, not having a specific topic, or struggling with a piece.
We work.

New Year, Same Goals

Happy New Year! Checking in and happy to know people still follow my blog! Or at least I think you do. It could be the followers shown as following me have also disappeared from their blogs and are just a ghost of a follow, which is good too, I guess. One thing that hasn’t changed and is always a running theme, I will forever fight to post to this blog. It’s always been hard to find topics to post about. I’ve even posted when I wasn’t happy with the post but I was trying to post regularly so I would just post it. I have certainly found my theme for this blog over time, mostly writing about having trouble writing. And why not? There is a small section in bookstore with all such books.
I have big plans that will one day become a reality even if I can only seem to post here once every blue moon…or more often because blue moons happen less often then my posting. Blue Moons like my posting is not such a rare thing, just not an often thing. So, anyway, a New Year. Here we are again. Making promises we struggle to keep. So, this year, no promises other than write more. I’m pretty happy with making this the resolution of 2017 since I ended the old year on a good path of accomplishing more writing. I’m part of a creative group. It’s a writing/art group my co-workers organized. We have a few writers and drawers trying to meet once a week just to talk/do our creative thing, and encourage each other. It’s great. It’s the 1920s of Paris, France but 2016-17s (The years are not every poetic…oh well) New York/Ireland (Thanks Facebook and other internet programs).
I’ve found inspiration from author Gail Carriger. I tweeted her a writing question at the beginning of October and she answered! It was amazing for me and a big Thank you to her! Also, inspiration from Neil Gaiman, like his commencement speech and New Year posts. So, here is what I’m going to do this year…
Write more. About anything. Just create. I have a feeling it will be easier this year. More support, energy, and time. Try to stay positive through the frustration of work. Use that energy to write. If it’s exhausting don’t feel sad or mad just rest and try again tomorrow. Let’s get to work!

 

Book Review: Buffering by Hannah Hart 

I first learned about Hannah Hart on her YouTube show, “My Drunk Kitchen,” and I introduced her videos to many of my friends and family. I was hooked by her creativity, funny cooking puns, and life morals after every episode. On film she is a positive force. I didn’t know that from the comedy came a hard and trying life. She is an inspiring person with a story everyone needs to read.

Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded is a collection of journal entries, essays, and memories of Hart’s life experiences which lead her to who she is today.

This book is incredibly moving. She talks about growing up with a mother who struggled with mental illness. She talks about her sisters and her slow understanding they weren’t living like others. Her complicated relationship with her father and step-father. How that realization still affects them today. But she also still tries to help others by showing how she has overcome her battles with self-harm and stress. I felt a close connection to Hart’s struggles with depression. And was making mental notes to try some of the exercises she uses to work through tough times.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom. Hart did a great job of mixing the sad with the funny. It was nice to learn the beginnings of “My Drunk Kitchen,” the work that went into creating the business and the content she does today. Also, the meaningful friendships she has developed and the honesty of learning to embrace her sexuality, faith, and self worth.

She is an excellent writer. Her voice is strong and comes through as completely authentic through her writing. It reads as if Hart is sitting with you sharing her story. It takes a lot of courage to open up but by doing so she will help many others.

Thank you to Dey Street Books, HarperCollins, and Edelweiss for the ARC in exchange for this review which had no weight on the outcome of the rating.

Expected publishing date for Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded by Hannah Hart is October 18, 2016.

Upcoming Work

You may see an influx of book reviews. I’m on a reading kick and sometimes get Advance Reader Copies (ARC) from my job. I figure why not turn the love of reading into writing. Plus if I can support/help another author, why not?!

I’ve been struggling. Writing is always a struggle for me. I’m sure for most. And lately I’ve been frustrated with not having a point, purpose, or theme when writing. Fighting is what we writers do. Fight finding time. Finding a comfort. Fighting the mind. Negative or just no thoughts at all. I know I need to sit down at the computer and practice because with practice is improvement.

