Wednesday 13 November 2013

Blissful & Curs-ed Distractions

     Isn't it always the way.

So near to the end of a project or task, completing it would be so fulfilling, that sense of accomplishment.

     And yet, random distractions always sneak their way in, catch your attention and pull you away from the task at hand. This is a repetitive cycle for me. I can start a lot of stories. Somehow finishing them seems to be my biggest obstacle. Even though I have been making greater efforts to turn ON my word document and OFF my tv, I still wander off task often. It's frustrating. I want the kind of focus others have. I want to be able to set a particular goal and complete it as a regular habit. It's the only way I am going to become the successful published author I dream to be.

     "Bumglue" as Mr. Dalton called it during his workshop at the #SIWC13, is fine, but it's not all that is required. I can sit in front of my work for hours. Not always am I writing new scenes as I set out to be. I get side tracked. I will re-read previous scenes over and over again, sometimes editing. Sometimes enjoying them for completed pieces in this gigantic puzzle. Other times, hours drain away through research. I know it's not necessary to get bogged down in the details at this moment. Too much in the details department can choke a reader.
I know this.

     But I find myself warring between the two sides. Write freestyle and work on it later? Or research to make sure it fits properly now. I find myself also getting stuck on reality details so much it will stop my progress in its tracks -You can probably imagine how unwelcomed that is since it's already my constant battle. How real and correct should it be? I know it doesn't have to be mirror images of a place or city, but I also want it to have enough so the readers accept it and stick to the story, instead of throwing the book against the wall. How long or short something should be? How much time should lapse between scenes? Which POV is better for that particular scene? DO readers prefer this over that?

     And, when more and more of the questions build up, I find myself coincidentally much easier to slip into a blissful distraction. A new favourite TV show. A sexy new actor. An engaging performance poet. So interested I will feel the need to find out everything about it or them, and it will draw me far away from any projects at hand, and into the comfortable world of their story- clearly leading my much further from working on my own.

     Does anyone else have these Blissful, curs-ed distractions? My most recent are Chris Hemsworth, no description needed ;), Jay Ryan & Beauty and the Beast, and the most inspiring spoken word poet Andrea Gibson. What are your current or reoccurring ones? Do you have a way to keep them at bay? 

Tuesday 5 November 2013

COPD Awareness Month.

November is COPD Awareness Month and it hits close to home so I am passionate about spreading the word to as many people as possible. 

COPD is the 3rd leading cause of death and very few even know what it is. What's worse is the majority of those who have it, won't find out until it's too late to do anything to help slow down it's progress. 

To learn a little more about this debilitating disease, check out:

Just over a year ago, I lost my mother to COPD. She was 68 years young. The last 6 years were a steady roller coaster rides made of mostly downhills. It was hard to watch the steady decline of such a strong, independent woman. Of course, not as hard as it was for her to be living with it. 

Now, for me personally, I have never smoked. Since the loss of my mother to this wretched disease, I find myself despising cigarettes & smoking more than I ever have before. See, I grew up surrounded my cigarette smokers. My mom, dad, uncles, sister, friends...everyone smokes. Thankfully, it had an off-putting affect for me. That, and I was diagnosed as asthmatic in 8th grade. Not only can I not stand the smell of smoke, but it causes serious breathing problems for me. 

I have never smoked and yet I am a prime candidate for COPD due to the extensive second hand smoke exposure growing up, the asthma, and other health issues. So for those of you out there who think that you are exempt from this 'smokers disease' because you have never smoked yourself, think again. It's not the 3rd leading cause of death for nothing! 

You are not going to want to sit by watching helplessly as your parents or loved ones pass away too early. 
Your children are not going to want to bear the loss of their parents well before their time. 
For yourself and everyone around you, take a 10 second screener to see if you are at risk, and then pass the information along to friends and loved ones.

(In Loving Memory of my mother Dorothy Lee - I created this video last year - The Truth About COPD: An Anti-Smoking Plea video (slightly cheesy I know! It was my first one ever, be nice ;)):

Sunday 3 November 2013

Being Guarded.

I changed the title of this blog last week.

It used to be "Something New Everyday." And lasted two days.

Now that I have revisited and resurrected my attempt at blogging, I decided since that last attempt was an epic fail, I would start fresh with a new title.

"The Inner Workings of Me."

Ever since I have changed the title it has lingered on my mind.

I guess it suggests that I will get down right personal up in here. And I think it's correct. I plan to. I think it may be a new way to learn about sides of myself, by sharing them with you.

