Changes come to Camelot

Hello everyone. I’ve been slacking a bit lately when it comes to blog posts. The truth is life
has been full of changes recently, which has left my mind foggy. It is hard to pick one thing to write about when there is so much going on and it is even harder when you are smack dab in the middle of all the changes that are happening.

Change is one of the constants in life. Things always change. Today is a big day for change too. Today I say good bye to the best boss I’ve ever had the pleasure of working for. She is off to greener pastures (and hopefully better pay).

It isn’t good bye forever of course. It is just the boss/employee part of our life journey has come to an end. Now, I hope we will stay connected as friends.

There will be more at a later date of the other changes going on in my life, but for the moment I will leave you with a poem that pretty much sums up how I am feeling.castle-195105_1280

Camelot Falls

By Tammi A. Miller

Camelot has fallen

Mordred is at the gate

The table is now splintered

And our lives left up to fate

Our Royal leader must depart

To travel Avalon’s golden shores

We are knights without direction,

Boats who have come unmoored

We will not long stay adrift

Using knowledge our leader taught

Yet a bit of worldly good is gone

Such a truth can not be fought

Our banner has been trampled

The staff broken by unnamed foes

The colors stained and tarnished

Our morale crushed by heavy blows

We still have our beaten armor

And with it, weapons sharp

We can battle by strength and mind

Though what we lack is heart

We are without a sovereign true

Without a mentor to guide the path

We must choose all on our own

How to miss mistake’s quick lash

Camelot has fallen

Mordred is at the gate

The table is now splintered

And our lives left up to fate.

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Just another Monday

I was on facebook a few minutes ago. I didn’t really have a reason. I was just procrastinating. I have to get the kids up in a few minutes and rush them off to school. All of the before school prep work is done.

I could take a shower but I would rather save that until I get back home. I only have plans to drop them off, then come home and clean the house. I will probably want another shower after all that is done anyway so I think I will just wait. I can use the time it would take me to shower now, to write and sip my coffee.

If only my brain will co-operate. It feels like a heavy lump sitting inside my skull at the moment. I am hoping by the time this first cup of coffee is gone it will be rejuvenated. I think it is tired from all of the dreaming I did last night.

I don’t remember much, but there is this very vivid bit about trying to hide motorcycle tires in a tool closet and having an old Asian lady for a next door neighbor. I can see her so clearly that she will probably end up in a story somewhere. I don’t know about the bit with the motorcycle tires.

Anyway, I brought up facebook because I just watched this really neat video that was posted to my daughter’s timeline. It was a visual of what I feel like I go through with my characters sometimes. I don’t really draw of course, but there in my head fictional people are having a major kung-fu throw down.

Here is a link: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152922870209245

Enjoy!

Hello Monday my old friend

I haven’t slept. I spent the night chain watching Harry Potter movies with my 12yr old daughter. It is her first time watching them and mine too in some cases.  I read all of the books as they came out, (I worked in a bookstore at the time and it was very hard not to.) but I never got around to watching all of the movies.

My mom loved both the books and the movies and has all of both versions. We borrowed the movies from her and my kiddo is now expressing interest in the books as well.  We still have the last two movies to go, so we will see if she changes her mind.

Regardless, I will probably pick the first book in the Harry Potter series as our “chapter a night” bed time read after we finish the book we are on.  Both of my kids read well above their grade levels but there is just something about snuggling up together and sharing a book. I don’t have to read to them but I sure do enjoy it.

Shooting myself in the creative foot

LibertyCon is this weekend and I am really looking forward to it.  I need a motivation boost.  I watched a movie recently, called Author’s Anonymous.  If you haven’t seen it, I recommend you keep it that way.

I know some people who have watched and liked it. To me it was like a two hour writer’s soul sucking vampire in digital form.  I was extremely depressed after I forced myself to watch it all the way through.  I paid money to rent it so I was too stubborn to turn the thing off like I should have.

The movie was about a writing group.  It was filmed like a camera crew following each of the characters around for a documentary.  You had the older man, a Tom Clancy wanna be. (Who hated Tom Clancy) You had they younger guy who worked two jobs and had major writer’s block and too focused on the pretty blonde girl in the group. (She was the actress who plays Penny on the show Big Bang Theory.)

There was the married couple; a bad romance writer with one manuscript and her optometrist husband who only recorded ideas for novels on a digital recorder.  Then there was the undereducated pretty blonde who lived with her mother, did nothing but write and ended up with a book contract before everyone else.

I don’t remember any of the character’s names. I could look them up but I am trying to forget the whole movie.  Really, it could be a good example of what not to do as a writer. It does a good job of portraying jealously and back biting.  The older man even falls for a Vanity Publisher.  His book turns out awful with a bad cover and the blurb in Chinese instead of English.

I still haven’t pinpointed exactly why the movie affected me so much. It felt like food poisoning only for writing.  Maybe because of the way it portrayed writers?  But then a lot of what they showed was true. Extreme versions maybe, but I have met people similar.

Maybe it’s because I can identify with some of the characters. I am educated. I read a lot. But I am not as well educated as others and I am writing in between life.  I have to work because I have kids and cats to feed and so far no one has bought any of my stories.

My goal is to be a hybrid author. To both self publish and traditionally publish. The movie certainly showed self publishing in the worst light. Vanity publishers are to be avoided. There are other ways, but those were not even mentioned.

Showing all the options is too much to be expected of a movie that is not a documentary. I do realize that. I am just trying to figure out why watching Author’s Anonymous felt like shooting myself in the creative foot.

