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Theses are my thoughts and ramblings as I forge my way through this thing they call life.
These are my thoughts and ramblings as I forge my way through this thing they call Life.

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January 22, 2020 at 10:02pm
January 22, 2020 at 10:02pm
30 Day Blogging Challenge

PROMPT January 22nd
Your bags are packed. You have unlimited funds and resources to travel anywhere you want. Where do you go, who do you bring with you, and why?

I would go to Paris. I would take my friend Caroline with me as she is a great one to bolster my confidence and encourage me to go for it. We would start with the Paris Writer's Conference - one we would both love to attend. Her ability to speak French would be a huge asset, as my French is minimal at best. Liz would come along as well, because she would probably enjoy the experience.

We would start with the Paris Writer's Retreat from May 25 to 29, 2020.

Mornings we would explore the city, making sure to return to get breakfast before beginning our workshops for the day.

We would take a week in London for the Big Idea Bootcamp. We would go in June.

Then we would return to Paris for a intensive 4 week Writing Workshop in July. We would get to stay in a small apartment assigned to us by the Paris American Academy Office. A place not far from the school.

Liz and I would take the Fiction and Poetry workshops, while Caroline would focus on the Creative Non-Fiction workshops. This would allow us to focus our interests, but also share information from a wider range of information sources. Liz and I would be taking the optional French Classes, Caroline wouldn't have to. She'd probably write.

The weekends would be ours to travel and write.

I would make sure to get to the Shakespeare and Co. bookshop. I would have to buy something from there and spend hours savouring the shop itself. I would also like to walk the street of the expats and sit in cafes writing and soaking up the atmosphere.

In August I would love to travel to Scotland. Edinburgh has a month long International Book Festival.

I'd also love to take some classes at Moniack Mhor. It is a creative writing center. I would be inclined to attend one of the writer's retreats in March.

I would follow my nose. With the ladies, we would also move on to explore Poland and even go to see my aunt and uncle in Italy. It would be a follow our noses kind of trip.

After all the workshops I might be happy to just find a quiet place to just be inspired to write. Moving on when the feeling to move on pushed me onward.
January 21, 2020 at 2:07pm
January 21, 2020 at 2:07pm
30 Day Blogging Challenge

PROMPT January 21st
How much of your own life or the lives of people you know do you put into your writing? Do you mine your past for inspiration, or do you create wholly new places and characters?

I let my own life experiences colour my character creations. I take bits and pieces from the world and the people around me and put them into something that I hope becomes a full, well rounded character complete with hopes, dreams and flaws. Making them as authentic as I can... and also not recognizable.

My main characters are often striving for something I would want for myself or if not the actual thing, the desire and the dream speaks to me.

My current character is a graphic artist. I am not, but she does desire a chance to make a way for herself. To better herself and find a place to belong. Those are things I want for myself, but I think that desire is a human compulsion.

Her relationship breakdown is not like my own, but I have dealt with heartbreak. With my character I have changed things up to make her situation far more compelling and dramatic than anything I have ever had to deal with.

The romantic lead is not like anyone I have ever dated, but the ex-boyfriend has elements of past boyfriends... though I have turned up the aspects of what may have happened with me to be more dramatic so that the conflict is intensified and holds my reader.

I have a character in another story that is similar to an ex-friend of mine, but I have toned her down because no one would believe anyone could be that shallow and self delusional. I also don't want her recognized, but still... her quirks make for an interesting character with lots of flaws.

I would say I mine my past for inspiration, but I also stay open to others around me for tidbits.

My favourite stories to write are based on our contemporary world. I don't write science fiction or fantasy. When it comes to places I try to do a combination of several places, especially if the place is not super familiar to me. My current story deals with a small town in the Muskoka area.... it has the feel of Bracebridge, Gravenhurst and Huntsville. My aunt and uncle have a cottage up there, but I want this to be my own feel so I will make up things and add details of my own. I am pretty sure I want to keep to the Canadian aspects.... but this area could be similar to areas of Maine. The City I have not named, but in my mind it is Toronto.... but I am not sure if I want to name it or create a City of my own using it as a base.
January 20, 2020 at 9:24pm
January 20, 2020 at 9:24pm
30 Day Blogging Challenge

PROMPT January 20th
Today is a national holiday is the US: Dr Martin Luther King Jr Day. Dr King believed that fear was the ultimate cause of hatred, prejudice, and violence. Do you agree or disagree with his assessment? Give examples.

