Monday, October 28, 2013

Goodbye Girl

This time last year I was celebrating my "quarter-of-a-century" birthday, and ruminating over whether or not 25 was the 'perfect' age (hint: there's no such thing).



While I certainly can't say 25 is the perfect age, I can say that it was a year of many changes including loss of friendships (heartbreaking, but ultimately necessary), death in the family (just plain heartbreaking) and a complete reconstruction to the path my life was taking.

I spent the last 2 years 6 years of my life investing in my "plan B" for no other reason than fear. Fear that people wouldn't take me seriously, or think I was 'smart" if I didn't have a piece of paper to prove it. Fear that my dreams were only just that, and that I was naive to believe in something. Fear that I didn't have it in me to do the hard work necessary. Fear that I would lose my love, or my home - my things. I thought blazers, pencil skirts and peplum dresses in neutral colours, paired with sensible flats and my very own cubicle would protect me (HA!).



I was very sneaky about it though. I didn't tell myself I was afraid. Instead I fed myself plausible excuses - I was setting myself up to be a writer in the future (I wasn't even acknowledging the actress in me at this point as I was still telling myself I was "done" with that phase of my life), with a good job now, with a nice salary that would fund my writing. But I forgot one little detail - toiling away for years and years in a windowless office, working more for less pay, making just enough to survive is not a way to fund your dreams.

I won't ever profess to know what the meaning of life is, or why we're here - but I do believe that what I've described above is not it. A tarot card reader once told me I was "coping with life" rather than living it and she was right. It's what I've been doing, but the difference now is I'm finally saying FUCK THAT!! I can live a life I love - LIVING. Not just surviving for the (slim) possibility of a few years rest at the end.

{I don't want to rest - I want to be making art until the day I die and I want to have a damn great time doing it!}

I have a good life right now - that I can't deny. I have more than most people, and so much to be grateful for. But why should I settle for a good life when I have the power to choose to make it a GREAT one?


One of the biggest lessons I'm only starting to scratch the surface of is learning to let go of the person I thought I was (or wanted to be) and begin to embrace who I actually am. This is hard work. No one said it would be easy.

This is my last post.
You can find me here - my new home is a work in progress, but it will evolve with love.

xo C

{Images via pinterest}

Thursday, August 1, 2013

I'm Moving!



I last mentioned that there would be some changes to my blog here. Those changes are still in development, but I want to give you the heads up that I will be moving over to Wordpress with my very own website soon!! 

{image via pinterest}

Monday, July 1, 2013

Unexpected Blessings + Going Dark



Alright ... I'm about to do a complete 180 from this post, where I "whined" about no one joining my Circle of Fire Book Club (thanks David ;p) because I'm going to admit here and now, that this has turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

You know how you can plug away each day at something, a little bit here, a little bit there, and then suddenly one day it seems like everything is happening all at once, and it's moving incredibly fast and you barely have time to tuck your arms in for the ride? Yeah, that's kinda the place I'm at right now!!

I know that sounds very vague, and I wish I could say more, but what I can say is that I have some incredibly exciting projects happening right now and they need 100% of my focus (one of which is my WIP, another I hinted at here). Hence, why I now think it's a blessing that I won't be backing out of something that others were committed to as well, because life is about to get insane, in the best way possible. Funny how the universe works like that :)

After reading Linda Sivertsen's blog post, Goin' Dark to Tap the Light , I was inspired to do the same in order to give myself the focus I need. In fact, I just read it again right now to give me the little push I need to go through with this blog post. See, I made a commitment to go through with the FSS's, with deadlines and everything, and I even have Danielle's quote "Do what you say you're going to do" taped to my computer (I admit, this is a struggle for a recovering 'yes' girl + scaredy-cat), so I was feeling the guilt of not keeping my word (even if it was only to myself). That is, until I realized that I was being completely ridiculous, because the entire goal of the FSS's is to figure out what lights your fire and then do it - and I'm doing it RIGHT NOW!! 

In her post, Linda asks, "How are you showing up for yourself and your art this summer?"

So I'm doing my own version of "going dark" so that I can focus on the work. You'll still see me on Twitter, and I'll pop by the blog every now to say hi, but from this moment on, if it's not related to the aforementioned projects (SO exciting, did I mention that???) it ain't happening.

I apologize in advance to all the people in my life (friends, family, co-workers) who are about to see a whole lot less of me - or you're welcome, whatever floats your boat!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Quote of the Day


Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it's just not that good. It's trying to be good, it has potential, but it's not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit.
- Ira Glass

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Happy Tuesday + Book Winner

{visual inspiration: the lab magazine & Disfunkshion}

I meant to post this yesterday, but life got in the way and here we are! I hope you all are refreshed after the weekend. It's been raining for what feels like forever (really, just a few weeks) but Sunday we finally had some sun and if I hadn't been so busy writing I could have spent the entire day lying in the grass with a blanket and a book. I did manage to go for a nice long walk, however.

