Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Great American Novel

Creative Writing class is over for this session and I feel as though I have been renewed with the desire to write more. Not only write more, but write BIG! In this case, big means that I've decided to write a novel.

Now, for those of you who know how much I like to read Nora Roberts books, don't worry -- this is not a romance novel. Actually, I'm not at all sure what kind of novel it's going to be. I know whatever it ends up being, it's going to fantastic... it's also going to be a best seller... and it's going to be turned into a movie!

That's not asking for too much. If I'm going to put all the time and effort into a novel, it needs to go the distance.

So far I'm on page three, but I have characters in my mind with a little story behind it. I'm not sure how it's all going to come together... I'm just hoping it does! I guess when we see my name on the best seller list we'll know it happened.

Well, I have to get back to writing...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Laptop vs Pen

Let's be honest... just about everyone uses a computer in this day & age. And why not? They (usually) make things go much faster and smoother. All your information, documents and photos can all be stored in one central location. I agree - very easy!

In my creative writing class we've talked about when to write, where to write, how to write, etc. It seems that most people tend to use laptops to write and keep their thoughts on. What ever happened to the good old fashioned pen and paper?

If you've been to my blog before, you've likely seen me talk about my love of pens, but it's not just pens. I love paper too! I have all kinds at my disposal and I am always on the lookout for more!

To say that putting pen to paper is a pleasure for me would be an understatement. I feel so much more connected to my writing when i take the time to sit with the paper, to get to know the pen. Nothing can take away the feeling of the ink gliding on the texture of the paper (because we know that paper is not all created equal!), catching the color. Some inks take their time to dry, risking a smear by the movement of the writer's hand; some shimmer in the light and then lay themselves down to permanent contrast on the paper.

Don't get me wrong, I love my laptop too! It's keep me in touch with friends & family I wouldn't be able to. I'm sure you all know those who would rather receive mail than to send it. Email & social networking has made allowances for those people & given them a much better way to communicate! And, along with those people, I'm happy to take advantage of it!

People often compliment my handwriting and I simply say "it's practice." And it's true, I write whenever I feel the urge and, most of the time, the urge is great. I feel the words & the pen & the paper. They all go hand-in-hand. One would not be complete without the others.

In this technology heavy world today, pen & paper is still this writer's only true option.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

An Open Letter to Ryan Buell

I’m about to write an open letter to Ryan Buell, founder of the Paranormal Research Society, and star of “Paranormal State”, a show that investigates paranormal phenomena in the US. I am a religious viewer—tuning in every week.

Dear Mr. Buell… Ryan, if that’s ok with you,

Ryan, I don’t want to come across as a star struck girl about to meet her crush for the first time. That is not me. Ok, that could be me, but not through this letter.

I also don’t want to be one of those people who are out to hitch a ride on your coat tails, soaring to popularity on cable TV. And let’s face it, those coat tails are going places! I’m not one of those people!
I’m not going to disagree with your beliefs, call you crazy, say it’s all made up, TV stunts… nope, I believe it all! I believe it’s all real, & still, I watch the shows at night, in bed, alone. I’m a sucker for a good spook!

I am someone who has been fascinated with the paranormal, all things unexplained and mysteries for as long as my memory will allow me to go. As a young girl, I read “The Demonologist” (and am thrilled to see Lorraine Warren on your show)! I can admit to reading the book, examining the pictures, getting totally freaked out & leaving said book far from my bedroom when I slept. Hiding it (along with Stephen King books) under the sofa was the preferable place to keep items with the potential to remind me that things do go bump in the night.
I have never seen a ghost, never been to a haunted house, never had anything as life-altering as what you have been through, but I’m still fascinated by it all. I am amazed at the poise & the dedication you have, though all your regular viewers know something deep within you spurs you onward, searching for something you haven’t shared with us just yet. I think it’s very admirable the kind way you work with your team & your clients, as well as always respecting the land & the history of the places you investigate.

