Wednesday, February 07, 2024

Insecure Writer's Support Group - February 7, 2024

 


The first Wednesday of every month should, in my humble opinion, be enacted as a federal holiday. Why, might you ask? Because it is "Insecure Writer's Support Group" day! On this day, writers of  every level, published or not, can air their concerns, fears and doubts in a space that fosters support and helpful tips without the feeling of embarrassment or humiliation. If you haven't already, visit the sign in page here and join the group.

As always, I will begin by thanking it's creator, o' ninja captain, my ninja captain, Mr. Alex Cavanaugh.

I must also not forget to mention the February 7 co-hosts, Janet Alcorn, SE White, Victoria Marie Lees and Cathrina Constantine.

And with that, "Let's Rock The Neurotic Writing World!"

I'll start by admitting that I haven't posted in a couple of months but it was a planned break. I'll touch on the reason for my absence soon. A post is already in the works, just not completed.

Today's Question: What turns you off when visiting an authors website/blog? Lack of information? A drone of negativity? Little mention of the authors books? Constant mention of books?

I must admit, I didn't know how to answer this question at first. I have not visited any authors personal  sites until rejoining this group. The few that I have accessed are owned by those that contribute here. I enjoy hearing news on releases, the successes of each individual and to have the opportunity to provide support when I feel that I have something positive to add. I am inexperienced (an amateur's amateur, really) at best regarding anything related to literature and do not have the experience/knowledge to critique another's space or work. I do not like leaving negative reviews in any capacity so normally, I will only comment if it is positive and well intended. One thing that I do not like is an over abundance of pop ups and ads. I get that some use this medium to generate revenue but the constant flashing and ill timed pop up advertising "testosterone cream" is a bit annoying. I also would not enjoy unneeded and  derogatory comments regarding my work. I put a lot of myself in to these posts and doubt I'd take kindly to being badgered because of the content. I have not experienced this yet but if I climb the mountain and publish something, I will no doubt receive criticism. I am already worried about my short stories subject matter and do not doubt that it will ruffle some feathers.

It feels good to contribute to this group and hope that I can continue. I plan on hopping around and seeing others takes on this months subject. Have a blessed day!



Monday, November 27, 2023

A Challenge, You Say?

For me, motivation is hard to come by at times. Life is busy and during the holiday season, it is magnified two fold. I get excited when people that I have met through blogging hold a challenge of their own or merely mention one that they are contributing to. It provides me with a direction to follow for crafting a post that would otherwise not exist. I want to keep moving forward and to stay in touch without always having to concoct something from nothing, hoping that it catches on. I am not always able to put myself in the right headspace to write but I want to stay engaged and at times, I need help from others to do so. I came across a bit of unsolicited help today, thanks to Tyrean Martinson.

I have been tuning in to creatives that contribute to IWSG since I returned earlier this year and Tyrean is one of them. My reasoning is two fold. I need to arm myself with what others have experienced in their own journey. Reading the work of others creates a drive in me that I cannot muster on my own. I need constant reminding that the work will be worth it and that I am capable. (I guess I am still a little needy in this aspect.) It helps me focus. I also hope to build my own site and one of the best ways to do so is to follow and actively participate with others that are trying to make a go of the writing game.

I don't know if Tyrean meant to start a challenge when she posted her November 17 entry but I am going to accept it as such and roll with it.

I'll begin by sharing what I am thankful for.

MY LITTLE GIRL

Sweetie, you may never read this, but you bring an unconceivable amount of joy to my heart. A joy that cannot be quantified by using mortal words. You have my complete attention and until I return to the dirt, that will not change. You are a burning light in the darkness, my dear. I simply would be unable to carry on without you. Dada loves you more than anything on this earthly plain.

FAMILY

To say that the last eighteen months have been turbulent is an understatement. It has become blatantly clear to me that I need my family. My father and sisters hold a dear place in my soul. I could go on about each of them but this post would never end. My mother, who passed in February 2022, is missed dearly. She fought fearlessly for her family. Where there was once an unwavering love, there is now a tangible void in the same. Her words and loving embrace still reverberate in the depths of my soul.

FRIENDS (Extended Family)

Some have passed away and some have decided to leave but the few that matter, the core group, remain. Over the years, we have stayed in contact but getting together had proven difficult. Obligations to family and scheduling conflicts had filled in the once empty time slots. Now that our children are grown and are not as dependent on us, we are able to reconnect more regularly and it feels good to have the boys back in the fold. They are not blood, but they might as well be. I would have never made it through my twenties and thirties without them. And now, in our forties, I cannot thank them enough for extending a hand and being fully engaged when needed.

