Monday, July 15, 2019

For Inspiration, Look Up

Inspiration is definitely all around us, but for the purpose of this post, we're looking up.

Last month, daredevil Nik Wallenda and his sister, Lijana, performed a high wire act in Times Square. It was exciting and emotional. During a practice a few years back, Lijana fell from the wire. She broke every bone in her face and was not expected to survive, let alone walk (on the ground!) again. So while it was amazing to see her up in Times Square, it was more thrilling to me to watch her take some of those early steps right above my head.

Wallenda makes some of his wire walking practice sessions free and open to the public.  My husband and I went to the first one. The crowd was silent as Lijana got up on the wire, but the desire for her to succeed was practically thrumming through all of us, as if we were screaming on the inside. It wasn't until she made it all the way across that the crowd breathed a sigh of relief then erupted into applause.


It all starts with one step. One step toward a dream. One step toward better health. One step toward freeing yourself from whatever chains hold you back, hold you down. It's okay if the step feels terrifying to you, but easy and normal to everyone else. It's okay if you need a harness or a safety net, especially in the beginning.


And even though most of us don’t have a crowd of people cheering for us and taking our photos (thank goodness for that last part!), we usually have at least a few special people rooting for us.


And, if it helps at all, please know that from this tiny corner of the blogosphere, I am wildly applauding your progress.

*****

Who or what has inspired you lately? Why? Let's put some positive energy out into the world!  

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

July IWSG: STEMMING THE TIDE OF STAGNATION

Once, when the tortoises were small, my husband and I put a parsley plant in their space. The idea was for them to nibble at their leisure. 


A (very!) short time later, we were greeted by two very full and happy tortoises . . . and a bunch of sad looking stems.


Much like that first imagined scenario, I've had a problem nibbling at me for years. It's affected everything in my life, from my confidence to my writing. It's insidious and subtle and left me doubting myself, blaming myself. But like the actual scenario, I've recently been torn down and ripped up. I'm like those stems - limp, exhausted, exposed. It's scary, but now I have clarity. It's not my fault. I'm not crazy. I can finally see what's been happening, and what I can do about it. 

To paraphrase Maya Angelou – When you know better, you do better. Just like my husband and I now know to keep the parsley plant away from cute (but greedy!) tortoises, we also now know to keep ourselves away, as much as possible anyway, from negative and toxic influences. It won't be easy but with careful tending, a new plant - and a renewed passion for creativity and writing – will grow, healthy and strong and thriving! 

(Side note: The Summer of George is not going very well, but I haven't given up! There is still a lot of summer left!)

*****

Have you ever experienced that moment of clarity, that relief it wasn't you, it wasn't all in your head? Any suggestions for self-care and building back self-esteem? How's your summer going? 

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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

June IWSG: The Summer of George 2019

Okay, it might not be the whole summer, and my name is not George, but The Half Summer of Madeline sounds strange. So I'm declaring it The Summer of George 2019! *

To be honest, I'm struggling. Creativity is fleeting, elusive, like the fireflies I tried to catch as a kid, while anxiety and minor health issues seem heavy and never-ending, like the sidewalks I used to roller-skate on.

Summer used to mean freedom, filling my days with things I loved. I need some of that back. And so that's what this summer is all about.

Binge-reading. Eating ice cream. Going to the beach. Watching scary movies. Doing arts and crafts. Playing with ideas for July's Camp NaNo.

It's not all fun and games. I still have grown-up things to do, of course, so I'll get those done. Other stuff? Not so much. It's about the attitude.

This might all seem silly, and it might not work, but my creativity and my spirit demand I do something before they become too dim to be seen in the summer dusk.

*****

What was your summer like as a kid? What's it like now? Have any suggestions for fun activities? (Traveling isn't easy for me so closer-to-home ideas are appreciated!) What are you looking forward to this summer - a trip? a project? a book? a movie? 

