To School or Not To School?

In a way I’m still a wanna-be author. I have a manuscript that is yet to be professionally edited. It screams and begs to go to the story spa. My manuscript has even picked out the package it desires. And like any parent without money to give their child such a luxurious gift, I shake my head. Not yet. Deep in my chest my heart snaps. My manuscripts big dream of being on a bookstore shelf shatter.

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If I went to school would my manuscript end up in a bookstore?

In the past few months school has been on my brain. I’ve been wondering if going to school would help me in the in end. It would give me the tools I need to grow. When I look at tuition…I feel like I should cry. Maybe if I’m lucky my tears will turn into diamonds I could sell them. College here I come. Dreams. Dreams.

Keep dreaming. Work at those dreams. One day all your hard work will pay off.

School costs more then I can afford, unfortunately, doesn’t mean that I will never go.
If you’re in the same boat and want that story you have hidden way; read, told, shared, and adored. Your story might inspire or even scare the living daylights out of someone, then consider school. School will give you a connection with other writers that are learning along side you. Test you. Push you to the breaking point to help you expand your theories and worlds.

I had to think of an alternative to school. There are free blogs to read, groups to join, and the entire internet to explore. There is also the most effective way…walk in to a library and ask. Bookstores too!

I stroll into the library by my house and found there’s a list of resources, meetings, work shops, contests, readings and other little helpful gatherings for authors to connect with one another. I take a picture of them each month with my phone with the intention to register for everyone. Today I saw one that is a must, it is about self-publishing and marketing. This, at the moment, is one of my weaknesses. Best of all it’s free! This isn’t the first free coarse they’ve offered. I’m sure your library would have the same. If you keep your eyes open you will find cheap workshops that will help polish your wonderful bossy manuscript. This way you can afford that expensive time at the spa.

Happy writing!
C.B.

Stones of Life

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Life is a balancing act between many stones of life. We each pick and choose each stone from a sea of rocks and test it by placing the stone with respect and tender care. Think of each stone you place as friends, family, career, and hobbies. Once they all work together you will find a inner peace. Not every stone will work. Experimenting is unavoidable. Think of it as going on a date, meeting a new friend, or even buying a computer. You can’t be sure that it will work perfectly the way you want it. Your date could smell or that new friend could be rude or that computer could have glitches and is rendered useless. You could focus your time in fixing the glitches though you will risk of taking attention from your other stones.

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Friends support you through the best and worst of times. Don’t forget to do the same for them, they too are balancing the stones of life.

Family creates the base of the tower. When you mature it’s your turn to build on your own. Choose your own stones and test them. (Think of all the weird phases you went through as a child. I know I had a few.)

Careers are important, we all need them, find one that is right for you. Don’t settle. If you have settled ask yourself is it making your tower weak or keeping it strong?

Hobbies are those special stones that will glorify your structure with your adventurous and playful side. Could be anything you enjoy doing. Art, dance, blogging, writing, photography, knitting, sewing, or anything you can think of.

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If you topple over, don’t worry, we’ve all fallen and will do so in the future. Gather your friends and family, they can help put all your pieces back together.

Now that you have all your stones in mind build them up. Is it a sturdy tower that can last the sands of time? If not see what stone is wobbling and give it care and attention. Maybe your not giving enough attention to one or to much to another. Are you spending more time with friends and not enough time for career? To much time on hobbies and not enough on family? The one I’ve come to see the most is to much time on career and not enough on family. Take a hard look at your tower and ask your self, have I balanced my stones?

We all have imaginary delicate towers that we hide behind a mask. If you see a friend, family member, or coworker, even a stranger, and their tower seems wobbly give them a stone of confidence. A small complement goes a long way.

How are your stones of life doing?

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Faith Restored in Humanity

We humans can be vile creatures. It’s hard to argue with this logic. I know you’re thinking, what? You’re crazy. People say horrible about one another, to one another, and behind backs. My positive opinion of our kind as a whole has depleted over the time I have lived. We kill each other. Steal. Belittle. It has become one disgust after another. Chaos. And I know I fall in this statement too.

Now for the silver lining that shined down and brightened my view on our existence.

Mark and I were on our way to Horne Lake Caves, and we made a stop at Port Place Mall in Nanaimo, needed to buy a case that could withstand camping. We bought it and then stopped at a bench to put the case on. Mark, being the awesome man that he is, figured out how to take the Otter Box apart and trap my IPhone inside. Yay, success! Off to pick up our friend from the ferry, then the caves!

Or so we thought.

At the ferry terminal Mark couldn’t find his wallet!

