A Traveler’s Terrene

You only live once. What are you going to remember the most?

Silence May 29, 2009

Filed under: writing — italicana kitchen @ 8:43 pm

When I get mad, upset or hurt I don’t show anger; instead, I become silent. I am a whisper in a crowded room. A shout into the wind.  A muted scream in a bad dream.

In the past few weeks silence has taken over me, eating my words like a starving dog and consuming every last morsel until I am left with nothing–even the bone is licked clean. Sparkling clean.

Writing is my therapy, yet I have ignored what I know is best for me because  that is who I am mad at.  My writing is like my lover and right now we are in a fight.  Instead of a heated argument, I choose to remain silent…brewing in anger…and shutting my words out.

But, now it is time to make amends.  Here are my promises to the writer in me:

I promise to be more accepting of your flaws.

To not expect to much when you are trying your best.

To let you relax and not constantly push you.

To support you, and help you overcome your doubts.

To be patient with you and let you write at your own speed.

To believe in you.

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If you never ask… you’ll never get an answer. January 27, 2009

When I sent my question to Paulo Coelho five days ago, I half expected it would be lost among the hundreds if not thousands of emails he probably receives, after all he gets 230,000 unique visitors a month and he can only answer one reader’s question a day. But, being the optimistic person I am, I sent the email anyways. After all, when have I ever not done something just because the odds were against me?

Well…* drum roll please*….I’m am delighted to say that my email was chosen to appear on Paulo Coehlo’s blog! I feel honored that he chose my question and gracious for the time he took to respond. Coehlo has a true gift in bringing inspiration to many people’s life, especially my own. Seeing my words next to his further ignites my belief that anything is possible….you just have to let go of your fears, push past your doubts and go for it!

“…keep on knocking every door. It’s always difficult in the beginning, but if you truly believe in what you’re doing, keep on running those risks. Life tend to be very generous with those that follow their dreams,” writes Coelho in an earlier blog post.

My dream is to be an author. And, obviously I still have a very long road ahead of me, but like Coehlo says, if you keep pursuing your dreams and stay true to your path, things tend to fall into place.

Go to Paulo Coehlo’s blog to read my question and his response!

And, don’t forget to pick up a copy of The Alchemist: this is a must read and a truly inspiring story.

 

Paulo Coelho: An Inspiration January 22, 2009

Typically when I read, I have a pen in hand and am marking up the novel with notations, circling quotes and underlining phrases that move me in some way–all which I later transfer to a writing journal where I draw on for inspiration or examples of writing styles. There are some books where the pen never makes a mark in the novel, and there are others, like The Alchemist, by Paolo Coelho, where the entire book is littered with black and blue ink.

It is not big words, intricate plots, or elaborate description that inspire me, rather it is the underlying message. The style of writing in, The Alchemist, is simplistic, the setting well described but not over-descriptive but the message–the message, is powerful.  The underlying message to not be paralyzed by fear in the path of your dreams pervades throughout the novel.  I connect to this message like a mussel to a rock. My fingers can not turn the pages quick enough as I devour the text in gulps, not stopping for air until I consume the last word–my body is full, my soul is satisfied and my mind digests the words I just read.

Books that captivate my attention are those that I can relate to.  I know I’ve come across an excellent novel when I read a paragraph or a quote that mirrors the thoughts that have been stored in my head but never transcribed onto paper–it feels as though the writer is in my mind, pulling out this information and presenting my own words to me! A little eerie, yes…but also comforting in knowing that others share the same beliefs and ideas.

Of Coelho’s books, I’ve read The Alchemist and Veronika Decides to Die, and I plan to pick up the rest of his books in the next few weeks. I’ve also downloaded The Way of the Bow, Stories for Parents, Children and Grandchildren and The Warrior of Light, which Paolo offers as free! .pdf downloads off of his blog: http://paulocoelhoblog.com/internet-books/

If there are books or authors who inspire you, please leave a comment with suggestions as I would love to extend my ongoing reading list!

 

Three Reasons I Heart Google January 16, 2009

For Christmas I asked for Microsoft Office for Mac; however, I am finding that although it is a great program, I am not using it for my writing like I imagined I would. Instead, I have become addicted to Google Documents. I still am exploring what Google Documents has to offer, but here are just a few of my top favorite features, which in my opinion are AMAZING!

