#AdAstra2017

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 (Sylvie, Me, Aura, – part of our writing group the Underground Writers)

This is my fourth Ad Astra (I think).  The first one I just felt so new I didn’t know what to do with myself.  The panelists felt like gods, and I didn’t know how to talk to them, and mostly I was just a little star struck.  I also only wanted to travel in packs, and had a hard time going off on my own – a fear I don’t much have anymore, but it’s always nice having someone you know sit in the audience with you.

My first Ad Astra, I distinctly remember being out in the hall telling a woman I loved her shoes, or was it a hair piece?  I can’t remember, but I do know I paid her a compliment, and then we get in the room and she was a panelist.  And I was kind of like OMG I just talked to her, enter panic mode, try to keep it cool.  That woman was Leah Bobet.

There was another panel that first time where they where talking about the end of the world.  It got into the survivalist area, and I was there for the zombie talk personally.  So we have two older gentlemen, who start preaching about a thing they are passionate about, but perhaps a little too intense know it all style, and a lot off topic from where we where supped to be.  Then there is this breath of fresh air on the panel, this woman named Karina Sumner Smith.  Who through quip put these guys back in there place.

Side note, when I meet you as an author my brain will always give you what’s on your book for your name, all of it, always.  Example E.K. Johnston, is still E.K. Johnston, even though I know she prefers to go by Kate.  My brain is wired a certain way, and even getting to know authors I still sort of think of them as magicians, because that’s what it feels like when I’m writing.  I’m conjuring nothing into something.

Leah and Karina where my first two authors, except at the time, they where on the brink of publication.  They where at that almost stage. I met them at the beginning of their journey, and it has been amazing to follow them since.  To get to know them, and feel not just like the girl on the outside looking in, but the girl who can have a conversation with them about ideas for writing, or the world in general, and who we are in it.

This convention was different, and by far my favourite (yes, I know even topping the year I met E.K Johnston and totally fangirled over her book recs, and fell in love with her writing).  Maybe it’s because I had been going for a few years, and I had an idea of how this would play out.  I knew the landscape of the con, and I knew how it worked best to pace ourselves. Maybe it’s because I had been writing for some time now, and I know my craft a lot better, I felt more like I could talk at their level.  Maybe it’s because I follow my industry and have done my research, and I knew what the journey would look like, so I didn’t need to ask them the basics and make those newbie faux pas.  What I can tell you is that I met a bunch of amazing young woman, doing what I want to be doing, and willing to have those conversations between panels and hang out.

It started with Friday evening, and walking into the panel Gender Terminology in Science Fiction and Fantasy, and I thought oh no, there she is.  There is a person who ends up on panels that says things that are so dated and condescending to the category she writes for, I have a hard time listening to her opinions.  She writes YA, but how she talks about it is like an authority figure who needs to shove a moral down your throat because they are right and you are wrong.  But at this panel an amazing thing happened.  The panelist and the people in the room came out and where like, I don’t agree with what you are saying, and this is why. It brought out the best in everyone around her.  New rules, use this woman whom we don’t like as a barometer on Friday evening panels to find out how everyone around them reacts, and those who show gumption with good ideas, follow them.  Follow them hard! (sorry no pic for this panel. I forgot.)

(As a side note Christina Vasilevski, was on the gender panel, and held her ground and was willing to take the conversation where it needed to go.  She also wrote an amazing blog post about her experience of ad astra this year.  I feel you when you talk about the gravitational pull you felt at the con, and the friendships formed there.  I got to catch up with her a bit more on Saturday.)

I had a game plan with panels that sounded interesting. I even have some names I know that I avoid, so I already had a couple of panels crossed off because I couldn’t take their opinions.  But I also left room for flexibility.  There where three things I was not missing come hell or high water, and I made sure I got to those.  But everything else was in flux.  This made it so I could adjust my schedule to the panelist, or to having a bit more social time in-between, or shopping time, or food, or in this one case a nap. This is what works best for me, knowing what I want to do, but leaving space for be flexible as needed.  The true gem of this conventions are the people you meet and connect with because holla, you all love the same thing.

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(On my forearms, part of the look I was rocking on Saturday – these are temporary, and sadly almost all gone now.  Though I am thinking of getting Knit Punk on one arm, and Book Dragon on the other.  Will ruminate more on making it permanent.)

