Ghost Mist

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

End of the Line

I finished my final two weeks of 'The Artist's Way' program. Here's me doing the check-in for the last week.

1. I stopped doing my morning pages. I feel like they would be more useful to someone in a slightly different situation in life. My life is very hectic and I found that if I only had 15 minutes a day to write - using the time to write my morning pages was a waste of it. Instead, I finished my novella in these last two weeks. That isn't to say that I don't think morning pages are a good tool. What the problem is really is that I start writing and all these wonderful dreams come out and then I don't have time any of them come true before I'm back to writing more dreams. I have another problem too. You're supposed to write morning pages out long hand. My right hand is somewhat wrecked from all the writing I've done when I used to do all my writing long hand and guess what - my arm is starting to hurt all the way up to my elbow. Typing is easier for me. I plan to write those pages whenever I need to figure out what I want - anytime of the day or night.

2. I went and got my hair cut and talked to the hairdresser about art the whole time. I find that I'm always trying to soak up new experiences, but this program has made me far more aware of my needs. Doing these dates definitely got me out of the house more. I can't wait until I have the time to do these more.

3. I think I experience synchronicity every week. I think I had the best luck with my hairdresser. She did a great job and I haven't had a good haircut in forever.

4. I don't think there were any other issues.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Check-in Week Ten

1. I did my morning pages three days this week. I just had a lot of stuff going on this week and I only got to them three days. It was a bummer, but you've got to roll with it. Reading my morning pages didn't change the way I wrote them. I have been writing like a mad thing for 15 years. I know what I'm like and I'm not ashamed of it. I can read my thoughts and feelings without suffering over how stupid I am. I'm okay.

2. I went to the Heritage Festival in my city. I mostly concentrated on the orient. It was fun. I even tried making some of the food we had there in my kitchen. And guess what? It turned out. I would have liked to go on a second artist date, but it wasn't possible considering my schedule. It was my daughter's birthday and so many other things.

3. I saw a laptop I wanted, but naturally I wasn't going to buy it. I mean, I can't have everything I want. Anyway, so then my butterfly laptop abruptly died and even though my husband worked hard to fix it (he's fixed it three times before), this time it was impossible. So, I got a new laptop and my wish came true.

4. It was really hard to get my writing done when my laptop died. So, I guess that's the only progress to report - work was slow this week.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Deadlies

All right, here's what I'm supposed to do for this exercise. I'm supposed to pick out one of a collection of vices out of a hat and then write five ways that particular vice has a negative influence in my life. This may or may not be interesting.

1. Work
- I don't get my target house work done and then I feel gross about myself.
- I think people judge me when my house is less than perfect - or even downright dirty - and that makes me feel unhappy and slothful.
- I can't seem to keep the things I buy nice and I feel wasteful buying them over again.
- I especially feel bad when I have to throw out perfectly good food that I let pass the expiry date.
- I feel like everyone must be more on top of it than me since most women I know have jobs and don't just stay home with the kids.

2. Family/Friends
- My mom puts a negative spin on everything.
- I feel like my mom-in-law always talks down to me until I become a baby in front of her (and it's impossible to ever be anything else).
- One of my brothers always talks to me like I'm an idiot and he has to talk slowly so I'll understand.
- I let friendships with perfectly good people slide because I can't seem to find the time.
- I judge people prematurely.

3. Drugs
- I have never taken a recreation drug in my whole life. I've never even had one drag on a cigarette, so I'm going to skip this. It's pretty straightforward.

4. Family/Friends
- I scare people off because I'm too overpowering.
- I always think that whoever is talking to me doesn't actually want to talk to me and they're just looking for a way out.
- So I give them the way out and they're offended, because oops! They actually wanted to talk to me and then I'm the one who's rude.
- I worry that I don't spend enough time with my kids.
- What's enough?

5. Alcohol
- I have never had a drink in my life, so we'll go on.

6. Money
- I know that I waste about $100 a month on nothing in particular.
- I'm stingy with babysitter money, so then I never get out.
- If I spend money on projects I want to do and they don't pan out I feel like a loser.
- I'm really reluctant to experiment on projects if the money required isn't almost nothing.
- The same applies to classes I would like to take.

7. Food
- I eat a lot of junk that doesn't make me feel like working on my art.
- I don't drink enough water.
- Ice cream is my favourite and I know that I ditch almost any creative activity if there is going to be ice cream.
- I like eating out and I will ditch pretty much anything for crab cooked properly with tons of butter.
- I never order dessert and I should.