I agree that fear is the basis of all negative, dark emotions that bring about hatred, prejudice and violence. Love is the antidote. Love builds acceptance of diversity and inclusion.

Our world is in the throws of fear and that draws people into an Us versus Them mentality. I don't want to get political here, but I will say things are pretty scary right now.... especially south of the boarder. I think Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be wondering if we (a global we) made any real advancements since his time.
January 19, 2020 at 5:52pm
January 19, 2020 at 5:52pm
30 Day Blogging Challenge

PROMPT January 19th
Write about something ordinary that brought you unexpected joy.

For family birthdays, Mom mother started a tradition of giving flowers to her mother as a kind of 'thank you' for having her. I have continued with the tradition. This year my mother asked for no flowers as she said she didn't want to do the work of having to cut them off or put them in water. No problem, I thought.... so I went and bought her a plant instead. No cutting or replacing the water needed. Just some easy watering... and putting the plant up at night so the cat won't eat them. The plant I got her is tulips. They will bloom and grow and then when they are done we can plant the bulbs in the fall for them to come up next spring. I was pleased that I honoured her request, but still got her something pretty... and something we can enjoy next spring as well.
January 18, 2020 at 11:51pm
January 18, 2020 at 11:51pm
30 Day Blogging Challenge

PROMPT January 18th
It’s Show and Tell Day here at the 30DBC! Think of an item that is special to you (it may help if you are able to see your chosen item while you write your entry). Describe it in as much detail as possible. Then, tell us its story. How did it come to be in your life and what makes it important to you?

An item that is special to me.... it is a teddy bear. Soft and cuddly with hair the colour of a Chai latte. He has a sewn on little black nose and brown button eyes.

I bought this little guy with my very own money. I was twelve and my mother and I were coming back from our first extended trip. A bus tour of the New England states. It had been a lovely trip. Lake Placid several years after the Winter Olympics there, Boston, Cape Cod. I tasted my first New England Clam Chowder there and have loved it ever since.

I bought my bear at the duty free shop on the way home. My first big purchase. I was so pleased with my choice. That memory of feeling stays with me. That little bear has a place of honour on my bed each night even now.... and I just turned 53. He'll be 41 in the summer. Four decades. It is not the oldest thing in my room. I also have a stuffed monkey that also takes a prime spot on my bed. It is a gift from my step -Grandfather's sister-in-law.I called her Auntie Betty, but she was not a relation of mine. She got it on one of her travels. I can't recall where, but I admired it ever time I went to visit her. I would say it is at least as old as I am, if not older. One of the last times I saw her she gave it to me. That monkey, with its hard head and painted sleeping face, its stuffed hands tucked under its chin and its zipper pouch in its back (for pajamas, I think) reminds me of that dear woman. Her kindness to me. Her wonderful stories of exotic travels. We were not really related, but I loved going to see her each time I went to Timinis and I think she appreciated my goodness. I don't think she had had any children of her own, but she had been a teacher; a grade 5 teacher and I thought she was amazing. I don't think she had much family left.

January 17, 2020 at 2:00pm
January 17, 2020 at 2:00pm
30 Day Blogging Challenge

PROMPT January 17th
Use the following words in your entry today: tumultuous, navigate, journey, and gargantuan.

Well, I could be a smart ass and tell you that I need to use the words tumultuous, navigate, journey and gargantuan in my entry today and be done with it, but that would be just boring. But it would meet the requirements in one sentence. *Bigsmile*

So I will navigate my mind and see what else I can come up with. It's pretty scary in there... the dust bunnies have gargantuan sized teeth! I don't think I have ever used the word gargantuan to describe anything.... or not had to write it anyway.

My journey through this week has been rather tumultuous. Thankfully, I have survived and have lived to tell my tale. I think a lot of the staff at the school I work at have had busy weeks. Only a mere handful (4) of us made it to yoga one nutrition break because the others that signed up, were in their classrooms helping students or dealing with behaviour issues that had come up during the first 90 minutes of their day... and that was only Wednesday. We were all starting to wonder if their had been a full moon we had missed or something.

Thursday was even wilder. There were two Educational Assistants that took the day off today to recuperate from some behaviour issues that happened yesterday and another one is wearing a heating back bandage after getting hit in the back by a flying Ipad. I know at least one student got sent home for having destroyed his classroom. He was in the office when I saw him and he was upending things in there while the Child and Youth worker was calling his mother. He was a grade one student... from a regular class.

