The opportunity cost of the last hour has been:
- to read the fiction by Kaitlyn Greenidge
- read about how to plant a tree
- write this blog post
- write toward the other writing projects I’ve got marinating and fermenting inside.
Fortunately, the tree transplant needs a few days before replanting so that gives me until tonight or mañana. Now this blog post is nearly done. And the fiction is before me. And the writing projects is still marinating.
I’m aware of this at this moment as I seek to be intentional and rigorous about doing more of the things that have particular significance though they are also things that I’m less adept and less innate to do on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
Sometimes I’ll do something but not more it or remember it and when I do remember it I don’t think of myself as having done so as frequently as I might have done it. That is one way that I belittle myself and make myself less small by not recalling when and what I did. So if I’m not doing something so frequently to know that I’ve done it, then I need to figure out the place and way that I’m writing it down so I can find that place where I wrote it says/weeks/month ago to quiet the inner critic that is so omnipresent to diminish the actions and moves and complete cycles that I have done.
It’s tricky this tendency to do something and be someone and then forget that was what I did or who I was such that I don’t remember thy about myself at all. It’s a simple way to erase who I am and what my recent history was. There’s some who write that forgetting is essential to the functioning of our brains but this habitual forgetting makes me smaller in my own cognition and my consciousness.
So I’m practicing and building my memory and skillsets to track and therefore remember. When I cannot remember with my internal gauges I will have to write it down either on paper, a smartphone, a journal or a hash mark on a wall.
I suppose that the tracking, too, is a form or practice.
I’ve been noticing more of what I’m habitually doing. Then today, I saw how it looked in someone dear to me.
Today’s lesson can be one of:
- Holding gratitude or holding grudges?
- Whining or writing?
- Writhing or witnessing?
- Scrambling or steady?
- Floundering or focusing?
- Tripping up or triumphing?
I had many years of getting distracted and turning away from. From taking some multitasking bait rather than simplifying, moderating and slowing down.
7 of the 19 windows currently open are on the smittenkitchen.com domain, those being:
Earlier today, I baked the corn pudding recipe for the first time. But that page is no longer open so it isn’t in the list above though it was the gateway to a number of these other sweet, baked things. The estimated cook and prep time was 40 minutes but between bathroom assistance and reading two books, it was closer to two hours before that was finished. It took about two hours for all of the dish to be gone, too.
As the list above reveals, I like to bake. And I like chocolate. And I keep coming back to SK and Deb Perelman because the simplicity and the reductions in how to prepare is a relief and the food when finished is devoured.
Deb Perelman’s website is up there with Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food cookbook as a few of the constants that I return again and again. I only began to use Perelman after a friend’s recommendation of World Peace Cookies in December 2016 whereas I’ve had Bittman’s cookbook since 2002.
I frequent the site for Saveur and Food52 as well but not with the frequency of the others.
From a dictionary listing:
Martial [mahr-shuhl] adjective
- inclined or disposed to war; warlike: The ancient Romans were a martial people.
- of, suitable for, or associated with war or the armed forces: martial music.
- characteristic of or befitting a warrior: a martial stride.
Please use martial in a sentence —
- The martial schools have metal detectors upon entry, are surrounded like a fortress, and train students and teachers how to respond to an active shooter.
- Men’s bodies are revered for ingesting protein shakes or steroids that transform a figure into a martial shape like Robocop or a superhero.
- His martial communication skills valued domination and subservience.
Pablo Larios interviews Yvette Mutumba about decolonization and she rattled off a list of twelve with the most fabulous prelude that I’ve ever read:
What follows only begins to touch on a matter of decades of thinking, working, experiencing, talking and growing.
As for the 12 definitions of decolonization:
> that I will not do the job of those sitting inside institutions and organizations that are predominantly white
> conversations which create serious exchange, but also discomfort, maybe even pain, on the other side of the table.
> having to sit with that discomfort.
> understanding that decolonization is not a matter of ‘us’ and ‘them’, but concerns all of us.
> acknowledging that this is not a current moment or trend.
> not necessarily being political, but no choice to not be political.
> admitting that having grown up in a racist structure is no excuse.
> transparency from the institutional side.
> stepping back and making space.
> creating safe spaces.
> changing structures as much as building new structures
Over the last 18 years, the Internet has been a boon for my reading. I still choose paperback and hardbacks, and I increasingly choose books from the public library rather than abebooks.com. I have made buying a book from an independent bookstore a simple act of selecting a sweet gift for a friend. (And, no, I don’t buy books from amazon.com as it cannibalizes the industries of writing.)
This morning, I had a fascinating 25 minutes as I sought the name of a young adult science fiction book that I read a couple of years ago. I could remember the name of one of the supporting characters, Dikeagou, because his name is a familiar and repeated name in our home. But, the book’s title escaped me. And so teh internet searches began (mind you through duckduckgo.com where they don’t track and store your searches like they do over at “do no evil” google).
It took multiple searches, and a few marvelous stops along the way that are sure to stoke my reading this winter are:
Oh, and the book I was looking for is listed on that third blog, 8 YA Books. It is The Shadow Speaker written by Nnedi Okorafor-mbachu, who lives and teaches in Chicago. Published in 2010.
What I heard and remembered to take notes on in Week Two of Fast Flash Fiction at the Santa Fe Community College were. Much of last night’s class was about editing one another’s work and what else to remember as I re-read and revise my own stories. Number 3-6 are cited from a handout given (citation needed):
- Anticipation | Hold someone on the edge of their seat until they are almost impatient.
- Beautiful moments | “I take out beautiful moments in each piece.”
- Personify objects/emotions | in ways that the reader won’t expect.
- Unfamiliar similes | will jump out at readers in positive ways.
- Conflicting images | take what readers expect in a character and turn it upside down by choosing conflicting images.
- Metaphors | are often what can propel or kill a story.
- Surreal | make it work.
- Stick to your core | “[There are] parts of your piece that you are going to hold onto with dear life. You have to remember that your voice is your voice.”
There were also a few quotes that resonated:
You want every paragraph to matter.
I create stories from what I remember in childhood, and change the ending.
Use adverbs sparingly. I love adjectives.
I began my first writing class last week. The title is Fast Flash Fiction is a six-week course taught by Meg Tuite at Santa Fe Community College. Tuite, the instructor, cusses, inspires, and tells stories with plenty of tangents like thet legions of great storytellers that I know.
Tuite dispensed multiple dosages of simple truths in writing on the first night:
1) Read it out loud.
2) Keep your core.
3) Get it out | “I am not sure that I’ll call it vomit. Maybe, pink vomit.”
4) Deadlines are good.
5) Every page matters | in flash fiction where we have to condense our work.
6) Start thinking about the senses.
7) Brevity and ambiguity | These are essential in flash fiction, leaving the reader wanting to know more, to be taken along.
8) Gamble. That is where your voice is.
A couple of other choice moments were:
– “I get a lot of people published. Because you work hard in this class.”
– “Write about something that you are close to. Emotionally invested. Risk, risk, risk. The most exciting part of life –> getting close [to something].”
Lastly, there are three, simple questions to guide the workshopping and feedback shared with classmates are:
What do you love?
What makes sense?
What is confusing?
A friend asked me about “three things that you find amazing” and I replied with:
First thing that is amazing to me is the possibility that there is enough fresh water on this planet for all of us, just as there is enough sunlight and solar rays for all energy needs. We’ve been socialized to believe that there are finite resources and that they must be fought over, hoarded and controlled. I just said possibility, it may be more fitting to say notion or reality.
Second amazing thing is how I am allowing more and more of the illogical to pervade. I am in a new phase, the post-intellect, that is more aptly returning to how we as humans and nature fundamentally are. This is a condition that gives rise to the recent curiosity about freshwater.
Third amazing thing are the new experiences, new challenges and new learnings in my lived experiences. I have been baking one loaf of sourdough bread a week for much of this calendar year. I began taking a six-week, fiction writing class at the community college this week where I was exuberant as I walked the hallways towards room 571 and after the inaugural class. I learn, read and ruminate the animal totems that I encounter around me. This week alone, they have included magpie, praying mantis (a white, albino one), and deer.
Prompts can tremendously help me out. Amazing is enticing.
Three days into NaNoWriMo yesterday, and I took a moment to see what the world wide web would provide when I asked about outlines for writing a novel. I encountered these three sites, which I have borrowed some elements of:
Today, I have learned of NaBloPoMo, shared with me by WordPress.
This is practice, by design.