Saturday I took a little extra time to get ready, and look badass, and when I walked off the elevator, there stood Leah Bobet and Karina Sumner Smith, and the rest of my writing group.  It was like a light had split the sky, and said today is going to be awesome, watch out, I gift you with this great start to the day. I mean I had panels I wanted to go to, but grabbed a coffee so we could sit and chat with these lovely ladies instead.  It was not a mistake.  It was a great conversation and really set the tone for the day.  Leah Bobbett is one of those amazing souls who we follow each other on twitter and Instagram, and who smiles and welcomes me every time I see her.  I keep thinking of her as this magical feisty character, something I could evolve into some day.  She is kind, but fierce.  Also her writing is amazeballs.  It’s an amazing feeling being able to call her a friend (and a small part of me is like, is that too presumptuous?).

At noon I bowed out and ran off to the YA Revolution panel where I got to see these women in action.

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 Rebecca Diem, L.E.  Sterling, Amanda Sun, Alyxandra Harvey, Deanna Laver (this last one I’m not 100% on).

If you want to know a good moderator (and I can’t believe this is her first Ad Astra, because she was a total pro at it), Rebecca Diem was on it.  She had questions for the panelists, brought her own introspection, helped lead the conversation without dominating it, and in general was absolutely lovely.  I asked a few questions at the end, and having intelligent questions to ask, opened up room for conversation with these women later. Also the combination of Alyxandra and Rebecca’s bangs made me want bangs, and I know it’s a bad idea, but I’m easily susceptible to chopping my hair off at will.

Also, if you ever see me post writing on Wattpad, it will be because L.E. Sterling tipped the scale, and asked if I had posted anything there before, and suggested it’s a great place to build audience.  I don’t know if I will blame or give her credit, but now it’s an itch in the back of my mind, that I’m thinking about.

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L.E. Sterling signed Sylvie’s book, and I think that is the best compliment for our group ever.

The other panels that where total highlights for me where:

IMG_2843 Space Opera and New Directions (Derek Kunsken, Andrew Barton, Christina Vasilevski, Jon Oliver) Derek has a book coming out in fall of 2018 which was described as a Space Opera heist, a cross between Oceans 11 and Guardians of the Galaxy, and I am so disappointed I have to wait that long to read it.

 

IMG_2854Reading Revolution (Selena Middleton, Leah Bobet, Amanda Sun, Alyxandra Harvey Rebecca Diem, L.E.  Sterling)

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Leah Bobet’s Reading (Totally jealous of her writing voice, but in a good kind of way, the kind that is in awe.  Her descriptions, emotional connection to her characters, and world building, in just that one scene was SOOO GOOD.  I mean yes, I like the concept, but the writing alone is enough for me to tear through that. KEEP WRITING IT!)

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Disrupting the Narrative (Left to Right: Rebecca Diem, Carolyn CharronEli K.P. William, Charlotte AshleyVanessa Ricci-Thode).  The book recs on this panel where through the roof.  Also we nominate N.K. Jemisin as the next GOH for Ad Astra. (I also caught up with Vanessa the Saturday evening in the con suite, who has amazing geektastic fashion sense, and a love of dogs)

Turns out that 90% of the panels I had selected had those amazing YA authors on them.  It was like continuing one great conversation leading into the next. I could have just happy sighed my way through the entire convention.

Going back through the schedule on Saturday, while it felt so happy and productive while I was there, I noticed that I didn’t go to as many panels as I had intended.  Still it was a reassuringly soul filling day.  Don’t get me wrong panels are great, and a good launching pad for ideas and connecting with others  However, it’s the conversations we have and the people we meet, that really opened it up for me.  I talked to authors and panelists between panels, continuing to share ideas.  I talked to authors and vendors in the merch room and connected with them there. I posted on twitter throughout the convention taking pics, and being witty, and garnered new followers (who I also followed back, because you are my people).  I had ideas for how to improve my stories, and those aha moments you search for.  We went to the con suites in the evening, danced with a storm trooped, had drinks with not just our group, but welcomed others into the conversation.  To cap off this wild crazy day, I even made it to the dance before crawling up to my hotel room. However, through it all, the thing that shined the most for me where those connections, the people and conversations.

Our Storm Trooped both in and out of costume.  You can find her on Twitter.

