Small Reflections & Big Heart

Spending time outdoors is a great way to fill the writers well. I love to take the time to nurture the artist within.

In filling the well, think magic. Think delight. Think fun. Do not think duty. Do what intrigues you, explore what interests you; think mystery, not mastery. A mystery draws us in, leads us on, lures us. (A duty may numb us out, turn us off, tune us out). In filling the well, follow your sense of mysterious, not your sense of what you should know more about. A mystery can be very simple: if I drive this road, not my usual road, what will I see? Changing a known route throws us into the now. We become refocused on the visible, visual world. Sights lead to insight. ~ Julia Cameron

I have been feeling depleted lately. It’s been a busy summer season at the hotel life, which is great, everyone is working and I was able to meet some amazing visitors to our Captial City. I was blessed with an abundance of people watching an gathering of personalities for future characters that are waiting to share their stories. Though I have taken a few extended long weekends over the summer, I don’t feel like I’ve given myself time to rest and rejuvenate which I believe we need to do once and awhile.

Friends of mine who I met and worked with over twenty years ago at Lake Louise were in town for their fall vacation. They have come to the island on a few other occasions and we have lunch together but nothing more as I may have been working and the last time they were here I was sick. This time we spent two days together reconnecting and I was very aware of how much I missed their friendship, their company and down to earth nature. Friends stay in touch and we have chatted here and there via Facebook and text, but I miss the face to face, spending time with my friends. I enjoy sitting and chatting over a good cup of coffee or tea and being in the moment.

I took my friends to one of the many parks in Victoria which I hadn’t been to myself, Mount Douglas Park. I heard about the great trials and sights this hiking area offered and was excited to share the beauty with my friends. We ended up hiking one of the difficult trails but for us it was no more than hiking to the Little Beehive in Lake Louise. As we had a few moments during the hike where we needed to scramble up a rock face, I smiled and was overjoyed with the memories of hiking and working in Lake Louise. More so, the memories of meeting my friends and sharing these great adventures over the years we worked together. The years that have passed by but still remain close to our hearts.

When we reached the top of the lookout area we stopped and took in the sights. Though it was rainy and cloudy the vista of the land was stunning. I am so grateful for where I live. I vowed I’d be back to the hike and explore the many other trails the park offers. The feeling of being close to nature, touching trees as I moved my body up one more step to the top of the lookout was filling me with pure awareness, a reminder of who I really am. I am a being who loves the outdoors and experiencing the experience.

Now, as I enter back into the hotel life I am aware that I a need to shift my thoughts and experiences to what really fills me with joy. My artist within wants to get outside and play more often and I will fulfill this eager energy as much as possible. What are you doing for your artist within?

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

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Diaries and The Hidden Writer

As I read The Hidden Writer, Diaries, and the Creative Life, by Alexandra Johnson, I stop and think about the various questions Alexandra asks;

Is what we read in a diary always true? Often using a diary when upset, is a writer more likely to exaggerate a mood, nurse a slight? In her own diary, Joyce Carol Oates writes, ‘we don’t think of ourselves in the past tense: we are always present tense: to consciously record the past is thereafter to invent a self to perform in it, consciously and unconsciously ~ Alexandra Johnson

This is interesting to me as a memoirist as I dig deep to find those past memories I’ve experienced. I’ve written in a diary ever since I can remember. I was married to my journal, scribbling my hopes and dream on the page that held onto my secrets, only to be revealed to my eyes. I dare not share these diaries with anyone, is what I thought at an early age.

I sadly stopped writing altogether during the time I moved to Lake Louise to work for a luxury hotel chain. To be more specific, I didn’t write for the first summer and part of the second summer because I fell in lust (I use to say love but it really wasn’t) The experiences that haunt me (sometimes in a good way) tickle my memories that seem to show up without hesitation.

It’s difficult not to be able to go to an old diary, to flip through, to see the present self-in the moment that it was happening. I have journals before and after these two summers. I got lost for a while and when I realized I was downright miserable because I wasn’t writing, I sprinted back to the page. My journals quickly filled with thoughts of guilt for leaving creativity for far to too,, then when I feel in lust again, the pages once again filled with guilty notions of wanting to be with that boy over the writing. I forced my pen on the page and soon love poems filled the blank paper, raw emotions of how I craved a relationship but was bored with the notion of maintaining one. I read practically written stories, I see where I made a choice to stay with a guy I should’ve let go from the moment I questioned myself within my journals. I know it’s my true self-talking directly to me.

Marion Ann, how many times will you write about his broken promises? He prefers his precious beer over me. Didn’t I just write about this only the other day? When will you listen? Are you listening now, Marion Ann? ~ July 1994 journal

Rereading this sends shivers up my neck. I knew that very moment I was to be treated better. I had someone in my life that was not right for me, yet for some reason, I wasn’t clear or wanting to face that Karma was lingering around for the choices I made.

Now, my morning pages have replaced my diaries and I’m finding that I need to write more past the early mornings. I want to keep writing to answer the questions that keep showing up morning after morning.The evening shows up and I am left without a resolution.

As everything happens for a reason, reading Alexandra’s book has sparked inspiration to start writing in my journal any time of the day, to get what is needed to be said on the page. To let it go and move on. I want to answer those questions that my true self-seems to be asking because I know the answers but I’m avoiding it for some reason. I want that kick in the ass from my pen to the page, I need to read what it is my higher self is desperately trying to tell me.

Don’t stop writing

I see this statement in my diaries and morning pages over the years and so many mornings when I start to complain a bit about not writing more I now commit myself to write in my journal more, morning, noon and night, even in-between the days and moments that I feel edgy and the only thing that will ground me is writing. Are you listening Marion Ann?

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing. . . .

 

 

 

 

 

Credit for pictures from Google Images and Pixaby.

Breaking up With the Sofa

Writing is healing. Writing is a way to let go of the past and move forward, to be right here in the moment. Writing unravels the issues within, writing releases the creativity within. I have many stories within, and I am blessed with both fiction and non-fiction writing, more so memoir writing. I don’t have any troubles letting the imagination run loose; in a blink of an eye, I can see a story unfold. Here is a little glimpse of how creativity quickly can take over. This is excerpt is from my Hospitality Memoir: Behind the Kitchen Doors ~ Summer 1:

I loved canoeing on the Lake. I would paddle out to the middle and let the canoe float around as much as the lake would let me. I glided my fingertips on the surface of the chilly waters (only a few degrees above freezing). As I got closer to the middle of the lake the color would change from clear turquoise to a dark murky green almost purpley black. I’d look over the edge of the canoe and wonder what mineral feed creatures lived down at the bottom.

Sis: Maybe an ancient type of dinosaurs like Loch Ness or Ogopogo.
Marion Ann: I wonder why they don’t have a legend at the Lake?
Sis: Too snobby for this place.
Marion Ann: True, it was named after the Queen’s daughter.
Sis: Not saying we can’t have fun with a story.
Marion Ann: Maybe a type of mermaid. Maybe a whole village. The lake goes deeper than anyone knows.
Sis: I like it.

So, did I liked when my imagination was stirred up and I had a story within a blink of an eye. The Lake had mystical energy and I wanted to dive into the deep waters to feed my passion for writing.

Now I should explain who Sis is. Sis is me, Sis is the voice that whispers to all of us. I like to introduce Sis as my sassy-pseudo-guardian-angel, who says what’s on her mind, which is essentially me speaking my mind. She helps tell my story.

When I reread this memory I’m taken back to those moments when I worked at the luxury resort in the Canadian Rockies. I had the privilege to canoe for free when guests were charged up to twenty dollars an hour to say they canoed on a national park lake. I loved when I stared over the edge of the canoe, gazing into the water, wondering what lake creature would pop up to see what lived beyond the surface of their watery existence. I would daydream about these fictional characters more than I thought I would. I would be serving my guests in the dining room, looking out at the lake wondering what the movie would be called if there was a screenplay that went with my daydreams about this magical and mystical underwater alternative life. You can clearly see how my imagination turns on quickly and wants to run wild. So why not? Stand aside and let creativity take over. I love the creative process! Then why am I having a hard time lately to get to the page? I clearly want to be writing and the ideas that enter my mind are crying out to be written. I only have one person to blame, me. I am in the way, along with the sofa and Netflix. So I’m breaking up with the sofa.

