Painting and Writing

I’ve recently started experimenting with acrylic pour painting. Today’s blog focuses on one aspect that fascinates me , people like what I would paint over.

Not the one I was going to paint over.

I’m not going to try and explain what acrylic pour painting is. I’ll show you a couple of examples. If you are interested, a simple search on the ‘u Tubes will show you more than you ever wanted.

The whole fam damily tries it out.

As you can see the results are highly varied and each person likes or dislikes the paintings as they see fit. One of the components of this painting style is, if you don’t like it, you can easily paint over it. This takes us to our point: Don’t paint over what other people like.

I made a piece that I didn’t like. Getting ready to paint over it, my spouse said, “What? That’s beautiful, don’t paint over it.” Shocked I said, “But I don’t like it.”

Then I stopped. Everyone’s taste is different. People appreciate different aspects of abstract painting. I showed it to a second person, who didn’t know the reaction of the first person. They liked it. I can’t understand why these people like this piece. I doubt I ever will. But it caused me to think if I do the same thing in my writing.

Have I scrapped or trashed scenes because I won’t like them in real life? I have a tendency to avoid the awkward squeamish scenes from ‘reality’ tv shows. Have I avoided writing the super embarrassing confrontation because I wouldn’t like it in real life? Even now, years removed from a situation, I cringe at my actions, and naivete. Even though it’s the perfect example of what I’m talking about, I can’t write about it.

From what I have read, and talking to other authors, there comes a time when you don’t like what you’re writing. It’s all garbage, I can’t write, why am I even doing this writing thing? Stop and get some perspective. This may mean giving it to someone else to read, or just shelving it for two weeks until you are in a better frame of mind.

My favorite is, “I hate the PoV, I’m going re-write it.” Next time, consider, maybe the PoV is fine, and you’re just squeamish about having to submit it. Or afraid of being rejected. To the best of my knowledge, to be an author means dealing with rejection from publishers, editors, agents. It’s part of the writing process. Embrace it.

You’re not always right about your own art, at least I’m not.

Be Well…dcd

There are always more anomalies than you planned for – j.townsend 2019

In the mythical world of earth I am a character working in information technology at a company. We recently moved into a new building. Therefore for the last two weeks, I’ve done nothing but work and discover anomalie s . Anomalies require two immediate steps be taken, one is a prompt work around solution to allow the business to function and two, a report sent to allow for the issue to be resolved. Step one requires creative out of the box thinking. Step two requires accurate details to permit the swift resolution. Those of you who have been in this position know that “swift” can sometimes mean 6 or 7 weeks.

The third aspect of this process is the pristine perfect work, your work, your pride, is often compromised to get people working. And unless you do my job it is beyond difficult to experience the ruination of your own work because of others. Such is my situation. Instead of an impeccable server room with neat cables, I have what amounts to a rats nest of chaos. In fact I doubt whether rats would live there.

Random Cat Picture!

The astute reader will identify this as a metaphor for the writing process. And as someone who is going to send out three manuscripts this year into the chaos of slush piles, I have a lot of pain ahead of me. A writer fulfills all these roles, from owner to architect to finish carpenter to accountant to receptionist to IT guy. (PS – IT people hate being called “IT Guy”)

The result is the next several blogs will deal with aspects of anomalies that have corresponded to events in the new building. It’ll be fun, we’ll laugh, we’ll cry and I might get my sanity back. Hopefully I will get my writing mojo back.

Topics include, More phones than places to plug them in: Bridging your main character until you flesh them out making them a better character and thereby making your story better.

Why is it so cold in the building: Building heat in your story that is consistent with your characters. Not just a tussle in the bedroom.

Dealing with false accusations: How to get the enemy to aid your cause without compromising your values.

All of this will be from my limited perspective as a writer. Join me on the mythical adventure into the real world of my writing.

******

More than ever this year, be good to people. Recognize kindness, take time to honestly praise people in front of others. Hate surrounds us, destroying the soul of society do not aid in the destruction.

Be well…dcd

I’m not as good as I think I am…

This is not a downer, woe is me blog. If you’re looking for one of those, keep looking. This about me acknowledging to be a writer and have the good habits of writers, I need to follow the hacks that others use. I am not above them. I need to do, what I tell others to do. This is should not surprise anyone.

As a result, this will be a short blog, were I trick myself into writing more.

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And now, a short diversion. The year is 1976. I’m in grade 11. At this point in my life I play a tremendous number of sports. A group of traveling athletes came to our high school in rural Alberta. A chance to see National football players was unheard of at that time. I was one of the fortunate ones chosen to compete in a little head to head action in a variety of sports.