So perhaps it is because I can see a little bits of the more vulnerable sides of my own life in three of the five main characters.  I’ve never read the Great Gatsby, I self publish, and I work a job not related to writing.  I never considered these really bad things until this movie. It made me feel like a charlatan or a fraud to call myself a writer.

And if I share faults with three of the five then what about the other two?  Are there things that I don’t see in myself?  Maybe I don’t write as well as I thought I did?

Yeah this movie really crushed my ego.  Hopefully I will be able to shake off the effects of it soon.

 

Same Story, Different Voice

A_picture_is_worth_a_thousand_wordsPeople tell me things.  I don’t know why but they do.  I can be ringing up items at work or standing in line at the bank and people start talking.  Some days there is even a theme.

There was a night at work, not too long ago, where everyone I came across had a divorce story or a child custody battle to tell me about.  (My cousin is going through something like that right now.)  I have heard all about ex-husbands and wives, favorite dog breeds, the trouble with banks, what milk tastes best, health issues, money issues…you name it.

whats-your-storyThe thing is, even though the faces change and the details differ, the story remains the same. People tell me about heartbreaks, about joys, about pain and sadness.  Sometimes the story isn’t spoken in words.  Sometimes the words just frame the story, like the story of loneliness.   Loneliness usually starts out with “When my kids were young…” or “When my wife was still alive…”  The beginnings aren’t always the same but the core of the story is.

That is why they say everything has already been written.  Everyone has the same stories, MedievalWeavingTLLivingWisdomSacredthey are just colored by our point of view. That is a good thing.  The common thread joins us together.  It is what makes people focus on stories.  The voice telling the story gives it enough separation from what we already know to make interesting.

When writing, the “originality” of the tale doesn’t matter as much as the voice we tell it in.  A college student, a widow, and a cat lady have all experienced loneliness.  It is the voice of the person telling of the experience that makes it different.

“Are you a good witch or a bad witch?”

I think my computer problems have been solved.  I am going to try writing this post and see what happens.

So,

Once Upon a Time, when I was a kid…

I lived in the middle of nowhere. We had trees on three sides and my grandmother and the family church were on the other.  My cousins lived behind us.  We had a small trail worn granny and papawthrough the patch of trees that separated our houses.  There was a proper path but it led past my granny’s house, down a hill and over the trickle of a stream.  Cutting through the woods was faster and more fun.

Two of my cousins were years younger than me and between them and my brother I had my very own minions.  My other cousin, John, George-The-Sheriff-of-Nottingham-the-sheriff-of-nottingham-7270307-440-685was just a month younger than me and always bigger.  He was my mortal enemy.  (Unless there were adults watching or something good was on T.V.)  He was the villain to my hero, the Sheriff of Nottingham to my Robin Hood. (Really.  If I read a book it wasn’t long before we were playing it.)

We fought constantly.  We traded bruises.  Well…I collected bruises and tried to return the favor.  Things were simple.  If John was going to do something then I automatically knew it was a bad idea.  That didn’t always stop me, but at least I knew going in that it probably would end in tears.  (I fell into the creek sooo many times…)

I miss my cousin John.  He was killed years ago in a motorcycle accident.  We had managed to come to some silent mutual understanding during our late teen years and didn’t fight so much.  (We didn’t interact much.)

Back then I knew what trouble looked like. It mostly wore my cousin’s face.  Today stressproblems are more faceless.  Bills, Stress, Work…nouns without faces attached, though we sometimes add faces.  We look for people to attach blame for those things to.  We need our villains and our anti-heroes.  If we can’t find them, then we become them.

I think that is why we love/hate the bad guys so much.  Loki, Darth Vader, The Wicked Witch, The Nothing.  They all bring vivid images to our minds and fill a need. Without villains, there would be no heroes.  That is why they are so important in life and in fiction.

A Chilling Post

Monday’s post wasn’t really a post, so I thought I would make up for it with this one.

tissuesI went to bed sick last night.  I’m still not feeling that great this morning.  I had nightmares all night, (I always do when I get sick), and I woke up with a pulled muscle in my right shoulder and a slightly swollen left eye.   I am not sure what I did to earn either of those, but I am guessing I wrestled with something in my sleep.

It is cold outside. The local weatherman says it is 25 degrees right now, my computer reports 22.   The kids did not want to go to school this morning and I don’t blame them.  Still, I did the evil mom thing and made them go anyway.

However, after dropping them off I could not force myself to return home.  I do dumb things sometimes, and this may prove to be one of them, but instead of going home I took a walk. I haven’t seen “outside” since last year.  It feels like the last sixteen days have been nothing but a repeat of: work, home, school, grocery store.IMG_20140116_074816_035

There is an entrance to The Greenway, a walking trail that goes all over town, just down the road from the school.  So despite being sick and injured,  I decided to stop and take a stroll.  It was great.

I do not like being cold.  It is near the top of my list of things I don’t like.  That’s what makes my impromptu side trip even more odd.

IMG_20140116_074145_770But as lost feeling in my nose and my toes turned into icicles, I also forgot about the pain in my shoulder.  I remembered crunching frozen mud puddles as a kid and I marveled at the steam rising from the small brook that runs near the trail.  The grass was frozen white and reminded me of frosted mini wheats.

There was just one cloud in the sky. It stood like a fluffy white pillar in the distance and IMG_20140116_074504_990gave me a great idea for a story.  Shivering I returned to my still warm car and drove home.

The warm cup of tea I am currently sipping seems like the best I’ve ever had, even though it’s “the cheep stuff” sweetened with a spoon full of honey.  My walk only lasted fifteen or twenty minutes, but it is good to remember what cold feels like every now and again. It makes you enjoy warmth that much more.