I’m getting up from the comfortable routine that the ego is holding onto and dragging me down with it. I’m walking away from the TV shows and movies that will always be there to watch when it’s time to zone out but not now, not any longer. Creativity and I have had enough. Not that I spend hours sucked into House of Cards or Netflix Original movies, but it’s too easy to sit down and get sucked into the promise of a funny and exhilarating movie that will surely leave you with laugh lines.

I’m breaking up with the ego. It’s a process, the ego has been around for a long time and I’ve had moments where I can clearly see the true self, the writer I have known for even a longer time. Yet, there is a moment where the ego slips in and a week goes by and you haven’t written a damn thing and wonder what Walter White and Jesse are up to.

Like any break-up, it may take time to not miss the sofa and curling up with a cup of tea and watching one of my favorite Woody Allen movies. Now it’s time to take that cup of tea to the writing room and write my own movies. Hear-hear! The creative cheerleader enthusiastically confirms as I sit down and begin to write.

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

 

 

 

 

 

I should also mention where the Lake is located. Without giving it away, it is in a town called Lake Louise, Alberta. If you would like advanced Free chapters of my Hotel Memoir, please sign up for my Newsletter. See you there!

How Can You Tell If You’re In Limbo? #MondayBlog

It has been a week since the 3-day novel contest and I have the feeling of being in limbo. I’m not quite in the reality of the world I left behind as I entered my writing room for three days over the labor day weekend. I went into the contest with a goal, to finish the edits of my current work in progress. I felt like I needed to push myself with the last of the revisions so that I can move forward with the next steps of my book. To publish and to share with all of you.

Limbo: a state of uncertainty.                                                                                                                 an intermediate or transitional place or state.

I was searching for clues this week to get myself out of this feeling of uncertainty. Then I realized it’s not uncertainty that I am feeling. I am restless for the next step. I jumped into the revisions and focused on taking risks with my work that I forgot all about from the first memoir I completed. I was still holding back, I was keeping the story at an arm’s length, even though I thought I was not. I have shared details about my time living in resort towns throughout the years but with caution. I didn’t want anyone to think less of me for the choices I made. You know what? It doesn’t matter. What matters is putting the words on the page and letting go of the fears and that my friends is a scary process, but it has to be done. There is no hiding in a memoir.

The is no hiding in a memoir

There were moments during the writing contest that I walked circles in my writing room, pacing back and forth, with the knowledge of great frustration but also an overwhelming sense of joy that I was on the right path. Somewhere I kicked the Ego to the corner and my true-self was taking over and letting it all hang out there. All the dirty laundry and adventures that were experienced during this time in the Canadian Rockies. I spent a decade of my life working through my adolescent ailments in resort towns that brought more heartache than joy at times, but also provided me with what was exactly needed in those moments. For this, I am truly grateful.

Now you must be thinking, come on, when can we read these adventures you have been talking about? Soon. I promise. If you sign up for my Newsletter I will send you advanced chapters to read before I start the publishing journey. I will also send you a little gift of thanks because you’re awesome!

I appreciate your support and stopping by to read about my writing journey. I believe a sharing in me is a sharing in you.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing. . . .

A Trip Down Memory Lane #MondayBlogs

By the time this post is published I hope to be on the home stretch of the 3-day novel contest.

I’ve been writing Monday Blogs for a few years now. When I started to take my writing more seriously I found 10-minute novelists Facebook group and noticed a post about Monday Blogs. Publish your latest blog post on Mondays. This was the push I needed to start writing my blog on a weekly basis. 10-minute novelists group is a great resource for writers, I highly recommend them.

