Wordstock Sudbury

Today, I was pleased and privileged to be a part of Wordstock Sudbury, the first of what is hoped to be a biannual literary event.  At the Sudbury Theatre Centre (STC), Wordstock took over the main stage, lounge, and lobby areas for readings, workshops, and the essential selling of books.

If you would like to have a look at the full schedule, it is available on the site linked above.

I attended primarily to support my friend, poet Kim Fahner, and my fellow members of the Sudbury Writers’ Guild (SWG).  I also read the recently revamped opening of my novel.

Kim read with former Sudbury Poet Laureate Roger Nash, and Charlie Smith from Massey, all of them published by Your Scrivener Press (YSP).  The theme of their reading was Home and Away.  Though all three have very distinctive voices, the reading went well and had a seamless feel.  It’s always a pleasure to see such consummate professionals perform their works.

KimFahnerOf course, Kim was fabulous 🙂  She has a way of addressing the audience, slightly self-deprecating yet hilarious, that establishes a relationship.  We feel instantly at home with her, and completely comfortable as she shares pieces of her life in verse.

After a brief break, Sudbury Arts Council (SAC) president, Vicky Gilhula took the stage and presented the youth writing contest winners with their prizes.  One young man (forgive me, but I forget his name) came prepared to read and his story, based on his grandfather’s life in Sudbury and his career in the mining industry, was spectacular.  Amazing: a thirteen year old young man had the confidence and presence to bring us to tears.

He was that good.

Next, the SWG took over the auditorium, beginning with Rosanna Batigelli, who read a RosannaBatigellicouple of chapters from her historical novel, La Brigantessa.  The novel’s protagonist takes to a life of a brigand when she is assaulted and forced to leave her home by a tyrannical general.  Rosanna is in the process of revising her novel for publication.

EmilyDeangelisEmily Deangelis read from her middle grade/young adult novel about a young girl who loses her father in a car accident and subsequently experiences supernatural visitations when she is left with her great-aunt in Manitoulin Island’s Meldrum Bay.

Irene Golas read a selection of her poetry and flash fiction.IreneGolas

Tom Leduc read a number of his poems centering on his experience of Sudbury and its mining industry.

MargoLittleMargo Little from Manitoulin Island read some of her works published through projects of the Manitoulin Writers’ Circle including one on the War of 1812 and how the soldiers of the time became enamoured of their muskets, called Brown Betties.

Janice Leuschen, a member of both the SWG and of the JaniceLeuschenProfessional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) read one of her stories, and Heather Campbell, also a member of PWAC, finished off the session with a discussion of creative non-fiction.

I read just after Margo and just before Janice.  I don’t have any pictures and I’ll reach out to my fellow guildies to share any pictures they may have of me at the event.  It would be a lovely remembrance of the day.  Sincere thanks in advance 🙂

As I mentioned, I read the revised opening of Initiate of Stone; it was my first public presentation and I received some excellent feedback from Kim and Emily.  The technical director of the STC also found me in the lobby and complimented me on my reading.

I have often been told that I have a great voice.  It’s one of the things that helps me both as a corporate trainer and as a writer, a learned skill from my days as a poet, honed by years of practise.  I tend to a literary style, even though I write genre, and the voice creates an appropriately dreamy backdrop for my words.

After the SWG session was over, playwright Matthew Heiti took the stage to host a series of readings from plays in which one friend, Paulette Dahl, was reading from a play by another, mutual friend, Louise Visneskie.

The English Arts Society of Laurentian University also hosted a reading, Heather Campbell hosted a workshop on the creative process, and Roger Nash and Daniel Aubin, Sudbury’s current Poet Laureate read their poetry.

And all of that wasn’t counting the Friday night cabaret, the children’s and young adult programming on the patio, or any of the other workshops and events that I couldn’t attend.

Though attendance was modest, I think that it was a good start.  The hope of the organizers is to grow Wordstock into a full literary festival at a larger venue, or at several venues throughout the city.  I wish them the best and applaud them for this year’s event.

