Monthly Archives: March 2014

Letting Go Of The Past

This is really long and really personal, but I’m sharing it for the people who want to take the time to read it.

It’s much easier said than done. It’s one of the things I struggled with when I started this journey. The feeling in my heart when I first applied for my leave of absence from work told me I wouldn’t be going back, but I buried that voice inside of myself. I ignored it. I said, “Well, just in case things don’t work out, I can go back to work.” I was scared. What if I failed? What if I was a terrible writer? What if I got confused and I made a mistake and this wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing? What if, what if, what if. I drowned in them. My insecurities were suffocating. Everyone around me believed in me, but here I couldn’t believe in myself. That voice that kept telling me “this is right” faded and disappeared against the screaming in my head that said “be logical” the one that reminded me trying to become a writer was like trying to become a movie star or music artist. It just didn’t happen to people like me.

And then school started. And I was caught up in this whirlwind affair of grades and percentages. The nagging voice in the back of my head saying “what if you don’t make the grade?” I had no backup plan. It was this or nothing. I knew I couldn’t go back. Even though I told myself I was going back, I knew I couldn’t. I knew I was lying to myself and because of that I felt like I was lying to everyone around me. I felt like a fraud. I felt like an impostor. “Don’t worry I’m coming back” and “See you next summer” felt like black clouds over my head. Telling myself we needed the money just didn’t cut it. That incessant voice in my heart kept telling me “you aren’t going back.” And still I ignored it. I didn’t want to be a burden, how would we pay the thousands of dollars we owe in credit card debt… excuse after excuse to try and convince myself that going back to work was “the right thing to do.”

For my entire first semester I struggled with this. When January came I was faced with more than I could handle. Work fucked up so I owed them money, MSP was going to send my bill to collections, my car insurance was due ( another 1100$ we didn’t have onto the credit card because we need a vehicle). How could I go to my husband and say “I want to give up my full time job” when all of these things were staring me in the face? And still that voice in my heart “you aren’t going back.” It ate at my sanity, I lost sleep, felt physically ill, still trying to push that voice down, deeper, back to the volume I could ignore it. And the calendar turned from January to February. May was only three months away. I tried to look forward to work because it meant a paycheque and not having to stress about how we were going to pay our bills every month. It means savings in the bank for when I was back in school again.

But that voice. It just wouldn’t shut up. And then I went to Faeriecon. I feel like “So, I went to Faeriecon last weekend…” has become as famous as “So this one time, at band camp…” because it really was something else. A lot of it was rooted in Pagan traditions. Me and nature and my effect on it and it’s effect on me. Me and whatever great thing is out there. God, goddess… I don’t like calling it by name because I think it’s bigger than that. But my point is, because of someone’s generosity and kindness I was able to go to a special activity that normally costs money and that I wouldn’t have been able to attend normally called The Spell of Desire. The main focus was on the desire of our heart. That thing that we really wanted and the things holding us back from it.

My whole family is Christian, and Christians and Pagan’s haven’t exactly been BFF’s throughout history, if you know what I mean, but whatever is out there met me right in that conference room. That voice that I had been trying to subdue for months came back with a vengeance as a raging storm in my heart. It was screaming at me. In that room, in the quiet, focused only on that one desire in my heart, unburdened by everything else and all the crap from the outside world, the things blocking me seemed so small. In that moment it was so clear to me what I needed to do and it felt possible. It felt attainable, whereas before it felt impossible to me. So I made a plan. When I got home I was going to have a discussion with my husband and sort everything out and I was going to go back to casual at the hospital so I could focus on writing my novel over the summer.

Well the very next day as we drove back to Canada I had a lot of time sitting in the backseat to think logically. And that voice in my heart was completely overwhelmed with all the thoughts in my head telling me how stupid I was to think I would be able to give up my full time line at the hospital. By this time my friends had started discussing Tarot and readings and such and I thought of the untouched deck I had at home. So as these thoughts bombarded against the voice that STILL wouldn’t shut up, I told it I’d do a tarot reading in the hopes of appeasing it. By the time I got home and opened the mail, which included the aforementioned MSP collections threat, I was completely convinced I had made up everything I felt during the session and indeed needed to go back to work in the summer. The next day I grabbed the box that held my tarot deck but never opened it.  Partly because I was just feeling too depressed about the awesome experience I now felt was impossible, and partly because I was scared of what it would say.

For those of you unfamiliar with Tarot it’s basically a deck of 78 cards. Each card has a specific meaning. The whole deck is infused with the owners energy, if that makes sense, so generally, depending on the type of reading, it will reveal those things deep inside of your subconscious. A lot Christians will tell you it’s demonic, but my own experience says otherwise. I mean, I SUPPOSE the demons could be sending me positive messages through the deck (even though “demons” are usually evil), but I prefer to think my spirit actually holds my energy and that energy gets infused into the things around me, including my tarot deck and especially when I’m meditating on a problem or question and infusing that energy into the cards.

