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Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

This is my (non-day job related) To Do List Action Matrix (sounds very official, amirite?)

Ooh, I feel the actiony energies bubbling up already. Wait, how is it lunchtime already?

Not the complete list, you understand, but a selection of the items I am most likely to tackle in the next few days.

He he. Let’s see how far I get, shall we?

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Photo by Omer Salom on Unsplash

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A storm rolled through last night.

I’ve always loved good thunder and lightning, but this was next level. As I listened to the rumbles like drums and watched bolts of energy streak through the sky, I thought a bit about Mother Nature, and how we often seem to be playing catch-up.

When it’s wet, find a nice cave for shelter. If it’s cold, master fire. If it floods, head for high ground until the water recedes.

I’m oversimplifying, of course, but our instincts, and now our infrastructure and our policies, often seem static or reactive. Particularly in times of great change.

Wouldn’t it be nice to get ahead of the curve?

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Take pollinators, for example. (You knew I’d get to that at some point, didn’t you?)

In the US and Canada, my home turf, communities are full of bylaws governing what you can and can’t do with property in the communal sphere. It’s your land, but you probably aren’t allowed to grow a towering oak directly under a power line or leave rusting car parts by the sidewalk as a tetanus reservoir for children and dogs. 

That’s all seems reasonable, and on the side of the greater good. But what about redefining “good” to include not just aesthetically pleasing symbols of European aristocracy in a bygone era (aka close-cropped grass lawns), but also what we all need for a healthy and successful future?

Take this gentleman as an example:

Kansas City Man’s Plea For Native Flower Justice Unites Gardeners Around The World

He did what scientists and ecologists around the world are encouraging, and turned his yard into a pollinator paradise. My hat is off to him. But the city reacted by telling him to cut it down because it violated city code. I would argue that this is because they are operating on an outdated definition of what’s “good.”

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recent survey asked teens how they felt about the job their elders are doing on climate, and the results were both predictable and cause for a bit of reflection. The kids are deeply disappointed, and they have reason. The good news is that many members of “Generation Greta” aren’t waiting around.

That’s not to say that nothing has changed. Solar panels, electric vehicles, wind turbines, the push for accountability down the supply chain, all good things. Even so, many of our current policies remain stuck in the past. We’re on the right path but we’re not going fast enough. And not everyone is moving in the same direction.

It’s time for the sort of thinking at which writers and creatives (and teenagers) excel: new ideas, new approaches, and a reimagining of what we can do now, even in the face of current challenges.

Even if it’s something as small as what grows in your front yard.

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As I sat there last night in my cave, rain and thunder all around, I realized that our definitions aren’t all that will matter in the end.

And that it’s always smart to stay on Mother Nature’s good side.

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Photo by Dave Hoefler on Unsplash

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Good to Know!

It’s like this fortune cookie knows me…

A plan you have been working on for a long time is beginning to take shape.
Photo by Elena Koycheva on Unsplash

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It seems we each have a fundamental core where we feel most comfortable, or most ourselves. It may come as no surprise to those who have spent any time on this site, but for me, it’s books and food. 

Those aren’t all I’m made of, of course, but those two elements were established early, before my memories became fixed. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t love books and food. One of my first real recollections is sitting on the side steps of the porch eating an artichoke with my father, and it’s hard not to feel happy in a kitchen or library.

Now, if I’d had different experiences growing up I might have become an engineer or a tailor or a computer scientist. I make things and sew and code but not with the intuitive ease some have. Instead, it’s books. And food. I’m ok with that. 

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I’m in the middle of a writing class, designing story ideas and characters. It got me thinking about how experiences become preferences and worldviews underpinning our actions. 

My father and I visited the Grand Canyon once, road-tripping north to the South Rim to hike and camp. The trip was great, full of heat and happiness, astonishing vistas and challenging trails.

I may also have spent some of the visit sitting by the edge, reading a book. Because we had a few minutes and that’s how I roll.

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Like places, people have layers. Understanding how time and exposure, pressure and purpose combine makes it easier to build complex and interesting motivations, or to understand our own.

We just have to sit back and consider what we’re made of.

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Photo by Jenn Wood on Unsplash

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Not that I’ve let Alexa into my life or anything, but this might be the one ability that would convince me to do it!

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A Touch of Magic

“A well-composed book is a magic carpet on which we are wafted to a world that we cannot enter in any other way.”

― Caroline Gordon

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Photo by Kevin Wolf on Unsplash

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The other day I hemmed a pair of jeans for Mr Man. The method isn’t difficult but can be a little tricky to get right. All those thick seams and difficult fabric. 

I don’t sew much, so I had to go through the usual process of pretending like I know what I’m doing. A lot like life, really. Thankfully, muscle memory has been in charge of threading sewing machine needles since I was about twelve.

Once I finished, I realized something interesting. The results were good. Better than the last time I did it, actually. And the interesting part was that it wasn’t perfect, nowhere close, but I seem to have figured out what mattered.

For hemmed jeans, it’s thread color. 

For writing, I will argue, it’s the emotion that connects reader and written. 

It’s possible that I sometimes try too hard, in an effort to get everything right. (Hahahahaha, that seems even sillier when I write it down. Yeah, that’s not happening, like, ever;)

But what if I don’t need to get the whole thing right? What if I just need to get the right things right? 

Step one, figure out what those things are. Step two, take the next step.

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You’ve got this, kiddo. Photo by Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash

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“The truth is that the world is full of dragons, and none of us are as powerful or cool as we’d like to be. And that sucks. But when you’re confronted with that fact, you can either crawl into a hole and quit, or you can get out there, take off your shoes, and Bilbo it up.”

― Patrick Rothfuss

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Photo by Amanda Swanepoel on Unsplash

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Today in creative women, we have two items you might find interesting. First, a podcast on one of our great science fiction writers: 

Octavia Butler: Visionary Fiction

Octavia Butler’s alternate realities and ‘speculative fiction’ reveal striking, and often devastating parallels to the world we live in today. She was a deep observer of the human condition, perplexed and inspired by our propensity towards self-destruction. Butler was also fascinated by the cyclical nature of history, and often looked to the past when writing about the future. Along with her warning is her message of hope – a hope conjured by centuries of survival and persistence. For every society that perishes in her books comes a story of rebuilding, of repair.

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I was also interested to see this piece on largely forgotten female composers, complete with interactive map. I’m not a classical music buff, but I didn’t even know Amadeus had a sister, much less one who was also a child music prodigy. Now I do, and I’m better for it.

‘They deserve a place in history’: music teacher makes map of female composers

Two siblings, both considered child prodigies, dazzled audiences across Europe together in the 18th century, leaving a trail of positive reviews in their wake. But while Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart went on to be celebrated as one of the world’s greatest composers, the accomplishments of his sister – Maria Anna – were quickly forgotten after she was forced to halt her career when she came of age.

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Here’s to not stopping.

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Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

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How about a bit of free fiction today? I’m still on day job vacation but had to take a meeting. Thankfully, my work day was nothing like this piece by David Shultz over at Diabolical Plots:

“Boom & Bust” by David F. Shultz

Kondo barked his orders. “Rocco, cover the east window. Valiant, you’re on ammo detail. Pepsi, keep an eye on market changes. Luna, get me a full asset list.”

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Photo by Jayden Staines on Unsplash

Bonus fiction:

Sounds like those workers could have used a union. Maybe Alexa can fix them up;)

Alexa, Play Solidarity Forever by Audrey R. Hollis

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Photo by Reet Talreja on Unsplash

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