Friday, January 30, 2015

Have a Lucky Cardinal Day!

Are the starlings driving you crazy?
Being so annoying, so rude and lazy,
They love to squabble and act so greedy
Incredibly pushy and oh, so needy,

Don’t let the starlings get you down
Mr. Cardinal is back in town,
Annoying starlings don’t bother him
He just laughs from the evergreen limb,

Bright and colourful, chirping with glee
He sings his song from the top of the tree,
Always positive and always happy
Looking so dapper, sharp and snappy,

His cheerful presence makes me glow
He lifts me up when I’m feeling low,
It’s a lucky day when he drops by
He makes me feel like I could fly!

So chase those pesky starlings away!
And have a Lucky Cardinal Day!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Are you an Artist? #MondayMusings

Are You an Artist?

Do I have to make artwork that dazzles the masses?

Do I have to pay money and take lots of classes?

Do I have to sell art for a very large sum?

Do I have to wear black and be totally glum?

Do I have to suffer terribly in order to create?

Do I have to have a big ego and think I’m great?

Do I have to network, see and be seen?

Do I have to act like a Drama Queen?

Don’t worry and stress, it’s never too late

To be an artist, I just have to CREATE!

I am writing this in response to the prompt 
at Write Tribe for Monday Musings - Are You an Artist?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Eat More Chocolate, Drink More Coffee and other Writing Resolutions for 2015

I thought the idea of eating more chocolate and drinking more coffee might pique your interest about my resolutions. Did it work? Hope so! ;)

Seeing the word “resolutions” is intimidating to read on the page and even harder to put into practice. 

At least I’ve taken the first step by writing down what I’d like to achieve which is often the hardest part of all. If you don’t know what you want, you sure won’t achieve it.

This year I want to take my writing more seriously with goals and deadlines as I have so many writing projects in various states of completion.

I have tons of short stories and some unfinished novels that beg to be revived again. The main problem is I can never decide what project I want to work on.  Which one is most important to me? 

Just the prospect of having to decide makes me procrastinate further. Usually I do what I always do and start something new which makes for even more unfinished projects. Or I drink coffee and eat chocolate while I ponder my predicament. Hey, any excuse to drink more coffee and eat more chocolate, right?

As a person who isn’t naturally organized and flits from one thing to another, getting structure and a schedule are a continuing challenge. That’s why I enjoy taking courses and belonging to writing groups for the structure, goals, challenges, accountability and deadlines.

I find I’m great at starting a project with all the enthusiasm and energy that the Muse can provide. After a while that energy and enthusiasm tends to wane, especially if the work has been rejected or I’ve had it critiqued and it needs revisions to improve it.  

Face it, revisions are hard work! They certainly aren’t as fun as that first draft where your fingers are flying and you’re filled with the magic of the Muse as you scramble to get all your ideas onto the page. Still, proofreading, editing, and revising are so necessary for making a piece shine and stand out.

This year I want to revive some of these stories and bring them to life again for possible submission to markets. 

I also want to continue blogging regularly for that feeling of accomplishment I get from completing a post. Blogging makes me feel like a writer and I love being able to connect with my words and photos as well as get to know other bloggers and support their wonderful blogs.

Do any of you have tips you’d care to share about how you manage to stay on track and motivated enough to finish your writing projects?

What are your writing resolutions for 2015! I'd love to hear them.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Wordy Wednesday - What is it that I really want to say?

I wrote this short story of 300 words in response to the sentence prompt at Blog-A-Rhythm of "What is it that I really want to say?"

Wordy Wednesday at BAR

Love this new badge Sid designed to inspire us further.

“What is it that I really want to say?” Brendan held his pen poised above the heavily scrawled paper.

“Who’s the mystery girl?” his best friend, Maddy asked. “It better not be that awful Janessa you went out with last term. She’s so not worth it.”

 “No, it’s not. She only wanted me to drive her around and pay for stuff,” Brendan said making a face.

The librarian glared and put her finger to her lips.

“Forget the letter. Tell her how you feel in person,” whispered Maddy.

“I’m confused,” he said, his voice breaking. He ripped the paper up and threw the pieces into the library’s recycling bin. Running off, he disappeared into the crowd before Maddy could catch up.

A few hours later, Maddy found him sitting on a swing at the playground next to the high school.

“I’ve been looking for you. When you weren’t in English class, I got worried.” Maddy sat down on the swing next to him. “Remember how we used to spend hours here?”

“I remember,” Brendan replied. He stopped swinging and looked down at his feet.

“What’s wrong? Can’t you tell your best friend about it?” Maddy said.

Brendan swallowed and hesitated. He looked Maddy right in the eyes.

“I want us to be more than just friends. Do you think you could ever see me that way?”

Maddy broke into a big smile that lit up her face. She leaned towards Brendan and touched her forehead against his. “I’ve known we were destined to be more than just friends since I was ten and now we’re almost eighteen.”

“Guess I’m a bit slow.” Brendan reached for Maddy’s hand and squeezed it.

“I’ll say,” Maddy said with a mischievous giggle. “Now shut up and kiss me. I’ve been waiting eight years already!”

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

#MicroblogMonday - Small Actions Do Make a Difference

My family has a band made up of me on flute, my husband on bass clarinet, one son on tenor sax and the other on drums. We play music at the Presbyterian church we attend every third Sunday. 

Our church congregation are a traditional, conservative bunch, not known for displaying too much emotion and often I assume that no one cares much if we play or not.

Yesterday I was at a funeral for one of the members. A woman came up to me and told me how much she loves to see my sons perform and how the music just pours out of us. She always looks forward to the Sundays when we are performing and how much our music means to her.

Her appreciation for our music reminded me that even small actions can have a big impact.

It also reminded me that if someone does make a difference, it’s important to thank them and show your appreciation. Never assume that people know already as often they’re like me and don’t think that these small actions are a big deal.

Never underestimate the good you can do in the world by your small actions and your appreciation of others. These small things make more of a difference than you realize.

I am writing this post as part of the Microblog Mondays linkup over at What is MicroBlog Mondays?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Being Creative Takes Courage and Perseverance

I can sure relate to this cartoon as I'm sure you can, too. How many of us feel that way when we set out to do anything creative? 

There is that initial surge of enthusiasm and energy when we try to get our wonderful idea out of our head and visualize it, whether it's a drawing, painting, acting, writing or music. 

The hard part is when the inner critic (or Abuse as she's called in Hilary Price's cute cartoon) arrives and starts to poke holes in it telling us how bad it is. 

It certainly isn't made any easier when we have people being indifferent or critical about our great idea. All of a sudden, self doubt sets in and all that enthusiasm vanishes. Maybe it was a crummy idea and why bother?

How do we overcome all this negativity and persevere? That's the challenge of the creative person and one well worth tackling. 

I think we have to remember why we're being creative in the first place. If people like your work or you make money from it, that's great but you can't depend on that all the time. I think you have to love doing it first of all. You need to remind yourself of why you're creating to sustain you through the rough times that come to every creative person sooner or later.

I had a Eureka moment several years ago that being creative was part of me like my red hair, bad temper and overly sensitive nature. 

When I went through hectic times where I couldn't express myself creatively, I would often feel robotic and drudge like. Now I see that creativity makes me feel whole and is essential for my overall health and well being. 

Yesterday I did my first portrait/life drawing class in over 30 years as I haven't done any since the 1980's as part of my graphic design course. I must admit I was nervous when I first arrived as I've been carrying around an old story in my head that I can't draw realistically and not to bother. "Just stick with your cute cats and girls in puffed sleeves, Cat," the voice would always tell me in a condescending way.  

I felt a bit stiff and unsure doing my self portrait from looking at myself in a mirror. As the class progressed, I felt more relaxed and I think my drawing loosened up, too. Here is one of the self portrait sketches that I did. 

The people in the class were very friendly and welcoming. There was no pressure to compete and no worries about getting a good mark. The teacher was helpful in her criticism, but not mean and destructive like other teachers I've known in the past.

How wonderful to take a class for pure enjoyment without worry of the outcome and I made some new friends, too. 

Overall it was a positive experience and I look forward to rekindling this love of drawing that I've had since childhood. 

It's never too late to start again with a fresh perspective!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Facing My Fears

Today I will confront my demons and fears
The ones that have plagued me for many years,
Telling me that my artwork is bad
Making me feel incredibly sad,

You’re not good enough, Cat, so you’d better quit
Do something else that’s a better fit,
Get a real job that pays real cash
Toss that artwork in the trash,

Why do I listen to that annoying voice?
After all, it’s entirely my choice,
The inner critic is harsh and cruel
Giving in to him is like giving him fuel,

It’s all just a story I’ve been telling for years
One plagued with doubts and so many fears,
I won’t let the inner critic have his way
I’ll rewrite the story, starting today!