On Wolves and Hope

48th Trial: Confidence. Confidence that I can do it all. Because I don’t even have kids yet and I find it hard to shower, wash dishes, put on shoes, AND work.

Weekly Hours Spent Writing or in the Pursuit of Plot:  No. I’m not even going to tell.

Weekly Choice of Tea: Vanilla and Cinnamon Tea

Biggest Success: Just after my last post, I finished Chapter 7!! I need to type it up, and then come 2017, Chapter 8 will begin.

“What got you here, will not get you there.”

If I were to come up with a slogan for California, I would slap that on every roadway sign and cereal box sold here in the west coast! The amount of beautiful landscape in California is paralleled with the amazing opportunities offered here for careers, self discovery, love, and expression. I moved out to California and it welcomed me with open arms, besides of course, the police officer that pulled me over just over the Nevada line. I got the job of my dreams (honestly), and come January, Jamie and I move into an apartment in the heart of San Francisco. And we have Boo, who is currently snuggled up under the Christmas tree. She absolutely loves the tree skirt, and I have learned to weigh it down with presents so it doesn’t end up in the bedroom with her.

I have told many people, I feel like I am running with wolves out here. Trying so hard to keep up and succeed in all the happy expectations at my doorstep. So much so I want you to imagine me fist punching the air and screaming “heck yea, bring it on California!”, when in reality, it is challenging me with a cheap shot to the ovaries. The practice that I work at has allowed me to be the Chiropractor I always dreamed I’d be, and even though it has been a slow start for me, I have patients that are so dedicated to changing their lives, and so excited for their care, that I am filled with gratitude. And yet, with the new year and the non-exhaustive pace of the wolf pack, things can change like the flip of a coin here in California. Which brings the unease of insecurity–in one’s job, one’s housing, one’s dreams.

My dream of being a writer is not forgotten. I have been silent for many weeks since my last post, and I am sorry for that! But with my writing so wanting, my eyes focused on my practice, and the weakness for Hallmark Christmas movies, I was almost ashamed to write of my leave of absence. Luckily, with my up-and-coming move, my lunch hours will be open, as I no longer have the opportunity to come home and run errands. And you will be met with faithful narratives of how my own story takes wind in 2017!

After all, it is Christmas time, and with Christmas comes the inspiring hope that all things shape out the way they were meant to. It is full of wonder, of love, and of kind-giving. But hope is what I feel most right now. Besides, with just a little bit of exercise, I could run with the wolves. And have time to write. Why not?

Happy Christmas!

The Air is Full of Spices…

37th Trial: Walking through Kuala Lumpur’s largest bookstore, and experiencing two trials:  what NOT to buy and the oppressive intimidation that my writing faces when I look onto these great writers.

Weekly Hours Spent Writing or in the Pursuit of Plot: 6 hours

Weekly Choice of Tea: Teh Tarik and Malaysian White Coffee

Biggest Success: Where to begin…FINISHING chapter SIX! Also, finishing the wonderful Alchemist while traveling through the beautiful countryside of Malaysia.

“The air is full of spices.”

One of my favorite lines in the movie Sense and Sensibility is by Colonel Brandon, the voice and beautiful performance by the beloved Alan Rickman. He is talking about his time in the East Indies to the little Margaret Dashwood. I love Rickman deeply in that role, and even more so, I hear his line as I travel through the same countries his character was likely referring to. If not, I will imagine otherwise. Especially in Malaysia, where the cuisine is greatly influenced by many cultures, Indian and Malay curries here can be smelt and tasted as you walk the streets lined with open shops and restaurants. My literary and movie enthusiasm seems to follow me through the country side, and that one line continues to sound in my head as if on replay. It is like the fly that keeps landing on my arm or shoulder blade, though without the nuisance.

Maybe Jane Austen heard of travel here, heard of the exotic cuisine and the boiling nature of the tropical sun. Her novel Sense and Sensibility has made its way to where her characters supposedly traveled, and where her admirers currently do. If only Austen could have traveled here, what wonderfully colorful stories would come from it! I look to my own novel, already having the plot within a much different country than I am currently in. I have wrote before about my struggles of not putting a looming volcano in the heart of North Carolina, or of an ancient Temple at a corner in Charlotte.  While Austen did not have such influence, I can say that I now do. What will I do with it all? What can I grab, transform, and steep in imagination?

Currently I am in Malaysia, and today I thought about all the places that I have sat down and wrote pieces of Chapter Six. Ristr8toLab in Chiang Mai. Atop the coarse sand of Koh Phangan, or the soft grainy beaches of Koh Phi Phi. From Thailand this chapter has extended into Malaysia, where it progressed surrounded by the tea plantations of BOH and Cameron Valley of Cameron Highlands. In the heart of Kuala Lumpur, I finally finished the chapter. I am getting to a point in the book where I need to do further brainstorming. I jumped into writing because waiting to write was, obviously, getting me nowhere. But introduction of what I hope to be my main road of the symbolism is about to begin, and I need to buckle down. Because writing is easy. Plot has always been my unformed and jeering companion.

