Sunday Salon: August 24, 2014
After taking an unintentional blogging break, I think I am ready to try this again – slowly and more balanced this time around.
Without realizing it, I jumped from a teaching career to a blogging “job”, which was not the reason why I retired. I retired because I was burned out and needed to rediscover joy in life. I retired because I identify myself solely by what I do rather than who I am… and I know this needs to change.
But apparently old habits die hard; I still focus too much on productivity – putting emphasis on self-imposed deadlines and setting up unrealistic expectations. This kind of life transformation is a process, and I am still on the journey. Thank you for your patience as I continue to follow the path.
Reading: I am still reading books that I think will help me achieve my writing goals (see… old habits really are difficult to change) … but I am trying to vary the subject matter. I am currently reading:
- The Memoir Project by Marion Roach. This is actually a re-read for me as suggested by my writing coach. I have done some preliminary work on my memoir, and I feel the content from this fabulous little volume will show me the next steps to take.
- Then Again by Diane Keaton. This celebrity memoir is often recommended, and I wanted to read a book in the genre that was not too depressing. She weaves the memoir of her mother throughout her own story and I enjoy the easy-going narrative voice – reminiscent of Annie Hall.
- A Ghost Tale for Christmas Time and Kids in Hard Times (Mary Pope Osborne). My children never read the Magic Tree House books, but when I summarized my NaNoWriMo piece to a fellow teacher, she immediately recommended this series. The time travel/historical fiction content of these books is quite similar to my story, although my intended audience is a bit older. I intend to read several of these books to learn how to tell a good story as well as how to write at an appropriate grade level.
- The Digital Photography Book series (Scott Kelby). I adore this guy. He has a wonderful, quirky sense of humor and even though he is quite knowledgeable about the subject, he seems down-to-earth. He is coming to Kansas City this week for a full-day seminar, but I have decided to read this series of books rather than attend the conference. I have also put a subscription to his photography tutorial site, KelbyOne on my Christmas wish list.
Writing: While I took a break from blogging, my desire to write has not diminished. I have used these past few weeks to think about what I truly want to write, and I have identified three primary interests.
- Memoir: interestingly, every time I try to begin my memoir, I am overcome with the need to begin with my parents’ story. I have finally decided to stop fighting this lead and give into it. So I am going to start with my parents and then segue into my own.
- Middle Grade Historical Fiction: the NaNoWriMo piece will not disappear. I thought once I wrote the draft that would be the end. But there continues to be a drive to revise it and (dare I say it….) develop a series. I have this overwhelming desire to introduce these young students to “classical” art, music and literature in a fun way so when they must study these subjects in high school they are not intimidated. I may not be the writer to accomplish this lofty goal, but I am going to try.
- Travel articles: I enjoy writing about travel, even though my travel blog is not often read. Other writers have encouraged me to refine the Kansas City piece I wrote for the summer writing class and submit it to local magazines and newspapers as a feature article. This is WAY outside my comfort zone, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?
In an attempt to keep expectations reasonable and yet move forward on these projects, my writing goal is to work on one of these a bit each day. I always find time to write my morning pages, so I can certainly find time to devote to these projects IF they are important enough to me. Perhaps I will research a bit, or brainstorm, or journal, or even…. draft a portion of a chapter. I will keep you posted.
I am still walking 10,000 steps a day (although I have given myself a break during the extreme Kansas heat this week) and I still glean valuable insights on my morning walk. I have a large list of potential travel articles, but not sure this is the time to develop them into weekly posts . I continue to enjoy photography and desire to learn more about the hobby, but I think writing about it every week creates more stress than joy.
For now, I will focus on this blog … my writing and personal blog. I will strive to write one post a week (on Wednesdays) and then of course, Sunday Salon. I can always revisit this schedule again in the future.
A new interest: I recently took a basic genealogy class at the local library. I have always enjoyed family scrapbooks as a way to preserve traditions and memories, but I never really understood the interest in this subject until I began to work on my parents’ memoirs. There is SO much I do not know about their past, and while I cannot recover the stories, genealogy allows me to recover the facts.
I adore research and therefore it can easily become a distraction, so I must be careful to guard my time. I use the Ancestry.com library edition, which means I can only access this information on a library computer (which also provides the fringe benefit of getting me out of the house). For now my goal is to discover my ethnicity – the year my ancestors came to America – and from which country. So far, I am southern through and through … with great-grandparents on both sides born in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee.
Have you conducted genealogy research? Do you have any tips for a novice who hits a roadblock?
- Posted in: Sunday Salon