This hectic schedule I’ve been keeping up has drained me and made me anxious. I have always been one to look and plan too far ahead. That can hinder. I try to think back to Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Just take one thing at a time. This is not just with writing. I try to remember to breath. When sitting down at the computer, watching the blinking cursor is emotional. Especially when it only seems to blink. I don’t have the opportunity to write at the same time everyday and I have to fight that need. Just trying to find steps in the right direction. So, hello ARC! Let’s kick start my writing brain.

Maybe everything else weighing on my mind will also shift into place.

Throwback Thursday: Italian Survival Guide by Elizabeth Bingham Book Review

I worked for an online website CelebrityCafe.com back in 2009. I wrote celebrity news, TV recaps, and reviews. Recently I noticed my articles have disappeared off the site so I’m taking some of my favorite work, and posting it on this page. Below is one of my book reviews.

Italian Survival Guide: The Language and Culture You Need to Travel with Confidence in Italy

Elizabeth Bingham Ph.D.

0970373449

World Prospect Press

A crash course for new travelers to Italy. Learn culture and very basic language to help travel with confidence through a foreign country.

“Italian Survival Guide: The Language and Culture You Need to Travel with Confidence in Italy” is Elizabeth Bingham, Ph.D. second published book, the first book being “German Survival Guide.” Bingham’s “Italian Survival Guild” intentions are to help the reader learn the basics of travel, language, and culture in a little amount of time.

This is not a travel guide for landmarks to see or restaurants to eat at. This is a travel guide for language and culture. Bingham’s book is in seven sections each one on an important topic of traveling. The topics are sorted well and in a useful order. Bingham separates the proper vocabulary in the accurate sections.

The vocabulary is bare basics and all of it essentials. Bingham doesn’t riddle the book with “the dog is on the chair” examples. The terminology is what a person would use when traveling. If you are fluent in Italian, you may find this book ineffective. This book doesn’t come with a CD and I don’t think it needs one. Every term comes with the meaning and the phonetics so there is no question on how a word should be pronounce.

The end of every lesson, chapter, and the book is a review test to help keep what was just read in the head. Short on time Bingham says you can skip the quizzes but I feel you can’t really learn and retain the words without proper time on the subject.

It doesn’t look like this book would be hard to use in Italy either. On the front and back covers is a survival summary of all the vocabulary, meaning, and phonetics all neatly characterize in labeled columns. Located in the back of the book it also a small Italian-English and English-Italian dictionary.

I did skim over some of the sections when I felt they didn’t apply to me and I didn’t feel I really missed anything. If there is anything she had mention in an early section Bingham feels you should review she does tell the reader where to refer back.

The Italian culture was also separated into each section under the appropriate terms. Bingham has made the culture sections easy to read throughout the book and made the tips very practical. She talks about the differences that may be experienced between American and Italian culture. She teaches woman not to be shocked at hollering men, differences in coffee, and money. She gives safety tips to help the traveler stay aware of crime. Sometimes I wish she would have elaborated on certain subjects. For me the currency only made me more confused and worried about what I may face in Italy or what attire is suitable for travel since I cannot change what is in my closet. Also I didn’t feel confident on the directions given on church attire.

Bingham’s book set out to give confidence to a new traveler with limited time to learn language and culture of a foreign country. I think you do need at least a month’s time of everyday study to be confident in a foreign language completely. I do feel see taught a different culture with understanding and ease. I do feel a little bit better traveling to Italy with some of the knowledge and words I have grasp from this book.

Spring Cleaning

Yesterday, I cleaned my desk. This was very important because it was my writing desk. I dug out all the papers and notebooks I had stuffed into every shelf and draw. It was rewarding throwing away things I don’t remember why I was keeping but a small stack of papers has found a place on the far corner of my desk. Now I have the task of what to do with all the little scribbles on tiny pieces of papers. What I thought, at the time of writing, were scraps of genus. Should I read through and transcribe them onto a computer in an archive file or should I throw them all out without ever looking? True, I don’t think I could just toss these papers without a peak. They were the sneaked writing I accomplished while at work or the quick scribble on the train. The words meant so much at the time that I had to get it down somewhere, anywhere, no matter the consequence.

