Last week was chilly in Greater Vancouver, but the sunrises and sunsets completely made up for the cold mornings and snow pile parking. This gorgeous sunset was seen from New Westminster.
Well, November has slipped by, and I can’t help but say good riddance. Suffice it to say it was not my favourite month. BUT! I also experienced small wins among the “UGH, BOO.” portion of life.
I didn’t start NaNoWriMo until two thirds the way through the month (I changed my mind about sitting it out this year), but I managed 7k words on a story* – the most I’ve ever written on one thing. I also wrote several shorts and posted those (under a pen name, and no you can’t see them.) Honestly, it is very reassuring after so long of feeling stuck, that like anything else writing is just work. Whatever it is you want to be better at, you just have to keep doing it until you improve.
I tried new things and did pretty alright. (And discovered that I really want to learn more about some of those things.) I made a tiny Jayne toque for my nephew and it looks adorable. (Of course, I forgot to take a proper photo before I sent it off, but hopefully I can get one while it still fits him!)
And now we’re into December. This next month will be full in the best of ways, with friends and birthdays and dinners. (And filming a web series!) (And gift-making. We are so behind this year.) I hope to surface on here before the holidays, but I make no promises. I might just decide to keep creating off-screen instead (out of a sense of self-preservation. Ha.)
*How had I not learned about pomodoros before now? It’s so simple: you use a timer to block out chunks where you work for 15-25 minutes straight, take a 2-5 minute break, and repeat a few times until a longer break. I don’t use this for all types of work, but for certain “get it done” things it’s a lifesaver. Even boring things can be done in 15 minute chunks, and at least it gets done.
A lazy morning. (The best blankets are made by grandmothers and mums).
Short and sweet today.
On Saturday of this Thanksgiving weekend, we hosted an early birthday/Halloween/Thanksgiving party for a few friends. Costumes required, of course. The end of the month will be hectic with people moving and going on vacation, so this weekend was Party Weekend. We had an accidental animated character theme going on, with the Belcher kids, Archer characters, and Futurama covered. These people are the best <3
For many years now, I’ve had a block around writing. I would sit down and try to access the part of my brain that had flourished at the tail end of high school – the endless imagination that could create worlds in an instant. Instead there was a wall; high and thick and gray. It was immensely frustrating. The words that used to flow (not easily, but the trickle that wouldn’t die and sometimes poured out like a storm) were gone.
I’m not sure there was a single reason things stopped. A combination of well-meant pressure and a flood of depression were certainly part of the reason. In the end it doesn’t matter. The words stopped and instead I took up the camera. I found a way to describe without words. I could click the shutter and capture those thoughts and memories. I can look at an image and remember – cold air that fills your lungs and brings colour to your cheeks. The warm sunrise hitting the trees. The sound of gravel underfoot.
Images were how I spoke. They took the place of awkward sentences and blank walls and fear.
This summer, I decided I’ve had enough. I came across an interview with an actor who spoke of realizing he was making a decision based on fear, and realized he needed to do it anyway. Being afraid isn’t an excuse to say no. It’s a reason to say yes. (I have grudgingly come to accept that I am a Gryffindor at heart. Dammit.) So (with my heart in my mouth, ready to escape) I sat down and started searching. I found a free online course excerpt to jump start my brain and wrote. Oh hell it is so bad and those words won’t be seen by anyone else, but making that decision and opening those floodgates reminded my how much I fucking miss it. I’ve set a daily word goal for myself, a tiny 200 words. (As though I will scare the words away if I aim too high.) After a week I could talk about writing without feeling like I’m chasing away a wild animal. I posted some publicly, for the first time in a decade (no, you can’t read it. Pen names are my safety net.)
I realize this might not seem like a huge deal to people outside my head (the fictional folk inside are throwing a damn party). I am a fierce worrier and fearfully courageous dumbass. But the best thing I learned in my 20’s (the wordless decade) was to feel afraid but do it anyway. Don’t let it stop you. Own the nerves, feel your heart race, and jump.
My nephew is only nine weeks old, but he’s got the whole range of emotions down. The way his face totally changes colour when he’s unhappy is impressive.
A photo posted by Mel McNiece (@meljammin) on
It’s early August, and I’m already fearing the tomato harvest. I have a feeling everything will ripen at once and I will be scrambling to freeze and preserve as fast as I can. Not that I really want to complain – the reason I dedicated half my garden to tomatoes this year is how delicious they are when picked perfectly ripe. I only hope I can keep up in eating them. Yum.
Because sometimes you need to take a ridiculous photo with a cat.
Also I don’t know what’s going on with my hair today.
Photo from Chelsy’s baby shower in April.
In June, Eric and I will have our first niece or nephew <3. My brother and Chelsy are having a baby! The closer we get to the due date, the more excited I am to meet this new little person. (Eric is still getting used to the idea, I think). Of course, even though they will be a summer child, I had to knit a tiny sweater. Enter Baby Sophisticate.
I knit up the 6-12 month size in a soft, slubby cotton that will be perfect for the fall. We won’t be able to visit as much as I’d like so I’ll have to settle for lots of care packages and Skype dates – but this kid is already loved so much. (Much like its parents!)
*Nibling is the gender neutral version of niece/nephew. Plus it just sounds cute.