Yesterday, I’d attended the OCC meeting for the first time since May and it was wonderful to see my friends–Live! In Person!–again. Although, I did attend the conference in San Francisco and had such a great time spending the week with them.
It’s so easy to stay isolated from friends and family when you’re going through some kind of crisis–health, financial, or family. And some times, like in my case, it would just be easier not to respond to the concerned e-mails right away. But I know everyone genuinely cares, just as I care about them, so I certainly do my best to respond. 🙂
Isn’t it wonderful to know that no matter what family health crisis your family is going through, no matter what the state of the world and the global economy… your friends will be there to support and encourage you, as well as give you a swift kick in the “writing arse” when you need it? Thank goodness.
When I joined OCC, I had NO idea I’d discover these incredible friendships.
Thank you for being there for me, you guys!
Do you belong to a writing organization? What do you enjoy most about belonging to it? The support? The friendships? The business advice?
Have you ever strolled into a room and just been struck by the intricate details found in every corner, by the colors, by the traditions, by the history? Did the room ever become inspiration for part of your story?
Charles Dodgson, a.k.a. Lewis Carroll, taught mathematics at Christ Church, but entertained Dean Liddellâ€™s daughter, Alice, and her siblings with stories about Wonderland and often drew his inspiration from his surroundings around the college. At the far end of the photo, you can see the High Table where the faculty members eat. From what we were told on our tour, the senior members of the faculty would exit the dining hall through an extremely narrow staircase behind the table, which eventually led to a senior common room then outside to the Tom Quad. Itâ€™s believed this may be the inspiration for the Rabbit Hole.
And, of course, Harry Potter fans recognize this hall as the inspiration for Hogwartsâ€™ dining hall, too. However, the portraits here didnâ€™t move, although I did hear a tale that one of them doesâ€¦ I wish I knew the full story behind that! 😉
I know lately Iâ€™ve been inspired by historic homes, abbeys, villages, and small townsâ€¦At least enough to incorporate a piece of what I remember about those places into my stories, those special details to make the tale my own, to make it pop off the page.
So what about you? What places have struck you with inspiration lately? Was it a room? A town? A college? A dining hall?
OF A MESSAGE
If you were locked in a tower, a prisoner, what would your message to the world be? Would it be a few short sentences? An ? Graffiti on the wall?
Back in June, I had the opportunity to explore the Tower of London. And in the Beauchamp Tower where many of the prisoners were held, intricately hand-carved inscriptions decorate the walls. They truly became works of art. The poetic words, the intellectual defense, and the design all combined into one message, shows us high-ranking political prisoners stayed there. And judging by the amazing details in the graffiti, some obviously stayed in that tower much longer than others while some prisoners didnâ€™t have a chance to finish their messageâ€¦because the person was freed, escaped, or put to death.
Did they know back during King Henry VIIIâ€™s reign (and earlier) that centuries later people would tour those towers and read those messages?
One entire room inside the tower is etched with inscriptions, but Iâ€™m only posting a few pictures so youâ€™ll get an idea of what Iâ€™m writing about. I believe you can click the photo to enlarge; it might make it easier to view, if you wish. 🙂
It makes me wonder what these prisoners would do in this day and age to get their message out. They’d have the media at their disposal now. What do you think?
OF CATCHING UP WITH FRIENDS
So who is going to conference? 🙂
I can’t wait! Every year I look forward to hanging out for the week with my writing industry friends who “get” me as non-writing friends never will. We support each other, we encourage one another, and we give each other the courage and boost we need to keep “reaching for the brass ring.” Oh sure, this amazing fellowship exists at our chapter meetings as well, but there’s something about spending an entire week with people who understand when you tell them you hear voices in your head (and they’re speaking with Italian accents). Now that Rocks.
Friends definitely top my list of favorite things about going to conference, as well as meeting new people. Oh, and catching up with favorite authors… (squee!)
It’s the kick I crave every year and I always leave with energy and ideas galore to write, write, write. It’s also a chance to keep current with what the publishing industry wants, especially with the publishing house spotlights and the agent/author panels given throughout the workshop hours.
So what about you guys? Who’s going this year?
Hope to see you there…
Michele Cwiertny writes dark paranormal romance set in a fictional town in Maine (her favorite place in the world). To find out more about her, please visit her website, michelecwiertny.com, or her personal blog, Michele’s Writing Corner.
Of Feeling Good
So what do you do to stay in a positive frame of mind? Not just when you struggle with your writing, but when Life springs at you from around the corner bashes you on the head with a cast-iron griddle.
For example, some of you already know that my 23-year-old brother-in-law has been in the hospital for the past five weeks, fighting a scary battle for his health, and will most likely be in there a bit longer. My family and I haunted the halls of the ICU for nearly two weeks and held his hand, encouraged him, and even now when heâ€™s in a regular hospital room, he still needs our support, encouragement, and good cheer as he faces complication after complication.
All of us go through tough times like this (I’m certainly not alone in this), so hereâ€™s my question for you: What helps you stand back up, dust yourself off, and straighten your spine, ready to face the battle(s) ahead?
Here are a couple things that have put me in my â€œhappyâ€ place over the past month. And in turn, theyâ€™ve helped me stay positive.
* Laughing helps quite a bit. Do you like to watch comedies? Listen to comedians?
We saw Flight of the Conchords live at the Orpheum a few weeks ago, and damn, for a few hours, it just felt good to let go of that 25-pound stone that seemed to be lodged in my chest. We also own their first season DVD from their HBO series, which my DH and I watch often, and listen to their musical comedy album on iTunes. Obviously, weâ€™re fans of this New Zealand band.
Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clements put me in my happy place.
* How about listening to a favorite song before you begin your day or when things get stressful?
One of my favorite bands, MUSE, covers the song â€œFeeling Goodâ€ and I love to play this a couple of times in the morning. Below, is a live version from their concert at Wembley Stadium in 2007 that MUSE posted on YouTube (they also post videos for embedding on their MySpace page). Be sure to turn up the volume… 🙂
If you already read my personal blog, then you know Iâ€™m obsessed with this British band. LOL
MUSE definitely puts me in my happy place.
So what about you? What helps you? Do you read a favorite book or series again? Listen to music? Watch a favorite movie? Get together with friends and laugh?
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