Open Pages

Oh, the array of documents that sit with open doors across the top of my laptop screen! It’s like a messy kitchen waiting to be organized so the main meal’s cooking can take place.

These tabs have piled up over the past few weeks, and I long to address them all to the point that I can willingly close a bunch of them.

Here are the members of the queue before me:

1. The Wix home page of a friend’s website for his editing business.

2. My own Wix attempt in draft mode, inspired by my friend’s site.

3. An article on how to name one’s editing and proofreading business.

4. An article on how to start an editing and proofreading business.

5. A video on how to do alternating cast-on for double rib (knitting). Because I have a knitting pattern for making a winter headband, but I’m daunted by a cast-on process I’ve never tried.

6. An article on how to write a great memoir. Its first point is on how to write a premise in one sentence.

7. An article on how to structure a premise for stronger stories.

8. An article on how to build a compelling narrative arc for your memoir.

9. An article on vignettes, scenes, and dialogues.

10. An article on what everyone ought to do to create vivid characters.

11. “Alaska Book”. This is one of dozens of Google Docs I have that are part of the memoir on which I am working. I hope Google Docs never crashes.

12. “Excavator in the Pond”, a Google Doc. This is one of the stories in my memoir.

13. “Boots in the Mudroom”, another Google Doc, and another story in the memoir.

14. “Milk in the Snow”, still another Google Doc for the memoir. I name them simply. This is for my own quick reference. They might end up with new titles, they might be amalgamated into other chapters, and they might even be axed in the end.

There. That helped me purge a bit from my mind, just seeing it all written out.

I’d like to read all the articles and close their windows so I can feel like the groceries and the dishes are put away and I can start cooking up a new mess in my actual writing.

Can anyone relate to having multiple documents open on their computer, and the relief that comes from closing several of them?

Reading and Writing

A “Taste of Home”. The man in the mural is Danny Lytton. He once came to my old farm to help round up a couple Belgian horses I was boarding for horse loggers. The Belgians didn’t want to leave. Danny was so good with horses, he managed to coax them to the trailer.

I’m sitting in my fave little local cafe (there are only two – one we call “The Dry Place” because the food is too dry for our liking and the coffee always tastes burnt, and this one my family and I call “Taste”, short for “Taste Of Home”, because we kept forgetting its real name years ago, which first was “One Another, A Coffee House”; then it was “Bicycle Tree”; and now it’s “Rise & Grind Coffee Shop”, but one of my sons calls it “the kaif”, phonetically pronouncing cafe that way because he plays with words like his mom does).

Ah, it sounds like Jim Croce (whom my son might call Jim Croas phonetically) singing over the speakers right now, something about a Georgia girl he hopes will take him back. Now Gordon Lightfoot is singing about how it would be if his love could read his mind.

While I sip a soy cafe au lait, I have been reading a book, the latest one I’ve bought. It’s a slow process because so many things I read in it remind me of points from my own Alaskan past, so I go make notes in my manuscript documents. That, and I make penciled notes in the book itself.

Here is a page from the abovementioned book, which is called “Alaska in the Wake of the North Star”. Having looked at the publisher’s website (Hancock House), I feel I should contact them about my book, as it seems to fit with a lot of what they have published.

I would love to know if anyone reading this also makes notes in the books they read. 🙂

Memoir Writing Tip

The following is an excerpt from a brief article I found on memoir writing:

“To get started, write anything. Absolutely anything that gets even a little close to something you want in your memoir. Tell one story or describe one emotional reaction that you know very, very well. If there will be a hard part of your memoir, this is not it. This is not the chapter that makes you cry or wince or feel terrible all over again as you did when you actually lived the words. This first stab at your first draft is just one piece of your life that you know you can explain.

And that’s it for today. Tomorrow you’ll read it, and you’ll see that you kind of like it; you’ll add to it or write a new story. Or you’ll read it and hate it, so you’ll fix it or delete it altogether and start over.”

From here:

Write Like No One’s Reading

Initialisms and Acronyms

Unrelated photo: tonight’s sunset in the area behind my home

One thing I learned early in life was that when writing an initialism, you should first write out the fully expanded form of it, for the benefit of those who don’t know what the initials stand for, and then abbreviate it by the appropriate initials in parentheses (also known as “brackets”).

The same goes for the use of acronyms.

In most cases, the expanded forms are only necessary for first mention of what is being shortened, but there are some situations where it should be repeated later. (See the links I include at the end of this post for more on that.)

