#weekendcoffeeshare: I Have Lost My Impulse

#weekendcoffeeshare: I have Lost my Impulse
Image provided by Dave White
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mrdestructicity/

The Daily Post sponsors the #weekendcoffeeshare. If this is something you’d like to do, whether it be weekly like it’s supposed to be or the way I do it once a month, you can get the lowdown about it at the link above.

[Your dialogue is in purple.]

[My dialogue is in teal.]

§

If we were to have coffee…

We’re having our powwow at your choice spot, which I gather is Starbuck’s. After all, there aren’t many places in the US that can beat the variety of blends of coffee and creamer that are find there. Pricey but if we don’t use this place all the time, it can be managed.

We find a table away from the noise of the register and the hoards of people at the counter trying to make up their minds. We didn’t hesitate when we placed our preferences. I knew exactly what I wanted by the time I reached the counter. Chances are you knew what you wanted before you got to the door.

“I wonder why so many people can’t make up their minds about what coffee to get. I mean, most of these people have been here before numerous times.”

“Chances are they’re thinking about something else while they wait in line. Or it could be there’s so much to choose from, making their decisions are almost impossible. Still, they should come prepared, or, at least, step out of line until they’ve decided.”

“Exactly. You look tired. What’s up?”

I sip my coffee trying to find the words that will acutely describe what I’m going through. “I may be more distracted than some of these customers in here. I’ve lost my impulse with my writing. Not writing altogether but for anything that would prove I’m an author of any sort. You know, something meaningful.”

You finger your mug as you look down at the light brown swirls inside. You peer up at me. “You are an author. Your blog proves that. It’s meaningful, isn’t it?”

I have Lost My Impulse
by Michel Moreau
https://www.flickr.com/photos/xmaes/

I shake my head and stare at the cravings edged on the table. “Anyone can write in a blog as long as they have access to the internet. That doesn’t make anyone a writer, really. You know that. If I had a strong following, sure, maybe I could say I’m an author of sorts. Even so, I don’t think I could call myself a journalist at the point I’m at right now. Being a journalist would be okay. I don’t find anything wrong with that. Basically, that’s what being a good blogger is, writing articles for the masses to read. If the topics were enticing, it would be kind of fun. Nevertheless, what I write in my blog cannot be considered journalism, by any stretch of the imagination.”

It’s your turn to shake your head at me. You take a swig of your coffee and emphatically set it down. “Did you take one of those writer tests online?” I nod. “Did any of them say you weren’t a writer?” I shake my head. “Do you like writing?”

“Of course, I do. I’m just not all that good at it and probably never will be.” I sigh.

“Maybe you need to explore what type of writing you really and truly are happy doing. It could be you’re on the verge of the kind of writing that suits you perfectly but because you won’t get off the treadmill you, evidently, are on, you aren’t recognizing it.” You sit giving me a canny look as you cup both hands around your mug and sip the brew.

“I sure can’t be a reporter, not with my mobility issues. And the thought of writing a tech. book makes me cringe.” I case the shop and, finally, find a clock. “I’ll need to get going in a few minutes.” I take a gulp of my coffee.

You reach into your bag and bring out a notepad and pen. “Do me a favor and check out this site.” You write http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/. “There’s an article there listing thirty types of writing that aren’t associated with writing a fictional book.”

I stare at the note, then smile. “Thanks.”

§

Have you ever been balked by your own writing to the point where you feel you can’t go forward?

“It’s a lack of clarity that creates chaos and frustration. Those emotions are poison to any living goal.” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

 

Learning from Failure

Learning from Failure
Image provided by mikef_man
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikefarah/

It’s been over a week since I, last, published a post to this blog. In my estimation, I’d say I’m hooked on this practice. In truth, I think I’m probably using this corner of cyberspace as a diary. True, there are many things I leave out that I feel are too personal to share, but most of these things I wouldn’t write anywhere. They’re fine where they are in the back vaults of my mind.

I am getting back into writing, the kind where some real progress is made. No, I’m not leaping or bounding as if I’m dancing through a field of words or anything. Still, I’ve got my focus to the grindstone.

