New Schedule

I have been working strange and varied hours lately, which has made blogging a bit of a challenge. I have decided my new post days will be Sundays. I know it is less often than I was posting before (not counting the missed weeks of posts since I arrived in Chicago) but it is a schedule I may have an easier time adhering to.

As far as Chicago goes, I am settling in. I have learned which trains to take, which areas to avoid, and where the best shopping is. I am earning a regular paycheck-something I have not had in several years- and am enjoying life in the city.

I have had adventures that I would not have had back home, such as apple picking, shopping in the loop,

Seeing random, beautiful sights while wandering the city, and of course a brand new experience for this SoCal native: living in the snow.

The first snow was quite an experience for me. It is so beautiful, and I seem a bit touched in the head when it falls, because I can’t resist stomping through it to leave my footprints, all the while giggling uncontrollably. My roommate is also from Cali, and so we share this ridiculous and childish desire to play in the stuff. His boyfriend thinks we are very strange, and tells us so, which leads to the inevitable snow fight. I say “snow” and not “snowball”, because we just scoop up handfuls and fling it at one another. We end up wet and freezing, but somehow it still makes me happy.

I thought Christmas would be a sad day for me, but my mother, in her infinite motherly wisdom, knew I would have a rough time my first Christmas alone and sent me a box of Christmas cheer. She sent a miniature tree, a strand of lights, and some stockings along with a box of presents. It warmed my heart and made me feel so very loved, even from so far away.

Though I worked on Christmas day, I put a pot roast in the slow cooker, and had a wonderful Christmas dinner with my roommate and his boyfriend. It was the first time that Chicago felt like home.

Now, as the snow sticks to the ground, and I finally have a day off, I am catching myself daydreaming about Jeremy, Fairies, and what is in store for Sidhee.

Like any storm that catches us unaware, my writing block is passing, and I find myself ready to open the shutters, pick up the pieces, and rekindle my literary efforts.

Happy writing.

apples
Apple Picking in the orchard
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Inside the Macy’s that used to be Marshall Fields. Quite a bone of contention between Macy’s and Chicago natives. Still, it is beautiful.
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A dramatized image of my first snow day. I took this with my cell phone on the corner of my street at the bus stop.
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The Gluten, corn, and soy free Christmas dinner I made for my Chicago family.
my buidling
The view of my building from the street. I never though I would live somewhere so tall.
my view
Just across the street from my apartment is a walking path that leads here. It is one of the best views of the city I have seen so far.

What is the real problem?

It’s funny, I moved to the big city to be inspired. I wanted a fast-paced diverse backdrop to help shape my ideas. I also wanted the exposure that advertising to such a huge population might bring. Travel and change of scenery has always inspired some decent page turnout for me. And yet, I find I have writer’s block.

There are exercises that can help a writer push past writers block.  I know them. In fact, I’ve blogged about it, back in April 2014 in a post titled Wherefore art thou, inspiration?

So what I really needed to figure out is not why I’m blocked, but why I’m not even trying to write. I haven’t even opened the file in Word to stare at that ominous blinking cursor for at least two weeks; maybe more.

Sometimes it is a question of time. I’m busy. Who isn’t? We all get caught up in the day to day, but that’s what a schedule is for. Making time isn’t hard if you get a calendar and make a schedule for yourself. I haven’t been doing that- instead I’ve been finding chores to do to fill my time. Sorting out bills, cooking, laundry- that sort of thing.

So if it isn’t a lack of ideas, and it isn’t an issue of time, then why am I not writing?

I know why, when I get right down to it. Recent events are getting me down, and I’m letting myself get moody and disinterested in the things I love (such as writing). I’ve been thinking about it a lot this week, and I’ve come to the conclusion that this will only spiral down from here if I don’t do something to change it.

I’ve decided to use my angst- which is a combination of being at an employer’s beck and call again after so long writing my own schedule, the loss of a couple dear people, and being so far away from friends and family in an unfamiliar place- and channel it into the piece I am writing. I’m skipping ahead a few chapters in Fayling (which should be done by now, but read above) and I’m going to schedule time to pour how I feel into my work. Hopefully it helps create a believable and powerful scene, and it will help me work through my crankiness.

I’ll let you know how that turns out.

