:3/30:

One of the new things I have decided to do is to begin sketch journaling. There are a few things which prompted me to start one. I have always, always, always been fascinated by journals which include drawing. I love seeing those old travel journals and artist sketchbooks of victorians. I love sketchbooks that incorporate ephemera and photographs in with the writing. But I really do not consider myself an artist.

To say I was never really encouraged to express of pursue any kind of creativity is an understatement. Coupled with an almost crippling self-doubt, I never did the things I wanted. It took decades and an uber-supportive husband (and watching my Breezy blossom as an artist) to give myself permission to try.

I also found this amazing artist. Her name is Samantha Dion Baker and she is a graphic designer and illustrator from New York City. I first found her on Pinterest. It turns out she is mostly on Instagram (Yes, I broke my self-imposed IG ban to look at her work!) It was beautiful. I also found out she has written an inspirational book on starting sketch journaling. I ordered it right away. It was so worth it!

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This book has prompted me to start sketch journaling in my bullet journal. I had finished the lined journal I was using, So I jumped into it on November 1st. Here are the first two pages:

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One of the things that really called to me about how Samantha Dion Baker does hers is that she focuses on the beauty of the mundane in her life.

At that point I decided not to just draw random sketches, but to use the pages to draw a true record of my life. I thought, Instead of writing out my day for may journaling practice, why not illustrate it?             (Draw Your Day, page 3)

She can turn a piece of fruit or a tin of tea or a the bodega on the corner into a beautiful record of her life. Her book took the intimidation out of sketch journaling.

I also realized that the long-hand written journals I have are not anything I want my kids or Doug EVER reading. They are filled with a log of anxiety and worry and fear and anger. Page after page of it.

I have ordered the three of them to burn any handwritten journals they find, unread upon my death.

Pretty grim.

I don’t even want to ever read them again. Those books represent hours of my life, and I am ashamed to share them with anybody. 

I know now I do better focusing on positive. Plus I really do want a record of my life to pass down.

So now I am going to throw myself into documenting my days in my journal. Doug got me the a brown Traveler’s Company notebook. I’ll be moving my planning over to it in December (though it is already here and I am so tempted to start now!) I have a few pages left in my current bullet journal, so I will finish out November there. But I am on day three of art journaling, and really, really loving it.

:1/30:

Day one is proving to be not what I wanted. Today I was all set to start my day by blogging. Alas…

Well, I am doing this just for me. This blog gathers dust and the guilt of it eats at me. I have half a mind to just micro-blog on Instagram once my year of self-imposed social media exile ends.

But something in me just loves blogs.

I love reading them, and I love finding new ones.

I’ve heard the blog is dead. They also say books are dead.

I have a hard time believing either statement.

Maybe I’m just in denial.

:NaNoWriMo 2018:

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I’m going to be a rebel this year!

I am not writing a novel.

I am not writing fiction.

I am not hitting 50,000 words.

Nope.

Instead I am dedication the month of November to posting daily on my blog. It’s a blog I’ve had for years and have sadly neglected. It just sits gathering dust and taunting my wallet. So, I decided to commit to daily blogging. I will publish one post every day, maybe more than one a day (ah…the magic of smartphones!)

Why is this a priority? Well, I feel like if I can’t do this, then I need to just let it go. Maybe blogging is just not for me. Really, though, I just want to get into a rhythm, like I do with my writing.

So, there won’t be any validating, but I will be updating my daily word count.

Good luck to everyone else doing the full NaNo! (Including my daughter!)

:finally fall:

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Fall is my absolutely, hands-down favorite season of the year!

This weekend I had a perpetual grin on my face because knitting season has arrived!

We are settling in to our little homestead, but when I say that it’s not the kind of settling in where there is a respite from doing.

Oh, no.

Not. At. All.

It’s more about us starting to find our footing in the rhythm of work needed to make this property into what we see in our heads. It comes with ups, like the beautiful, heavily ladened vines of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. And downs, like the vines getting decimated by birds and resulting a very poor harvest. It’s about figuring our how to work around D’s new work schedule. It’s about despairing our chickens were cannibalizing their eggs, and then finding the hidden nest with thirteen eggs. It’s about a disastrous first attempt at making jelly, and the triumph of finally getting a perfect gluten-free, made-from-scratch apple pie…with apples from our own orchard. (It’s not pretty, but the taste was amazing!)

