cosmic chaos

cultivating calm & creativity in my corner of the world

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Guest Hope Clark talks about #journaling #guestpost

C. Hope Clark is one of my mentors. I have been privileged to attend several of her writing workshops. Her newly released mystery is set in a city near to where I grew up. I can’t wait to read Newberry Sin!

The Opinionated Woman's Musings

This guest post is by C. Hope Clark from www.chopeclark.com

Q&A a Day: Five Years of Finding Yourself

                     When I hear that someone has journaled for years, I instantly admire them. For no other reason than they held themselves to a regimen, I find them incredibly in tune with themselves. They are living life, noting its lessons, and probably improving themselves in the process.

Presidents do it. Many authors do it, which makes me feel guilty since I’m an eight-book published mystery author, with a couple of nonfiction books thrown in for good measure. I’ve been writing for years, yet I could not find the discipline to write at the end of the day when I’m spent, probably having already written a couple thousand words for some story or feature.

Yet I’ve beat into my sons’ heads that journaling is a mental vitamin. I like to think…

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A Visit to the Other Side

I recently vacationed at Williamsburg, Virginia.  While there, my husband and I delved into history. 

We visited Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in North America. 

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Recreations of the original ships that carried the first English settlers to Jamestown

 

We walked through Yorktown, the site of Revolutionary and Civil War battles. 

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Redoubt 9, Yorktown

 

We toured Colonial Williamsburg, a recreation and restoration of the 18th century city where you can see people re-enacting daily life of citizens, tradesmen and government officials. 

 

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The Governor’s Palace, Colonial Williamsburg

Williamsburg Kitchen

Kitchen Workers, Colonial Williamsburg

 

I also got the chance to do something I have wanted to do for quite a while; we did a ghost walk.

You would think that someone who regularly writes about paranormal themes would have been on a few ghost walk tours.  But it seems like time, money and opportunity never coincided until now.

I have to admit that although I love stories of the supernatural, I am somewhat of a skeptic.  I had already been to most of the places that were on the ghost walk and had not felt anything eerie or abnormal.

Night does add an element of mystery.  Our guide did a great job of weaving stories with purposefully pauses and sudden revelations.  He invited us to take pictures of all the sites on the tour, just in case a stray spirit was in the wings. 

The College of William and Mary was quiet during the tour …

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as was the Wythe House.

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Burton Parish Church did have a creepy monument outside.

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We were told the Randolph House was the most active of the hauntings and were warned not to get to close because those who did could feel themselves being pushed back.

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Enlarged photo of upper window at Randolph House

 

The only thing in the photos we took during the ghost tour that we could not identify or explain were some streaks in photos of the Randolph House.

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So did we have a ghostly encounter?  I don’t think so.  But we did learned some colorful  stories of people who lived and died long, long ago. And I am looking forward to more ghost walks. 

 

No Words

I have been silent lately.

My words have left me.

Usually, this time of year sparks hope and excitement and eager anticipation for all the beginnings a new year brings.

Not this time.  At least, not now.

2017 was a difficult year.  At the end of 2016, I learned that a close relative had dementia.  It was a confirmation of our fear.  2017 was a year of grieving.  First, there was the loss of the future we had envisioned.  Then mental function slipped away.  A few months later, physical function began to deteriorate.  In October, there was death.

I stumbled through the holidays.  This year was more about going through the motions than experiencing the joy.  I held tight to the decorations,the music, the spirit of Christmas hoping that it would ignite something inside me.  It didn’t.  Instead, I was haunted by the memories.  The ghosts of days past can be difficult companions when loss is so recent.

Stories and poems still swirl within me but I have not felt like writing.  My experiences over the last 18 months call out to be crafted into a written account.  There is enough there for essays, short stories, a novel.  I am not ready to put any of it down on paper yet.  Maybe in time. Maybe when my ghosts bring more smiles than tears during their visits.

In the meantime, I am taking a small break.

2017 was an end.  I needed a hard stop — a clean break — from some of the things that have kept me stuck.

2018 is a year of redefining.  Of discovering who I want to be.  Of reclaiming my words.

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Project

It was supposed to be a weekend project.  It was supposed to have been finished about two months ago.

My son brought me a few pallets that I wanted to decorate for yard art.  It should have been a quick turn around.

But life happens.  Family and friends need you. You are tired and veg out for a while.

And that is ok.  One day family and friends will no longer be there to spend time with.  Some days, you have to take care of yourself so you can keep going.

