Tag Archives: learning

Life Changes Roll with It or Stagnate…


Man Sitting In ValleyWe all have different coping mechanisms when it comes to changes in our lives. Some changes are welcome, some raising curiosity while others are certainly not wanted or wished for. I experienced two smaller occurrences in the last couple of days and it began a line of thought I wanted to share. Do I resist change or embrace it?

As some of you will know I attended Words in the Park over the weekend. The hall was full of forty nine authors and nine vendors – all displaying books and accessories for the discerning book lover. In past years, I have been positioned close to my publisher, Dream Write Publishing and my writing group, The Writers Foundation of Strathcona County. This has led to an enjoyable time overseeing these tables in rotation with others and conversing and chatting with friends and visitors alike. This year as I had booked a whole table instead of half, I was placed on the other side of the venue, away from my usual comrades. It may seem childish (especially considering my age!) but I felt excluded at first. I could see them talking and laughing but unable to join in. Then I realized that I should take advantage of the opportunity and be more proactive in my promotion rather than await passers-by. I surveyed my display and knew it was eye-catching so stood behind my table and greeted everyone, stating the age groups for each book and a short description of the stories. It was a successful day for sales and I also received lots of compliments on my table arrangement and each individual book’s themed items. Several friends did stop by for a chat and one looked after my table while I went to participate in an author reading. All in all I feel I made more sales because I was more engaged and not distracted to my goal.

Today was a day of change as well at my workplace. After nearly two years, my manager and I have a new work colleague. We have been comfortable in how we arrange our work days and the day to day routine is pretty much set. The new employee will bring her own ideas of regime and structure and it is probably not a bad thing. We can all get stuck in a rut so easily. We will embrace this change and see what it brings in the months to come.

What changes have you experienced lately that made you leave your comfort zone?

Was the outcome successful?

What did you learn from the experience?

changes_roadsign

 

Hidden Stories Found and Friday Fun…


I read this article concerning ‘lost’ stories from Truman Capote with interest.   http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/09/books/lost-stories-by-capote-are-published.html?_r=0
Truman_Capote

I wonder how many other authors or poets have work stuffed into the back of drawers, filed away in dusty archives or were discarded into the garbage? As modern writers we have the ability to store our writing on memory sticks or within computer files. They can be recovered (or not) at our leisure or wiped clean if we feel the compulsion to do so.

Would you want your work to be ‘discovered’ at a later date?

Would it reflect your current writing style or be completely different?

I have a couple of novels saved on my hard drive that were my initial foray into this writing life. My experience and skill has increased since and I know that they would need a lot of editing to bring them up to par. I return to them from time to time and ponder re-writing them so cannot delete them. They show me how far I have come and for that they are precious. Maybe one day they will see the light of day and be published. I just need to get all the other projects bouncing around inside my head on paper first!

Have you re-written a project?

What did you learn from the experience?

Quotes

You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you, and we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.” – Arthur Plotnik

You become a good writer just as you become a good joiner: by planing down your sentences. ~  Anatole France

Today’s prompt : Re-write the first line of your first story.FunDay

Share it here with the original.

Excerpt from Willow Tree Tears – WIP: Name changes and setting described:

Original: Willow rode past Shanna Deeks into the rodeo arena. I’m goin’ to beat you, bitch. You might have stolen Ryan from me but you’re not getting’ this championship.

Revision: Madison rode toward the rodeo arena entrance, shifting in her saddle to ensure Amber Fire’s girth was tight as she weaved through the crowd of people and horses, attending the year’s final rodeo.

A learned scholar is not always an academic…


Savant – a person of profound or extensive learning; a learned scholar

I was honored to meet and listen to Adrian LaChance, a Cree Facilitator/Story Teller and
Traditional Dancer last weekend. He told us that it has taken him many years to learn all the traditional laws, stories and dance routines. His life did not have a good start and he suffered many years of abuse, hardship and sunk into a dark underworld as he grew older. He was saved by the teachings of his elders, realizing there was another way to live his life and benefit others. Now Adrian travels the world to spread the word of his First Nation ancestors and delight his audiences with his humor, honesty and conviction.

He designed his magnificent traditional dress  himself and is decorated with eagle and bear motifs as well as real eagle feathers. Each bead and decoration are symbols of Adrian’s tribe, beliefs and craft. I’m sure you will agree with me it is superb. Not all learned scholars are academics after all.