Almost a month ago, I wrote a #weekendcoffeeshare post about getting into the groove of writing again. I told about how I was switching from being a pantser to a plotter and writing character sketches and scene summaries before starting, once again, on my WiP. I said something about hiding my yWriter too.

I failed with that approach. It’s embarrassing in a small way. I’m not red-faced or anything though. Victor Salinas explained it adequately in his post at A Writer’s Path. He stated that failure can make you humble, and at the same time, help you learn what works and what doesn’t work.

All this time I’ve been trying so hard to not be one of those who fail, one of those who has to pull themselves up by their boot straps and begin again, and again, and again. It’s pure vanity too, which is also embarrassing. I don’t like people who are blatantly vain, and yet here I sit, in all of my misplaced pride, doing the same thing. It’s shameful. Now I’m one within the masses, drudging over my work, even “bleeding” a little.

Although completing the sketches and the summaries were excellent exercises, and I plan to expand on them along the way, I’ve gone back to my beloved yWriter and I’m making some good progress. It’s a relief to know that the passion for this story is still within me.

The fallacy of these last weeks’ efforts have helped me see my weaknesses and my strengths, mostly my weaknesses though. This experience has shown me what a wuss I’ve been.

I need to push myself harder. Walking away, if only for a short while, before I’ve even tried to “pop a few arteries” in my pea-brain, isn’t a good thing for me to do. I do better when I “bleed” a little. Stopping a writing session because my husband has decided he just must play some computer games is, also, not a good thing for me to do. I need to just turn his presence off, tell my mind he is not there. If need be, I need to tell him to find something, anything to do outside this room.

It’s through the act of toiling over the WiP that I found inspiration and motivation. By getting to the effort of telling the story, I was able to find that unexplainable reason to go on and keep going on. It is true that having a schedule of some sort is invaluable. However, to be a slave to that routine, and not write a word until the designated time will do more harm than good. And by that same token, writing gibberish because it’s the appropriate time, just to keep up the “good” habit is sheer lunacy. If something obtrusive is in the way of creativity, writing prattle during a session isn’t going to help at all. During those times is when I’m either working on summaries, sketches, or research. I’m still productive despite the lack of a word count.

Concededly, when I don’t use that designated time for carving out the story, I feel I’m not getting anything done. As a rational person, I know this is false, but my heart says I’m not putting in what is required. Required by who? By me, of course. Hopefully, once I see enough results, this foolishness in me will stop.

As I stated in my last post, I decided to take a more slackened approach to my blog until some time after the Labor Day weekend. I think in declaring this change in my daily routine is what has helped me get past some of the ugly issues surrounding my strife with motivation. It was a stand without any confines or limits to speak of, except a suggestion of when the lacked time may end.

There’s still a whole full month of summer, plus some. I’m hoping to make some progress that I can be proud of in a way that isn’t misplaced.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” ― Maya Angelou

 

Out of Sync

Image provided by DJ Lein https://www.flickr.com/photos/djlein/
Image provided by DJ Lein
https://www.flickr.com/photos/djlein/

I know. I missed the last coffee clutch. I could tell you I was busy working on my WiP, which wouldn’t be a lie. I could tell you I’ve been painting stain onto a piece of plywood I’m going to be putting on my desk. That wouldn’t be a lie either.

But… the reason I wasn’t there to have coffee with you is because I’m slightly out of sync.

I’m in that mode where I’m waiting for something, yet I can’t figure out what that is.

I, almost literally, pull myself out of the funk to continue the work on the character sketches. I want such deep POV that the reader is going to feel like she [and he even though most readers will be shes] is right there in the story next to the character that has top billing for that scene.

The second I get up to get more coffee or another bottle of water, my mind goes into that foggy mode again. I sit back down, yank myself out of the mist, and work on the settings for my book. The main location is a town I wouldn’t mind living in, close to another place I lived in that I still miss a great deal. Of course, working on this can throw me right back into that stupid funk.