We searched the car, around the car, remembered the last place he had it…Rogers in the mall…crap! Okay. Don’t panic. Try not to think of the $120.00. The Master Card. Where is it…shit I’m panicking. Don’t panic. Don’t panic. Oh man!

So I called CIBC Bank in the mall, a wonderful lady searched the bench and area. Still, no wallet. Mark and I searched the car, bags and area. The ticket man at the ferries helped by looked around the car once more for us. He told us about the lotto booth across from the bench. “Maybe someone turned it in?” He suggested with a faint smile. It was worth a shot. I searched for a number…nothing. So I called CIBC. Another woman answered, I explained, she put me on hold. Beep! Don’t panic. Beep! Breathe. Be-the ladies voice replaced the beep. She had gone to the lottery booth and asked them about the wallet. Someone handed it in! Fantastic. The wallet was in the hands of security and she called them to bring it to the bank. Amazing!

We told the ticket man we found it, but we lost our friend. While I was on the phone Mark texted our friend and he had already arrived and was in the parking lot. I looked around. We were all that was left in the parking lot. The ticket man asked what ferry he was on. Departure bay or Duke Point? Duke Point, we answered. He bit his lip and shook his head. We were at the wrong ferry. A twenty minute drive from this ferry terminal to the other ferry terminal.

We decided to pick up the wallet first, then our friend. Mark and I parked. Rushed in to CIBC Bank. Would the cash be gone? ID? Credit card? And there it was, his wallet rested on the back counter. The teller greeted us with a smile, we explained our story, she checked Marks ID to make sure he was the man he said he was…ID yes good start. She handed Mark the wallet, and he was quick to rip it open. There neatly placed in the large pocket, all of his $120.00. Everything. All of it left where it should be.

We decided to go thank the one who passed it to security and buy a lottery ticket.

Mark and I asked the woman at the till if she had found the wallet. “No. A young woman with a backpack found it on that bench,” she pointed to where mark placed it on the bench, “and gave it to me without hesitating.” The ladies smile beamed. She too was fond of what she witnessed. We thanked the woman again and then preceded to buy the biggest lotto pack she sold.

The view I stated earlier in this post…it had softened. Not only did that one thoughtful woman find our wallet and return it she lit a light close to my views and showed me how wrong I am. The team of random people that worked together to getting a stray wallet back to its owner lit more around hers to support her light. Thank you all!

To: The Woman Who Found Marks Wallet,
July 11 2014 3:00pm at Port Place Mall Nanaimo Canada

You’re a gem among stones.
Thank you so much for what you did. Mark and I were on our way to spend my birthday caving and all our camping money was right there in cash in that wallet. We had a fantastic time thanks to you. We’ve told everyone at the camp ground about what you did and how thankful we are. You’ve restored my faith in humanity, that’s not easily done, and everyone that witnesses the event unfold was blown away about how natural that kindness is to you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Cheers,
C.B. Dixon

P.S You’re an amazing person.

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New Look

Hate to say it, appearances are everything when it comes to certain things. Marketing, websites, blogs, the list goes on and on. When you go up for a job interview, most of us pick out things we wouldn’t wear on a day-to-day bases.
The past few weeks I’ve had cover art on my brain. What will the cover of Wicked Soul Ascension look like? Should it be hand drawn or digital…hm. So I popped on to my blog and looked at the cover, blah. I really didn’t like the colours, they clashed. The wording and name is a mouthful, though it flows nice. Colour, it was the colour that struck me the most. I needed something that represented me, something that I saw one day. The picture of two paths I took worked with the title. Perfect. The black and gray is easy on the eyes. I’ve come across blogs, websites, and adds that have white writing on a black background, three words in my eyes water.
Easy on the eyes.
We all want to see what you have written, but if we can’t get past the colours and layout. I’m still learning and experimenting with the countless possibilities I can use. I am always learning.

Key points:

Simple too extravagant and over the top causes the eyes to roam all over the place and miss the key portions that you want the reader to see.

Balance use other gadgets and images along with your text. Insert a picture where it is needed to have a break from text.

Reader interest If the article written is about healthy eating, don’t tag it as music. Tags are useful tools to help potential readers find articles they are interested in and help the blog, website, and so on, find people that are into what has been created.

Colour important to have it match. My mom used to call me colour blind, i’d dress myself in the tackiest of clothing to the point she wouldn’t want to leave the house with me. My sister too. I have the inability to match colour. Thank the heavens for my husband the painter, my colour saviour.

Now back to my cover. Hand drawn or digital? Hm. Ooo, maybe both.

Cheers.

