My friend and fellow author, Annette, found a candled that smells just like an old bookstore I once frequented in Nashville.
Whenever we hit publish on a book, we light our candles in celebration of our latest publication.
This morning, I lit my candle. This time I lit the candle in celebration of a non-fiction book – How to Write a Children’s Book.
Obviously, we all have to watch Independence Day. While it isn’t technically a 4th of July movie, Ghostbusters makes the list, because we cannot watch Ghostbusters 2 without watching the first one. And, we have to watch the second one, because the Statue of Liberty makes her debut as a stunt person.
Say what you will about Christmas in July, but you cannot deny the very God Bless America feeling you get when you watch Christmas Vacation which is why it makes the list.
Four movies is more than enough to get you through the weekend, because you have other things to do like grill various foods and hurl your loved ones down a wet strip of plastic.
Happy America, Friends.
We all know that I worship at the house of Scalzi, so it will not surprise to you in the least to know that I was on his blog this morning reading his latest post:
I highly recommend clicking the link and giving it a read if you are at once proud to be an American but a little embarrassed by the current state of things.
*Quick note – I always have to check the spelling of the word ‘rhythm. It never looks right to me.
I have still not found my rhythm. I was a dummy and thought the stress of the global situation would not touch me. I am productive and efficient, but being those things during a global crisis (coronavirus) and during the outing of the social injustice that has been plaguing this country for years (BLM; LGBTQ+) doesn’t make a person immune.
I cannot go back to same rhythm. The rhythm I had before. I have to find a new one.
In my journal this morning, I made a list (this is where my brother will laugh uncontrollably as we are list makers, and every day is but an opportunity for a better, more exciting list). This list contained only two items.
- Workout every other day.
- Write one piece per week.
These are my only goals right now. I had a list of daily tasks that you wouldn’t believe before I was hit with the same anxiety, depression, rage, and stress you are feeling.
I still have a long list of projects and goals, but right now, I need to focus on getting back to me like I’m sure you do as well.
I was off my game for a while. It is time to get back on, and I encourage you to do the same by taking baby-steps while not forgetting the causes you support, your major goals in life, and your health.
I wish you the best of luck, and I will be checking in on Instagram from time to time, but not as often as before (hellothisisbarbara).
Also, in case you are here only for the writing advise, games, and other writing related things, please visit www.notnowimwriting.com which is where I write exclusively on the topics of writing craft and business.
I’ve been thinking a lot about self-portraits lately.
When I see an Instagram feed full of selfies, I immediately get sad. I feel like they might not have anyone in their life to photograph their life experience. On the other hand – When I see an instagram feed full of self-portraits, I think that person is honing a skill.
Before digital cameras were a thing, I would take self-portraits with my Minolta or Canon using film. This meant being careful, planning a bit, and not knowing if I got the shot until I get the film developed at my local Wolf Camera (shout out – Wolf Camera).
I took these self-portraits, because I wanted to get better at taking portraits. Using myself as a model kept me from disappointing volunteers who maybe thought I’d get it right even though I was learning. As a result, I have a series of images of myself spanning from my late teens to now.
So, what’s the difference between taking self-portraits and selfies?
To my mind, a selfie is duck face, face-tuning, stickers, etc. Self-portraits are composition and natural (or natural-ish) posing.
I am not entirely sure that one is better than the other down the board. I know my taste lean more toward self-portraits, but those are just my tastes.
I do get judgmental about selfies. Like I said, I immediately think a person is lonely when I see a feed full of selfies. I think I feel this way, because the people in my life aren’t exactly camera or documentary photography enthusiasts like me. This means, I am documenting everything, but am hardly documented.
I should be more diligent about projecting my feelings. This is an area in which I need to grow as a person. Maybe, selfies are just fun! Maybe, the person with a full feed of duck face selfies is just having the time of their life making cute pictures, because they love themselves.
Yeah, I can do better. I won’t be making a duck face at a camera anytime soon, but I can certainly work on my immediate judgement of those who do.
Good talk, friends. Good talk.
Damn, have I had a hard time getting back to things.
I spent some time on Friday and Saturday going over notes, rewatching YouTube videos that have helped me organize my mind in the past (links will be at the bottom of this post), and genuinely thinking about how I am going to get back to work with the world being the way it is.