Ah, but there is the clincher. It would help if I actually shared it with people I know. Why is it I am more apt to share with complete strangers, then with those I actually know face to face? Not only in the blogworld, but in general. I think most people only know a surface version of myself. I didn't really notice how much I keep from people until I stop to give it some thought.

I recently went to a Writer's Conference, (which was the inspiration of this blogging business altogether - I plan to blog my experience of the SIWC 2013 here in the next few days also), and realized not many people even know that I am a writer. Okay, not only that I am a writer, but that I am trying to become an actual published author. It's because I haven't shared my work with anyone I know. I have chatted with a few friends that I write fiction, 'Romantic Comedies' as I'd say.  And got to wondering if that's strange. Are other people as restrictive with their writing? i mean, I AM planning to be a published author - there it would be out in the world for everyone anyway, so what's the hold up?

Especially considering I am here announcing that I plan to share the "Inner Workings of Me" with cyberspace. Somehow, it seems to make the personal less personal, and perhaps easier.
So, this will become an experiment:
Not only how much of myself I can uncover and share here with all of you out there.
But how many of YOU are people I invite to this blog as people I know.
Hopefully step by step I can become less guarded, and open up to the world.

I guess only time will tell ;)

Monday 28 October 2013

As I sit here...

Here I am sitting in a quiet living room re-reading my blog from last night. The one that distantly grazes on the topic of how I lost my mom just over a year ago. 

Suddenly, a noise interrupts the silence. I quickly realize it's music from my CD player. A CD player which has been off and not used for at least 6 weeks. Let me clarify: It's music from a CD that has started playing, NOT the radio. 

I eye it curiously and grin. 
Step Into Your Light - By Darren Hayes. 

Nice choice Mom!


No One Wants to be Remembered...

A friend is going through exactly what I went through just over a year ago. It's painful to witness and painful to relive, especially since it's only 9 days after the one year anniversary of my own Moms passing.

Her mom is struggling throughout her days as she copes with COPD, (by the sounds of it, possibly 3rd or 4th stage). Back and forth to the hospital; out when she should be in; in when she only wants is out.
The stubborn denial: that it's just a 'breathing problem', because that doesn't seem so fatal.

She and her sister are not seeing eye to eye, which is a shame during these heart-wrenching times.
Her sister is in a resentful state of mind, and because of such is unsympathetic to her moms circumstance. she remains in the 'she did it to herself' and 'didn't quit when the doctors told her to,' mindset.

I know exactly what those thoughts feel like because I wore them expertly, like the safety helmet on the health committee. When someone with COPD is at the point where the frequency of their trips to the hospital is in a rapid incline, quitting smoking is pretty much a moot point. It's not going to be the all magical healing wand. It's not going to add the years back to her life. It's already too late.

I had to make that choice. It was either ignore the elephant in the room, let him hang out on his own accord, or let it take all of my attention and energy, which really only boiled down to taking time away from being with my mom. With the person she is, was, rather than spending it focused on what she was addicted to.

Today this friend, having had an emotional & stressful day, having to take her mom to the hospital again, posted a photo of her mother. In the hospital. In the gown. Hooked up to the oxygen mask and IVs. And completely out of it.

I felt immediate discomfort when looking at this photo. I understood that perhaps she felt alone, maybe helpless, as she sat at the hospital watching her mom in this state. Perhaps this propelled her to post this photo to get the much needed care and supportive words from friends and loved ones. I also felt immediate tension in my heart as memories resurfaced of being in the hospital with my mom during those last few months, days, hours. Thankfully that heartache remains under wraps for today. Possibly from being extremely fatigued or completely aware of the hurt that would escape should these feelings break free. Instead I find myself feeling sad for her mother. She wasn't coherent enough to notice anyone was taking a photo of her. If she is anything like my own mother, I'm sure she'd had a few things to say about it if she had.

It got me to thinking about the world these days via internet.
Is there nothing to be said for the sanctity of privacy?

I believe that there are things that should remain within families as personal moments not meant for the world. I know this lends it self to the eternal conversation on the freedom of speech and of expression. I'd like to believe that this pertains to the individual themselves, and not offering up the personal moments of others to the world without their consent. This friend didn't mean any harm by posting the photo of her mother indisposed, but that didn't stop be from advocating on her mothers behalf. Without trying to be pushy, this is what I said:

You are right, you can post whatever you want on FB but do try to consider your moms' perspective. 
She may not be coherent at this moment to have a say, but how would she feel if she could? It would be  
embarrassing for her. I know for my personally, I wouldn't want someone showing the world me in that state. 

No one wants to be remembered for their weakest moments.

I am pleased to learn she did agree and "out of respect for her mother" has removed the photo.
But what do you think? Where's the line? Or is there one? What are your thoughts?