When Calls the Heart

41st Trial:  I do NOT have a typewriter. That is unacceptable, for any author

Weekly Hours Spent Writing or in the Pursuit of Plot: 2hr

Weekly Choice of Tea: English Breakfast Tea

Biggest Success: Finding a place to call home for the next six months in the East Bay

 

California is said to be the land of dreams, and as I said before, it may not be so. I defy California’s initial dislike of me, and intend to make it as dreamy as it’ll allow! My first weekend bed hopping through AirBnB was an excellent time to kick back and indulge in none other than, drum roll please……episode watching! I had finished my first week of working in a new office, apartment applications, and worrying about my car that was weighed down with a trunk full of books, kitchen appliances, clothing, and bedding. To protect all that I own, I kept my car parked and my days empty of traveling around the city. That being said, the episode series that now consumes my story-junky appetite and keeps my eyes sore with a consistent stream of joyful tears, is “When Calls the Heart”. It is as corny, heartfelt, and wholesome as it sounds, I assure you. It is enough to make me quit the city surroundings and live in the picturesque and romantic scenery of small town simplicity.

I laugh as I watch this show, as much as I do cry. Elizabeth, the main character, is a writer as well. And the past few episodes consisted of her, sitting in front of her typewriter and its empty-of-ink page, looking for inspiration. And her annoyance at others who try to intervene with their suggestions of plot. I have realized that I cannot be an author without a typewriter! As pitiful as I feel at times, spending all day watching episodes, I do find inspiration in the stories that movies and series bring me. They make me envious, hopeful, thankful, and expand a world beyond my reality.

Since being here, I have met people who are so drained of their inspiration. And then I watch “When Calls the Heart”, the corny scenes become the most influential to me. It is not complicated to pursue one’s dreams, to let their imagination guide them, and work to develop their own reality. I made a promise to myself to travel, to write, and to be passionate in all that I do. That, is what I’ll do.

Dreaming in California – Not Yet the California Dream

40th Trial: Totally separate from my writing. San Francisco Housing. Enough said.

Weekly Hours Spent Writing or in the Pursuit of Plot: 1 hour for plot – you would think with a 5 day drive to California with nothing to do much change CDs and ignore strange sounds coming from tired tires, I would have more time to consider the project and product our leading lady will immerse herself in.

Weekly Choice of Tea: Peach Tranquility

Biggest Success: Making it to San Francisco. Through all of the chaos of moving to a new city, I have been able to save some energy to consider a schedule for writing, swimming, and travel planning.

All of it is true. Jamie and I packed our cars just two weeks ago and came to the west in the same desperate desire for a next adventure. In our own way we pioneered a new life;  passing through the green crops that filled the rolling hills of  Iowa, the snow capped mountain ranges and deep canyon lined roads of Colorado, the vast red desert lands of Utah, Las Vegas, and the immensity of Arizona canyons. The road to California was primarily heat, dust, and desert. There were exit signs that were nameless, as if the roads that came from it went nowhere. The stars at night were as impenetrable and clear as they were in Indonesia. America is no longer a land without differing landscapes and cultures to me, and is just as vibrant as the countries that make up many other continents. It takes a drive across country to see it as such!

The next three years in San Francisco will be the most momentous of my life. Here I will finish my novel, gain all the experience to create my own business, and discover further the west coast of our wonderful nation. Something More British will document the entire process, and in turn create a network of aspiring writers (and anyone else!), so that we may all continue to pursue what seems impossible to us. You always have time to pursue your dreams, no matter how hard driving 14 hours a day across the desert can be. Or finding a new place to live in a city filled of chaotic opportunities. Or even when we allow careers to exhaust us. You only thrive when you are being who you love. How we look at our circumstances make our reality what it is, and you can change your reality in the same regard. That is the true plot of my novel, and in its own way it will show that our reality can bend in the way we accept nature, self, and love.

A Romantic Time Apart

39th Trial: How to bring the vibrancy of life experiences to a story created prior to its discovery

Weekly Hours Spent Writing or in the Pursuit of Plot: 2 hours

Weekly Choice of Tea: Nettle Tea

Biggest Success: Began a side writing project with Jamie:  a children’s book!

