Archive for November, 2009

November 30, 2009

I did it. I’m a Wrimo Winner

Well, it’s so drafty that I caught a cold while working on it, but I submitted over 50,000 words and got my “goodies”.

I wrote a “memoir” – that could become a novel, perhaps, some day. Anyhow after being a one-day novelist (as in, one day I’ll write a novel) from as early as Grade 7 when my friend Suzanne and I decided we’d write a Nancy Drew together, through ideas about mystery novels – usually in a series – I admire Sue Grafton making her way through the alphabet!

So this is the most # of words and time committed to creative writing, and it was, as expected, somewhat therapeutic to deconstruct my “dream job that turned into a nightmare” and try to figure out what “waking up” meant!


November 29, 2009

Hypocrisy and Imperfection

quotation from The Bishop’s Man

… And I remembered Father Roddie, the philosopher, and his words the week before my ordination. Nobody is perfect, not in this life; but we have to show, by example, how to manage imperfections.

But Father Roddie didn’t reveal to me the secret weapon for the management of imperfection. I had to learn that for myself. I had to learn about hypocrisy alone.

November 27, 2009

The Bishop’s Man by Linden MacIntyre

I’m at page 100 – after waiting several months from VPL – so better get going. I’m enjoying it. Nice writing; nice dialogue; interesting stories from the characters.

November 27, 2009

WriMo conversations to inspire

I have a friend that I get together most Fridays – usually for breakfast – today we went for lunch. We’ve known each other for, hum,more than 20 years. And during the 8-year dream/nightmare job she got to hear a lot about the joys and challenges of the job.

I asked her today: Did you see an arc in that story?

She at first described a curve from top to bottom to top and then said, “No, it was more like a rollercoaster. I remember the ups when you got staff and then when you had a presence here.” up and down.

My friend is also a manager of a non-profit organization, so was often helpful in a concrete way as well as full of empathy.

I remember my interview for the job and being asked: where do I get emotional support. I smiled and said: I’ve got a wide and supportive network of friends and family. There are literally dozens of people thinking about me right now.

I often remembered that and felt i needed every bit of that support in order to carry on at times.

I think it’s harder to write 50,000 words in a month for an extrovert. I recommend planning conversations – not instead of writing but to supplement, inspire, encourage writing. I am with the people that say: don’t show much to people though. (other than your blog, perhaps.)

230 words – they count!

November 26, 2009

Christmas it’s ok

It’s OK to wish me MerryChristmas, and contrary to what I’ve heard people haven’t gotten thrown in jail for wishing other people Merry Christmas.

But maybe they have – I’d like to know more about the details if this is true.

Chrisitianity is still the dominent religion in Canada. I was told a while ago that Paganism was the fastest growing, but I think that’s from teeny tiny to itsy bitsy. Easier to double your numbers if you’re small, right?

Most of the Christians I know I meet at liberal religious conferences and interfaith activities. They seem not at all bent-out-of shape at being asked to consider the idea that not all people you meet on the street are Christians and might prefer a different greeting.

As a Unitarian, we rewrite the words of some of the songs – not a practice I particularl7 approve of – but that’s how we adjust.

Adjust we must.

Basically I don’t mind being wished Merry Christmas either as a pleasantry (I understand that when people say: How are you? they don’t really expect me to get into it at any length. I don’t mind too, if they recognize that they’re saying their word for “Happy Holidays” and I might say my own” Gud Yule” or “Sunny Solstice”. Is that offensive? Shouldn’t be it seems to me – we’re doing the good work of reaching across possible dividers of religious practice – using our own language but wishing each other well.

Peace and goodwill to all

November 26, 2009

NaNoWriMo Reflections – 50,000 words in a month

So, it’s my first time in NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month and I did a lot of prep – in terms of note-making; reading books about how to write a novel and determining a structure and focus to the very first draft of a “novel” (Note the quotation marks.)

November is NaNoWriMo and the primary requirement to be a winner is to write 50,000 words during the month. You submit your manuscript and if their computer says 50,000 words, you’re a winner and you’re sent a web link where you can download your own certificate and a badge for your website.

I’m at only 38,000 and most of it is really not even close to being novel-ready. One of the books I read said for memoir (which is kind of like a novel, or at least can follow a similar structure, or even be a draft of a novel – i.e. get your own experience and thoughts down and then power-tweak into fiction) you just write and the structure reveals itself, as opposed to *real* novel writing where it’s highly advised to start with an outline and character profiles etc. – But not so detailed that you can’t be open to changes as your characters take on a life of their own.

So, it’s November 26, I’ve written 37,000 words, but I’m lagging behind what’s required. If you’re lagging behind, you’ve got company.

But the good thing is that after years of saying ONE DAY I’ll write a novel or in THREE DAYS on the Labour Day weekend I’ll do the novel writing contest, the THIRTY DAYS approach is working – I still hope to win – but it’s been a good focus any how. Possibly I’ll be in the habit of writing every day or at least most days by the time November 30 hits.

I’ve resorted to fairly devious methods to up my word count. I figure the style of the novel/memoir may wind up including diary bits like Bridget Jones etc., so, for instance, I’m counting this blog as a contribution (330 words so far.)

My previous desperate measure, which I’m continuing with is when I’m writing something that involves a person I was connected with, I’m sending off a bit of the memoir to that person. So far,I’ve had good response to 3 of them, and no response yet from the 4th.

It feels scary doing that even though I’m “picking my spots” – they’re basically “gratitude” notes to people who were supportive during my 8 years “dream job that turned into a nightmare”.

As an extrovert, I find it easier to write to someone than to keep on writing something that I may never show to anyone.

Many novels are, as they say, “frankly autobiographical” so I recommend this process to anyone. Even if you’re keeping for the first draft to the truth (as you perceive it), knowing that it will change to fiction or at least creative non-fiction before being shared, allows a bit of latitude. As I understand it “memoir” as opposed to “memoirs” or “autobiography” is in fact reflections rather than an effort to document events and history as it happened. So lots of room to claim one’s own voice and perspective.

I’d been thinking about the structure and was told the basic structure is the protagonist is in a cage; they make attempts to get out that are unsuccessful and then they do. It was even hard to think about: what was the cage? was the cage the previous work that I was looking to change? or the new job that was very demanding? was the cage the fact I had to travel a lot? – a cage away from home?

Ultimately while attending a weekend workshop with Jungian analyst James Hollis it occurred to me to use the 22 Major Arcana cards of the Tarot as my structure. A little odd, but I know a fair bit about tarot – have done some art work based on it too – and from Fool through to World (as in a new–inner–world order) it follows  a sequence and journey.

I like structures – recently I heard Corwin Fergus, another Jungian, say that creativity/unconscious responds well to limits.

It’s been helpful to me to reflect on what experiences and what people come to mind when I contemplate the various cards and their meanings.

For instance, The Empress Card, Number III, is all about creative abundance and it makes me think of the religious educators in our congregations – always full of hugs, smiles, snacks, art supplies and ideas. I found my contact with RE folk very nourishing to my soul during my work time.

I remember once going to a meeting and everyone was sharing why they were there. It occurred to me that beyond the obvious need to connect with these congregational leaders in their roles and share with them updates and answer questions, I was there to get fed – in so many ways. I left feeling supported and uplifted.

Long Live the Empresses!


November 7, 2009

Come to the Arts Council’s AGM Wed. Nov 25

November 4, 2009

VAG and Scott McFarland

I went to the VAG with a friend visiting from Halifax (actually London, England) and tried to figure out Scott McFarland’s photos.

When I was there before I had meant to look up the Hummel painting of the granite basin. Here’s a link to it.

Globe article

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