A meeting of Magicians

This past month I had the privilege of attending a workshop given by magicians. Ah, you may say. But I thought you were a writer. Wasn’t this a writing meeting? True. But in my mind, writers are magicians.  After all, writers spin words out of the atmosphere. And they trap them in poems, short stories, articles, essays, plays and novels. I could go on. And that’s a marvelous, astonishing, mind-blowing ability.

Spending time with magicians/aka writers is always uplifting. Everyone has a curious mind and everyone is so different that their stories are equally unique.

During this workshop, four authors: Lee McKenzie, Rachel Goldsworthy, Shelley Adina and Sharon Ashwood explained Collaborative Creativity in 12 Proven Steps.

As I tend to have a concrete-sequential mind, and love to use frameworks, their approach worked for me.

  1. Brainstorm
  2. Expand Ideas
  3. Align Ideas
  4. Evaluate Risk
  5. Outline the project
  6. Who does what?
  7. Assign deadlines
  8. Review
  9. Remember your health
  10. Complete
  11. Pay the bills
  12. Let’s do it again

I was especially intrigued that as a group they were wise enough to include a section on Health. Without good health, writing can fall into a big trough. And the writer/magician will be tempted to abandon projects.

I guess the most appealing aspect for me, was that a writer wouldn’t feel alone. The writing business can be a solitary occupation and if you are fortunate to have around you a group of like-minded souls then there can be support as well as humour.

This was an intriguing, standing-room only workshop. This group will be wanting to share their expertise. Find out more about how four writers decided to tackle a project and move it along the continuum from idea to published novellas and an anthology.

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The word of the month – Acceptance

It’s hard to believe how quickly February rolled by in my life. And I realized I hadn’t shared my word of the month. Here it is: ACCEPTANCE.

This is understanding that for right here, right now, that’s the way things are in my life. It doesn’t mean that I necessarily accept everything.  No, some things are hard to swallow. Some things are prickly. It’s difficult grasping that I’m not in charge of everything. In fact, control is an illusion. Ah yes! Hard for Type A personalities.

But for now – my world is the best that it can be. Whether it is family, health or writing. It is what it is. One day at a time. I can’t control the past, and I have no idea about the future. But what I have is the present. And that’s the gift. Somewhat of a cliché but I’ll take it.

I’m pleased that I decided to publish independently. I have novels that I’m able to share with others, and dynamic covers that help me feel like an author. Looking back, I’m amazed at my courage, especially considering I didn’t know what I was doing.

I relied on close friends who just happened to be authors. I’m grateful to them every day of the week.

So, for the month of February, I’ve tried to learn how to relax and ease into my life. Lower the bar a bit. I’m not giving up, but making an effort to embrace my own reality.

Are you adept at accepting the curves that life can throw at you?


When in doubt …

When I was young, my dad would share his favourite mantra which was: “When in doubt go back to school.” So whenever I was flopping about (which was often) or changing careers (which was often) he didn’t express concern or disgust. Instead, he would push me towards taking a class, or returning to university. He believed in forward momentum.

His words reverberated in my brain as I set forth on Saturday, Jan. 27th to Tempe, Arizona to take part in a workshop entitled YOU ARE IN GRAVE DANGER: Using Tarot to Generate Framework for Poetry and Prose.

This conference – Writer’s Craft was hosted by the MFA creative writing students in partnership with the Virginia G. Piper Centre for Creative Writing and Barrett, the Honors College.

It was free to students and to all members of the community. Tra la. What fun!

Topics included, writer’s block, the submission process, YA, dialogue, forms of narration, narrative craft & play for educators and parents. A full buffet of whatever suited your needs.

My instructor, Natasha Murdock was delightful. She presented her workshop with a dry sense of humour and flexibility, while staying focused on her mission of how to generate new writing or revising writing while using the Tarot.

I was thrilled that I had the opportunity to attend. Now I’m filled with ideas and ready to continue on with my work in progress.

Have you ever utilized the Tarot in this way? Or have you attended a Tarot reading that took your breath away?





There’s something about Water

All my life I’ve loved water. That is, immersing myself in it, whether it is simply a shower, or floating in a hot tub, or swimming in a pool, or a lake or the ocean. However, because I’m such a big fan of pools, I like to see the bottom of what I’m swimming in so it has to be clear. So lakes are not usually my thing. Just my little obsession.

I learned to swim in outdoor swimming pools, that were not heated. I don’t understand why my limbs didn’t wither and fall off. Ah, the life of an Air Force kid. Great pools, but frigid water. I climbed up the ladder of swim lessons and eventually was a lifeguard for a brief period of time and taught kids to swim. Truly, I love water.

When I’m in water, I re-connect with my body and I love that sensation. I utilize swimming as a way to get ‘out of my head’. However, recently, I’m discovering that while moving in the water – all kinds of ‘watery words’ are emerging.

As I swim, I ponder the reality of the latest scene in my manuscript. Could that event take place? Would the protagonist actually say that phrase? Of course, these thoughts are interspersed with staring at other swimmers via my swim goggles or making a grocery list.

Swimming can be like meditation. Let the thought in, release that thought. In a perfect world, after swimming, I look for a place to have tea where I can settle down with my notebook and make notes of the truths that came to me while I was in the water.

Many people walk or hike to change their thinking. I head to the water. Just a different path. I’m so glad that over these many years, I can still find relief, happiness and even answers to my writing in the water. What a gift!

What do you do to find yourself?


Ushering in the year with a word!

When I was a teenager I believed in New Year’s Resolutions. I chose goals that were totally transformative and impossible. And I did this year after year.

For example, a favourite was, “I want to turn into a tall, thin blonde with straight hair.” Ah yes! Easy peasy.

Truth bombshell revealed. I’m five feet tall and have always had curly hair.

I soon realized if I couldn’t change my height, at least I could change my hair. So, I tried all kinds of methods to straighten my curls. Non worked. So in that era of young women with ideal bodies and ideal hair, I didn’t fit in. And that turned me into a rather grumpy person.

As the years have progressed, I’ve finally moved away from the ‘resolution’ aspect of embracing a new year. Now I want more flexibility and more flow. In fact, the word ‘resolution’ seems kind of tough and harsh to me now.

My new approach is ‘one word’ for each month for 2018.  For the month of January, I’ve chosen the word ‘move’. That is what I need to do. I’ve survived a complex surgery and now it is time to get my body moving and find activities that make me smile and give me joy.

After all, we all need joy in our lives.

What about you? Do you make resolutions for the New Year? What is your approach? I’d love to know.




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