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The Extraordinary Snowfall

30th Trial:  Began another show on Netflix. Thank the powers-to-be that it is only one season

Weekly Hours Spent Writing or in the Pursuit of Plot: 6 hrs

Weekly Choice of Tea:  Earl Grey

Biggest Success:  Finished Chapter 5

I woke this morning to a winter wonderland. I have settled myself in Ohio, where now the chill in the air makes me feel as though I am home for Christmas yet again. Yet it wasn’t the excitement of running down the hallway to see a tree base full of presents, it was the excitement of the extraordinary. Most mornings I do not wake with such an unexpected snowfall to greet me, especially my years spent down south with the warm, red soil.

There is nothing more exciting than surprise. Adventure awaits, and ultimately always follows! I immediately put on my jacket, hat, and gloves and leashed my dog for our winter walk. After a mile I realized how ill equipped I still was when the piercing wind howled against my face. My suffering was still little against the beauty that surrounded me. A land of untouched snow. Boo Radley quickly mucked up the restful snow with her tint of yellow and messy paw prints. But we were happy.

I set to writing afterwards, with a hot cup of Earl Grey tea, and joyfully concluded chapter five!!! Since being home I have been able to write a lot more, plan a lot more, and sleep a lot more (I could be doing more of the first two and less of the latter). And yet I can only see my place here as extraordinary. I have travel on the horizon and a purpose that evades definition or shape, giving me the hopeful youth of freedom. Each day, if we can only wake up with the eye for the extraordinary, or the ability to see it within the folds of the ordinary, then we can begin each day with more hope, love, and the chance to be better versions of ourselves.

Now, I am off to beat my aunt at Scrabble—cause like I said, though ordinarily she beats me to a pulp at that game, today is a new day!

Art, Love, Loss, and Literature

29th Trial:  Interpretation.

Weekly Hours Spent Writing or in the Pursuit of Plot: 1hr. I am not sad about the lack of writing that has happened this past month–though any reader to this blog must be. I have decided that before Feb 1st, I will have completed chapter 5 and IDEALLY chapter 6.

Weekly Choice of “Tea”:  Gingerbread Latte

Biggest Success:  Jamie and I purchased tickets to visit Vietnam! Everything we own is now in boxes and storage…why not see the world before we have to be responsible adults again?

 

How does one interpret? Art, love, and the inevitable goodbye? Any absence or void leaves behind it a remembrance, just as any writer or painter leaves behind an echo of their voice. Do we look upon such voids or legacies with sadness and loss? Or with warmth and admiration? I had a very eventful visit with Jamie’s family over Christmas break, one in which I was left to ponder loss, love, and art. For one, Jersey their beloved husky, died the morning after Christmas after two emergency visits. The void was suffocating as it was quick and unexpected. While my heart was heavy with the feeling that something was taken that shouldn’t have been, others felt the memory of Jersey lived on and was enough to make their hearts light.

Secondly, we saw the Cleveland Museum of Art, where interpretation thrived in the whimsical strokes of Renoir and Degas, and hardened in the corners of Picasso. They created art that speaks volumes today, and still takes people by alarm and uncertainty.

Thirdly, we saw The Danish Girl, where I cried at any moment of love, longing, and insecurity. It was truly a story of acceptance, and the characters surrounding Eddie Redmayne were, to me, unparalleled in kindness and unprejudiced temperament. I was stunned by the attitudes and the beauty of each character we followed, and my interpretation, while my own, could not be more in favor.

Lastly, I have been so inspired by the aforementioned events, that I look toward the upcoming event in my chapter where I hope to illustrate my thoughts on reality and interpretation. To accomplish this, I reached back to 2014 where I stood in front of the infamous mural by Herakut while I was in Miami, FL.

This mural is pictured for you, and I would love to hear any interpretations you might have!

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To Write a Love Story is Certain

23rd Trial: Controlling the absolute jealousy of the literary genius, Charlotte Bronte

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot: 1 Hour

Weekly Choice of Tea: Chamomile

Biggest Success: Began Chapter 5! Enjoying the fall that surrounds me

As I have mentioned in posts prior, what do you say about your novel when asked about it? In one word or sentence can you sum something like that up? It is about Hope. Family. Philosophy. To write an epic love story is certain. I have begun to read “Villette” by Charlotte Bronte, a novel that is sadly shadowed by her more successful “Jane Eyre”. I am enjoying the perception of the main heroine of this story, as it displays the dark behind the events and people. No surprise there. The Bronte sisters are literary ninjas at mixing piety with sin, madness with love, and the shadows cast by a sunny day. In “Villette”, every moment has a balance. I am not overly happy for one circumstance, nor overly without hope at the same time. Young Lucy Snowe has an intelligent observation of people in their interactions, as well as in her own misfortunes. I read and felt a familiarity with this particular sentence:

“This I can now see and say–if few women have suffered as I did in his loss, few have enjoyed what I did in his love. It was a far better kind of love than common; I had no doubts about it or him: it was a love as honored, protected, and elevated, no less than it gladdened her to whom it was  given.”

I find this amusing in a way, as much as it is heartfelt and lovely. How certain am I that my life will encompass a great love? And my novel, the love story should be nothing short of timeless, and set apart from a perceived commonality of unions between two people! However, what does Charlotte mean by this comparison of common love and the elevated type? How can one set them apart, being the observer of other’s and the direct subject of but one? I find it intriguing to not define a romance so that no one could ever experience it, viewing it only as a fairy-tale;  but to illustrate the belief that many have actually found that true companion. It is not hard for me to imagine an elevated love, a love like no other, being a common thing. It happens under so many guises, as so many masterpieces happen with different pens and strokes. I have always dreamed of Mr. Darcy, walking to me with his long billowing tailcoat whipping behind him in his passionate haste to see me. And yet in my age, where tailcoats are not the height of fashion, exposure to many people through internet, transportation, and employment have created a stage very different from my fantasies. Moreover, who knew that my Mr. Darcy could very well be a misses? That begin said, my reality, though different, is as elevated in my estimation as the hearts bound within the novels I read. What I intend to write can be nothing more than the love and life that you, reader, experience on a daily basis. If I can but make you sense and feel the incredible story that surrounds you, I would have a purpose indeed!

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FALL-ing Inspiration

22nd Trial: Where momentum comes from

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot: 2.5 Hours

Weekly Choice of “Tea”: Spiced Apple Cider!

Biggest Success: Chapter four is typed up and printed! Began brainstorming for chapter five

While swimming what seemed like endless laps in the pool today, I realized that chapter five is before me. My goal is within reach, however if momentum does not befriend me, chaos will ensue within the plot. Who knows where we shall be when it then all ends! And so tonight I brainstormed. To begin writing a new chapter, I need a solid scene visualized, and the already-formed story will fill around it. So far I have had events as small as a conversation around a kitchen island, or as large as the classic ‘meet-cute’ which is important to any Austenite (I would like to hereby dub that word as defining a writer that follows the happy-ending-technique of Jane Austen….and not an allotrope of iron).

I pondered this as I swam, and images/scenes flashed before me. The falling leaves that bring the new season to my doorsteps; Boo Radley sitting by pumpkins. The smell of espresso as it fills the shot glass; the warmth of a coffee mug. Flyers that litter warehouse buildings of upcoming concerts and festivals. A community play for Halloween. Whether these visions will influence the next chapter, I enjoy the endless possibilities that could take this story to its new destination. I have no other option as of right now but to play it chapter by chapter. The little sense of security that I have is more empowering than I could have thought, as the direction can change with any gust of wind.

Thank goodness for my eternal muse ❤

NODA

When a Chapter Ends

21th Trial: I have no trials pertaining to my writing, as my struggles have been solely lugging moving boxes to our new place and minimalizing my lifestyle. Live big, dream big, and apparently horde big.

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot: 0 Hours

Weekly Choice of Tea: Chamomile

Biggest Success: Beginning a new chapter! (not in my novel, though!)

I deeply apologize for not writing to you all last week, my days have not been my own! I was finally able to take a break from cleaning, packing, and moving these past couple weeks and go to the Renaissance Festival. How one day at that place can amuse and inspire!! The English accents, the royal garb, and of course, the Jousting were elements to make quite the enjoyable day. I looked at the armor they wore, and immediately remembered my tour at the Tower of London. “Yes, they made that piece larger for Henry VIII because at that time he was infested with Syphilis,” was what the tour guide said, and it was that very voice that sounded in my mind as I sat in the chilly fall weather, grinning happily into my cup of tea. The day came and went, I ate my cinnamon almonds and looked longingly at Celtic jewelry. All around me people enjoyed the fantasy of a different time, and I myself felt a shift in space and time. Not just because I was sitting next to crowns, canes, and capes, but because I am ending one chapter in my life.

Jamie and I have moved out of our apartment and in with a friend. I feel as though cleaning out the closets only gives the opportunity for something new and fresh. Boo Radley (my dog) for one, has a yard now, and a neighborhood to run amuck. One of the last thoughts as I left the apartment was that this was the start of so much, a start that is now to be carried elsewhere. I began my novel here. By those long windows the sun and trees watched the first word written, and now I will not have that comfortable space to write and create the way I did. I know that it means I will just have to find a new place, however the ending of a chapter is always to be mourned, admired, and remembered. When a chapter ends in my novel I celebrate, as if I jumped another hurdle to the finish line. I also marvel at its completion, like I never thought I would be at this place, at this time, at this new height. I am at a new place, beginning a new chapter. It’s the start of a great one, I can feel it. And it will be the beginning of chapter five. Stay tuned 🙂

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