Saturday, October 17, 2009

Everything's Amazing and Nobody's Happy!

A Conan clip that is SO true! Whether you've seen this yet or not, I hope you enjoy.

Will try to post something that is "all me" sometime soon. Sorry people, I'm just super busy with school and the kids and everything else. See you soon!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Poem by LD Ferris (aka - me!)

I wrote this poem several years ago, maybe six, but the force behind it and the emotions that it pulls from me are as prevelant now as they were when I put pen to paper and poured out my heart.  I wonder if you'll guess what the predominant emotion was?

      XXX   OOO   XXX   OOO   XXX   OOO   XXX   OOO  

Only Moments Ago

You were here only moments ago,
I can still see your eyes in my mind.
You begged me to come and talk to you,
But I was too busy and I couldn't find the time.
You asked me to remember how things used to be,
And I told you that things had changed.
You swore that you'd always be here.
You promised that you would never leave.
You were here, only moments ago it seems,
I can still see your face if I try.
Now there's no time left to talk,
And things will never be the same.
You didn't keep your word, you broke your promise,
You made a change that can never be fixed.
You were here only moments ago,
I can hear your laugh in the wind,
You've left me standing where I shouldn't be
You went away and now there's only me.
In my mind you will always look as you did, when
You were here only moments ago.

      XXX   OOO   XXX   OOO   XXX   OOO   XXX   OOO  

Can you guess? 

I wrote this particular poem when I was going through a difficult period of mourning.  At the time I was writing it my loss wasn't recent, in fact it was nearly 4 years old but regardless of time, my pain was still with me and still very much a real thing.  I can still remember every stab of loss, every feeling of guilt, every rending tear in my heart.  

Years later that pain is not as bad.  There are still certain days of the year that I dread facing, certain moments of days when I catch myself in memories (good or bad) and have to force myself to think of something else.  The loss was still so strong, so deep that I had to release the pressure somehow, and this poem was the result. There were others that I worked on at the same time but this piece was the only one that I felt truly represented what I felt when the loss occured and all the pain that followed me for years after.

I hope you like it.  Only Moments Ago is something that I've always had great pride in, I've always been happy with what it portrayed.  And I hope that if you're in need of some outlet you can read this entry and know that you're not alone in how you feel, and that all you have to do is reach out and someone will listen.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

So I Did It!

:Image:Religious syms.png bitmap traced (and h...Image via Wikipedia

I have officially finished my first day back at University.  I've decided on History, Psychology and Religious Studies classes - one of each - and after today, I am actually feeling really well about how things will work out on that end.  [Apparently I'm still enjoying my optimistic mood from the weekend.]  AND I think that parts of each of these classes will be helpful with my writing, for research or just general information.

So a win-win situation all around, I hope?
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Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Little Bit From the Past

Like I mentioned the other day I've been going through some of my old writing and doing edits, reading old blog posts (on any of my blogs) and even looking through some of my old entries in my diaries.  Generally being nostalgic, I guess, but in the course of all this reminiscing I did run across a few very interesting things. 

The following was posted on my first blog [Ups, Downs, Ins and Outs], on April 10-2007, and I thought that this page might be a good place to "recycle" it for everyone to see.
I've always loved reading, ever since I was a little kid. I remember reading Dr. Seuss and Disney stories and being fascinated. From there it wasn't a huge stretch before I found that I truly enjoyed writing, and that I wasn't bad at it.
In Junior High and High School my teachers always told me that I was a great writer. In my Grade 12 English class, my teacher even told me that of all the students he'd ever had, he enjoyed reading my work the best; that I could make any topic interesting, no matter how dry the subject. In University the praise continued. In Biology, Chemistry, Psychology and most any other subject I took, and I was a BioChemistry major, I would receive comments and encouragement that I was an excellent writer and had the ability to wrap my reader up in the topic so that he or she would almost forget that it was really a term paper or scientific research report.
When I started thinking seriously about what I was going to do with my life and my degree, I panicked. I didn't want to spend the rest of my days in a laboratory. I didn't want to go on to medical school (although that had been my original intention) or to graduate school. And while I knew what I didn't want to do, I didn't know what I wanted to do. So I decided to take some time off, figure it out, work somewhere and pay back some of the debt I'd acquired. While I was thinking about the rest of my life, I fell back on one of my old habits and some of the things I'd do to relieve stress and relax.

