Author, Photographer, Lover of Life
"Capturing moments others may never get to experience."
The call came out for ‘Nasty Women Project'. When I first read the post, I only read those words and thought, that’s not me, I'm not nasty. I consider myself a kind, compassionate, fun-loving person with a little bit of red neck thrown in to keep life interesting. My beliefs go back a long way, formed by my family roots and upbringing. Most of which I like to live by and have incorporated in raising my family. Old fashioned morals I do not confuse with being a strong person, but I'd have to say they walk hand in hand in my world.
For some reason, this project intrigued me, and I needed to delve further into its existence. So, what is a Nasty Woman? What I found turned out to be the preamble for an art project local artist, Veronica Funk was inspired to do because of podcast her daughter had shared with her.
My take on the open explanation of Nasty Women is that it should not be confused with the literal meaning of the words. Yet, depending on how our voice resonates with various topics, the literal sense of the words might be a persona we can all fall into at one time or another.
I have been enlightened to see Nasty Women are those who stand up for what they believe in, what they are passionate about. She is a strong person who knows what she wants. She will stumble, fall and pick herself up. She will speak her mind and she is always searching for and sharing that which she is passionate about. She is me, and I am honoured to be included in Veronica Funk’s 100 Day Project - Nasty Women.
Follow along on my Blog and other social media outlets for updates on the progress of the project.
A while back I went out without my camera. No reason really other than I didn’t take it with me. Oh yes, there were moments I reached for it, and there were moments I cussed at myself for not dragging it along. Yet, at the end of my break away from my computer and my camera, I came home with vivid images stored in the gray matter. Let me see if I can show you what I saw. . .
The pathway to the lake was drifted in places. Pushing through the already made tracks of those who had wandered before me wasn’t all that easy. For those with long legs and strides to match, the trek to the other side of these crusted barriers would be easy. For someone built close to the ground, like me, calf-deep becomes knee deep, and visible foot holes in the drifts are quite useless! Breaking my own trail, while not that easy either, was easier on the legs than trying to fit into what was left behind by others.
I quickly discovered walking off the trail in the uncharted snow was the way to go. Not only that, it showed me some wispy skeletal plant life. Thorn spikes on brown, rounded seed heads of burdock. Exploded seed pods hovering at the top of frozen cattail sentinels. Here and there the bright red, freeze dried rose hips were bobbing on the ends of prickly wild rose bushes. The lake showed life had traversed its perimeter. Coyote tracks mixed with tiny indents where mice and birds had taken advantage of seed that covered the ground from the wind-whipped plants along the frozen water’s edge.
My peripheral vision caught a glimpse of movement. A lone skater clearing the natural ice rink in a sheltered corner. A hockey stick waiting patiently in the drifted snow bank. Man’s best friend barking and running in circles around the human Zamboni. Laughter erupting, carried on the wind until it faded to nothing.
The drifts on the trail gave way to the wind-swept, frozen, earthen floor. The warm weather of recent weeks had softened the dirt to allow rutted tracks to form and freeze to almost perfect shapes. Some filled with little pools of frozen water. Others empty and void of any sign of life other than the steps left behind and the imagination of who would have left them. Poplar leaves laying in wait to rot and return food to the earth. Frozen and still green where they had fallen beside their yellowed and browned speckled tree mates.
I can hear the Canada Geese and I wonder if there is still some open water somewhere on the lake that is enticing them to sing their song from above. They don’t linger long, before moving onward in search of an unfrozen destination as there is nothing here for them.
A brazen Magpie watches me. Cackling it moves closer to the path to see what I am about until a crow, floating on the wind, swings near the trail sending the cheeky magpie off to stalk someone else.
The trail curves towards home. Here the trees are frosted and glistening in the sun. It reminded me of one of my outings from another winter's walk. Bits of fluffy snow floats from their settled spot on the needles. Cones sway in the top branches daring me to stand and gawk at them. They too will be become feed for some bird looking for a bit of sustenance in the continued cold.
Camera . . . hmm, I guess I didn’t really miss having it along.
It’s funny where ideas come from. As hard as we try, there are times when you can see the window is open, but the curtains have not been pulled. Try as we might, getting past those barricades to continue along a path of enjoyment is not always easy. And then, there is a moment, a vision, a conversation that ramps us up for the next leg of the journey.
Before I left on a recent trip to Hawaii, my plan was to enjoy my daughter’s wedding to the fullest and find places that would inspire my writing. Places that would encourage the imagination to the surface and let the pencil speed across the blank pages.
With multiple time changes throwing the body and mind into a state of, “Are we ever going to get there?” It wasn’t until the last half hour on the plane, when the land came into view, that the curtains finally flittered away.
The days ahead gifted me with many opportunities to look through the parted curtains and gather much to keep the gray matter charged and motivated.
“You’re selling! Why?”
“You’re not interested in it.”
The young man turned away from his dad so he couldn’t see the hurt on his face and the tears in his eyes.
“Is this why you were so adamant to send me away to school? So you could give our heritage away and not feel guilty because I’d have a career.”
