Sunday, September 23, 2012

Nourishing the Soul (and Stomach) with Creativity

I’ve been busy this past week with preparations for the craft fair. Below are pictures of some of my final inventory. I made a variety of styles to appeal to differing tastes. The ones below using my photography are some of my favorites.


Also, my daughter decided to go ahead and sell some dolls from her business, Sock Doll Surprise, so I sent a box of seven dolls up on Friday.

Then last night, I got busy in the kitchen. Creativity is a lifestyle, huh? Introducing:

Salad with Tofu Cutlet and Peanut Dressing

Serves 2


  • 1 Head of lettuce, your preference 
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced (mine were fresh from the garden) 
  • 1 chayote, sliced and raw 
  • 1 Tofu cutlet, cut into triangles 
  • 1 hard-boiled egg (or for vegans, leave this out)
  • 2 Tbsp. Pickled watermelon rinds (I made this the other day. So yummy!) 
  • 2 Tbsp. Peanuts 
  • 1 Tbsp. Sesame oil
  • 1 Tsp. Minced garlic

Peanut Dressing

  • ½ cup peanut butter 
  • ½ cup hot water 
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce 
  • 2 Tbsp. sweetener of your choice 
  • 1 dash of vinegar (I used apple cider) 
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro 
For dressing, mix peanut butter and hot water together until smooth. Add in other ingredients. Chill until cool. 

Fry tofu cutlet in sesame oil and garlic. 

Layer salad ingredients with dressing on top, and peanuts on top of that. 


This week, the last week of the month, I will be working on Mouse Tales Press updates. Plus, my amazing editor, Elizabeth Johnson, and I are busy picking our Pushcart Prize nominees from the Mouse Tales Press selection of 2012 writers. Stay tuned!

Oh, and my friend and fellow (still under construction) steering committee member, Khara House, is having a “Submit-O-Rama” in October. Sounds fun! For more information, visit her website, Our Lost Jungle.

Thanks for reading. I hope to be back to my regular "Signs of Life" blogging soon.



Thursday, September 13, 2012

Recycling Into Art

I’ve wanted to clear my house of things I don’t need for some time now. I do a little bit at a time, but it seems like the amount of stuff we have never gets any smaller. And now that I’m making these cards for the craft fair. I’ve realized what a perfect time it is to forego buying supplies and use what I have around the house instead.

Here are some of my collage creations from today.

I had the most fun working on the one on the bottom right, although it's not finished. It's a tri-fold card and I put the most work into it with a large collage inside.

Just now my son put a cereal box in my spot when I got up from the sofa. At first I told him to take care of it; then after I looked at the nice drawing on the backside, I decided I can use it in my collage-style cards. The box will leave my house, eventually.

I was thinking over what other items I could make for the sale, and bookmarks came to mind. I came across a great idea today on Green Paper; making bookmarks from old book spines. I love these. I can’t bring myself to tear apart my old books though, no matter what condition they’re in. I do like admiring the bookmark creations there though. Beautiful!

I sense a successful house-clearing over the next several months, and a filling instead of my heart with art.



Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Collage Art

As a follow-up post to yesterday's on card-making, I am having so much fun making them that I spent all morning making more. I'm about to move on to collage-style cards. This is a sampling of what I made in the past.

I was first inspired by this type of art twenty-plus years ago when I worked with a woman whose husband made very intricate collage pieces.

More recently, some online friends (Tess and Claudia, mainly) introduced me to "Soul Collage," which is what these pieces are inspired by, although I haven't yet done the writing part of these creations.

Now off to write. Happy Tuesday to you!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Handmade Cards

I am making some cards to sell at a craft fair next month and thought I would show a sampling. The nature photos are from my trip this summer to Montana, Idaho, and Yellowstone. The horse photos were taken at Copper Horse Riding Ranch, and the pink one is collage style.

All this card-making is making me hungry to create chapbooks.

If you have any of your own artwork on your site, feel free to post a link in the comments.


Herding Butterflies and Messages from the Dead

After I got mixed up about a couple of writing programs the other day, I was prepared to put together a post about software. I also had plans to write a follow-up post to the one I wrote for writers on choosing the “bad guy” in a mystery.

Mysteries have always fascinated me. From my early days of playing “Clue,” to composing code letters to a childhood friend, to people watching and examining all the angles of why people behave the way they do.

Yes, I was going to do all of these things. But then butterflies got in my way. Well, butterflies and messages from beyond.

Yesterday, I had what felt like a very long dream visit from a friend of mine who died five years ago. He’s been popping up a lot over the past week; bits of his name on license plates or in subject line of random emails, running into people who have the same energy that he had or remind me of him in some way. And then I had that dream.

First let me explain: A few days ago was my dad’s death anniversary. I always feel a little off on holidays now, but his death anniversary throws me off even more. Oddly, my friend, who happened to die the day after my dad died, often shows up in my dreams where bits of his life are mixed with that of my dad. It’s not like he and my dad were close. I think they met once or twice.

Anyway, in the beginning of my dream I went to the post office to pick up a letter composed by my friend. I was charged $35 for it, and after I paid, my friend appeared behind me, so I scolded him, asking why he couldn’t have just given it to me in person.

I won’t bore you with all of the dream details, but near the end of the dream, a business man appeared who was talking about a significant day that he wouldn’t be able to work. That day happened to be my dad’s birth date.

