Enjoying the Little Things

This past month has been difficult. Health issues cropped up, leaving me not only physically drained but also emotionally stressed and fatigued. Anxiety flared, sleep suffered. I’ve spent this past month getting a hold of my emotions, of relaxing my anxious nerves and getting my life back. While I can’t say I’ve succeeded 100%, I have succeeded enough to where my life almost feels normal again. Right now, that’s a big deal.

 

So now it’s May, and I’ve started writing again. I missed April’s update for this blog, for which I apologize. I actually had an article already written that I had planned on posting, in which I discuss my thoughts on the editing process. Yet I couldn’t bring myself to post it. After the turbulence of April, discussing editing seemed insincere, irrelevant. Like I was trying to deny my own emotional turmoil and pretend that editing really was what was on my mind at that moment. It wasn’t, and still isn’t.

 

So instead I wanted to write an article about what is on my mind, of what’s important to me. And right now, it’s all about enjoying the little things. It’s about living in the moment as much as I can. Letting go of events in the past, trying not to worry about what might happen in the future. Instead I try to focus on the present and find pleasure and beauty in the things around me.

My walking/running grounds.

My walking/running grounds.

 

I used to run three times a week. Instead of running, I’m now walking daily. While I always enjoyed being outside while running, I never really appreciated my surroundings. I’ve started noticing things that previously had escaped my attention. Like how the trees rustle in the wind. Or the way a certain bird chirps the loudest in a particular area of the forest. I’ve watched, each day, as the snow melted and collected into pools and streams. I’ve watched as birds have flocked to these pools to bathe and hunt in the water. I’ve watched the small flowers blossom from the bracken and leaves of the forest floor. I’ve seen how the wild blueberry bushes have grown taller with buds that will soon blossom and leaf. I usually stop while walking, just to listen and smile and enjoy the moment. These moments give me peace and it is because of these moments I will continue to walk frequently, even after I start running again.

 

Blåsippor

Blåsippor

Although it is, perhaps, easier to find pleasure in the beauty of nature, I also strive to find pleasure in my daily life. I’ve started eating healthier and it’s a challenge I’ve decided to tackle enthusiastically. I push myself to see just how many fruits and vegetables I can eat in a day and the interesting ways in which I can eat them. I enjoy seeing and feeling the beneficial changes in my body. My waist and legs have slimmed; I have more energy, my headaches have lessened. I feel like I am being kinder to myself and that fosters feelings of love and compassion for myself as well.

 

I enjoy the fact that I am writing again and that I’m fortunate to spend each day doing something I love.

 

Focusing on the little things has helped me remember what’s important: my health, my family and loved ones. It has helped me to remember to embrace life’s challenges and to learn and grow from them and not to fear and worry over the uncertainties of the future. I can’t say I always succeed, but I’m getting better at it, and that’s enough for me.

 

What little things in your life bring you happiness?

Book Review: OCR is Not the Only Font

OCR is Not the Only Font  OCR is Not the Only Font

Damon L. Wakes

Published August 9th 2012 by Smashwords

Rating: Four stars

 

 

 

OCR is Not the Only Font is a collection of 31 very short stories, written over the course of 31 days for Flash Fiction Month. The mission? Write a story every day ranging from 55 to 1000 words. The result? A fast-paced romp of wacky hijinks where robots are romantics and minotaurs are oppressed. Intrigued? You should be.
Okay, okay, I exaggerated a little bit. It’s not all madcap-mayhem. Some of the stories are, actually, serious. In fact, if you look at the graphs at the end of the book (and, yes, I did skip to the end and read those first), you’ll see the pie chart indicating that about 1/4 of the stories are of a more serious nature. So, it’s 3/4 wacky hijinks. Not bad, right?

