A random, eclectic mix of thoughts, feelings, observations, and experiences – LIFE

Posts tagged ‘learning’

#GiveIt100 – Guitar

I keep going missing for a really long time. I know. *kicks rocks* Sorry. >.>

Alright, now that I’ve got that out of the way and we’re friends again…

It’s 2014, y’all! WOO!

new-years-resolutions-204044-530-569_largeAre you big on the whole calendar year thing? I’m not. I view my birthday more as a new year than the start of a new calendar year. I’m also not down with the resolution thing. It’s way too calculated and generalized and bandwagony and… Well, you know. I’d rather set goals and reach them as I see fit, and not because everyone else is doing it because OHMYGODITISDECEMBERANDJANUARYISCOMINGSOONANDWE’LLBEWRITINGANEW NUMBERBEHINDTHEBIG20.

All that being said, there are a few things I’m working on. I recently discovered GiveIt100, and I think it’s kinda cool. Except for the video recording bit. I’m not interested in figuring out how to record myself doing something for 100 days, and smashing all of it together into one big video, then time lapsing it. No. That is too much work. How about I just do the thing for 100 days? Yeah. Much better. SO. What am I going to do? GUITAR!

I’m pretty excited about this guitar thing. I was doing really well with it a few years ago when I had a lot of time by myself to practice without worrying about anyone else hearing me. I did a pretty good job of teaching myself with the help of YouTube videos and song chords online. When I moved from Halifax to Nassau, I left my guitar behind. I bought a new one, but I was in a house with nosy people, and people who aren’t always particularly supportive of new, seemingly-outlandish things. Result? I never practiced.

Well, now it’s just me and The Lady, and she’ll totally ignore me if I ask her to, so YAY! Practice, I shall! Starting today, I will spend 20 minutes per day with my Caddy. Caddy is my guitar, y’all. I’m going back to the beginning. I’ll work on learning A, D, and E and switching between those chords for the next few days. Chord switching is pretty easy to practice while watching tv because strumming isn’t necessary. I’ll just sit there with the guitar on my lap, switching my fingers from one chord to the next. Genius, right? I’m planning to be able to play Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds by Sunday. THAT, I am willing to record. I’ll even share the videos with you. Accountability for me… Yeah, I don’t really know what it is for you. Entertainment?

SO! Wish me luck. 🙂

How about you? Are you teaching yourself anything new? Taking any cool courses? Got a project for #GiveIt100?


Ideas on Paper

Thankful Thursdaaaaayyyyy! WEEEEEE! *running around in circles*

It’s been quite the week. Let me see how I can calmly share two parts of it. *takes deep breaths*

I’ve been sitting on a lot of ideas. I think a LOT. I compartmentalize too. There are things that I want to do, things that I can do, things that I wish I could do, things that I simply won’t do, and things that I choose to do. They cross up in funny ways. There are things that I’d love to do and would absolutely rock at, but I refuse to do because my situation is not ideal. For example, I have a bunch of business ideas. I breathe, and BAM. A new one is in my brain. I know that I can plan it and make it happen. Will I? No. Why not? Depends. These days, it’s mostly because I just hate where I am, and don’t want any ties here, particularly when I’m finally able to get out of here. Crazy? Maybe. But that’s the way it is right now.

One thing that I can get going while I’m here is my WRITING. I can bang out flash fiction like nobody’s business. I wake up with three sentences, and when I write them, the rest of the story sort of tumbles out. That’s not to say that it tumbles out in perfection. They go through a process before they are perfected. Short stories take a little more, and novels take more still. My combined strength and weakness: I’m a researcher, planner, and perfectionist. I refuse to write a single word of a novel until I know where it is going. The turning points – every twist and curve. The moments of tension. And I have to know what I am up against. I read up on the craft of writing. Research cities, towns, and islands – possible settings. Their climates, populations, location in reference to other small and major cities/towns/islands, economy… I need my work to be authentic. It’s important to me. More times than not, if perfection isn’t the clear outcome, I won’t touch it.

ImageSO. I have a bunch of short story ideas, and a handful of novels. What I’m really excited about is what will likely be my debut novel. It’s a standalone book right now and, yes, STILL in the planning stages. (See previous paragraph.) Along with that, I’m excited about two series ideas that I have. I completely LOVE the ideas. One of them came completely at random (about 3 months ago), and will likely be a YA series. The other came this week. I’ve always wanted to open a certain sort of business. I did all the planning when I was in university, then decided that I don’t want to take it on in this country. Then, I jokingly told friends that I’d open the same sort of business, but with a particular slant… Jokingly. Sort of. HA. Well, it would never work here for various reasons, but you know where it could work? In a BOOK! No, wait. A SERIES of books. So the stories in the series would be set around this particular business. Sort of like the cafe in Friends. The Max in Saved by the Bell. Now that idea won’t go to waste. EEEEEE! Exciteeeeed!

