Hello from the Pits of Stagnation!

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Photo by Pedro Figueras on Pexels.com

Okay, slight hyperbole.

I had meant to have so much up on the blog this past month.  Another small round of Dollar Tree Gift Basket ideas.  Updates graphic organizers, including holiday/gift giving ones.  A personal guide to planners.  Thoughts on the upcoming holidays.  The debut of my DeviantArt, where I hope to store my weekly sketches as I continue my journey to become semi-competent with a pen and pencil.

Sadly, between my new program at work being incredibly draining (but also a lot of fun and so satisfying), last minute holiday prep, Bear’s birthday, and the stomach flu running through both my classroom and my family (Bear still has no appetite, and is now coughing himself to the dry (and not-so-dry) heaves), and I haven’t updated in nearly three weeks.

I mean, sorry?  But while I want writing about my life to be a priority, living my life comes first.  So, sorry-not-sorry (but also kinda sorry), I guess.

I’ll be working the remainder of the week to create a queue to carry the blog through the holidays, and will take some time over break to develop a more regular posting schedule.  Until then, I hope your run up to the holidays has been more enjoyable and less filled with toddler puke than mine has been.

Take care, everyone.

Reflections on Inktober and OctPoWriMo

ReclaimingWell, October was a quite a month, creatively.

I’ve never attempted more than one challenge at a time before.  Moreover, I’d never attempted something that wasn’t a writing challenge before, and this October saw me do both (this was a really special month, you guys).

OctPoWriMo was not a wellspring of expertly crafted poetry.  I was not fond of many of the suggested forms, but because of time constraints, and because of the lingering funk I was in when it came to creativity, I opted in to many of the suggested forms and prompts, even when I didn’t love them.  I’d argue that was good for me; it forced me to be okay with what I considered to be sub-optimal writing — it kind of gave me permission to create something not up to my nearly impossible standards.

In the end, I produced thirty-one poems, a few (very few, but still – a few) of which I am very happy with just as they are — Blue,  Are We Damned?, Here There Are Trees, and A Doe in the Woods come most readily to mind — and several others that I think would be good with some work — Siren, Snake, How Do You Know if Love is Real?, and both of the haibuns fall easily into this category.

The poems that fell entirely flat (to me, at least), are the ones whose forms seem the most “gimmicky;” the blitz, for one, never truly felt like writing poetry (though, as I’ve said several times, I wouldn’t discount it as a writing or brainstorming exercise), and many of the non-traditional syllable counting poems didn’t come out as well as I’d hoped.  Rather than count this as a failure, though, I’d like to walk away considering this a learning experience for me as a writer, discovering and uncovering a little more about what works for me (and what doesn’t) as a poet and writer.

What Inktober did, though, was interesting.  I jumped on Inktober more or less on a whim, because I have never, ever, considered myself a visual artist.  I’ve always liked doodling, but my drawings rarely ventured into more elaborate territory.  People would sometimes compliment a drawing I’d done, but it never went beyond that — I never defined myself as an artist the way I did as a writer.  As a result, I went into Inktober with no expectations — or, maybe the expectation of sucking.  And because I assumed I’d suck — because I “wasn’t an artist” — every time my drawings came out with even an inkling of potential promise, it was a huge, positive surprise which kept me motivated to keep with it.

And at the end of thirty-one days, while I still have a long, longlong way to go, I can see very plainly that the stuff I’ve been producing sucks a little less.  That giving myself permission to not be great and keep going anyway actually lead to me getting better.

I’m am spending my creative energies in November doing NaNoWriMo, as I have almost every year since 2002, and taking a break from (structured, challenge-based) creative endeavors in December (working on lowkey, low pressure personal projects) before jumping back in for another challenge in January.

In retrospect, even if I’ve not been thrilled with the all of the products of my labors in October, I’m proud of hanging in there and producing.  And whether or not I win NaNo, and whether or not I reach 50k, I’m hoping to at least see it through day by day and word by word.