Every week when I watch your show I am alternately amazed at the guts your team has and wishing with all my might that I could be one of the trainees on your show. I’ve gone as far as admitting to my husband that if you were to grant this little known wish of mine and ask me to join up, I’d have to leave him & spent a life on the road with PRS, seeking out the next paranormal location.

So, Ryan, thank you fro the entertainment, the chance to take a moment & ask myself ‘what if’ and for the chills watching your show in the dark. You have made a fan for life. And, other than the above-mentioned dream of joining PRS, I only have one little thing to ask. Can you please make your episodes an hour long? Five days a week? All year long?

Yours in the unknown,

This above photo is not mine & I do not have any claims to it. No copyright infringement intended.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I love Halloween, by Orion

This year I decided to take a more 'active' role in Halloween. I wanted my mommy to make me a homemade costume that wasn't too hot or too tight. I like to be able to run! She made me this cool costume - a basketball player! My jersey has my name & I even got to carry my own ball! Oh, she also made little sweatbands for me, but I wasn't digging those & had them thrown to the floor before the camera could even be found!

I love this holiday! It's the best because I get to hang with 'the boys'. I really like those guys. One of the boys is really small - almost my size. He talks to me & follows me around a lot. I don't mind. He's nice enough.

This year there was another lil person with us. I don't think it was another of the guys though. This lil person was dressed like my siblings, Cheddy & Moodles, but in a really weird color. I've never seen a pink kitty before. And the cats at my house, they can be very noisy. Sometimes I'm trying to sleep & that orange one will start talking & won't stop. The only way I can get back to sleep is hiding under the covers next to mommy! I think that's very rude. You can tell he's fresh from the streets! Look how much skin he shows at home! Have a little modesty!

Anyway, this pink kitty, she smelled kinda funny too. I don't think I have that smell at my house. And one of the guys kept staring at her! I was sniffing & looking, trying to figure out what he was so enrapt with & I just couldn't see it!

The guys & I hit the ground running. I was excited to hear, see and smell all the things they had going on their neighborhood. So many bushes to smell - it was like being in heaven! I wasn't worried about getting candy though because I'm trying to watch my figure. I don't work out on the courts for nothing!

There was a scary moment that night. I saw these things in the yard & they looked really spooky! I ran between mommy's legs & hid my face. She explained they weren't real & couldn't hurt me. I wasn't so sure about that white guy on top and didn't look directly in his eyes. Good thing we had a sorcerer with us!

There was another big person with us on Halloween... it was a Pink Cat. It's lucky for them that I likes cats. I don't like pink very much, but Pink Cat didn't stick around the whole time. During our outing the 2 cats went off hunting mice & lil pink kitty didn't come back. I guess she was really hungry for lil mice!

I have to say it was another good Halloween with the boys. After we said goodbye, Mommy & I went home to tell the others about our adventures. SydSyd & Jakester were very interested in the scents I brought back with me! I think they were a little jealous though... I drifted off to sleep not long after that. Trick or Treating really takes it out of a pup!

I'm already thinking about my costume for next year!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Creative Writing Exercise Results

One class began with the instructor asking us to make a list. Each item on the list had to begin with "I Remember...". There was no task other than the list. So I made my list. It was 2 pages full of remembering. We set that aside & went onto something else.

Later in the class she asked us to get our lists out (the lists we do are never just 'lists'). Instructions were: pick one of your memories & write about the feelings we had for 10 minutes. Below is what i wrote:
I remeber the feeling of utter belief the moment the medium started my reading. All my life I'd be entranced by the paranormal and those things that cannot be explained. So when he began to ask questions that made it sound like we were once friends, I knew my experience with him would never be forgotten.

"Was there confusion with her passing?" he asked.

"Yes," I responded, my voice reflecting my amazement.

He continued... "Are you a painter?"
"Do you try & talk to her yourself?"
"She's referring to a 'Bobby' with regard to your husband. Does he know a 'Bobby'?"

Yes! Yes! Yes! To all of it! I wanted to jump straight out of my chair & discuss one-on-one with him how he did it. He was on the money and I was ready to ask for lottery numbers.
Another class a few weeks later we were asked to pull out our "I remember" topic again & write about one specific feeling or moment we had (for 10 minutes). That writing is below:
The room was ice cold. We were advised ahead of time to dress warmly, but they neglected to mention the need for parkas & portable heaters.