Friday, was date night at this place called the Horn of Africa where we ate the most delicious Ethiopian food, moving on to my favourite lounge, Social, for drinks and dessert. Then coffee with a new acquaintance on Saturday, followed by writing (and a bit of wine), and Sunday was more writing, getting back in touch with an amazing teacher of mine, and preparing thai coconut cilantro chicken with the sun shining through my window. All in all, a great weekend!

Now it's back to rain and mugginess.

On that note, the winner of J'adore Paris is Pearly T... congrats!! Please e-mail me at emond (dot) c (at) gmail (dot) com with your contact details so I can get the book to you, and thank you so much for checking out my blog!

I'm going get real with you - I was disappointed at the lack of entries, despite my promotion of the contest on social media, but I sometimes have to remind myself that I'm just starting out and that most of what I put out into the world at this point is not much different from when I talk to myself. (or my food, if you listen to my sister-in-law). A friend of mine recently started a blog, and after 2 or 3 posts she said to me, "No one's commenting, and I don't have any followers yet," and I LOL'd pretty hard, I admit. So I gave the best advice I could think of - be patient! I've been working on this blog for a couple of years now, admittedly on and off, and it seems I still need to take my own advice :)

So in the name of patience, and counting my blessings, I want to say that I'm grateful for those who have taken the time to read these thoughts of mine {3,000ish of you - woohoo - and 9 followers, one of which is accidentally myself, hehe) and I'm going to work on being more patient in my life. As Jon Acuff said, "don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle"

Enjoy the rest of your week!

PS the two magazines in the photo above have been so visually inspiring for me while I work on my WIP, and it feels like the vision I have for this book is finally starting to take shape ...

Friday, June 7, 2013

♥ Friday Links


This past week brought cold, rainy days, but I'm dreaming of summer and hard at work on my WIP. Here are a few links and I hope you have a fabulous weekend!

This poem by Melissa Mann
Inspiration on following your dreams here
Great Literature or Gibberish? You decide!
♥ Pretty sure I posted this before, but it warrants a repost!
♥ How to get your spark back when you're burned out. Love this!
♥ Info-graphic on publishing paths at Jane Friedman's blog
Advice for writers on how to de-clutter the mind to be more productive


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

On My Bookshelf


Really looking forward to reading this. I've only just discovered Neil Gaiman (I know, I've lived under a rock most of my life) after a friend showed me this amazing commencement speech. Even if I didn't know who he was, the front cover alone would be enough to make me pick it up in a bookstore.

Monday, June 3, 2013

My Weekend + Happy Monday

This was the second year I've participated in Relay for Life, which raises money for the Canadian Cancer Society, and it took place this past Friday (just one of the many relay events being held in Ottawa). It's such a fun event (although I admit I didn't last the entire night this time) and the luminary ceremony, honouring those who have passed on from cancer, is so touching.


I have been growing my hair for a few years now (as well as keeping it natural - no dyes) in order to cut and donate it. It was finally time, and I made it a part of my fundraising efforts for the relay. (The hair is being donated to the Canadian charity Angel Hair for Kids.) What do you think of the new look?


On Saturday we were invited to my grandparents' home for a bbq to welcome/celebrate a new baby in the family. My grandmother baked these delicious and beautiful cakes for the occasion (the little one was gluten-free, just for me! THANKS grandma :)

We had been asked to arrive earlier than usual, and when asked to pick up some pink streamers I assumed my help was needed to decorate before the rest of the family arrived. Little did I know, I was in for an AMAZING surprise ...


My dad (whom I hadn't seen since the wedding last September) had flown across the Country for a surprise, weekend visit!! I gave him the biggest hug, and I may have cried like a baby teared up a bit :p 

I hope you all had a great weekend as well, and have a fabulous week!


p.s. Found this great quote and wanted to share


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Circle of Fire Book Club: UPDATE


I wrote a blog post a few weeks back about wanting to run a Circle of Fire Book Club this summer. I didn't get a huge response, but then again I haven't been doing a great job of putting the word out. No worries though, because I am going to share my schedule with you right now, so if you're interested you can follow along.

The book is divided into three parts, so in the spirit of keeping things simple (and with the knowledge that people lead busy lives) that is how I am structuring my Circle of Fire. Specific dates are indicated below, as well as a small list of resources (the list is small, the resources aren't!).