Here’s to a productive November, a recuperative December, and a creatively fulfilling 2019.

Welcome Fall

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Hello, all.  Don’t know where you are, but over the last few days we have finally been catching the first glimpses of what I would consider true “fall weather,” with highs in the 50s and 60s this week (well, until Wednesday, when they’re expecting a high near 80, but that’s just how New England do).

My family and I have been pretty busy this month; September has had the most social commitments we’ve had for most of this year, and those few days that weren’t consumed by social events or work were filled with trying to fit in all the chores and projects pushed to the side in favor of those social events, so I’ve had spare time, sure, but only at the end of long, exhausting days, so I haven’t been on here much at all.  With the month winding down – this week is pretty busy, but we hit a lull in October – the house in order, and the school year finally falling into a routine, I’m looking forward to finally returning to some fun projects, including keeping this blog updated.

And keep an eye on my Pinterest, especially my seasonal boards – I’m trying to compile a “master list” of Fall Bucket Lists, Dollar Tree craft and home decor ideas, and great treats and meals for the fall and beyond!

Feel Good Friday/Friday Faves: July 14th, 2018

onnie & CaroleYes, yes, I know – it’s Saturday again.  I keep doing this.  This week, my excuse is that my whole schedule has gotten flipped upside down.  I spent a week out of work, and then had to adjust to a weird schedule of working only Tuesday and Thursday; we spent our Wednesday as a family out and about (which made it feel more like a Saturday), and to top it all off, my husband was covering a co-worker’s vacation and was working 2pm to 11pm instead of his usual 8am to 5pm.  So my whole week – and concept of time – has been thrown out of whack.

Here is what’s kept me grounded:

First, Wednesday was spent at Kimball Farm, which was a blast.  I hadn’t been there in several years (we did a community outing there during one of the other ESY programs I worked), and it really has something for everyone.  Bear got his first taste of mini-golf, he got to see some animals (and pet an alligator!), and spent some time earning tickets in the arcade.  He ended the day with a huge scoop of Orange-Pineapple ice cream.  I have a couple of small pics on Insta here.

Second, my sister spent hours online last night messaging me eBay links to long forgotten tech toys we had as kidsThe Teach-Me Reader and The Videosmarts Learning System to name a couple – and ended the evening by announcing that her 1984 Whiz Kid Toy Computer would be arriving on Thursday.  Seriously?  I still can’t believe she actually bought it, but I’d be lying if I pretended I wasn’t going to play with it.  I had one prior to first grade, and I loved it.  We can learn to spell together!

Third, Andy ordered me laminating sheets and I’m going crazy thinking of things I need to laminate.  All my checklists from my previous post have already gotten the treatment, and I’m busy designing both additional checklists and organizers for me, but also piecing together a preschool curriculum for Bear that we can get started, hopefully on Monday.  He’s looking forward to it, and so am I.  I plan on spending a big chunk of time after he turns in tonight getting some of those tasks completed.

Finally, the GISH registration has been extended and my team is starting to take shape (yeah, kind of late this year).  If you don’t know what GISH is, click the link or Google search its previous incarnation, GISHWHES.  It’s a massive multimedia international scavenger hunt interested in subversive art and acts of kindness.  This year it runs July 28th through August 4th.  I’m thrilled to see it brought back – we thought last year was the end!  – and am participating for the seventh year in a row.

That’s it for this week!  What’s kept you going through the week?

Happy Summer!

Say Hello to Summer

It’s officially summer!  Now granted, our district doesn’t get out until the 29th (grumble, grumble), but after the winter we had (hence, why we’re getting out the 29th!), it’s nice to say hello to the promise of warm weather and fun things to come.

Please feel free to check out or follow my Summer Vacation Pinterest board, which I will be spending a good chunk of the weekend organizing and adding to – everything from summer food and drink recipes (both adult and family-friendly), bucket-lists, and seasonal fun and games.

As the school year winds down, I hope to find more time to work on this blog, and a number of other projects I hope to be able to share soon!