I have officially launched my new blog, Words in White Spaces! I will still be blogging here, but the new space is just for poetry. I hope to see you there!
“We are the facilitators of our own creative evolution.” – Bill Hicks
I started Freelancing to Freedom in March 2010. I still can’t believe it’s been over three years. Man was I excited at that time. Starting my freelance editing career was such a turning point in my life. I launched the blog as a way to chronicle my journey as a new freelancer and to provide other new and aspiring freelancers with advice and support.
For the first few months, year even, I posted primarily for my own benefit. I was nervous to share the blog too widely, but it was a great way to track my progress in business. The new information flowed from brain right out of my fingertips and onto the keys. I couldn’t wait to write about what I was learning, and in those first few months I learned A LOT.
Gradually, yoga and meditation seeped into my life and then exploded in a big way, causing the tone of the blog to shift. My focus as a writer was no longer primarily on the business of freelancing but on living a balanced, meaningful life. I was excited to share newfound insights into life and how to live it to the fullest; taking my own advice was the biggest challenge in this period.
Recently I’ve become fascinated with poetry. For a month or so this year, I undertook a challenge to write every morning for even just ten minutes, and almost every morning, all I wanted to write was poetry, so I went with it. I now have notebooks and numerous Word documents dedicated to poetry. And the bulk of my posts this year have been poems.
By now I’m sure you’re thinking, “OK, what’s your point? This is starting to feel like one of those sitcom episodes that features all flashbacks for lack of new and interesting material.”
My apologies. My blog is still, more than anything, a place where I come to sort out my thoughts, and my wonderful readers are subjected to the process. In short, life is changing, I’m evolving, and it’s time for Freelancing to Freedom to undergo an overhaul in regards to name, design, and focus. It’s been with me since the beginning, and it needs some clarity. I’ve been posting less frequently lately because the focus is no longer clear.
Maybe this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I know that in the end, a blog is most importantly a space to write, share thoughts, and connect with readers from all walks of life, but I know in my heart that it’s time for a change. Because the last thing I want is to let this blog fade away.
The year is half over, and it’s time to revisit the words I began my year with: “A thrill, to see the three in the crisp corner of the clean page, clean canvas, blank slate.” Blank slate, fresh start.
I can’t say it enough–to all my readers, thank you for your loyalty over the months and years. I’m excited to continue sharing my writing, just in a new, fresh, fun way. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, I would love to hear about your stories of evolution.
“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.” – Elizabeth Gilbert
My heart is full of gratitude right now. On Saturday, I had the opportunity to witness the marriage of my childhood best friend. I’m so grateful knowing that someone so close to my heart married someone who loves her so much. Thank you, Teej, for inviting me to be part of your beautiful day.
While I was away, Calgary was pummeled by devastating floods. My phone didn’t stop ringing all weekend. The emails didn’t stop pouring in. My friends were there for me before I even knew what was going on. And I know I’m not the only one to have this experience. People all over the city immediately offered up their homes to the displaced and volunteered to help in any way they could.
I was one of the lucky ones. Though I can’t go home for an indefinite amount of time, I’m safe and sound in a condo my friend Donna so graciously opened up for me.
I just want to express my sincere gratitude to Mary Beth, Kerri, Dallas, Donna, Brenda, Richelle, and Carrie for everything you’ve done for me these past few days. And thank you so much to all the friends who so generously offered to help. I truly can’t thank you enough.
Though the next month is a bit up in the air, I couldn’t enter my 27th year happier. I am blessed with the most wonderful people in my life. And I’m so inspired by Calgary’s volunteers – I’ve never seen people come together so quickly to rebuild. I have so much faith that the city will be restored to all its glory in no time at all.
Namaste friends. You’re in my heart. :)
“It’s really hard to do self-portraits in the dark…” – Randi Feuerhelm-Watts
I came across this quotation a few months ago and couldn’t get it out of my head, so I wrote a few lines about it. I later wrote a poem inspired by an author I’ve been working with recently and his work. The two ideas were originally unconnected, but this blog post is the melding of the two.