If there is enough interest, I would love to have a series of discussions (4 in total - 1 for each session + a bonus to celebrate completion). I have left the dates TBD for now, but for those interested I really like meetup and Google+. If even one person expresses an interest in meeting up I'm there! And if no one expresses any interest? Well, it's a good thing I dig my own company and I'll be celebrating with a glass of wine (or 2) on my own!  :)

THE FIRE STARTER SESSIONS


Part 1: MOJO (sessions 1-3)
June 1 - June 15

Blog post: June 17
Discussion: TBD (on or around June 15)

Part 2: MOXIE (sessions 4-9)
June 16 - July 6

Blog post: July 8
Discussion: TBD (on or around July 6)

Part 3: RESULTS (sessions 10-16)
July 7 - July 31

Blog post: August 5
Discussion: TBD (on or around July 31)
Bonus gathering: TBD (on or around August 10)

Resources
Danielle's website & page for FSS
- Workbook o' Fire
- Videos & Worksheets
- The book (grab it online or from your local bookstore)
Follow Danielle on Twitter @Daniellelaporte
- Twitter hashtag for The Fire Starter Sessions is #FireSS

Being your true self is the most effective formula for success there is
- Danielle LaPorte, from the Fire Starter Sessions

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Isabelle's Book Launch + Giveaway

Last week I attended my very first book launch, for the lovely Isabelle Lafleche's latest book (and sequel to the bestselling J'adore New York) J'adore Paris. It goes without saying that I read it as quickly as possible and absolutely ADORED it, bien sur! Here are a few shots from the party (although my iPhone isn't the best camera; for better quality photos check out Isabelle's blog - fun fact: 5th photo down you can spot me in the corner staring off into space ;p).

 {cool installation art displayed at the party}

{I'm just working the room (more like skulking in the corner taking photos)}

{English version of J'adore Paris on display for purchase}

{Perfume for guests to try and take home samples by Monsillage}

{Me and the author, Isabelle, just chilling}

The novel follows Parisian lawyer Catherine Lambert, and her loyal assistant Rikash, as she fights high-profile legal battles against international counterfeiters for her new job at Christian Dior. 

The blurb on the front cover couldn't have described it more perfectly: "Like a fine bottle of French champagne - fizzy and sophisticated."

I found myself noting with glee all the small references I connected with; the way the main character's love interest calls her "Catou" (my husband is french and sometimes uses this pet name for me); the Taittinger (I drank this on my first new years eve with my husband when he brought back a bottle of it from France); the reference to Carrie Bradshaw (Sex and the City being one of my all-time favourite series).

The book launch itself was so much fun, even though I was slightly out of my comfort zone. I went alone and knew only the author so I really had to work at putting myself out there, but in the process I met some wonderful new people and had a great time.

Felicitation, Isabelle - I couldn't be happier for you!


In celebration, I have a copy of J'adore Paris to give away to a lucky reader! Just answer the following question in the comments section below, and on June 7 I will announce the winner here on the blog:

Catherine has landed her dream job at Dior in the novel ... what is YOUR dream job?

This contest is open internationally*, and don't worry if you haven't yet read J'adore New York (although I highly recommend it) because though the novel is a sequel, it stands fairly well on its own.




* This is the second time I am holding a contest, and I admit that the last time I held one it took me a really loooong time to get the book out. All I can say to the winner this time is I will try my best to get the book out promptly, but if I end up dragging my butt you will probably get an extra little surprise in the package to make up for the wait ;)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Brave

Sara Bareilles has a new single out titled "brave". It's a little more 'pop' compared to her older stuff, but I love the message and I feel good when I listen to it. So I wanted to share.

And now I want to share a little "brave" of my own ...


For the first time I shared a poem with the world. After the above photo was uploaded to Twitter I was immediately stricken by panic and fear, and there may have been some slight hyperventilation and tears (you know, nothing too drastic). I realize that this made it all the more important for me to do it anyway.

And guess what? The world did not come crashing down around me. In fact, it went on exactly as it had 30 seconds before.

I have a new friend to thank, in part. I first "met" David 7 years ago through his book, Postcards from Paris (a blend of poetry, prose, journals and sketches - a book I love and recommend), and about a week ago I e-mailed him to ask if he would be willing to spare some time to meet a fledgling writer for coffee and to talk about (what else?) writing.

When I first showed him the poem, I hadn't even signed the damn thing! But he asked me if I would, and also if he could share it online. I believe my reply was "the thought of you posting it online terrifies me ... so I am saying yes!" I'm thankful for this exchange, because it gave me that little boost of confidence I needed to go one step further and share it myself.

When it comes to talking about my own work on this blog, I've had the realization that I always do so in a very vague and unspecific way. And while I don't necessarily believe in talking about a work-in-progress while I'm in the middle of it, I have had the desire to open up more about my writing.

