Writing in November

dream timeLife is weird. Life is also busy. It is now November. I have two sick kids who are on the mend and I really just want to take a nap right now. I slept well last night, aside from strange dreams, but I feel like I need an extra thirty-minute nap or something to reach fully recharged. I think these days that is a permanent feeling. I am always a nap away from not being tired but I never actually get the nap.

November is National Novel Writing Month. Three days ago NanoWriMo kicked off and thousands of people out there are furiously writing away at what will hopefully be a 50,000 word novel by the end of the month. My friend Lori is giving it a shot. I have competed against time and life to write that 50,000-word novel in a month before too. I am considering doing it again. Only this time I think I will give myself a break. I mean I did just finish a book. Not quite a 50,000-word novel, but a book none the less.

I think I will write a book of short stories. There are hundreds of writing prompts you_fail_only_if_you_stop_writingfloating around out there so I can just pick one or two a day and write a bunch of short fictional narrations that will eventually add up to the necessary word count.  That is the tentative plan. I also have another book idea but I have so many writing irons in the fire I really don’t want to chase after another long project right now.

If anyone out there wants to hop on board the National Novel Writing Month train, I have provided links to the website. It is fun and challenging, especially if you have never done it before. I am just giving it a shot for fun. I know I can write a novel in a month if I need to so I am not as worried about if  I can. I am just writing to support my friend in her endeavors as she runs the race and to enjoy writing just for writing’s sake. Who knows, maybe I can churn out something useful by the end.

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First Steps

This past Friday, July 20th, marked the 49th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. However, not much was said to remember this historic event. Even in Huntsville, IMG_20170729_144116378Alabama, nicknamed The Rocket City, the local news was silent to the passing of such a historic anniversary. Huntsville is where the Saturn V rocket that launched the Apollo 11 mission into space was made. It is the home of U.S. Space and Rocket Center.   So why the radio silence?

Honestly, people just forgot and I find that incredibly sad. 49 years ago Neil Armstrong, representing us all, Neil Armstrong took a step onto a place no one from our planet had ever been. Twenty minutes later Buzz Aldrin followed him. They spent two hours exploring and gathering rocks. But today we just shrug something like that off.

We carry around more advanced tech on a daily basis than NASA had when they launched Apollo 11. Yet, we’ve not been back to the moon. I am sure there are many economic and political reasons that could be cited by those in charge. Funding, lack of significate investment return, etc.

IMG_20170729_153807269I suspect once people figure out how to make a profit of the moon, without completely messing up the Earth, then there will be trips once a week. However, I worry that one of the main reasons we have forgotten this monumental first step and have yet to repeat it is because so few of us look up any more. The stars are always there, whether we can see them or not.

Once we looked up to the stars and wondered. We looked up at the clouds during the day and dreamed. Now our view is often blocked by buildings and light pollution. Our attention is taken away by struggling through the day to day and beating that next level on Candy Crush Saga. There is so much going on in this world, but there isn’t enough dreaming. There isn’t enough looking up and letting your mind wander.space

The dreamers and the stargazers haven’t gone extinct. They are still out there or we wouldn’t be planning a mission to Mars, but they have dwindled in numbers. Maybe it is a good thing we haven’t been back to the moon. Damaging the moon could potentially destroy the Earth. Humans have made bad decisions about things in the past and will continue to do so.

Maybe leaving the moon alone is a good idea. But we should not forget we’ve been there. If everyone took just five minutes once a week to stop and look at the clouds or stars, we still might not go back to the moon, but imagine how far we could go.footsteps

LibertyCon 31, 2018

Day 1 of LibertyCon 31:

We arrived at the convention a little later than originally planned but our timing worked to our advantage. My sister-in-law and I got our badges and checked into the hotel without issue. We’ve been to a few awesome panels and bought probably our weight in books. I’ve met some new people and was able to reconnect with old friends. So far we have had a good time.

The only problems that have shown their warty heads were the internet connection and the fact that we went left when we should have gone right (or the reverse) after getting off the elevator a few minutes ago. This meant we spent ten minutes trying to open a door that was to the wrong room. It took a handy passerby to point this out to us. In our defense, we were tired and just about ready for bed.  I am looking forward to tomorrow.

libertycon 31 no shit there I was

The month for lightbulbs

I know, long time no post. I did mention back in August (I think) that I wouldn’t be posting
as often because of school and such. Life is still as crazy and busy as ever. However, I thought I would take a moment to let everyone know what I am working on. It is for school but I think it will have added benefits by the time I am done.

I didn’t come to that conclusion by myself, mind you. It took a comment from one of my classmates to make me see the potential. Thanks again Emily.

lights-1088141_640“…You could add links to your possible ideas and rough drafts so others can get an idea of your writing style and interests!”  I read this will drinking coffee
and the thoughts exploded in my brain like Christmas lights coming to life. I’ve had some complaints here and there that I don’t write enough about my writing. There are several reasons for that.

One is because I often use this blog to empty my brain of all the other things that get in the way when I try to write. It is my freedom space. All of those thoughts or ideas that have to go some place usually go here, with exceptions of course. This blog is me talking to myself in a crowded room. Yet, no one looks at me funny because if you are reading this you came here to see me talk to myself.