Though it wasn't explained, I suspected connecting with spirits is enough to raise someone's body temperature. This meant the rest of us, the paying audience, were plunged into subzero coolness.

I wore a sweatshirt over my long-sleeves & several times wished I'd brought gloves, scarf & possibly a ski mask. I couldn't see my breath yet, but with every click of the a/c turning on, I knew it was only a matter of time.

My mom was sitting nect to me, her fleece jacket zipped to her chin. She's the type who is cold in the middle of summer, so I imagined it took a great deal of willpower not to shiver & shake right out of her metal chair.

The medium looked quite comfortable in the chill, wearing only jeans & a long-sleeved cotton shirt. He wasn't rubbing his hands together for warmth or wiping his nose - a side effect of being in the cold too long. No, it was as if he was radiating his own heat. Too bad it wasn't reaching across the room to where I sat.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Where Have I Been?

Mi madre has been making comments lately about the lack of posts on my site! I know, I know... it's true. I've been bad! But... I have reasons - lots of them! Stay tuned & I might just tell you about them!

I *might* be writing about:
~~ my 20 year high school reunion
~~ the reading I had with the medium
~~ all the birthday festivities in my family (though, not mine!)
~~ my creative writing class + possible examples
~~ Halloween with my pup

See? All good reasons to stay tuned! I'll be back!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Another year...

Would you look at that? October 11th came around again? I just read a post from my 35th (yes, my REAL 35th) birthday. Seems like just yesterday - not 3 years ago!

Where has the time gone? Zipped right on by. It's true that life doesn't stand still - for anyone!

I'm one of those people who likes to celebrate birthdays. Not just another day for me! Why not do something on the day that's 'yours'?? Life is not nearly full enough of times to make memories, so I'm going to make sure my birthday is one of them.

The 'big' things this birthday weekend were dinner with Cattail & DragonSlayer with Cop'er. Always good getting together with them! The other day I got my gift from Cop'er - a new Zune HD. Love it!

I have a Zune currently & it's one I've used since 2006. That's a long time for an MP3 in this technologically advancing world! So, now I have moved up in the world. No regrets either!

We also went to see "Case 39". It wasn't bad, not sure it was good either though. But one thing I know, any slightly 'spooky' movie that has kids and/or dogs in it is going to be that much scarier! I don't know what it is with those 2 additions to scary movies, but it really creeps me out!

I got to spend a little time with my BFF & her sidekicks. We went to lunch & 'walk through' the new Garden Ridge store on her end of town.
The best part of the whole birthday weekend is the day off I got... not because it's my birthday, but because Columbus was thoughtful enough to discover land & have a holiday declared for his efforts. And now I am reaping the rewards of his discovery... on my birthday.

So, thank you, Mr. Columbus, for all your hard work. Your little discovery really paid off for me!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Being Brave

In my creative writing class, the instructor touched on a topic that many of us have in common.

Fear of criticism.

After reading an excerpt, a writer's take on being critiqued & critized, she told us something that I'm going to try & remember.

Writing is a very personal thing. So personal that it takes a certain kind of person to put their ideas on paper and let others read it.

That kind of person... brave.

When the rest of the world is giving their opinions on what you write, remember that YOU have the guts to put it out there. You were brave enough to take that chance.

That's more than many people will ever do.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Gettin' Along Creatively

I've been to two Creative Writing classes now & I am definitely enjoying them. Thus far we have been given a few exercise to do in class. Once everyone has written on the 'topic' for 10 minutes you can choose to read to the class, summarize your writing or pass on it. Believe it or not, I haven't passed... I haven't summarized... I've read all the things I've written.

Our first class started with introductions and answers to the questions of "why are you here?" & "what do you want to get out of this class?". Several people wanted to learn more so they could continue or start to write novels. Someone just wanted more instruction on the 'how to's' in creative writing. I just wanted some sparks to push along the written creative word. I didn't tell everyone I also want to write the Great American Novel and become rich... getting screenplay offers & having to move to New York or California to further my career.

