April 22, 2015

On Loving and Loss



 Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.  -Kahlil Gibran

Love is a wonderful thing. It's also a painful thing - especially when we lose those we love. The degree to which we suffer from those losses is in direct proportion to the degree in which we loved.

Love will always be a two edged sword. It can make our lives beautiful and leave us desolate. For many, the fear of heartbreak keeps them from investing themselves too deeply. They assume they can protect themselves that way. The irony is by not investing deeply we hurt daily from what we miss of the richness of loving completely.

I've done it both ways. I've walled up to protect myself. It was lonely and cold behind the wall. I've given my heart completely and had it trampled on. As painful as that was I didn't have the same regrets of wondering what might have happened if only...

Loss can come in so many ways and today I write from the loss of love to death. Death is a subject we don't like to think about where loving is concerned - so we seldom do until it's thrust upon us. We know it's lurking out there somewhere but we think of it as possibility instead of the eventuality that it is.  To dwell on it is silly and would rob us of daily joy as all fear does, so I guess it's best this way.

In the past week I've experienced the loss of love to death twice and in very different ways. The first was a woman of 100 years who had been a dear friend to me and a wonderful grandmother to my children. She lived a full life. She loved deeply and influenced many through that love. While it's easy to say "She lived a good life, and was ready to go" and to be happy for her, it still leaves a hole in the hearts of those who will miss her presence, her smiles, and her good nature - so it still hurts none the less.

 You can love someone so much...but you can never love people as much as you can miss them. - John Green

The other loss was of a cousin. She lived just 67 years and leaves behind 3 grown children who she'd been the only real parent for. She'd been their rock - their go to person throughout their lives and they were anything but finished needing her for that. She has a young granddaughter who she was close with who's still asking to go and see her. She doesn't understand her grandma's sudden absence and trying to explain it makes it even harder for her son who is himself trying to grasp that reality.

I don't believe there really is a "good" time for those we love to be taken from us but it seems there are times that feel better than others. At 100 years, we feel we've had a lot of time to make memories, share, explore and enjoy our time with a loved one. Though painful we don't feel quite so cheated when we have to let them go.

Those who leave us with so much left unexplored and shared leave us feeling robbed of what still might have been. My cousin's youngest grandchild will only know her through stories that she'll hear from those who were old enough to remember. Her three year old granddaughter might well forget how she anticipated seeing her and spending time with her, and the thought of those things weighs heavily on the hearts of those of us who are saying goodbye to her later today and tomorrow.

So what of love then? What's it all about when it can end so abruptly and leave us so exposed and raw? Is it worth it? I guess that's a question that we all will need to answer for ourselves - many times over the course of our lives. For me the answer is a resounding YES.

I vote for love. I vote for loving deeply and giving it everything we have. Yes, that does mean we will grieve more deeply at the end - however that end comes - but I'd rather be cut to the core than scratched because I can rest knowing I left nothing on the table - I've felt it all. Isn't that what we're here for? To feel it all?

April 9, 2015

Write to Remember





Growth is the only evidence of life.
John Henry Newman

 I've evolved - and I didn't even see it happening!

I read a post on a friends blog that mentioned The Phoenix rising from the ashes. I was immediately reminded me of a post I'd written some time ago titled Channeling Your Inner Phoenix. I went back and re-read what I'd written there. What an odd experience!

The words, though mine, seemed to have been written by someone else. They were! They were the words of the person I was on that day - and only that day.  I'll never be that person again and wasn't that person the day before the post was written. 

Knowing this makes writing all the more important. Our writing becomes the history of who we've been. It keeps us from forgetting all of those selves whose husks we've shed as we're daily reborn. Our writing serves as a way to witness our own evolution - to measure our growth or lack thereof. It holds the secrets to mistakes we don't need to repeat. Like an old friend who knows us well, our writing can guide us in the future using experience from our otherwise forgotten pasts.
 

If you just blinked, you've evolved!


Each experience colors us in some way. One day causes deep violent stokes while another  may add only muted hues or subtle highlights. There are even days where the canvas has been covered over - primed - and ready to start from scratch.

I suppose I've always been aware of the nature of our transience but it had never been so clear to me that this day - today - is the only day like it I'll ever have. I won't be the same when I wake up tomorrow. The world will have changed around me completely and it's actually sameness that's the illusion.

This experience has given a fresh A-ha to the quote I have on the wall beside my desk attributed as a Sanskrit proverb:
 

Look to this day,
for it is life,
the very life of life.
In it’s brief course
lie all the realities and verities of existence,
the bliss of growth, the splendor of action, the glory of power,
for yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow only a vision
but this day, well lived,
makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
and every tomorrow a vision of hope
so, therefore, look to this day! 


I like another quote that read: 

"If you're life is worth living, it's worth writing about." 

It may not be a blog or a book that works for you. You don't need to write a play or a made for TV series to immortalize your experience. It can be something as simple as a journal kept as often as you feel you have something important to remember or share with those who come after you. Each life has purpose and meaning. I can't learn everything myself so I'm counting on you to fill in the gaps!

We'd like to believe we'll never forget our most precious moments and experiences, but I can promise you that we will and what a shame. That doesn't have to be the case because:

The faintest ink is better than the sharpest memory. -Unknown

Look To This Day

Look to this day:
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence.
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendour of achievement
Are but experiences of time.

For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision;
And today well-lived, makes
Yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day;
Such is the salutation to the ever-new dawn!
- See more at: http://allpoetry.com/Look-To-This-Day#sthash.sHCzRGCN.dpuf
Look to this day:
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence.
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendour of achievement
Are but experiences of time.

For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision;
And today well-lived, makes
Yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day;
Such is the salutation to the ever-new dawn!
- See more at: http://allpoetry.com/Look-To-This-Day#sthash.sHCzRGCN.dpuf

Look To This Day

Look to this day:
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence.
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendour of achievement
Are but experiences of time.

For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision;
And today well-lived, makes
Yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day;
Such is the salutation to the ever-new dawn!
- See more at: http://allpoetry.com/Look-To-This-Day#sthash.sHCzRGCN.dpuf

Look To This Day

Look to this day:
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence.
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendour of achievement
Are but experiences of time.

For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision;
And today well-lived, makes
Yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day;
Such is the salutation to the ever-new dawn!
- See more at: http://allpoetry.com/Look-To-This-Day#sthash.sHCzRGCN.dpuf


Today I'll evolve - but this time I'll be watching for it and I'll write about it so I'll never forget. Will you?

April 3, 2015

SPARKS: Moments of Creation Volume 12


To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. - Herman Melville

I should have been born in England! Admittedly that's an odd way to start an article but this month's featured SPARKS guest IS from England where she lives with her husband. I so enjoy some of the expressions she uses that I've determined to at least visit there at some point.


Words like cheers, pub, and loo drip off her tongue like thanks, bar, and toilet drip off mine but it seems so much more fascinating somehow! On top of this, she's a dead ringer for my sister Sandra.

I was curious to know about her, and her process as a writer and I think you'll enjoy her interview as much as I have so let me introduce you to:

TERRY TYLER

Terry has published ten books on Amazon: eight full length novels, a novella and a collection of short stories.  Her latest two novels, Kings and Queens and Last Child, are modern day parallels of the Tudor period in English history, and have been enjoyed by Tudor fanatics and non-history lovers who love a good contemporary family/romantic drama alike.  


 When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?  

To be absolutely honest, Anita, I never had that 'I want to be a writer' thing going on.  I had always written a bit, and writing my first novel was a natural progression during a time when I hadn't got a great deal to do!  That was 22 years ago.  I wrote several over the next few years, then stopped for 9 years (because I was busy living some of the stuff that helped me write the next batch!) and then ... (see next question...)



What was the process that led up to publishing your first book? 

I met the man I'm now married to, in 2009; he read the original version of my novel about a wannabe rock star, Dream On, loved it, and encouraged me to carry on.  It was really hard to get back into it after so long, but after a few frustrating false starts I came up with You Wish.  I kept thinking, you used to be able to do this. Come on! Once I thought I'd got it into some sort of reasonable shape I sent it out in installments to about 12 friends. The feedback was very good. I sent it to a literary agent who read the whole thing and liked it but thought I should change the POVs (points of view) before she could submit it to a publisher, which I didn't want to do; silly me, perhaps! Then my sister sent me an article about John Locke self-publishing on Amazon Kindle ~ and that was that. Three and a half years later I've just published my tenth book, Last Child.


I started writing way before Kindle self-publishing was an option and wrote without any realistic idea of publication - in those days such thing was but a pipe dream!  Getting traditionally published is still about as hard as it is for musicians to get a recording contract with a major label. I've had interest from literary agents for the three I've submitted, but always with suggestion for too much change; my novels aren't very obviously commercial as they don't fall into one specific genre. I'm wary of going with an indie press as I like to have control over what I do. The good ones only accept submissions of a certain quality and are supportive to their writers, but there are many who will accept virtually anything. Would I recommend it?  Yes, if you're prepared to work hard at the promotional side and don't expect to give up the day job any time soon. By 'working hard' at the promotional side I don't just mean a couple of sessions on Twitter each week!