Throwback Thursday

Oh what the heck, I’ll post a day early so I can remind you of my book, Tilted Tales under the guise of the pop culture phenomenon, throwback Thursday. Cheers!

 

Inner Magic

Every living being carries magic at its core,

Even those who never did a mystic thing before.

 

Don’t commit to memory shifty lines of magic spells.

Don’t mix yourself a brew of sense-offending smells.

 

The magic that I mean takes so little skill to cast.

Bet my worldly fortune that you’ve used it in the past.

 

It doesn’t take a wizard to figure what this means:

Loving is a power that is written in your genes.

 

 

 

tilted tales cover <————-Click me!!!!!!

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A Year

I have officially been blogging for one year. It is a fun thing, to look back and review my own accomplishments. When I started out, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to blog. My brother, Izlain was a member of the Newbie Blogger Initiative(which has an event about this time every year) and encouraged me to get blogging. I had recently decided to write full-time, but was very disorganized and uncertain about my goals. My blog helped me focus on the work at hand, and I began writing about writing. It took me a while to figure out a schedule, and even now I sometimes have a hard time sticking to it. But blogging helped me focus on my career, and in December 2014 I released my first book, Tilted Tales. My second book, Fayling, will be releasing this summer, and my third by the end of the year. (read a bit about it on my website.) My blog helped me take myself seriously. I have since created my own website, created a professional Facebook profile, and opened a Twitter account.

But my one-year blogging aniversary reminded me where it all began.

So today is a salute to blogging, and to other bloggers. If you have something to contribute to the world, then I encourage you to blog.

Room 406

Adjacent to Miss Badalla’s Curseology class in room 405, is Mr. Theyorie’s Art History class in room 406. Mr. Theyorie wears a carefully preserved tweed jacket with leather elbow patches, beige corduroy pants, and an olive green paisley print tie. In his jacket pocket is a yellowed handkerchief that he uses frequently to wipe snot from his scruffy grey moustache throughout the course of his lectures. His monotone voice drones on about the masters throughout the ages at exactly the right pitch to lull an unsuspecting student to sleep, often resulting in a banging noise as the student’s forehead meets the desk in front of them.

The most exciting part of Mr. Theyorie’s class is when the Curseology students next door get too rambunctious. Mr. Theyorie will halt mid-drone in order to bang on the wall shouting, “Shut up, shut up, shut up!”

If any student of his dares to laugh, Mr. Theyorie will level a scowl at them so fierce the student will shrink in their seat, rendered completely silent.

Once, several years ago, someone asked Mr. Theyorie why he gets so angry about the noise next door. Mr. Theories proceeded to shout for thirty solid minutes about the uselessness of learning such made-up bologna.

When Miss Badalla was nominated by the student body for teacher of the year, Mr. Theyorie promptly lost what was left of his hair. When the newspaper arrived to cover the presentation of the award, Mr. Theyorie had to lie down.

In apology for being significantly more popular than Mr. Theyorie, Miss Badalla made him an amulet to protect against high blood Pressure. Mr Theyorie threw it away.

The following semester Mr. Theyorie had only two students in his Art History Class. When he confronted Miss Badalla for cursing him, she politely reminded him he didn’t believe in curses.

Opinions, and Where to Put Them.

As you know, I live off in my own world, full of fairies, monsters, and creatures of my own invention. I like living this way, and I have no intentions of my work reflecting anything that isn’t me.  I’m weird, and I’m aware of it. It showed through in Tilted Tales, and it will shine equally as bright in Fayling (my pending novel).

Now, when I share my work for critique, I get lots of great advice and encouragement from my fellow group members. But I sometimes get critics who just don’t like my genre. They question a characters abilities, and try to enforce real-world physics into my book. “that’s not possible,” one person will say “a character cannot be all powerful” another will say. Yes, because being able to move walls means nothing can ever harm you. It’s an ability, my friend. Not all mighty perfection. Magic is supposed to be unexpected, and put the super  in supernatural. Their problem is not with my style, by the subject matter. And that is just fine; clearly they are not my target demographic.

Thank god J.K. Rowling didn’t listen to any such advice.