My evenings are spent painting and washing out the brush. I have the plywood on a large piece of plastic in the living room with 4” by 4” four-feet-long railroad wood on either size. I sit Indian style painting the stain onto the plywood while in some daydream I never remember. I, once again, come back to the real world after finishing a coat. I lay press board over it using the railroad wood to keep it off the plywood. I lay the rest of the plastic over that and tuck it in. This way Miya, Marble, and Nutty won’t be putting their paws all over the wet stain. My brain gets foggy again as I run the warm water on and through the paint brush. During my mind’s vacation, I’m rubbing the bristles to help get as much of the stain out as possible. It’s the oily feeling on my fingers that brings me back to reality. I have to wash my hands with dishwashing soap to get the stain off my hand and scour the sink with a Brillo pad too.

Where does my mind go? What is it in my subconscience that has me so fascinated? I’d like to think that the darker side of me is inserting notes that will help me write this book. I do believe that I do have a place in me where the shadows are long, inky, and transcendent. They don’t necessarily produce nightmares or evil thoughts. The shadows are just hiding places where thoughts I, for one reason or another, do not bring out into reality.

To bungle my days even more, the laptop is resisting synchronizing with my PC. I’ll have to get in touch with the cable company about that.

Being a realist in my daily life, should insure these thoughts stay hidden. However, to be what I consider a decent writer, I must force them out. Could this be the reason for all the murkiness going on with me right now? I’d like to think it is and that soon it will dispel.

Do you ever find yourself in a fog or out of sync?

Knowing our personal mission further enhances the flow of mysterious coincidences as we are guided toward our destinies. First we have a question, then dreams, daydreams, and intuitions lead us toward the answers, which usually are synchronistically provided by the wisdom of another human being. ~James Redfield

 

#weekendcoffeeshare: Where Do the Stories Come From?

#weekendcoffeeshare: Quirks
Image provided by Dave White
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mrdestructicity/

Diana at Part Time Monster hosts a weekly link-up, where you can submit a link to your post and browse everything else that’s been submitted, or you can use the #weekendcoffeeshare hashtag on Twitter or Facebook.

If we were to have coffee, I’d want it to be at a quaint coffee shop. It would be one of those places off the main drag that probably only has about ten to fifteen tables scattered around within its four walls.

(Your dialogue is in purple. My dialogue is in green.)

I’ve ordered our coffee and have been sitting here for a while. The shop isn’t crowded today, which is surprising seeing it’s a holiday weekend. Of course, I’m not expecting many to sit at the tables. I just had it in my head there’d be more here requesting coffee to go. Chances are the reservoir seven miles outside of town is already filling up with campers, day trippers, fishermen, and the such.

I spot you walking through the door. Your face is flushed and it looks like your Capris are sticking to your legs.

Do you want anything else?

The man is polite but I wouldn’t categorize him friendly. The mugs are full but there isn’t a basket of goodies.

The waitresses must have the day off. Owners like him should never serve customers.

You hunch over the table slightly as if you’ve been working in the coal mines or something. I nod at your comment as I add some Hazelnut creamer to my coffee.

Is it that hot out there already? When I came in here, the breeze was cool.

No, it’s still okay out there. My inner thermostat isn’t working for some strange reason.

Hot flashes! I thought you were done.

So did I. Subject change–how’s your writing coming along?

Something’s bugging you but, obviously, you aren’t going to let it out.

I wish I knew why I get bored with a project so easily. And it isn’t because it gets a little difficult. Sometimes those are my most creative moments. Maybe I don’t reach far enough for the story idea.

You take a  tentative sip of your coffee. The grimace look appears on your face and you grab three sugar packets from the small rack next to the napkin holder.

We need to find another coffee shop for holiday weekends. This sucks. Okay, how do you reach for a story?

I take several sips while I formula how to explain.

I usually find my story ideas in real life. Often the idea is about someone I know well–a relative or a good friend.

Your eyes double in size. Your mug is slightly tipped towards your mouth but you suspend it there in midair.

You’re writing stories about me?

