Revitalization & a Recap

black and white photo of a porch light ona rock wallEvery year at this time, the Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc. (OWFI) has a conference. This year, for various reasons that I will not get into, I had decided not to go. I kept my resolve through reading updates on Facebook and Twitter about the pre-conference session.

That sure sounded like something I could have benefited from!

I kept my resolve through most of Friday. OK. That’s a lie. On Friday, my resolve wavered. A lot. I could have benefited from a lot of the sessions I saw highlights posted about. My mother (who is often my driver since I cannot drive) kept suggesting I call the hotel, see if they had a room, and go to the conference on Saturday instead of just going up to visit (which was the original plan).

At 5:00, I finally did. They put me on hold. I waited a long time, convinced they would come back and say the hotel was fully booked and they had no rooms.

Except…

They did! I gave them the payment information, threw some clothes in a bag, gathered other things I would need, and we left. It was worth it!

I went to listen to a talk by Rhonda Penders of the Wild Rose Press (and relearned something I had known about them but forgot), listened to The Publicity Hound Joan Stewart, skipped the next session, had lunch, took a nap the next session (I was getting over bronchitis), listened to Joan Stewart again, and ended the day listening to Amy Collins of NewShelves.com.

I got information I desperately needed about blogging, marketing, and newsletters. I got some great ideas about book promotion and getting into stores that aren’t bookstores. I reconnected with old friends and met some new ones. I listened to live music in the hotel bar after the awards banquet.

I reconnected with me.

That last line is more important than you realize and goes back to some of the reasons that I’m not talking about here yet.

Prior to the conference, I had been debating my blog. I knew I needed to start blogging again, but I couldn’t decide if I should scrap this one and start over or continue on here. Since you’re reading this post on this same blog, I obviously decided to keep this one. After all, I’ve put a lot of work into it.

I am not going to commit to a set schedule, but I am going to post things about what I’m writing, what I’m making (knit/crochet), reviews, and other things that are going on and coming up. I hope you stick around, enjoy it, and perhaps even contribute sometimes.

A Quote from Willie Wonka

It is safe to say that one of my favorite movies of all time is Charlie & the Chocolate Factory with Gene Wilder as the incomparable Willie Wonka.

Since he passed away a couple days ago, I thought it would be appropriate to share a quote from that movie today.

“We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams.” – Willie Wonka

Kevin Welch at the Goddard Center

jenmomkevinwelchI just had an amazing weekend and I wanted to tell you about it.

My mom (that’s her on the right) went to a Kevin Welch concert at the Goddard Center in Ardmore, Oklahoma, on Friday. The concert was Kevin Welch, a country music singer and songwriter (that part will become important in a minute) and his son Dustin.

Kevin played his guitar. Dustin played two kinds of guitar and a banjo. They sang together and separately. Each sang backup for the other. They have a beautiful harmony. We had front row seats and didn’t miss a ting.

Remember the part about songwriting?

On Saturday, they had a songwriting workshop. Kevin said these workshops are normally 2-3 days. This one was fro 10:00 to 3:00 on Saturday. He said it was difficult to figure out what to include and what to leave out in such a short workshop.

It was pretty intense.

We talked about shapes, patterns, rhymes (or not rhymes) as they pertain to songs. We also talked about such things as a prechorus, chorus, and bridge. The use of metaphor and cinematic writing and so much more!

Several people brought their guitars. One man brought his mandola. He said it’s like a Chinese mandolin but with one extra string. We went around he table where participants played and sang what they were working on. Except me. I had two lines of a chorus that I didn’t know what to do with and I (currently) don’t play guitar. The woman beside me didn’t play either.

As the workshop was winding down, Kevin said we didn’t even touch on allegory or parables in songwriting. Honestly, I don’t know if my head could have handled much more. I was already on information overload and couldn’t even start processing everything until today. Thank goodness for taking notes!

It was a great workshop!

If you’re ever in Ardmore during business hours, be sure and go to the Goddard Center and check it out! I didn’t get to see near enough of it and can’t wait to go back!

New Endeavor

I’m trying something a little new.

I have signed up on Medium.com. I spent a day looking around after I signed up. As of right now, I have two stories on there.

The first is “Your Creativity Toolbox: The Idea Pocket” and “25 Ways to Find Time to Create.”

I am not abandoning the blog. Goodness, no! Especially not after I’m just restarting it.  I am doing this in conjunction with the blog.

I’ve received several recommendations for Medium. When the universe talks, I listen. I’ve been hit with clue sticks in the past and ignored them. Then I got hit by the whole clue tree. Yes, I’ve learned from that. So I’m on Medium. Feel free to check me out over there.

August Goals

I said “goals,” plural. redpenBut, let’s face it, there’s only one real goal I’m focused on for the rest of this month.

Finishing the first draft of my current project.

I’m writing a book about starting a bullet journal. I have a section on getting started and a section on the extra bells and whistles you can add to it. At this point, I think I’m about half through it.

I’m  going to include some examples of different styles. Some will be my own. Some will be used by permission of the people who did them. I will have a glossary and a resources section.

That’s August’s goal. For September, I will edit it and hopefully get it out by the end of the year.

First Impressions: Pilot Metropolitan Fine Nib

Orange Pilot Metropolitan fountain en\\pen with sample writing
Pilot Metropolitan Fine Nib
Private Reserve Orange Crush Ink

On Monday, I got pen mail. I ordered a Pilot Metropolitan Retro in orange from Amazon on Saturday and it arrived at my house around noon Monday. I also ordered some Private Reserve Ink in Orange Crush.

The pen came in a plastic case with a clear top. It included one black ink cartridge and a bladder ink converter.

Because I was short on time, I removevd the converter and put the ink cartridge in. It wrote smoothly from the beginning. There was no working with the pen to get the ink flowing. So far, I have tested it on a few types of paper, including a sketch pad, fountain-pen-friendly paper in an ARC notebook from Staples, and regular notebook paper. There is no bleed-through on any of these papers. There is some ghosting on the regular notebook paper, but nothing bad unless I press too hard.

The converter is very easy to fill. When it is attached to the pen, you insert the pen nib up to the neck into the bottle of ink, squeeze the metal plate on the bladder, and release. When the bladder resumes its original shape, the pen is full.

Features of the pen that I really like:pen and knock-knock joke

  • Fine nib.
  • Smooth writing.
  • No skips.
  • Ease of filling the converter.

There is one thing I don’t like much. There is a dramatic step from the nib to the neck. That’s where I normally hold a pen, so I am having to modify my grip if I’ going to use it for very long. Since I like how it writes (well enough to make this an everyday pen for me), I am willing to make that modification.

Would I buy this pen again? Yes. In fact, I might because I want it in red. This pen was $14.95 on Amazon.