For more information visit his site – http://www.adrianlachance.com

Adrian

Some of you may know that from early childhood, I have been fascinated in Native culture and wanted to be a squaw as a child. I won an art competition at 7 years old receiving a book – The Story of Hiawatha. Years later when I was regressed, one of my ‘lives’ was as a squaw but I dismissed it as wishful thinking. However, over two decades later, my cousin found out that one of our great great grandfather’s married a squaw from the Lumbee tribe! This excerpt is my transcript from my regression.

Native Squaw

I look down into the still glassy water and see an old face, deep down I know it to be my face. The deep lines creasing my eyes, cheeks and mouth are at the same time familiar and alien. Dark brown eyes and skin are in contrast to my hair, which was once a shiny ebony mantle but now streaked with silvery grey, hair now thin and wispy in one long plait down my back. Splashing my face with the icy cold water, I look up to see the teepee’s across the stream that feeds the lake and raise my old body upwards. I’m only good for collecting wood, minding the children and cooking, my days past slowly. Without a husband, I have to ingratiate myself to my daughter’s brave, be of help so I can have a place to sleep, tucked into the side flaps, under my buffalo bedding. Walking back the horror of that far day comes back, maybe it’s the similar setting, the crispness of the air but I ‘see’ the riders coming over the hill, the crack of the guns and the sudden screaming, startled me. The soldier’s were yelling and laughing as they rode through the camp, shooting my friends and family; everyone they see fleeing.  I was helpless to stop them, I’d screamed back but was too far away. Fear stops me running toward the murderers but my heart breaks as I watch the massacre. Crouching under a bush I’d covered my ears until long after the screaming and pounding hooves had ceased. Too scared to move I’d waited until nightfall before walking back to a blood soaked and burnt earth where my home had once been.

I hadn’t noticed I was walking as the horrors around me had numbed my body and mind. The land was silent and still as though shocked and sadden as was I. Whimpering coming from the far side of the camp leads me gradually in that direction. To my utmost joy I found my grand-daughter but my grief had sprung into my heart as I saw she was huddled underneath my own daughter’s body. Taking her up into my arms, other sounds around me come to my ears as one by one the women and children uncovered themselves and crawled out of their hiding places.

This past will never leave me and I wait for my time to come when I will be with the spirits and my husband, who had fought so bravely on that fateful day against an enemy so cowardly and strong. The firewood is weighing heavily now as I enter the camp and I smile at the last of the Lumbee tribe survivors.

lumpee logo

Immature Youth or Struggling Young Adult..?


Callow – definition: immature : lacking experience or judgment

200168451-001

Life is a steep learning curve. From our first steps to reading and writing to more complicated skills. We are constantly learning something. The secret to an active old age is, more than likely, continuing to explore, investigate and enjoy new experiences and skills. As many of you know I came to writing later in life and learning the ropes has been an enlightening road. It infused me with an energy I had been lacking for a long time. When we are younger everything is an adventure, unfortunately somewhere along the way we lose that feeling, unless we are lucky to find something that triggers it again.

When I observe younger people striving to make their way in the world, I am always surprised how they are perceived and treated. As older adults do we forget how we struggled? How many paths lay before us? What influenced us? How hard life seemed? How any advice given was ‘boring’? How every day was full of new possibilities that were just waiting for us?

This article shows some interesting facts:  http://www.science20.com/news_releases/young_teen_brains_are_immature_just_stereotype

So maybe we should give the younger generation some slack and encourage them a bit more? We can all site the ‘bad teenagers’ but they are the minority, most are trying to grow up and understand themselves.

What are your views?

Is growing up harder now? Is peer pressure more violent? Will being an individual automatically ostracize you from inclusion into the group?

Have you found new skills and experiences that have enhanced your life?

 

?

Tips for Writing Web Copy…


Hackneyed – definition: made commonplace or trite : stale : banal

editor

 

The first thing that your web copy should not be is hackneyed! Whomever your target audience is, you need to interest them immediately (or soon after!) Taking time to get to know the client and understand how they want to be perceived will make your job easier. As you can see from this excellent advice:

http://nhwn.wordpress.com/2013/04/17/5-things-to-consider-when-writing-webcopy/

This next link has some witty but seasoned advice:

http://www.vappingo.com/word-blog/29-expert-tips-on-writing-website-copy-that-gets-real-results/

I am researching (gradually) the intricacies of web copy and other writing skills as my freelance portfolio grows. Being open to new ideas and not being afraid to ask questions helps a great deal.

As writers we are always striving to be better and looking to experts and their work is a good place to start.

What is your experience of ‘learning’ a new skill?