Sorry - I cheated a little. One of the vices I pulled was sex and I decided not to write about it. Like it's any of your business. Sheesh!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Check-in Week Eight and Nine

Before I commence my check-in, I'd like to explain that I slammed the two weeks together. Week eight is about strength and week nine is about compassion. Specifically, it's about having compassion for yourself for wasting your time/life not doing your art. This really doesn't apply to me. I have been working my tail off since I was 13. I don't feel anything when I read the chapter or read the tasks appointed for it. I took some time off because I was sick and I don't feel any guilt over it - so we're just going to move on. I'm sure Julia Cameron would support my decision. Though she might not be particularly happy with me rocketing through the course at this speed - I feel it's what's best for me. I'm even going to be sad when this is over and we only have three weeks left. So, here we go with the check-in.

1. I did my morning pages five out of seven days. I skipped because of the Sabbath and because I was getting up to live a dream - which I'm sure Julia would approve of. That whole day was swallowed up in loveliness, so it's okay. And yeah - I have been tempted to stop doing them. Sometimes I'm in a hurry to get on with my day. But I think I should continue to do them because they're helping me focus on what I really want to do. That way I'm open to suggestions, but not stupid ones. Sometimes my brain devises incredibly stupid ways to waste my time, but if I write out at the beginning of the day what I really want from it - it's more likely to get done. I don't have such a hard time working on my art, but I do have a hard time getting laundry folded and put away, so the morning pages are bringing me into the present.

2. Yes. I went out and bought flowers for my front yard. Then I planted them under the full moon because I couldn't find the time to do it during daylight. Planting flowers at night is weird. It got really dark and I had to turn on my Narnia lamp. Plus, the people across the street were thumping music from the speakers of their car as they all piled in to go to the bar. When they left I started jumping at every sound. I haven't been outside at night by myself in years.

3. I've said it before. Everything is falling into place. Mwhahahahaha. Now if only my book could get accepted for publication.

The Ninth Week.

1. You know, I can't think of any major creative U-turns that I've suffered from. I can't think of anything that's making me cry inside because I didn't do it. And that's not me being in denial. I've seldom had an opportunity that I haven't taken advantage of. The only thing I can think of is that I didn't take a collection of university writing courses that were recommended to me, but you know what? I think those bastards would have just ripped my guts out for a sadistic ego boost. I don't need university students or professors to like what I write. I think those courses would have murdered my artist child and I would have spent the rest of my life making oatmeal cookies from the same recipe. Because the core idea of the course was to read your writing aloud to a collection of students. YUCK! And I did send my book in to a publisher as soon as I felt I was ready.

Skip to:

4. The only other issue I can think of that's important to my recovery is that I finally have an author friend. I have never had an author friend before. I have known four other women who wrote books. Here's the deal with each of them. The first two have been women who I knew wrote novels. They knew I wrote novels and we never switched manuscripts and asked for suggestions or support. The next one is a friend of a friend who writes very badly. Grammar? Crap. Characters? Crap. Plot? Crap. There were so many errors it would take a remarkable amount of sensitivity and tact not to kill her with them. And who wants to do that? So, I didn't say anything. She'll have to figure it out on her own. Last one - her taste is so different from mine that it's not even worth the trouble. I'm trying to write black lace and she's trying to write divinity fudge.

Anyway, I finally have a friend with a similar streak. She's now given me her second novel to look over and I love it. She's read four of my books now too and she's given me pointers on how to improve without making me feel like a dolt. There's appropriate criticism for you. So, there's the beginnings of a sacred circle of artistic friends.

Colour Schemes - Orange

I am orange. I am vibrant, ugly, and I can't avoid being seen. I am rare - things don't usually come in orange. I am a creamsicle. I am feathers. I am ribbons. I'm the colour of your eyelids when you close your eyes to the sun and the colour of dreams you can't wake up from.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Goal Search

This may seem a little weird, but just go with it. I think this will work out without me saying what the questions I'm answering are. Here goes!

1. I want to be a novelist.

2. I would like to be approached by a big fancy publishing house, because they want to run a second edition of one of my books that has already been published. (Not that any of my books have been published - this is just a goal that would signify some accomplishment)

3. In five years I would like five of my existing novels published and me earning regular royalties. I'd like to make enough money so that I can say, 'I'm a novelist and I have been published' to idiots who need proof that I'm not a ridiculous blow-hard. And if I made enough money - at a small publishing house than maybe it wouldn't be ridiculous to get a second edition at a bigger house.

4. I could start by sending one of my books to a small publishing house and see if it gets picked up. If it does, I could send in my other books.

5. I already sent one of my books to a small house, so I could start by giving the next logical novel an edit. It needs it.