"Hi, my name is Amie. I'm a graphic designer. I have a blog. I need more ideas. It's hard to be creative 24/7."

This class is a great environment to be in - one where you aren't judged on content & grammar & 'the point of it all'. We all know we were only given 10 minutes to write. No masterpiece is likely to come from that little time. (Doesn't stop me from hoping though!)

We also listen to the instructor read passages from books that she feels are examples of the 'theme' for the day. Granted, I don't 'get' some of these stories, but I am eager to put these new thoughts & skills to use.

Our first class started with us making a list of things we were 'obsessed' with. (I'm sure you aren't surprised to hear the first thing on my list was 'pens'). There were other things on the list, but i won't bore you with those details.

The second class started with the class making a list of people who had made an impression on our lives. This 'impression' could have been good or bad. We're never told what we will take of these names, so we blindly make a list.

The instructor: "Now that you have your list, pick your 'character' and write about them in such a way so we will learn about him."

Ok... here goes nothing.

He knew he should have left the house hours earlier. Of course he did—everyone told him so. He thought there’d be enough time—he knew his way there and even an alternate if he needed it!
But today was not his day. They were starting the game—well, at least the pre-game rituals—players warming up, fans loading their arms with the most expensive beer & hot dogs and the Star Spangled Banner being sung—all without him.

Pounding his fist on the steering wheel & calling all slow drivers by made-up vulgar words did nothing to speed up the traffic. The Red Sox would play without him. Play they would, but not very well, not without him.

He listened to the game start over his car speakers, imagining the field as the players took their places. He’d been to so many games every nook & cranny of the area of memorized. Despite his irritation at being caught in traffic and missing the start of the game, he couldn’t help but cheer on his team. He knew they needed his support. He was, in his mind perhaps, their biggest fan.

He arrived at the stadium 30 minutes into the game and hadn’t missed a moment of the action thanks to the radio. However, faced with the long trek from the parking lot to his well-worn seat overlooking third base, he paused. What would he miss? He just knew they’d make the best play of the night in the time it took him to settle in with the rest of the fans. Perhaps he should stay in the car and listen to the rest of the game from there. No, he was their biggest fan and they needed him… he started running.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I 'Make Things'

What is the difference between a craft room & man cave? Let's have a comparison.

Craft Room = organized space of all things crafty, room to spread said crafts out, creative headquarters for artsy types, colorful 'things' for projects as yet unknown, cat haven

Man Cave = foolish nonsense abounds, testosterone corral, dog shananigans area, poker palace, masculine movie theater

And, yes, it's true. I make things. I have a whole craft room for making things. To be honest, it's not the WHOLE room. There is a guest bed & furniture in there in case we might have an overnight visitor. It's also a good place for (literal) cat naps!

Cop'er likes to complain about all the 'things' in the room. I believe I have heard him refer to these 'things' as... junk. Some of that 'junk' is from my college days (art major!) and very expensive to replace in case i decide to take up pastels & pen & ink drawing again!

(I know you are laughing about that!)

Needless to say, I like to go into the man cave & point out his 'junk'... the paddle from your fraternity days? Really? The strange smoking frog your brother gave you???


You wanna talk about JUNK?

But to make my point, I do make things in the craft room. Just the other day, I assisted AriCaVa in putting together invitations. She came over to use the (very organized & labeled) supplies & low & behold - I had everything she needed! Just think of how much money I might have saved her!

I'm doing watercolors now as well, but I don't do them in the craft/guest room... There's no DVR in there...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Angels Among Us

Earlier this year, I signed on to become a Chemo Angel. There are different levels of Angels and I opted to become a Card Angel. I was to be assigned someone who is fighting cancer at this very minute. What was most appealing about this organization was that, I would be 'required' to write cards & letters, uplifting messages (or, in my case, boring topics about me!) and the occasional, small gift. This option was perfect for me because I write all the time anyway (I dont know what I am writing, but there is pen in hand)!