In my class, which is a special education class, we had to remove the paint center because one of our little darlings was interesting in flinging paint all around the room.

You might be wondering if we are a special school with an over abundance of students with behaviour issues, but we are not. We are just a regular little public school. Each class has their share of students with behaviour concerns. We have a great staff and everyone has a good sense of humour. Some days... or weeks you really need it. And ear plugs in the Autism classes like mine, might be a good idea too.

A few teachers are planning on celebrating the end of the week at a local bar.... a chance to laugh and talk before transitioning back to their families for the weekend. Of course it also happened to be treat day in the staff room today so the extra sugary treats were also greatly appreciated. I was happy to only have a half day today although my students were awesome today!
January 16, 2020 at 6:37pm
January 16, 2020 at 6:37pm
30 Day Blogging Challenge

PROMPT January 16th
What are you waiting for?
There are so many ways to answer this question, both light and heavy, so I look forward to reading where you go with it!

I like this prompt. Very open ended. I could have my characters ask this of each other. My characters are both dealing with past painful relationships that make them a little wary of getting together; of moving past the past to something much better.

My main character has left an unfaithful ex boyfriend that was screwing a woman what was supposed to be her friend. She also learns their relationship has also been a way of stealing her work designs and passing them off as their own so that this so called friend can get a promotion. She left that messy business behind her in the City and headed for the safe haven of Cottage country where her family has a place. She goes to lick her wounds and figure out what to do next.

Her potential new love interest is a friend of an old childhood friend. He too has suffered from love and loss. His ex girlfriend took off for the City because she was bored with living in a sleepy, summer tourist trap - as she called it. He worries that my main character wont stay and will leave at the first sign of adversity.

With time, they both learn to trust again.

This question is what they ask themselves when they feel the spark of attraction and try to deny it and work around it. It takes time and a bit of distance for them to realize this is a good thing and that there are no guarantees when it comes to love. You just have to take the leap and have faith that things will work out.

I can use this same prompt and turn it on myself.... what am I waiting for? I can also add in - 'What am I afraid of?' because those often go hand in hand. Fear stops me from taking the risk... for going for it.... for staying in my comfort zone. I want to challenge myself to stretch myself this year and go for it. Send my writing out in to the world.

January 15, 2020 at 9:08pm
January 15, 2020 at 9:08pm
30 Day Blogging Challenge

PROMPT January 15th
Write your entry today about commitment. Committing to an activity, craft, person, way of being, etc. Consider the concepts of diligence, honesty, and responsibility. What does commitment look like to you?

I think commitment is very important. I also know it is not an easy thing to do, particularly when things get rocky.
I am still smarting from my marriage crumbling to pieces... not because of infidelity, but because we grew apart and I felt I could not measure up to the standards my ex had for me. I still feel like a failure in this area of my life. We were together 8 years before we got together and 16 years married before we separated 3 years ago. That was 24 years of my life committed to a relationship that eventually bottomed out.

I try to tell myself it takes two, but I lived for many years with my ex blaming me for being the 'problem' in our marriage. I finally just got tired of it. He moved me out and I stayed gone. I think he might have thought I would have rallied to change and be what he wanted and come running back, but instead I backed away. I didn't want to be where I didn't feel loved and wanted.

Even now, three years later, I keep feeling like that was a childish view of things, but away from him my family and friends began to tell me what they really thought of him and how different I was when I was with him. I had lost that piece of who I was and that bothered me.

But apart from that.... I still feel I am a committed person. I continue to work in education, even though I haven't gotten my own permanent contract position. I am currently working in a long term occasional position in a special education class in a school I love to supply for... I am committed to them and I love feeling like I belong somewhere. I also love working with children who have special needs.

I am committed to my writing, which is slowly coming along. When I was married, my ex was not a fan of me putting in time on something that was not making us money. His hobby, fixing cars, made money. He expected a tidy house, that he would not be embarrassed by, if we had other people over. I do clean, but I am not as fastidious as he was and I refused to let my world be swallowed up by constant tidying up after him. I will admit I could be a bit more on top of things, but still.... I was still learning my craft and feeling too small to put myself out there.

Now, I take writing workshops, attend conferences and retreats and I have started to submit my writing out beyond the safe harbour of Writing.com. I have also made friends with people who are also writers... and they get me. It's nice to be understood.

