Stomping On Hate

Stomping on Hate
Image provided by darwin Bell
https://www.flickr.com/photos/darwinbell/

A few days ago I woke up with a multitude of health problems. Some were easy fixes. I opened the new bottle of Ibuprofen and swallowed two with water. That took care of the headache and the chronic leg pain for a while so that I could come up with some sort of plan to alleviate what else was wrong.

I’m not used to chronic illness. Most of my life has been spent being healthy despite the disability. That’s always been thought of as a constant annoyance instead of a health issue. Now I’m at that place in life where health problems are becoming more frequent. I can tell you right now, I’m not adjusting well to this.

I had been to the doctor just days before. According to all of the blood tests, I’m in great shape for a disabled person who’s entering senior-hood. So why do I have all of these digestive difficulties? Truth be told, I know what part of the problem is. I’m eating food I’m sure are ones I should avoid. But I love these foods and I used to eat them all the time. I’m older now. I know this, yet I want to eat as if I’m just embarking on adulthood. Yes, I’m foolish. The rest of the tummy issues may subside a little once my body doesn’t have food in it that hates me.

Maybe that’s where this other hate I have inside me is coming from.

Since the middle of July, I’ve been trying to work on my WiP. I let this blog slack a little, hoping to create more time being productive with the hope-to-be novel. I made some progress–for a while. Then I hit a big black wall of hate. I found myself hating all of my characters, settings, and how slow it’s going getting from one part of the story to the next. Yet, at the same time, I was certain that these characters were worth this story I long to write. And I knew the settings were working. All contradictions.

So, what has happened? I have a feeling I’ve gone into self-loathness as a writer–at least as a story-teller. Rationally, I know that many writers go through times like this. In my head, I have to admit that this knowledge does help me feel a little better. However, the emotional side of me still wants to delete all my story ideas, all my character sketches, and anything else I have pertaining to serious writing. It all sucks.

The inspiration and motivation had died somewhere within a four-day span.

I went searching for free writing courses online. Although many of them are what I would consider worthless because they’re so elementary, there are some excellent free ones too–just a few though. I found a new one at Creative Writing Now. I’m in the middle of their one free email course, struggling but learning. Through taking this class, I’ve seen how I’m not paying attention to blogs that have good advice. I had become shallow when reading them because, after a while, they were all hitting me the same way. My reaction: I know this already. Move on.

It’s time to read posts as if I’m a brand new writer and see what knowledge I can scrape up from them. I’ve started a digital journal in my OneNote program for all the notes I’m going to take with a new attitude–okay, hopefully a new attitude.

§

There are some blogs that have never hit me as being all that repetitive. I thought it might be good to share them with you.

Blogs that Help Me Write

From WP

Amanda Staley: https://staleybooks.wordpress.com/blog/
Today’s Author: https://todaysauthor.com/
Writerish Ramblings: https://writerishramblings.com/
Sharon Bonin-Pratt’s Ink Flare: https://sharonboninpratt.wordpress.com/
A writer and her adolescent muse: https://awriteradolescentmuse.wordpress.com/
Quintessential Editor: http://quintessentialeditor.com/
WordDreams: https://worddreams.wordpress.com/
Jean’s Writing: https://jeanswriting.com/

Out in Cyberspace

Jami Gold: http://jamigold.com/
Fiction University: http://blog.janicehardy.com/
The Writing Practice: http://thewritepractice.com/
Creative Writing Now: http://www.creative-writing-now.com/

§

From the deepest desires often come the deadliest hate. ~ Socrates

 

Feeling Out Of Place

Feeling Out Of Place
Image provided by Dan Wayland
https://www.flickr.com/photos/dw2/

The assumption of belonging is usually taken for granted. Within your own family, chances, without reservation, are you are a member. When you walk through the front door of a home belonging to a relative, there’s usually a happy greeting and you’re offered a place to sit and told to make yourself comfortable. Often this happens with friends and colleagues too, but sometimes under limited circumstances.

All the same, some people don’t acquire that affectionate bond with such simplicity. Is it because these people have introverted personalities? I would think this is the case with some. With others it could be the possibility of being shunned, either for substantial reasons or circumstances that are exaggerated or fictitious. With still others, though the number may be minuscule in comparison, haven’t had the opportunity to develop these ties due to his or her life situation.

I’m one of those charmed people who live in a state of remoteness for all three reasons I give above. Let me assure you that it isn’t as climatic as Peyton Place or any other soup opera. This is just life as I travel down its path.

Most often it’s the first reason that puts me in these circumstances. Alone doesn’t necessarily mean being lonely. There’s a tranquility I revel in while I’m detached that cannot be obtained when other people are around, even the ones I hold dear to my heart. No one is expecting anything from me. All responsibility is what I choose to take or whatever I put on myself. Yes, I do take on self-induced obligations. I’m particular about some things so I make sure those things are in order.

The third reason I mention (I’ll get to the second one) is associated with my disability. Getting out and around people is extremely difficult in my present surrounding. I don’t have a vehicle to drive. There isn’t a public bus, train, or subway system here. Everyone who might be generous enough to give me a ride doesn’t live near enough so I can just hitch a ride. Outings must always be planned. Living in a small town doesn’t necessarily mean anything is really closer.

The second reason (I told you I’d get to it.) is the one and only that upsets me. Until I moved here, It never even dawned on me that I would ever be rebuffed. I am not without negative qualities. After all, I’ll an imperfect human being. However, any of those qualities that I’ve been aware of or have been informed of are ones I’ve rectified or, have at least alleviated. I’ve made amends whenever it’s been possible. Yes, I am shunned. To my knowledge, whatever has put me in this light is either distorted or fabricated.

Nevertheless, this is, in reality, just one of the bumps in the journey of life. I may wish with my entire soul that it was all different, but it isn’t going to make it so.

I handle this plight the best I can. I concentrate the extreme present moment, not dwelling on anything from the past, no matter how recent, or going into the future, even when it only has to do with tomorrow. Of course, I can’t work this strategy all the time. In many of those instances, I’ve either reflected on times when I lived where I was accepted and dream of the time when I can move to such a place again.

As I stated before, my predicament is not another version of Peyton Place. It’s just life happening with all its good and bad mixed up as usual. I see my solitude as my source of fortitude.

§

How do you deal with your dilemmas that don’t have quick solutions?

“Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to the one who endures that the final victory comes.” Buddha

 

Writing about Me / Religion

Writing about Me / Religion
Image provided by Mystic Politics
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mysticpolitics/

Some followers of this blog have been with me from the beginning in February of 2013. They probably feel they know me, at least a fair amount about my personality. Yet, there are so many things even some of my family members don’t know about me. My about page is purposely written in general terms, not to throw anyone off track, but to dodge the necessity to upgrade the page and the obligation of explaining any reasons in detail. My page about my disability quirks is the same way. There’s enough told so visitors to my blog can have a diffused understanding of shortcomings I have no control over.

In a nutshell, people who do not know me in person and for an adequate length of time don’t know much about me at all. Even some of the those people don’t know me all that well. I’m sure there are many others like me in the vast universe of cyber space. We’re commonly known as introverts and most of us are pleased with the notion.

Even though I love me solitude, sometimes I like voicing my opinion. Sometimes I like sharing a little more of myself than I normally would. Today and at various times in the future, I’ll be doling out posts that, I hope, will give you a more unhindered perception of me.

I thought I’d start out with one of the biggies that are known to shape a person’s character. Read on…

§

My Views on Religion

There was a time when I embraced religion. I was involved in my church and I was trying my best to be virtuous 100% of the time, even when no one was looking.

The more I studied within my faith, the more questions I discovered within the text and the teachings. I finally had to admit to myself that what was not being addressed was destroying any belief I had. I didn’t give up–not at first. I went search for other denominations in hopes of rediscovering that certainty about life and spirit that’s prevalent within religion.

At first I thought maybe the dogma of a congregation and how it varied from church to church was the culprit in my predicament. Therefore, finding the right church for me was all that had to be done. Or so I thought.

Turned out that wasn’t what was going to answer the questions whirling around in my head. Sure, many of the questions revolved around why what was done in one church versus another one was so important to the basic faith. However, I was questioning the unornamented beliefs themselves.

I can probably bet money there’s a reader out there whispering, “Atheist.” No, I’m not an atheist. I can’t, for one second, think that I, a human being, is the highest level of intelligence hovering around this planet and/or throughout the universe. As a species, I believe we let our emotions rule our lives, which is probably worse than the instincts other animals rely on. We, as a species, does some asinine things in the course of a 24-hour day.

