Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday Salon: November 15, 2015

Today is my sister-in-law and brother's birthdays. This is always the beginning of the holiday season for me. Thanksgiving is just a few days away, quickly followed by December, which means two birthdays, Christmas, and New Year's Eve. Before we know it, 2015 will be a memory.

This time of year is always a blur, yet I'm trying to enjoy each moment and live in the present as much as possible. How about you?

While making the Sunday Salon rounds last week, I learned several bloggers are participating in non-fiction November. Well, it just so happens I have several books in this category sitting on my shelves, and I decided to use this challenge as an excuse to start reading.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. My dear sister-in-law surprised me a couple of weeks ago by sending me this book with the enclosed endorsement:
I had the incredibly good fortune of seeing Liz Gilbert talk about her book Big Magic this week and that on top of having read the book and listened to all the podcasts (basically just gobbled all of it up!) made me want to make sure you know about it! ... Big Magic just got me completely inspired and also feeling good about figuring out what I want and don't want in my life and how to set up boundaries, etc. Really, basically how to create the life I want.
With such a glowing review, how could I not dive right in! I have read about half the book and listened to several podcasts (found here). I adore Gilbert's down-to-earth voice and her deep desire to help others connect with their creative selves.

I am savoring every bit of Big Magic... and look forward to starting 2016 with a renewed enthusiasm for pursuing the creative lifestyle.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (fondly referred to as the KonMarie method). I am probably the last one to board this bandwagon, and I had to wait several weeks for a copy to become available at the library. However...I think the timing is perfect.

After 33 years of marriage - the last twenty years spent in the same house - we have amassed far more "stuff" than we need or even want. The task of cleaning out, however, is always overwhelming.

I am hoping that this book, and her philosophy of only keeping items that spark joy, will inspire us to start the decluttering process in January.

As I mentioned on this week's French Friday blog post, I plan to start a focused revision of my middle grade novel in January, but I have a lot of prep work to do before hand.

One of my focus areas will be to flesh out the major characters.

I have numerous tools available to help accomplish this goal: character development worksheets,  Ennegram/Myers Briggs tests, and good old-fashioned role playing. For many, this is the best part of novel writing: the opportunity to create new worlds populated with perfectly flawed characters.

For me, this is torture.

The idea of playing pretend is foreign to me as an adult, and quite frankly, I think it was unfamiliar to me as a child.

While I would escape into imaginary worlds by reading - that was considered acceptable behavior. Reading is academic; reading is scholarly; but daydreaming is a waste of time.

This reminds me of my favorite Christmas movie, Miracle on 34th Street... the scene when Kris Kringle asks Susan why she doesn't play with other children in the apartment building. Susan claims they were playing zoo and when asked what animal she was...she replied "I'm not an animal. I'm a girl." Susan was expelled from the game.

I feel that way too. I have neglected the right side of the brain for so long it has atrophied; I am an outsider in this fiction-writing world.

But I take hope from Kris. He instructs Susan to visit the land of "Imagi-Nation" where she can become whatever she chooses. Susan decides to play a monkey and works on perfecting her primate skills. I, too, can become a novelist. I just need to learn to perfect my world-building skills.

I know with practice that right brain muscle will strengthen, and I will soon find fun playing pretend.

I spent the day Tuesday with my photography buddy. We could not ask for better weather for this time of year: partly cloudy skies and high of 70 degrees.

This month we visited the Liberty Memorial (where only one week before the grounds were a sea of blue Royals t-shirts celebrating the World Series parade). It cost $5.00 to ride to the top of the tower, and although the day was windy, the view was spectacular. We spent about an hour admiring our city skyline from above.

After lunch in the Memorial's commissary (I mean, cafeteria) ... we ventured to Loose Park, a lovely green space just blocks from the Plaza area.

The rose garden still maintained several colorful blooms, the trees were at the peak of autumn perfection, and the hungry ducks on the pond provided lively entertainment.

Next month we plan to visit the Plaza, Union Station, and Crown Center... all of which will be decorated in festive holiday magic.

This week, however, I return to a "normal" schedule, and I can't be more thrilled.


  1. Replies
    1. LOVING it! Have you listened to any of the podcasts? I like them just as much as the book :)

  2. Yah, November & December go by WAY too fast so I, too, am trying to stay in the moment and do Fall & Winter-y things as often as possible.

    I love the light in your photo of the trees. So beautiful!

    1. Thanks so much! Fall is my all time favorite time of the year... the outdoors is so photogenic :)

  3. Right now, to be honest, I'm not trying to live in the moment as I have a bit of a cold and just want it to be over and for Thanksgiving Week to be here. (Have I mentioned anywhere that I have Thanksgiving Week off and plan on spending most o fit reading? Um, yeah, I am :). )

    1. Oh Bryan... I hope you feel better soon.

      Yes, I distinctly remember hearing of your well-earned week off. I'm anxious to hear what you choose to read during the time off :)

  4. I've adopted a little bit of the KonMari method even though I haven't read the book - just read about it. Your bottom photo is gorgeous!

    1. Even if I adopt just a little of the method, our house will benefit :)

      Thanks for the compliment... but truthfully, it is difficult to take a bad photo during the autumn months.

  5. I loved reading about the Kon Marie method. She is such a quirky mouse of a person, but so likable nonetheless. I knew I am not OCD after reading the lengths she goes to declutter. And yes, she has some great tips, although many are too extreme for me.

    1. I'm not going for extreme, Cathy... just some much needed de-clutter before retirement :)

  6. I'm being forced to de-clutter, as I recently remarried, and apparently my new husband is moving stuff into my house! Who knew? Oh well... Coincidental that you're reading an Elizabeth Gilbert nonfiction right now too. I just happened upon The Last American Man by her at the library last week, and I'm loving it!

    1. Actually... this is the first Elizabeth Gilbert I've read (can you believe it?!) But... I love her podcasts and TedTalks.

  7. Your photos are gorgeous! I got some good ideas from the KonMarie method, though some of it was a little too out-there for me.

    1. Thanks so much... I know if I practice more, my photography will continue to improve.

      I am hoping the KonMari book will provide inspiration... I'm not really looking to get radical :)


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