I had a blast 🙂

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Six questions with Barbara Kyle

Barbara KyleBarbara Kyle is the author of the acclaimed “Thornleigh” novels Blood Between Queens, The Queen’s Gamble, The Queen’s Captive, The King’s Daughter and The Queen’s Lady which follow a rising middle-class English family through three tumultuous Tudor reigns. She also writes contemporary thrillers, including B.R.A.G. Medallion winner Entrapped. Over 425,000 copies of her books have been sold in seven countries. Barbara has taught writers at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies and is known for her dynamic workshops for many writers organizations and conferences. Before becoming an author Barbara enjoyed a twenty-year acting career in television, film, and stage productions in Canada and the U.S. Visit www.barbarakyle.com

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I met Barbara a couple of years ago at the Canadian Authors Association’s CanWrite! Conference.  Not only was she an excellent presenter and full of writerly goodness, but she was also generous with her time.  Her critique of what was then my first 20 pages was an eye-opener and she sent me off with a new direction for my novel (which has shifted twice more since, but we don’t need to talk about that here).

Then I started reading her Thornleigh saga and became a fan.

We met up again at the Algonkian conference in Niagara Falls last year, and I’m thrilled Barbara accepted my proposal for an interview.

Her latest novel in the Thornleigh saga, Blood Between Queens is available now.  I would, of course, suggest that you read the rest of the series too.  You’ll be hooked before the end of the first chapter of The Queen’s Lady, I promise.

Welcome, Barbara!

BK: Thanks for inviting me, Melanie, and for your very kind words.

WG: Before The Queen’s Lady was published, you wrote and published three thrillers under a pseudonym.  More recently, your novel entrapped, another thriller, was honoured with the B.R.A.G. Medallion.  You’ve also written screen plays.  What do you enjoy most about writing each genre or form?

BK: The glory of the novel is that the author can get inside a character’s head and heart, can write exactly what the character is thinking and feeling, so the reader gets that precise, deeply-felt emotion, whereas in writing a screenplay you’re limited to just action and dialogue; you’re totally dependent on the actor to convey the layers of emotion. So that’s a huge difference. The wise screenwriter resists the urge to overburden the dialogue with these layers, and leave room for the actor to supply them. (It’s why we pray to have fine actors cast!) On the other hand, when it comes to describing a setting or a character’s appearance, the screenwriter doesn’t have to do a thing, because one second of screen time shows what the novelist must work painstakingly to convey, slaving over paragraphs of description that film shows in a blink. As for what I enjoy about writing historical novels and thrillers respectively, my historicals actually are thrillers. If we define the thriller as having life-and-death stakes, a ticking clock (a crucial deadline), and the protagonist pitted against a powerful antagonist, then all my Thornleigh Saga books are thrillers. Seem it’s my métier.

WG: You are meticulous in your research, something I admire greatly.  When you begin to work on a new novel, do you start with an idea and plot firmly in mind and fill in the blanks with your research, or is your idea/plot general to begin with and informed and shaped by the research you do?

BK: When I start a book I have no plot firmly in mind; usually I have just a character who’s bent on doing something. My new release Blood Between Queens is Book #5 in my Thornleigh Saga, which follows a middle-class family through three Tudor reigns. My plots in these novels are quite complex, and I develop them through several drafts of an outline, which I work on for several months while concurrently doing research,  before I start writing the first draft of the book. When I talk to writers I call the outline a “storyline” because as writers we must never forget that we’re telling a story. For me, the outline is where all the heavy lifting of creation gets done: creating the characters and plot. As for research, I appreciate your compliment about mine being meticulous, because it’s so important to get the bedrock facts right, whether it’s the gate at the Tower of London through which Princess Elizabeth (later Elizabeth I) entered when her half-sister Queen Mary imprisoned her in The Queen’s Captive, or the technical aspects of an Alberta oil company drilling for “sour gas” in Entrapped. Readers love learning when they read fiction, and I love giving them the details.

WG: Owing in part to your extensive research, you’re considered an expert on the Tudors.  You’ve spoken at the University of Toronto and will appear at the Stratford Festival this summer speaking on the subject of the rival queens.  How did these opportunities emerge for you and how are you enjoying this evolution of your career?

BK: I developed my talk “Elizabeth and Mary, Rival Queens: Leadership Lost and Won” for the University of Toronto Lecture Series last winter. It’s about Elizabeth I and her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots, whom Elizabeth beheaded. They are the focus of my new release, Blood Between Queens. I told Vida Engstrand, the wonderful publicist with my publisher, Kensington Books in New York, about the U of T lecture, and she immediately contacted the Stratford Festival, because they were scheduling a production of Schiller’s play “Mary Stuart,” which is about these two famous queens, for their 2013 season. They loved the idea of my talk and invited me to give it as part of their Forum, and to also do a book signing of Blood Between Queens. So, I’ll be doing that on July 10th. I really enjoy speaking about these two queens, whose lives are the stuff of opera. Admission to the talk is free, so if any of your readers would like to attend I’d love to see them. Here’s the link:  https://www.stratfordfestival.ca/forum/speakers.aspx?id=20473

WG: You also conduct workshops and master classes on writing at various conferences and other venues as well as making time for manuscript evaluations.  How do you structure your professional life to make room for everything and still have time to write?

BK: Very carefully! It’s a juggling act. Mostly, I do manuscript evaluations when I’m between books – but that window doesn’t last long because my current three-book contract with Kensington requires me to deliver a new book each year. Still, I truly enjoy teaching emerging writers. Having been one myself, I know how hungry new writers are for guidance from someone who has helpful knowledge about the process. And I love seeing a writer experience a “light bulb” moment from something I’ve taught. That satisfaction is priceless.

WG: You’ve just completed a blog tour in celebration of Blood Between Queens.  How do you find social media has changed the way books are published and promoted?

BK: Social media has become crucial. For one thing, publishers want and expect their authors to be fully engaged with readers and potential readers on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc. and even to blog, if they’re good at it (as you are, Melanie). Readers expect it too. For the author, it requires another chunk of time to maintain these networks, but most of us enjoy doing it. I love Twitter and have “met” many fascinating people there. My Twitter handle, if your readers would like to connect with me there, is @BKyleAuthor. I’ve learned three important lessons about using social media: 1) be yourself; 2) don’t constantly sell your book; 3) give: that is, share information that people truly want and can use, such as writing tips or links to author interviews. The blog tour I’ve just done with Blood Between Queens was beautifully organized by Amy Bruno of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. Here’s the link: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/bloodbetweenqueensvirtualtour/

Amy lined up fifteen blog hosts who asked for guest posts from me and/or interviews. Several of them also offered a giveaway of the book. The tour lasted three weeks and was a great success, with over 700 people entering one of the giveaways.

WG: Now that the blog tour is over, what is next for you and Blood Between Queens?

BK: Well, it’s only been out for five weeks, so I hope many more readers will be intrigued to pick it up! And I’ve just finished writing the next book in the Thornleigh Saga (Book #6) which carries on Adam Thornleigh’s story where Blood Between Queens left it. I won’t give any spoilers, but I can say that it’s set in 1572 and Adam joins the Dutch rebels who called themselves the Sea Beggars in their real-life fight against their Spanish occupiers. (I liken them to the Resistance in World War II fighting the Nazis.) Now, I’m deep into the research for Book #7. So there are lots more adventures of the Thornleigh family ahead. By the way, each “Thornleigh” story stands alone. To enjoy one book, a reader doesn’t have to have read any of the previous ones.

Thank you for a fascinating interview, Barbara!  All the best in your future writing endeavours 🙂

BK: Thank you, Melanie. I sincerely wish you the same.

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Blood Between Queens Synopsis:Blood Between Queens by Barbara Kyle

Following her perilous fall from a throne she’d scarcely owned to begin with, Mary, Queen of Scots, has fled to England, hoping her cousin, Queen Elizabeth, will grant her asylum. But now Mary has her sights on the English crown, and Elizabeth enlists her most trusted subjects to protect it.

Justine Thornleigh is delighting in the thrill of Queen Elizabeth’s visit to her family’s estate when the festivities are cut short by Mary’s arrival. To Justine’s surprise, the Thornleighs appoint her to serve as a spy in Mary’s court. But bearing the guise of a lady-in-waiting is not Justine’s only secret. The weight of her task is doubled by fears of revealing to her fiancé that she is in truth the daughter of his family’s greatest enemy.

Duty-bound, Justine must sacrifice love as she navigates a deadly labyrinth of betrayal that could lead to the end of Elizabeth’s fledgling reign . . .

Praise for Blood Between Queens:

“Fact and fiction are expertly interwoven in this fast-paced saga…exudes authenticity.” – Historical Novel Society

Kyle illuminates the world of queens Mary and Elizabeth, exploring their rivalry from its beginning through the eyes of a young woman torn between loyalty to her queen and a growing friendship with the enemy . . .Kyle knows what historical fiction readers crave.” RT Book Reviews

“A  beautifully written and compelling novel. Again, Barbara Kyle reigns!” – New York Times bestselling author Karen Harper.

Six questions with Michael Reaves and the producers of Blood Kiss

The husband brought this worthy project to my attention a couple of weeks ago and, of course, I just had to jump on board.  Noir vampire; how could I resist?

Truthfully, it was Amber Benson and Neil Gaiman who attracted me at first.  I’ve been a long-time fan of both authors/creative entrepreneurs, but when I viewed Michael’s Kickstarter video and realized his contributions to some of my favourite series (I absolutely adored Gargoyles!).  Then, I visited his Amazon page, I realized that though I didn’t know his name, I bloody well should have (!)

Also, I found his struggle with Parkinson’s Disease compelling.  I’ve often said that I’ll be writing until age AND infirmity rob me of the ability, because I’d beat out one or the other alone and still go down fighting, but Michael is the proof that even a disease as debilitating as PD can’t take a good writer out of the game.

So I backed the project.

And got a lovely thank you.

And an email that invited me to blog about Blood Kiss.

So here I am.

WG: Michael, I am inspired by your story, but it speaks so eloquently for you and your situation, I’ll steer clear of the obvious.  I’m a process geek at heart.  When did the idea for Blood Kiss first occur to you and how did the idea find its form as a screenplay?

MR: It started as a novel, back in the 90s. The way I usually decide is from how much inner life of the characters it’s necessary to reveal; past a certain point it just feels more like a book as opposed to a script.

WG: I’ve only dabbled in screen writing, so I don’t know much about the difference between novel and screenplay.  You’ve written both.  How long does it take to draft and revise a movie-length screenplay compared with a novel?  How has Blood Kiss adhered to and differed from that process?

MR: Well, everything’s different. Usually it’s about six months for me, be it novel or script.

WG: I’m going to respect Michael’s time and energy and ask the remainder of my questions of the producers, David Raiklen and Daniela di Mase.  First to you, David.  What attracted you to Blood Kiss?

DR: An amazingly talented team of artists including Neil Gaiman, Amber Benson, Michael Reaves and Tom Mandrake plus our wonderful production team. An chance to make a film noir, a style that every film lover appreciates. And a great story.

WG: You are not only a producer, but an award-winning composer.  How are your musical talents going to translate into Blood Kiss?

DR: More intense and exciting storytelling. A reimagining of the Golden Age sound, romantic and lush, plus scary.

WG: Daniela, you’ve studied film all over the world.  How is that experience going to inform Michael’s script?

DdM: I think that international indie films get very creative in order to execute their visions. Given that it doesn’t get any more indie than a Kickstarter film, we will be able to apply some of that to make the best film possible with the funds we raise.

WG: How did you get involved with the Blood Kiss project?

DdM: We met when he decided to do his film through Kickstarter. I offered to help with that. I was too fortunate to be in the right place at the right time!

WG: Thank you all so much for your time and excellent responses.  I’m even more excited to be a Blood Kiss Backer.

Blood Kiss has achieved its funding goal and I encourage anyone who has an interest to support the Blood Kiss project in reaching its stretch goals.  We all benefit!

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About the Blood Kiss project and team:Blood Kiss by Michael Reaves

Emmy Award winning writer Michael Reaves is creating a new film, BLOOD KISS, and new genre, Vamp Noir. He’s discovered a fresh acting talent to co-star, superstar writer Neil Gaiman. Also starring fan favorite Amber Benson from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Blood Kiss revolves around detective Joe Belicek, who must solve the murder of a vampire before a deranged killer murders them all. Inspired by Film Noir, this supernatural thriller is set in 1940s Hollywood with famous haunts like the Brown Derby.

“Michael sent me the script. I told him, “it’s a terrific script.” and he said, “I want you to act in it.” I replied “There’s nobody else I would act for.”–Neil Gaiman

BLOOD KISS will bypass the Studios, going straight to the fans for funding to greenlight the film. Fans who contribute to BLOOD KISS’ Kickstarter campaign are eligible to receive exclusive rewards in exchange for individual pledges ranging from $5 to $10,000.

Because of Michael’s personal struggle with Parkinson’s Disease, Blood Kiss is proud to be associated with the American Parkinson’s Disease Association to promote awareness of the disease.

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter to see all the surprises we have for Blood Kiss’ evergrowing fan base!

Michael Reaves is amazingly prolific, writing and producing literally hundreds of scripts for various television series including Star Trek: The Next Generation, Twilight Zone, Sliders, The Flash, Father Dowling Mysteries, and Disney’s Gargoyles (the only animated TV series ever to be reviewed in The New York Times). He won the Emmy and was nominated for a second Emmy as a story editor and writer on Batman: The Animated Series. He’s also won a Howie Award for his H.P. Lovecraft-related work in film, as well as the prestigious Hampton’s Prize. In addition, he’s been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula and Writers Guild Awards.

Neil Gaiman is the author of novels, short fiction, comic books, graphic novels and films. His most notable works include the comic book series The Sandman and novels Coraline, Stardust, American Gods, and The Graveyard Book. He has won numerous awards, including The Hugo, Nebula, Bram Stoker, Newbery Medal, and The Carnegie Medal. He is the first author to win both the Newbery and the Carnegie medals for the same work, The Graveyard Book.

Amber Benson is a writer, director and actor. She currently writes the Calliope Reaper- Jones series for Ace/Roc and her middle grade book, Among the Ghosts, came out in paperback this past fall from Simon and Schuster. She co-directed the Slamdance feature, Drones and (co-wrote) and directed the BBC animated series, The Ghosts of Albion. Her acting work includes the Steven Soderbergh film, King of the Hill, and the indie feature, Race You to the Bottom, for which she won the Best Actress Award at Outfest. She spent three years as Tara Maclay on the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Tom Mandrake is a comic book illustrator whose moody style has made him the perfect choice to depict dark heroes and horror. Titles he has worked on include: Batman, The Spectre and Martian Manhunter (DC Comics); X-Files/ 30 Days of Night ( Wildstorm); Wolverine and The Punisher (Marvel Comics) and To Hell You Ride with Lance Henrikson and Joe Maddrey (Dark Horse Comics).

DavidRaiklenDavid Raiklen is a producer, composer, songwriter, host, and crowdfunder best known for the record breaking film series Space Command. He’s scored hundreds of films, television shows, and games, including Heist (New York Film Critics Choice), I Am Omega, Disney’s Sing Me a Story, Batgirl, The X-files Movie, the documentaries Atlantis and Worth—winner of over 30 international prizes and awards. He’s also won multiple awards including a 2004 American Music Center Grant, three Telly Awards, and the 2009 Park City Festival Audience Choice and Gold Medal. David is host of SciFi Soundtrack, appearing on the Hugo award winning Starship Sofa series. In addition to Neil Gaiman on Blood Kiss, David has worked with billionaire Jerry Buss, Academy Award© winner Elliott Gould, and director John Landis.

Daniela di Mase is a quadrilingual powerhouse actress/producer, originally from DanieladiMaseCaracas, Venezuela. A Meisner trained actress, she has studied filmmaking around the world, including Italy, France, Miami, and Los Angeles. Daniela brings years of experience, passion, and drive to Blood Kiss, and is excited to work with this amazing team. In addition to Blood Kiss, Daniela and her producing partners have four feature length films in various stages of development, including Mirgage with director Fred Keller.

Training trainers in Toronto

This past week, I was out of town.  The purpose: to teach a bunch of trainers the content of Business Writing Made Easy, so that they, in turn, can teach others.

The class was composed of three trainers from one business line and 6 from the other.  BWME Nov 19-22 001Though I may, as I mentioned last week, be returning to the training team in September, there are several possible alternatives that might prevent this from taking place.  I have to be prepared for the possibility that I won’t be able to help train staff much or at all in the future.

This was my fourth time co-facilitating the course, and I’ll be training it one more time this week coming.

The course is 15 hours, or two days, spread over three.  I added a day onto the end so that the participants could adapt portions of the course, present them, and get some focused feedback from the rest of the class.

The class is very participant-centered, that is, there are a lot of activities and the facilitators are constantly using questioning techniques to engage learners in their own learning.  This last is a challenging bit for me, because I’m a word-nerd and a total grammar-Nazi.  I have to restrain myself from talking about the things that I love.

The course went well.  I was able to help one of my colleagues get some experience co-facilitating the course because she may be turning around and delivering it to her business line in the future.  I also got the trainer’s high that come when you see the participants getting enthusiastic about the subject matter.

I think they’re all going to be brilliant 🙂

As I’ve mentioned before, the course involves learning a business letter writing model, tips on clarity, concision, and readability in writing, and a final module on grammar review.  The practical component is a letter that the participants draft as part of their pre-course work and revise as the course progresses.

Actually, looking back, every time I’ve blogged about BWME, it’s been about the process surrounding the course, not the course itself (eeps!).

I learn, or have something confirmed for me every time I teach this course.  I hope that my newly-minted business writing teachers feel the same way.

I still get nervous every time I have to train too, but I hide it well.  I’m introverted (as all get out) and training, though enjoyable, tires me.

I’m reading Susan Cain’s Quiet right now, and will likely post about introversion in the future.  For now, let’s just say that I’m learning a lot about myself 😉

Just yesterday, I saw a post on Facebook by the wonderful Nancy Kress, who said that in preparing for a 4-hour workshop, she was nervous, even after her many years of writing and teaching.

One of the comments that followed mine was that, if you care at all about the subject you are teaching, or presenting about, you will be nervous.  Every time.

I do find this to be true.

Getting back to the course, since it’s only two days, I can’t teach anyone who to write properly or how to use the principles of grammar.  The course is a combination of review and resource-building that we hope will give participants the tools to continue improving on their own.

Practise makes perfect.

bunch of starsThe participants seem to enjoy the word pairs exercise most (affect/effect, practice/practise, principle/principal, further/farther, etc.).  The “snowball” fight is a great energizer, and the subject/verb agreement and punctuation exercises tend to confirm that most participants already know a lot about grammar, it’s just not something they’re aware of in their everyday work.

The key with BWME, as with so many other topics, is to cultivate that awareness, and promote its continuance on the job.

 

Have you had the opportunity to learn or teach something that you’re passionate about? How was the experience?  Do you practise after the fact?  What stayed with you most?

 

May submit-o-rama was a bust :(

I got side-tracked, in a marvellous way, but still side-tracked, by courses.

May Submit-o-rama ChoiceI know myself and my limits.  Further, I’m focusing on fiction at this time versus verse, so I opted for the Choose your own Challenge category, and set my goal, as I had back in October, at one submission per week.

At the time, I was working on two short stories for submission May 31, 2013, and so I thought maybe a couple of flash fiction pieces, or something equally non-angst-inducing and I’d be able to make it.  If necessary, I could polish up some of my older, unpublished poems and see what I could do, but then the learning opportunities came knocking, and I knew I wouldn’t have time to do more than the two stories.

Last week, the deadline on one of the submissions I had planned was extended, and frankly, I was glad. Being out of town for training derailed my writing plans.  So in the end, I submitted one short story in the entire month of May.

It was an original, though, so at least it counted toward Kasie Whitener’s Just Write short story challenge (13 original stories in 2013).  Unfortunately, it was April’s original 😛

I participated, but I don’t think that it could be considered a success.

I’m remarkably okay with that though.  I’ve got my fingers into so much right now, that something had to give.

Other perceived failures

I’d submitted a guest post that was to have gone live sometime in April but my colleague’s even more hectic schedule intervened.  There was some hope that the post might have been rescheduled in May, but the month has passed and it looks like it won’t see the light of day any time soon.  It’s only the second guest post I’ve submitted.  It’s also the second that didn’t pan out.

An interview that I arranged recently also seems to have fallen through.

Why it’s all good

There’s a saying that if you aren’t failing, that you aren’t doing enough to stretch yourself.

I agree with that, so long as the individual who perceives their actions as failure can put the attempt in a positive frame.  Otherwise, it can weigh on the soul.

My perspective: so long as you’ve tried your level best, you’ve upheld your part of the bargain.

I put my best effort into everything that I do, or try.  I can feel satisfied with that and I learn something important every time.  At the end of the day, it is enough.  I am enough.

Are you failing upward?  Have you had some perceived failures recently that have left you questioning yourself?  How have you overcome the negative and turned it into a positive?

Do share.  I’d love to hear what y’all have been up to 🙂

The yard, she be nekkid!

Well, not really, but while I was away training trainers, the excellent and knowledgeable arborists at Tamarack Expert Tree Care took down six trees in our back yard.

Before

Before

nekedyard1

After

 

As you can see, there is still a honeysuckle and a few pin cherry trees back there, so it’s not completely nekkid, but my lovely (but potentially deadly) ladies are gone.  Also, my hostas and ferns were trampled (sorry, wasn’t going to move them—they’ll survive) and my mom’s fence lost a couple of boards.

A moment of silence, please.

Now we’ll be able to get the patio set up and I’ll be writing outside every nice evening and weekend through to the fall!

It’s been a rainy weekend here, but it’s one of my favourite times of year.  Yesterday afternoon when things dried up a bit, the breeze was pulling in the scents of lilac and honeysuckle from all around the house.