What’s Up With Aly

So, here’s what has been up with me!

-I fell off the face of the Internet for 10 weeks instead of 2.  I apologize!

– My 40+ hours/week job is finally becoming routine and much less stressful.

– I went to a family reunion in Illinois, and came back with an outline to co-write a book with my dad, based on his life.

– At that same reunion, I found out one of my relatives wrote and published a book(I have a signed copy!).  It’s a book on quilting, with patterns she designed.  They’re based on the signs/symbols hobos would use to communicate with each other and leave messages on the road.  In fact, she goes into a lot of history, which is why I bought the book since I don’t quilt!  (If you’re at all interested, let me know and I’ll send a link to the book)

– I may (finally) be joining a writers group.

– And to add to that, I found a writing partner in my best friend’s girlfriend. 🙂

Overall, I’ve been thrice as busy as usual, but I’m finally getting this balancing act down.  I still won’t be posting as much as when I first started, but hopefully I’ll have a few posts each month.   I hope you guys have been doing well, and I definitely look forward to browsing all the blogs I’ve been missing!

Never, Ever Give Up!

Hey everyone!  This will just be a short post with a very inspiring story/video for you guys.  A little update with me:  After a vigorous job search (and interviews) I’ve finally landed a full time job!  No more part-times for this little lady.  I’m giving myself a solid two weeks or so to get into the routine and find a balance for working, errands, and writing/blogging.  My posts will probably be a bit more sporadic for a while.

As for this video, it’s been a long time since I’ve heard a story so inspiring.  The message?  Never, ever give up!  No matter what you’re doing, be it writing, job searching, or getting into shape, just keep moving forward.  🙂

(Also, I may or may not be a Yogi who found this exceptionally heartwarming and inspirational.)

All the best to you guys!

Inspirational Writing vs. Music

Oxford Online Dictionary: Inspire: fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative:[with object and infinitive]:his passion for romantic literature inspired him to begin writing


 

I absolutely love finding, sharing, and supporting creative endeavors by people.  A friend of mine recently shared this video with me, and I immediately fell in love with it.  The man who created it is Alaa Wardi.  Here’s a quote from his song description:

The lyrics in this song are gibberish, they’re in Arabic but they don’t make any sense, and the idea behind that is:

-The song didn’t feel like it needed to talk about anything, and I didn’t want to limit it to a specific idea, so I left it open for you to imagine.

This song inspires me to be creative.  And it’s not just the song, but the ideas behind it as well.  (There are more listed on the Youtube page for this song.)

I love how even the musician wants to leave the interpretation up to the imagination of the listeners.  I do wonder, though, if the gibberish lyrics were English/Western, would I feel the same about the open interpretation?  Is it my lack of familiarity with Arabic that helps me distance myself from words altogether, and just view the singing as part of the music?

Then again, perhaps that’s why music can be so powerful and important to people.  It breaks through language barriers and has the ability to evoke similar feelings out of everybody.

People perform songs to inspire, to entertain, to tell a story, or evoke emotions.  Isn’t that also why we write?  Writers want their stories to be listened to, and to serve a purpose for the reader, even if it is just to entertain them on a train.

But when was the last time you read a book that truly inspired you?  That made you want to put it down the second you finished, and start writing, or painting, or baking, or singing?

For the past year or two I focused my reading on contemporary novels.  The books I’ve read have ranged from Fantasy to Memoirs, and Thrillers to Young Adult fiction.  They’ve made me sad, happy, angry, relieved.

Yet, I struggle to remember one that really inspired me to do something.  I spent hours turning those pages, and enjoying the stories, but not one seems to have had a lasting affect on me.

And here we have a song that’s under 4 minutes and I hear it once; then suddenly I’m running around listening to it and actively finding ways to express myself and how this song makes me feel.

I haven’t felt that way about a book since middle school!

I feel like books have more of an indirect affect.  Music reaches you instantaneously, but with books you have to be patient.  Most of them, while not inspiring me to act, inspire to me think, and contemplate over things I had not yet considered. I digest the words internally, while music makes me want to create and do something physically.

So what do you guys think?  Have you ever been creatively inspired by a book? What books, words, or songs inspire you?

Letters of Note

On which Hemingway puts the beatdown on Fitzgerald in a letter.

If you are like me, then you love hearing what people have to say to each other.  Admittedly, I have on several occasions turned the music off on my headphones and listened to conversations around me.  (Really, the things people say in public are astonishing!)  I also belong to the small group that laments the downfall of good old-fashioned snail mail letter writing.

Which is probably why I fell in love immediately with Letters of Note.  From the website itself:

Letters of Note is an attempt to gather and sort fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and memos. Scans/photos where possible. Fakes will be sneered at. Updated as often as possible; usually each weekday.

So far there are 752 letters on the website, and I’ve yet to reach 100, I’m sure.  Several letters appear by fantastic writers including JRR Tolkien in regards to being English,  Kurt Vonnegut on being a POW at Schlachthof Fünf (Slaughterhouse Five), and most deliciously Aldous Huxley to George Orwell on 1984(Orwell) compared to Brave New World(Huxley).

All of those are interesting reads, as well as plenty others on the site that don’t involve authors.  However, there is one letter in particular that I wish to share with fellow writers.

Ernest Hemingway to F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald had requested Hemingway’s opinion on his novel Tender Is the Night, and boy does Hemingway let him have it.   However it’s not all about put-downs or insults.  Hemingway gives Fitzgerald some very sound writing advice.