I started reading. Lots. Romance, fantasy, paranormals.... After reading dry texts for years I relished in the enjoyment of free reading and it didn't take too long before I was writing again. No more reports, no more boring research. I wrote what I loved. Romance, fantasy, paranormals. Short stories, poetry, a short play. I've even been working on a novel.

I always took for granted, or shrugged off the importance of the encouragement and support I got for my writing when I was younger. I never ever considered that I could possibly write for a living. It didn't occur to me that I could be that good. In truth, I don't know if I am that good but I'll never know unless I try and I believe that I've got a chance. So I'm trying.

I read everything I can get my hands on. I try to write for a few hours everyday. I have my sister-in-law and my own sister read everything that I write. If they think something is good, I have one of my old professors at the University read and edit my pieces. (That professor has actually used a couple of my stories and poems in his classes for creative writing!) I've been trying to send my writing to different agents and publishers, in hopes that someday someone will actually pick up my stuff and say "Damn, this is good. Let's print and sell it!" It may be a pipe dream, but for now it's my dream.

If I ever do make it, if something I write is published and sold in bookstores and online, I will be so unbelievably happy I won't know what to do with myself. I've thought about who I owe for making me want to be a writer and while I will never forget my teachers and friends and family for their support, those aren't the people that I'm most grateful to. The authors and the stories that I read now are the people and things that finally pushed me into my choice. They made me start to dream again and without that I'd never have started writing those dreams down, or listening to the voices in my head.

And if I never accomplish getting something printed and bound, well, no one will ever be able to say it's not because I didn't try.
Looking back is always fun to do once in a while.  Having been strictly a stay at home mom for the past several years there has been a lot of time for thinking about things, for writing, for reading... for everything.  I found a number of things in my digging this last week to be impressed by - like the writing that I edited and commented on earlier this week - and I have to admit that finding this old blog post and seeing that while I haven't managed to get something published yet, I have made progress towards my goal.  It's nice to see, even for me. 

Well that's my bit of "would you look at that!" for today.  I think now it's time for me to go look at someone elses...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

This Week

So I'm all set for going back to University next week.  This week my eldest started back at school, and we've already settled into something of a schedule for that.  We're still going to have to manuever things a bit to make everything work, but I'm determined to do just that - make it work!  It'll take a few weeks, maybe even a month, before I know for sure whether we're going to be able to handle it, so I'll have to keep you posted on that front.

As for my writing... Well, this week has been a bit hectic, as you can imagine, but I have actually found some time this week for doing edits.  I read through some stuff that I wrote nearly 9 months ago and I can't tell you how happy I am to read it.  I think it's good - the plot, the characters, the style - but I know it can get better and maybe it's just that I'm in a really optimistic mood this week but right now, this moment, I have no doubts that I will be able to make my writing great.  I have no doubts that some day, within the next couple of years, I will see my name on the front cover of a book.  I have no doubts that I will make it.  I really don't.

So yeah, I didn't write at all this week, not yet anyways, but I'm happy with what I did do.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The End (of Summer) is Near...

{{Potd/2007-02-25 (en)}}Image via Wikipedia

For this year.

Last time I wrote here I complained about how different, how 'bad,' summer was going to be - as an adult and a parent. I wasn't wholey wrong. Of course, I wasn't entirely right either. Having to adjust and re-work schedules or, in my case, completely forget having a schedule was a pain in the ---, well, I'm sure you get where I was going with that. Yet it also gave me a sense of freedom I hadn't expected.

As a stay at home mom I always have a certain degree of freedom when it comes to what I do, and when I do it, but this was a different. If I wanted to take the kids swimming in the middle of the afternoon on a Tuesday, I could, there was absolutely nothing to stop me. If I wanted to go camping for 2 weeks straight, I could. And if the kids wanted to go away with family for any length of time, and that family was able to take them, they did. It was actually sort of... Nice.

But, like the title says, the end is near. The kids go back to school next Monday (in less then a week!) and we're back to the extra-curricular schedule within a week of school starting too. And now, I've decided to go back and do a few classes at the local University as well. It's going to be stressful and busy, and all of us are going to have to stick very closely to our new schedule or it's going to be chaos.

I can't wait.

Of course, as I've been debating the last couple weeks over whether I should be going back to classes or not, I've had to consider the extent to which I was willing to allow my writing to be, shall I say, inconvenienced. I've talked to some other authors, some friends, and they've all told me very similar things.

Writing is a full-time job. As such I should treat it as a full time job and therefore devote that amount of time to it. At least I should be doing that if I want to "succeed." I don't disagree with that.

But I've also been told, and taught since I was a child, that all knowledge is power. If I can use what I'm learning in my classes to help me with my writing I'm not really abandoning the effort then, am I? The actual number of hours that I'll be able to spend writing may decrease, that's pretty much a given, but my classes may work for me rather than against me. Especially if they are the 'right' classes.

I've also had to consider how much I was willing to allow school and writing to detract from the time I'm able to spend with my kids.

It's a hard decision to make. But I made it. There are some things that no matter how much I read about and research, I'm never fully going to be able to figure out on my own. In that way, I need the classes. And where it comes to considering the kids... well, I've had to make a few allowances there. I've compressed the time I'd be busy in school to two days a week. I've made sure that I'm there while my oldest is at her school. That leaves me with the other two. For them, I decided that spending a bit more time with Grandma and Grandpa, or Auntie, really won't hurt them. And they are more than happy to keep them.

Digital photo taken by Marc Averette.Image via Wikipedia

So I'll try a semester. I'll keep writing on the days when I'm not at school and spend time with my kids when I'm not doing either of those. Weekends are going to be extremely important for all of us, I think. But I'll make it work. School plays into my writing. The writing plays into supporting my kids. And the kids are the most important thing.

I will make it work. I have to.

So the summer is at an end, but something else is just beginning. Again.
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Lazy Summer Days?

Kids at play in 1927Image via Wikipedia

When I was young I used to look forward to the summer holidays with a type of gleeful anticipation. I was always busy during the school year - with dance classes, piano lessons, skating (for two very fun, very long winters), cheerleading, homework, dating, having friends, just generally having a life - that by the time June rolled around and summer was approaching I was more then ready for it. Now that I'm older, now that I've got kids of my own, summer doesn't hold quite the same appeal.

Now it's just another season, a couple of months out of the year that the temperatures soar and the kids are sprung from school or whatever other activities they usually do to occupy themselves. I still have to do all the same things I always do. I still have the same responsibilities, the same (or at the very least comparable) demands on my time. I don't get to spend all day at the pool or at my friends house. I can't lounge in the backyard and run through the sprinkler when ever I want.

Summer hits and I lose the 9 hours a week that I had during the afternoons when I didn't have to be just a mom and push my needs to the side. Schedules that have worked for ten months straight have to be completely reorganized and refitted. New activities need to be found to replace the old. Until this year, and I'm not entirely sure why it hasn't occured to me before, I'd never really realized that summer time is actually a really crappy time of year for most parents. If you work away from home, it means finding (and PAYING for) childcare for the X-number of hours a week that you don't usually need it. If you work at home it means having your kids constantly underfoot, never truly having the time you need to do whatever it is you do. For me, and mind you this is after only a week of 'summer holidays', it means giving up what little free time I did have and having to focus on the kids instead.

Looking back on my own childhood summers, and I do this with very fond rememberance, I certainly remember being told that my parents were too busy to do this or take me there, but I also recall that even at a very young age I had a great deal freedom and often spent a lot of time doing whatever I wanted to do, and doing it without a lot of supervision. I know that doesn't make my mom and dad bad parents but now, having kids of my own, I can't imagine leaving them up to their own devices and trusting that wouldn't do something to get in trouble. I don't think that means that I don't trust my children to be good or that I expect them to misbehave, I just honestly can't see myself doing that. Okay, scratch that - most of the time I would expect my kids to misbehave but they are still young, so I do know that they wouldn't be good all of the time. Still... even if I did trust them, and they wouldn't get in to trouble, I don't know if I would leave them to it.

Why am I even bothering with this line of thought? Well to be perfectly honest, mostly just because it's been bugging me. It's been on my mind. Of course, with the changes in schedules and everything else it is also interrupting the writing I've been doing and that bugs me because I'd been having so much trouble writing anything for so long, then finally it was like the fog in my mind was burned off - and now it's summer and there's this new obstacle. If I were a pessimistic person I'd nearly be tempted to say that fate seemed to be trying to tell me something. Fortunately I'm not an overly pessimistic person, most of the time, and I know that every road has its bumps. Mine are no different than any other writers. In anycase, I'm going to have to work with against the new schedule that my children's summer holidays have pushed on me, at least until I can convince it to work with me.

Wish me luck?
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Monday, May 18, 2009

What if?

I truly am amazed how quickly the time goes by. Amazed by how little is actually getting done, no matter my intentions. I'm annoyed by it too. It seems like there is something new, something more to do everyday and everyday I want to do those things less and less. The stories, no, the characters - these fully rounded, animated, alive people - are inside my mind practically begging and screaming to get out and I can barely find the time to answer my e-mail. There are times that the frustration, the irritation of it actually hurts.

And maybe that's not a good thing.

I did mention that I was crazy once, didn't I?

There are so many things I have to do everyday but the only thing I want to do right now is write. And I don't have the time - life is just in the way (for now) and every time I think I've managed to arrange things so that I can eke out an hour for my work, something else pops up and I have to turn away from the stories. From the characters.

And I fear...

What will I do if, after not being able to write for so long at a time, for having to ignore the voices - the characters - for so long, what if when I can finally turn back to my writing and there's nothing left for me to tell? What if the characters and the stories leave me with nothing to say?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Playing Like a Broken Record

Life is seriously boring somedays. Like MAJOR boring. How the hell is a person expected to truly enjoy anything when we're constantly being told that we shouldn't do this, or we should do that, go there, be with, talk to.... I think you get the point. I've been so busy lately that I haven't really felt like I had a lot of time to do anything that I wanted to do and then when I do have some time for me I'm just way too tired to take advantage of it and end up doing nothing but watching re-runs of House and Numbers on TV. Granted I really like both of those shows but still, I'm sure you get it.

Of course between my writing, my reading and reviewing, my kids, my new jobs (gotta earn a paycheck somehow) and taking care of my house and yard, I'm just wiped by the time I've got two minutes alone. Everyday. And then, there's days like today when I spend what free time I'd been looking forward to, doing work for my Dad on the computer that took for bloody ever.

There's just always something. Always one more thing to do. It's like playing a broken record - no matter how many times the vinyl turns, or the disc spins as the case may be, everything just starts over again and again, and again, and again....

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Deep Dark Pools

I've been trying to write everyday. Somedays I'm just sending and replying to e-mails which can be entertaining and has it's purposes, but doesn't really do anything for me when what I'm really wanting to do is write. I'm still getting work done but not as much as I'd like and not of the caliber that I normally do. I don't know if I'm just not in the right vibe to be doing the work or if I'm starting to do poorly because I'm stuck and forcing it....

I don't know. I'm just going to keep working and keep writing because I can't see any other way to get out of this slump.

Hopefully next time I write, I'm feeling a bit better! Bye.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Reading, Writing, Reading, Writing...

My two favorite past times are reading and writing. As a stay at home mom I do a lot of each but it seems that there are days when I feel like doing only one or the other - I just want to read 'that great new book' that's out, or I have to get the next chapter of my own story on paper (or the screen, as the case may be). I'm not entirely sure what I should do on days like that though. To sit down and read, for pleasure, all day seems like I'm stealing something from my kids - aka Me - but to plunk down at the computer and write all day seems like just as much of an indulgence.

Where do you draw the line? When is it too much time reading or writing?

The advantage when reading is that you can get up, at any time really, and help the kids if they need it - find lunch, get dressed, go to the bathroom... You can pack your book around with you and steal a peek whenever you can squeeze it in. In the drive thru, while waiting to pick the kids up at school, and while cooking dinner you can have your book right there with you to read a few pages any chance you get.

Writing doesn't really give you that leisure. Yes, I can pack my laptop around with me and boot up 'where ever' I want to but the difference is in the convenience. You have to have more than just a couple minutes because otherwise you spend all your time turning your machine on and then opening the files you need. By the time you get down to writing, it's time move on to your next task of the day.

Now a lot of people I've talked to say that as a writer, I should be writing EVERY day. I do agree with that, to a certain degree, because if you're serious about writing a book it is your job, your career, and you need to treat it with the same respect. But that brings to mind, while my mind anyways, the flip side of my earlier questions.

How do you know when it's enough? Do you use daily quota's? X number of words or X number of pages a day? A certain number of hours? What about on those days when the creative juices just aren't flowing and you can't write a word? It doesn't do you a bit of good to sit there staring at a blank screen or to beat your head against the desktop. Do you turn away and do something different for the day or do you find a different project that you can write on????

I guess as someone who's still trying to figure out what works best for myself, these are things that bother me every once in awhile. I won't deny that there are some days when I'm loathe to even turn on my computer. Other days when even though I could write, I'd much rather read something. I'm trying to find a balance that works for me. A system, and the time, that allows me to work and relax to the best of my abilities... And I sure hope that my efforts will be worth it, kids and guilt aside, I enjoy writing too much to give it up. I don't know that I could go back to a typical 9-5 job and be happy.

Here's keeping my fingers crossed...

Monday, February 9, 2009

So... How's It Going?

I just love to hear this question... eight times a day... from the same person.

I know that people are curious, especially the people in my family, but come on, do you really think things have changed that much in an hour?... or even in two?? And with you calling, or texting, me all the time do you really think that I'm actually getting anything done?

Deep breaths.

Yeah, it's been one of those days. Actually it's been one of those weeks. I have a lot of respect and a great deal of affection for my mother but not even I want to talk to her that many times a day. Especially not when my brains already blocked and "the writing" (as she's calling it) hasn't been going super smooth. She's being supportive, which I really do appreciate, but sometimes I wish that she could be a bit less obvious in her support.

Overall the current work-in-progress is moving along... albeit slowly the last couple of days, but it is moving and I guess I can just be grateful that things haven't slowed to a stand still. I am grateful. Extremely grateful, actually.

I got a great note from someone today though that really put things in perspective. It didn't say anything that I haven't heard before but I think, maybe, I just needed to hear it all again so that I could remember that the battle is half the fun... Here's what Shay said:

"I spent eighteen months on my book, including the second rewrite. I thought it was great, gave it to a good friend who read it and explained why it would never get published. I was knocked back, gutted, but took on board what he'd said, actually agreed with him, and now I'm giving it another go. Most writers say that the first book is a stepping stone, a learning experience, and the writer gets better with each book. Unless lucky, the first won't always get published. But that just made me more determined to keep trying until I get that first one right. I want to get published mainstream. I've heard its a really long difficult road. But the process of writing is so satisfying, in this case, the destination isn't the be all and end all. The challenge of getting there has to be reward in itself or whats the point?"

So the answer to the question of the day???

It's going.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I'm A Bit Crazy Sometimes

To anyone who knows me that isn't really a shock to hear.

To those who don't, it's probably not the greatest of first impressions to make but, somehow, I think we'll manage. I'm not entirely crazy, I did say 'a bit' remember, and I'm not crazy all of the time, see the 'sometimes' up there... but, yeah.

"How?" you might ask. I'll try to explain...

For as long as I can remember I've had vivid dreams. Some of them are short, some are long but all of them are full of details: names, places, descriptions. Some of the dreams are about everyday things - going to school or grocery shopping, and others are different, they're fantastical. A lot of the dreams only come once and, I think, those ones are just dreams like anyone else's.

It's the 'other' dreams that have meaning to me.

Not in the "10,000 Dream Interpretations" sense either.

These others dreams are the things that make me feel crazy. Or part of what makes me crazy anyways. They repeat, over and over again, until the whole story's out. And whether it's just consciously thinking about them during the day or having to literally say to myself "so this happened and then she/he did this," I have to see the entire story. Then, just to make things a bit more nuts, sometimes I'll see the same story from different perspectives. I have to know it, you see.

Once I get it though, the story is always there just tucked away in a corner of my mind. I've always wondered why I remember them in such explicit detail. I've always been curious why I have to remember the story and why those details stay with me months and even years into the future. Now
I think I know.

Some people are meant to be teachers. Or doctors, or scientists, massage therapists, farmers or dancers... I've considered being all of those things, I've deeply wanted to be (at least) three of those things, but the fit just didn't feel right. There was always something that didn't click.

And then one day I was sitting at home with my kids, playing on the computer and, sort of, watching a movie when I opened up a new Google Doc and started writing down my dream from the night before. The words came pouring out. The story building on the page, scene by scene just as it had in my dream.

3000 words later I stopped and stared.

Of all the things I've tried to be, all the things that I've considered doing, somehow it never crossed my mind to be a writer. I'd always been told that I was good at it - but that was for school, for essays and reports and research papers, things all firmly in the realm of real. It definitely wasn't for something that I was making up (or that my subconscious had made up), or something that I created.

So to be perfectly honest, it scared me. Not only because when I went back and read it, I thought it was good but because of how easy it came to me. Here was something that I'd never really thought of doing, and it felt right.

It fit.

Now I'm starting to take all those dreams out of the corners in my mind and I'm going tell them. I'm going to write them and, hopefully, publish them. Now when people ask me what I do for a living I don't have to wince and say "Nothing," or tell them that I'm just a stay at home mom (though I am that too and I'm damn proud of being able to be). Now when people ask me what I do, I'm going smile...

And tell them I'm a writer.

(And isn't that just the craziest thing??)