Favorite Thing Friday: A Tough Little Dog

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Three weeks ago my little dog had to go in for an unexpected surgery. The poor thing was full of bladder stones, which pretty much feels like a belly full of gravel. I don’t know how long he’d had them, but he never let on that he was in pain. For a dog I refer to as my baby, he has proven to be something a lot stronger than a baby.

He went through a long and difficult surgery that left him very sore in a sensitive region. To add insult to injury, he lost his dignity when I had no choice but to make him wear a diaper, (yeah, there are diapers just for dogs).  Most dogs would throw a fit, walk funny, or work hard to take that diaper off, but not my little guy. He hates it, but he takes it like a man.

Just when he started to heal, he was faced with another hurdle. A bad reaction to medication left him with painful skin lesions. I’ve never seen anything like them and I can’t even begin to imagine how much they hurt. I won’t get into the nitty gritty details, but let’s just say several of my shirts and a few blankets have stains I can’t get out thanks to those sores. He’s cried a few times, but I don’t fault him one bit. If it were me, I’d be crying a lot more. This little dog is tough and keeps his nubbin wagging no matter what.

My cat may be bigger than my dog, but his strength outmatches everyone in the house. Yesterday, he entered a difficult stage of his recovery – it’s gross so I won’t get in details – but I have faith he’ll fight through it with the same determination he’s had all along.

There are days when I just want to break down and cry (there have already been a few), but my tough little dog always reminds me to smile and keep going.

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Don’t let that sweet face fool you, this is a tough little dog.

I have to give props to the staff of Indian Bend Animal Hospital. They are an amazing group of individuals who have shown both my dog and I an enormous amount of compassion and kindness.

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2013

Liberation

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What does the present owe to the past?

A few good stories or wisdom passed down.

In return, relics collect dust and lead an empty existence.

Archaic clay and pigment hold the past by a thread.

Anxious eyes look forward and forget.

The old becomes priceless, but for misguided reasons.

Wisdom is not for sale, nor is the link to those who came before us.

To forget them is a crime. To render them useless in a sin.

The spirit of now brings together two ends of a landscape.

A stilled vessel breathes again when given a chance.

Those anchored to the past fail to see today’s light.

Those looking to what has yet to come miss obvious joy.

Time is infinite and boldly hued.

To let go is to see all that’s possible.

Ai Weiwei – Colored Vases 2007-2010
Han Dynasty vases dipped in Japanese industrial paint.

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Words by c.b.w. 2013

Photograph captured at an exhibition entitled, “Ai Weiwei: According to What?”

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c.b.w. 2013

Favorite Thing Friday: Brainstorming

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After more than year of working almost non-stop on Novel #2, I decided to take a little break after completing the third draft. I needed time to work on my query letter and synopsis, so it felt right to put it aside and simply let it breathe.

Too bad my novel didn’t get the memo.

Instead of leaving my brain for a little vacation, my characters and story decided to set up a permanent camp. There is no rest for characters dying to tell their story and a world that can’t wait to be imagined.

I learned a long time ago to never ignore those little voices or creative surges, so I pulled out my trusty novel notebook this week. It has all my notes, sources of inspiration, and outlines from Novel #2 and now it will house all my scribblings for the sequel.

The brainstorming has begun as I piece together a working storyline. The trick is making sure the story picks up where the first book left off, yet is strong enough to stand on its own.  I’ve always had a basic framework for two sequels in that I know happens and how they will end. What remains fuzzy is how my characters will reach those end points. I need to figure out details and fun plot twists!

I began by re-organzing my notebook to ensure the first half will always be for Book 1 in the series. I moved all magazine clippings, images, and outline drafts to make room for whatever I collect for Book 2. Furthermore, I added tabs to separate one book from the other.  For a brief moment I considered moving to a separate spiral, but then I realized some of the inspirations from Book 1 are still in play and I need them to stay close.

Next, I started compiling all the random notes I’ve kept over the last year concerning Book 2. They are hiding on two hard drives, a notepad app on my phone, and throughout my original handwritten notes for Book 1. I’ll be rewriting every single notation so they’re all grouped together in one place. Call me old fashioned, but I like to write my initial notes by hand when starting a novel. It makes me slow down and think carefully about what needs to happen in the story.

I’ll be honest in admitting that the brainstorm stage is my absolute favorite part of the novel writing process. I get a little buzz from from making things up without any limitations. While the work is sometimes grueling, I love the surprises that come as I dig deeper into my fantasy world.

The process has only just begun and there is much to do:

  • Construct a detailed outline (with room for changes)
  • Create a playlist
  • Create inspiration collages (images and text that relate to the story and themes)
  • Fill pages with free write notes
  • Create new character profiles
  • Research (places, historical references, mythology)

There’s at least a couple of months of work on this list, but I’m giddy just thinking about it. This is going to be fun!

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2013