Books (Series) That I Am Thankful For (In no particular order.)

  • 1. This Beautiful Mess - Rick McKinley
  • 2. Walking With Arthur - James O'Donnell
  • 3. Messy Spirituality - Michael Yaconelli
  • 4. The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
  • 5. Wheel of Time (Series) - Robert Jordan (I must add an addendum here. I petered out on Fires of Heaven but plan on restarting/finishing the entire series.)
  • 6. The Wayfarer Redemption (Trilogy) - Sara Douglass
  • 7. Brain Lock - Jeffrey M. Schwartz
  • 8. Left Behind (Series) - Tim LaHaye & Jerry B. Jenkins (Again, petered out. My favorite characters starting getting knocked off and I got frustrated. Planning on restarting/finishing.)
  • 9. The Blood Gospel - James Rollins & Rebecca Cantrell
  • 10. Where The Red Fern Grows - Wilson Rawls (I sob every time. Last time with my daughter, a couple of years back. Grade school assignment. I am a sap.)
  • 11. The Iron Tower - Dennis L. McKiernan
  • 12. The Shack - William P. Young

A to Z - Artists (Bands) That I am Thankful For

  • A. Audioslave
  • B. Blind Melon
  • C. Chevelle
  • D. Death Cab for Cutie
  • E. Everclear
  • F. Ben Folds
  • G. G. Love & Special Sauce
  • H. Ben Harper
  • I. Incubus
  • J. Jack Johnson
  • K. The Killers
  • L. Live
  • M. Mutemath
  • N. Nirvana
  • O. O.K. Go
  • P. Pearl Jam
  • Q. Queens of The Stone Age
  • R. Ren
  • S. Staind
  • T. Tool
  • U. Underoath
  • V. Violent Femmes
  • W. Weezer
  • X. (Uhhh, nothing for X)
  • Y. (Errr, nothing for Y)
  • Z. The Zutons
So, there you have it. A teeny glimpse into me and what I am thankful for. If there is something in the lists above that you have not read or listened to, I implore you to give it a go. I do not think I have horrible taste. And if you haven't already, stop by Tyrean's blog and post a couple of things that you are thankful for.





Thursday, November 02, 2023

Insecure Writers Support Group - November 1, 2023

 


Once again, we find ourselves offering support to those of us that put our words and thoughts out there for the world to see. It's IWSG time again and I cannot begin without thanking our ninja captain extraordinaire, Alex J Cavanaugh for starting this group.

The co-hosts for the November 1st posting on IWSG are PJ Colando, Jean Davis, Lisa Buie Collard and Diedra Knight.

Cast your doubts and fears aside! Unbelievable support and guidance can be found write (See what I did there) here when joining this group.

Today's Question: November is National Novel Writing Month! Have you ever participated? If not, why not?

I'll be honest. I was unaware that November was National Novel Writing Month. I had to search it out after seeing the question for this installment of our group. Needless to say, I will most likely be joining.
Surrounding myself with more tools and writers cannot be a bad thing. I am an infant in this game and doubt myself at every turn but I have forced pen to paper or fingers on the keys, I suppose, to keep pushing on. My goal is to post something once a week on Habitual Hobbit but I normally fall woefully short. It is not because I don't want to, I just want to post bits that mean something, whether it is for my own spewing or not.

Anyone that happens to read this post, I would like to know more about NaNoWriMo so shoot me an email or add your thoughts in comment form.


Friday, October 27, 2023

It's Scary Time!

 It's that time of year again! Spooky season! And while I do not care much for it, I decided to do a bit of research and share my thoughts on this "spookiest" of celebrations.


As a child, I enjoyed sauntering from door to door in search of a big candy score. My crew and I would hustle around the neighborhood in an attempt to hit as many houses as possible to maximize our haul. In early September, the anticipation would begin building and plans were laid out for who or what we were going to don as costumes. While it was enjoyable creating those memories, I really never thought much about it's meaning and why it was celebrated. I understand the meaning behind the "big five" as they pertain to me. Christmas is a day to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Thanksgiving, as I was taught in grammar school, was a day to celebrate the peaceful gathering of the Pilgrims and Wampanoag People. It was a day to enjoy fellowship with loved ones and overeat, nap, catch some football and pass out from a food coma. I have since come to a deeper understanding. To me, Thanksgiving is a time for us to praise God for the blessings he has provided to us. Easter marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ, three days after the crucifixion. Memorial Day is a day to remember our fallen soldiers that set their own well being aside to protect our freedoms here at home and Veterans Day is day to give thanks to those who served or serve in the armed forces. The others are self explanatory. But, why Halloween? After doing a little research, I found more information pertaining to the holiday than I thought I would!