All three of the men were currently playing in the NFL. The one I remember was the Center for the Minnesota Vikings. He was a big man. By Big I mean walls got out of his way and said sorry. (They were Canadian Walls). In the three on three basketball competition. We mistakenly thought we could leave him unguarded on the perimeter. Yea, that was a dumb idea. He was nothing but net from the outside. We also foolishly thought we stood a chance in any of the competitions… Ah the stupidity of youth. And in thinking we could win, I foolishly tried to draw a charging call on Mr.Big. It was a great idea.

Somehow I saw what the play was going to be. So I set up where Mr.Big was going to drive the lane. Arms crossed in front of me protecting the family jewels, ready to draw the charge. Mr.Big caught the ball spun and drove the lane to the basket. When he turned, imagine his shock to see me standing there. But it was too late he barrelled into skinny high school smart ass.

I will attempt to relate what I think happen in mirco pieces of time between him seeing me and his contact with me.

First, I believe he understood, well before I did, what was going to happen. Secondly, he tried to drop the ball and grab me to prevent what occurred. Lastly, he felt pain for me. Sorrow, regret. The last he thing he wanted to do, was hurt anyone.

What happened next was simple physics. Force = mass x acceleration. He hit me square in the chest with his shoulder and I launched off the ground like a Saturn V rocket heading to the moon. (Further evidence would show that the circumference of one of his thighs corresponded to my waist.)

Well, I would have reached the moon, but the polite wall didn’t believe in getting out of the way of idiots and therefore it prevented me being the first Canadian in space. In the nano second before I let the wall catch me, I heard the sound of silence. The entire gym inhaled and held their breath. Even the athletes. I could see all three of them, the fear in their eyes that they just a killed a Canadian High School student.

My mother often said, “You can’t hurt a Dear male by hitting them in the head.” Once again Mother was right.

To this day I don’t know what happened. I don’t know why I wasn’t hurt. But I know you can’t fly through the air and get stopped by cinder block wall and not be hurt. I know from first hand experience. But on that day, in that place, I was fine. I don’t offer an explanation.

What is the lesson I learned? It took me years to figure out what I learned.

I was wrong, is what I have come to understand. The outcome of the game was never in doubt. My drawing the charge wouldn’t have won the game. But to see the pain and hurt in those grown men’s eye’s as I flew threw the air with the greatest of ease, I don’t need to see again. Even if I was in the right.

Be Well…dcd

Mindset

The impact of other’s emotions on my life disables me from writing.

Plain, simple, straight forward.

And right now, I don’t want to harden myself to this reality of life. But neither do I want to let it dominate me. I’m not sure where that leads me? Less facebook and cnn never hurt anyone. And it’s quite clear facebook and cnn have hurt people. It might be that simple.

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I suppose another option is to continue the filtering and de-following of the propagators of hate. That’s never a bad idea. I think I’ll start looking for a cave. Something not too sandy but still with good drainage.

This is really an inner  monologue on balance. Life balance. Learning to write, is only one part of a writer’s mindset, of my writer’s mindset. The problem is for me at this time writing is fragile. It takes time and resources, it’s not like fixing a computer, which I could probably do in a coma.

What’s fragile about writing? I mean come on grow up, it’s almost 2020, your jet pack will be here soon. Just sit down and type, how hard could it be?

I’ve never been a writer. It’s not a skill I have. My corporate emails are fraught with missing words, and prepositions are apparently unknown to me in amy form prose.  Don’t get me wrong, I love words, the nuance of finding the correct word for me. On the other hand, writing is like shopping for paint colours.

“Oh that’s a great sky blue.” I say.

She who knows colors rolls her eyes and says, “That’s robin’s egg blue…”

I’ve stopped picking out paint with her. It’s safer and in the end the color is great. Even if I don’t the right name. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

But words are different. They are different depending where you are in the world and who your audience is.

Physic’s convention, A scientist stands up and asks, “What kind of diaper did Schrodinger’s cat wear?” Answer – “Depends”  

I’ve struggled with this blog trying to convey the struggle to just write and how I am impacted by the world and suffering. I’ll take another run at it another day.  For today I will leave you with this.

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”
― Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

Until then, be well, dcd

Top Ten Reasons for me to finish my latest WIP

  1. Finishing is good.
  2. Stop getting the “Are you still working on that? I thought you finished it last year?”
  3. Get rid of the guilt all the characters in the novel are putting on me to finish.
  4. Finally get to write the scenes I’ve been waiting to write.
  5. The New Hotness will finally get a chance to be the Old Hotness.
  6. NaNoWriMo is just around the corner.
  7. The first draft of the Mystery is getting angry at being ignored and is thinking of making me the victim in the sequel.
  8. I’ll be allowed to complain about George Martin not finishing his series. At least he’s been writing…
  9. Finishing will allow me to get rejected by a whole new group of people – Publishers.
  10. I can blog about writing again, because I’ll be writing again.

 

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Obligatory cat photo

As Always – Be Well – dcd.

