A Traveler’s Terrene

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

TED: Technology. Entertainment. Design November 28, 2009

I always admire hearing people’s stories, thoughts and advice so when I ran across, TED, I thought I would spread the word!  This is a great site that has an abundant amount of speeches from some of the most influential and inspirational men and women around the world.

 

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.