I don’t know if I have told you this but I HATE the word networking.  It sounds so dirty, like the only reason you are talking to someone is to use them, because they have something you want.  There is a distinct lack of respect for the person, instead treating them like goods or services.

One could look at my weekend, and be like, hey Julia, you networked.  Technically they would be true.  But I prefer to think I connected with people passionately over a shared interest.  I prefer to think that we planted the seeds for friendships, or at least friendly acquaintances the next time we see each other at an event.  The type of people you follow back on twitter or Instagram and cheer on their successes, or like their jam making, or lipstick selfies, or dog photos.  The type of people you can gush over a good book, or grab a beer with when you are in town.

This event, I felt comfortable in my own skin, and who I am becoming.  I used to look at life as a series of goals, achievements, a once I get there, I will be fully made kind of thing.  Now I recognize that this is just one long road trip of learning about yourself.  As long as I’m comfortable with being a changing being, it makes it easier to accept who I am, and be that person comfortably around others. This is me now, this is me learning, this is me – a work in progress.

These woman that I met this weekend, these are what I want to grow into. They are magical badass wordsmith warriors. They are also kind, and willing to make those acquaintances and friendships.  They don’t snob off above you, but rather reach down and lift you up. The example they set is high, but worthy of achieving.  Thank you ladies for everything, you made this weekend for me.

P.S.  Seriously GO to Ad Astra, it’s got great content, and has a very intimate feel.  This blog post only captures the tip of the iceberg of what actually being there is like.  Experiences may very.

Here’s to growing old together….

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This is Cowboy.  This is the person that I met doing community theatre, who always had a guitar backstage, who let little kids hang all over him like a jungle gym, who had crazy facial hair for the play, and glorious long hair, and was tall and so very attractive.  I knew that he was who I wanted to be with, but of course knowing that about a person and starting a relationship with them and having it work out, that’s like winning the lottery.

I won the lottery.

Cowboy is the type of person…

  • Who gave me a house key to his apartment, and I spent the time I wasn’t in school or working, at his place, and that was okay.
  • Who moves out with me after a year of dating and tried out a new city and a new place together.
  • Who after that year, moved back to my home city because I wanted to be close to family and start a life together that involved buying a house and having kids, and we needed a support system in place for that.
  • Who when I bought the first 4 Twilight books in hardcover, and only the last three came in drove me to a bookstore, to pick up the paperback so I could start the series right away.  It didn’t matter that the bookstore was half an hour away, or that we would be buying the same book twice, it mattered only that I could start reading the series I had my heart set on.
  • Who bought me my first laptop to write a novel on.
  • Who bought me my second laptop when that first one was dying, and I hadn’t yet finished writing a full novel, but had many drafts abandoned and gone, and still believed in my writing.
  • Who bought me my first iPad, and my second one, as supplemental tools to my writing craft.
  • Who when I finally finished a complete draft of a project after years and years of trying out different writing projects, and I stared at him as he walked in the door after a music practice and told him I finished it, and I was having the feels, knew that what I needed most was for him to just hold me.
  • Who we got our first dog together, and convinced me to get a second, and now we have such a  culture around our dogs in our house, we wouldn’t know how to be without them.
  • Who when making himself a peanut butter sandwich will also make me one, and bring a glass of milk even though I didn’t ask, but he knows I’ll want it.
  • Who this one time when we had a fight and he was out of town working, played a song on guitar and recorded it and tagged me in it as he posted it to Facebook (not the one above, no fight to get that lovely piece of him performing).
  • Who works out of town because that’s what we need to make ends meet in order to take care of the life we have created.
  • Who buys the dogs all of the extra dog treats when I’m being miserly and just getting the basics.
  • Who will drive me to and from Toronto  (4 hour drive there, and then 4 hour drive back) so I can go to an author signing for a favourite author the day before a big interview for me, so I can sleep in the car on the way home.
  • Who brings me into mosh pits, and always has my back, even when I’m threatening people twice my size for getting in my way.
  • Who we bought our first vehicle, and second, and third vehicle together. Who we bought our first house together.
  • Who when things get tight because the economy is hard and he’s out of a job, cleans out his music room so we can rent it to a student, to make ends meet.  Who volunteers his extra space, when I said we could use mine.
  • Who buys my sister LuLu lemon gym clothes for Christmas, even after I bought her Christmas presents, because he wants to buy her something too, and spoil her a little.
  • Who alway makes sure we are up to date in our Disney movie collection.
  • Who ran away with me and built a life with me.  Who gave me the space I needed to finish growing up, and becoming the person I am.  He provided a place to escape to when I needed it most.  Who provided the understanding and kindness needed to find my way through.

Cowboy is the person I fell in love with 12 years ago, who while I look back at that initial love story, and I see how young and untested it was, but still had the seeds to grow into something completely amazing. Cowboy kept with me, and I with him. We went through those tests of a relationship you’re not quite sure you’ll get through until you’re faced with them, and you do, and you look back and say we’ve got this.  We’ve got each other, and we’re going to be okay.

We need different words for love, that describe Love in all of it’s capacity.  There is shinny new love, when you know you have the potential for greatness but you just aren’t there yet.  There is love for friends that stands the years of distance and time.  There is love for family in all there trials and tribulations.  There is love for our pets, and watching them grow old, and knowing they are going to break your heart, and loving them more anyways regardless.  And then there is the love that is forged between two people who have built a life together, and love and respect each other, and know how to work together as a team, and support each other.  Who have gotten through all of it.  And still come out the other side closer and stronger.

I’ve had all of these loves with Cowboy in my life.

Happy 12ish years.  Here is to growing old together, and finding even more reasons to love each other.

A letter to my younger self

635824296266974225-1322718153_38637623_c8baa1d51d_o_imgopt1000x70Dear Younger Me,

Today I looked in the mirror and I had crow’s feet from smiling too much. We are in our early 30’s and you know I don’t think we are doing too bad.  Sure there are things we are still striving for, but overall, you’re going to be okay kid.

Once upon a time you said something along the lines of “If the guy I’m with has longer hair than me, then we have a problem.” But the thing is you like long haired dudes, then and now.  So clearly it could only mean a criticism on yourself, needing to have the longest hair to win.  I don’t know what you would be winning, because really life isn’t win or lose, but you get to knowing that eventually despite how you grew up.  What you will also learn is that you really love having shorter bob style hair.  This works for you on so many levels, so screw beauty standards, and go ahead and get the shorter haircut.  You’ll thank me for it later.

Also your hubby/boyfriend/life partner will have long hair and play a guitar. He is also an incredibly kind person.  I know younger us was totally into long hair and guitar, so you are totally winning there, but it’s the kindness that will melt your heart every time.  The way he takes you into consideration, and knows you, is what’s worth the most in the end.  And yes, he keeps his hair long because he loves you.

We have perfectionist issues, and we will struggle with this for a very long time. It comes from trying to avoid unnecessary ‘lectures’.  The lectures come regardless, and while they feel deeply personal, they are less about you, and more about the person doing the lecturing.  It’s hard though, and I know how we feel like a trapped rabbit. Conflict will always leave you feeling that way, but we do get better at operating past that.

I would recommend that we start seeing a therapist sooner. We definitely have issues, but also we need to let go of stuff too.  We need to stop letting others people voices guide us, when we know they are wrong.  Things like you don’t air your dirty laundry, those are just suppression techniques of a bygone generation.  Let them be bygone.  To be honest, we aren’t in therapy yet, we still have trust issues with authority, and opening up and letting someone in who can turn around and use all your vulnerabilities against you.  However, I think we will get there, so let’s have some faith in us, okay.

Reading/writing are deeply personal for you. They have always been your escape.  But we are at a point where we have carved out a corner of the world just for ourselves, and you can’t start sharing this amazing dream with others.  We have to start writing, and it’s going to be so freaking personal, but you can do it.  You’ll find your people, and they are amazing.  They are warm and enthusiastic and incredible.  They’ll show you love and respect in a million tiny ways, and they will help build you up and show you a different way of being that you only dreamed existed.

Oh Younger Me, you have a sad soul filled with fire. You know the world is unjust, and you want to run away so badly.   You hang in there and survive it, and you find your people in the end.  You are going to be okay, because you have smile lines girl.  You go about being you, the only way you know how in that situation.  I promise I do not hold any of our past decisions against us.  However, we still have a lot of life ahead of us, and I just wanted to check in and let you know, that despite all of our challenges, and trust me there will be challenges, you make it through.  You are going to be Okay.

Okay, feels like such a small word when you want to light the world on fire. But in this version, okay is a good thing, and no way a cop out for mediocrity.  It means some days you are bursting with happiness, and some days there is sadness, but you come to terms with the range of emotions you go through, for it makes you human.  Okay means you have amazing people in your life.  Okay means you are comfortable and safe.  Okay means you are well loved.  Okay means you have dogs that make you smile, and bring so much joy.  Okay means you have an amazing partner, who you wouldn’t trade for the world.  Okay feels like warm blankets by a cozy fire, with a good book and dog tucked into your side. Okay feels like lazy Sunday mornings with Cowboy, and the sun tipping in through the bedroom window in the house you bought together.  Okay means, you’ve got this.

Love Always,

Future You.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

It’s Going to be Okay

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I have been up for a job that I’m not sure I’m going to get.  It’s been three weeks since the initial interview.

Cowboy had a job interview, and it looked like everything was going great, and then they decided to not proceed any further.

I’m in the middle of some family drama, that hasn’t yet been resolved, but that has been eating away at my conscious.

Last week I remember this moment of Zen, thinking okay, we are in the great abyss of the unknown, I was still waiting to hear about my job application, Cowboy was still waiting to hear about his job application, and the family drama hadn’t hit.  But I was thinking, things are potentially looking up, life will be good.  Cowboy will get the thing, I will get the thing, we will be on an upward swing.  I was in that stage of utter hopefulness.

Then the family drama hit like a bulldozer coming into my blind spot.  I had to take some time to journal my way through it, and because I am who I am, things tend to play on repeat through my mind.  All those times and spaces in-between, walking my dogs, walking to and from work to my vehicle, driving, all of those times, my brain is like let’s roll play this out.  Rewind, repeat, change angles, try again.  Over and over and over.  It’s a vicious loop.  Sometimes this is helpful as a processing tool.  But I can get stuck, like bogged down in mud, and my brain feels like it’s thinking through a soupy fog.  That’s not good.

Then I found out Cowboy didn’t get the job.  Like it was looking very promising.  We were waiting on a start date, that’s how promising it looked.  And then an email to say we won’t be perusing you further.  Glowing references, a piss test he passed.  And then the letdown.  It was heartbreaking for both of us.

And I’m still waiting to hear about the job for me.  I’m still in limbo on that one.

Sometimes when I’m in a slump I also feel like I’m never going to get to where I want to be, a published writer.  That other people are so much more successful than I am.  Look at all those book cover releases.  Look at that author who I started following from the beginning of their career now be in their umpteenth book.  Look that those movie deals for book rights.  Look, look, look.  And I feel like I’m pilling more on myself than I need to take on.

I freeze.  My writing comes to a halt.  I want to curl in a whole, and ignore the world.  Pile on the blankets, eat pizza, and let time tick by.  Do nothing, because I am paralyzed by not being good enough.

But somehow I always manage to get to the other side of it.  I’ll journal my way through it.  I’ll go for a run.  I’ll play out all the situations, and realize that even if I don’t get what I want, I can still be okay on the other side of this.  I’ll come up with a game plan.

Sometimes that game plan looks like a fierce fighting fire in my gut.  That is part of the process too.  That is the Julia who is putting on her boxing gloves, and is going to get through this come hell or high water, because I will do what needs to be done, regardless.  I will persevere.  Fighting Julia is fierce.  That girl’s hair is flame red, and her lips taste like blood.  But she too is transient.

That’s the thing, all versions of me, all stages, are transient.  We flux.  We go from Zen, to turned on our heads, to fighting fierce, to Zen, and sometimes it’s not in that mix at all.  Sometimes we add weeping in there too.

Today though we are back to Zen.  Today I found myself smiling at the prospect of a meaty spreadsheet at work, and a good audiobook.  Sure, my life doesn’t look exactly how I want it to, but that doesn’t mean I give up and stop trying.  It means I figure out how to process, and keep moving forward.  And therein lies the secret to happiness, continually movement, and goal setting.  Keep going.  Take the time, then pick yourself up, find the things that make you happy, and keep going.  Life is not linear, but accepting that it is transient, certainly helps in the getting through all of it.  Also smile, and enjoy those moments when you have that Zen, that inner peace.  Stop pause, and say, wow.

Today is a stop pause and smile day, even amidst the chaos, and the uncertainty, I feel like I’ve got this.