Now I haven’t taken out my tarot deck in many many years. So I had to go online to look up a spread and refresh my mind on what the cards all meant. Then I laid them out and just about shat my pants. Literally every card spoke to me on an extremely spiritual level and if I had ANY doubt before, it was pretty much blown out of the water. It addressed EVERY single concern that was weighing on my heart. I am a firm believer god (or whatever you call it) will meet you wherever you are, and I was met even more strongly than in the session at Faeriecon. To give a quick run down it highlighted the thing that weighed on my heart:

It zeroed in on the journey I had been on to get here, and all the hardships I had faced and the subsequent strength I had established. Strength in myself and my ability and how I should be proud of that. The biggest struggle though was being a financial burden to my loved ones. I kid you not it said this “If  further success in creative affair is desired, it often becomes necessary to ask other people for assistance. There is no shame in asking for help…” I almost started crying.

It highlighted the things from my past that were influencing me:

A solid financial base, assured security and comfort. Material success and the things I’ve accomplished on the material plane. How being successful materially can help develop your self-worth but ultimately you need to find a balance between that and your spiritual self.

It highlighted the future:

What to do now that I had received all this wealth. It said trying to hold onto wealth in case you need it later is like trying to capture love in a bottle. It encouraged me to let go and let the next generation take over so they could gain as much as I did. It talked about inheritance and giving it to my successors.

It highlighted the reason behind the question:

It talked about an event that symbolizes the conception of an idea. The brief creative spark that comes to you, suddenly and unexpectedly, and that starts you down the road of a new creative vision. It spoke about fear and how the dark demons I was so afraid of are exposed by my inner fire, and that those demons were me running from myself. It told me to embrace my fear because it was part of me and I could use it to grow stronger.

And finally it highlighted the potential in the situation:

It spoke about good fortune and wealth. It spoke of hard work, and the need to act now. It spoke of a seed planted in fertile soil in which ideas can be planted to mature and grow, and even though it will be a slow growth, the success of the harvest is practically assured.

I’ve never had a reading like it before. Never ever, it was all right there in front of me. Everything I had done, everything I was afraid of, and everything I could accomplish if I could find the courage to continue. So I reached out for support. And the things I was afraid of no longer seemed that big anymore. The outpouring of support from friends and family was incredible. It was unexpected. I literally feel like I could take on the world right now. My heart feels so light, even the things that upset me this week feel small. I know this is going to be a long and even arduous journey at times, but look at everything I’ve already accomplished. So this is me letting go. This is me not looking back. This is me stepping out into the world of my dream.


P.S. I have officially started the process of going back to casual. I will not be returning to my full time line. I’m all in now.

Categories: Life or Something Like it | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lessons in Shotgunning

I was nineteen when I shotgunned my first beer. I was at the park with Hayden and his friends. It’s not like there was anything else to do on a Saturday night in this town. Hayden spun into the little sapling beside him after he took his turn.
“I’m so drunk right now,” he said.
Dylan and Wes laughed, having successfully finished their own. I thought he was play acting, it was just one beer. I punched a hole in the bottom of my can with the can opener on Wes’ keychain. I think it was Molson Canadian. I pushed it to my mouth and pulled the tab. The cold liquid started a quick rush down my throat and I swear I almost died. From choking, that is. How embarrassing would that be? Being the older sister I had a reputation to keep.
When Hayden was done dramatizing he turned around to ask me how I felt.
“You don’t feel anything at all?” he said.
“No.” Was I supposed to? “I feel exactly the same.”
I could tell he was impressed and I won’t lie about how proud I felt. Shotgunning a beer without getting drunk felt medal worthy and I’d do anything to earn my brother’s respect. I leaned back against the picnic table, deciding to do another one. This one hit me a little harder and my head started to buzz. I drank the last one normally.
“We need more beer,” Wes said.
I kicked the empty case. I guess a 12-pack didn’t last long when there were four people shotgunning them. I hopped off the table and wobbled a bit.
“Okay, now I’m feeling it,” I said.
Maybe I should have felt guilty walking to the liquor store to buy alcohol for me and my underage brother, but I didn’t. Better me than some stranger off the street offering more than just alcohol. I knew he’d be out here drinking with or without me.
I bought a 4-pack of Mike’s Hard lemonade and grabbed two tequila shots. What the hell, they were only ninety-nine cents each. We walked to the elementary school, since it was closer, and sat on the blue metal benches near the playground. Wes, Dylan and Hayden drank more beer, and I drank my lemonade; entertainment courtesy of Wes as he tried and failed to cross the monkey bars.
“These bars are moving,” he said.
“Just keep telling yourself that,” Dylan said.
Hayden ran over. “I’ll hold your legs.”
It seemed like a good plan until about halfway when Hayden tripped, Wes lost his grip and they ended up in a heap on the rubber ground. I laughed as they staggered to their feet. I don’t remember Wes going home; I guess I was pretty drunk by then. Before we left the playground I grabbed the plastic shot glasses and handed one to Hayden.
“What’s this,” he asked.
“Tequila and Butterripple Schnapps,” I replied.
“You guys are crazy,” Dylan said.
I laughed. “Whatever, it’s only one shot.”
“I don’t do tequila since last year’s camping trip when chewed up hotdogs ended up in the lake,” he replied.
“Too much detail bro,” Hayden said.
“You mean all them little garbled up pink fleshy pie—“
Hayden pushed Dylan’s shoulder. “Seriously, that’s so gross.”
I shrugged. “At least they were cheap.”
We pulled off the foil wrap. “One, two, three.” It burned the whole way down. I wanted a cigarette after that. Don’t ask me why, because I never smoked before, it was a weird craving. Dylan offered me a stogie, but it made me gag and I gave it back to him. We stumbled down a path between pink stucco houses, the street lamps casting shadows through their darkened windows, and continued past Cheungs Market, yelling and laughing along the empty streets. I don’t remember where we ended up. Somewhere in that small town, along the chain-link fence of a basketball court, my brother got sick.
“Just let it all out man,” Dylan said.
I bent down beside him and rubbed his back. “It’ll be okay.”
“I’m really glad you’re here,” he told me.
“Where else would I be?” I replied.
There’s something about standing beside your younger brother as he pukes up a nights worth of alcohol into the grass that makes you evaluate life. Maybe it was weird that I didn’t want to be anywhere else, but it felt like we shared a moment and I knew I always wanted to be the person he felt safest with. When we were kids we only had each other to rely on; we knew the darkest parts of ourselves and I wanted him to know I wasn’t afraid of his.