In case you missed it, here’s my post called Untitled. in which I cry and try to make sense of things knowing full well that I can’t. I am still struggling. I know we all are.
In an effort to get my creativity flowing again, my friend and fellow writer, Annette, challenged me to write five pieces of flash fiction this week. She provided prompts and imagines to guide the writing. I am looking forward to digging into that.
My partner suggested a short story project to help. His prompt generated some ideas immediately, so that is another project that I am looking forward to.
Little by little, friends. We can chip away and get back to some kind of normal. But, we mustn’t forget the world is on fire, and we are in charge of putting it out.
Also, eat less or no meat, and take care of your organic machine. 👍🏻
The Videos That Help Me Get Back On Track
Back in the day when Etsy was new, I was an artist. I painted and, yes, sold landscapes and abstract pieces. I also sold street photography (shot with film) and photographed events (music and weddings – all with film like a damn boss).
I was young and stupid when I was finding success as an artist, so, of course, I did not rise to the occasion when I was met with a deal to have my art in hotels across America. Instead, I rented an overpriced apartment, went on dates, and worked a Help Desk job.
I got my heart broken a few hundred times by another artist, and so I put the art away for a while. It was never meant to be a career anyway.
I’ve been relearning how to make art and how to be patient with a project. I have learned since stepping away from larger pieces and from larger quantities of production to embrace the quick piece – the minimum viable product.
Some pieces will still take time, but if I only want to spend five minutes or half an hour on a piece, that’s okay too.
In times like these, it’s a little hard to stick to a writing schedule, blog calendar and marketing plan.
I’ve been offline for the most part. Typically, I spend every waking moment planning a new book, course, marketing series, and so on. Lately, I’ve been sleeping, crying, and stewing for hours on end.
I plan to get it back this week. Get my schedule back. My writing and marketing mojo…
I keep thinking, though, that it’s insensitive to do that. I feel like I’m in mourning and have decided to go back to work before anyone else thinks I should.
Being busy helps me get through things, but do I have to be busy publicly? The short answer is yes. Yes, because my business is almost entirely online.
The longer answer is – Getting back to business as usual is not an option. Rather, it’s an option, but it isn’t going to yield the same results as before. It isn’t going to leave me feeling like a business owner who’s got a plan and is making stuff happen.
I know that, because thinking about doing business as usual makes me feel exhausted and like my time would be better spent marching. But, the family has to eat.
Suddenly, doing my typical at-home activism doesn’t seem like enough. Postcards. Petitions. Protest art.
Then, I think to myself – You’re a writer. Writing is your protest. Write truth to power. And, I consider it.
…This blog post represents the full breadth of my emotional bandwidth.
I’ve been an activist for years. My activism historically has been around LGBTQ issues, women’s issues, and, mostly, period/menstruation awareness and issues.
In the past, I’ve marched for a cleaner Nashville, participated in the women’s march, marched for LGBTQ rights, marched against the separation of families at the border, signed countless petition for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Why does none of it feel like enough?
Answer – Because the changes to our society are so small and slow going. We make some progress, and then we knock down three-fourths of that progress just to remind ourselves that us and we are not just people that think and live like we and us.
I’m not saying it’s hopeless – change, that is. I’m just saying that it is a long road, long fight, long conversation, a lifetime of arguing (please see definition of arguing below).
Until next time, my friends, may peace be with you.
“Fix your hearts or die.”
I hope everyone has been and will continue to take the time to act and reflect and listen and educate themselves on what is happening in this country right now. Change is finally coming and we all need to be a part of it.
If what you are seeing on the news and social media is hard to watch…click the link below and do something.
If you can’t find the ways to express what you are feeling…click the link below and do something.
If you want to know more about what is happening…click the link below and do something.
You don’t have to do nothing. YOU CAN’T JUST SIT AND DO NOTHING. NOT ANYMORE. There are things you can do to help wherever you are. Now is the time. Now is the time to work together. Now is the time we…
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But, wait – it isn’t mine. My friend and fellow author, Annette, has released her first Skillshare course called A Day in Harmony. Annette is not only a published author, but she’s a professional musician and lover of self-improvement. This course is delightful. I know, because I’m actually listening to it right now.