I cannot count how many times I’ve had to ask an internet writer what their initialism, abbreviation, or acronym stands for. Some of them are such popular groupings of letters that even looking them up on a search engine results in too many possibilities to pinpoint which one it is.

A recent one I saw was on a writer’s group. It was “ARCs”. Now, maybe that is something that makes sense to people who spend oodles of time on that forum, but for me who only pops in once every several months to ask a question or look something up, I’m lost. Hopefully, it’s not important, but it does make me wonder. Especially in a writer’s group, you’d think they would pay mind to some basic rules of English writing.

For more information on this topic, here ere are a couple of links I enjoyed:


More About Abbreviations

PS: I got an answer on what ARCs are: “advance reader copies”, in reference to book publication.

Non-Verbal Communication

Non-Verbal Communication

Vocal inflection, facial expressions, gestures, and body language are missing in text and print, but they make up 65 percent of our total communication skill set. These are the keys to being able to differentiate between sarcasm and sincerity, hostility and humor, but they cannot be expressed in print with ease and without risk of misinterpretation.

This is not to say that healthy communication via text, email, and social media cannot be achieved, but that it takes special awareness to be able to convey one’s thoughts in such a manner that it avoids (as best as is within your control to attempt to avoid) misunderstandings.” -L.V.

That’s a sneak-peek of a book I’m editing on the topic of communication. The author is cool with me sharing the preview.

Am Writing – Am Therefore Busy

An unrelated photo from today with morning sunlight in the girls’ room

I first saw “#amwriting” on Twitter.

That was not a good sentence. It doesn’t say what I’m trying to say. And I’m still not sure how to go about it properly. Here are some possibilities:

1. I first saw the word “amwriting” hash-tagged on Twitter.

2. I first saw “amwriting” with a hashtag before it on Twitter.

3. The first time I saw the word “amwriting” was as a hashtag on Twitter.

None of those sound right. First of all, “amwriting” isn’t really a word. And is “hash-tagging” now a verb? And in the third example, it sounds like I was a hashtag on Twitter when I saw the word “amwriting”.

Regardless of the grammatically correct way to say what I am thinking, my point is that I have been writing today and therefore I have been busy. Of course, I’ve done things other than writing, which include editing, cleaning cat litter boxes, sweeping floors, vacuuming, taking apart the cooktop on the woodstove and cleaning out the ash and creosote because the outdoor temperature has shot up to a whopping 2 degrees Celsius (compared to last week’s minus high-teens) and such things are best done when it’s not deathly cold, etc.

But when we take a moment out of our writing process, or anything else, to write about how busy we are, are we still that busy? I don’t think so. I think it would be more accurate to say “amtakingabreak” or “amprocrastinatingforamoment”.

Because I have a lot to do — and maybe you do, too, so my curtailing of this rambling would be to your benefit as well — I will not spend any further time speculating on how to convey my thoughts on “amwriting”, whether it be a word, a portmanteau, an idiom, or something else. Maybe someone in the know will leave a comment that answers this sidetrack of a question.

Have yourself a beautiful day. I know I am. 🙂

A view outside right now



Coffee O’Clock

Not today’s homebrew, this was store-bought, shot from the passenger seat of my daughter’s car as we drove north of Williams Lake, BC recently

Yesterday’s post was spur-of-the-moment and late at night. Today, I am writing before the day gets too crazy. And by “crazy”, for me, that means anything more than having to speak one word out loud.

Talking cuts in on managing my plans. The list of gotta-do’s grows faster than the items can get stricken off or even written down.

Before I can get too busy, I need to let the coffee sink in. Blogging aimlessly is a great way to allow it to happen. It’s a little stretch for my brain.

And here ends a pointless blog post. Don’t abandon me just yet, though. I might write something of interest to you another day.

Feel free to leave some trivia in the comment section, as a touché for what I have posted. 🙂

Watching Paint Dry

Here I sit in my basement — dressed in black ski pants, a camouflage wool jacket, burgundy Baffin snow boots, and with a red and black neck tube wrapped around my head, hair pinned up with a wooden hair fork — watching the shine on a pine door, waiting for it to go dull so I can move it off the sawhorses and put the other slab down for coating.

You may have heard of things that are as exciting as watching paint dry. Well, I can tell you that watching clear-coat satin acrylic polyurethane wood finish in the drying process is almost as exciting as that.