*****

* If you're not familiar with Seinfeld's The Summer of George, or if you just want a good chuckle, check out the clip (it's less than a minute) below -




And if you know The Summer of George storyline, please join me in hoping my summer turns out better than George's . . . .

*****

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Please stop by and say hi to my fellow IWSG co-hosts: Diane Burton, Kim Lajevardi, Sylvia Ney, Sarah Foster, and Jennifer Hawes.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

IWSG: Bring It On, May!

Did you ever have one of those times when it felt like for every one step forward, you ended up taking two steps backward? Welcome to my April.

I cut back on social media . . . but not as much as I'd intended. My plan was to regroup and re-energize, to find focus off screen, but I still found myself online more often than not.

I worked on my novella . . . only to go back and change the POV again. And again. And again. Even my characters are annoyed. I've caught them huddled up, casting sly glances over their shoulders at me, plotting an evil takeover. Hmm, maybe I should let them  . . . .

And don't even get me started on the life-related things I barely made progress on. I'm pretty sure the tortoises accomplished more than I did last month. They definitely ate more fruits and vegetables, walked around a lot, and spent time relaxing in the sun.

Okay, I did complete a short story and submit it before a mid-April deadline. And I entered one of literary agent Janet Reid's recent flash fiction contests and even though my story didn't make the finals, it did receive this comment -

"Madeline Mora-Summonte scares me."

So, yes, I'm going to take that as a compliment, thank you very much. And I'm going to use it as a reminder and as a kick in the pants, use it for motivation and for momentum. Bring it on, May!

*****

How was your April? Did you make good progress on a project or did you get stymied? What are you hoping to accomplish this month, with your writing or otherwise? Do I scare you? 


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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

IWSG: Banana on the Horizon

Every once in a while, I find one of the tortoises flipped over. Usually this happens when they're doing something they're not supposed to, and I'm starting to wonder if the same goes for me.

That shiny new project from last month? It had an upcoming submission deadline that I was so sure I could make. Pffft. No way.

A short story rejection? Puh-leeze. That's nothing new around here. It's part of the writing life. But a recent rejection sent me spiraling deeper than usual, and I don't know why.

Add in the usual life stuff, and it's been quite the March.

But much like a flipped over tortoise who knows there will be banana on the horizon one of these days, and you have to be on your feet to eat it, I will regroup and right myself!

One way I'm doing this is to take April off from most social media. I'll still be around, but there's a short story I want to write, and a novella draft that needs finishing. After that, I don't really know. But I do believe there's banana out there for me, and when I find it, I will turn it into the best banana split ever. (Seriously, did you think I was going to go through all this introspective hoopla for a plain old banana? Sheesh!)

*****

Have you taken a social media break recently? Planning on taking one? What do you focus on when you do - a particular project, re-filling the creative well, traveling? What else? Any suggestions for me?


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Monday, March 11, 2019

Sight - 101 Fiction


Kooky Clara draws a map, even though she can't read it. 

Jenny can, even though she's about to wish she hadn't. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

IWSG: The Cake Fork vs. The Pen

Just when I made a decision regarding my next writing project, a new opportunity started waving at me and yelling, "Hey, you! Put down that cake fork and pick up a pen! Get over here!"

My first thought was to keep my head down and follow through on my goal. That's what focused people do. That's what accomplished adults do. That's what successful professionals do.

Since I am none of those things, I decided to chuck my original plan and follow this new opportunity's siren song.

Now, this siren song could be a deliciously haunting opera with dark notes and seductive shadows that premieres to standing ovations. Of course, it could be the cigarette-huskied ditty of an evil bag lady who wants to stab my creativity with a cake fork and add it to her collection of doomed writers' souls she pushes around in her cart.

I'm willing to take that chance.

So, for the next month or so, I'll be keeping my head down and following through . . . on this new project. Wish me luck!

*****

Have you been swayed lately by a new idea, a new opportunity? Or did you stick to your original plan? How did you decide? 

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