Category Archives: Writing

Octopus Wisdom

I was heading out for brunch with my parents and as I was driving down the highway, I thought about whether or not to post a reading today.  This card appeared in my mind’s eye, so I decided to see what it had to tell us.

Octopus - Reading Oct 19

This Octopus card comes from Susie Green’s “Animal Messages” deck.  

It says “Travel across Earth and over sea to securely embrace your dream.”

 

When I look at the card, multitasking immediately comes to mind.  When we wish to manifest something in our lives, there is always work to be done.   Clear out the clutter, organize our thoughts, create lists, prioritize tasks, take classes, release negative thought patterns, put ourselves in situations where we can make the appropriate contacts.  It may seem as though our hands are full, both figuratively and literally.

Susie Green writes, “Octopus does not wait for fate to deliver her dinner of crab, employing whatever strategy necessary for his capture, even abandoning water for earth’s air.  She councils that you, too follow your dream.  If your partner has left for a faraway land, join them;  if a new exciting possibility calls from distant climes, embrace it as firmly as Octopus does crab.  If others obstruct you, like Octopus eclipse your actions in an inky cloak until your dream is securely in your grasp.”

Even the Octopus has limits.  It only has 8 arms.  Some even lose a limb or two along the way.  But they carry on because they have no choice, if they are to achieve their goal.  You must also recognize that, no matter how amazing you are at multitasking, there will be certain things you need to let go of in order to bring closer that which will help you attain your goal and realize your dreams.

Keep pure your highest ideal.  Let nothing stop you, nor turn you aside.

I don’t know who wrote this but I read it over 20 years ago and it’s the best advice anyone can offer you.  There will be what I call “Dream Squishers” out there that seem to enjoy seeking out people’s dreams only to try and snuff them out with an inappropriate (or sometimes cruel) comment.  They will go so far as to LIE to you in order to steer you away from what you really want because they’re too afraid to dream.  If you have a Dream Squisher in your life, you don’t have to sever ties (although that is an option) but my advice is to keep your dreams to yourself.  Definitely express them among like-minded people who can help you get where your going, but if you encounter one of these human hobgoblins, steer clear and keep your thoughts to yourself.  When all else fails, smile and nod, then change the subject.

What do you see when you look at the Octopus?  What messages does she have for you?  Feel free to share, if you’re comfortable doing so.  Remember, there is no “right” or “wrong”, so have fun with it!

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I meant to post this at least a week ago…

I have a couple of blog posts that I have been meaning to write.  I need to do some research on Elves.  My suitcases still aren’t fully unpacked.  There’s a basket full of laundry downstairs that is probably wrinkled to the point everything will have to be washed again.

Countless blogs are written about writers who procrastinate and what we can do about it.  But the question on my mind is WHY do I do it?  Most of the things on my overwhelming “to do” list would take less than 30 minutes.  Remember my basement?  I put off that project for YEARS.  Literally.  Once I rolled up my sleeves and dug in, it took me about two weeks. I could use the excuse that it was a huge undertaking, but when I take a step back and look at the situation as an outsider, I seem to have an excuse for every task I’ve been putting off.

Every single time I finally finish something, I am surprised by how little time and effort it took.  Every single time I ask the same question.  Why did I put that off for so long?

I am not a lazy person, so this upsets me.  It’s so out of character and yet I do it all the time so I suppose it isn’t, which gives me pause.  It’s been bothering me for quite a while, yet I’ve actually even procrastinated the process of sitting with the feelings with the hope I can get to the root of the problem.

no parking

No Procrastination !

The Universe has a way of forcing your hand.  I put off renewing my vehicle registration to the point where I actually forgot about it.  A couple weeks ago, I went out to visit a friend and parked my car in what turned out to be a “no parking” zone.  That little mistake, compounded with my lack of registration, cost me a few hundred dollars in fines.  An expensive lesson and hopefully I’ve finally changed my ways.  Every time I catch myself procrastinating, I stop and ask myself why.  9 times out of 10, I can’t find a reason so I just do whatever it is that I was trying to avoid.  “Eat that frog!”, as they say.

Is there anything you’ve been putting off?  What’s the longest amount of time you’ve procrastinated?

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The “D” word

Deadlines

That word strikes fear in the hearts of writers everywhere.  Well, most writers.  I write commercials and work with deadlines every day.  I am very lucky.  I set most of those deadlines.  So if I look at my “to do” list and notice that a particular date is looking rather popular among my clients, then I adjust the deadlines.  That way, I can be sure that the actual deadline (the one the production/traffic teams care about) is met.

I think I speak for most writers when I say that procrastination is a constant struggle and can be deadly.  So, we often set deadlines for ourselves to keep us on track.  With regard to my own writing, I don’t micromanage myself.  I don’t bother with daily or even weekly deadlines.  I like to keep the process as organic as possible.  But I do believe in setting a reasonable deadline to keep me on track.  Otherwise I think I’d stay in “daydream mode” and never get anything actually written down.

I had a pretty firm idea as to when I wanted my next book to be released.  Again, being an Indie author, I can set my own schedule.  But this year got off to a rather unfortunate start and I found myself unable to write for a while.  So that original schedule has been amended a bit.  To be honest, I was quite worried for a while and am just happy to be able to write at all.

Another snag in the process has been that I am actually researching and working on the story outlines for not one… not two… but three projects.  At once.  That’s not a horrible problem to have, admittedly.  But it really makes it difficult to focus and commit.  To choose just one story seems to me like I am abandoning the others.  Thankfully, they’re patient.  For the most part.

My sister and I are going to head to the coast for a girl’s long weekend.  Unfortunately, it’s not until August.  So I decided that a great way to help pass the time would be to get the first draft finished.

MeetingWhen the characters start to show up unannounced, that’s when I know that I am on to something.

I spent the better part of two days trying to coax a villain out of the shadows.  He doesn’t have a name but I do know a bit more about him, which is usually how it goes.  A character appears and introduces themselves in their own way.  I silently observe to determine if I should push for more information or let them divulge whatever they feel comfortable revealing.  Then I dive into my pile of reference material and try to find a name that suits them.  It’s a process that I really enjoy.

How do you deal with deadlines?  Are you comfortable or do they simply serve to stress you out?  Do you procrastinate?  Looking forward to your thoughts.

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Tradesies!

Almost a month ago, I wrote about my major purge in “Distractions, procrastination, and releasing my past.”  Through that process I let go of a LOT of things that I no longer needed, wanted, used, and never really wanted at all but was guilted into taking.  I also found some things I’d completely forgotten about, like this book :

Tradesies 1

“The Golden Age of Children’s Book Illustration” was a chance find in the bargain section at Chapters about 14 years ago.  I picked up two copies, one for myself and one for my yet-to-be born nephew.  I tucked it away and promptly forgot about it.

I was wondering what to do with it, since I didn’t think it would appeal to him.  Fast forward a few weeks.  My Mom and I had a discussion about artists whose work was featured in old books.

I, of course, started going on about Arthur Rackham.  He was a huge influence on both Alan Lee and Brian Froud, who collaborated on the book “Faeries” back in the 70’s.

I am also a huge fan of Beatrix Potter, whose work is also featured in this book.  Her work has a certain charm that seems to call out to people, no matter how old they are.

Tradesies 2 Ah!  Book plates!  I love them!  They’re so much more than just “illustrations” but rather a work of art.  A snapshot of a moment in the story, beautifully framed and able to stand on it’s own.  This book is a treasure and I am so happy that I had the presence of mind to get it.  But I certainly don’t need two of them.  So I offered one to my Mom, who gave me this in return.

Tradesies 3  I have flipped through it a few times at her house but hesitated to borrow it because I didn’t know when I would be able to get it back to her.  The similarities between Druidry and the Avalonian Tradition have always been of interest to me, so I look forward to taking the time to sit down and read through it.

Have you ever traded books with family or friends?  Do you find it difficult to part with a book if you can’t find it a good home?  Have you ever been given a book out of the blue?