6. Make a plan. Here's the plan.
--Week One - Edit a chapter a day of the book I want to send in.
--Month One - Finish editing that book within the confines of the month.
--Year One - Besides editing, I have a new book I want to work on. I've got to work on new stuff rather than always concentrating on the old. And if I don't get accepted, I need to find a new publishing house to send my book to.

Check-in Week Seven

1. I wrote in my morning pages on six days out of seven. Yes, I have been daydreaming risky things. I talked about it last week. No, I'm not really pursuing things I was interested in as a child. I know that's what I'm supposed to be doing, but I already got a lot of my childhood dreams out of the way and I have kids, so there's always more than enough time to play with my kids and do the things I always dreamed of doing. Instead, I'm doing the things I dreamed about doing as a teenager. I'm painting. I'm growing roses. I'm so happy about my roses. Each bush has already bloomed, but now there are 24 new buds on the one bush and 20 on the other. Yee-ha!

2. No, I didn't go on my artist date this week. I weeded my garden and dug mushrooms and felt very rejuvenated, but I didn't do anything special. I didn't even get on a date with my husband. I gotta do that.

3. It feels like I experience nothing but mounds of synchronicity - though I would rather call them answers to prayers. Everything I want is almost instantly at my fingertips. It's like the Garden of Eden. Except that sometimes I get overwhelmed because there's so much going on and happening all at once that I feel like I'm in a time vortex. I'm also tired. It's hard to keep up with all the opportunity.

4. I talked to my sister about this program. She's going to borrow the book when I'm finished. Might as well pass on a good thing.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Check-in Week Six

1. I did my morning pages four days out of seven. I didn't do them on Sunday because I don't do them on Sunday and I missed yesterday and today. I missed yesterday because I had a disturbance in my schedule and then I didn't get to them until the afternoon and there didn't seem much point by then. Then I didn't do them today because I lost the book I was writing them in. Yes, I do think about how to help myself do my art with them. I felt pretty lost yesterday and today without doing them.

2. Artist dates are what they can be while I'm in this phase of life, so I try to notice beauty where ever I am, but I don't always have time to schedule time to myself - time just happens, so I try to make those times count. They show up when I least expect them. Thus - I just try to be open to noticing things. So, there's a fifteen minute artist date here and an hour and a half there. I do what I can do.

3. I didn't notice how much I kept my dreams and wishes to myself. I was at church and I happened to mention to someone that I wanted to buy tiny ice cream cones, but the place I had been buying them from didn't sell them anymore. The next week that same lady had seen them in her shopping and told me where to find them. It was like when I was a teenager and stupid about Brad Pitt. I didn't need to look for pictures of him - the whole community cut up their magazines and sent me the goods. People are truly amazing.

4. Something did happen that was interesting. I believed that I didn't have a valuable story in me. Well, when I was on a road trip with my family this past weekend, I crossed my legs in the passenger seat and engaged in a little meditation exercise when an idea for a novel crept up on me. No fantasy. No explosions. No fireworks. Actually, it's a story inside me that would be quite painful for me to tell. So painful that I tried to get out of it. First - I didn't write out my idea. Sometimes if I don't write out the idea - I'll forget it. So, I didn't write out a storyboard. Then I told my husband. Sometimes the very act of telling someone else your idea is enough to help me lose steam. But I didn't. Then, I started writing out some character sketches telling myself that I could quit anytime I wanted to. But I wasn't finished and I was bothered by it until I started working on the first chapter. But I keep telling myself that I can quit whenever I want. All I can say is that I have wicked flow because the ideas just keep coming.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Several Assignments

None of my assignments were writing assignments this week, so here's what happened with my other challenges.

I was supposed to bake something. Well, I cook a lot and I tried to make some things that I don't normally make - which all resulted in failure most paramount. Seriously - disasters all of them. I don't think I was supposed to fail as completely as I did. I think I was supposed to gain energy for other projects and I did - sort of.

Then I was also supposed to practice saying 'yes' to freebie's. Today, when I was buying my nephew's birthday cake (yeah, I know I could have baked that, but he said he wanted an ice cream cake and I'm not adventurous enough to do that just now considering my track record), so they asked me if I wanted anything written on it. It was a cake with a fire breathing dragon on it, so I said 'yes' to a freebie and asked them to put a big beefy arm coming out of the back of its neck. My nephew thought that was great even though the arm wasn't beefy at all. We joked that they wouldn't know majesty if it bit them in the face. Good times.

Lastly, I was supposed to do something to change my environment. I couldn't think of much to do considering how busy I am these days, so I bought a box. I mean I bought a really pretty box that matches my bed skirt and valances to put all my little books in. They were in an ancient shoe box that wasn't big enough for them all.