Dear Father Time,

Dear Sweet Father Time,

Life is not a race, please slow down. You are immortal and can with stand the tick of each second, minute, hour like they don’t exist. Me, I’m chained to the clock of life, bound to my mortal body count down. I beg of you, slow down. Each day seems to speed by like a blurred sports car.
Quick blink; June’s gone.
I’m almost twenty-four although I remember laying out on my trampoline, sleeping under the vast night sky, watched the stars twinkle and the moon phase. Ten years old with dreams of the future, seems like yesterday. There’s so much yet to do and now it seems that a year is too short, when it used to feel like a life time.

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Pause. Take in the moment. The bright blue ocean with its morning sun light reflecting off its smooth rippled surface, the blue mountains with their white snow caps defining the distant shore line. The call of the crow, seagull, and tiny unseen birds. Breathe in the salty air, and taste it upon your tongue.
If you could walk through life you’d enjoy it more. Slow down. Relax. Take in the beauty of life around you. Take the moments you have within each day and embrace them, you will only get that moment once.

With rushed love,
C.B

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One Big Disaster vs. The Little Things

Small acts that we do for one another, stranger to stranger or friend to friend, no matter which way you look at it, the little things count. One horrible thing can happen that could be life rattling and leave you strung out. I had this happen last week, Monday…the first day of the week my nerves were stretched to the point of almost snapping. Our fifty five gallon tank leaked all over the floor. After using a carpet cleaner to suck up mostly all the water out of the carpet and then ripped down the ceiling of the garage below and tore out all the insolation, puddles of watered down insolation poured down on to our heads. Mark and I finally did all we could do to save our little place.

Look on the bright side: Perfect location for a horrible disaster. The water went straight into the garage and didn’t even bother anything we had stored there. Both neighbours walls and ceilings were left untouched by the water.

I got a text from my husband, ‘tank broke.’ Okay…hm…tiny little drip or glass shattered, water and glass everywhere? Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god…
I called up my boss and asked for the carper cleaner (water vacuum), without hesitation she let me take it.

Looking on the bright side: My Boss Kim lent me the carpet cleaner that saved the floor. It sucked up more water then all the towels and blankets Mark had used before I got home from work.

Saving grace: Mark is an owner operator of his own company, Mark B’s Painting and Home Renos, wonderful! He fixed it up with no problem. Electrical and supports were unharmed. The destroyed drywall and insolation was shoved into black garbage bags.

After the tare down we needed to wait for everything to dry before covering it up. It was 11:30pm, and I didn’t get to bed until 12…

The next morning I was exhausted. I drove to my coffee shop, in need of something strong. I ordered and like usual she asked for a form of payment…I looked everywhere…I couldn’t find my card…

The sweetness of a human heart: The woman at the till smiled and said, “it’s on me dear. Have a great day.” I almost cried on the spot. “Thank you so much,” I said then left with watery eyes.

I went to work, my horrible mood softened by the sweetness of one single person. I strolled in through the door. One of my adorable three year olds sat at the breakfast table, her cute smile and big blue eyes told me she was up to trouble. I placed my things down and turned to her with a raised eyebrow. She giggled knowing I knew she was up to mischief.
She holds up a cookie and giggles. “Cookie for breakfast, hm?” I ask.
She giggled again, her cheeks filled with a rosy tinge.
Her mom laughs, “it’s something new she’s come up with. A cookie for Teacher Chi-Chis breakfast.”
I take the cookie and eat it in one big bite. “Thank you. I really needed that.” I gave her a deep hug and carried on my day as if my whole night hadn’t been destroyed.

Icing on the cake: The thoughtful small cookie brought joy not only to me but to a child as well.

My thought on the whole event opened my eyes to the little things in life that we all take for granted. It’s hard to see the little things when something is so life rocking that we over look these little gestures.
What if we don’t have those kind of life shattering events? Be the best you can be. Smile at those around you, even if they look like they’re having the time of their life. Why? Because it feels good for both you and the other person. And who knows someone could be smiling and still have their fish tank destroy their home, making it feel like life is out to get them.

Pass on the good deeds of others.

Youthful Imagination

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Above: The children and Karlee launched a ship they made from drift wood. Then the kids got to sink it with rocks! They enjoy every second of it.

When I take my 3-5 year olds to the outdoor play yard I wait till they ask for materials or until fifteen minutes are up. Blocks, sand toys, babies, trucks/diggers, chalk, gardening tools (child safe), balls, and water tools. I will set up a water table on sunny day and open the sand box no matter the weather. Sometimes I setup a art table with rocks to paint or paper to draw on. The yard isn’t huge, still we have two climbers, a sand box, a sports field, and a gazebo. It fits them all and has very little blind spots.