 

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Solstice Blessings !

I can’t believe it’s already June 21.  Summer Solstice is the longest day and shortest night of the year.  A time when people gather to celebrate the Sun.

Midsummer Eve is a truly magical time.  The Faeries venture to the human world, many of them for the sole purpose of causing havoc and taking great delight in doing so.  It is said that the Selkies come ashore, shedding their skins so that they can be human for one night.  The gather and dance on the shore, but if disturbed or discovered they will grab their skins and head back out to sea.

Let’s look at the Midsummer card from the “Fairy Ring” oracle deck.  We can spot Robin Goodfellow and his friends, gathering for a celebration in the human world.  In the distance, but closer than at any other time of year, is a Faerie island.  It is said that on this day, humans are able to travel to the Faerie Realm.  But be warned.  They journey there can be straightforward.  The journey back, however is not.

Midsummer Card

“The Midsummer card ushers in joyful energies of magic, enchantment, consummation, culmination, celebration, delight, fun, light, illumination, and clarity.”

This is an excellent time to seek the guidance of the Fae in your own life.  To ponder the questions that you have been asking yourself.  To connect with Nature and take a moment to truly appreciate your surroundings.  If you are in an urban area, try to seek solitude wherever you can.  Find a way to plant your feet on the grass or the soil.  Take a walk through the woods or sit by the lake.

It’s a bit gloomy here and looks like we’re in for a wet summer.  I don’t mind the rain, but we had such a long, cold winter that I was hoping for a lot of sun, especially today.  So let’s look at the bright side.  It’s a perfect day to snuggle up on the couch with a cup of tea and a good book.  I hope to finish “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” and get back to work on my next novel.

Summer Solstice framed

What are your plans (or non-plans, as the case may be) for today?

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It was the best of times and it was total shite

Thus far, this has been both the worst and best year of my life.  That may sound like an odd thing to say.  Allow me to explain.

On December 31st, I took Izzy to the vet.  She hadn’t been eating and seemed “off”.  I went to the appointment thinking perhaps she’d developed diabetes.  I left with an empty crate.  My sweet girl who had such a hard start to life was gone.  When I say “life” she spent the first 7 or 8 years in a cage, devoid of human contact – not much of a life at all.  It wasn’t fair.  The cancer that I knew was lurking there when I adopted her 1.5 yrs ago had spread throughout her body and I made the decision to release her from her pain.  So I returned home that day in a state of shock, without my sweet little girl.

Then in Mid-January a very dear friend of mine passed away suddenly from what I now refer to as “that effin’ flu”.  To say that it knocked me on my proverbial butt would be an understatement.

About a month ago, I had a not-so-fantastic run-in with my past.  The good thing that came of it was I finally rolled up my sleeves and tackle my basement.  I am still not 100% finished but I’m *this close* and quite happy about that.

I needed a break from pretty much everything, but didn’t intend to be away this long.   I have been writing.  Unfortunately, it’s all still in my head.  I haven’t been reading anything, either and that makes me sad.  I don’t even want to check Goodreads to see how far behind I am in my 2014 Challenge.

I decided to take a day off and give myself the gift of a long weekend.  I had it all planned out.  Drop Ari off at the vet for his dental, head to Costco and stock up, go home for lunch, pick up Ari, then settle in for a weekend of creative bliss.  The Universe had other plans.

Ari had his dental and as I suspected, needed a few teeth removed.  The procedure was routine and he made it through fine.  Unfortunately, his mouth wouldn’t stop bleeding.  They discovered that he had almost no platelets, so while his blood was clotting they weren’t staying put.  He had no other symptoms that one would typically associate with this issue, so I spent the weekend in a daze, crying and wondering if I was going to have to say goodbye once again.

