100 Things I Love (and social media isn’t one of them)

I trolled the web for years skirting around the fringes of engagement. My first encounter, more than 16 years ago, was on a gardenweb portal. I inadvertently offended someone—unlike now when I do it on purpose, and I was genuinely horrified they’d mistook my inference for something mean spirited and lambasted me personally to the nth degree. I refrained from commenting on any site for years afterward.

I believe that encounter was one of many moments that niggled at my self-esteem and pushed me to go to college, the last straw being the inability to write a retort to an editorial in the local paper. If you’re really bored, happen to be snowed-in and have already perused the entire wikipedia, you could read about my trials and tribulations in my culminating study, which I’ve posted under Books (it’s a pdf).

My, my, how times have changed.

Now, I have to stop myself from writing too much on other blogger’s comment sections. Yes, it’s nice to have your post recognized by your readers but leaving comments longer than the original post—that’s just rude.

I’ve learned to restrain myself, but I am often inspired by what other bloggers are discussing and wish to keep the conversation going.  Lucky, for me I have my own blog.

Today, I pay homage to Brenda and Chris.

Certain ladies have a knack for touching on things that either, I too have been ruminating on. Like Chris Dean’s post How to Fail at World Media Domination, which I am exemplifying, or identify with—like Brenda Moguez post about Drama—that old attention hog, and how she refocused her mind by setting it to task on a list, 100 Things I Love.

Naturally, I had to put everything else on hold and write out my own list.