#weekendcoffeeshare - Where Do the Stories Come From?
Image provided by Andrea Carina
https://www.flickr.com/photos/andrea-carina/

Not yet. I always switch out names, a couple of the physical and personality traits, and the situation doesn’t end the way it did or would (possibly) in real life. If I was to use you as a character, the chances of you knowing it are slim to none.

Aren’t you afraid of lawsuits?

There isn’t any proof of using anything of a real person, so no–no fear.

We sit in silence for a few minutes. I can see the giant question mark presence coming into your eyes as your mouth pulls down at the sides while looking into your mug.

What is it?

This coffee is disgusting. Do you even do stories about yourself?

You seize still two more sugar packs, open them, and dump the content into your mug. My coffee is getting cold and the flavor is, as you said, disgusting. I fold my arms on the table.

Sure, I use myself. In fact, I have an unfinished story on a virtual shelf in my online cloud. The main character is basically me but with starts with circumstances I’d much rather be in than what I have in real life. It’s been sitting a while now. Now that I write more like I want, I should probably pull it down and work on it again. The thing is I don’t want to spread myself out too thin taking on too many writing projects. I’m afraid I won’t finish any of them.

Another silent moment separates our thoughts. I’m disappointed in the number of longings I’ve had that haven’t reach to accomplishment in my life. I can’t call many of them failures because they can still be realized. They’re unaccomplished dreams. Got to get off this subject.

What’s going on in your life these days?

My bike is finally fixed. On Monday I’m in that race that starts at the park. It isn’t a sponsored one, just one to begin the season I guess. And get this! I’m painting.

Expectation of reaction spills over your face.

I assume it’s the kind of painting that goes on canvas. I didn’t know you were into art.

I’ve wanted to try it for a while now, but until the kids were more on their own, the time just wasn’t there. I paid twenty dollars for a course at the recreation center. It goes through the basics of color, perception, and creativity. I didn’t know there were so many colors in a cloud before.

I try not to grin. I took some art classes in school. I remember being surprised by brown being in clouds.

How much are your supplies costing you?

They offered those dinky little tubs of color, a set costing twenty-seven dollars. I went for it. Was that a good price?

You probably could have gotten it for cheaper but you’d have to know where to shop. For this first time, you probably did the right thing.

I bought two brushes too. The teacher said I’d need more eventually but I could wait until I sign up for the second course.

Are you thinking about that already?

You gulp your coffee down making a glowering expression.

Yeh, I am. I like the way my clouds look. It’s just a hobby but you never know.

I need to get. Need to freshen up for the class. I’ll pay on the way out.

I almost take a sip of coffee but catch myself in time and place the mug on the table. I watch you at the cashier stand. My guess is you’re complaining about the yucky coffee. Good, that means I don’t have to say anything.

§

Rules for #weekendcoffeeshare

  1. Posts should be framed as a chat over coffee or some other beverage.
  2. Posts should be current (written within the week).
  3. Links go on the link-up, not in the comments section.
  4. Comment and share each others’ posts using #weekendcoffeeshare on Facebook and Twitter.

“You must give everything to make your life as beautiful as the dreams that dance in your imagination.” ― Roman Payne

 

 

#weekendcoffeeshare: Quirks

#weekendcoffeeshare: Quirks
Image provided by Dave White
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mrdestructicity/

Diana at Part Time Monster hosts a weekly link-up, where you can submit a link to your post and browse everything else that’s been submitted, or you can use the #weekendcoffeeshare hashtag on Twitter or Facebook.

§

If we were to have coffee, I’d want it to be at a quaint coffee shop. It would be one of those places off the main drag that probably only has about ten to fifteen tables scattered around its four walls.

(Your dialogue is in purple. My dialogue is in green.)

···

As of a week ago yesterday, I have changed happy pills.

You look around trying to find the waitress. It looks like this is going to be one of those discussions full of ifs, ands, and buts, and you need coffee. The waitress, a middle-aged woman who has kept her figure, saunters over, jots down our order, and leaves.

Weren’t those other ones working? You were on them for over three years.

I know. I thought they were working, but remember last fall when I got the extra pill?

You nod your head and glance at the counter where the waitress is placing mugs on a tray. You turn back to me and look expecting.