So all day I pondered the meaning behind this dream.

And then butterflies showed up. Three times to be exact. And when things keep popping up in front of me, I figure there has to be a message somewhere.

How do butterflies relate to the dream? The dream put me into analytical, super-sensitive mode, observing details of things around me.

The first butterfly flew by at a moment when I was in deep thought about the dream.

The next butterfly appeared in a story I read about a clerk at Macy’s who, when she couldn’t locate one for her customer to buy, gave her own butterfly necklace to the woman. The customer had lost a baby and butterflies reminded her of this lost child. She referred to butterflies as angels, and then later in the story, the customer called the clerk an angel.

The third one was a random butterfly photo that popped up in front of me when I was working on my computer. But it was on the site of a friend of mine who has views of life similar to mine and our connection with the spiritual world.

It’s easy to guess the meaning behind butterflies when considering the metamorphosis they go through. After developing the chrysalis, they seem to be waiting while the transformation is taking place. However, they are not waiting at all. The caterpillar body is transforming into a butterfly. And after it emerges from the chrysalis, it goes through another process as noted here in Butterfly School, “The butterfly must pump fluids from its abdomen through the veins in its wings, which causes the wings to expand to their full size. Next, the wings must dry and the butterfly must exercise flight muscles before it can fly.”

They break free to show themselves off to the world and to experience freedom.

Now I think about the significance behind this dream visit and butterflies.

Over the last several months, I have been helping to develop a new website for writers, founded by a woman who has often commented that she is “herding butterflies.” The work has been mind-expanding, confidence-building; it’s helping me to develop my wings.

Yes, my deceased friend could have been hanging (flying?) around merely as comfort during this difficult week of death anniversaries.

Or maybe he was helping bring my attention to the butterflies, prodding me on to study their meaning to help me realize I am finding my way out, and one day will emerge, embracing who I was meant to be.

On the other hand, sometimes I think that he - and my other deceased family and friends - send me these signals as a game to see if I can figure out their mystery. They all laugh as they watch me analyze the meaning behind their visits and symbols.

Really, they are helping to sharpen my mystery-solving skills. Because that’s what friends do. They support your endeavors. I think it’s kind of cool mine are doing it from another plane. And if I listen carefully, they might even tell me who the "bad guy" is.

(Oh, by the way, I composed this blog post in Word, the program that I use most often when I write. Stay tuned for that post about writing software. It’s coming soon. Once I can pull my head out of the clouds.)



Thursday, September 6, 2012

Screenwriting - Take One


Since I'm going to be heading up the script-writing forum in Wordsmith Studio (still under construction), I decided to start blogging a bit about my experience with the process.

A few years ago, after I got the urge to learn screenwriting and had written one very rough script on my own, I happened to get back in touch with an old friend from college who asked me if I wanted to collaborate on a project. The timing was perfect and I loved the synchronicity. So we began.

Being that she was an east coast resident and I live on the west coast, we did everything online, taking turns writing several pages at a time. I had Final Draft. She did not. So we wrote in Word and later on, I transferred everything into Final Draft.

That was the beginning of my journey. How should you begin?

For beginners, there is an informative overview of how to format a screenplay at Script Frenzy.

For now, go watch a movie. And I’ll see you when the popcorn is all gone.


Find me on Facebook or on Twitter.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

When Writing Takes Over Your Life

I’ve noticed that when I get deep into writing a project, I see manifestations of the story in my life. Real life versions of my characters appear. I find myself in homes that look like the ones I wrote about. It sort of makes me afraid to ever write a scary story. (Well, not really.)

Remember that Blue Moon last Friday? Was it a “weird” day for any of you?

I seemed to be in high-manifesting mode that day. It’s those weird energy days that are the perfect time to write; my mind doesn’t have a chance of getting in the way. In addition to the “weird energy,” I spent Friday fighting dizzy spells. Oh what fun.

Anyway, I sat down and got sucked into looking at pictures of benches made from bed frames, totally unrelated to my writing. I was trying to imagine what a bench would look like made from my daughter’s old frame that’s been taking up space in our garage for too long. All I needed were some wood slats to make up the bench part.

When I felt a little better, I worked on my novel-in-progress, Do Not Disturb. One of the characters, “Travis,” was on my mind. He is an older man wearing a red, plaid shirt, and glasses. And he has spent his entire life on his family cattle ranch. I wanted to find a picture of him. (Yes, you have to click the link to see him. I didn't have time to get permission to use it here.)

After I saved his photo, I noticed a new message from the local Freecycle list. Someone was giving away 17 slats of wood, the perfect size for my bench project. 

When I went to pick them up, it was in a neighborhood I had never been in before. And it looked like the neighborhood in a film my husband and I saw last weekend, The Apparition, which happened to be filmed in the city I live in.

Creepy movie, creepy coincidence. (By the way, watching this movie made me realize what an important part of the acting process the writing is. I knew this already. This was confirmation. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.)

On my way home, I stopped to buy gas. After I shut off my car, a man stepped out of the one in front of me. A man who looked just like . . . wait. You know what's coming, don’t you? Yes, Travis! A man who looked just like the picture I had saved earlier in the day.

At that point, even though I was having fun with all this weirdness, I decided it was time for me to head to the "safety" of home.

So I’m curious. Do you ever see your story – after you’ve written it - happen in real life?

Happy writing!