Another Atmosphere

With the help of Google maps I found a cafe. Well, it’s a Starbucks but I can walk their, drink tea, and write. Well, I hope I can write. I’ll be by myself. I got used to the companionship of my fellow creative friends and lovely cafe people in New York. Also, sometimes people can’t help but think, “that person looks bored, typing away, let me help by being a distraction.” Happens if you read. Or wear headphones.

I guess you could say if I don’t want to be distracted I should stay home but sometimes a different atmosphere is needed and home is filled with distractions. The noise of a coffee shop is like static or rain. It can help focus. Help tune out the bullying voices in your head. And if you’re stumped there is always people watching. Need an outfit for your character? Look up and use something around you. Have trouble writing dialog? Listen. Being in a public place and just listening can help find rhythm, or accents.

Also, exercise. I like knowing there is something in walking distance. Days I feel like a lump or am having trouble breaking through the creative wall, walking  loosens my limbs and brain waves which helps writing.

But i’m getting ahead of myself. Have to get their and hang out a few times to see if this is the place for me. But there is hope. Hope and tea.

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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.

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.

Met A Man On The Train

Heading to the city for my gym class on Monday and the train wasn’t running. I realized after climbing the three flights of stairs that I should have known. When I had gotten off the bus, I could see a huge crowd waiting. According to the MTA the train wasn’t running and the booth attendant would only say the trains weren’t running. I have an app, which told me there was a police investigation at one of the stations so there were limited stops but was this information up to date? Not taking a chance, I ran back down the stairs grateful the bus was still there and trying to figure out how do I get to the city. I wasn’t the only one. I figured out I should stay on the bus and it would take me to another train line. So, that’s what I did. I shared this information with a woman and a man. The man told me he had decided not to drive today. He thought the train would be best since his destination was Chinatown. Now, he was wishing he drove. We laughed and eventually we were seated separately and I started reading articles on my phone.

With the slow bus ride I lost track of time. I felt a tap on the shoulder and it was the gentleman again. He told me this was our stop. I kicked myself for not paying attention and we continued to the train. We started talking more on the platform and on the train. He wasn’t familiar with this train line and I was so I tried my best to help him to his goal. I assured him that it is still a learning process for me since I have moved from one side of the Bronx to the other and wasn’t as confident with these buses to which train. He told me how he has only been taking using the train since he started dating his boyfriend and that he has tried to learn and remember what to use to get where. He told me since the 7 train has been not running on the weekends it has really tested his abilities but he has been succeeding.

He told me how they take the train down to flea markets and walk back over the Brooklyn Bridge. His knees are not happy about it but he has been able to enjoy the sites of the city now that he doesn’t have to watch it from the driver’s window. We talked about Flea Market Flip and the Gotham Market. It wasn’t until I exited the train at 42nd street that I realized we never exchanged names.

I have never has such nice company from a stranger on the train before. New York City’s subway system taught me to be aware, and cautious at all times. I can’t say this experience has changed me to the point where I will open up and converse with anyone but I guess I find it nice to know that the MTA’s out of service train didn’t ruin my mood or day.

He was continuing on to Union Square. I hoped he transfer to the 6 train so he could make it to Canal Street. Maybe someday I’ll see him again, hopefully on a working train and we can laugh about the odds.

Lost Inspiration

Here is an oldie but goodie. It’s tough to loss inspiration but I was still able to find a writing piece after the unfinished moment. Enjoy.

Random Thoughts

May 18, 2012

I was writing. This night in this car a moment of inspiration struck and I was typing it down on my phone, thumbs moving around the small smooth screen mixing in neighbor letter bringing red lines until my phone died. My inner voice still talked. I took out a pen from my bag but I had no paper. In a moment I started gliding the words out on my hand.

The driver broke in and asked, “why I was writing on my hand?”
I continued to write. “I had all these thoughts in my head and I just felt I had to get them down.” 
The driver smirked, “Why don’t you write on paper.” 
If I wasn’t in the car I probably would have made a sarcastic comment but all that was said, “I don’t have any and in this moment I hate I have relied on my phone…

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Writing Trips

When I had the money some days I would go to the MET. I would find a favorite painting, statue, or place, sit in front of it and write. Sometimes it was just a journal entry, an idea or a story. Sometimes it was nothing. When it was a story it was usually about what I stared at. I loved those days and miss them. I would go by myself. I could take the day and wonder wherever I wanted. There was no worry it wasn’t what someone else wanted to do. All that mattered was what my mind and writing hand wanted to do. Sometimes I would spend hours in one section or at one painting. But sometimes if the day was nice it was through Central Park for some nature inspiration. I hoped nothing would become to familiar or boring. That my mind would clear and my writing would take off. Sometimes I could write pages upon pages. The worst days were when no ink would leave the pen tip.