I suggest it’s been centuries, or even millenniums since human beings have considered the wonder and the mystery of everything–of anything– in our world. Sure, you might go to the text books of science for answers, but those same answers have questions within themselves that aren’t being answered.

There’s an actual religion called “Nature Religion”. I’m not advocating this. Although I find the concept fascinating, there’s still questions in their answers I want addressed. Still, the thought of truly accepting death as part of the mix, along with birth and all that is in between seems more in tune with what I can fathom.

Could it be that I’m questioning the confines of religion? Oh yes, most probably. My existence is limited enough without others putting their barriers in my way.

There are still questions galore, but I believe letting the answers come within their own time, as nature does, is probably the only thing I can do.

§

Discussion is open!

“The very problem of mind and body suggests division; I do not know of anything so disastrously affected by the habit of division as this particular theme. In its discussion are reflected the splitting off from each other of religion, morals and science; the divorce of philosophy from science and of both from the arts of conduct. The evils which we suffer in education, in religion, in the materialism of business and the aloofness of “intellectuals” from life, in the whole separation of knowledge and practice — all testify to the necessity of seeing mind-body as an integral whole.” John Dewey

 

Disabled Characters in Novels

I’m a subscriber of a blog that offers down-to-earth advise about writing. The author, Jami, writes paranormal romance novels. I’ve learned to trust her suggestions because of what I’ve read at her blog. I emailed Jami Gold about the topic of this post before attempting to write it because I wanted to make sure that what I wanted to discuss would be worthwhile.

Melinda Primrose was welcomed to Jamie’s blog discussing this subject, which drew my attention to the possibilities of characters with disability. Melinda wrote about the research involved for a writer who is putting a character in his or her story who is disabled. I wanted to take this topic one step further.

§

Disabled Characters in Novels
Image provided by
Taber Andrew Bain @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewbain/

As a person with disability, I’m sure it’s a little surprising that I don’t necessarily want a disabled character in any of my stories. My reason is I don’t want to make any political statements no matter how well disguised. As that might be, those like me with such challenges are mainstream now. Sure, we still have to do battle with the generalities that society puts on us, but we’re not hidden in the closet of our aunt’s bedroom anymore.

What I want to share with other writers is the general aspects about “my unique group” that will be well received by your readers. Chances are most writers are afraid to create a character who has a disability. Either the author anticipates such characters not to be received well by the reader or have serious doubts about how to portray them in the first place. I’m hoping to eliminate some of those fears.

Melinda, a fellow writer, warned her readers about the possibility the person with the disability will be offended when approached for research. Yes, there are a few like that. Per contra though, most of us want to help the writer. We want people to be educated about our differences, our struggles, and what all of us (including the ‘able-bodied’) have in common.

When writing about a character with disability, do be politically correct. I, personally, wouldn’t take offense at being called “a cripple”, but I’m not everyone. To me, all this is, is a term. I assume if the person knows my name, he or she would call me that instead. Some may think I take this too lightly. If I didn’t, I believe I’d be seeing a psychiatrist for being neurotic.

It’s a good idea to explain some of the differences between the one with the disability and the other characters within the text of the story. Actually, this can become interesting. For example: I have one hand I can use fully. The other has very limited use. How do I tie my shoes? Believe it or not, I am able to do it, but I don’t do it the way an able-bodied person would do it. Another example might be: How does a person who is a paraplegic get her or his pants all the way on? Not all disabled people have an attendant. We learn to do these things ourselves. The actual process could be dramatic or comical.

Please do not go into a bathroom scene with your disabled character. The things we have to do to situate ourselves in that room and what we have to actually do in that room should only be discussed by medical personnel and family—not the writer or the readers.

Do you want to put the disabled character in a relationship? Let’s face it. Usually there is a relationship in a novel. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a romantic one, although usually that’s assumed. If you’re writing romance, your entire story is about this. If not, often it’s a subplot. Sure, put that person in the wheelchair into a relationship. Just be sure to do some research on this though. Just because a person has a disability, it doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is being used, abused, or even cuddled. The disabled part of society does have “normal” relationships. It’s just that their extra baggage, which almost everyone has, does include the disability. Also, how intimacy is shown needs research. Some people with disability can be part of this activity in the same way as an able-bodied person. Others have to be more creative.