I never set out to write poetry, but in my relatively-short journey (thus far) I'm discovering that a story will take the form it wants, and our only job as the writer is to get the hell out of the way. (A tough lesson for a control freak like myself :p)

I write poems and short stories, songs, scenes; journals and dreams and letters - I love to write letters. I write about loss and I write about love. I write about the loss of love, but mostly I believe in love. I write about being my age and how I'm really naive, and I write about the things that haunt me because when I get the words down, they seem to haunt me a little less.

None of it is perfect, and I've experienced rejection but despite that, I've still managed to keep what I write very private and away from the world.

Natalie Goldberg once said (and I'm paraphrasing) that nobody cares if we write or not, so we have to do it anyway if we love it; because we love it. So I write because I love it and because I have to. But I also write in order to connect, and to do that I have to share - even when it scares the shit out of me.

But that's what brave is all about.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Dear Diary (Confessions of a Pack Rat)

I've been cleaning/organizing my office this past week (I know, it's about time) and in the process I've had to make the tough decision to cut down on clutter - I am a pack rat in the worst sentimental way! I had boxes full of old birthday/christmas/random holiday cards, ticket stubs from movies and plays, scripts from scenes I'd performed in acting classes, letters, postcards, diaries from when I was a kid, and even spelling awards from grade school. I actually had piles of certificates and ribbons - for participation!! Yikes!

While I think it's great to be able to look at all of this stuff and reminisce, I realized (well, with the help of my husband :p) that I could probably do without the majority of it, but still hold on to the most precious items.

So I managed to be (almost) completely ruthless and I tossed most of it away. Here are a couple of little gems that made the cut.

This one because I thought it was cute:


So my distaste for math is a long-standing one, and apparently I used to spell my name wrong ;p Also, instead of keeping the entire diary (which was mostly filled with lame 8-year-old boy-crazy/boy-hate rants anyway) I carefully removed my favourite entries and tossed the rest. 

This one because it's revealing:


School assignment circa 1999ish - pretty sure I was in grade 6 when I did this. We had to create an art piece out of our names and then write about ourselves. Now I'm starting to wonder - what was up with me always wanting to be famous? Hehe. 

This one because it was something I felt I accomplished:


My (fancily decorated) speech in grade 8 when I was campaigning to be the class rep for our school's student government. It was pretty much the exact same speech I gave the year before so I must have figured, 'why fix it if it ain't broke' (I was elected both years). 

Cleaning my office has taken me so much longer than I ever thought it would, mostly because I end up getting sucked into the past and nostalgically pouring over all my old crap. Lord knows, there is enough of it that I could probably make it a weekly feature on the blog and it could go on for years ;)

Is anyone else out there a pack rat like me? If you have any tips for de-cluttering and organizing an office I would love to hear them :) 

Friday, May 3, 2013

♥ Friday Links

I haven't shared favourite links in a while and I've decided to bring that feature back to the blog. For this round I've included some great writing tips, along with a few other gems I've found around the web.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Love this idea of rose petal ice cubes. Will be trying it at brunch this weekend!

At the beginning of the week I was in a low place, but this Marie Forleo video popped up in my inbox just when I needed it (if that's not cosmic timing, I don't know what is :)

I came upon two blog posts this week about writing and patience, here and here - I think it's a hint ;p

An article by Amy Friedman on shame (and writing).

A moving poem by Francesca Lia Block.

Just discovered Paperless Post and I'm loving it! Used this invite recently.

Just saw the first buds of spring the other day, and I'm so inspired by the recent warm weather, so I want to share Gala Darling's 20 ways to celebrate spring!

This girl is so inspiring, going after her dreams and documenting the journey through her blog.

And for those of you celebrating Cinco de Mayo this weekend ...

image sourced from Pinterest

Monday, April 29, 2013

Grief - Part 2

I just finished my last exam. I originally had a post scheduled for today that was all about popping champagne and celebrating, but the truth of it is, I don't really feel like celebrating (and as long as we're being honest here - I don't really feel I deserve to celebrate). A few weeks back I wrote a post about grief. It was spontaneous, written that morning and it came from the heart. It revealed that I'm struggling.

You see, back in January a young man in my extended family passed away. And as you may have guessed, he was far too young and his life was taken by some cruel, misguided and lost individuals.

A few days ago, my husband's grandmother also passed away and, well, suffice to say this girl just hasn't felt like celebrating.

My intention in sharing this on my blog is not to bring anyone else down, or to illicit sympathy. Rather, I just want to be honest about where I am right now.

I've never been great at handling loss in any form (I don't actually know anyone who is), and it's been a great source of contention for me because I often resort to putting on a (fake) smile and telling everyone I'm fine, when all I really want is to connect, and then it ends up imploding in some self-sabotaging way.