Now I have to create a new blog for school. I wasn’t really looking forward to it. I mean I 6a00d8341c630a53ef013488af5745970c-800wihave this one, amazontwitter, a facebook page, and I have a web page. I don’t update those anywhere near often enough. Why would I want to add one more to the mix? Why would I want to do all of that work for just a grade?

Then Emily commented on my post in our discussion area, (I am going to MTSU online) and it was like the scene from Dead mc2_robinwilliamsPoet’s Society when Robin Williams stands on his desk to gain a different point of view. My eyes were opened to the possibilities. I have needed a place to stash links to things I find online that I want to revisit. I am focusing on History and Literature at school, which is pretty much regular life for a grade and a bit more structured.

(I seriously should get my kids to guest post aboutIMG_20160409_144243004 how many museums and historical sites I drag them to and the documentaries we watch.)

So, coming soon: Back Stories: History in Fiction. It will be on blog spot because I like to spread myself around like that and it is something new to poke at. I will post a link here when I get it up and running.

 

Be Still

walnut-tree-stormI’ve been stressed. I woke up this morning knowing I have to go to work, I have to pay the electric bill, I have to get the kids up, feed them, and make them do their school work. I have to write the other four or five pages of an essay that is due by midnight and I have to learn enough about the Philippine War in order to write a paper about it as well. That one may also be due today. I honestly can’t remember. I am so far behind in my other two classes that I am afraid to look at the due dates.

So my life has been one massive “I have to”. I woke up this morning and realised I can’t bigger-viewremember the last time I read a book for enjoyment. For me, that is like waking up not remembering when I breathed last. Before school started I would read several books a week.

As I lay in bed watching the ceiling fan, I did a playback of this week. It has been extra crummy. I was late to work yesterday. Wednesday a customer got me mad enough that I walked around the grocery store for awhile before coming home. (I had to do grocery shopping anyway.) The list goes on, but this moment of introspection made me realise something. I haven’t had many moments of introspection lately either and that is something I need.

red-treeI need to decompress. I need a few moments of silence away from computers and textbooks. Watching a thirty-minute tv show or going to local county fair may be fun, but they aren’t what I am needing. I think I am taking time out doing those things but really I am just providing more for my over-stimulated brain to take in.
What I really need is a few moments with a cup of tea on the front porch watching the leaves change. I need a hot bath to soak in and to just be. I need a walk in the woods. I need to let my brain download and file away all the things that are daily crammed into it.

If I take that time everything else usually falls into place a lot easier.

Making Mistakes

Recently I was applying a thick coating of antibiotic cream to an abrasion my eldest error-101407_1920achieved from doing something she realized (in retrospect) was a bad idea. It was while listening to her hiss in pain as she attempted to hold still that I was struck with a thought. Kids are a second chance to learn from your own mistakes.

You see, the thing she did was something I easily could have done once upon a time. I have even considered it before. However, by that time I was old enough to think the idea all of the way through and realise what the end result would probably be. She is still at the age of: “I have an idea! Let’s try it.”

Being a parent of really creative children is a joy and a challenge. They come up with some wonderful insights but they also find their fair share of trouble. Sometimes they find that trouble earlier than they are prepared to deal with it. Mostly it is because they simply haven’t learned to think things through. It can be a hard lesson to learn. Some people never learn it.

doctor-1015624_1920Bumps, bruises, scrapes, and embarrassment help encourage us to look ahead to possible outcomes. This is a good thing for self preservation but it can also be a bad thing if you only weigh the negative outcomes. There is a balance that has to be learned. Sometimes it is worth it to take the chance. Sometimes it is not. The important thing is to think about things before you do them.

I would like to say this is a lesson I know well, but that would be a lie. In some things I am good at looking ahead and going “Nope. Bad Idea. Okay, Plan B…” In other things it never occurs to me. (Hence the three novels currently being worked on all at the same time.) Sometimes I see the mud puddle and jump it without look to see what the ground is like on the other side. That is a good way to lose shoes. (I know from experience.)

If my daughter had thought things through she wouldn’t have gotten hurt. It is a lesson she has learned and will not repeat soon. It also reminded me of my own mistakes and the things I learned.

Parents like to repeat: Look Before You Leap. There is a reason. It is cliche but it is ancient silhouette-1082129_1920wisdom we try to pass on. We try to warn our offspring. Often they don’t listen to the warning and end up making their own mistakes anyway, just as we did.

One day they will grow up and pass that phrase on to their own children, who will roll their eyes and make mistakes. It is part of the learning process. However, if the same mistake keeps getting repeated over and over then the lessons aren’t getting through and it may be time for extra guidance. (Unless you are trying to make something. Then those “mistakes” turn into “drafts” or “experiments.”)

Only a test

It’s that time of year again. Time to see how well my little fish can climb a tree. That’s right it is standardized testing time!

I am a bit nervous this year because this is the first year I am the teacher. Homeschooling has been fun but now it all comes down to one test. If my son does well, yay for him and yay for me. If my son does poorly…well then I am a crappy teacher. That’s the way it works right?

It doesn’t matter how much he knows about Faraday cages or The Black Ships if they don’t ask questions about those things. Some how I don’t think the fact that ancient Egyptians tossed the brain during mummification, because they didn’t think the brain was important, will come up.

These are all things we learned this year right next to long division and adding decimals. However, this is standardized testing. Usualy it is only the numbers that matter.