At first they asked for toys instantly, but as time went on I would bring the materials out at fifteen minute mark. Most the time the toys will go untouched. I noticed a major difference in play and their social skills. They began to group together, all 16 of them sometimes or in groups of eight. Some play games to save the world, and others use invisible gadgets and tools. Some cook with rocks and sand or even build their own garden by picking weeds and sticking them into the ground. They began using their imaginations and became less reliant on material goods.

Ever since my partner and I tried this the children’s observations of the world blossomed. Here are a few questions and answers they have come up with all on their own that make me giggle:

Quotes from children:

At lunch my four and five year olds have been doing different kinds of jokes. One of the three year olds ask me, “why did the chicken cross the road?”
“I don’t know, why?” I ask.
His big brown eyes widen. “I don’t know, that way I ask’n.”

Five girls playing house. One three year old girl grabbed the flashlight. “We need this.”
A five year old girl grips her hips with both hands and tosses out her bottom lip. “Why would we need that?”
“To see in to our darkness.”

Outside a five year old and four year old boy is freezing dinosaurs to save Elsa (from Frozen) from all dinosaurs.
“What is the dinosaur with the long tail and two legs called?”
“Philosoraptor?” I ask unsure.
“No…not that one…”
“Tyrannosaurus rex?”
“Yeah that one.” And off he went.
Soon he came back with a puzzled expression. “Chianne. What’s the flying ones called?”
“Pterodactyl.”
A three year old girl stops beside me. “Turn-to-apples? That’s a silly name! Funny dinosaur, there not apples.”

“Look a dragonfly,” yelled one of my four year old boys as he climbed up the big rock in the yard.
“Why is it called a dragonfly?” asked his four year old friend.
“Maybe its because they were dragons that turned in to flies,” replied the boy as he chases it away.

I can’t wait to see and hear what else they’re going to come up with as they grow. It makes me wonder where did my youthful imagination go. Yes I know why we’d need a flash light or the names of dinosaurs, it’s the way they view the world and bend it to what suits them that moment. Creating games out of things they don’t enjoy to make it fun. Why can’t we, as adults, do this anymore? Where did the sense of wonder get lost? School? Puberty? Heart break after heart break? Did we all get hardened over the years because we do know what a dragonfly is?

As I teach the children manners and how to zip zippers I hope they can teach me how to wonder again.

Don’t get me wrong my imagination is strong, my husband would say it’s too strong, but to have eye’s that can see past the shell of reality. See things in a way that society and all its gadgets and technology has tried to force out of me, a way that only my imagination can show me. Now that would be interesting.

C.B

Salutations Sunshine,

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Salutations Sunshine,
How was your vacation to the south? Christmas in summer…that’s insane. Then again they could think the same about me having Christmas in winter.
Boy-oh-boy I missed you this winter.

Things you missed…well my friend there wasn’t much. Rain, snow, and all around crummy weather. The east coast got it the worst. I kept them in my thoughts. Winter sure had his fun with them.

Thank you for popping in once and a while. I enjoyed your company those days. Guess this means you’re back to work.

Your heated sunbeams feel nice on my chilled skin. You chase away my shivers in a way that my heater wishes he could. Even though I’ve complained already that it’s been to hot, I am super happy your back.

Missed you more then I can express,
C.B.

Live, Experence, and Accomplish

I first found my love for writing at the age of seven. Since then I haven’t been able to stop…

ImageAbove, The photo was taken of me in grade two, seven years old, learning about Japan.

Seven year old me loved a good story. Learning to create one all on my own with just my imagination and vocabulary took me to a whole new world. Kim Smith and I would spend hours… days… months on her tiny single bed. I’d tell her a funny or dark story, a blend of our childhood interest, fears, and newly formed ideas.
One day Kim suggested we write down the tale, Forever was born. Its name is real to the tale, since it still lingers under my bed unfinished. The love for writing never faded. It grew and grew. With everyday that passes I learn more and more. I can’t get enough. I love when my mistakes are pointed out, what better way is there to learn. Every moment is a experience for the next time I write, and with that I came out of the shadow of my room and decided that it was time for others to see my passion, read my love, and share the tormented secrets of my mind… Image

I find places like the above which inspire my writings and give me the itch to press my pen to my paper.

23 now, I live in Victoria BC Canada far away from all that I once knew. I was born and raised in Leduc AB Canada and only left to travel. By the time I turned seventeen I had been all over the world; England, Tunisia, Dominican, Cancun, France, Germany, and United States. None of that could prepare me for the monstrous move from all my family and friends. My family was, and still is, close and we did lots of amazing things together. The thought, how would I survive without being able to raid my moms pantry… crossed my mind many times.