 

 

Pack your Marshmallows we are headed to Camp

Camp-2017-Participant-Facebook-CoverWhen I was younger I always wanted to go away to a summer camp.   I wanted the parent free days of bonding with other kids and running wild like Peter Pan and the lost boys.  I wanted hiking trips, and rock climbing, and canoeing, and swimming, and camp fires, and smores, and maybe a first kiss.  I wanted cabin allegiances and sneaking out in the middle of the night.  I wanted to bond away from the harsh glare of parental authority always telling you what you could and couldn’t do.

I’m an adult now, and so I understand the trepidation of where my parents were coming from. We had a camp, why would they pay for me to go away?  WE didn’t have the budget for that.  And then when it comes to inviting friends, how many peoples other kids do they logically want to be responsible for.  And they want to keep you safe.  All of those rules are for your safety.

But as a kid, I just wanted to be wild and free.

Camp NaNoWriMo has begun, and it’s given me the feels of summer camp I had longed for.

Once upon a time I used to be an ML (municipal liaison) for NaNoWriMo. And that position feels a lot like being the adult your family’s camp, trying to wrangle everyone, while still trying to do your own thing.  I’m planning, promoting, booking events, writing emails with pep, cheerleading, maintaining an online presence, and writing my own novel.  The sheer number of hats you have to wear is exhausting.  And ML’s do it all for free, volunteering our time, and often paying extra for stuff for our participants out of our own pocket.  It looks all so easy and graceful from the outside looking in (or sometimes it looks like a train wreck you’re sure your mad organizational skills can take over), but then you sign up and do it and realize exactly how challenging the roll is.

But Camp NaNoWriMo requires I do none of those things. It requires only that I write my novel, and maybe participate a little online, if I so desire.

See my first foray into NaNoWriMo was about writing, but also about finding my writing people. I’ve done that. I know who my peeps are. I am forever grateful for finding my people through NaNoWriMo.  But now, I need to get back to the basics, back to the sheer art of just writing.

I don’t need the same thing from NaNoWriMo that I did before. My needs have changed.  And as such Camp is a much better fit for me.

I needed the push of 50K when I first started off. I needed to know I could jump impossible hurdles, and write fast  But now I also need to write well, and that my dears takes time for me.  I like that with Camp I can set my own word count.  I like that with camp it’s about me and the project, and not anything else ML related.  It’s all the parts boiled down.

So pardon me while I’m off to toast some metaphors, and smoosh them between graham wafer crackers topped in chocolate. I’ve got some lighting bugs to catch, and lakes to swim in.  Characters who need to be challenged, and Characters who need to fall in love.  I need a Marauders Map, because this mischief is about to managed.

Rebellion

Alas it is Wednesday, and the thing I wanted to reveal is not yet ready, because I think that I am either Hemione Granger with a Time Turner, or that I have a Tardis in my backyard, and i can some how get more done with less time.  That and I’m a perfectionist with procrastination skills like mad.  Maybe next week loves?

So instead let’s talk Rebellion.

I have been thinking that a lot of the larger themes I am seeing in books are about Rebellions.  Overthrowing the government, and bringing in change.  Especially with the political climate of the world right now.  We are so much interconnected than we have ever been, and with access to the internet there’s a lot more transparency, but a lot more noise to have to filter through too.

It feels like in every YA trilogy I’m reading that is not a contemporary, the larger theme is overthrow the government.  Things are wrong, and we need to rebel.  ALLY the forces. It’s like we are living in Star Wars.

Maybe that’s the type of story I’m attracted to?  Maybe I like story about rising up to find your power, to find your voice, to be heard.  Maybe I like stories where I’m tried of being punched down on, and have a searing fire in my gut that needs to be lit?

Here is a collection of books I have read recently who I feel go well under the Rebel tag:

Some of these books are obviously about a rebellion, especially if you find them in the post apocalyptic or Dystopian Genre.  Some of these are more subtle rebellions, the antagonist is rising up, but their are clearly faults in the society, and the protagonist must confront both.

As I’m trying to write my own book right now, I find I’m focusing on themes such as rebellion.  I thought I was going to write a romantic fantasy in Paris, but then the more I started plotting and characterization, the more I saw the cracks in their world.  The more I realised it was about to fall down around them.

I have an issue coming up with a big bad? Who is the villain that they must ally around?  What if their resistance though makes them a villain from bringing down the world around them?