It took a little time before I received my assignment, but I finally did this spring. That's when Moonstone (yes, this is just her name while in my blog) came into my life. Moonstone is a young woman currently battling evil breast cancer. She's married & has an adorable little girl... and she's going through chemo.

I've had great fun these few months thinking of topics to write about, finding different cards to send, looking for small gifts to send in the cards. Somehow I find words enough to fill the cards, but I'm not at all certain she's not tossing them in the circular file when she gets them!

Ok, that's not completely true... I know she looks forward to these cards. We have become Facebook friends & i get to 'see' more of her & how she's doing through that portal.

I am so proud of Moonstone to have kept such a positive outlook on things even as she's going through the treatments she is! I'm not sure I would be as strong as she's been. I can tell from the things she writes, the comments she receives & the wonderful vibe that she exudes how special she is. She has a deep & obvious love for her family & friends & it's infectious!

There are days when I can't think of anything to write - you know, I don't have a rockstar life! - but then I think of Moonstone & all she's going through & how this little thing I am doing might be making her smile on a rough day... and suddenly I have a burst of inspiration!

I have high hopes that one day I won't be writing to Moonstone... at least not as a cancer patient. I am hoping for beautiful days - cancer free days - filled with more family & friends & love than she can handle!

If you are looking for a small way to help someone dealing with cancer, think about becoming a Chemo Angel. It's one of those easy, feel-good things everyone can do!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Can you Learn to Write Creatively?

That is a question I will attempt to answer in the coming months. You see, I have enrolled in a creative writing class. It's through the county parks & recreation program, so it's not going to be too taxing. I just hope it's full of inspiration!

I'm going to write "the great American novel" after all. But, first, I need an idea!

I think what I am looking forward to the most is having time to focus on writing. It's actually something I enjoy. I know other people feel that it's more chore than pleasure, but, for me, having pen in hand is relaxing & freeing & comfortable.

I've written fairly regularly in a journal since I was a sophomore in college (& if we do the math, that is 16 years). It's changed over the years from the way I actually write -- as in, handwriting -- to the things I write about, to the people who have come in & gone out of my life, to the format of the journal (sometimes more drawing & inspiration than reflection). One thing remains the same... no matter where I am, you can pretty much guarantee that I'll have pen & paper with me! (ok, pens are a given since I am a pen freak, but paper is another story!)

Currently I am trying to keep an 'art journal' in addition the traditional type. I have been inspired by this blog (Alisa Burke). Such amazing stuff! Just goes to prove there is inspiration everywhere - you just have to look for it!

And in the coming weeks you should be on the look for creative outpourings of a struggling writer! Don't say I didn't warn you!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What is a "Grayzeeelife"?

Well, sit down for a little storytime, kids.

Forget that. I don't have a real story for this. I needed to make up a name for my Zune (for you iPod people, that would be the Microsoft equivalent). I didn't want to use my last name and I couldn't think of anything catchy. Then I decided to reference the craziness I felt in my life. 'Grayzeee' was born.

It's a combination of my last name & an alternate spelling of 'crazy'.

Then I had to come up with something for my blog. Needed to be reflective of my personality. I thought - hey, I'll use that 'grayzeee' name again. Since the blog was going to be about my life, it turned into "Grayzeeelife"...

And now, I've made a logo for my blog too! (I know this is a long time coming since I am a graphic designer & all.) I guess I didn't want to use all my creative juices in one sitting!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ragweed: What is this thing you speak of?

I don't know about the rest of you, but this weather is KILLING me. I, as many of you know, have allergies. Allergies so bad that I get shots twice a month. Big deal, right? Well, I suspect some of you may not have the commitment to going every two weeks to get your shots. I know there have been plenty of times I haven't wanted to go, haven't made time to go and just don't want to deal with it.

But then...

You have to go MORE OFTEN when you miss your timeframe. It's like this. When you first start getting shots, they give you a small dose, then it gradually gets bigger until you are at your maintenance level. For some that's once a month, one a season, etc. For me, it's twice a month, or every two weeks. They have a 7 day grace period and I sometimes I have to use that if I'm going to be out of town. But when you miss your window altogether, they drop your dose down & have to build it back up - meaning you have to go to get shots more often! See, this is not a good thing to miss!