Is Halloween considered a Christian holiday or a Pagan holiday? Is it neither? Is it both?

I simply started by Googling "Halloween meaning" and was surprised at the abundance of articles concerning this topic. I'll apologize in advance, I linked the crap out of this post so you can dive further in if you feel so inclined.

I found one article written by Caroline Picard and Lizz Schumer with Good Housekeeping to be particularly interesting. Click the links if you would rather read it for yourself but the bullet points I found most interesting are as follows: It is believed that Halloween originated a couple thousand years ago by the Celtic people (Pagans) to celebrate Samhain. During this time, it is believed that the barrier between worlds of the living and the dead is thinner, allowing for easier communication between the living and loved ones that have passed on. People would don animal skins and heads during the festivities. Maybe that explains why we wear costumes today?

An article written by Ian Palmer and Terri Robertson in Country Living breaks down a more Christian approach and attempts to answer questions on whether or not Halloween has biblical ties.

In Christianity, it has been widely argued on each end whether or not it should be celebrated by followers of Christ. The word "Hallow" translates into "Holy" in Old English. All Saints Day is a Christian (Catholic origins) holiday where Saints are celebrated on November 1st, followed by All Souls' Day on November 2nd where loved ones that have passed on are remembered. All Hollows Eve (Halloween) is the Eve of All Saints Day.

Wikipedia's entry is interesting also and covers a broader summation, touching on Secular and Christian differences and what the day means in many other belief systems and peoples across the world. One common theme, it seems, is that the day is celebrated to honor the dead. That may explain why it has taken on a spookier tone related to ghosts, witches, devils and the like. It is also a time when horror movies see an uptick in release and viewing. My 16 year old daughter has recently taken a liking to the genre. I tend to steer clear of the violence depicted in these films because it doesn't play well with obsessive thinking. My mantra has been "If you put junk in, you get junk out." I simply do not need any help creating another avenue for negativity. I do well enough on my own.

There is so much more I wanted to touch on here but decided to keep it to a minimum. This post would never end. I simply wanted to educate myself in regards to the roots of the holiday and why we celebrate it. I do not lean heavily to either side of the argument and do not think less of those that enjoy it. When my daughter was a wee little lass, I experienced so much joy seeing the excitement that she experienced while watching the candy get dropped in the bucket. It brought back memories of my childhood and the enjoyment of Halloween I had as a kiddo.

I'll leave you with a song of antiquity. "Nightmare On My Street" - DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince









Tuesday, October 03, 2023

Insecure Writer's Support Group - October 2, 2023

 


It is time, yet again, for the monthly installment of The Insecure Writer's Support Group. On the first Wednesday of every month, those that have signed up for the blog hop have an opportunity to talk candidly about the writing journey without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those that have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It is a safe haven for writer's of all kinds.

First and foremost, a big thank you is in order to the group's founder, Alex J Cavanaugh and the co-hosts for the October posting: Natalie Aguirre, Kim Lajevardi, Debs Carey, Gwen Gardner, Patricia Josephine and Rebecca Douglass.

Today's Question: The topic of AI writing has been heavily debated across the world. According to various sources, generative AI will assist writers, not replace them. What are your thoughts?

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." - Albert Einstein

I'll be honest. I am not sure that I like the thought of writing derived by artificial intelligence. I do not have any experience with it and I don't plan on giving it a roll. I understand what it is but do not know much about it. We are so dependent on technology that it seems like we are straying away from what makes the art so incredible. Knowing that a story or imaginary world has been completely created by the human mind is why I enjoy reading, writing and watching. I simply cannot fathom how Stephen King's mind works. I would think less of his creativity if I found out he used AI. To find out that Middle Earth was created by something other than Tolkien's imagination would be a buzz kill. The world he created while writing The Hobbit and LOTR is absurd to think about. Same goes for Robert Jordan and The Wheel of Time. The sheer amount of information in these series is mind boggling. I can understand why it could be helpful in certain area's but don't like the idea of it being used as a substitute for human creativity.

If you are new to this site, welcome! Drop a comment if you agree or disagree with my take. I would like a chance to understand your thoughts on the topic of AI.

Not sure why, but as I was trying to answer this question, Ben Harper's song, With My Own Two Hands was reverberating in my mind so, I'll leave you with it. Enjoy!