I looked for someplace closer. I use to write at the Starbucks by me. It was a long walk, and a noisy place. Before people yell at me for not supporting a nearby cute Mom and Pop cafe there isn’t one near me. Still this Starbucks feels like a homey cafe.  Maybe it’s the small town feel surrounded area or the baristas who seem to know many customers that come in by name and their drink. All that’s missing is the to stay (London style) ceramic mugs. I liked the ambient cafe noise. I liked hearing the sound of steam hitting the milk as coffee foam was made and the people around me working or talking. In the cafe I could people watch. I liked catching meet and greets, business deals taking place, the old men playing chess or children and teenagers giggling and laughing just a little to loud. I liked being able to get any type of coffee or tea creation. Probably the one thing I never went for that most did was the free WiFi. I found it easy to shut off Internet access and write. I stopped going because of bad weather, calorie intake, and maybe that one  nosy interrupting person.

Next I tried the library. It seems it has been the one place I have always had trouble writing. In one library I couldn’t get any work done. One of the Assistant Librarians knew me from around the neighborhood and would love to chat with me. He was loud for the library and even said embarrassing, inappropriate things that got looks from other patrons and workers. Needless to say it made me feel uncomfortable. I tried to be polite but it was an every visit occurrence so I stop going to that location and tried another. I realized from another library location I have always believed libraries are too quiet. Hearing every turn of a page can be maddening when I’m trying to write. I look up from the screen with every movement.

I think the best writing I do is when I’m on vacation or away. A new city, place, and constant stimulation. I know what I have to write about and the short amount of time I have to write.  It’s not story writing but journal writing and who cares? I write like a fiend. (Sorry for the cliche). I don’t care about imperfections just as long as I get everything I want to remember down. The air, sights, sounds, and the events of the day.

Lately I’ve been writing from home. I make my own tea and use the Coffitivity or Rainy Cafe website to get the ambient sound I need to write. When I need to leave I take a walk around the block or to the dog park to clear my mind. It always helps to watch my dog, Lana, run free from the leash and tumble around with her doggy friends.

Do you find going someplace helps you write? What place has inspired you? Or do you need complete silence to get words down on the page?

Shaking Lounging Negativity

Ever read other people’s writing and think, “They are so much better than me. I’m hopeless. I should give up.” I’m not talking about strangers I’m talking about friends. For me writing is a struggle but they can write with such ease. They write and the first draft makes sense. They can sit down and write pages upon pages of a story with a word count over the thousands. Worst are the ones who never thought to write but they sit down and bang out a story. How much that hurts? It’s not their fault. I have been trying to be more confidence about by goals to be a writer maybe even an author. Sometimes I just don’t feel smart enough to succeed. I was always struggling through school. And while my mother always said do the best I could and didn’t pressure me to get top marks I pushed myself to be a good student. I got A’s in some subjects but no matter how much I tried I did get D’s and even F’s sometimes. Test for the classes I may have loved weren’t always kind. Sometimes the teacher and tutors weren’t helpful too. I can remember the negative as well as the positive but it is the negative I still fight against.

I had to keep reminding myself that just because that other student was a top student didn’t mean they would be successful. Hell, many now seem to have normal 9-5 jobs they hate and didn’t become famous or do better than me. But I am still reminded by the mean things that followed me through life. The tutor that told me, “You can’t expect to become a writer if you’re a bad speller.” Or the teachers who didn’t want me in their class because I was a “slow” student and would never “understand Shakespeare”. The adviser who told me my grades would never cut it in the profession I wanted and I should think about changing majors. The customers who were shocked I could read let alone read novels and told me I must be stupid because I was working as a cashier. Or the stranger at Starbucks that told me my goal for writing as an author was unrealistic. He said something like I shouldn’t expect to coast through life and I either had to get a job or married and pregnant because I’m not getting any younger. People.