(And let me add, the more you have to go to get shots, the more you have to pay!)

When I was tested to see what I was allergic to, some things were a given like dogs & cats. I have known I was allergic to them since I was a kid & my eyes would itch like crazy if i got a face-full of animal fur. What they also discovered was that I was allergic to pollen, grass, dust mites and ragweed.

Just what is ragweed, you ask... It's a weed, most common in the Eastern states (hello, blogging from VA!!!), that lives only one season (right now?!) but produces up to...

are you sitting down???

... O.N.E. Billion. pollen grains. That's PER PLANT, people! Not only does it have lots to spread, it can spread it quite far. Ragweed has been measured in the air 400 miles out to sea and 2 miles up in the atmosphere.

It really looks like there's not running from it!

Needless to say, this has been an 'icky' week for me with the hot, post-Labor Day temps & dry, windy days. Bet that ragweed is in every nook & cranny of my world about now!

There is good news (albeit pointless in my book)! I'm not allergic to mold & those levels are quite high right now. I would like someone to tell me how that works with the drought we are in!

Anyway, i'll just keep plugging along, plugging things up, coughing & sneezing things out... all around annoying my husband with the sounds one with allergies has!

Someone pass me a tissue, please!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Blogger's Advice to Bloggers

I am a regular follower of "The Pioneer Woman"... love, love, love her blog. She talks like I would when I am writing & I find myself laughing outloud. Her post today was "Ten Important Things I've Learned about Blogging." Once again, I found myself laughing... but then it made me come over here to my blog & give it a little attention and some love. Everything needs love to grow, right?

So, I was contemplating The Pioneer Woman's #2: Blog Often. The problem with this is that my life just ain't all that exciting! Work, home, work, home. I think that's the drill most of us do, right?

Sure, I could 'humor' you all about how I had to go out looking for Jakester, because, for the umpteenth time, he escaped the fenced in backyard. On a normal day Jakester doesn't listen to me. On a day when he's free to wander the wicked streets alone, he listens to me even less. To make matters worse, it's like he KNEW Cop'er wasn't home & thought that was an even better reason to cross the street and make a turn... away from me. Dogs are nuts! Nuts, I tell you!

But I don't want to relive that. Boring stuff.

I'm contemplating putting together a list of "Truths"... you know, those things that have just 'come to be' through life. Obviously this might take a little thinking about. I can't throw it all together in this short little blogging time.

I could mention my new "toy"... bought a Droid 2 this weekend. To say it has bells & whistles would be an understatement. Who knew 'back in the day' that phones would be used for more than just calling people?? Now I can check Facebook on a whim, download an obscene amount of games to play when i should be working, text until my fingers fall off and take pictures better than one of my real cameras!

Of course, since I got a new phone this weekend, it'll be obsolete in a matter of days... Time to start looking for a new one!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Cruisin' State of Mind

Right before Christmas this year, I'll be heading down to Florida to start to beginning of my vacation - a cruise to the Caribbean. I can't wait. Now that my work trip is over, I can fully concentrate on something much more interesting... what I might do & see on my week in the Western Caribbean. The possiblities are endless.

It's true, I have been to all these ports of call before. But ya know what??? That just means even more relaxation for me! I don't have to be rushed to keep a sightseeing schedule. What could be better than that??

This will be my 5th cruise... all have been in the Caribbean. You can't beat cruisin' down the islands while everyone else is bundled up in their winter gear. I think I might even squeal with delight at the thought of it!

With 4 cruises under my belt, I'll be more than happy to see things such as those below again... It'll be greeting an old friend. (An old friend that requires me to save to see her, but it's ok... she's worth it!)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Almost Forgot about ‘Em

It’s possible I have so many cameras that I might forget about pictures I take with them… possible, anyway.

I just found these shots from my time in Puerto Rico. Who knew these little gems were just waiting for the flash of “what happened to those pictures…” I might have at some point.

Friday, August 20, 2010