Feeling the way I did about the review of my current chapters, something occurred to me. I am always encouraging other writers to seek out and listen to the advice of other writers. I may have left an important tidbit of advice out of that sentiment:

Don’t stifle your own voice because someone doesn’t like your theme. Listen to the grammar corrections, and the honest concerns about your plot. But take the opinions of the people who don’t like the subject matter (and judge the work accordingly) and place their opinion on the shelf, where it belongs. Your writing is yours. Don’t let anyone try to change that.

Home Sick

I know it is late in the day, but don’t worry reader, I did not forget about you. I got caught up in watching the final season of Trueblood, the HBO series based off the Sookie Stackhouse novels. I have unfortunately caught the flu that has been circulating in my little corner of the universe. Sacking out on the couch and being generally useless/complainy is how I nurse myself back to health. As I’m sure you’ve figured out, I have not written anything this week. I also missed both of my writers groups. There is no point spreading the virus if I can help it. Since I do not have anything of value to contribute to the world today, lets take a poll.

Chicago Part 5, The End

 

 

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On my Final day in Chicago, Robbie took me to see the historic Wrigley Field. There was a game going on, So I got to see what it is like on a game day. We had walked past it several times on our way home from the subway, throughout my visit, but it was always at night so I hadn’t really  experienced it yet.

 

One very interesting thing was the stadium seating on the rooftops of apartment buildings near the field. There is no big parking lot, or any grassy fields near the stadium. It goes from apartments and businesses on one side, right to the stadium on the other. It’s an exciting feeling, being right in the middle of it.

 

We decided not to actually go to the game, since I’m not much of a sports fan. There was enough history on the walls around the stadium to suit me just fine.

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Robbie also took me to a mystic shop where I picked up some Chamomile tea, and a Hematite ring on the cheap. Finally we stopped at a Chicago diner, where the waiter tried to talk me out of getting on the plane home. I’m not going to lie, I really wanted to say, “Okay, I’ll stay.” He even hugged me and said, “I hope to see you again soon.”

Robbie’s roommate offered to let me live there, and I was assured by multiple people with the appropriate authority that a job was mine if I decided to stay. It was a hard to say no. But there was an adorable dog and a loving husband waiting for me back home, so when the time came, I did get on the plane; but not without a long and tearful goodbye with Robbie.

Boy was I sorry I got on the plane once I landed in Huston! For some reason, United scheduled barely an hour between my flight from Chicago and my flight to Ontario. My first flight took too long to taxi to the gate, and by the time I could get off the plane I had 12 minutes to get from gate E3 to gate B85. For those of you who are not familiar with Huston, you know that that is FAR, FAR apart. I ran, literally, through the airport. No Stops, strait to my gate. Luckily the signs are fairly clear. By the time I actually got to the gate, they were paging me. I told at the United employee that I was the person she was paging in between pants- I am really out of shape.

“I don’t know what you’ve been doing. The planes been here since 9.” She grumped at me while scanning my boarding pass.

“I was taxing on the runway. It’s your plane that took too long!” I snarled back. Since when is being rude considered customer service? FAIL United. Total Fail.

Before I even got out the last word she rolled her eyes at me and waved her hand to shush me. ” Well you’re the last person to board. They’re waiting.” She said in the most snarky tone I’ve ever heard.

I growled (yeah, I was that pissed off) and stomped down the ramp to my plane. The crew on this plane made up for the cow that I talked to in Huston.

The Flight attendant called over the intercom, “has anyone lost a wallet?”

Everyone immediately looked around.

“Now that we have your attention, please pay attention to an important safety announcement.”

Everyone laughed, relieved their wallets were safe, and paid attention.

Even though my entire visit to Huston consisted of a jog through the airport and an interaction with one employee, my view of that city will be forever tainted by my bad experience. I don’t think I will ever visit there as a tourist. I can guarantee you I will never, NEVER book a flight that has a layover there, especially if I am flying United. Bad impressions tend to be more permanent than good ones. I’m not sure why, but it’s how the world works.

I arrived back in Ontario, and had lunch with my husband before driving an hour and a half home.  I had only slept three hours the night before, and was more than a little cranky. At my Husband’s urging I laid down for a nap, and didn’t wake up until the following day. Jet lag is apparently a real thing.

With that, my journey was at an end. I will definitely return to Chicago at the first opportunity. Maybe to live there, who knows.