Remember that just because you didn’t complete — or even start — a project when you thought you would, doesn’t mean it is too late.  Take a deep breath and reset your timeline.  Then begin.  Maybe it is a baby step like marking off time on your calendar. Maybe it is getting your supplies.  Maybe it is jumping in and getting it done.

I started my pallet craft on Memorial Day.  I finished today.  It is no longer a blank pallet waiting to become something else someday.  Success!

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Welcome 2017!

If my Facebook Newsfeed is any indication, 2016 was a difficult year for many people.  I am no exception.  2016 brought a number of personal and professional challenges that left me feeling drained and depleted.  As you can image, it also took a toll on my creativity.  My writing has screeched to a near standstill with only a handful of poems being completed. Last night I said a very happy  goodbye to 2016.

As I move into this new year, I am resolving to leave the negativity of last year behind.  Life isn’t always easy or fair.  Challenges arise without warning or adequate preparation.  Tragedy can blindside.  When these things happen, it is easy to give in to despair and sorrow.

It is ok to acknowledge the sadness and anger we feel; after all, those are legitimate emotions.  But if we submerge ourselves in only the bad feelings, we risk missing out on the good things that happen everyday.  So I will approach my days with gratitude in 2017, looking for the everyday miracles that make this an amazing world.

 

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Happy New Year!

Thursday’s Thoughts featuring author Anna Muir #paranormal #urbanfantasy

Introducing fellow author Anna Muir who was featured on The Opinionated Woman’s Musings.

The Opinionated Woman's Musings

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Welcome to TOW bi-monthly feature Thursday’s Thoughts. On the second and fourth Thursday in the month, I share the thoughts of a featured author in the form of answers to questions posed to them.

One of October’s featured authors is Anna Muir.

How long have you been writing?

When I was a toddler I would give my mom a pencil and a pad of paper, and she would write down the story I told her. Thanks Mom!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I really love the idea of a nom de plume. The idea of letting my work stand on it’s own, without people attaching their ideas about who I am to it, is absurdly thrilling. I kind of feel like I’m getting away with something.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

Pachacuti built Machu Picchu, and I’d love…

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Thursday’s Thoughts featuring author @CharlotteEhney #paranormal #urbanfantasy

Thanks to The Opinionated Woman’s Musings for the feature!

The Opinionated Woman's Musings

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Welcome to TOW bi-monthly feature Thursday’s Thoughts. On the second and fourth Thursday in the month, I share the thoughts of a featured author in the form of answers to questions posed to them.

One of September’s featured authors is Charlotte Ehney.

How long have you been writing?

I have always been an avid reader so I decided to try my hand at writing a mystery novel when I was 12 years old. I didn’t get very far but I had the writing bug and never stopped.

What comes first when you decide to write a story: the characters or the plot?

My stories usually start with a “what if”. I may see a news article or hear about something that sticks in my mind. I will start asking the “what if” questions and a story line starts to form. Then I figure out who is involved in my story.

What…

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Family Vows Giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Family Vows by Charlotte Koon Ehney

Family Vows

by Charlotte Koon Ehney

Giveaway ends May 18, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

Guest Charlotte Ehney talks about Hissy Fit #chicklit

The Opinionated Woman's Musings

This guest post is by  fiction author Charlotte Ehney.

Book Review:  Hissy Fit: A Novel by Mary Kay Andrews

Keeley Murdock is about to have it all.  She is one day away from marrying the handsome and rich A.J. Jernigan. Everyone who is anyone is at her rehearsal party at the country club.  But a fateful trip down the hallway on her way to the rest room makes Keeley suspicious about what is happening on the other side of a closed door.  Keeley opens the door to discover A.J. and her maid of honor Paige in a most compromising position.  What’s a girl to do?  Throw a huge hissy fit!  And that’s just what Keeley does.  Needless to say, the wedding is off.

Keeley tries to pick up the pieces after her dream life falls apart at her fiancé’s infidelity by losing herself in her interior design business.  Trouble is, work…

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The Day After

December 26th.

The pressure is off.  Our families have gathered and feasted.  The presents have been given and unwrapped.

Today is quiet.  An opportunity to sit and breathe.

I leave my Christmas tree up a couple of weeks after Christmas.  I find it’s this time that I can relax in the glow of the Christmas lights and feel at peace.  It’s a time to reflect and to plan for the new year.  It’s a time to just be.

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Wishing you peace, joy and a new year full of the things you love!

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