Beginning Tai Chi

Back in 2014, a vegan friend asked me to take him to the nearby organic grocery store. While he was doing his shopping, I browsed the small workout DVD collection and happened upon a Beginning Tai Chi DVD. I had plantar fasciitis at the time and was trying to train for a RAGNAR, so this looked like a pretty low-key way to loosen up at home. Plus I’ve always had an interest in trying martial arts. tai-chi-silhouette-cropped-300x214

At the register, a pretty massive guy with an even bigger hipster beard noticed the DVD and started talking to me about how much he enjoyed Tai Chi and yoga. We chatted for a minute, then he invited me to a big all-day yoga conference thing that weekend. I made some sort of obligatory “Oh maybe I’ll go, but I’m not sure what my schedule it” type of comment and bemusedly finished up my purchase and joined my friend at the door.

He shot me this big, cheesy grin and said, “I think he likes you.”

I didn’t go to the yoga conference.

Anyway, the DVD has two 45-min parts and up until yesterday, I’ve never made it past the 20-min mark of the first part. A large reason for this has been the lack of available space and then the lack of time/energy. Yesterday I decided that Edgar was old enough that I could probably try doing the workout while he played. So I popped it into my computer and started watching the introduction. Immediately he ran over and started hugging my leg so I couldn’t move without knocking him over.

Every time I tried to start doing the workout, he’d come over and start climbing on me or want held. Eventually I gave up and just watched the rest of the first part while I played with him. That counts as a workout, right?

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My other hobbies

I feel like lately I’ve only been talking about my writing aaaaannnndd….that’s probably true. So, I’ve been thinking about all of my different hobbies and which ones I can feasibly do at this point of my life.

I love rock climbcrw_3305ing, caving, and running, but it’s winter. And I live in the Midwest. A) It’s super cold. B) I have a little kid I’m NOT willing to take out into the cold. C) There really aren’t places that I can go rock climbing or caving in the Midwest. (Ok, there are like 2 places and both of those are over an hour away.)

My photography’s dropped off pretty heavily but I did manage to get some nice shots while I was in Switzerland. While I love looking at pretty landscapes, I get most excited doing action shoots. And Edgar* isn’t quite ready for those kind of adventures. Hopefully once it warms up we can take him camping before Bartholomew** shows up.

crw_7930oceanpainting_circa2010

Which leaves me with my other artwork. I LOVE painting. It’s something that just makes me relax. I haven’t had much opportunity to actually do much painting in the most recent years since I’ve been living in tiny apartments and whatnot. But now I’ve got a house! Which means I’ve got plenty of room to put wet oil paintings and not have to worry about them getting in the way or other people touching/smearing them! The other day I asked Nathan to help me brainstorm some ideas since I really would like to take my painting to a new level. So we’ve got a series idea for the study that we’re pretty excited about. (I’m not going to share it until I’ve actually done anything for it though.)

might start drawing again too, but I’m waaaaay more picky about my drawing than my painting for whatever reason, so it stresses me out more.

*Edgar is the nickname that my brother-in-law came up with to refer to our oldest while I was pregnant with him. (My oldest, not my B.I.L. Those tricky dangling modifiers.)

**Bartholomew, or Barth Vader, is coming in June. We’ll find out Barth’s actual gender here in a few weeks!

On Waiting

I had the extremely good fortune of taking Brandon Sanderson’s writing class earlier this year. Every week during the semester, I attended a lecture (available here) followed by a critique session with other students in the workshop portion of the class. Each week, Brandon would rotate between the 3 critique groups and critique our submissions.

Our April final was to turn in a 35,000+ word rough drafts that we’d written that semester and a polished 5000 word submission. Our grades were based on completion of the rough 35,000 writing and participation. Separate from our grade, Brandon was going to critique our polished submission. Fortunately, I knew that this was going to take a long time since I’d seen a comment or two on his twitter feed the previous December about his finishing the last one from the previous class. Unfortunately, I’m the last one (alphabetically) in the class so I’m still waiting to hear back.

Last night while we were re-watching one of the lectures, my husband was asking when it would be appropriate to follow-up with Brandon but since Brandon’s on tour again, I know it still might be a while.

In the mean time, we’re getting an idea of what querying is going to be like.

nervous

Daruma Dolls and NaNoWriMo

Not much has happened on the writing front the last few weeks by way of words actually written, but I guess that’s what happens when you have a teething baby.

In the mean time, one of my writing groups has cut back from submitting once a week to once a month for now. In some ways, that’s a bummer for me since I really enjoy writing groups and was using it as a motivation to actually write… in theory anyway. :/

red_daruma_kanji

I also learned about Japanese daruma dolls. The basic idea is that you color in one eye when you make a wish/set a goal. When you get that wish or complete that goal, then you color in the other eye. I thought about getting one, but I know that’s just gonna be a thing that sits around collecting dust afterwards. So instead I printed off a picture of one and I’ll stick that in one of my writing binders with the draft of my current WIP (Work-in-progress). Maybe I’ll take a picture of it for the blog whenever I do finish writing.

And I’ve also been thinking about NaNoWriMo. I’d absolutely would love to complete all 50,000 words this November but that is looking like it’s going to be pretty hard to do with everything else I need to take care of. So, I’ll shoot for writing as many words as possible and if I do manage to get 50,000, then hurray! I did a successful NaNo! If not, then hurray! I still wrote!

 

Writing Groups

Right now I’m in two different writing groups. The first one is kind of a continuation of a previous writing group. (Some of those members couldn’t make it work right now, so another member and  I grabbed a couple of our friends and added them to ours.) The second one started from a Facebook group.

Last week was the Facebook group’s first meeting. We all sent each other copies of our stuff earlier and chatted randomly as we tried to figure out how to make this group work. A few minutes before the Google Hangout started, most of us had hopped on to work out technical difficulties. During our late night meeting, everyone was super friendly and gave some pretty decent feedback.

first-critique-group

The next morning we started discussing (via Facebook) how the previous night went. Two of our biggest concerns were 1) amount of time spent discussing and 2) genre-preferences.

1) There were seven of us in the group and it took us two hours to get through everyone’s submissions. We were allotted 5 min to read part of our submission out-loud, then the rest of the group spent approx. 10 minutes giving their feedback. This did not leave a lot of time for writers to ask questions. (I.e., there wasn’t any time.) Our solution for this issue is to meet twice a month and critique only 1/2 the group each time.

2) Three of the group members wrote romance. Three others (including myself) wrote some form of speculative fiction*. The seventh member wrote contemporary. Three members really didn’t read romance. One of them specifically said she has a strong dislike for romance. Some of the romance writers didn’t have a lot of experience reading/critiquing speculative fiction. Most of us were fine with this, but a couple group members need a little more genre-focused critiques. So, those members have joined another group that is more focused on their genre.

As for me, I’m trying to figure out how to balance writing for two groups while taking care of all the other important things in my life. Currently, I’m thinking that I might try writing short stories for one group and finishing my current novel for the other. The goal is that I’ll finish that novel either in December or January. Completing this year’s NaNoWriMo~ is going to be a HUGE factor in whether or not I can meet that goal.

So here goes!

*Speculative fiction is a broad category of narrative fiction that includes elements, settings and characters created out of imagination and speculation rather than based on reality and everyday life. It encompasses the genres of science fiction, fantasy, science fantasy, horror, alternative history, and magic realism. (Wikipedia)
~National Novel Writing Month: Write 50,000 words in one month (November)

My first writing contest

This week I was sorting through some totes that have been in storage at my parents’ house. Most of it was your typical memorabilia junk that everyone hangs onto–yearbooks, medals, old birthday cards, favorite stuffed animal. One of my favorites was a story that I wrote in 6th grade and submitted to a writing contest.

I remember I was so excited to find out about this contest in a magazine, so I knew it was a real thing. I carefully wrote my story, illustrated it, and told one of my classes about this contest. I wanted my story to win so bad. I even glued the pages together so it was like a book. Mom copied it and mailed it in for me.

Just look at that cover! Obviously a masterpiece. The rest of the story and artwork is just as thrilling. vanishingmare0018

Reader’s Digest still hasn’t got back to me.  I can only presume that my story was tragically lost in transit.