With my husband, at the time he was my boyfriend, unwavering support I made it. I got a amazing job at the daycare and have now have been there for three years. Seen many new places, met many new people. Good close friends were the hardest to make. Soon I realized it was hard to find someone that was actually born on the island around my age. After a year and a bit, I met a few people and then met their friends, soon I created a great web of friends. Then everything didn’t look so grey. I noticed all the flowers and tress that I had never seen before. Bugs and birds that were new to me. They don’t have skunks here…they have racoons, sweet I had never seen one before.

Since my move I have been able to follow my dreams, live a life that is my own, and found what makes my creative side tick.

I am now turning 24 July 12 2014 and I feel that what I have accomplished over the past year with my marriage and finishing my first draft. I feel that 24 is going to be an amazing year.

 

ImageAbove, Mark and I going out whale watching for my 23 birthday. A great way to start of a wonderful year.

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Above, a photo I took that day. This is L-41 Mega born 1977. He has a six foot dorsal fin. I had never seen a Orca before then I got to see him and his entire family. That day all three pods came together like a gigantic family reunion.

 

If it wasn’t for getting off the couch and moving forward to explore the world around me I don’t think I would be where I am today. With each new experience I have come to understand the only way to live is to open my eyes and look at what is around me.

Cheers,

C.B.

Dear Sleep,

Why did you ignore me last night?
I was so tired…now I’m even more tired. You do remember I work with children right? Erg, now I’m cranky and it’s all your fault…kay, maybe I’m just tired. Sorry I got so upset.
You must have got mad when I hung out with coffee last night. You do understand I have more then one friend. When did you start really getting angry? Around the sixth cup, or was it eight?
Wow…now that I wrote that…I’m sorry that I wasn’t thinking of you. I understand, nine cups of coffee at seven o’clock, not such a good idea.

I am sorry. Please forgive me.

With lots of love,
C.B

P.s. I hope to see you to night. I have a great idea for a dream we can play in. See you then…hopefully.

P.s.s Coffee will understand.

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The Curves on Learning

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I finished my first draft of WICKED this passed weekend. A mile stone my husband Mark, Sketch and Taz (our kitties), and I celebrated with a few drinks and some good books. A great way to spend Saturday night.

My path to that point took years. I finished Wicked once before. Edited more then few times, it went to beta readers. During that time I read blogs, books, tips, and discussed with others about all things inside and outside the covers. My brain filled with sentence structure, dialog, description lengths and wording, characters, and grammar. More and more and more. Everyone had many views, some liked it one way, then others contradicted what I previously read. It was hard to get everything put together in a way that was uniquely me without over stepping invisible boundaries. By the time I learned more then I ever knew…the manuscript I wrote…I trashed it! Yes that’s right, tossed the whole thing in the trash.

It was time to put everything that I learned over the years of writing my first manuscript in to a newly written story. I kept most the characters and added in more interaction between them and their environment. But where to begin…what new twists could I add to make it more interesting?
Before I put down my first word a parent at the daycare I work at had posted on her Growing Up Gaudy blog, I ended up in it. The next day we talked blogs. When I go home I sat down at my computer…she made it look so easy, all the bloggers made it look easy. Post what you know, I told myself. Hm, what if no one likes it? What if I make a mistake? It was hard to face, the world reading, seeing, what happens between my ears. Then I realized even the greatest make mistakes. We are all human and we all make mistakes.
By the time I wrote six or seven chapters this blog was born. I had no clue what I was doing, still don’t…as time moves on and days pass I like to think I’ve gotten better.
I wrote my next version of Wicked in eight months. It seemed to fast, how could I have written it so fast, is it good enough? I never left its side. The story was on my mind day in and day out. Even dreamt up most of the parts. When I move to editing I will find out.

Now the writing is done and the edits begin, a little bit of studying is necessary and I’m okay with that.

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The hard spots:
Having cute kitties
Intimate scenes

Things that helped:
Coffee, and lots of it
A pushy husband
Not wanting to be Brian off of Family Guy
A deadly desire for wanting my story to be heard

I love to write, and learn about how to write. Everyday has been one learning curve after another.

Do you have any helpful hints that help you?

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Smile

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Dear Smile,

You come in all shapes and sizes. Everything about you makes me happy. On the days I feel blue and crummy, you sneak up on me when my husband acts silly, even when the children give me a small pebble. The moment my lips curl I can’t resist the sensation and let you reach my eyes.

Silly faces, goofy stories, humorous jokes, you’re there with me through it all. Every moment we share is precious to me, keep on shining!

With love,
C.B.

P.S. You’re like your brother Yawn, how you ask? Ever notice how your contagious?