Sunday, 17 April 2016

Recovery, Resiliance and Rundowns

The word of the week is gambol.

Apr 11 – Recovery

Work went by in a flash today, mainly because I was tired.

This past week of 'vacation' really took a lot out of me, but I don't think I could have done it any other way. I really needed to finish the costume and while in Seattle, there wasn't a lot of time to just sit around apart from attending panels of which there weren't all that many, to be honest.

No, I think I'm glad that week was a quiet one for me, so that I can simply build up my energy reserves and process everything from the last four days spent at the Emerald City Comic Convention. Some of you have seen the pictures and I think it was all worth it, both for the things we saw and the costumes that my girlfriend and I wore.

The big question: would I spend 60+ hours making a costume again?

The proper answer to that is: how well will this last experience creating a costume inform the next one, in terms of knowing how to make it less work overall? It's a good question, and one I'll probably find out in the future sometime, before I attend my next convention.

Though not for the rest of 2016, that's for certain!

Apr 12 – Resiliance

Why are some people more resilient than others?

I think of myself as extremely resilient, though with odd quirks that sneak up on me sometimes unawares. I've had to deal with quite a lot of my life, and for the most part I think I've been successful in soldiering through the worst parts and enjoying the many good bits.

But I often wondered: why am I resilient?

It's a bigger question than you might think, one that has been studied for some time: are some people naturally resilient, is it a skill that can be learned, or some combination of both?

As it turns out, a recent study has determined that one can indeed learn to be resilient... as well as un-learn the skill, too.

I know all about that second one.

It's an interesting study and certainly worth a read, as it goes into great detail about how people can choose their own fate. How you can decide every moment to overcome or falter faced with the challenges that are presented to you.

Apr 13 – Running Out Of Words

On the 13th of every month, I update my novel's website.

Sometimes, the visit numbers are amusing: last month, I had a total of two visitors, yet the month before I had dozens. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to the numbers I get, but I have to remember that I've done no advertising to date save word-of-mouth.

At present, I'm running out of words.

A week from now, my critique group will look over the last half of the last chapter I've written to date for my second novel. That's all I have since last summer when I fell ill and haven't been able to write a word since: next month, there's nothing new to table.

Personally, I don't think that's a bad thing.

Sometimes, as a writer, you have to let the work speak for itself and if all you hear is silence, then there's still more yet to be done before more words will flow. In my case, I have to finish editing the next draft of my FIRST novel, before I can determine how the rest of my second book will fall into place. Both my guts and my brain agree on this, so I'm not letting it stress me.

The words will flow when they're ready.

Apr 14 – Fibbing

I led a writing group session tonight about lying( truthfully! ).

It was a lot of fun, and it went quite smoothly for session that I had planned the night before, including the handout. I was filling in this week, as our scheduled speaker had to back out this past weekend, meaning we had an open slot that needed filling fast.

I liked feeling like a pinch-hitter and I think I had a home run tonight.

Fibbing, as I call tonight's exercises, is all about making your audience believe in what you're saying. Much like a con man, you're spinning stories and linking ideas in ways that mesmerize your audience and inspire curiosity and them, which helps to overcome any flaws in the story that might be apparent to a more critical listener.

Did I mention it was a lot of fun? On the fly, I spun up a story about a pink baby whale who tap danced in his performances in the circus, while secretly admiring one of his co-performers, a goldfish who perform magic tricks. There was also an octopus who played a nose flute whose heart was that of a painter and who longed to run away from the circus to pursue a life creating art.

The discussion tonight was lively and amusing, as we all wrote up stories that worked quite true and shared them to laughter of all. As well, we had an unexpected visitor drop in: a woman who had only just arrived in Victoria a few hours ago and discovered that a group of fellow writers was meeting at the Starbucks( that's us! )and decided to join in. She had some lively stories from her recent travel across the country and we all listened spellbound as she related some fascinating tales about where she'd been and where she was going.

No word of a lie, it was the perfect end to the evening.

Apr 15 – Pink Snow

The blossoms are out in Victoria!

My daily walk to work is short, only about 15 min. at a stroll, but it took a little longer today because of all the natural beauty blossoming around me:

That's pink snow, from the cherry trees that line the streets of my neighborhood. Some of my first pictures of Victoria were of these trees in full bloom and whose blossoms completely cover the streets near where I first took up residence here back in 2007.

It's gorgeous, and one more reason why I love living where I do.

Apr 16 – Tidy and Toss Day!

I wore myself out spring cleaning today.

My living space had become far too cluttered with all too much stuff in the last six months, all of it crying out silently to be put away or tided door simply let go. Things were especially difficult this last week after the convention, as I had all of the art supplies, unused foam and costume bits as well as the costume itself and ARMeY the mannequin. Plus all the other things like books, DVD's, papers and the like that were already crammed in there.

Way, way too crowded.

So I spent the better part of seven hours today pulling things out of our storage units to make space as well as getting rid of things from my apartment that were no longer relevant or useful to my life. This included six boxes of VHS tapes, containing several hundred cassettes that for the most part contained shows that I now own on DVD or other mediums. There were several dozen cassettes that I had no idea what they contained, but seeing as the paper lists of what was on them were no longer around, it was a moot point. All of it went to the recycling depot, along with unused cable TV and speaker wire, plus other 'useful' at-one-time-but-no-longer junk.

By late evening, with signifigant help from my family, I had managed to put my apartment to rights and I felt much better on several levels. My room especially benefited from the purge, in that I no longer felt like the space was exploding with clutter.

Mission accomplished!

Apr 17 – Gaming Sunday

It's been months since I last gamed, and I've missed it.

The weather was gorgeous today and I felt only a little bad spending a few hours in the afternoon inside with my friends, because we have all the windows open to let in the warm spring breezes. I even felt myself nodding off the points, while missing my hammock which would have been perfect to set up under a tree today.

Maybe in a weekend or two to come. Ah, spring...

Today we played a few games of Munchkin, which went as you might expect: any time a player got a little too far ahead, the rest of us conspired to drag them back again. I've always enjoyed games of Munchkin over the years and while I don't own a copy or any of the expansions( more expense / clutter items )I don't think I'll ever get tired of it.

We played with most of these particular cards today

The same can also be said of the two games of Smash-Up we also played today for which the sheer variety of combinations of varying decks makes it's a different game every time. Sometimes, you get a combination of two decks that just don't work well together and other times you discover a combination that is nigh fantastic. Given that the distribution of decks is randomized at the start, you can see why people keep coming back to this game.

All in all, it was a good way to end the weekend.

I was far too tired this past week to be anxious, and it was great. Howard hour and day-to-day, I didn't focus on any sort of negativity inadvertently but rather just got on with what I was doing. I think that basic mindset is going to be a watchword for the rest of the year: focus and move forward with each day as it happens according to what needs doing, not complicating things whatsoever with overthinking or wondering about problematic possibilities.