 

 

A Retreat, Shame and wth? An Editor…

I got back from the writing retreat setup by Randy McCharles earlier this week. Randy’s a great friend to writers of all levels. Check him out. He has new series coming out soon. More news as events warrant.

 

Ok – the people at the retreat made me feel ashamed of my commitment level.

They were a bunch of BIC’s (Bums In Chairs) It was humbling. Their schedule looked something like this:

  • Writing by 630 AM
  • Short Break 10:15
  • Lunch Noon (45 Min)
  • Short Break 230 ish
  • Dinner 6:00 PM (an Hour)
  • And most nights another 2 hours of writing then a sit around chat.

With the guilt hanging over my head after the first day I tried to buckle down and get crunching out the writing.

Here’s what got accomplished:

  • 30K editing pass – and then sent to an editor for revision, plus alpha readers. Yes I crapped my pants.
  • 10K New words
  • Major problems resolved- two
  • Incorporate all changes from Editor on the Prologue. (2500 words)

Robert J. Sawyer Blessing My Keyboard

This is for what I refer to as the “CheeseSpaceOpera” Today’s working title “Icarus: Book One of the System War”.

Some of you might be still coughing about me sending something to an editor, please check her site out: http://moreedits.ca/. If she can work with me, she can work with anyone.

So in an effort for full transparency – Yes –  I am on the road to having something published; either self-published or otherwise. (Insert Laugh Track Here)

The biggest single new technique I learned and put into practise – Editing pass while you listen to the story. I did this through MS Word’s “Read Aloud” function. It’s astounding the sheer volume of prepositions I don’t put in when I write.

What are you going to put into practice for your writing?

Be Well…dcd

What good shall I do today?

After I’ve had coffee of course.

I will be fortunate enough to attend a writing retreat at the end of May.  This is a selfish goodness for me. This is a holiday for me. And like any good holiday you need to prepare and pack, because as my wife says, “Pants are good”.

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When I was a younger man and took a holiday it took me two or three days to forget about work and be present in the holiday I was taking. There were entire trips where I never lived in the holiday. Never enjoyed it, fully. I was an idiot. I can’t emphasize this enough. The stupidity of not enjoying, your holiday is fundamentally wrong. I would go so far as to say, evil. People who are kind and generous often learn this late in life. It’s sad and tragic. In my case one of the great regrets of my life. (I know, I know, suck it up princess, some people never get holidays)

Why do I mention this? Because I need to prepare for a holiday, and so should you. For me there are three areas I prepare:

  1. Health
  2. Soul/Spirit/Mind
  3. What to pack?

Health wise I try to start my healthy regime 3 or 4 weeks in advance. I am starting now to make sure that I am physically prepared. While it seems obvious, consider what you will be doing. What hours will you be keeping? Will you need to adjust your sleep cycle? How active will you be?

I am unaware of any holiday that doesn’t change your physical activity level in some way. Whether it is walking more, or using muscles that you don’t normally use. If you are going canoeing and you haven’t canoed all year there is a great chance you will have back problems, for example. Take steps to strengthen your back.

Drinking. Will you be drinking more? Or will you be drinking less? Figure it out make choices that don’t let what you drink determine if you enjoy your holiday. There is nothing worse then running out of your favorite gin half-way through a holiday, except running out of your favorite coffee.

When I canoed regularly we brought two coffee makers on the trip. One was the morning cup of coffee, big robust, plentiful, filtered coffee. The other was a stove top espresso machine, complete with demi-tasse cups. You immediately have new friends if you offer a hard core, freezed dried food canoeing team espresso.  The husband and wife who are traveling with their children drinking instant coffee will think you’re angels sent from heaven. And if you pull out a little Bailey’s , be sure to have kleenex handy for they will be crying.

I point this out for a couple of reasons. First, I don’t believe it is healthy to make major life changes when you are taking a holiday. Don’t try and quit drinking coffee on a holiday. Secondly, everyone needs an indulgence on a holiday, maybe’s it coffee and Baileys, maybe it’s pedicure or maybe it’s just sitting in a chair and reading undisturbed. Figure out what your indulgence will be, make it happen.  Health wise know your limits. And you don’t know your limits until you write them down. As I writer I know there is a significant difference between what I think I will write and what actually goes on the page. The written word defines something, places limits on it. Know what you are capable of and if you are found wanting try and get better.

So for this trip, I plan to try and write 5000 words a day. To do that I know that i will need to exercise to keep from being worn  out. That means that I am making sure I take long walks every day. It also means that I have the shoes that I am going wear while walking. No blisters from new shoes for this guy. That means I will be exercising more than normal, which in my cases, figuring out when and where. Simple enough.

Not so fast bubba Louie.

It’s not enough to walk more, although its a start, I also need to walk with a camera pack, because I know I will be taking pictures.

You are way boring and pedantic now.

You’re right, but for me, to enjoy a holiday I need to consider the details. Maybe you should too?

oneRock

Be Well…dcd