100 Things I Love

  1. The smell of spring rain on warm pavement.
  2. The sound of wind whipping through the trees.
  3. Birds fluttering outside the dining room window.
  4. Patterns in nature.
  5. Peonies, herbaceous and tree.
  6. Gazing into a baby’s eyes.
  7. My husband’s hands
  8. Also the crinkles around his eyes when he smiles.
  9. Daughter Lillian’s hearty laugh.
  10. Daughter Eva’s creativity.
  11. Pam’s colossal chocolate chip cookies.
  12. Brunch, in all its iterations.
  13. When all my friends sleepover and we eat and drink all weekend.
  14. Martha’s Vineyard with BF and family.
  15. Unexpected friendships.
  16. My orange bedside lamps.
  17. Finding the correct word that exactly expresses what I’m trying to convey.
  18. Books, that’s a given, I can’t narrow it down any further.
  19. The learning process, which allows stretching my mind, imagination and boundaries.
  20. Craftsmanship. I used to be a jeweler/lapidary and respect the talent it takes to master handiwork.
  21. The aesthetics of my habitat—not materialism but how form and function influences us.
  22. A properly set table—china, silverware, linen. Get it out and use it.
  23. Evening, when there are clouds stretching across the sky and they appear dark with linger light-blue sky behind them.
  24. Typography as art.
  25. People who aren’t afraid to act the fool to entertain their children. I will sing in the supermarket.
  26. Selflessness, just because you can.
  27. Vases filled with flowers the girls cut from our own garden.
  28. Libraries.
  29. Fabric.
  30. Paper, especially handmade.
  31. Sharp scissors, knives, Exacto blades, chisels.
  32. The right tool for the right job (don’t drink O.J. from my mug)
  33. The incredulous remarks from my daughter’s friends (You can make whipped cream?)
  34. Growing food. The incredulous remarks from my contractor’s son (You grow carrots? Purple ones—mind-blown twice!)
  35. Long, hot, steamy showers.
  36. Maine, coastal or lakeside.
  37. Pearls. Big South Sea mothers I’ll never be able to afford. Check any Sotheby’s catalog.
  38. Seedlings. Really, that tiny little seed will produce a family’s worth of tomatoes.
  39. Witnessing kindness.
  40. Baked ham with scalloped potatoes.
  41. My in-laws. Never take for granted the genuine gift it is to marry into a loving, smart, funny family.
  42. Cocktails. The whole process of making them, sipping them, pairing them with the right appetizer, the correct glass.
  43. Those who persevere. Despite, odds, discouragement, and setbacks, I admire the courage it takes to own ones convictions.
  44. Red flannel sheets.
  45. Modern medicine. It gets a bad rap, sometimes deservedly, but as I’ve benefited from its progress, I owe it one.
  46. My neighbors. I’ve lucked out, not only by having a supportive, loving family, but with best neighbors you could hope for. I want to grow old with them.
  47. Salt.
  48. Chocolate. Malted. Frappes.
  49. New England. We have it all— beaches, mountains, theater, universities, museums, grand cities, country towns, fall foliage, maple syrup season, fine dining, clam shacks, easy access to NYC, and Montreal, etc, etc, etc.
  50. Antique stores. Rummaging through junk to find a treasure (kind of like editing!)
  51. Thanksgiving. The ritual of passing into winter with a feast of what you’ve harvested, surrounded by family and friends, acknowledging the bounty in our lives.
  52. I do not posses any musical ability so I adore being around musicians, especially at home, everyone joining in to create a joyful noise.
  53. When I’ve been helpful in anyway. Almost nothing, makes me happier.
  54. Observing children discover something new. I once brought a hosta plant I’d dug from garden into my preschool class. I plunked it down on the table—worms, beetles, dirt and all for the kids to explore. Best day ever.
  55. People who enjoy their jobs no matter what they are doing.
  56. Belonging to a CSA.
  57. Sidewalks, granite curbs, trees, that collectively evoke a feeling of belonging and home.
  58. Graph paper.
  59. Hand lettering. I wish I had a picture of the door to my former lapidary shop that had my company name hand lettered on it.
  60. Access to nearly every and any type of music.
  61. The ability to laugh at ones self.
  62. Baby shoes—they’re so tiny and cute!
  63. Blueberry picking, then eating them by the fist-full for weeks. Strawberries and raspberries too.
  64. Pulling out those blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries from the freezer in January.
  65. Cuddling on the couch with my daughters, watching a foreign movie that is unexpectedly good.
  66. Red wine, juicy, ripe, fruity, not to dry.
  67. Led Zeppelin
  68. Immersion in someone else’s creative work. I could be viewing their paintings, or listening to a concert, or even witnessing their work being created, like a glass blower.
  69. A photo of Eva on Crane’s Beach, Ipswich where she is stomping through the surf, swishing her hair side to side.
  70. A photo of Eva reaching in to touch Lillian’s cheek while still in the bassinet at the hospital. Their first connection.
  71. A photo of Lillian in the tub (In a fire, those three photos I’d grab off the wall.)
  72. Meteorology. Fair warning saves lives.
  73. TED Talks
  74. Beads.
  75. Calligraphy
  76. A man wearing cologne. I will break my neck someday snapping my head around to follow a sweet smelling man.
  77. Risotto
  78. Old-fashioned musky roses.
  79. Planning. Goes with the graph paper. I obsessively design and redesign everything from the master bath to the herb beds.
  80. Jeez, are you still reading this?
  81. Fog. Okay, it’s dangerous to drive in but I have fond memories of a foggy night with my husband early in our relationship.
  82. Sitting on my front porch during a storm.
  83. Gas fireplace. All the ambiance without the smoke.
  84. Roasted asparagus.
  85. Heirloom tomatoes, fresh buffalo mozzarella, and basil drizzled with balsamic vinegar.
  86. Blood orange gelto
  87. Watching children try to catch frog, fireflies or grasshoppers.
  88. Stained glass.
  89. Fine wood furniture.
  90. Museums of all type.
  91. Sharing in another’s culture.
  92. Architecture.
  93. The idea that I could still learn to do anything I put my mind to.
  94. Meeting and getting to know other writers.
  95. Board games. Let’s play! Scrabble, Dominion, Blokus…
  96. Screened porches with bead board and garden views.
  97. Swimming in a heated pool.
  98. My girl’s art works.
  99. Dark chocolate butter creams.
  100. Bamboo

It’s interesting how setting your mind to a task frees your imagination. I noticed when I’d finished this list that I already had the plot forming for the next chapter I was working on. I think the list served as a primer. Often it is recommended to writers that they prime the pump so to speak by free writing for ten minutes to alert your mind as to what you want it to do. It turned out to be a very useful exercise.