1. Accessible anywhere–When I was on my around the world trip I didn’t take a computer and instead wrote story ideas, poems, thoughts and reflections all in multiple journals (I was a freak and carried two leather bound, one plastic covered, and two smaller journals.  One of my worst nightmares is to be caught idle without pen and paper!) The fact that I can freehand write, then type it into a Google document for safekeeping while I’m on the go is priceless. And, now that I am back home, I still prefer to type in Google documents because I never have to mess with uploading or downloading files, making sure I pulled the correct versions, or worry about leaving my files on my computer, hard drive or flash stick.

**Note my next big trip I might take my computer, but then  1) I would have to worry about battery life, and most places I stayed on this trip didn’t have electricity 2)I would be “weighted” down with fear of losing or getting my computer stolen 3) I write a lot when I am outdoors…dust…rain…sun…you name it…not so computer friendly…

2. Sharing Option: When I first started planning my trip I created a master spreadsheet of all of the things I needed to do, their current state and next steps. I also created a packing list, an estimated budget and a rough itinerary of some of the places I wanted to go. The majority of my trip, we travelled by the seat of our pants, going places people recommended, using the city’s I-site for information, or pulling information from guide books.  However, before leaving the states I put together a rough itinerary spreadsheet and sent it to my fellow travel companions and we were all able to modify, change, and add information in real time (no kidding, you can see the other person’s cursor moving and typing in the document if you are both working on it at the same time–a little eerie but cool.) Even though my parents never used it, I shared the files with them so they could have a rough idea of where we were (places/dates always ended up changing but at least they knew what country I was in!)

3. Revision History–Everyone writes differently. When I write I continually save throughout my writing (every 10-20 minutes or so) as I have gotten burned before, loosing everything I had written. Devastating, but lesson learned. Now a days it is common to have an autosave feature to back up your work as you type so you don’t have to, this blog for example does it for me.  I never found a feature like this in a normal Word doc (and maybe it existed but I never knew?), and sometimes I would write something, save it and realize that what I had written before was better but have no way of retrieving it because I saved over it! (and, yes, I’m not super techy so I’m sure there probably was a way to retrieve the files…)

With a Google Word Document, all you have to do is: go to your Tools Tab select Revision History and a full page including the date and edit revisions are recorded. You never have to worry about losing that “perfect sentence” again–you can always go back later on and retrieve it! If you kill off that character but wish you hadn’t—oh wait, he can come back to life.  And, the information is presented in a non-effacing way. You click on the dates you want, and can compare the difference in changes.

Genius. Love it.

 

Finding Serenity… January 10, 2009

Hotel Deca

Right now I am sitting on a purple velvet sofa in front of warm fire. A skinny sugar-free Carmel latte’ in hand, I am warm on both the inside and out.  The walls are decorated with large pieces of art–oil on canvas–my favorite. There is a tall dark wooden book shelf to my right lined with colorful glass vases that reflect the dim light given off by the frosted glass lamps lining each of the two columns in the entrance way which are jutting upwards like tulips glistening in the yellow sun, constantly reaching for that warm ray of light. Instrumental music is playing from the speakers overhead, it is a combination of jazz and spa-like melodies enhancing my surrounding like smooth whip cream on top of a steaming hot chocolate–it just wouldn’t be complete with out it.

My leather bound journal is lying open next to me, lusting for attention like a women lying naked on her back in bed.  Black ink covers the page, words for my book are staring back at me as I type them into a Google document. Words I wrote while in the airport coming back from California, on my brother’s couch in Kenmore, during a traffic jam in Bellevue–materializing on paper when I finally get the opportunity to isolate myself and write, which has been infrequent since I have been back in Seattle.

Writing has become a drug: I want to write all the time, and the cravings only intensify when I can’t get my fix. I have become an addict. I’ll be out with friends, watching my nephew, hanging out with my family–all of things I want to do, but with an addiction, you have no control over the feelings affecting your mind and body. My fingers beat the table, yearning for my keyboard–I want to feel the keys under my fingertips, I ache to see the words fill the wall of whiteness in front of me, I lust after the emotions that fill my insides as I write, overwhelming me like a storm in the sea, rising and falling, thrashing ferociously and then suddenly–everything becomes calm.  A feeling of tranquility rushes through me.  I am in my zen. I have found serenity.