Thankfully and much to our surprise, he made a full recovery.  He’s back to his sassy self, although I have to admit I didn’t realize how much of an instigator he was with regard to barking until he had his little holiday.  Hmmm…

So it’s been a rough year so far.  Now comes the happy part.  I choose to see the lesson in everything.  It’s not always easy, nor is it usually pleasant.  It certainly isn’t instantaneous.  But if I don’t learn what I need to learn, I am going to have to go through it again.  Needless to say, I have learned a lot about myself through this process.  The most important thing is that I don’t give myself enough credit for how far I’ve come.  We often spend a lot of time lamenting what we DIDN’T accomplish that it’s easy to forget all of the amazing things we’ve seen and done, as well as the lesson’s we’ve learned and the changes we’ve been able to make as a result.

Writing

Once again, I vow to get back to work.  Step One : clear all that clutter, unopened mail, and various bricka-brack off the kitchen table that you decided would be a great workspace.  Hopefully this time my efforts will yield some results.  The Faeries are beyond restless and I honestly can’t blame them.  Stay tuned for updates and insights and other things that float through my brain.

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Distractions, procrastination, and releasing my past

Nothing kills a writer’s drive like unfinished projects.

“I’ll just tidy the kitchen…”

“I’ll just read one more chapter…”

“I really ought to sort my sock drawer…”

It’s ironic because whatever you’re writing is an unfinished project but we tend to shuffle that to the bottom of our list of priorities.  What exactly are we avoiding?  Why are we so easily distracted?  I can’t speak for everyone but find once I actually get started, I’m fine.  But if there is something sitting undone, I have a hard time focusing.  The time spent avoiding the unfinished project while sitting there struggling to write adds up quickly and soon you find that it would have been easier just to do the thing you’d been avoiding, so you can get back to what you really want to do.  Write.

Almost two weeks ago, I received some disturbing news about someone I used to know.  The details don’t matter, but what does is how it affected me.  I suddenly decided that I was going to get my life in order and I was going to start in the basement.  Not the figurative “basement of my subconscious”, but the actual basement of my home.  It is a project that has sat undone and really nagging me for far too long.  I asked myself why and realized that I just didn’t want to deal with my past.  It was upsetting and scary and emotional and draining and and and and…

As it turns out, once I started it wasn’t all that bad.  I had what turned out to be over 20 cans of paint sitting there, some of which had been there for years.  I have been meaning to take it somewhere to be recycled but kept thinking it was “too big a project” to deal with.  It took all of an hour to load it in my car and take it in.  An hour.  But it was such a huge weight lifted that I can’t believe I put it off for so long.

Not Jackson Pollock

 

Boxes and bags of “stuff” that I just didn’t want to deal with.  Completely random things, like a piece of molding from my van, which I haven’t had for four years.  I didn’t even realize it still sitting under the stairs and had to stare at it for a couple of minutes to even figure out what it was and where it came from.  I even discovered a few surprises, like a beautiful “doorway” wall hanging that I bought years ago and forgot I had.

Doorway

 I love this !

 My toolbox was far too small and was also broken, so it couldn’t be closed.  Into the bin it went and I bought myself a new one that is not only larger but actually fits everything.  The bonus is that it’s blue, which is my favourite colour and has absolutely nothing to do with it’s function but makes me happy all the same.

New Toolbox

I was merciless and very honest.  No more “this might come in handy someday” or “I should probably keep that”.  I did find myself saying “What the heck is THAT?” and “Where did THIS come from?” quite a bit.  Part of the way though, I had this lightbulb moment.  I was the one in charge.  It is MY home, MY space, and no one else had any say in how this was going to be done.  That one seemingly small shift in my perspective set me free.  Anything that I wasn’t using, didn’t like, didn’t want, or never wanted in the first place but was guilted into taking was either tossed, given away, or donated.

It took about a week.  When all was said and done, I dragged 7 giant garbage bags of junk to the curb, took all the paint to the recycling depot, and a carload of stuff to a charity garage sale.  The energy in the house seems lighter and now I actually go down there just to look around.  There is so much space that my Whippet runs laps!  It hasn’t been that empty since before I moved in and I intend to keep it that way.  Now that I’m on a roll, I think I’ll tackle the office.

Is there anything you’ve been putting off?  What do you think is keeping you from getting started?

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