Getting inside your head and facing your own “darkness” can be terrifying, but sometimes to move forward and find lightness again, it’s a necessary evil.
How can we know our selves
If we keep them in the shadows
To incite big shifts
Monumental trembles, shakes,
We must first go inside the deep Caverns
Of our own
The places that our hearts don’t want to attend to
Inside the tight spaces
Where we want to scream out
For fear of being smothered
Caverns in our existence
Is the smile for the camera fake?
Done for the sake of the show?
Stoke the fire within
To incite light
Find light, shift.
Paint your portrait in the light of the morning.
Song of the week: “Beggar in the Morning” – The Barr Brothers
“There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” – Albert Schweitzer
Don’t worry. This isn’t a post about my love of cats. Friends have already started labelling me the “crazy cat lady,” and I’m not ashamed, but I don’t feel the need to convince my readers of how wonderful they are.
The other day an author and I were discussing our work schedules and the need to be flexible. He said, “We must be agile cats,” and the phrase resonated with me and moved me to write.
Stretch your weary, heavy limbs
Your mind most of all
In your cleverness, cunning
Jump without regard for fear
On the morsels
That bring light
Disdain that which does not entertain
Rest your weary, heavy limbs
See, smell, listen
“Social media demands a lot of us on top of our already demanding lives. So let’s disconnect as we need to and renew our interest and ourselves.” – Simon Mainwaring.
One of my new favourite bloggers, Steve Marquez, recently wrote a post on disconnecting that resonated with me. Check it out here. I find it necessary for my sanity to take regular breaks from email and the Internet at large. As such, I generally make it a habit to stay as far away from my computer as possible on Sundays.
But sometimes one day just isn’t enough. I didn’t post last week because I was taking a five-day Internet break . . . in Vegas! Ten girls on a stagette (no, not mine). Oh boy. Oh man, what a city. And it was my first visit, so even that much more thrilling. The moment the strip came into view as I peered out the plane window, face smushed against the glass, life back home seemed non-existent.
There’s just something about Vegas – it feels like being in a bubble, in another world. My vacation was truly an experience of constantly living in the moment. I had been worried about leaving my email unattended for a five-day period, but I was reminded while away, as I have been before, “The world won’t end if you aren’t available immediately.”
The overstimulating lights, the constant noise and air conditioning, and the late nights drained me physically, but the disconnection renewed me mentally. Most of us are busy and overworked – so take a vacation, and really take it. Get away physically if you can, but the mental holiday is most important.
Song of the week: “Medicine” – Daughter
Before launching into this week’s post, I want to invite you to read Aly Gulamhusein’s response to “Writing: Art or Science?” He poses new questions to ponder on the topic. Thank you to all who provided their insights.
I spent the past weekend in Canmore, one of my favourite places on earth. While the mountains are my sanctuary, the place where I get back to basics, settle my mind, and revel in peacefulness, they helped fuel something a bit different for me this time: rage.
Granted, that might sound a bit funny to those who know me. I generally don’t show anger, let alone rage. This weekend though, I ran my first 10-kilometre race and needed some fuel. I’ve been running for a few years now – I’ve done 5k races and a half-marathon, but this was my first 10k, and let me tell you, running in the mountains isn’t exactly comparable to running in flat Calgary.
Knowing this, it was my intention to train furiously for this race. I wanted to run it fast and push personal limits. Then bad weather and a few busy work weeks cramped my training, and I started to get angry with myself.
As soon as I got to my mountains though, anger was replaced by a lightness and excitement. I started the race feeling relaxed and calm, and I enjoyed my surroundings as they passed and let the mountains take effect. Then gradually, with lungs filled with fresh air, I started to push a little harder, and a little harder, and I could feel determination bubbling. The beautiful surroundings inspired me to go just a little faster, and a little faster.
At the 7k mark, I hit the wall, and the voice in my head said, “It’s OK, there are lots of hills at the end. Just walk for a bit and save up your strength.”