What did you need to learn about that process and how did you learn it.


  As far as the physical process of publication goes, the best thing to do is just go to the Amazon KDP website - but I don't do the formatting and publishing bit, another kind person does it for me. In other words, I'm sorry, I can't shed much light on this!  You need to choose your book's categories carefully, take a while to write a blurb that will interest browsers, etc. The promotion is another subject entirely, a huge one, and something you learn by trial, error, advice and experience.


How does it feel to be doing something you're passionate about?  

Good - I'm so glad my husband made me start writing again or I might never have done so! Frustrating sometimes, though, because one is never as good as one wants to be.



 What challenges have you faced? 

How long have you got??! So many. It all starts when you see your first book on Amazon and think, right: how will people know it's there? That's what it all centers round, really; finding ways to make your books visible and appealing to people. It never ends, and it gets harder and harder, as every day there are new people publishing for the first time. On the other hand, there are also lots who've given up. I couldn't imagine doing anything else now, though; I feel irritable if I can't write.  I think about my work-in-progress all the time!



What would you say to anyone who thinks that if a book is self-published it must be substandard?


I'd say, choose carefully and take recommendations. Since Amazon opened its gates it's facilitated a platform for everything from the worst rubbish imaginable to books that rival the traditionally published in every way possible. Read established book blogs; some I know are Rosie Amber, Between The Lines, Storm in the Stacks, Scatterbooker, A Woman's Wisdom, Ebookwyrm.  Since I've started reading 'indie' books as well as my old favourites, at least ten writers now number in my list I'd recommend without hesitation.
 

What's been most rewarding for you?

There's nothing like getting a message or a review from a complete stranger telling me that they've loved one of my books. It's a truly wonderful feeling!  Whenever I have a rough sales patch I think this: before self-publishing, no-one aside from a few friends would have read me at all. 


 What advice would you give to someone who has a dream but hasn't 
acted upon it yet? 

This is how I look at it:  if it's something creative that you really long to do, you should already be doing it. People who truly have a desire to write, paint, sculpt, make cuddly toys, etc, just do it, they don't wait until they think they might make some money out of it.  They write, paint, sculpt, and make cuddly toys, instead of watching the telly or going to the pub.  If you want to get professional recognition or make money out of your craft, though, you need to find out if you're any good so you don't get disappointed, and if you find that you don't have what it takes to, for instance, produce wonderful oil paintings, perhaps there is something related to the original idea that you could do, instead. As far as writing goes, you might have a talent for writing blog articles, but not novels. Don't wait until the time is exactly right - just start.  

Something I've said (perhaps too often!) is this: there's a world of difference between wanting to write, and wanting to BE A WRITER. If you've always had fantasies about winning the Booker Prize but have never actually put pen to paper, chances are you fall in the latter camp. 

If your dream is something practical, like opening your own shop, or traveling the world, then look into the feasibility of it, and work out how much you are prepared to risk in order to follow it. I am speaking from the point of view of someone who has had a shop, too!  

My sister (@ProofreadJulia on Twitter) gave up her job to become a full-time self-employed proofreader a few years ago; she did it gradually, at first still going out to work part-time until she'd built up her client list and reputation. If you reckon it's worth it, don't let other people's negativity put you off. Life's short; people tend to regret the things they didn't do, rather than the things they did.

Many thanks, Anita, for inviting me to your site, and I do hope that my responses have been of interest to your readers.

Thank you Terry for giving us a peek inside your process and letting us get to know you better. Best of luck with your new book and all of your future endeavors.

About Terry
                                   

 






Besides her books and stories, Terry also has a widely read blog, on which she writes about anything and everything, a book review blog for her own reading choices, and a blog with articles about self-publishing on the UK Arts Directory.



 














 Authors Pages:

Amazon UK
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Terry-Tyler/e/B00693EGKM

Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/Terry-Tyler/e/B00693EGKM
 http://www.amazon.com/Terry-Tyler/e/B00693EGKM 

Terry's Blogs:
http://terrytyler59.blogspot.co.uk/

Book Review Blog
http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

UK Arts Directory Blog
http://ukartsdirectory.com/category/ukad-blogs/terry-tyler/

http://ukartsdirectory.com/category/ukad-blogs/terry-tyler/