Social Media Failure

As for social media, I like to tweet occasionally but won’t follow people who don’t engage with others. People who are just tweeting about their books are nothing more than ads, a complete waste of my time. I’m not saying don’t ever mention your work, but timed pitches spamming my feed every two hours get an automatic block.

I’m on Facebook, but have always considered it a family place though I’ve added some on my writer friends. It’s not been a very satisfy way to engage. Maybe mixing of business with family and friends, the public you and private you are too at odds to work effectively.

I do like Pinterest, mainly because there is little personally engagement and I don’t use it for anything other than a fun way to curate what I find interesting.

Tumblr started out as a place for me post the odd poem, short fiction or essay. But I found I enjoyed reblogging there too so it has become a mix of original work and curated interests.

Other than that I can’t be bothered. I’m a novelist not a blogger, or copywriter, or marketer. Everything that is not novel related is just a distraction from my real work. I guess I better get back to it.

 

 

 

A Versatile Blogger

Versitile_Blogger

 

I’m honored!

Is that what you call me?  A Versatile Blogger! Well, that’s one way to phrase what I do around here. I’ve deliberately not defined the content, freeing myself to write about whatever strikes my fancy, or incurs my wrath.

 

Expressing My Gratitude

I’d like to thank Chris @ Life Your Way for this “major award” and her support of My Dubious Views blog, not to mention her humor, and generous spirit.

 

The Rules for the Versatile Blogger

1) Thank the blogger who nominated you and include a link to their site.

2) Add the Versatile Blogger Award picture to your blog post.

3) Nominate 7 fellow bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly and include a link to their site.

4) Let them know you have nominated them

5) Share 7 random facts about you

 

My Nominations for Versatile Bloggers

Norine @ Don’t Put Lizards in Your Ears You can’t go wrong with that advice.

Yes, that’s only five — I’m a rebel and a rule breaker.

Seven Random Facts About Me:

  1. I’m originally from Dorchester.
  2. I’ll have been married for twenty years this October. Crickey!
  3. I’ve been a dot etcher,
  4. And a lapidary.
  5. I’m a breast cancer survivor.
  6. Brunch is my favorite meal and social activity.
  7. I fantasy garden.

 

My Next Big Thing

Okay, Chris @ Life Your Way,  I’ll play. I’m flattered that you think of me, I just feel like my blog doesn’t warrant the attention—yet. But since I do have a book I’m working on I don’t feel so insecure answering.

The Next Big Thing

10 questions about my current writing project.

1) What is the working title of your book or project?

The Illusion of Marriage

2) Where did the idea come from for the book or project?

I can’t pinpoint a specific spark but it started with an opening and ending scene—I envisioned this story as a movie. I needed a plot for NaNoWriMo2011 and used this idea.

3) What genre does it fall under, if any?

Fiction: Literary/Family Drama

4) If applicable, whom would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

Jacob: Jamie Bell or Emile Hirsch, Helen: Bryce Dallas Howard-someone who can pull of uptight but warm.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your manuscript or project?

Til death do us part: marriage meets reality.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Yes, unless there is a third option by then.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The first 50k I did for NaNoWriMo2011. I pretended to work on it for a few month of 2012, but now I’m aiming to finish up the first draft by Feb 2013. At 60993, I’m guessing I have another 20-25k to write.

8) What other book or stories would you compare this story to with the genre?

I’m blanking on anything specific. It’s a tale of marriage like any other and unique as all of them are. The lovely Jessica Ruston has a list of fiction books on marriage on her blog.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book or story?

A death in the family prompted an examination of the lives around me, the struggles we all go through the triumphs and such.

10) What else about the book or story might pique the reader’s interest?

There are several secrets being kept that possibly doom a relationship, a few unforgivable acts forgiven, a postpartum psychotic episode, delicious meals, baked goods, frolics in the sun, and a dog named Bachman.

Geez, that almost sounds interesting. I’d better get back to work.

Your Next Big Thing

Tagging others is tricky since there’s so much inbreeding around here, I don’t know anyone who hasn’t participated. So dear readers (all two of you) there is no obligation to play, but if you’d like to—copy/paste the questions, fill in your answers, post a link to your blog in my comments. Or if you’ve already blogged your, My Next Big Thing, and would like to get more traction, feel free to post a link in the comments.