And if I haven’t convinced you to read this letter yet, here’s just a small excerpt:

For Christ sake write and don’t worry about what the boys will say nor whether it will be a masterpiece nor what. I write one page of masterpiece to ninety one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.  -Ernest Hemingway

(So stop reading my blog and go read Hemingway’s letter!)

Words Pour Like Rain

Ideas roll like thunder,
Miles deep
And full of wonder.

Inspiration strikes like lightning,
All at once
My vision’s blinding.

Words pour like rain,
Down my throat
And through my veins.

I love nature, whether it brings sunny days or raging storms.  This past weekend it has brought both to me.  On Sunday it reached 80°F (27°C).  This was rather startling considering two weeks ago it was still snowing/blizzarding. And then Sunday night there was a huge, raging thunder and lightning storm.  For at least a half hour it was averaging 10+ lightning strikes per minute.  The storm lasted several hours.

Yesterday, Monday, it was again 80°F, and again, last night brought a fantastic thunder and lightning show.  Today isn’t quite as hot, however tonight there is scheduled….you guessed it…Thunder and lightning!   And do you know what’s supposed to happen tomorrow night?  THUNDER AND LIGHTNING!

Have I mentioned how much I love this weather?

The downpour of rain always helps me feel creative.  Maybe that’s because I grew up in the rainy, drizzly, Pacific Northwest.  Or maybe it’s because my mothers name is Raeni.   Or maybe I’m just a little odd.

At any rate, the universe seems to have aligned to promote inspiration for me to write.  Who am I to argue?

What helps inspire you guys?  Is there a certain environment your writing thrives better in?

(For those of you who follow, and posted such kind words in regards to my fathers health: He’s doing much better, and is now out of the hospital and back home with my mom.  Thank you all, again, for the concern and well wishes.)

Writer Vs. Person

I’ve always had a fear of sharing my writing with others.  As I’ve found, this is a fear shared by most creative people when putting forth their works into the world.  You pour your heart and soul into a physical, tangible thing, and suddenly there is nothing left to hide behind.

I’ve talked before about how a part of myself is imprinted in every character, setting, and subject in my writing.  So when I’m in a dark place in my life, my stories will take on a darker theme, and the same can be said when I’m doing well.

But what makes me hesitate sharing my work with close family or friends, is that I don’t want them to read too much of me into my writing.  Which is an utter contradiction to the fact that I admitted to pouring my heart and soul into my writing.   Bear with me!

I want to be able to bring my own experiences and thoughts into my work.  For better or worse it can take quite a dark turn.  And that bitterness is what I will write about.  However, in expressing myself in that way, it will be the only side of me people are seeing.  A mere hand full of puzzle pieces in a 1,000 piece puzzle.

That is definitely not my goal in imparting myself into my writing.  I almost feel like I need a disclaimer before sharing with my friends and family.

DISCLAIMER: The views, opinions, and themes expressed in this writing, are not necessarily a lens in which to view the writer.  Please keep in mind, there is a difference between Aly the writer and Aly the person.

And yet, I sometimes feel that it’s almost an insult to try to separate my personal self from my writer self.  Because in reality, there is nothing to separate. They are one and the same.  I am writer, hear me roar!

I guess it’s just a matter of trying to explain and find common ground with those close to me, who don’t understand the whole ‘writing thing’ that I do.  Out of my family, I am the only creative type.  My brothers and my parents are more logical and realistic.  The majority of my friends are that way as well.  It’s hard for them to understand the nuances of me in my writing, but I won’t hold it against them.

It’s the few friends, and many friendly bloggers I know, that encourage me to continue being my creative self.

Do you guys distinguish between a writer vs personal self?  Do you think it’s bad  to try to separate/downplay a side of you that close friends or family don’t understand?

Nothing Motivates Me To Write More Than Mortality

The past few days have not been particularly kind to me.  But it takes a big scare to remind you what’s really important.

Over the past three days I have:

  • had my lawn chairs stolen off of my patio
  • sold my books to afford to pay the bills
  • taped a garbage bag over a window that won’t roll up in my car
  • been rejected for a job I thought for sure I would get
  • had a relationship-changing fight with my boyfriend

Suffice it to say, I was equals parts angry and disheartened.  Then my mom texted me, saying that my dad is in the hospital…again.

And suddenly, none of that other stuff mattered.

The lawn chairs were mildewy and moldy anyways.  I was never going to re-read those books.  It’s supposed to be sunny the next few days, so no rain will get in my open window.  I have a different job interview next week.  And if anything, my boyfriend and I have grown closer since then.

But my dad suffered a stroke a while back.  And he’s been having bad chest pains, so my mom took him to the ER.

As bad as I thought everything was before, it is nothing compared to a mortality check.  I can sit and stress over things that, honestly, won’t have a huge affect on me.  Or, I can deal with them as best I can, then move on and use my energy more productively.

In this case, my writing has been kick-started with a singular thought:  What if my Dad (or another loved one) isn’t around to see my first novel finished?  

Motivation to write, indeed.

So when life gets difficult, and all the bad things pile up, just think of what’s really important.  It’s okay to take a day or two to recharge, to cry, to deal with everything, but don’t let it stop you completely.  And remember, you WILL make it through!  (And blog readers make great cheerleaders!)

All the best,

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