The Effect of a Pause

25th Trial: CHANGE. I have decided on a change, personally and professionally! So much different weights are now placed on my shoulders. What is next? Where will I go? Will it all Succeed? Will I put aside my literary passions in a desperate pursuit of other future goals or will it be these passions in the end, that I have left to live on?

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

Weekly Choice of Tea: Sweet Tea. Tapping into the roots that I have developed here in the South

Biggest Success: Last weekend I spent a ridiculous amount of time watching Glee and The 100 episodes. I got so fed up with my addiction, that I have taken a 4 day break from them both.

A speaker came to Jamie’s work to discuss public speaking and self-presentation. Jamie then came home so animated from it, knowing well that I could benefit from the same information. As it happens, I come from a wonderful family-line that is popular for filling any silent space. A pause in conversation can only be wanting. And yet, is not a pause the most powerful thing in observation? In understanding? In absorption, healing, and dramatic effect? As a doctor, do I pause to make sure patients understand what I say, or understand myself what was just asked? Not only do I bring consideration of a pause to my professional life, but also in my methods of being a writer. How can you write of silence, inactivity, and the static background between sentences? I challenge myself today so create a pause in the next few pages.

But let me take this one step farther.  I do not pause enough to consider what will happen after the current chapter that I am on.  When I started writing I realized that I am going to take this chapter by chapter, however I can’t do that for the entirety of the novel. How choppy it could then turn out, and how easily I could lose the breath of certain morals that should flow throughout it. When I sit down to write, I must preserve an hour at least a week to consider the future of the storyline (I know, a simple concept that has sneakily evaded me until now).

Taking such a pause from the current chapter will satisfy novel planning, something I desperately need to work on. However, this does not mean to fill the writing hours with pauses filled with episode-watching on Netflix. I love watching episodes—a little too much! Lately it has been Glee that captivates me. No, I never watched it while it played on cable TV, and the fun high-school drama and breath-taking vocals give me a world to escape to. I have also been watching The 100, which is much different from the carefree world of Glee. It is a show that has recently proven to break my heart with abominable characters that do not act as I have trusted them to. I even went to bed crying after watching an episode, swearing never to watch it again! This series has recently taught me a valuable lesson:  do not escape the world you are in, nor are creating. Some storylines fail you. They cannot be trusted! I only want to be in the world before my eyes, and the world I intend to create. That, I can control.

I am reminded by Austen’s quote, “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery”. Alas! WWAD (What Would Austen Do). Some pictures from my Inner Eye, developed during my Austen-days in the Lake District!

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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

Embracing Austen

19th Trial: When burdened with hitting a wall in your writing, seclude yourself in an area conducive to writing. But more importantly, when you feel that you have hit a wall, pick up a writer you aspire to and let their language guide you

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot: 1.5 hours

Weekly Choice of Tea: Turmeric and Ginger

Biggest Success: Embracing Austen Dialogue

Currently, the novel I am reading is Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. Though I have seen the BBC version of the book a many, many times, I am always pleasantly surprised with the development of her characters in text. I love the general summing up movies produce, and they typically do a faithful job giving the character their due respect when it comes to character qualities; however, I know Fanny (main woman in the book) so much more faithfully now, and I see the absolute necessity in reading the thoughts behind her dialogue and actions.

Reading Austen does not just fulfill my understanding of her stories displayed by British Broadcasting. Oh, how better and improved my dialogue is! Last night I sat my book down as Jamie asked me a question.

“So, what movie do you want to watch tonight?”

I responded, “Whichever would oblige you most, my dear.”

“But I want to know what you’re interested in watching.”

Again, I responded “Quite right, my love! Shall we progress further through the episodes, or view a movie not yet seen before?”

This was a rough summation of the conversation I remember, however I felt as if the attitude of Henry Crawford radiated into my own dialogue as he would talk to Fanny. I could not think of how to replace words such as ‘oblige’ or ‘progress’ or ‘quite right’ at the moment I said them. I laughed at myself naturally, but honestly, I marveled at how improved I seemed by the novels I read!! I sincerely attribute British authors to a portion of the success I will hopefully feel when this novel is finished! And I am happy to announce that chapter four is closely being finished. This coming week should be QUITE productive! The picture featured above is where Jamie sits to design and work on her website, but little does she know that while she is away, I take down the electronics and make it my space!

A Weekend of English Infusion

15th Trial: I wrote very little this week. I find that I am growing in the footpaths of my family. Meaning, I am dedicating time to capturing a stray cat opposed to spending that time in other endeavors

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot: 2 hours (the cat is really, really cute)

Weekly Choice of Tea: Turmeric and Ginger

Biggest Success: FINISHING CHAPTER THREE!

It was late wednesday night when I felt the change come to my weekend’s doorstep. April, my lovely friend whose English wedding I attended a month ago, came for a visit. So naturally, it was an English-Infused weekend by association. I am friends with her, she is married to and English man–done! It was a wonderful weekend. Friday we watched Sense and Sensibility while drinking tea. Luckily too, she came bearing gifts (lucky for me, I mean). I unwrapped a book she purchased for me while she was at the Tower of London, and it is a cookbook for traditional English sandwiches, scones, and deserts that you can make for afternoon tea. And of course, a book mark with a picture of the Lakes where we were for her wedding. Both were incredibly special, and she noted inside the book certain quotes and her own sentiments on giving me inspiration for my writing. Which something more British always does!

The English essence did not end there! We went to Asheville on Saturday where I took her to a coffee shop inside a double decker bus! How on earth we have that in North Carolina is beyond me, however I am happy nonetheless.

April Robertson!

I have not spent a lot of time with my novel this past week. I knew the end of Chapter Three was near, but I had no idea how to end it. Every chapter is a story in itself. I find that I want to end each one with a sort of mystery. On that note, it is a mystery to me on how to do that adequately. There are many things that I still want to include, but as the chapter tips over the ten page line I begin to draw a line. One cannot tolerate a very long chapter. It ended with me writing a scene, pausing, and saying “yes, lets just end it there”! That then allows other ideas to spill into the next chapter, which I find comfort in knowing now what I will write about when I start chapter four this week. Cheers!

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves. It is not my nature.” -Jane Austen and April Comstock Robertson

Creating Character

13th Trial:  Social Media. I have recently acquired a smart phone to use as my main phone. Never again will this happen. I absent-mindedly pick up my phone and by the time I put it down I opened at least three apps. This is the downfall of civilization. Or a type of it for that matter. And here I am, blogging.

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot: 6.5 hours

Weekly Choice of Tea: Bombay Chai

Biggest Success: Swimming Lake Wylie without a partner (the water is dark and I can’t stop imagining snapping turtles, whether they exist in Lake Wylie or not…its scary being alone!)

This must be nothing more than a sequel to last week’s article. It has to be. I am not burdened by the struggle I imagined I would be–how to write, what to write, oh writer’s block–my nemesis! Grant it, do not suppose I am not challenged by these common obstacles. Lately, however, I am overwhelmed by the absolute quantity of material that surrounds me. Even in the discovery of new persons in my life–Charles and his trains or Brian with his solar Pyrography–I am reminded of who I have known for years. Think of all of my friends, their successes and their trials. Think of all those I have become intimate with, by sharing my emotions and my thoughts. Consider for a moment my family and their knowledge, strength, and of course quirks. I have thought a lot about those who have still such a strong hold on my heart. And even professionally and spiritually, those who have built worlds and given me motivation.

Many such people seem fragmented within me, and within my imagination. Their morals and ethics remind me of who I want to be, who I do not want to be. I am fortunate in my friendships and in those I love. For I am surrounded by a world of animation, happiness, and color. I am enjoying reading Mansfield Park, where Austen very much emphasizes a world of indulgence on one end, and a very humble, thankful meditation on the other. Fanny Price is a character in the book who is better by those in her life–the ones that tear her down and laugh at her are just as important as those who love her and protect her. The adversities and the trials I face, along with the care and sweetness of those around me, create my character, and more importantly, give my book genuine faces and realistic qualities. Here are just a couple photographs of my dear friends and family!

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Of an Equal Nature

10th Trial:  Not knowing personally the drama of a small town that is going through a change– In the next couple weeks, I plan to begin attending the town meetings here in Noda!

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot: 7 hours

Weekly Choice of Tea: Southern Mint, which we bought at the Biltmore house

Biggest Success:  Finished reading the novel Agnes Grey and typed up Chapter 2

Needless to say, a lot has been happening. I finally feel as though I am catching up and reconnecting with my novel since the European trip. It is bizarre to feel displaced from the storyline that one begins developing, as you would assume that the author and the story are in one mind. I imagine at some point that will happen, however as I typed up chapter two, I found that I had to make notes of things that I wrote about so as to not forget them down the road! Today I was calmed from the anxiety I felt of jumping back into my project from a few weeks break of it. It is almost like going through a maze at nighttime with a headlamp:  the upcoming bushes and turns in the pathway come into view as you near them. I truly, as I’ve said before, dislike this approach. I am finding it resourceful though. Even today I realized that the town I am in is going through a significant change soon, as the light rail is being developed to connect Noda to Charlotte’s city center. How exciting it is for me to be able to possibly witness the changing mentalities of an area with changing transportation! So my new homework for the upcoming weeks will be to attend town meetings (which sound so romantic anyways!) and see the true politics of an area like this.

