Bye Bye, Let Them Grumble. (But it’s not bad news!)

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Hello? Hello? Is anyone still out there?

If you’re not, then I don’t blame you.

If you are, then I’M SO GLAD TO SEE YOU.

Since I left blogging for an undetermined amount of time, I’ve been relatively productive. So this hasn’t all been in vain.

I’m publishing my first anthology titled¬†The Night is Starry: A Collection of Poems and Short Stories, due to be released August 14th in printed edition, with the digital edition available later this summer.

In honour of this new status as author (eek!), I’ve created a website, and with it, an official blog.” However, I think I’d like to blog there full time (ie., one or two posts a week). A new beginning as a blogger, let’s say. A clean slate. A fresh page. Whichever one you prefer.

So that means that I’ll no longer be posting here at Let Them Grumble. I’m sad, too, but it’s been a wonderful experience. It was great meeting all of you and swapping ideas and sharing my thoughts with you, and I will start doing that again, because I’ve missed it terribly. I’ll just be doing it somewhere else.

I would love if you’d take a look at my new blog and website and (perhaps) join me on my second blogging venture.

I have a feeling that it will be good to be back blogging. I’m excited for this new chapter. I hope you are too.

And I promise I won’t totally abandon you all again.

Love and hugs,

Libby

 

Confession of a Terrible Blogger

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Once upon a time, I was a good blogger. I posted three or four times a week and was pretty good at keeping up with reading/liking/commenting on your blogs. I’m not saying I was perfect, but I feel alright about the blogger I used to be.

Alas, that blogger was slayed sometime after October/November. My posts have been sporadic (or less so), my reading of your blogs pitiful and embarrassingly non-existent. It’s not because your blogs aren’t awesome! They are. Truly. Many of you are the type of bloggers I aspire to be.

I just don’t have the motivation/concentration/time to sit down and just enjoy WordPress anymore, whether it be for myself or for you guys.

And I feel really guilty about it. About once a week I’ll think to myself, “Libby, you should go write a blog post. And read some blogs. And leave super nice comments on ALL of them. And discover new blogs to follow. And keep following them. You really should, Libby.”

But do I ever listen to the little voice in my head?

No.

Sometimes I get as far as turning on my computer somewhere beneath all the junk on my desk and opening up Google Chrome. I’ll click open YouTube to listen to some music as I prepare myself for my amazing return to blog stardom (return? or ascend? I wouldn’t say I was ever a blogstar ūüėČ ) and, well, you know the rest. I’ll hear an awesome song, and decide to post it to Facebook. And then I spend the next hour clicking through pictures of Anne Boleyn and Lord of the Rings (though not usually in the same photo) and before I know it it’s time to get something done that I should have done three hours ago, or three days ago.

You all know it, and I know a lot of you have gone through similar stages in your blogging careers. Some of you may have given up on your blogging dreams and are no longer with us. Some of you pulled your act together and kept going for the rest of us to enjoy.

I can’t stomach either of those right now.

I know I can’t dedicate myself to re-becoming the blogger I was last year, I don’t have the time, but I don’t want to tell you all I’ve decided to abandon Blogland for greater adventures.

….So, this is my lame compromise.

I’m announcing an official leave of absence. During this absence, I plan on devoting as much time as I can (and time is a slippery little bugger) to my current WIP. (Yes! I have a WIP!¬†Hallelujah!)

Now, during this time, I’m sure I’ll get a stellar idea for a blog post, but worry not! The urge will be satisfied. I will write the blog post and save it to my hard drive. And once my leave of absence is over, I should (hopefully) have enough accumulated enough blog posts to make a bit of a comeback as my former blogger self.

The lovely blogger I used to be got awards from other lovely bloggers like Diane, Darlene, Dreampunk Geek, and Writing Underdog. Thanks guys! :)

The lovely blogger I used to be got awards like this from other lovely bloggers like Diane, Darlene, Dreampunk Geek, and Writing Underdog. Thanks guys! ūüôā

I don’t know how long this leave of absence will be. I’m going to say something like…until I get 30 000 words done on my WIP. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but my writing stints are short and sweet and the IP part of my WIP is very IP. Who knows how long that will take?

I’m really going to try to get back on track with reading¬†your blogs, however. It’s been too long, and it will be longer until I decide to make my insanely successful comeback in a couple months. I wouldn’t want you to forget about me, and I certainly want to keep myself up to date on what’s happening in your sections of Blogland.

I feel like a politician with all my promises.

Sigh.

Farewell until next time, my bloggy friends!

Hugs!

~Libby ūüôā

 

 

BUT WAIT.

THERE’S A POST SCRIPT.