And in many ways, we're all enablers of this type of behaviour. How many times are you asked in a day "how are you?" and how many times have you said "fine," or "okay" when what you really wanted to say was "actually I'm feeling pretty shitty, and I need a hug or some time off". How many times have you asked that question, only expecting (wanting) the other person to say "fine" because anything else would be too much. That shit would just be too real, and how dare they rain on your parade.

So here are a few of my truths about where I am right now because if I have to start putting on a fake smile here, then I just don't think I have it in me to keep it up:

I'm sad.

I'm angry.

I'm still not over the fact that my husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer and went through surgery and chemotherapy and even though he is fine now, it's a constant reminder of how I came so close to losing him. I'm still in awe of the incredible support he received from his friends and co-workers; I'm still sad that not one of my friends picked up the phone now and then to ask me how I was.

I'm afraid of dying.

I feel overwhelmed.

I try my best to be a good person, but I still fuck up sometimes.

I'm human, and even though life is this beautiful, crazy miracle - the truth is sometimes it sucks. And so right now I just want to say "I'm not fine" and I want that to be okay.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Change ...


{There are some changes that are going to be happening in the layout and direction of this blog ... can't wait to share them with you!}

STAY TUNED!!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Join my CIRCLE OF FIRE Book Club!

{photo courtesy of daniellelaporte.com}

I mentioned THE FIRE STARTER SESSIONS  in a recent post. In that last post I mentioned that I wanted to re-read the book in order to actually complete the sessions, so I have decided to start a Fire Starter Sessions book club, as well as do a mini-series on the blog to document my progress, this summer. 

For those of you that have never heard of the Fire Starter Sessions, a few nuggets of wisdom:

* Life balance is a myth, and the pursuit of it is causing us more stress than the craving of balance itself.
* Being well-rounded is highly overrated. When you focus on developing your true strengths, you enter your mastery zone.
* Screw your principles. They might be holding you back.
* We have ambition backward. Getting clear on how you want to FEEL in your life + work is more important than setting goals. 

In sixteen sessions, Danielle LaPorte asks you the questions that will push you to rethink your assumptions about what will make you happy. This is a training course for taking the leap of your life.  

  {photo courtesy of daniellelaporte.com}

Having already read through the book once (albeit quickly - I am still a busy student after all) I can say that Danielle has created a program that can be mind-blowingly life changing - if you let it! In the end that's what its all about - YOU are the only one who can create the success and life you want (super corny, I know, but very true and something we need to remind ourselves of often).

So, with all of that said ...

I want to take the opportunity now to invite anyone else who is interested and willing to do the work to join my in-person and/or virtual 'Circle of Fire' book club! What do you have to do?

1. Purchase your own copy of the Fire Starter Sessions*
2. Download the worksheets from Danielle's website
3. Commit to doing the work this summer
4. Be willing to connect with the book club group on a regular, pre-decided basis
5. Blog or write about your experience (this is optional)

And that's it!

I am open to doing meet-ups in person (local Ottawa area only) if anyone else is interested {I think this could be really fun, especially if wine & cheese is involved ;p}, online through meetup.com or Skype, Google+, etc. If Twitter is your thing you can use the #FireSS hashtag to connect and document your progress.

STAY TUNED FOR MORE INFO - I will do a follow up post in May. For those interested in joining me in this experience let me know either in the comment section (include a valid e-mail address) or send me an e-mail or message on Twitter. In terms of start date for the book club, I would like to start sometime in June.

I've always wanted to start a book club, so I'm really excited about this and I can't wait to connect!

* If you are unable to purchase a copy of the book that's okay. Danielle offers the worksheets on her website for free, and a lot of the information in the book was original published as blog posts on her website for - you got it - free!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Quote of the Day

{Love her.}

Quick update: Only 3 more weeks -19 days - until I'm a free woman! (no more pencils no more books ... err, of the school sort in any case.) I don't even know what I'm going to do with myself (get drunk with my girlfriends and then sleep for two weeks?)

In any case ... it's exciting. It's scary. And it's happening.

Friday, April 5, 2013

From 'I don't know' to 'I'll figure it out!'

I've recently begun to re-embark on a passion project that I abandoned almost 6 years ago because I was scared that I didn't know what I was doing. And I was right. I didn't know. But by declaring that I didn't know, I was ruling out the possibility that I could figure it out. And because I ruled out possibility, it became impossible. Marie Forleo has a great PSA about everything being 'figure-outable' (hilariously simple advice), but I also wanted to share the following message from the author of THE FIRE STARTER SESSIONS (I just finished it, yes, it had to be in CAPS it was that good, and I'm raring to go through it again to complete the session worksheets), Danielle LaPorte:

the “i don’t know” conspiracy

Tough spot, painful circumstance, official dilemma. A total jam.

“I just don’t know what to do.”

Hmmm. Then what? If you just don’t know what to do, then what are you going to do? Probably nothing. If you declare you don’t know then you won’t…know. You’ll just sway back ‘n forth in the lull of your status quo unknowingness. No need to change because you just don’t want to know. Knowing would change things. Knowing would require you to change things.

If you said to your Commanding Officer, “I just don’t know what to do,” you’d be scrubbing the latrine in short order. If you told your heart-broken significant other, “I just don’t know what to do,” it wouldn’t exactly foster the mojo or the trust. If the Opportunity Fairy fluttered your way and you told her, “I just don’t know,” then she’d be off to her next assignment. She might stick around if you showed some initiative, or asked for a night to sleep on it — anything to show your sincere interest in revelation.

RE-FRAME: Tough spot, painful circumstance….bloody seemingly impossible, grotesquely challenging, borderline hellish:

“I’ll figure this out.”

How’s that feel? Better, doesn’t it? More…possible. More upright. Wings ready to spread. Ears piqued to hear universal cues. Instincts at the helm.

Confusion is a marvelous, magical place. Suspending certainty is an act of enlightenment. And “Security,” as Helen Keller put it, “is mostly superstition.” I’m not talking about being certain {impossible} or being arrogantly presumptuous of what’s coming next. I’m talking about responding creatively to life. “I just don’t know,” is often a cover up for “I don’t want to grow.”

“I’ll figure it out,” may mean waiting quietly, even for a long time, on the will of heaven. It may mean turning over every single stone without rest until you find the answer or the escape hatch. It may mean praying til you sweat, surveying the experts, or forty days in the desert. But one thing’s for sure, if you declare that you’ll figure it out, the possibilities are endless.

- Danielle Laporte (link to the original article)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Quote of the Day



Today's quote was inspired by this post ... it's worth taking a look!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Grief (a personal post)

This morning I woke up with the sun shining bright through my window. My head was pounding (I am getting over a cold) so I tried to block it out with my pillow as I buried myself further under the covers. I've been missing classes and procrastinating on assignments. I'm just finding it hard to be around others right now - to put on that fake smile (that I'm really good at) and say everything is alright because I really hate letting other people see those parts of me. I find it hard to focus on the work that I need to do. I haven't really spoken of the grief that I feel - the grief I imagine I don't have the right to feel. Because we weren't that close and we weren't related by blood. But I do feel grief - it wants to pour itself out and cover every inch of space around me and suck up all the air until I can no longer breath without it, and then, finally, until I can. But I try too hard to keep it contained and it builds up inside instead. It is hard to accept death. It is harder to accept when the one who is no longer there was so young, and good and had a whole life ahead of him only for it to be taken away so suddenly by a momentary act of senseless violence. You just can't say it was an accident or meant to be. To many it's just another sad headline - you see it, think for a quick moment 'how sad' before continuing to scroll through your twitter feed. I wouldn't blame one single person because I do the same; unfortunately, there are just too many like it. But when it's your own - when you're a mother, father, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, child or the small village they grew up in - you grieve. And you ask 'why?' Because it just doesn't make sense, and it never will.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

On My Bookshelf


Just a quick update:

I have created a new page titled "On My Bookshelf" where I have begun curating my favourite books, and even TED talks. Go check it out if you need some reading inspiration, or are in the mood to watch an inspiring talk.

This page will be updated periodically.


Friday, March 15, 2013

25 Things You Don't Know About Me

The other day, while majorly procrastinating from my studies, I was reading a highly respected journal - okay, it was US Weekly - and I decided to copy their wildly popular* "25 Things You Don't Know About Me" column here on this little ol' blog of mine. Because, you know, it means I can procrastinate some more.

And I can only imagine how desperate you all** are to know more about me. After all, I'm a really interesting person. So here goes, 25 things you don't know about me:

1. I'm right handed, but I was born a lefty.
2. I used to be an actress, and I once lived in Toronto (for 2 whole months) and had an agent.
3. My husband and I moved in together after 4 months of dating and bought a house together after 6.
4. For 3 of those months we lived in a dorm room with a washroom and a microwave (And we didn't kill each other. That's true love.).
5. I invented Crumpilates. Really. It's a combination of Pilates and Crumping.
6. I love crumping. I mean. REALLY love it. I get a lot of stares, especially when I'm not in a club!
7. I once posed as a 1940's Vargas pin-up girl for a highly respected artist (he's sold paintings to George Lucas!).
8. I talk to myself. Like, all the time (usually I'm rehearsing scenes out loud) . It caused my sister-in-law to once ask me if I was talking to my food. That was a shining moment!
9. I'm always talking about what I would do if I won the lottery but I've never bought a lottery ticket.
10. I like eating weird food combinations (like cheese with peanut butter, or rice with soy sauce and mayonnaise - it only sounds gross, I promise)
11. I'm an introvert. Okay, those who know me are probably laughing right now, but I am. I am an introvert who has forced herself to be outgoing, but I still need to schedule regular solitude to refill the well
12. I'm afraid of failure ...
13. But I'm even more afraid of success.
14. I care too much what other people think, to the point that I let it hold me back far too often than I'm comfortable to admit.
15. I can sing in Arabic. Okay, a verse and a chorus to one song, but still.
16. I fall in love easily.
17. I cuss like a sailor, yet most people are always surprised when they hear me swear (I guess I look more innocent than I am :p).
18. I sleep with a stuffed puppy when my husband is travelling for work (TMI?)
19. Ever since I was a little girl I've wanted to be famous
20. My favorite colour is green.
21. I hate shopping (unless it's for books, of course)
22. I can date my paternal family tree back to 1600's France
23. I'm a HUGE musical theatre geek. I've seen Wicked twice!!
24. When I'm alone in my house, I youtube the sh*t out of my favorite karaoke songs and sing my heart out!
25. I used to get paid to sit around and do my homework (i.e. I was an extra on film sets)

Okay, so there you have it. 25 things you didn't know about me (and maybe didn't want to, but now you do. Deal with it! lol)


* I'm not the only one who loves this column, am I?
** All 7 of you! Seriously though, thanks for supporting my little space on the big-wide web. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Writing by K. Esta + JukePop Serials

For the past couple of months I've had a standing weekly writing date with a friend of mine. We met through our husbands who work together, and when we discovered that we had a mutual love of writing and the same full day off once a week, that was that. When we get together we write, we have creative discussions, we watch TED talks, and we share and provide feedback on each other's work. These meetings are honestly the highlight of my week, and I'm feeling more and more creative as a result these days!

So, I now want to take a moment to let you know about an awesome new site called JukePop serials, and the WIP of my friend, and fellow writer, K. Esta that is unfolding week-by-week over there. The concept of JukePop Serials is pretty simple - each story unfolds chapter by chapter, and readers are able to vote for their favorites. Full Disclosure: to read past the first chapter of any story, you do have to sign up for a JukePop account (this is quick and painless, I promise, and they send e-mail updates very sparingly).

K's story is titled Dosterra, and falls within the genres of adventure, sci-fi and fantasy. If the following blurg grabs your attention, I encourage you to head over to JukePop to start reading. 

Dosterra is a wintry mining planet. With a monopoly on natural resources and transition technology, it is the undisputed leader of the Earth Origin Colonies. But Lexie has stumbled across something that threatens their dominance. What if their power was built on a lie? On the run, she’s forced to seek the help of Iden, a scientist with the Transition Regulation Centre, though his motives for helping her are unclear.


You can also check out her blog here

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Amanda Palmer & the Art of Asking

I don't know about you guys, but I've been really into TED talks lately; I've JUST discovered them (have I been living under a rock?) even though apparently they've been around for 30 years!! Wow.

I want to share one with you today that really resonated with me as an artist. Although the focus on the talk is about music, I still think it's a message worth sharing here on this blog because it's one that all art forms can embrace. I stumbled upon it the other day and I just think this woman is AMAZING, and she asks a very thought provoking question: Instead of asking how we can make people pay for music, we should be asking - how do we LET them?

Mind. Blown.


Enjoy, and let me know in the comments if this TED talk resonated with you (or if/why it didn't)! 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hiatus

I mentioned in a post last week that I'm going into my last semester at school. Since the end is so near in sight, it's especially important for me to focus and "keep my head in the game". So I will be taking a pseudo-hiatus from blogging.

This means that I will post if I get the overwhelming urge to share something (not likely when I'm pulling all-nighters and drinking red-bull up the ying-yang. And note to self: really should stop drinking Red Bull) but you can generally expect to not see much activity here for the next few months. When you think about it, it's actually not that much different from the way things are now, lol.

I WILL be back, but in the meantime, you can also connect with me on Twitter, handle @cateemond, if you really miss me ;) 

See you soon!

Monday, January 7, 2013

My Current WIP

I won't get into specifics about my current WIP, but I will say that it is a deeply personal novel that I have been working on (and off) for the past 5 years. 

Back in 2008 I had finished a first-draft of this project via The 3-Day Novel Contest (check it out. It's a really great way to give yourself that kick in the butt if you need to finish something). Suffice to say, that first draft was complete shit. I mean, the most excruciating excrement you've ever read. At the time I thought it was this work of heart-breaking, genre-defying genius (resistance at its best, lol). Now, because of time and perspective I can see it for what it really was - a start. Completely self-indulgent, but a start nonetheless.

For the longest time that first draft sat in a drawer. It was always in the back of my mind, and once in a while I would bring it out of the drawer and fiddle around with it. Nothing serious though. I could never quite figure out where to go from there and at some point I even had plans to give up on it completely and chalk it up to a lost cause (the fact that telling this story terrifies me is another story in itself). 

But I couldn't let it go. At the same time, I couldn't seem to get it anywhere at all. 

Recently, before the holidays, I was complaining about this to my husband. We were driving in the car, and I explained to him (more like whined) that every time I tried to start again I would get into it for a bit, and then all of a sudden come up against a wall and come to a grinding halt. I just couldn't understand because I knew the story that I wanted to tell (or at least I thought I did) and I thought that was enough to guide me on the page when I sat down to write. Yet, it wasn't working. Then he said "why don't you try writing an outline?"Just like that. 

It was like a lightbulb flicked on in my head. Why don't I try an outline? What have I got to lose? "Pantsing" clearly isn't working. But don't outlines stifle creativity?

That last thought is a belief that I have carried with me for some time, and I'm not even sure how I came to that conclusion. Maybe because I've been a student for far too long and the thought of outlines has me subconsciously thinking of boring essays on Shakespeare and poetry. 

But, I decided to give outlining a try because I want the voice that says why not? to be louder than the voice that says don't even try

I purchased the e-book version of Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland to help get me started. 




I am an avid reader of her blog Wordplay, which gives advice to other writers. I read the book in one sitting and before I even finished I began diving head-first into the world of outlining. I'm still there, in fact. And, again, I don't want to say too much about my WIP (I'm a big believer that if you talk too much about something you're doing or want to do you will have a harder time finishing or starting it) but I will say this:

1) Outlining has not stifled my creativity AT ALL!! Just the opposite, it's given me "permission" to play and explore ideas that I never would have considered before when I sat down to write my pre-conceived idea of what the story should be. 

2) It's made me realize that the story I was trying to tell didn't want to be told the way I was trying to tell it. I was focusing so much on the story as it was told in that first draft. When I decided to give outlining a try, I realized that the first draft was actually the "before" and the story actually starts after that. This has been a HUGE game-changer for me. All of a sudden things are clicking, ideas are flowing and a real story has begun to emerge.

I'm still in that outlining phase right now, and I know I still have a tendency to be afraid to write something "wrong", but I'm trying to work through it and just do it. 

What do you think? Do you prefer "pantsing" or do you find the process of outlining helpful?


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 Resolutions

Too often New Years Resolutions end up like this ...


But resolutions are such a HUGE part of the New Year, at least for me. There's nothing more inspiring than a fresh start; the opportunity to be the person you want to be and move forward. So I make them anyway! Here are a few of mine for 2013:

1) Finally finish my current WIP ...

It's been 5 years in the works now ... enough is enough. just do it! 

2) Get in shape & be more conscious of the food I eat (of course lol) ...

I'm also thinking of doing this juice cleanse to detox now that the holidays are over (I definitely over-indulged). For those of you that don't know, I have celiac disease, so being conscious of what I put in my body is really important (although it should really be important to everybody, but I know that is easier said than done) and I haven't always been the best at sticking to a gluten-free diet :s I'm committing myself to making a change this 2013!! My husband and I just watched the documentary Hungry for Change on Netflix, and we both really liked it (and now have the urge to buy a juicer, lol). It gets slightly infomercial-ly at some points, but overall it has a great message.

3) De-clutter & Organize ...

YES, this is my home office :( Believe it or not, this is actually better than it was before I started tackling it this past weekend, lol. Clearly I have a long way to go, but I'm motivated to keep going (even if it's just so I can post an "after" picture on this blog so I can prove I'm not a complete hopeless mess :p). If you're in the same boat as me, this blog has so many great tips, and you can find a great post on office organization here & here

4) Read more awesome books ...

Just finished reading Do the Work by Steven Pressfield (follow up to War of Art) and am currently reading Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones. Definitely required reading for writers/artists! Also want to make some time for great fiction. 

5) And perhaps the most difficult, but also the most important ...


I know that last one is very vague, but it's something that I've been constantly striving towards. One of the reasons I went back to school last year (other than to get a better job that supports my writing) was because I needed the experience of choosing something, sticking with it and finishing it. I'm now going into my last semester and the end is in sight. When that happens, I will be one step closer to realizing #5.

Now, let's see how many of the other resolutions I can stick with lol. 

Wishing you all an amazing 2013!!!