Friday, April 27, 2012

Factoid Friday

Hey, it's Friday! I love Friday. It holds all the promise of the weekend, and, for someone who is all about fun, this is a good thing.

I've decided to add a regular feature on Fridays. As you can tell by the title, it's .... Factoid Friday!

Why? Because I like how it sounds. And also because factoids are fun. In case you're not sure of what a factoid is (I had to look it up) here's the definition from wikipedia (because that's such a reliable source).

My favourite thing about the origin of the word is that Norman Mailer invented it back in 1973. He describes a factoid as 'facts which have no existence before appearing in a magazine or newspaper.' And if I may add to that, Mr. Mailer, 'or the internet.'

More recently, news sources such as CNN have re-defined the word as 'a small piece of true but valueless information.' aka, trivia.

Isn't the English language magnificent? We have so many words with multiple meanings, misconstrued definitions, and weird spelling. As a writer, I find it fascinating, and love to plumb the depths of vocabulary. It's also annoying when people use words in the wrong way. Or can't spell.

Case in point:

Aargh! This would be hilarious if it wasn't so stupid. Okay, it's hilarious. And stupid.

For the most part, Factoid Friday will riff on CNN's definition. I'll gab about a bit of trivia. Why? Because it's fun! Oh, I might squeeze in a wee bit of thoughtfulness here and there, but not too much. Don't worry.

So, obviously, today's factoid is all about that lovely little word, factoid. Could I use factoid any more in two lines? Factoid! hah! It's one of those words where, the more you say it or type it, the weirder it looks. Hmm....

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Trust Yourself...

I've been home from Banff for three days, and I'm still exhausted! All that creative intensity was crazy. I'm just starting to process everything - what I learned, who I met, where I go from here.
One thing that stands out today is something I've been focused on for a couple of months. It's a life lesson that sounds very cliche, very over used, and yet it's so, so important. 

Trust yourself. 

Yup. That's it. Two little words that, for me, carry a big punch. Because, lately (and I'm talking years here) I haven't. Trusted myself, that is. And the weird thing is, I'm just now realizing it. For some reason, it felt really normal, making decisions based on what everyone around me wants. (like the meat salesman who comes to my door every month, or the infomercial lady who knows I NEED to buy a 50 DVD boxed set of workout tapes) And completely ignoring that little voice inside saying, 'What the hell are you doing? Are you NUTS?)

So, learning to trust myself, and that little voice, has been something I've really been working on. Even before I went to Banff, I found myself becoming more aware of what I wanted or needed, and honoring that. 

Then, surprise, surprise, I got to Banff and found myself falling into the same old trap. Here's how it went down. 

I was blessed to be placed in an amazing small group of writers for the week. We were all working on the first chapter of our novels, and, each morning, one of us would have their work critiqued by the group and our wonderful leader, Joan Thomas. I got to go first, and absolutely loved it. Everyone was positive, encouraging, and had excellent and honest feedback. I felt great

Then, a couple days later, I did it. I forgot to trust myself. I started focusing on the little doubts and concerns, and they became larger and larger in my mind. I began mumbling to myself (what am I doing? who do I think I am?) and started sinking into that icky swampy ooze of self-doubt. By the time I got home, I had worked myself up into a big old confused mess. 

So, today, I took some time to remind myself why I'm writing what I'm writing. Why I believe in it, why I chose it, (because it chose me, but that's another post!), and why I trust it. 

Sheesh. Two little words. Trust yourself.  So, so difficult to learn and apply in my life. 

I'm getting there, though. Bit by bit. Word by word. Moment by moment. 

Putting one foot in front of the other,


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Banff Beauty

Thought I'd share a few photos of the incredible place that is the Banff Centre. I'd write more, but I'm honestly spent from all the writerly goodness going around and don't have any more words to spare. Cheers!

 they have outdoor concerts here with up to 2,000 people in the summer.
 one of the newer buildings, this one houses the library and meeting rooms
 view from the library
the beautiful library, where....get this....they actually love to help!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Writerly Heaven

I'm at the Banff Centre for a week, participating in the Writing With Style program. A friend of mine came here last year and raved about it, so I sent off my application and got accepted into the First Chapter, Novel workshop.

First off, let me say that checking out of my life for a whole week NEVER happens. Sure, I've gone on vacations (aaah, Italy, how I miss you!) but always with someone else. I can't recall having gone away ALONE for a week since I've had kids. EVER. (sorry about the caps, can you tell I'm a bit excited?) So this in itself is a biggie. Last Saturday I jumped in my truck, peeled out of the driveway, and headed for the open road, latte in hand and snacks on the passenger seat. I blasted any music I wanted (Gotye is my latest obsession), stopped whenever I wanted, and ate whatever I wanted (hello, Subway!).

Upon arrival, I checked in and found my room. MY room. Just mine. All alone. For a week (sorry, I'm a little giddy). Thinking I had loads of time to unwind, unpack, and wash off the grime of the road (because apparently I'm Willie Nelson now), I collapsed on the bed and glanced at the clock. Wait a minute.....what? 6:50? That can't be right. Umm....right.....Alberta time......CRAP. I only had 40 minutes until my first mixer, when I come face to face with the people I'd be spending the next week with.

I've never showered so quickly.

And in record time, I took a deep breath, pushed back my shoulders, and.....opened my door.

Trying new things is fun. Vital, in fact, to our well-being and growth. But it can also be terrifying. We fear the unknown. Will I be successful? Will I look like an idiot? Will I have lettuce stuck in my teeth? And, trust me, fear has kept me from trying a lot of things in my life. Not just fun things, but serious things. Like standing up for myself, or setting boundaries. I've allowed fear to keep me from living an authentic life.

But, being here at the Banff Centre, I kinda feel like anything's possible. I survived the first night, and the next, and the next. And now, three days in, I sense a shift. I am moving from fear to joy. I'm excited about being here, surrounded by others who are also battling fear, and acting courageously.

Sometimes it takes courage to take that first step. Or, for me this week, just to open my door.

Putting one foot in front of the other,


Sunday, April 15, 2012

And Now For Something Completely Different...

I've been thinking a lot about this blog and where I want it to go, if anywhere. I've been attempting to create an industry blog, because that's what I thought I should be doing. (I have a bad habit of 'shoulding' on myself, I'm working on it....) However, the more I tried, the less I found I had to say. Hence the long, vapid gaps between posts. This left me questioning whether I was on the right track or not, and if I should be doing the blog thing at all. 

I'm going through a difficult time in my personal life right now, and it's really got me thinking. About who I am, who I want to be, and how I can get there. A biggie for me is to live an authentic life. What does that look like? It's me, knowing what my values are, and making decisions based on those values (ie: what's right for me! Now there's a concept!) It's also reminding me that I have things to say, and if I am going to honour myself, I need to honour those things in me that need saying, and say them. Whether it's to a friend, or my kid, or myself, I need to speak up and let my voice be heard. 

So, I've decided to take this blog, this voice if you will, in a new direction. I will still talk about writing - the struggle, the joys, the craft - because that's a big part of who I am. But I will also talk about other things. Things I'm learning in my life, things I'm struggling with, things I question. I believe there are a lot of people out there looking for someone they can relate to, someone that is honest about their life and their struggles. None of us want to feel alone, and sometimes that's what life does to isolates us, or we isolate ourselves, and pretty soon we find ourselves feeling like we are the only ones in the universe who has ever felt this way. And it's not true! We just have to look around, look outside of ourselves. 

So, a big thank you to my (very few!) readers who have checked in up to this point, and a very big welcome to anyone who's new to my little world. I hope you find something here that will encourage you, make you smile, or just reassure you that you're not alone in whatever you're going through. 

Oh, and in case you're wondering about the new title? Something I've learned recently, and continue to remind myself of, is that everything in life is a stepping stone to something else. Every tiny victory, every time we make a choice that is right for us, and no-one else, is a stepping stone to becoming the person we were created to be. When I look at life that way, it puts everything in perspective. I'm not there yet. But I'm just another stepping stone away. 

Putting one foot in front of the other,