There is an undeniable attraction to distance and time, in more ways than just theoretical physics. I look at the cobwebs that have grown within the web address itself, and know that I have neglected my blog site for far too long. I was fortunate enough to write my novel and a few posts while traveling in Southeast Asia, but three weeks has followed my return and my faithful blog continues to feel the weight of dust. But then I think on something more British, as I do to calm my heart, and there is nothing more romantic than distance and time. Yes, I have been apart from my blog, but the expectant blog can only excite! Imagine the relationship between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, if they were able to text and call each other whenever they wished. Wasn’t it time apart that brought clarity, eagerness, a desperate need? And didn’t love grow in the years that followed Anne Elliot’s rejection of Captain Wentworth, when nothing but fond memories filled the void? I hope all my readers can gladly welcome the rebirth of my weekly blogs, allowing the time and distance between them to applaud a love unspoiled!

I have returned from different worlds, to find my pages wanting. True focus and inspiration has filled me, but more importantly, I have seen the need for a deeper individuality within my characters. There is nothing more important than knowing oneself, and living for oneself (humanity does from time to time require us to live for others, but we are all within the bounds of humanity, so there is little difference between the two). A novel and the characters within it should be extraordinary, because it is within the power of anyone to live as such. Why would I write of the social ‘norm’ and impaired? Life is about challenging and bending reality, about overcoming that which brings you down. Any character defeated by the external pressures of life has no place in a novel, much less mine. So without much ado, I say welcome back. Imagine this my love letter to you, that the distance apart has only increased my dedication to my writing, and to my journal entries of it.

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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Two Cultures, Both Alike, in Dignity…

36th Trial: Taking a true inventory of my memories, as that is what my writing has become nowadays, a library of what I know in a land of completely new stimulation.

Weekly Hours Spent Writing or in the Pursuit of Plot: 3 hours, mainly while on the beach or at a quaint, adorable coffee shop.

Weekly Choice of “Tea”: Coffee! I will rue the day I drank coffee in Thailand

Biggest Success: Beginning to read The Alchemist

Being displaced from the scenes that have been the background to my story makes my writing now a process of filing through memories. I cannot see the busy town my character walks through, from my usual seat at Smelly Cat Coffee. So many exotic plants, fruits, and people surround me now, and it is as hard now not to mix oil with acrylic. Two cultures separate me, and while I look upon the beautiful tropics of Thailand, I am forced to look back to American culture as I continue writing. It makes me miss home, honestly, and I have to try very hard not to put a coconut tree in the front yard of my character’s home.

Southeast Asia, from what I know of Cambodia and Thailand, has taught me a great deal so far. The Alchemist has described this learning flawlessly, calling this transmission of knowledge a “universal language”. I do not speak the languages here, and yet the common tread of tourist establishes an understanding, and I have yet to feel out of place. Through their beliefs and way of life through Buddism, a universal intellect is in the form of enlightenment. I do not sit in this paradise and pick nervously at my fingers trying to figure out what comes next, how will I finish my novel, or will I find an office to work in upon my return. There are signs, omens if you will, that have brought me here, and will bring me home. It is my choices on a daily basis that will acquire everything I need in life. It is my actions that will complete this novel, that will open the doors to my very own chiropractic office one day. It is a power in us all, which is so thrilling and enticing. Stop waiting. Stop waiting for things to be the right moment an utilize your time so that you are working towards that dream. My novel is a dream, and as many who know me, I have far too many dreams to keep track of. But today I worked towards a purpose, and tomorrow as I climb the waterfalls of Koh Samui, I will work towards that same purpose.

 

 

Heartache Motivates in the Land of Smiles

35th Trial: Wanting to go back and alter a past description or illustration, and realizing the manuscript is back home and I am across the world with only an empty notebook. Taking mental notes does not suffice anymore, and so I am making pages of things to remember to correct. I am finding it easy to change that which is already written, than brainstorming on that which needs to happen.

