Passing on Your Left

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There are a lot of biking and walking trails where I live on Vancouver Island. They’re well used, mostly gravel although some lengths are dirt and lead through streams and over tangled tree roots. The trails lead past farm land, up steep hills, through dense forest and down old train routes.

When you’re riding a bicycle and approach people who are walking ahead in the same direction, the practice is to call out – “passing on your left”. It’s the polite way of giving notice that you’re overcoming walkers and to let them know you are there if they don’t hear you approach.

This morning as I walked along, I thought of how my writing is going. I’m not passing anyone these days. It’s been slow for a while now and will probably stay that way for a few more months. Life has happened to me, and it will take some time to sort it out, recover and regain my equilibrium. So it is others who are calling out to me – “passing on the left”.

But you see, I don’t mind that. Those who call out give hope to the rest of us who are moving at a slower pace. It’s as if they say – “I’m blazing the trail for you. Don’t give up hope, just keep on and soon you’ll see where we are going.”

Thank you everyone for the call out.

 

David Bowie – be true to yourself

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David Bowie is dead at 69 from cancer. His last song, Lazarus, was recorded shortly before he died and the video shot in a hospital room, showing him with his eyes blindfolded. Lazurus is, of course, a referral to the Bible where Jesus is recorded raising this man from the dead days after he died. Perhaps Bowie hoped for the same to happen for him.

There is much that has and will be said about him. He was an imaginative, talented entertainer, who showcased sometimes bizarre and little understood looks, actions and music. If there is one thing to take from his life, I think it is this – don’t be afraid to be yourself. What you express may seem offbeat or oddball to someone else, but to be yourself is a gift that can’t be taken from you.

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Write what you know – or do your research!

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I just finished a book by a well-known author, who writes a compelling story. But mid-way through, he talks about a big high-speed yacht in his novel. What caught my attention was the way he described it. The boat had a single inboard engine, 250 horsepower. Now we had a 25 foot SeaRay a few years ago, and it had a bigger engine than that. I don’t think you could move this huge yacht around with an engine that size, let alone sail the seas.

Why did that grab me? Because it seemed poorly researched. And the fact of it pulled me out of the story to puzzle why they made that mistake.

Here’s another example. This is a story of a young woman who inherits her family company after her father died. She soon discovers it is near bankruptcy. After some thought and discussion, her plan is now to ask an old business friend to help finance it. After presenting the pitch to the friend, she returns to her largest store and walks through trying to envision how she would revamp it to meet today’s market.

Now, wouldn’t she have done this before pitching to the business acquaintance? Otherwise, what is the pitch based on? It looks like this writer doesn’t understand business.

What is my point here? Understand what you write about. Don’t assume that these things won’t be noticed, or don’t matter. If this isn’t your area of expertise, then do your research so that you speak from a position of knowledge. It makes your writing more powerful and compelling.

That’s my rant for this week. 🙂

Hope you have a good January, keep reading and keep writing.

Happy New Year! Out with the old, In with the new

IMG_0647Frost on the rocks this morning

When I got home from work today, I dove into my closet with a laundry hamper, a wastebasket and some large plastic bags. Does that sound like fun? 🙂 Probably not, but I’d been wanting to get something done about all the stuff that had accumulated. Even a tiny step, just to get started.

Besides there are bigger issues looking at me and I don’t have the time or the energy to make those decisions. But I could do this.

I was going to get a head start on junking out my clothes. First I emptied my dresser drawers and put back only what fits, what I use. It’s very surprising, what can end up in my sock drawer!

Then I started on the shelves in my closet. I did the purses. I did the belts. I did the sweaters. I must have been getting tired by then because suddenly I was having trouble making decisions. Throw the sweater out? My sister gave it to me. Keep it? I haven’t worn it in three years.

I thought perhaps it was time to quit for the night, but it seemed like I’d just gotten started. So I pulled out my scarves and shawls. OMG. I didn’t know I had that many. Twice as much as I thought possible. So many, I divided them into piles of different shapes, then by colour. I should have quit while I was ahead, because almost all of them went back into the closet. I’ll deal with them next time.

Thank you to all you readers and bloggers. I hope you have a good start on the new year of 2016. Make those plans and believe in them. They can happen, just don’t give up. Like they say – Failure isn’t the last step, it’s the first step toward success.

 

Merry Christmas, wreaths, garlands, swags

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Do you make your own Christmas wreaths and garlands? I went out to cut branches for my Christmas swags for either side of the door, and came back with the following –

  • red cedar (you can tell by the colour of the stems and bark)
  • balsam fir, with the delightful light green tips to the branches
  • fir, with fuzzier needle formation
  • salal, which gives great berries but stays green all year
  • hawthorne, for the beautiful red berries
  • broom, which is a weed, but adds a lovely straight sweeping component

This is what I came up with for my front door. What do you do for your Christmas greenery? Merry Christmas everyone!