So, now I have the freezer packed with local, grass-fed chicken, beef, and pork. My knitting mojo is letting me get through long neglected projects such as these two pairs of Stepping Stones for my parents. And I have also thoroughly cleaned and re-oiled my Ashford Traditional. That’s a braid of undyed Shetland wool Atalanta is trying to spin.

And of course, I had to include the photo of a kitten falling asleep in a shoe.

Unfortunately, the last month has proven to be horrid for my fiction writing. The story I was working on is just…gone. I’m not ready to give up, so I keep approaching it from different angles, but it just doesn’t seem to want to let me continue.

I am not willing to give up just yet though.

 

 

:how i spent my summer:

Actually, I’m pretty sure you don’t want to know. My summer…my summer was a bit on the horrible end of crazy.

Now, how I ended my summer. That’s worth a read. Here on the Grace Homestead I’d like to introduce you to our two newest members.

Hercules (A.K.A. Herc or Boo Cat), who came to us at four weeks old and in the mouth of our kill-everything dog Cassie. I was shocked when D sent me a text asking be to bring home kitten formula and some litter. This is the only cat Cassie-girl has not tried to kill on sight. He came from our neighbor’s property (the had two stray litters), and due to an injury we figured we would keep him and nurse him back to health. Farms do need a cat after all.

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and Atalanta (A.K.A. ‘Lanta), from the other litter on our neighbor’s property. She’s three weeks younger, and the mom abandoned the whole litter. We took her and the rest went to a neighbor down the street who works with kitten rescue.

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We have also added our flock of chickens back into the homesteading dynamic.

The business of raising orphaned kittens and caring for a flock has given this place a bit of a boost as far as how our days are spent. The garden ended up producing a little bitty zucchini and three giant yellow squash plants. We have so much squash, I don’t even know what to do with it!

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As far as the writing front goes, I am getting back into the swing of things. I did a ton of reading this summer, and it has fired up my juices to get back to my story.

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I’ve got my BuJo all set up to get back into the swing of our regular school year and to make sure I start looking at my work as a writer as my WORK.

:haven:

Growing up, I have always re-written stories. Long before I knew what fan fiction was, I would close the book on the last page of a story, and imagine myself into that world. I was a princess, befriending the dragon everyone feared and ultimately saving the kingdom. I was the young girl crossing the American west into a brave new world full of hardship and discovery. I was the space pilot, stranded on the enemy ship and trying to find a way back to the rebellion. Those stories shaped me more than anything else in my life. Through books I have lived thousands of lives. I have saved planets, vanquished villains, found my true love, and found my purpose. 

There is nothing I like more than a good book. 

I’m one of those people who walks into a used bookstore and feels better just breathing in the smell. I can spend hours and hours just drifting along the stacks. I love to touch them. I love the feel of them in my hands.

If I was ever the last surviving human on earth, I would be happy as long as I had books. 

As a child, I was shy, painfully so. It was almost debilitating. Books were my refuge to another world where I was brave and beautiful and had a ton of friends. Where I had a sharp and witty comeback to every taunt, and were bullies always lost. My sister, the gregarious one, was my buffer. I always had a book on me, and social discomfort usually found me retreating to a quiet corner and escaping into another world. 

I am so grateful for books, in all their forms and genres. Maybe that is why I have long wished to write my own. I am working on that now. I started my first attempt with winning NaNoWriMo last Year. Now I’m looking ahead to Camp NaNoWriMo in July. 

Maybe one day my own story will be among the others on the selves. 

:NaNoWriMo manuscript update:

So…

My update is there is nothing to update.

I, unfortunately, still have a sprained wrist. Typing is getting easier, but it still has not healed enough to allow me to write 2,000 words a day. I think about writing it out long-hand, but every time I go to do so my mind races far too fast to capture it all on the page.

I loved the flow I experienced during NaNo. I got lost in the world I was creating. To me, it was real.

Tangible.

Right now, the best I can do is sketch out bits of locations or characters.

I want that flow to happen when I go back to my story.