The coffee is put before us with commentary rolls in a small basket. I grab the Hazelnut creamer while you load your coffee with sugar.

I hated that pill. I had zero motivation to do anything. I wasn’t doing anything but starting projects and never ever finishing them. And that was only when I had the gumption to be creative or productive in the first place.

I remember you talking about that.

You make a grimacing face after tasting your coffee. You reach for the sugar again.

I weaned myself off the stuff and tried to make do with what I had, the one antidepressant. I did make do but that was it. All during that time, I wanted to be totally alone. That’s the way I was the happiest.

It does explain your excuses for not coming to have coffee. However, you do know we’re social creatures, right?

Exactly!

I take a sip of coffee. The sweet nutty taste fills my mouth as I swallow.

Well, that sounds like depression to me. Why didn’t that pill work for you?

It wasn’t actually depression. It’s anxiety.

Your eyebrow furrow in puzzlement.

Anxiety isn’t just about out-and-out worry. You can be worried about how others view you or almost anything else, I guess, yet it’ll show up as confusion, self-loath, fear, sometime paranoia. With me it’s usually confusion and/or fear. Therefore, being alone is easier. No one else there to confuse me more than I’m already doing by myself. No one else there to make me feel afraid.

As we sip our coffee I can almost see the wheels turning in your mind. When you don’t say anything though, I continue.

I called the doc. Of course, he wasn’t available, but he’s good at calling back. However, it was his nurse who called me. She wasn’t sure if I should be switching drugs without an appointment. Yeh, I got that. I just asked her to talk to the doc and get back to me. I fully expected to have to make an appointment.

So how did that go?

I didn’t have the appointment. Because I had talked to the doc about the anxiety before and about weaning myself off that nasty drug, he already knew what he should try next on me. Presto, I get a call from the pharmacy telling me my new happy pill is ready.

I finally shut up and slurp some coffee down. Your cup is half gone already. You bite into a croissant roll before replying.

So now you’re happier?

I have to think about this for a moment. I nibble on one of the sourdough rolls while I stare into the space between me and the rest of the shop.

Maybe the word isn’t “happy”. I’m more in tuned with the world than I was last week. Before, it was either a case of time getting away from me or time was standing still. In fact, there were times when I’d look at the clock and swore I had gone back an hour or more. I’m in sync now, I guess.

Was that kosher for the doctor to subscribe without seeing you? I mean, what’s the chance of error?

Come on, this is a small community. My doc is popular but he’s not the only doctor in town. He knows most of his patients pretty well. Plus, when he was in medical school, his internship was at the hospital I used to work at many years ago–and his oldest daughter still lives in that area so I ask about her a lot. I’m confident my doc does know me. Any error would be there with or without the appointment just because this type of medicine is a trial and error thing anyway.

We hear tinkling. You put your reading glasses on and bring your cell phone from its hiding place in your handbag. You frown at the small screen. While you take the call, I gulp down the rest of my coffee and hail the waitress.

Those rolls are so good. Can we get refills on the coffee?

Sure. Want more rolls too?

No, I don’t think so, but thanks.

I push my bangs back away from my eyes. I need a trim. I look like an unkempt teenager.

Sorry about that. I should’ve never had children. I’m not fit as a parent.

What do you mean? You’re not perfect but your kids do well in school and they seem happy to me.

I’m losing my patience with both of them. I need, I need, I need. I want, I want, I want. They never shut up!

That isn’t your fault. That’s peers talking.

Our refills come. We repeat our routine of add-ons to our coffee.

Yeh, sure, I know. Sometimes I want to scream at them, maybe even take out their voice boxes.

We grin at each other and sip our coffee.

§

Rules for #weekendcoffeeshare

  1. Posts should be framed as a chat over coffee or some other beverage.
  2. Posts should be current (written within the week).
  3. Links go on the link-up, not in the comments section.
  4. Comment and share each others’ posts using #weekendcoffeeshare on Facebook and Twitter.

Actually, this seems to be the basic need of the human heart in nearly every great crisis – a good hot cup of coffee. ~Alexander King