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The Multi-Year Release Author

This is not a bashing post. I’ve sometimes wondered how author’s can release multiple books a year, one in particular I follow has 4? series simultaneously going on and being released on a yearly basis. That’s at least 4 books/year (although there are also one shots that might add to that), and I don’t mean to compare myself, but everyone does sometimes. I don’t mean that publishing multiple books a year is bad or wrong or makes those books less good, trust me, I have read and loved many a book! It’s just that it got me thinking about myself.

I’m, a year and 6 weeks-ish into writing book 1 and I feel close to being finished, but I’ve felt close for the last 2 months. What’s to say I won’t feel close for the next 6? I wanted to finish it on Christmas break, and then I wanted to finish by the 1yr anniversary, and then my birthday and on and on, but the book will be done when it’s done. I realized a lot of the author’s who publish so many books are one shot authors. They sit down, write the book in one shot and then send it to the editor, but I’m not like that.

I don’t think I could ever be like that. I don’t mean that I can’t sit down and write the book in one shot, because both book 1 and my NaNo book were written in one shot, but the level of personal editing and adding and changing and cutting that I feel the need to do before it’s “perfect” could never allow me to send it to an editor as soon as it’s finished. I miss too much in my rush to finish it. It’s not until I go back again and again that I see everything that could be better about it. I’m not saying those other authors miss stuff for writing it in one shot, I’m just meaning me personally, I miss things. And that’s okay. It’s okay that I don’t finish multiple books a year. It’s okay that it’s taken me this long to slowly poke and prod everything out of book 1.

Ultimately as an author, I need to strive for the level of perfection that suits me, and if I’m a bit insecure and feel the need to take longer to finish a book, that’s okay. I’m still learning what makes a book great, and that’s what I want. I don’t want a good book, I want a great book, so I will keep working until it’s the level of great that I would expect from the author’s I look up to. I want to write the book that people want to read.


Categories: Book Musings | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Faeriecon West 2014

Yes, it’s true, I went to Faeriecon West last weekend and it was amazing. Be jealous. It was truly a well needed fun respite from all the stress of school and life. I feel refreshed. I am also back on track with school! Mid-term season is over and all my papers and proposals have been written, and handed in. In fact, I have reached the point where I feel like I should be doing homework, but have no homework to do. It’s an odd, but welcome feeling. That being said, I am excited to get back on track with the book.  I have still not re-posted chapter 1-3 and I apologize. I have added a whole new scene to chapter 2 and re-written the whole beginning of chapter 1.

I know I keep saying “it’s done, it’s done” but in re-reading the beginning of the book I realized it’s mostly all narrative. I have nothing against narrative and exposition, but there’s something to be said about showing the reader your character through action and dialogue instead of glazing it over with 1000 words of straight expository telling. I like it a lot more now. The first 3 chapters are pretty much the most important, especially when it’s usually the first 1-3 chapters that get sent to an agent/publisher. It needs to grip the reader right away and keep them going all the way through.

So I’m back to business as usual, toiling away to get the first 3 chapters back up and then it will be back to chapter 33. Here’s some pics of my Faeriecon weekend. I’ve got a day outfit, my good faerie ball and bad faerie ball costumes. I will chat with all you lovelies later 🙂


photo 1 photo 4 photo 5 (3)

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