(If you read my blog post from yesterday, you will know it was my goal to do this yesterday. However, that didn’t go as planned, but today it’s done, and nobody got injured or died as a result of the delay.)

To be fair, I did have a delightful mug of turmeric coffee to bring a pop of liveliness to the event. And the smell of milled pine mixed with low-odour polyurethane isn’t bad. Combine it all with good music from my phone and I’ve got a nice little Saturday afternoon party-for-one happening.

Oh, make that party for two! No, three… four… five! In walked my Pom-Chi dog, then my youngest child, and now two cats.

And now that door is ready to be moved.

If you’ve read this, I thank you for making me not completely be talking to myself.

There we have consecutive day 7 of my Just Write challenge on WordPress. Yahoo, celebrate! I bet you’re as entertained as you’d be by watching paint dry, eh?

PS: Did you ever notice that the word “pine” is right there inside of “happiness”?

Sunrise Etc

Even a poor quality photo of this guy named Sunrise is pleasant.

“Meow. Meow.”

He says it in such a soft little way, even though he’s the biggest cat of the bunch around here.

His real name is Sunrise, but he’s been nicknamed so much more: Big Guy, BG, B, G, Ghee, Guy LaFur, Thanos, ThanToast, ThickOats, Fatto Catto, Orange Guy, Dude, Man, Manny, Mayonnaise Manny, Sunny Foo-Foo, Foo, Mr. Foo, Dr. Orange, Dr. Thick…

Probably other names I can’t remember off the top of my head but my kids will surely bring up as they trickle out of bed. It’s 9:24 a.m. and the three youngest still aren’t up. They were all up late last night, which I can’t say I like but bedtime is such a weary point of day for me, “choose your battles” is what I tell myself.

Why don’t kids like going to bed? I’ve always loved sleep. Maybe it’s only certain people who fight bedtime. My second child never had a problem with sleep, either, and even in her mid-twenties she’s still often taking a nap after work or on a weekend daytime.

Well, today I am working on trying to find a certain date from my journals so I can reread my notes and elaborate on a story for the Alaska book. I did that yesterday, too. Oh, not all day. Just a bit of poking through here and there between the myriad other jobs that pile up constantly. Plus I’m trying to finish editing a book manuscript for a friend, on top of working on my own works in progress.

And firewood needs to be brought up the stairs to the deck. I have to initiate that process, but the kids will help. Having a wood-burning stove on the second story of a house makes for a bit of extra work, but I so enjoy wood heat, I think it’s worth it.

And there’s a batch of yogurt underway in the Instant Pot, with a goal of turning it into Greek yogurt.

And there’s a double batch of kombucha on its second ferment, which I poured into bottles two nights ago but haven’t yet added the flavourings. All I have right now is turmeric root, ginger root, and goji berries, but those have become our family’s favourite option so it’s just as well. That process is on the invisible part of my to-do list, along with so many other things that never make it into writing.

The rest of my to-do list sits there waiting for my attention, but here I am at my desk, avoiding it for a few minutes. I know I’ll have to get into the basement to put some coats of protectant (because I can’t remember if it’s varathane, polyurethane, or something else, so many different cans of goop have I used on varying wood projects over the years, depending on the need) on one of the pine doors we bought for the kids’ bedrooms to replace the old, dark, falling-apart ones. I don’t look forward to that task, as the basement is uninsulated and on days like this we can see our breath down there. Hmm, I’ll have to take a picture of the goop can and see if the label says anything about “do not use in temperatures below” a certain number. I don’t recall that on this one, but it might be there.

Why would I take a picture of the label? Because the writing is so tiny and without much contrast. It’s hard to read unless I enlarge it. A magnifying glass would help, too.

Meow. Meow. Ghee is still meowing that tiny little meow.

I found out why the intermittent meowing happened. Big Guy was at the door at the top of the basement stairs and wanted to be in the kitchen. Usually, we keep that door open a bit, but it’s cold today and I’m trying to warm up the house.

Now to suit up (camo ski pants and a blue plaid fleecy coat) to go down into the deep to assess the door-coating situation. Brrrrr…

OK, that’s day 6 of my challenge to myself, to write something in my blog daily. It’s a blog entry that goes nowhere, just some rambling thoughts, but I hope I at least spelled everything right and used proper punctuation. I still haven’t varied my sentences to my liking. Practice, practice, practice!

PS: My youngest child is up now and she indeed helped me add to the list of names we call Sunrise. 🙂

My youngest daughter wanted me to include this photo of Sunrise from last night.