Weekly Hours Spent Writing or in the Pursuit of Plot: Since last post, I would guess-timate around 2 hours

Weekly Choice of Tea: Chrysanthemum iced tea and Thai Milk Tea

Biggest Success: Visiting Angkor Wat temples and getting a spiritual Sak Yant Tattoo in Bangkok, Thailand! I am currently in Chiang Mai, and this backpacking trip has been the most thrilling, let-loose, connecting with humanity I’ve ever done.

My writing has been more in the forefront of my mind than I thought it would be. Grant it, I have not the time or energy to actually write–even more so than when I worked back home. My days have been filled with temples, site-seeing, and documenting through my notebook and travel blog. Facebook is getting its fill of pictures and videos on a daily basis. I am writing more than I ever have because the documentation portion of this trip has been the most consuming, and I find that it is still an exercise for my writing. I had not planned on writing any chapters while abroad, and yet I find I cannot detain myself! I love that I miss writing my novel, and I love that I miss Chiropractic. My life does not seem without or wanting, and seeing this new world in Southeast Asia strengthens my inner character rather than filling a void.

I have a stirring passion to pick up chapter six where I left off in January, primarily due to finishing the novel “Villette” two days ago. Charlotte Bronte is a mastermind. Her ability to grip the heart and tear apart one’s world is only paralleled by her sister’s ability. Whatever gene they have that makes them professors of unrequited love and debilitating despair sadly ended with their much too early deaths, and the world is at a loss without it. While I admire their ability to crush my soul into bits with loss of love, I have a cautious relationship with the Bronte girls. I can trust them only so far. I can rely on them heightening my spirits by connecting to my deepest desires, but am appalled that they could then treat me so brutally afterwards.

Regardless, I am so inspired by Charlotte. In regards to somethingmorebritish, it is ultimately authors like her that motivate me to write. I put down “Villette”, warming my sobbing heart with the thought of my own novel, and how I can end it however I wish. Love with always triumph–you’ve heard me say it before. However, I must learn from the Bronte’s how to pull at the heart stings a bit. Just a little.

Some Travel Photos for you 🙂 see more at http://www.blankpproject.com, my travel blog!

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Will Always a Romance Make

31st Trial: Saying goodbye to Alan Rickman and David Bowie

Weekly Hours Spent Writing or in the Pursuit of Plot: 5 hrs

Weekly Choice of Tea:  Gingerbread Latte

Biggest Success:  Finished typing up Chapter 5 and began brainstorming on Chapter 6

 

Chapter five proved to be an important chapter in my opinion. It has given the book a deeper level, where we now have shaved off the introductory surface of characters and new places and looked more inward. Into the guts of it all!  I am sure no matter how much I spell out the book’s morale the reader will come up with their own interpretation- but alas, one can only hope their message is getting across. Not only do I sense a change in story direction, but it was the novel’s first meet-cute. Anyone who knows me will expect ardent romance and excessive longing within this book, and so with butterflies and giddiness I confess the first stage of courtship has began!

“A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.” -Austen, of course!

How biased I am! A story without the hope of love or the pangs of the heart is no story I would willingly pick up. Action, adventure, and mystery are all very well, and I do sometimes take interest in it if I have had my fill of sappy romance. But a world without love and romance, holds little interest in my mind because that alone is unrealistic. I walk out of the door everyday and fall in love with one person or one object regularly- and that is what makes life worth living. I remember seeing Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon in the movie Sense and Sensibility, and with his deep voice and sweet gazes he grew deep roots into my heart. In high school, I listened to “Changes” by David Bowie and was taken by his voice and peculiarity. Though these two men have died, I will think of them and the moment I fell in love with them as contributors to my romantic and intellectual education. As expected they were British, and I look to that country yet again with admiration, professing always that something more British will always a romance make.

Rickman and I

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!

