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Our Recent Posts

Influences on my Writing

Cheryl's Flotsam & Jetsam - Mon, 08/17/2015 - 00:35

Last month, someone on tumblr asked me to list 5 influences on my writing. Trying to narrow it down to five was a challenge, but I came up with this list:

  1. Stephen King for On Writing, the best guide I’ve read to being a writer
  2. Judy Blume for being honest about her characters with her readers
  3. e.e. cummings for showing me how to write poetry that flows without punctuation
  4. Dr. Seuss for reminding me that rhymes and cartoons can still be politically relevant
  5. Roger Ebert for giving as much care and attention to reviewing an awful movie as a great movie.

There are countless other influences, of course. I’ve been reading for most of my life, and before I could read, I was read to. I find influences everywhere, including peers and teachers I’ve known. Sometimes, books that jarred me provide a different kind of influence: a mental note to never write the same way. Everything pretty much goes in the hopper, though, and with any luck, my writing gets progressively better for it.

Recalculating Route

Cheryl's Flotsam & Jetsam - Mon, 08/03/2015 - 20:54

This year has proven to be… interesting… in that (fake) Chinese Curse kind of way. Devastating lows, amazing highs. Losing friends, meeting new ones. Grieving. Dreaming. Daring. All of it change.

Really that is the theme of 2015: change. I totally misjudged when I looked ahead in the December… I thought my theme would be focus; I shifted that in January (still focus, but shifted the focus); now I would say that all of those things I identified are still in my focus, but the overall theme has been change. New configurations of family, home, work, relationships, and so much more. I have my own proprietorship now, and we are closing off the old partnership and company. Doors are closing; doors are opening. Rooms have shifted. Belongings have been split. Routines are no longer the same.

I feel like I am constantly hearing the GPS refrain “recalculating route” as I blast past the turn, hit a roadblock, or decide to take a different path.

On top of it is a family member with terminal cancer; that diagnosis surprised us all, and  we have all adjusted to put her priority higher. There is no possible way I could have predicted where I am right now.  Some days, I do not know which end is up. Some days I am overwhelmed. Most days though, I am happy.

I haven’t been writing here as much — life has been BUSY. All these changes make for some rather chaotic days and require considerably more downtime to recharge. I’ve been doing lots of reading (making headway on my 2015 Reading Challenge: 20/52 finished with 2 in progress) and lots of websurfing, dreaming of travel and tattoos along the way.

And then there is the Year of Yes. I don’t feel right kicking it off while the priority is my family member. So I am modifying the year of yes; rather than the playoffs, consider this is the exhibition game season warm up. And I have already been saying yes much more often.

I have already said yes to

  • go to San Francisco for ALA and Pride even though it was tough to put in my budget
  • go out to listen to a friend DJ for goth night at a local club even though it was way out of my comfort zone
  • walk with a friend to a local free music concert even though there were lots of people and it was sunny
  • go hang out with a new friend, just chatting and watching stupid videos
  • lots of coffee meetups
  • helping a friend get their business off the ground
  • initiating meetings (this is BIG for me — this is saying YES to relationships being important) — even when it feels like impossible to ask (in one case, asking someone to meet for coffee felt like walking up to the popular table in school and plunking down my lunch. When I described that to my therapist, she had a visceral reaction.)

So YES, I will be more social; YES, I will try new things; YES, I will crawl out of my comfort zone… just not all out, not yet.