And that’s when the rage hit. I shouted a few profanities at the timid voice in my head, found the angriest heavy metal song on my iPod, and channelled all of my energy into pushing forward. And when I crossed the finish line, I smiled and said a silent thank-you to the mountains for helping me find balance, a place where I could feel powerful.
Anger isn’t necessarily always a bad thing. Have you ever been spurred on by anger with a positive result? How do you strike a balance between good and bad anger?
Song of the week: “You On the Run” – The Black Angels (one of my favourite run songs, though not the angriest – that honour goes to The Smashing Pumpkins)
“People on the outside think there’s something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn’t like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that’s all there is to it.” – Harlan Ellison
I’ve always loved the “idea” of being a writer, an artist, painting with words, but what of the science? Sounds, syllables in symbiosis.
I love the idea of perfecting the craft, but what of the real work,
the truth behind the romance, the “starving writer”?
All you writers, do you require a push, the rush of deadline, readership?
Promise of riches?
Is poetry your calling, non-fiction, or do you want to create characters,
fiction out of thin air?
Do you work to uncover, archaeologist style, the story beneath the dream? I have no aching urge to tell a story.
Rather, to sort life out on the page, piece by piece.
I’m a musician, understand patience, frustration in practice.
Symphonies are not spontaneous, flowing from desire alone.
Note by tedious note,
the effect appearing . . . effortless.
Late-night smoky-bar writing sessions. Or
home, dirty coffee mug, lazy pants. Or
tea on 4th street. The art is not in the atmosphere but in the science of the words,
All you writers – is writing an art or a science for you? I would love to hear your thoughts.
Song of the week: “It Is Not Meant To Be” – Tame Impala (Perfect summer weekend song)
I needed a few days away from my blog to quiet my mind. And in a quiet moment, while waiting for a friend, words came. Life is noisy, but quiet moments abound if we choose to acknowledge and gratefully accept them.
On the precipice, but living
a quiet moment in between
The waiting is life, the little moments
Apple tea, people
Nowhere to be in the here
Nothing to be, no expectations
And my pen and paper.
Phone sits silent . . .
Resist temptation to
Mindlessly scroll, kill
Time, the little moments in between
Listen to music on the teahouse speakers
As my mind reels, but content
Not waiting, but living in the quiet moment
don’t wait between.
Song of the week: “Too Hard” – Kurt Vile (No video for this song yet, but it’s worth the $1.29 on iTunes!)
When I was little, I dreamed of being a rock star, of recording songs and singing to massive crowds and dating other famous rock stars. To be honest, this dream never totally went away (and yes, I still love guitar players).
At the age of fourteen, I decided to enter a songwriting competition. My dad volunteered to put music to my lyrics and vocals and record it for me (he still has a wealth of equipment from his rock star days!). Although my mom still gushes about how good the song was, I cringe when I hear it. Needless to say it didn’t win any Grammys. But hey, it was a fun experience and one I’ll always remember.
And last Friday, I had the opportunity to revisit this dream. A friend of mine, a talented hip hop artist, asked me a while back if I sang. “Well, my shower head thinks I’m excellent. So does my cat. And I sure do love it. But I don’t think I’m very good.”
Despite my protestations, a few months later I found myself in front of a mic in a recording booth, singing a chorus in between rapped verses. The exhilaration! The nerves! Oh the nerves. I was totally unprepared, but hey, I thought, what an opportunity to practice what you preach and get out of your comfort zone.
By the end of the two-hour session, I had a whole new appreciation for producers and artists. Seeing the production process firsthand was nothing short of inspiring, and it opened Pandora’s Box. I want to get back to my childhood dream and write and record some original material. I no longer aspire to sing in front of huge, adoring crowds, but I do feel a hunger to feed my musical muse. I’m so grateful for the experience.
Is there a childhood dream that you’ve dismissed? What would it take to revisit it?
Songs of the week:
“Rock & Roll Queen” – The Subways
“Sweet Sour” – Band of Skulls’