My Muse Must be Magnanimous

27th Trial: Saying goodbye to a home that has become my Muse

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot: 1 Hour (in total since last post)

Weekly Choice of Tea: Christmas Blend

Biggest Success: Eating authentic Austrian Macaroni and Cheese. Philip, my Austrian connection and the one that helped Jamie and I out when she fell off the cliff side, full-filled his promise to make us macaroni and cheese using specific Austrian cheese. There. are. no. words.

It has been two weeks hence since I picked up my laptop to speak again to you all, and I beg that you forgive such absent-mindedness. Over the past two weeks I have been re-packing, selling with vehemence, and planning. Not to mention doing all of this and keeping the Christmas spirit alive! Luckily for me I am back on the couch you saw in the earlier post, sitting peacefully next to the fireplace. This week will be my last week working for a while, until I move to California and begin practicing there. Yes, you heard correctly! I will be leaving my dear Charlotte–a place that has given my novel its voice and its setting. I can only hope that my Muse will morph into the trees and oceans that meet me on my upcoming journey, and does not create a yearning within that dries one’s quill or locks prose in corners I cannot reach.

What is a Muse to me, then, if it be ever changing? Charlotte, and more specifically Noda, has given me song and inspiration as of late. And when I am in California, can She become the seals by the chilling waves of the Pacific? The sweet temperament of sun’s rays on endless coastal highways? Will she be spiteful towards me, for forcing change and inconsistency? My muse must be magnanimous, and without solid shape. A Boggart of sorts!

Do I look forward to this change, this immediate lack of work? Can idleness and inactivity give me any rest or repose? I will make a promise to this blog and to myself:  let anytime away from one passion allow another passion to thrive. Over the next month and a half I will be dedicated to my novel, and will dazzle you surely with witty sense and breath-taking revelations. Surely, I will!

A Room of Her Own

26th Trial: One must escape to create–I pull from Virginia Woolf’s quote a useful writing tip.

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot: 4 Hours

Weekly Choice of Tea: Sweet Macha

Biggest Success: Embracing the life of Carol K. (Grandma Perin)

 

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” -Woolf

I am not unappreciative of where Jamie and I live now, though the windows are painted shut and spots of possible mold intersperse the ceiling like a lethal starry night. The age of the Havisham-house is thick in the air, and Jamie and I share space with each other, our lovely dog, and a roommate of spectacular artist talent!  This is his home, and his space to work on his art. Where, among the dust and walls with ten-layers of paint, could my own personal creativity flourish? I attempt the impossible. I bite the bullet and sit down at the small desk in the corner of our small room, and write. I look at it with disgust typically, and my pen is useless within a half and hour. The attitude of my surroundings is not conducive! I have tried! Yet, tried in vain.

For me to have a successful time writing, I must scoop out $5 and go to a coffee shop in town. “Smelly Cat” is a room of my own, a space where I can focus and feel the juices flowing. I have found that not only a coffee shop makes a writer of me, as this week I house sat at a luxurious, clean, newly modeled home. I spent the majority of the evenings by the fireplace with Christmas music filling the background. I wrote an hour a night, gladly and progressively. What a relief! How simple the concept has become:   fill a space with the objective to calm you, soothe and caress your imagination, and give your mind the ability to think not on toxic fumes that leak from the walls, but instead on its limitless ability to create. The absolute cure for writer’s block as well! I constantly had Boo Radley’s toys or nose in my space where I read and wrote, and I found that there was plenty of room for her as well.

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I would like to end this post not with my acknowledgement of Woolf’s yet-again impeccable ability to hit the nail on the head, but with a tribute to a wonderful woman. Jamie described her grandmother as stubborn and unbending, and as Jamie laughed when she described such qualities, one comes to embrace them. Grandma Perin was a rock in Jamie’s heart, a kind and hilarious woman, who followed the Cleveland Cavaliers with the enthusiasm of a professional scout (of whom I believe she was in a past life). Her kids, her sports, and her home seemed to be her life. Today she passed peacefully, and Jamie and I are happy to think of where she could be now, of what adventures await her. Sending out love and hope to Grandma Perin!

Dumbledore: “To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”

Peter Pan: “..to die would be an awfully big adventure.”