Not bad if you like silly stories, which I do. Some are clever with little twists that make you smile. Others are rather corny, taking on the quality of a joke that makes you groan while waiting to hear the “ba-dum-tish” piping from your computer (or e-reader, or whatever you use). But I love to laugh, so even these found a way into my heart and I admire the author’s moxie in not only writing such things down, but also in sharing them with the public in all their cheesy glory.

There are, of course, the more serious stories. Though these are good, it was the fun, quirky tales that drew me into the book. At first I thought it was the nature of flash fiction that lent itself well to silliness, but after further consideration, I don’t think that’s the case. There’s something unapologetic about these stories, exhibiting the act of writing for the simple joy of it. Considering the circumstances under which they were written, I think that makes sense. Who could manage to write a story every day for a month, if one didn’t love to write?

The writing itself, though rough in spots, was quite good, and any bumps in technique were made up for in heart. The brevity of the stories provides for an easy read, creating a “just one more” craving, like intellectual potato chips. It’s fun, it’s whimsical, and it’s worth picking up. After all, where else can you find stories about a drunken Superman or revolutionary zombies, all in one spot?

Chasing Dreams: Finding the Road to Becoming an Author

Why did you first have the idea to become a writer? I could be wrong, but it was probably because you read a book that touched you so deeply, that pierced you to your core, that you thought, “Wouldn’t it be amazing to inspire this feeling in others?”

 
[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #8f1f1f;”] T [/dropcap]his is what Joe Bunting recently asked in his article “To Be a Writer, You Only Need to Do Two Things”. The paragraph resonated with me because, well, this is exactly what happened. For me, the book was Neil Gaiman’s Stardust – a modern-day fairy tale full of magic, whimsy, and love. It struck all the right chords and was the first book where I remember thinking, “I want to write stories like that”.
 
Yet even with that revelation, I didn’t begin to write. My own self-doubt and refusal to believe that I could, actually, become a writer was probably my biggest hindrance. Another was a distinct lack of inspiration. Quite simply, I didn’t know what to write about. I was waiting for the clouds to part and the light to beam down on me with The Idea that would become my story. But it didn’t happen. I had fragments of ideas, small scraps of stories that, on their own, didn’t amount to much. I lived with these ideas floating around in my head for several years before I finally realized inspiration wasn’t going to fall into my lap and I would have to work for it. So I started sifting through the scraps. Some of them came together, some didn’t (and are still floating around in my head, waiting for me to find them a home). Then, with an infusion of fresh ideas to marry with the old, I finally had it: my story.
 
And yet, I still didn’t begin to write. Not really. Every now and then on a weekend evening I would sit down for an hour or so. My progress was slow. In a year, I had written the prologue and one or two chapters (most of which got scrapped later due to poor writing). It’s easy to make excuses, to get caught up in the daily routine of life and not make time for the things that matter to us. Especially when you have that nagging little voice telling you, “You’re not good enough”.
 
I’m fortunate. Extremely so. An opportunity presented itself, giving me the chance to write full-time. It wasn’t until I took this opportunity that my writing finally took off. In a year, I finished my first draft.  But that’s not what’s remarkable. What’s remarkable is that I’m starting to believe in myself. I still hear the nagging little voice, telling me I’ll fail. But I’m learning to recognize it for what it is: my own fear – fear of change, fear of success, fear of putting my heart on a page for all the world to see. Facing our fears helps enrich our lives; it makes us stronger, helps us grow. Doing so is rarely easy and sometimes we need a little help (or a lot) to get us started. But if you can get through it and come out the other side smiling, then it is a struggle well fought and well worth the effort.
 
For me, writing isn’t about book sales. (Of course I hope my book sells when it’s published, but that’s not what’s important.) It’s about connecting with others, of sharing a story that, at one time, was only a vague idea floating around in my head. It’s about the joy that comes with others experiencing the story in their own way, and from their own perspective that differs from my own. It’s about facing my fears, of putting my heart out there and, win or lose, being proud of what I’ve done. It’s a bumpy road, and it’s not always easy to walk. But I’m walking it, and I’m excited for what the future holds.

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