Let me go back for a moment. I created this blog site in September 2010 and thinking I would blog about my raw food chef experiences along with my writing/meditation/spiritual journey. The ego got in the way “thinking” I wouldn’t have anything to contribute or why would anyone want to read my blog. I didn’t open my blog page for another three years. Oh, how I love procrastination mixed with old behavioral patterns of fear and excuses. During this time I was writing my first memoir about my maternal grandparents and growing up in Nova Scotia. Then we moved to Victoria as I accepted a job in the hotel world once again. I had left the hotel life for the second time in my career because I felt burnt out from the ego trying to think I should be something I wasn’t. I went back to the hotel life because it was a position with potential and that was and still is very interesting. I returned to the hotel business because it has always provided me with what was needed to get me where I was going.

What’s that they say about third times a charm?

When I started my new job I knew I had to maintain and move forward with my creativity. I was writing morning pages and kept saying how I wanted to share more of my writing. I wanted to contribute the stories that creativity has blessed me with, so I re-visited my blog page and started to write again. My first blog post was May 2013, three years after I opened this account. But, now that I have started, I can’t stop and I won’t stop. I am dedicated to Monday Blogs and now other blogging adventures, such at the A to Z challenge in April. I’m toying with the idea of another 30-day blog challenge, maybe that will be in the New Year.

I constantly want to improve my craft and writing every day is helping. I’m pushing myself to write on different topics for my blogs posts, however, I keep coming back to my true passion. Writing. I love writing and I love to share my journey with you. Maybe you are someone who wants to start writing and I can be of assistance. Maybe you are someone who has the same experiences and like me, wish to connect with other writers going through the same adventures of the writing life. Either way, I am happy you are here and we are in this creative life together.

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

A Recipe to Share – Thai Spaghetti Squash Noodles

I love to write and I love to cook. My social media pages tend to be filled with either writing quotes or pictures of what we are cooking. I thought I would share a few of our favourite recipes (Caution: plant-based recipes because veggies are good for you).

We recently made our first recipe from the Eat Better, Live Better, Feel Better, alkaline recipe book by Julie Cove. Thai Spaghetti Squash Noodles with Sweet Chili sauce.

The Noodles:

• 1 large spaghetti squash
• 1 Tbsp. coconut oil (I used light tasting olive oil)
• ¼ cup sliced yellow onion (I used a sweet onion)
• 3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh lemongrass (we used lemon zest because I forgot to but the lemongrass)
• 1 Tbsp. finely chopped garlic
• 1 Tbsp. finely chopped ginger
• ½ cup julienned scrubbed carrot
• ½ cup julienned, scrubbed daikon radish
• ½ cup julienned red bell pepper (we used about a cup because we love red peppers.
• ½ cup julienned, scrubbed zucchini
• 1 Tbsp. Bragg liquid aminos (I used soy sauce = 2 tbsp to the 1 tbsp)
• ¼ tsp sea salt
• 5 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
• 3 Tbsp. sliced fresh mint (we didn’t use this, my partner is not a fan of mind, fair enough)
• 3 Tbsp. of sliced basil
• 3 Tbsp. of finely chopped green onions (didn’t use, we don’t care for green onions, purely a taste thing for us)
• Juice from ½ lime
• Hemp heart for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment (I used our glass Pyrex dish, no parchment needed)


• Halve the squash lengthwise and place it, cut side down, on the baking sheet, (Do not add water or the squash will be too soft.) Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until fork-tender and the “spaghetti” strings pull freely from the skin. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
• Heat the oil in a sauté pan on medium heat. Add the onion, lemongrass, garlic, and ginger and sauté for 1 – 2 minutes. Stir in the carrot, daikon, bell pepper and zucchini for 1 -2 minutes. Season with Bragg (soy sauce) and salt. Remove from the heat, then add the cilantro, mint, basil, green onion, and lime juice and toss well to combine.
• Using a fork, loosen the strands of spaghetti squash from the skin by dragging it lengthwise with the stands. Divide the squash among 6 plates into nice heaps. Discard the skins. Pike the Thai-spiced veggie noodles over the squash and serve with sweet chili sauce on the side. Garnish with hemp hearts.