As my regular readers now, I’m taking a writing course. Writing for Children and Teenagers with ICL. I sent my first assignment around Tuesday of last week. Well, I got a letter and my assignment with notes back from my instructor yesterday. WOO! I’ll share some lines from the letter with you. All points are direct quotes from the letter.

  • I enjoyed the bathtub romp with Alex and his toy friends. You’ve written an imaginative fantasy story in the 3-part structure that is familiar to young readers.
  • I like the generous use of dialogue and action; you write dialogue very well, with an authentic voice for this age level. The blend of dialogue and narrative enriches both character and plot development as the reader has something to see as well as to hear.
  • You’ve stayed firmly within single viewpoint, giving the reader the chance to closely identify with Alex throughout, and to build empathy for him.
  • Your theme emerges nicely as a result of Alex’s actions.
  • I like Alex’s actions. They are realistic, credible. And his uncertainty adds tension.
  • Such lively likeable characters, and lots of action in this first story, Alicia! A great theme too.

There are two things that I can do to sharpen it up. I didn’t really have expectations for the feedback. I tried not to think about it at all. I’m really happy that she enjoyed the story, and my errors were minimal. The only things I need to do are:

  • Put the main character in control. I let the mom step in to make some magic happen. Don’t know what I was thinking since I KNOW the main character has to be the hero. He had to do part of it on his own, but that was very subtle, and probably too high-level to be recognized by young readers.
  • Open with dialogue. I did a good job of showing instead of telling through the story, but I did some telling right at the beginning. I shy away from opening with dialogue because it’s tough to pull off (in writing for adults), but I guess writing for children is an exception. Lesson learned!

So as you can guess, I’m thankful for new ideas and great feedback on my short story for my writing course.


Hey, look what I found! A brown-skinned girl (although the description says “boy”) sittin’ on top of the world, just like me!
Source: http://igotitall.net/index%20images.html

What are you thankful for this week? Anything new and exciting happening? What causes you not to act on things, or make use of ideas? How do you fight back?

Reason For Everything

Day 22: Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.

[After sitting here, staring blankly at the screen, then doing other things for 40 minutes…]

I’m coming up sort of blank. I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago that I really believe that life is a series of linked events. For one thing to happen, the thing before it had to have happened. One little change could alter major things. Ok, yes, some things are probably inconsequential, but if there’s something I’d undo, it’s probably big enough to change the course of my life. There are definitely things that I did that I may not have done if I’d thought about them a little more or a little less. There are things I did because I (felt that I) had to. There are things that I did for the wrong reasons, or with the wrong motivation or driving force. Would I really change any of it? Probably not.

I moved back to Nassau, from Halifax. Blech. Bad move, bad move, bad move. I really don’t like it here. Sure, there are things I like about being here, but I dislike some of the same things. I’m glad I’m close enough to family to drop by and visit them, call them for free, etc. That works against me sometimes. I liked the distance that was between us a lot of the time (for varying reasons). My reasons for moving, I have to stand by. I felt that some relatives were getting older, and the time I could spend with them was only reducing. My great-grandmother is 91 years old. My maternal grandmother is 85. My paternal grandmother is about 74, as is my grandaunt. My paternal grandfather died about two years before. My great-grandmother was planning to close her business – one that I grew up in. I spent a lot of time in “the shop” (a ladies’ boutique) from I was a baby until I left for school. Saturdays, school breaks… I spent a lot of them at the shop. I didn’t want it to just disappear. I didn’t want to visit Nassau, to meet a huge parking lot where the business used to be. All of these things prompted me to move back. Then my mother got very ill. It just made sense to be here. It was supposed to be temporary. VERY temporary. It’s still temporary, but was supposed to be WAY more temporary. Hahaha. Moving back is something I wish I didn’t do, but I’m glad I did.

There are other things too… Wasting time at the local college (UGH!), crazy relationship with an idiot, being in a pointless relationship I really didn’t want to be in for pity’s sake…

All lesson learned, really. Did I have to learn them all through those experiences? Maybe not. But I did. And that’s okay.

Do you have regrets? Did you learn lessons or find the greater purpose for certain things you did that you may like to undo? Do you think life is like Jenga? Can you move certain blocks without the whole tower falling down? Are there pivotal pieces that just can’t be moved and leave the tower standing strong?

Completely off topic: Is anyone else having trouble with WordPress? My “Blogs I Follow” and “WordPress Reader” are coming up empty, and I have no idea why. This has been happening from yesterday. I feel like I’m so far behind in blog world. Is this happening to you? If not, do you know how to remedy it? If I lost everything, how do I get my fave blogs back without remembering them all?

How Handwriting Boosts the Brain – WSJ.com

How Handwriting Boosts the Brain – WSJ.com.

I miss the days of handwritten notes, letters in the mail, and more one-on-one interactions. Now they’re saying cursive writing may no longer be taught in some schools. Crazy! I didn’t know all of the benefits of handwriting until reading this. Have a look-see.