“Son, you always said you couldn’t wait to be gone from here.” He rested his weathered hand on the shaking shoulder. “Now there’ll be nothing to hold you and you won’t have to worry about taking over the ranch.”
The gut wrenching reply that came next was rocked the older man to the core.
“I need you to understand why I came home, dad. Why I turned down a high paying, heartless job. I came home because I wanted to be here with you. I wanted to be where I could raise my family, let the kids grow up the way I did, with respect, learning how to work and be proud of themselves and their accomplishments.”
The young man’s eyes were locked on his dad’s face. Their eyes never wavered.
“ The papers haven’t been signed and no money has traded hands. We can continue the traditions together. This is our home and has been for generations. Working together will keep it in our family, our heritage.”
“You don’t think it’s too late?”
“No dad, it’s not too late."
The younger generations that have wandered from their roots are starting to realize the benefits of the life they grew up with. More and more family farms and ranches are starting to disappear, but with sons and daughters returning to help, there is hope that traditions and western heritage that is the soul of the country will not only survive but will thrive.
“Stop! This is not the route to take if you want to stick to social media rules.”
What does that mean, anyway? Apparently from what I have been told, it means you shouldn’t cross over into areas that are not your line of business. In other words, writing about subject matter not in my business expertise or service are taboo! So, should my personal thoughts and experiences on topics that are not, say, within my realm of so called expertise be muted? Am I only to write and share information on writing or taking pictures?
The thing is, sharing my opinions and suggestions, doesn't mean I'm taking on the professionals, nor do I want their job. I am doing what my platform suggest, I am writing. And, my recommendations and observations quite often pertain to how artists and social media should/could work together in promoting our work. I have no urge to become a guru of the social media world. I merely share my experiences, by doing what I love, writing.
For those who provide social media services, and feel compelled to ask me why I am promoting something I don’t sell, I would like to take a look at your thoughts from my perspective. True, my published writing focuses on fiction; however, even we writers stray. It’s what keeps our thoughts rejuvenated. Titles and tag lines I use are to get the attention of the masses, as they should, if I am using social media to my advantage.
Another thing that should be considered by the social media professionals is this: If the way you teach, share and promote your product or service, is pleasing to read and easily understandable, chances are, I may write about the topic. In doing so, often as not, including a link to your blog, website or some other form of social media you are on to promote your work.
You see, when I write (because that's what I do) about topics, regardless of the profession, and not necessarily fiction or poetry or how you should or shouldn’t write; I may just end up writing about what I have been told is not the route to follow . . .
How do you feel about using cross-over writing to promote your business or product on social media?
We are all capable of telling a story, sharing information and creating ditties. The first draft of any genre is easy. It’s what we do with them in the end that makes the difference. The ensuing work can make the choice of turning it into a book not all it’s cracked up to be.
My inner spirit was compelled to write a book. No, it wasn’t a bucket list item, it was a need. A call out to the creative soul that had simmered since childhood. So, let’s rewind the film and take a look at the books, one book at a time.
Thinking the book publishing process through, and wanting to get a book published in the shortest time period, with the least amount of cost, equals e-book format. However, regardless of genre, the preparation, in my opinion, takes more time for electronic books versus a manuscript destined for a publisher. Once the idea topic has hatched from the egg, it still needs due diligence. Correctness, flow, eye catching presentation, plus conforming with guidelines set out by the publisher. The crux is you are writer, editor, cover designer and publisher. The bonus, and it is a huge attraction to most, is the lack of an exorbitant outlay of dollars. An e-book is not hard on the bank balance, but it can suck the time bank dry!
The writing was now on the wall. The hook had been set. The bait taken, and the challenge of what was to become referred to as a ‘real book’ started to take life. Moon Rising: An Eclectic Collection of Works was a relatively easy book to produce. Archived and newly written vignettes, short stories and poems cuddled together to for my first taste of a publisher’s world.
It also gave me a penchant for what was to unfold, a novel; and, not just one novel, but three. Each storyline with their own set of characters. In essence, three different books about three different topics, in the fire at the same time. All in a race to see which would boil to a finish first.
Whoa! When the light came on as to what I was doing, the decision wasn't even debated. Finish The Quiet Spirits first and let the other two simmer in the back ground. Having them to fall back on when the stagnant times hit was great. I drifted between the other two. Penning a chapter or more until I found my ground again to return to the book destined to be the next to go to a publisher.
I am not surprised by the amount of time it took to write the first draft, complete edits and rewrites (so far) for The Quiet Spirits. It is a novel, after all. But once submitted to the publisher the process seems to drag and be lengthy. Patience plays a big part in the publishing waiting game. Will there be more suggestions and/or will the nod come that we are onto the next steps? Still on track for release by the fall of this year.
I have written e-books and like the simplicity of their production for sharing information and short stories. I have written a compilation of varying genres, only to tap into a simmering passion to write in more detail. The emotional adventure writing a novel has taken me on is an experience I would not trade.
Regardless of the style, the story, the sharing of information, or the format, I look forward to the future of my writing. Short term to way, way out there. Embracing the compositions that fill the pages.
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Keeper of the Words