Do you want the disabled character to be the bad guy? Sure. Why not? There’s bad rotten apples in every bushel. I’ve only come across two “bad” people with disability, but then, my experience is limited.

Should the story be a drama or comedy? I don’t know. You’re the one writing it. I will tell you people with disability do have a sense of humor. We can take a joke like anyone else—that is, as long as the joke is coming from someone who truly cares about us and not designed to humiliate us. I have a cousin who used to call me “hop-along” because my steps are severely uneven and I walk with a cane. We were young women hanging out with each other. I know she meant it in an endearing way. I didn’t have a problem with the term. I guess the bottom line here is to just be careful.

Writing a character into your novel who has a disability may be good for the story. It may bring a few more readers willing to pay for your book. (People with disability read books too.) Just be sure to do your research and include talks (okay, interviews) with a person or with persons who have that particular disability while developing the character.

§

If you have questions for me, fire away. I’m happy to answer them. If you’d rather ask privately, the link to the email form is in the left-hand column.

 

Dumps and Holes

Image provided by Stefan Rimaila @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/monglercock/
Image provided by
Stefan Rimaila @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/monglercock/

Do you know what the difference is between a dump and a hole? The former builds an ugly mountain of debris, while the latter makes a deep dark crevasse in the ground. Neither are pleasant.

These days I’m feeling down in the dumps. The cliché is confusing, isn’t it? I mean, how can I be down when I’m on a pile of garbage? Maybe the saying should be “up on the dumps”. It doesn’t roll out of the mouth very well though. I’m at a lost to figure out why I’m feeling this way. Autumn is my favorite time of year. Daylight Savings Time goes off (YAY!). The air feels brisk and light instead of the weighed down feeling of the heat waves that clutter the air in the summer. I’m able to do more of the physical things in life because I’m not feeling lazy from the heat anymore. Yet, some time last week, the blues started settling down on me.

Did you notice I stated that I’m not feeling lazy? Yet, I’m sleeping more, which may be a good thing seeing that for over five years I wasn’t getting anymore than five hours of sleep each night, and even that was broken up. Still, I’m sleeping odd hours. I know that I’m missing out on time I could be using for something productive. I can’t run the vacuum in the middle of the night. Hubby is sleeping then. Could this be the reason for the dumps?

Could it be that I have taken a burden of time self-imposed on me? All this sleeping that I’ve been doing is cutting quite heavily into my time on my writing project too. And that is, most definitely, self-imposed. My most creative time during a twenty-four hour period is between 5pm and 8pm. Yet, because of this sporadic sleeping I’ve been doing, I find myself with heavy eyelids at 6pm. An hour of writing is better than none but it isn’t enough — not by a long shot. Whether I write longhand or type, it takes me a while to get words down. I’m a lefty — you know, left-handed. That makes longhand go slower. Still, because of this fact, I’m better off. You see, I can only use this one hand. The other one is useless because of disability. This, in turn though, makes typing slower too. As the cliché goes, ‘6 of one and a half-dozen of the other’. In actuality, typing is a little faster.

I did mention holes at the start of this post, didn’t I? I feel that I dug myself a deep one. I love putting words in visual form. (Anymore it’s more of the visual of the computer screen but I like writing longhand too.) What is more, the thought of writing a novel is exhilarating. I’m a pantser (as opposed to being a plotter), finding my way through the story as I go. Be that as it may, I do it more by scene than looking at the bigger picture. In a couple of sentences, I state what the scene is about before plunging into it so that there’s more of a chance of me staying on track. But now I’m past the ‘beginning’, the ‘start’, the ‘first act’ of my story. I have introduced almost all locations, characters and norms for those characters. I am at that place where the tale really begins. Yet, I’m floundering. I’m in that deep dark hole where I can’t see my hand in front of my face.

What would a pro tell me to do now? Do I push through without re-evaluating what I’ve already written? Or should I go back to some point in the story and find my bearings? Is this a place where I might need to take a break from this writing project and pick it up again in a week or two? Is this the time to give up? Oh, I hope not because I really do want to see this to the end.

Being in this hole and also being in the dumps is mind-wrenching. I question why I’m trying to write a novel. I doubt that my skills as a writer are up for this challenge. Who wants to read a novel that is so clearly written by an amateur, and, at that, a bad one? Have I gone over the edge into the land of loonies?