The notebooks are another story. More then one story. Stories I started but never finished. One has long scenes written out. A notebook full of writing advice I found over the years and recorded to encourage, give guidance, and inspire me to write. Notebooks full of more random scratches. Pages of one line.

I have always struggled with throwing things I no longer need away. But I’ve been trashing, donating, and organizing more often. Maybe it’s the small space and the overwhelming feeling of too much. Stress, work, and planning. Even the simple pleasure of reading has become immense.

Even with what’s left of the few notebooks and scattered papers I know I already fill better about my space. I remember where I rather spend my energy. Writing.

Talking Undead

I was invited to participate in my first podcast hosted by Ronan Mullin. You should check out this guy, he has good content. Our topic, The Walking Dead TV show, zombie tropes, and revolving themes. This was recorded before the show finished up it’s sixth season so there is no talk about that cliff hanger ending.

Before you give a listen, be aware, we all know each other and our discussion was in good faith. We finished this recording by playing a round of The Walking Dead Board Game which I lost and became a zombie!

Enjoy the listen.

Back to the Farm!

via The Walking Dead — Ronan Mullin

Book Review: Her Fierce Warrior by Paige Tyler

Another ARC from my job and it in no way sways my review.

Her Fierce Warrior by Paige Tyler is the fourth book in the X-OPS Series. It is a paranormal suspense romance if the cover didn’t give some of the genre away.  Kidnapped and experimented on, Minka escapes the laboratory cage from scientist’s who torture. On the run she is found by Special Forces soldier, Angelo. Can she trust Angelo, the only thing that can calm the beast inside, when she’s not even sure she can control herself around him. Angelo recognizes a hybrid when he sees Minka and to help get her to safety he calls his former team leader, Landon. But Minka and the beast inside are only calm when Angelo is near so Angelo’s protective instincts kick in and sticks with Minka, falling for the other each moment together.

I haven’t read any other books in this series and wasn’t confused when placed in this world. The world building was strong. The dialogue and characters were developed. The storyline was fun, and interesting with shady government cover ups, evil corporate dicks, as well as friends that help strengthen Minka’s control.

What I like the most about this book was the growth Minka’s character had through the story. She really gained a believable amount of confidence and strength. It had nice action sequences especially at the end. I like the therapy sessions featuring other shifters (I’m sure from other books) and the small glimpses into their lives.

I would recommend this book to people who like this genre. Can’t wait to read more of the people and shifters in this world.  This title will be published March 1st, 2016 by Sourcebooks Casablanca.

bookcover Tyler

 

 

Story from a Bookstore Employee 2

A man was using a store stool to reach the top shelf of the magazine section.

Me: “Excuse me sir, but you can not use the stool.”

Customer: *Stays on stool looking at magazines* “Why?”

Me: “It’s a safety issue. You could hurt yourself”

Customer: *Still on stool.* “Well, I can’t reach the top shelf of the magazines. I don’t understand how am I to reach them.” *Starts getting really huffy*

Me: “I can get any magazine you need but you can’t be on the stool. It does say on the stool for store use only. *I point to the sign on the stool* You will need to get down.”

Customer: *Still on stool.* “You know what this is discrimination! You’re discriminating against me because I’m short!”

Customer, realizing I’m not going away, steps off the stool and he is taller than me. He was only a few inches taller than me but it was noticeable. This is also where he won’t directly look at me any longer. It took everything I had not to say to this man, “Oh, you’re taller than me!” At least he got off the stool so I tell him he can speak to a manager if he is still upset but he says no he doesn’t want a manager. I had to get away from him. He left soon after that buying the tall people magazines.

I don’t know how much longer I can work in retail.