And then I think, okay if we collapse everything by the end of the book… then what?  Then I need at least a book two to rebuild the world?  And how do you rebuild a world after you broke it?  I have been toying with that idea for awhile.  Sure you Rebel, but then you create a vacuum for power, so what comes next?  Besides being dissatisfied what is your next play? What is your idea of governance?

So first I’m going to break a world.

Then I’m going to remake it.

Three things to have a good day

I have been watching 100 Days by John Green.  Watching a grown ass man have a healthy mid life crisis has been entertaining, and motivating to get back to the gym.  However, it was this video that really stuck with me.

I’m a girl with an epic to do list, and I only feel like I have my shit together when I get to all items + on that list.  And those lists are long.  They are maybe over ambitious and maybe set up so I can’t succeed.  So I can tell myself I am not enough, and tomorrow we have to try to burn brighter.  But this video told me that I can have a minimum of three things that need to get done to have a good day.  And I think that it can work in either direction.  For an overachiever, and for underachievers.  Pick three things, and as long as those things happen, you’ve got this.

So here are my three things:

  • Drink your 8 glasses of water (tea and coffee count, but for only half, hopefully less then)
  • Do something active today (go for a walk with dogs, hit the gym, Yoga with Adriene, a walk on your breaks at work, the more the better but at least one is still a success).
  • Read a physical book (okay – readers are fine, but audiobooks are cheating.  I already listed to a lot of audiobooks, so I just want to get back into the zen of reading again)
  • Bonus round – do something creative today.  Knit, write, or colour, or even something else.

I also try to be on social media daily, on twitter or instagram, but I can see already where those are chewing up time, that could be better spent.  I’m constantly checking in for self validation.  However, I need to figure a way to participate, but not using it as a popularity contest.

On a how I am going to achieve this level, here’s what I’m hoping to change in order to meet these goals.  Start tracking my water consumption.  There is no way of knowing if I make it, if I don’t track it.  Find a way that works for me to do that.

Get up and go for a walk on my breaks at work. I’ve been skipping the breaks, and I’ve noticed that I’m loosing focus in my days, and I need that time away to disconnect, get out of the job at hand, get movement going again, and get out of the office.  Listen to an audiobook and destress.

I’m loving what I am doing at work right now, as I’m filling in for a temporary job vacancy, but I’m still getting that feeling of all my time is going to other people, or a to do list to get things in order, so I finally have the time for me that is needed, and then I don’t get that time because the to do list is to damned long.  I want to schedule some time in the morning just for me, but I need a reason to get out of bed.  Working out has always worked well for me, so Yoga I think is going to be my way of setting up my day.  I’m going to start setting my alarm 30 minutes earlier, so I can get up and do a small Yoga with Adriene session.  I’ve just done her beginners video and I want to try doing that every day before work.

I need to start going to bed at a reasonable time and instead of playing mindless games of my phone, I’m going to read again.  I’ve been having this fear about reading before bed, because what if it’s really good, and all I want to do is synch into the novel.  But then even other times I put aside for writing I feel myself holding myself apart from the reading experience, because I don’t want to fall endlessly in love with the project, because the heartache.  But dude, this is why I read.  To feel that connection.  This is why I write, to make others feel that connection.  Avoiding it will not grow my craft.

Bonus round, too often we put our art at the end of the day, after everything is ticked off from that to do list.  Once I get better at waking up earlier for Yoga, I want to add in some extra time for writing.  In the mean time, I think I’m going to make writing a priority before I start tackling my to do list.  Have you written your 500 words, then no gym for you.  However, I’ve kept it open to other creative endeavours, because I love to knit and colour, and somedays at the end of the day, that’s all I have energy left for, is just something easy, and I should be giving myself credit for that too.

So there you have it.  My three things, with a bonus round for how to have a successful day for me.  I’m going to stop punishing myself for not being superwoman and saving the universe.  Alas, I don’t have the genetics for that.  What I do have is a keen appreciation for books, and wanting to live a long happy life.

 

 

Sunday Rebranding

I’ve always been a person who takes Sunday’s for themselves.  I used to call it JamieJam Sundays.  It was a day where I could just relax and be, without an epic to do list.  Without having to run errands, or workout, or anything else that felt pressing.  It was a day for reading, or tv watching, and some cooking for the rest of the week.  That cooking thing got me. Because yes I love great good and I want it available for the rest of the week, but why am I spending time on Sunday doing it, when I just want to relax.

Then I was having a hard time with my writing.  I was getting disconnected with it through the week, so on Sundays I told myself, I would get reconnected, and give into it.  Get that deep down zen feeling you only get after hours of being in the story.  You can’t get that on a weeknight hitting your 500 words per day.  Sure that moves your story along, but that zen feeling of being one with your writing, that’s part of the art, and that takes time for me.  I realized that, that feeling was a reason why I wrote as well.

Sundays slowly started keeping up with stuff that had to get done, and all of a sudden it wasn’t lazy Sundays anymore.

Therefore, Sundays need to be rebranded for me.  They are still my days, but as I sit here writing this, I have a mud mask on, I got up and read for a bit this morning, I did Yoga with Adriene, and plan on making super, and getting words on my novel in.

Therefore, I’m moving that we rename Sunday to Self-Care Sunday.  This is the day of light workouts, dog walking, yoga, healthy meal prep, skin care, and of finding my zen in the WIP.  This is what I wish all my days looked like, but if I get only one of them, this is it.  It’s a soft gentle day, with easy to achieve goals and a pace that is manageable, and things that refill instead of drain.

All in a Weekends Work

It’s Sunday evening, at around 8:30 pm as I’m writing this.  The end of a weekend, and I’m thinking what did I actually get done.  Weekends are such fickle things.  I want to sleep in for 10 hours each day, and spend all day reading a book.  But then I also want to go to the gym, and walk my dogs, and write on my novel for hours on end.  I want a clean house, and to hang out with friends, and I want to watch endless tv, and knit.  I want to live a thousand lives in 2 days.  I want to do everything, and nothing at all.  I want to be productive, and cross things off a to do list, like i’m the Jedi master of to do lists, and i also simultaneously want to sloth about the house, and do nothing but things that are comfortable, like reading and tv.

So let’s see what I got accomplished off that list.

As of Sunday evening around 8pm my house is finally clean in that top to bottom kind of way I do so enjoy.  Everything is tidied, laundry is done and put away.  All bedding, including dog bedding and couch coverings has been washed and reassembled.  Couches have been fabrezed and vacuumed.  The house is dusted.  The bathroom cleaned, and the floors moped.  I also prepped a bunch of food for next week, and the kitchen is clean.  Cleaning took about 2 days, but it was off and one, and in between.  Still quite the monumental task, but it does so clear the head, and make me feel at peace. It frees me up for the rest of the week to not fret that I should be attending to the tumbleweeds that are threatening a revolution.

I walked my dogs each day.  I went to the gym on Saturday.

I hung out with a Friend on Friday night, and we watched 4 episodes of Teen Wolfe.  I hung out with a different friend late Saturday afternoon, through to Sunday afternoon.  We went makeup shopping, made delicious foods, drank and watched great TV.  I highly recommend Riverdale by the way, if you like a noir murder mystery teen drama version of Archie.  LOVE LOVE LOVE Veronica.  Betty, I’m waiting to see how her character arch plays out. I got a wee bit of knitting done in there.

I got zero writing done, except for this blog post right now.  I listened to a  lot of audiobook, but got very little reading done hardcopy or ereader style. I’m a wee bit disappointed in the writing, and the reading front, but I really did pack a full schedule into the weekend.

Overall, I think I killed the weekend.  But I could use an extra day, for writing, for lounging, for just being.  I packed it full, and feel full, but as an introvert, I feel like I could use a little more quiet.  But such is the way of a Sunday evening.  I always want more time.

This week, I’m going to try and focus on writing each evening, walking my dogs, and making it to the gym at least three times.  I want to take more lipstick selfies as I’ve acquired a new batch of warrior paint and must show that off.

Here are a few pics posted to my instagram from the weekend. (in case the pics don’t show up, because I’m new to trying to get things from Instagram to show up in a blog post… here is the link for my instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jemuldoon/)

 

I help fold towels too! #bassetlove #bassetlife

A post shared by Julia Muldoon (@jemuldoon) on Mar 12, 2017 at 11:22am PDT

 

Delightful teacup is delightful. So touched. Thank you @sarah.j.cairns and for the tea. Love love love.

A post shared by Julia Muldoon (@jemuldoon) on Mar 12, 2017 at 1:58pm PDT