I tried to not let it get me down. I tried to find ways around my weaknesses. At my essay exams I started becoming the Thesaurus queen so I could insert similar words to the ones I couldn’t spell. I went to the library and checked out Shakespeare plays and sonnets. I found I understood Shakespeare and even loved some I read. The adviser I went to in college didn’t help me and didn’t give me good advise but I didn’t fine out until I left college missing a few classes that would have looked good on my real world resume. So I try to hold on to the fact that I’m over coming and fighting to keep doing what I love no matter the “should’s” or “should nots” from strangers and listen to my loved ones who are great at incurring. I will keep going and try to fight for my passion.

All who read this, if you feel the need to say something to strangers’ maybe say nothing at all. You may mean well but when you don’t know the whole story you could be hurting someone. If you’re a teacher or tutor encourage and help a student learn. It may not be that you didn’t teach it right it could be the student has a different way of learning.

Everyday I fight the negative thoughts that have burrowed deep. I will try not to let hurtful words from memories bring me down today or in the future. I will try not to get angry with the ones who write with structure and ease because it’s not there fault I see their ease at writing as my failure. After all most of my doubts are only sticking with me because of my mind’s finger is on the repeat button. Guaranteed on the occasion you talk to your friends about their writing insecurities they will tell you they feel the same about other writer’s they have read.

Spring is here. It’s time for new growth. Time to get out of the house, feel the sun and warmth and shake the negative. Maybe feel inspired to write even if it’s not perfect…ever.

Making Writer Time

Last Monday through Thursday I did another week of a prompt a day and I think I was successful. Today I didn’t do a prompt. But today I felt I didn’t want to keep working on stories that may go nowhere. I wanted to start working on some ideas I have shaking around in my head. Today I started work on my short story. I think it’s the Irish spirit inspiring me to finally start since I want it to be a story about Irish folklore and fairies. Also, I’m hoping to start an outline for another story I thought up after a strange dream. Finally I hope to start writing my novel somewhere in between all of that. Who knows if publishing will ever come to past but nothing will get published if there is nothing written down to publish. So I write or do things writing related. Outlining, promoting, or brain storming.

Thursday night into Friday morning I slept a only few hours. I couldn’t find the energy to get my brain to form words on paper. Really, I tried, but I could barely form words into speech.  I promoted my Facebook Author page to friends. I think it was a successful writing day since I worked on something writing related and my page has 28 likes as I’m typing this so YAY! And more positive news is I still have some open queries to agents floating around so my little guy still has a chance. I guess what I’m saying is I’m trying to make my life more about writing. Even on the days my mind tries to fight my positive progress. Grabbing at straws? Maybe. But nothing is going to happen without practice and forward motion.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all and Irish blessing all around.

Prompt Progress

I’ve been doing well writing my daily prompts. I’ve been posting my progress and what prompts I use on my Twitter and Facebook. If you haven’t been following here is a review of the prompts I used the last few days, word count, and the process I’ve noticed in my writing. I’m thinking if you read it and see a prompt you like you can try it. I’ve been googling a lot of these prompts from different sites and generators. Also, the prompts used I write about a page, singled space on Word. I prefer to type my prompts and I do go over the page mark when I’m on a roll with my story. I figure this isn’t college so I can bend the rules since they are my rules.

I won’t go over Friday and Monday’s prompts other then to tell you what they were. My last post I wrote about the writing progress and my word count but I never posted the prompts that gave me inspiration.

Friday’s prompt was, “The city burned, fire lighting up the night sky.” and Monday’s was, “Write a favorite outdoor childhood memory. First person, present tense.”

Tuesday was, “He wanted her job and it would be easy enough to take.” I had a little trouble staying in third person. I kept catching myself drifting into first. I did write a nice (clique) twist at the end but I did write 670 words.

Wednesday I wrote 801 words using “Outside the cabin, the wind howled through the trees, while inside, the old woman’s fire was nearly out.” It was a great prompt. I went the horror route on this one. It is just so fun to put a sweet looking old lady in a creepy cabin. My writing was more focused.

Thursday I wrote 592 words with the prompt that started, “She kept checking her phone and email, wishing someone would make contact.” This prompt’s story line ending up being based some feeling had a few years ago. It was quite therapeutic but I couldn’t for me write the ending.

And today I ended the week strong with 774 words. The writing prompt was about a character stuck in a zombie apocalypse. Another fun, imaginative exercise. My writing is becoming more distributive but next week I have to work on sense of smell. I see my characters are describing their feels and hearing scary things but they haven’t smelled much. I want to work on a clear picture of surroundings that readers can see.

SO that’s it. Do you think you will try any of these prompts? Do you know any good prompts you think I should try? I would love to here from you.