Becoming a Real Writer

Like many bibliophile and bookworms, I have been wanting to write a book for as long as I can remember.

When I was a kid, before I was able to read, write or even recognize letters, I made my mother a book. It was a folded piece of paper covered in drawings. While my mother accepted the gift in the same manner that she accepted all arts-and-crafts projects (like most parents). What I remember most clearly about this moment was my own inability to get across the importance of this act – I wanted to make a book. A real book.

My career has involved writing professionally, in some form or another, since the early 90s. I am particularly skilled at technical writing and report development, which is about as far removed from fiction (or anything fun to read) as a human being can possibly get.

As much as I enjoy searching out information, verifying facts, identifying needs and creating documents that present the appropriate data in a useful and accessible manner, a part of me still wants to be a writer. And, like most aspiring writers, to my mind being a writer…a real writer…means writing fiction.

I don’t often make regular original postings to this blog because my life is busy and I don’t have time to really sit down and write (edit) a proper post on a consistent schedule. Since I spend every moment on the bus, and during my lunch hour, reading; I decided to fill this blog with quotes. Do you want to know who I am? What I’m about? What I’m interested in? Take a look at these topics, authors and quotes. It works.

Yet, I’m not spending enough time on creative activities. I can’t seem to carve out moments to focus on music and fiction, and I’m not willing to reduce my workouts at the YMCA or my time spent with family. Work and commute time are inflexible – they are what they are (as everyone knows). So, the creative stuff just wasn’t happening.

Until now.

There are a few projects I have been slowly chipping away at. Recently, I spent two weeks making them top priority (read: temporarily reduced time at the gym and early/late nights). One of the results is the Wild Raccoon Farm blog.

Wild Raccoon Farm is a work of wishful fiction, which is more of a writing technique than a genre. It is both a networking tool, created for the purposes of finding other writers interested in Intentional Communities, and a very scheduled fiction-writing exercise. It is updated every Wednesday and Saturday.

Thus far, this project has worked out. I have been able to find time to write and I have had plenty of ideas to write about. It feels good to dive into fiction again. In fact, I feel like the creative part of my personality is sighing with relief and uttering a heartfelt “Finally!”

Whatever the outcome, it feels right and I guess that’s the most important part of this project and the experiences that come with it.

Power of Self-Determination

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Image source: Wordery.com

“…think how meaningful it can be to learn early on that people have a right to self-determination, to define their own reality, to claim their own identity—and that you have no right to impose your judgment of them, on them.”

White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son by Tim Wise

Finding Family and Identity

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Stellaluna

Image Source: Wordery.com

“How can we be so different and feel so much alike?” mused Flitter.

“And how can we feel so different and be so much alike?” wondered Pip.

“I think this is quite a mystery,” Flap chirped.

“I agree,” said Stellaluna. “But we’re friends. And that’s a fact.”

Stellaluna by Janele Cannon

Spotting Bad Management

Image Source: Wordery.com

The following quote suggests that managers who bully subordinates also hire people with the intention of abusing them. It’s a little unnerving to think blatantly (consciously?) predatory behavior is behind some new-hire decisions.

This begs the question – how does a potential employee spot a predatory manager, or an abusive work environment, during the interview process? Are there techniques for identifying and avoiding the problem all together?

Serial Bullying: How Employee Abuse Starts, Ends, and Restarts with New Targets

The most common occurrence coinciding with the onset of abuse is getting a new boss or starting a new job: “A surprising number (19%) are bullied almost immediately on starting their new posts. The recent job change and a change in manager account for 82% of the offered events relating to bullying onset.””

Adult Bullying-A Nasty Piece of Work: Translating a Decade of Research on Non-Sexual Harassment, Psychological Terror, Mobbing, and Emotional Abuse on the Job by Pamela Lutgen-Sandvik

Note: For more information about combating workplace bullying, visit the Workplace Bullying Institute, Beyond Bullying Association, the International Association on Workplace Bullying & Harassment (IAWBH) and the International Conference on Workplace Bullying.

War, Peace and Thomas Jefferson

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THOMAS JEFFERSON SECOND INAUGURAL ADDRESS IN WASHINGTON D.C., MONDAY, MARCH 4, 1805

We are firmly convinced, and we act on that conviction, that with nations as with individuals our interests soundly calculated will ever be found inseparable from our moral duties, and history bears witness to the fact that a just nation is trusted on its word when recourse is had to armaments and wars to bridle others.”

In time of war, if injustice by ourselves or others must sometimes produce war, increased as the same revenue will be by increased population and consumption, and aided by other resources reserved for that crisis, it may meet within the year all the expenses of the year without encroaching on the rights of future generations by burthening them with the debts of the past. War will then be but a suspension of useful works, and a return to a state of peace, a return to the progress of improvement.

United States Presidents’ Inaugural Speeches by United States. Presidents.

The Magic of Deprivation

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I was beginning to appreciate that the central feature of life on the Appalachian Trail is deprivation, that the whole point of the experience is to remove yourself so thoroughly from the conveniences of everyday life that the most ordinary things—processed cheese, a can of pop gorgeously beaded with condensation—fill you with wonder and gratitude. It is an intoxicating experience to taste Coca-Cola as if for the first time and to be conveyed to the very brink of orgasm by white bread. Makes all the discomfort worthwhile, if you ask me.

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail (Official Guides to the Appalachian Trail) by Bill Bryson

Never Truly Weak

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Divergent

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They attacked me to make me feel weak. I can pretend they succeeded to protect myself, but I can’t let it become true.

Divergent (Divergent Series) by Veronica Roth

Foster Kid Future

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Deep down I’ve always been aware that I’m just like the forty thousand other foster kids in America who age out of care every year to end up homeless, incarcerated, addicted, or dead.

-Etched in Sand by Regina Calcaterra

Sleep At Home

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“Well, since you’re so wise, could you please tell me how I’m ever going to get some sleep?”
“That’s easy,” said Owl. “Just go back home where you belong.”

Little Bunny’s Sleepless Night, written by Carol Roth and illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev

Learning from Mistakes

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“Kick me down, I’ll bounce back up. But that will never happen again.

Wander Woman: How High-Achieving Women Find Contentment and Direction by Marcia Reynolds