I am also beginning a new book, Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. I have finished Anne Bronte’s novel Agnes Grey, which I am happy to say I now know her a little. One thing I loved after I read the ending, was that there was a letter by Charlotte Bronte about her sisters, that she had wrote after both passed away. She discussed their beginning as authoresses and how they used fake names to get published. This is what she wrote:

“Averse to personal publicity, we veiled our own names under those of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell; the ambiguous choice being dictated by a sort of conscientious scruple at assuming Christian names positively masculine, while we did not like to declare ourselves women, because–without at that time suspecting that our mode of writing and thinking was not what is called ‘feminine’–we had a vague impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice; we had noticed how critics sometimes use for the chastisement the weapon of personality, and for their reward, a flattery, which is not true praise.”

I love that Charlotte describes both ends of a critic–praise and disapproval–and how both should be ignorant of the author/authoress for true critique. Along the same lines of progressing passed gender prejudice, which is still suffered today though not nearly as severe as Bronte’s time, I am proud to say I witnessed this past week America overcoming a milestone in Gay/Lesbian prejudices. The supreme court made law that no state in North America can deny gay and lesbian couples the right to marriage. While there will still be a struggle and discrimination, I am proud to say that I’ve seen this day! And more so, that my Aunt has seen this day. As you can see by the picture supplied, I have a lovely girlfriend that if I so choose to marry one day,  that is a right that is no longer denied to both of us. I am seeing that we can all one day live within an equal nature, both in literature and in love.

The Act of Persuasion

1st Trial: to write, or not to write! Too easily persuaded against forming the habit to write daily

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot: 4 hours…not my proudest.

Weekly Choice of Tea: Turmeric and Ginger

Greatest Success: brainstorming on an antagonistic figure (light bulb came on–I have known a truly gruesome man that has truly gruesome ideas on human nature…I am now thankful to have met him!)

On the subject of firmness of character:

“…like all other qualities of the mind, it should have its proportions and limits. She thought it could scarcely escape him to feel, that a persuadable temper might sometimes be as much in favour of happiness, as a very resolute character.”-Austen

One week gone and still only nibbling at the bait and tackle! You really need to just take a bite and let it hook you, at least I am trying to form the opinion of, so that the story can write through the medium of your fingers. I am too easily persuaded to come home from work, and watch not just one, but two episodes of Downton Abbey (or Gilmore Girls…depends on how stressful my day was. I cannot deal with the anxiety of the murder of Mr. Green after being consumed by office stresses, but I digress.). There is an entire act of persuasion happening between self and self, and too easily am I convinced that I would rather slump on my couch, go on a run before the sun goes down, hang out with my grandfather (I could never regret), or happily engage myself in the book I am reading. I just finished Persuasion, and I must say I am absolutely obsessed with the torment between the lovers–any love story must have longing looks and uncertain futures that twists the heart into knots, and must therefore end with happy certainty. An account that Jane Austen ensures with her stories. I always admire her for that, though Bronte’s success of Wuthering Heights to illustrate a true love story and have it end in a shattered disaster and still have my heart sing is the greatest accomplishment I know of, I must admit! While my own persuasion tempted me towards minimal writing this past week, I feel stronger against such a force, and the upcoming week looks promising. This good looking man distracted me shortly this weekend:

Grandpa and I

However I must say that this blog idea does not allow me to place writing completely on the back burner, and I am rather excited to report to it. I even tried to reach out to other blogs, finding that being unsocial and taciturn on this network won’t allow my progress from people who do not love me unconditionally and are intoxicatingly supportive. You need adversity to become better, and therefore I intend to seek it out, though I have no idea how to get a stranger to read my blog (stay tuned). On that note, I write on my bedroom walls trying to illustrate an overall arching theme, and while I have one in mind, there are many dark alleyways that show deficiencies. Yes you can write on a subject you want all readers to take from your novel, but the subject will be displayed more properly and evidently by illustrating it through an antagonist, through a conflict. A rudimentary concept I would imagine any writer has. I remember an easy writing assignment in undergrad, where you were to describe a place by only illustrating to the reader on what it is not, rather than what it is. For example:

The writing desk witnessed nothing but the rising of the sun and moon, as the rolling chair did not yield under the hand of someone sitting down to write. The pencil remained unsharpened, intelligent ideas remained undocumented. One can imagine dust that was not being swept away by the busyness of a dog that usually sits underfoot, and the effort that no walls witnessed and the couch relished in!