I am committed to my writing and my teaching career. I am committed to my family and to my friends... some I've known since kindergarten. It always bugged me that my ex didn't have any long term friends. I was his longest relationship outside his family.... and even some of them he stopped talking to for a time. I'm still not sure if this is a guy thing or if it was just him.

I would also say I am committed to being a good person. To living my life in a way that lifts others up. That is why I love teaching and being part of a community of local writers.

I am trying to be more committed to living healthier - eating good food and moving my body. I am trying to integrate more meditation and yoga into my life.

I'm committed to be there for my mother so that she can continue to live in her own home. I am her calm when she starts getting anxious.

I need to let the failures go. They are like a noose, forever making me feel that I am not good enough. I hate feeling not good enough. I hate feeling like I through away something good, when it was not always good and it changed me into something and someone I didn't always like. Maybe I just suck at love relationships... but the thing is I don't want to be alone forever.... I'm just afraid to put myself out their to try again.
January 14, 2020 at 1:45pm
January 14, 2020 at 1:45pm
30 Day Blogging Challenge

PROMPT January 14th
Write about a time when you made a wrong assumption. Did you realize your mistake right away, or did someone tell you later? What did you learn from your mistake?

Anytime I make an assumption I have learned not to assume because it makes an Ass of Me. I tend to ask for clarity whenever possible. I may come off as seeming like an idiot, but at least I avoid making too many assumptions.

If I discover I have made a mistake I usually try to rectify the situation by being open and honest about my mistake. Most people take it well... and can see the humour in it.

I often find I will make assumptions about the people here on WDC. When you don't know people, you make up an impression from their writing and their handle name. Sometimes that impression is pretty accurate, but sometimes it is way off.

I have learned that not all people are like me just because they write. I can't white wash the world, nor would I want to.... but I think their is a tendency to do that type of thing. Being aware of that is the first step to realizing we all have prejudices and assumptions about others. It's a human tendency.

I believe we all have much to offer beyond our outer shells. I try to look beyond, to the heart and mind of the person, if at all possible.

I have encountered surprises along the way - I have found that some people may have a better grasp of the English language than I do and then I discover that English is their second language. That's impressive.
I've also learned just because someone is a beautiful writer does not mean they are as old as I think they are. I have learned it is often a good idea to check a person's biography before responding. I remember reading someone's work and then discovering they were only 16 or 17. Impressive.

I try to keep an open mind. I also try to pass on my appreciation of their gifts and talents. Everyone could use a positive boost from time to time.

We are all individual and bring a flavour to our work. I want to taste the variety and be inspired to shine my own light in this sea of diversity. I also want to inspire others to shine their own lights into this world.

We learn so much if we stay open to variety and diversity.
January 13, 2020 at 10:39pm
January 13, 2020 at 10:39pm
30 Day Blog Challenge

PROMPT January 13th
In your entry today, write about games! Board games, video games, card games, sports games, mind games, etc... Share a memorable story.

Games. Well, video games cause me too much stress.... I am talking Pac Man. I used to get so bent as those little creatures tried to get me. I swear my heart rate would go through the roof. Games like Doom gave me nightmares.

Jenga is also stressful for me. Pick a piece and don't have anything fall down.

Aren't games supposed to be fun and realizing ways to just chill??

I can play Words With Friends through Facebook and a few other games on my phone.

As a child, an only child, I used to play Payday by myself. I would play as several people and I would take huge risks trying to get the little families to lose their shirts, but I found the more risks they took the bigger the advances they made.

I do remember playing Clue with my babysitters daughter. She was three or four years older than me and always managed to win... though, who knows she could have been cheating. It used to bug me that I would never even come close to winning.

I used to play cribbage with my grandmother in Timmins. I played rummy with her as well. I loved that. Card games were not allowed at my other grandparent's place. Apparently my grandfather was very against it for some reason.

I've always liked the idea of creating my own board game. I am sure I played with the idea as a kid and as a teacher, I love it when the kids are able to create something that allows them to use their knowledge and work it into some kind of game. Those kind of games are fun.... any kind of learning game in the classroom is always fun. the students get a lot out of it as well.

I've always been pretty good at trivia games. My ex used to be amazed at how much 'useless' information I had rattling around in my brain. Watching Jeopardy can be fun as I test my knowledge... and learn new stuff.

So when it comes right down to it, I love games. They are fun. Even the stressful ones... because even with Jenga and Pac Man I had to laugh at myself and the friends who were around me at the time.

Play on.

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