The Flamingo of Doubt and Going Rogue for NaNoWriMo 2016

People used to pull out their morning paper on the bus; I pull out my phone. The first app to open is Twitter, scanning the feed for local and international news. My Twitter also features some writers I follow, including Chuck Wendig, an author I heard about two years ago from someone during a NaNoWriMo write-in at the Millennium Library. I follow his blog featuring everything from his process to guest posts talking about the process their work took from idea to publication. I look for tips and, most of all, inspiration or a good kick in the ass.

On September 30th, Wendig took to Twitter to once again dealing with an old writer’s enemy, doubt. It’s the foe I know too well, an enemy of not only writers but anyone in this life. The same voice that says ‘give up on writing’ also can say ‘ you’re a shit parent.’ As I don’t have kids, it usually shows up to convince me to either forget writing or not to take a second trip to New York. The latter readers know too well from a Music Monday post.

I have read my share of Tweet storms, those string of tweets linking together like chains, usually have to deal with issues like, oh, someone I sometimes call ‘the angry carrot’, but should be called ‘the orange Voldemort.’  Wendig took on doubt in a series I put together in Storify. The title of this post came from the last tweet in the series:

Has it scuttled the inner critic? No, that pesky thing will always be in my head. It did give it form, one that still cracks me up. This picture either comes from a nature photographer or looks like a hyper-real lawn ornament. The flamingo of self-doubt lives on lawns in front of everyone’s mind palace. I look out my window, see the self-doubting flamingoes in front of my mind palace, then turn away to go to another floor. It doesn’t matter where I go, the flamingoes of doubt are on my lawn, seeming to multiply the more I look. How to subtract them? Each tap of my keyboard makes one go, poof. There’s a time for closer looks and a time to put words down to get those closer looks.

The Twitter series comes as November rolls around for another edition of National Novel Writing Month. It’s an intense challenge to put down 50,000 words before the end of November, and I love it. This year calls for something completely different as I will rebel against writing a novel. Lately, I have scribbled things here and there about my New York trip. Everyone has this story they want to tell, and this trip means more than a voyage. What it means will come out in 50,000 words in a series of essays. NaNo always represented a fresh start, a writer’s New Year so to speak. Unlike my ‘winning’ novel, I will either post here or put it on Wattpad, a community of writers posting everything from Fanfic to serial novels. Poorcate (the handle of a friend of mine) introduced me to the site, and I did set up an account. Naturally, I chickened out or should I say ‘ did a flamingo?’ Maybe that’s the goal of this year’s NaNoWriMo, battle the doubt dragon and render it a flamingo.


Up Before the Crack of Dawn With A Little Help

In September I purchased a Philips Wake Up Light like this one:


The winter of 2015-2016 marked a turning point in my sleep habits. Unless it’s a hotel room in New York, I had a hell of a time waking up. Not even the dulcet sounds of CBC Radio can ease me into a new day, while other radio stations drove me nutty with inane chatter. I can handle Ace Burpee as emcee at an event; I can’t handle him at 5 am, especially if it looks dark and full of terrors otherwise known as a typical day in Winnipeg.

After some research, I settled on paying a little extra for bird sounds and continuous light. Is it working? Well, so far, so good. I don’t feel the need to peel myself off the ceiling and my snooze button use has gone down significantly. I used to press the button on my old Sony Dreamweaver three or four times. I push the Wake Up Light once if I needed on occasion and only pushed multiple times if I had a hard time getting to sleep. In the getting-to-sleep department, Audible helps get me to sleep with their timers. (Currently listening to Luvvie Ajayi read from her book I’m Judging You.)

M0nday, I woke up before the crack of either dawn. (The device simulates sunrise. I set mine at 20 minutes before the wake-up time.) 2:40 am, and I can’t get back to sleep after waking up to use the bathroom. I flopped to one side to change my position, closed my eyes, and nothing. At 4:40 am I got up and made the first of many coffees. As far as Mondays go, it’s not the Monday-est of Mondays. Just a day ending like this:

Music Monday: Tomorrow Will Be Kinder by The Secret Sisters

Sometimes if the world looks like it’s going mad, a song may offer a sliver of advice.

Music Monday: Mercy Street by Peter Gabriel

I shared another track by Peter Gabriel, his duet with Kate Bush ‘Don’t Give Up,’ a few months ago. Two weeks ago, Halt and Catch Fire played another track from Gabriel’s seminal album So, ‘Mercy Street.’ It’s the perfect song for morose reflection or something atmospheric in the background.



Pumpkin-Spice-Everything Season

September 22nd looked like a typical Thursday as I drove my mom to her doctor’s appointment on a leave day from work. I learned later it was no ordinary day:

Fall means trees taking their bow with leaves in hues of red, orange, and brown. They started getting ready a week before Labour Day in my neighbourhood, as I spotted changes on some trees as if they said the kids are back in school, post-secondary students have returned, time to fold up the show until spring. What looks like the end to some people means the start of another cycle of renewal. I choose the latter.

We all knows what fall means. Thanksgiving? No. Christmas? Shudder, no. Anyone? Anyone? Let me drop a hint:




Music Monday: Ice Cream by Sarah Mclachlan

I felt whimsical over the weekend. In an ideal world, one with a shot at romance, this song would play as I meet my boyfriend. However, it’s not a perfect world and this song still, makes me hum just as happily in this one.

Music Monday: Battlin’ Jack Murdock by John Paesano

The running joke amongst my friends involved the number of times I saw The Avengers. For the record, I saw the film nine times, usually with people going to see it the first time. I went through my fourth viewing of Daredevil, both seasons, never skipping to favourite episodes. I loved the show unfolding in its first season as Matt Murdock settles into Daredevil by episode 13 while the second season sees Wilson Fisk settle into his moniker as The Kingpin.

It helps if a show featuring ninjas has a top-notch cast. Vincent D’Onofio has wowed people in such movies like Men In Black to the small screen in Law and Order: Criminal Intent. In Men In Black, he contorts his 6’3 body as a bug alien in a human suit while he voice noticeably deepens as Wilson Fisk in Daredevil.

Speaking of growly voice, Charlie Cox managed to erase all trace of the early aught’s Daredevil film. Of course, he has the advantage of multiple episodes to show a man reconciling his Catholic faith with the realities of his vigilante behaviour. The second season shows a hero wrestling with the sin of pride. He loses his relationships as he shoulders the burden of fighting evil, this time realizing it doesn’t always turn out his way. I think The Defenders will show Matt it’s time to share the crime-fighting duties and find a way to have a life. It tore my heart out to see him fight with Foggy Nelson and finally admit his true identity to Karen Page.

Oh, and for the record, I think Charlie Cox is adorable. Someone called him a ‘human teddy bear’ on Tumblr. I agree. Yup, I have a type, and he’s British. When news of his casting hit the net, people scratched their heads wondering 1) Why? And 2) Why another Brit? I give his performance as Owen Sleater in Boardwalk Empire as evidence for the defence. The story goes someone developing Daredevil watched his performance and thought they found their Matt Murdock. Look at the series and see those glimmers.

As we wait for the latest offer in Marvel’s Netflix universe, Luke Cage, here’s my favourite track from Daredevil’s first season: