Is it the end of February? Already? Where does the time go?
I traditionally struggle with February, but this year the month felt somehow easier to bear, although it was not without its challenges including a couple of tumbles on the ice resulting in some swelling…Ouch! That’s not like me at all. I usually am steady on my feet on ice…Anyway, perhaps it was a signal to slow down and pay attention more, which I have been trying to do, but I guess I needed to be reminded. A painful reminder indeed. Why couldn’t a sticky note with this message have come fluttering down, landing gently on my forehead instead? Hmmm, this might be the plot of a new story. Messages from the sky!
Anyway, without further adieu, here’s my monthly wrap up.
-Read 24 books for the Mount TBR 2021 challenge.
I finished one book for this challenge—a book written by my uncle called “Africa Revisited”—so that puts me a bit behind, but I am reading a few other books from my TBR list. I am sure that I will catch up soon. Click here to read about the book.
-Read 12 nature related books to enhance my horticultural therapy study.
I have the book for this month’s CHTA book club, which I have skimmed but not finished. Some more catch up to do.
-Read 12 books that are either memoir, poetry, or soul books.
Success! I read one memoir this month.
“this is not the end of me” by Dakshana Bascaramurty
Bascaramurty documented friend Layton Reid’s dying and then eventual death of cancer. It’s refreshing to see more chapters of how his family is doing after his death.
“would you like to learn the secret to taking on life’s most brutal obstacles?
here it is.
there is no secret. just keep moving, dummy. that’s it.”
“for better or worse there are days that just suck the good out of you. your spirit, your strength and your hope. and then there are days when the universe seems to rally around your cause when all prospects seem lost at that particular moment.”
-Work on my writing 15 minutes a day.
-Read 3 creative nonfiction essays a week.
Completed! Here are my favourites:
“Memorized lines of poetry can be retrieved anywhere and anytime, without a charged battery, even in the middle of a dark, sleepless night.”
“The world needs compassionate people to lead, work, parent and contribute. I want to teach my kids that they don’t need to sell themselves short in life, but they have to be decent people. Being aggressive or yelling at people may sometimes provide short-term results, but such strategies do little to build long-term trust and loyalty. That’s as true in the corporate world as it was in kindergarten.
I desire to be heard, and I want my kids to be heard, but not at the expense of resorting to cruel tactics. I’m not suggesting that women bend to the whims of assertive men by placating with false niceties, because that won’t resolve anything. But I do think a cultural shift needs to occur, and I’m hoping a more kindness-forward approach, and not flexing to take up space, could benefit everyone involved.”
“I also wonder if I have the courage to continue to expose myself in such a naked way. Is courage even the right word, or is it self-serving selfishness? I’m not thinking of the reader I’ve never met, but about my family, friends and colleagues. How will they feel when they read this? Will they feel guilty or mad I haven’t shared my feelings with them? Will they think I’m weak? I don’t want them to feel any of this.
There’s a lot of mental-health stories written after the fact. When someone’s standing at the top, looking down at the abyss they crawled out of. I find this helpful and inspiring. There’s far less written about being in that abyss. What it’s like to be in darkness. To be surrounded by people, yet feel alone. Perhaps it’s because it’s so painful bringing that emotion to the front. It’s easier to keep it inside and let it simmer. Or maybe I just haven’t bothered to look.”
“The Colors of My Life” by Jacqueline V. Carter
Carter writes about her experiences with colourism, which is not the same as racism but a form of prejudice based on skin colour.
“We Need To Calm The F&%$ Down About Parenting Teens” by Jeni Marinucci
“It’s about balance. If I freak out and make a huge deal out of a teen sleeping in until 1 p.m. on a Saturday, or spend all our driving time harping about that friend I don’t like or every meal becomes an inquisition over vegetable consumption, I’m raising the stakes AGAINST myself.”
-Read 5 picture books per month
“The Boy and the Gorilla” by Jackie Azua Kramer; illustrated by Cindy Derby
After his mother dies, a boy talks through his grief with an imaginary gorilla, which helps him connect to his father.
-Submit one story to a contest per season.
I’m on fire in this category! I submitted to two contests. Although I didn’t win or place in either one, I now have a couple of stories I can play with.
Click here for the results.
Fanexpo Flash Fiction Competition
Click here to read the winning stories.
-Attend one writing webinar per month.
I attended three, making up for the lack of webinars I attended last month.
“A Conversation with Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer” hosted by UBC
So many fantastic takeaways from this webinar with the author of “Braiding Sweetgrass”, but my favourite is the response to what an educated person is:
“An educated person knows what their gifts are and how to put them into the world.”
“The Power of Hope: Using Psychological Theory to Help Our Hearts…and Our Writing” (WriteonCon)
diy MFA: My #1 Go-To Writing Technique
-Work on one lesson of a writing course per month.
I did not do that, although last month I did several.
-Attend a writing group session per week.
–Blog at least twice a month.
I read all the posts, but I did not complete enough challenges to qualify for prizes. It’s not the point anyway. The posts are excellent, and I learned a lot.
100 days to work on a project of your choosing
I have been reading two pages a day of my German novel, and I am surprised and pleased at how much easier tackling a novel that you find intimidating is that way.
I have done one haiku for this challenge.
This is a challenge that has been revived. I’ve not posted my first one yet, but stay tuned…coming soon.
I also realize that if my guiding word for this year is Nurture, I need to set some goals to do that. You would think that would be an easy thing to do, but I don’t even notice I’m not doing it. Thus the message from the ice…
I hope that you have had a good February. Now we turn to March and thoughts of spring. Already I can hear the birds singing in the morning again. Bliss.
Shoe’s Seeds & Stories
@Copyright 2020 Linda Schueler