PS: I do have a kind-of-not-really-legitimately acceptable excuse for my recent weeks of non-blogging. I’m actually still blogging. Just not here, and not as me. I mentioned back in November I had a new idea for a YA novel, and you might even remember her name (though I went back later and changed it to try to deceive you). The character in this idea was a seventeen-year-old blogger/eco-hippie by the name of Storm Rose Bennett-Clark, and you might happen to follow her blog, which launched back in March. During the winter months, I tried putting her story into a novel, and it just wasn’t working — so I decided, somewhat impulsively — to create a blog for her, and tell her story that way.

I’m sure some of you pieced that together already but…Storm isn’t real, and neither are her brother Mica or her friend Hanna. They’re characters I created, characters who may or may not end up in a book one day. They’re not involved in my current WIP, but anything is possible. Pedro the Gnome, however, is real. He sits on my bookshelf, hating the permanent smile etched on his face when he just wants to cry. All four of these characters have Twitter accounts, and you can watch them interact with each other and interact with them yourself.

Storm Bennett-Clark: @StormRoseBlog

Mica Bennett-Clark: @MicaIsaMineral

Hanna Withrow: @HannaTheTerribl (her Twitter account is run by Zozie! Thank for being such an awesome Hanna-impersonator!)

Pedro the Gnome: @GnomeThePedro

That is my confession, my dark secret. But, if you enjoy my writing (which I hope you do) and enjoy Storm, Mica, Hanna, and Pedro, then you can get the best of both worlds by reading her blog, leaving comments, and Tweeting them. I think Storm is going to start blogging more about her personal life in the next couple weeks, and you get to hear all about Jonas Blythe and learn more about Mlle Rousseau!

And if Storm leaves a comment or likes your blog or even Tweets you, you should feel pretty honoured to have a fictional character knocking at your virtual door! Can you imagine if JK Rowling got Harry Potter a Twitter account and blog?

Spring! …Spring?

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SPRING IS COMING.

Or at least, it was. Today’s ongoing, albeit light, snowfall kind of ruined the point of this post, but whatever. ūüėČ

The last few weeks have been delightfully spring-ish — the melting snow, the scent of last year’s grass, the muddy mess that destroys any shoes that aren’t rubber boots.

It’s made me very anxious.

This time last year I was in the midst of a writing frenzy, attempting to finish a novel by the beginning of May and that I had started in February(ish). I was writing all the time, everywhere. In the woods, in my room, in the car, before breakfast, during supper, until the wee hours of the morning. This time last year I was writing between 3000 and 6000 words a day, seven days a week. I ate, drank, thought, slept, breathed writing.

And, as you all pretty well know by now, I haven’t really done a whole lot since then. I told myself I deserved a break, but I’ve come to the conclusion I exhausted all my drive to write. Aside from a few brainstorms, a dozen or so poems, and the odd essay or two, I haven’t committed myself to any heavy writing in almost a year.

However, these last weeks, with their wet-ground scent and snow-melt dripping sounds, something has been triggered. Muscle memory? My brain and fingers remember these sounds and tastes and smells…and something is stirring. My body has come to associate the mucky month of March with insane amounts of heavy writing. I went for a walk the other day and realized after about ten minutes that I was thinking of my fantasy novel.

What does this mean?

Nothing, at the moment, other than the fact that I’m distracted, especially when I’m outside.

There’s just too much going on right now, unfortunately, for me to act upon this bizarre reaction my body is having to the weather. Hopefully I can bottle it up and save it for later. Does it work that way? Well, no, but if I tried to simulate spring by splattering mud all over my shoes and melting ice cubes above my head when June arrives…

Silly, Libby.

I will try to blog more often, though! I’ve missed you all!

Aaand, here a few blogs I think ya’ll should check out if you haven’t already:

The Storm Project

Janice In Nunavut

I hear you.

I hear you.

Those Perfect Little Sentences

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You know those perfect little sentences that pop out of your pen seemingly of their own accord? The sentences that are pasted on the inside of a book jacket, quoted by readers after the book has been put back on the shelf, and printed lovingly on T-shirts by your devoted team of blood relations.

I love them. The sentences. I love my team of blood relations, too, but that’s besides the point.

I don’t know where they come from, or what environment is needed to produce them, but once they’re sitting in front of me I can’t help but grin. I might write it again three or four times, tweaking a word here or there, or say it out loud, just to get the taste of it right.

Now that I have this little golden nugget to work off of, I can branch off into other, longer, more elicit phrases. Suddenly I have a paragraph. Then a page. And if I sat there long enough I might have a chapter.

I need to sit still longer.

Golden little sentences….