Sweet Chili Sauce: (It does take time to make I recommend getting a glass of wine)

• ¾ cup filtered alkaline water (we have a Brita, I took that as okay to use)
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 4 drops of stevia (Sorry can’t do Stevia – we used white sugar about a teaspoon for 2 to 4 drops)
• 1 Tbsp. tapioca starch (flour if you don’t have any)
• 1 tsp coconut oil (we used light tasting olive oil)
• ½ cup finely chopped sweet onion
• 2 garlic cloves finely minced
• ½ cup finely minced red bell pepper
• ½ Thai bird’s-eye chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped (couldn’t find this, but you can use cayenne pepper, about ½ tsp)
• 2 tsp maple syrup (optional) or more stevia – you better believe we used maple syrup

In a glass measuring cup. Whisk together the water, lemon juice, stevia, and tapioca starch until well combined. Set aside. (I used a mason jar and shook it together, great arm work out!)

• Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in garlic, bell pepper, and chilli pepper and sauté for 1 more minute. Whisk the tapioca mixture again and pour it into the pan. Cook, stirring to combine, for 3 – 5 minutes, until the mixture turns from cloudy to clear. Add the salt and maple syrup (if using). Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly, and pour into a sauceboat. (The sauce will set up as it chills. To thin it, whisk in a drizzle of warm water.)

Enjoy! Please let me know how you made out – did you substitute anything, add something? Please share.

Please sign up for my upcoming Newsletter where you can get Free chapters of my upcoming Memoir; Behind the Kitchen Doors – A Hotel Memoir Series, plus fun recipes like this!

Until Next Time, Keep On Typing. . . .

 

The 3-Day Novel Contest Journey

What is the 3-day novel contest? Basically writing a novel in three days. Simple. Right? Some of you maybe saying, no way. Some of you are getting that jittery exciting tickle deep in your stomach that might feel like nausea but it’s not, it’s the pure awareness of knowing you want to leap onto the page and write, write, write!

My first attempt at the 3-day novel contest was very similar to this decisions. I registered a week before the event and had no idea what I was going to write. I read how hundreds of other participants were preparing their outlines weeks even months prior. They had their shopping lists done for their meals, snacks, and beverages so there was no time wasted on anything. I gave myself a week to get my act together. I picked up ingredients for easy to prepare dinners, stocked up on tea, coffee, and wine for those late nights where I would need a jolt of Pinot Noir inspiration or relax the ego out of stressing over the word count.

The second attempt of the 3-Day Novel contest, I started with one idea that I actually outlined a few weeks prior and was proud that I was more prepared than my first year. After 12 hours of writing and a few hours of sleep I had a different idea pop into my head and started over. Yikes! But, I finished that novel, all 47,654 words of a thriller/drama/romance that I will one day go back and edit and give the attention it deserves.

This year? Third times a charm, right? I decided about a month ago I would register for the contest, but I wasn’t going to write something new. I know, I’m a rebel. I planned on taking the 3 days to focus on finishing the memoir I’ve been working on. It is finished but now it needs revisions and more of my attention. Taking time off from work to dive in deep to the pages was my intention. Then I started to get ready for work on Friday afternoon and I felt like I was missing something like I’ve been away from creating anything new. All the ideas that are waiting to be written are coming to the fore front. I think this is ego and wanting to not work on what I know needs to be completed. The ego and I have been doing this dance for a while and it’s my turn to take the lead.

But I wondered why now? Why this sense of writing something new when deep down I know I want to finish my memoir that I’ve been working on for far too many years now. As I write this I think, Yes, stick to your plan and edit that memoir, move forward, you know this plan is good, so get to it! I think I have answered my own question. The one thing I know to be true, more like a feeling, is to keep writing and work on my craft to be a bit better each day. There is a little part of me that wants to write something new, and I will, that is a promise to me and creativity.

Thank you for sticking around to read my ramblings this week. I’m learning more about my last-minute decisions regarding writing contests. I’m learning I need to finish one project and move forward. I’m aware that I need to give my attention to the stories that are waiting to be finished, one word at a time.

Until Next Time, Kep On Typing. . . .