NaWrSoUtDiThaAnYoWriBeMo is still underway, and while I haven’t written in bulk chunks I have got a perfect little sentence to keep my going, main character outlines, a pretty general-yet-still-soft overall plot, and even a few¬†tentative titles (Broken Rainbows. ¬†Haven’t decided yet.).

I’m really enjoying this jaunt I’ve set off on. Instead of having a solid, obvious story line (save the kingdom, get the guy, solve a murder), I’m taking smaller threads and incorporating them into one. When one thread patters out, another slides in. I like it. It’s a theme rather than a plot, and it’s entirely different to what I’ve always done. The character, for now, holds my interest, and I’m learning from her.

What happens on November 30, when the month is up, I have no idea. Tonie Marron might sit in my notebook forever. She might blossom into a full-length novel. At this point it doesn’t matter. I’m trying something new, and it’s the first time in a long time that it feels like I’m using fresh words.

Do perfect little sentences pop out of your pen/keyboard? Do you build around them? How’s NaNoWriMo going?

Let them grumble!

Introducing NaWriSoUtDiThaAnYoWriBeMo!

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Day¬†Four of NaNoWriMo is either just beginning, underway, or ending wherever you’re reading this. Twenty-six more to go.

For those of you participating in National Novel Writing Month, I wish you the best of luck. I admire your dedication and perseverance and creative talent under time parameters. You are all my writing heroes. ūüôā

Unlike writers/bloggers such as Dreampunk Geek and Writing Underdog, I am not partaking in this 50 000 word fest of words, plot, and stress. There is just no way. I think it’s a great program for writers, and a great way to actually get a story from your head into paper (for those of us walking around with unused worlds in our heads). However, this is simply just not my can of beans.

Somewhat coincidentally a new novel idea sort of fell out of the sky on October 30th while watching the Scotiabank Giller Prize on CBC. I thought about doing NaNoWriMo with it, but decided not to.

Her name is Alton (Tonie) Marron, and she’s nothing like I’ve ever written before.

As a result of this new person in my life, and as a¬†parallel to NaNoWriMo, I’ve come up with a proposal. I’m calling it National Write

Something¬†Utterly¬†Different Than Anything You’ve Written Before Month.¬†Let’s call it NaWriSoUtDiThaAnYoWriBeMo. I’m sorry. No one said it couldn’t be unpronounceable.

Guidelines for NaWriSoUtDiThaAnYoWriBeMo:

As the name suggests, your piece must be utterly different than anything you’ve written before.

This could and should take the form of differences in:

  1. Character
    -Gender
    -Race
    -Sexual Orientation
    -Social Class
    -Cultures/Subcultures
    -Characteristics/Temperament
    -Likes and dislikes
    -Intelligence
    -Morals
  2. Structure
    -Genre
    -POV
    -Continuity (write the thing backwards or not in chronological order)
    -Format (poetry, chapters,¬†by the phases of the moon in a year, diary entries, diagrams, songs, rhymes, etc…)
    -Invent nonsense words (recommended reading: Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll, Frindle by Andrew Clements)
  3. World/Society
    -Different planet/dimension (we’re not in Kansas anymore, or maybe we are)
    -Social Classes (are peasants more important than nobles?)
    -Protagonist experience in situations your previous protagonists haven’t had (love, crime, family, sex, health, drugs, etc…)
    -Government system (olgiarchy, monarchy, democracy, lottery?)
    -Home life
  4. Process
    -If you normally do plot outlines, don’t do it
    -If you don’t normally do plot outlines, do it
    -Write it backwards, in random chunks
    -Write it forwards, in one fluid chunk
    -Do a chapter in one paragraph
    -Do a chapter in multiple paragraphs
    -Try leaving out the intake of coffee (but only if you feel it’s safe)
    -Take up drinking coffee (but only if you feel it’s safe)
    -Write with a different tool (pen instead of computer, or Open Office instead of Microsoft Word)
    -Co-write with a friend (or enemy, but that’s not recommended)
    -Author something on your own
    -Write with a group of people, or alone
    -Eat while writing
    -Fast while writing
    -Listen to music or different kinds of music
    -Or not
    -Time yourself
    -Don’t time yourself
    -Don’t keep track of the word count
    -Keep track of the word count

Other guidelines to consider:

  • Everything written must be different than any previous pieces. For me the genre, world, and personal life of my protagonist is utterly new.
  • Length doesn’t matter. It could be 500 words. It could be 100 000.
  • Be scared. It’s no fun if you’re not.
  • There are no limits. Want trees to be blue? Go for it. In fact, it’s encouraged, just so long as you haven’t done it before.
  • Don’t keep track of your progress. If you must, record your word or page count at the end of every week or with the phases of the quarter moon.
  • It’s supposed to be difficult.
  • After the month is over you can do whatever you want. I don’t care. If you didn’t finish and want to, by all means do so. If you hated it and want to throw it away, by all means do that, too.
  • If you decide that at page 82, when your protagonist is about to chase after her cocaine-addicted boyfriend, the story is over, then it’s over. We are not conventional. We don’t need to have by-the-rulebook beginnings, middles, and ends. We just write. And this time we’re trying to write something we’ve never written before.
  • Get your friends or blog/Twitter/FB followers in on the party. Have ridiculous get-togethers where you write the most incredible pieces of literary garbage that sparkle in the sunlight. Just so long as you haven’t done anything like it before. Post excerpts on your blog (and then maybe kindly link them to the guidelines here. ūüôā )

Good luck!

Excuse the poor banner. NaWriSoUtDiThaYoWriBeMo doesn’t have an artist committee yet.

To my dearest prince…

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In a world where everything can be done with the click of a button, prepackaged, and automatically corrected, you are the string that keeps me from floating away.

You remind me that there is more meaning to life than the quantity of one’s Twitter followers.

You give me hope, and even a little bit of faith, in humanity, though not enough for me to abandon you and live fully in the real world.

You’re there for me at the turn of every page. You alone understand me in utter completion. Your unquestioning trust gratifies me.

When I’m scared, you reaffirm your role in my life and give me the courage to continue your story.

One word at a time.

We spent rainy days together, sharing our souls and teardrops and laughing words.

We share vanilla ice cream.

Your hugs, even phantom, are the best ones.

The noise that escapes your lips, it embodies gladness and mischief, and evokes gladness and mischief in me.

Arguing in the rain, the smell of autumn and frustration all around, because you, as always, are playing hero with your sword, wanting to run to battle and die for the sake of glory, without a second thought for how that would leave me.

But you’re so good at arguing. With your hands, your eyes, your pleas. I can’t stop you, I can’t control you. It’s all I can do to keep you alive, despite what a good ending your death would bring. You have your sword, I have my pen. Together we can save you.

Your thoughts are my thoughts, your feelings my feeling, your life my life.

I know more about you than you do. Likewise, you know more about me than I do. Unlike me, however, you keep your wise observations to yourself, while I bare your entire being for all this shallow world to see.

You, my friend, play an infinite number of roles in my life.

Kindred spirit, sister, brother, parent, lover, teacher, student, enemy, comrade.

Wrapped in dried ferns and wool blankets and oneness, there is no place I would rather be.

Without you, I’d be incomplete, missing something beautiful and cherished.

Real or not, your value to me is ridiculously high. Half the roles you are to me I’ve never experienced. Nearly all the roles I am to you are unknown things, things I’ve only read about in fairy tales, with pumpkin carriages and enchanted apples and fiercest dragons.

Be you dragon-slayer or gentle listener, friend in need or a barrel of laughs, you bind me to the world.

In the world, there are few things I know besides books and words and people who, like you, exist only in my mind or ink or memory.

Yet with your life coursing through my veins, into my hand and out of this pen, there is one thing that rings clear and loud, the song of hammer against anvil, whisper of secrets, rush of hands in hair:

True love, it does exist, and I’m sharing it with you.

 

Love,

An extraordinarily lucky writer.

Found: Four Sisters, Unidentified

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Among a stack of ancient family photos, these four sisters were found. No one knows who they are. My mother, hobbyist genealogist, suspects that they could be members of the Pitcher family who traveled from England to Halifax in the 1890/1910 range. For now they remain unidentified.

They have lives buried, somewhere, that someone still remembers, but until then they are nameless, less even than characters in a book.

It is a sadness.

This photograph is creatively intriguing. All four girls, dressed in white with bows in their hair, are wearing lockets of some kind, perhaps identical ones. The girl on the far left looks unhappy (impatient with the slow process of early photography?) and the eldest girl appears to have taken on a caring and even maternal role for her sisters. The two eldest seem to be close in age — were they best of friends, like Jane and Elizabeth Bennett? Did they quarrel? Was the third sister envious at being excluded from the elders’ games and annoyed by the youngest? What sort of parents did they have, what sort of lives did they lead? What occasion does this photograph represent?

To me the placement of the girls, and the void separating the two eldest, could represent the absence of another sibling or parent. It looks like there should be a fifth person. Who? A brother? Another sister? Mother?  

I might have to write about them. Nothing too long. Just a little novella. Between 30 000 and 50 000 words, tops. We’ll see…

Have you ever written a story based on a photograph? Why did it inspire you? Do you have any mystery relatives in old family photo albums?

If you know who these girls are, PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT.