Interview with Christine Ray: Writer, Blogger, Poet, and Barista from the Go Dog Go Cafe #amwriting #interview #nonfiction


Welcome to another Tuesday edition of my interviews series. Today I have another new interview for you, a talented writer, poet and a Go Do Go Cafe  Barista, Christine Ray. 

I hope you love her blog I have found it fascinating. You can check out some of Christine’s wonderful writing on the topics of Poetry, Erotica, Spoken Word,  and for you newbies out there, B & R Advice for New Bloggers.

Before we go any further, I need to introduce Christine’s blog as a whole, it’s called: Brave and Reckless.


Christine Ray
Credit: Christine Ray

1. Please Tell Us About Yourself, Christine? 

My name is Christine Ray and I’m from Havertown, Pennsylvania (outside of Philadelphia). I blog at Brave and Reckless. I feel as if sometimes I should call myself the ‘accidental blogger!’ I came to the WordPress blog site to do one piece of writing called: What Every Woman Knows. The piece is based on rape culture, sexual harassment, and sexual trauma and is, sadly, more relevant now more than ever.

Writing that one post literally changed my whole life. I rediscovered that I loved writing. I also love to write poetry and I’m thrilled to be part of an active writing community. My blogging goals include continuing to grow and strengthen Secret First Draft, the Go Dog Go Café and Blood Into Ink, all projects that are very near and dear to my heart.


2. Do You Have Any Particular Blogging Goals or Things You Want to Accomplish? 

My first goal is to simply improve my writing skills maintain writing as a daily habit.  When I started blogging, the deal I made with myself was simply to write 10 minutes a day. I had the option of writing a new piece from scratch, working on an ongoing project, or editing a piece of writing.

The idea was that I develop discipline and prioritize my writing. I am involved with a lot of other collaborative blogs. And sometimes my own personal writing keeps moving further down the priority list than it should be moving.

Additionally, I’m registered for a course about writing child and young adult literature in the Fall that I’m really excited about.  The thought of a low-residency program to earn a Masters in Fine Arts has crossed my mind a time or two (or maybe ten!!).


“My first goal is to simply improve my writing skills maintain writing as a daily habit.  When I started blogging, the deal I made with myself was simply to write 10 minutes a day. I had the option of writing a new piece from scratch, working on an ongoing project, or editing a piece of writing.” – Christine Ray


3. When Did You Begin Writing or Blogging and Why? What Does Writing Mean to You? 

I honestly can’t remember how old I was when I began writing but I was definitely scrawling short stories into dog-eared notebooks in middle school. As well, I started writing poetry as a teenager.  I was also the editor of my high school newspaper and my senior yearbook.

Nevertheless, I have taken long breaks from writing when life has become busy but it has always been something I come back to when I’m in transition. I turned fifty-years-old in 2016 which was a major life reassessment period for me. Writing became a primary method for me to work through my feelings. 

Finding my voice again as a writer has been really powerful, though to be honest, I think other people took me seriously as a writer long before I did.  There were most definitely several months where I transitioned from when I thought about myself as a middle-aged woman (who happened to write), to identifying myself as a writer and a poet, being who I am today.

Writing has become, and honest, always has been an essential part of my identity. As well, began my blog: Brave and Reckless on October 8, 2016.


4. Where do you Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Continue Writing? Why is it Significant for you to Continue Writing and Blogging? 

I find inspiration everywhere. Music is a big part of my writing process and song lyrics frequently inspire my work but I’ve also been inspired by movies (Paterson is amazing); TV (you’d be amazed how much poetry there is in American Gods); beer menus, conversations with other people, and currently, a collaboration with Aurora Phoenix inspires and motivates me. The collaboration began in the comments section in one of my blog posts.

This sounds silly when I say it out loud, but when I started this particular blog in October, I had no idea that I had anything to say! The vast majority of my writing is inspired by exactly what is going on in my emotional life, in the moment. Sometimes I approach writing about those things obliquely, but often what you see is a direct reflection of my experiences during the day.

One of the most transformative experiences of blogging for me was realizing my writing resonates with other people. Every time someone writes to me and tells me that I captured exactly what they were feeling, but couldn’t articulate it, is an incentive for me to keep up with my writing.  

Every time someone writes to thank me for writing openly about depression, suicide, PTSD, or trauma, it is incentive to keep writing.  Feeling like I can still make a positive impact keeps me writing and blogging. I feel that I can make a positive impact on other people by continuing to write and blog because it helps other people, not only myself. 


“Every time someone writes to thank me for writing openly about depression, suicide, PTSD, or trauma, it is incentive to keep writing.  Feeling like I can still make a positive impact keeps me writing and blogging. I feel that I can make a positive impact on other people by continuing to write and blog because it helps other people, not only myself.” – Christine Ray 


Rawpixel.com UnSplash
Credit: Rawpixel.com via UnSplash

5. Do you have any Particular Writing or Blogging Habits? What do you Enjoy Most About Writing? Is there a Time of Day you Prefer to Write?

I have a busy life and have discovered that the only way to fit writing and blogging into my life is to awake at 4:00 a.m. From 4:00 a.m to 6: 00 a.m. I write, I answer blog related comments and emails, I record ‘Spoken Word’ versions of my writing, and see to editorial duties.

As well, I have been known to write whole pieces in the Google Docs app on my phone during my commute on the bus or train. I also eat lunch at my desk, at work, and try to catch up on reading other people’s blogs.  At times, I’m still awake at 10:00 p.m. doing blog related activities and tending to my own writing. I must admit that I’m tired right now. However,  I expect things to calm down a bit over the upcoming summer months.


6. Can you Tell us About your Most Current Writing Projects on your Blog or Outside of it? 

In addition to writing and publishing daily, I’ve been running various writing challenges on my blog.  This week I challenged readers to write about a life experience using ten objects and will be publishing my favorites on my ‘Brave and Reckless’ blog. I’ve already committed to two Writing Prompt Challenges and have my third occurring now using the prompt: “I Am More Than Breath and Bones.”

I do publish some of my work, the pieces I call “the softer side of Christine”—on Poetry Corner. I’m also happily involved as a Barista at the Go Dog Go Café.  It’s been fun to put the site together and to work with a  lovely cadre of writers, some of whom I’ve met and some of whom are new to me. The Cafe has a wonderful community vibe and brings out the best in writers.

My most recent project was launching Blood Into Ink  (with a group of writers from WordPress and off of it).’Blood Into Ink’ has a safe and respectful environment for stories of survival to be told. It gives a home for stories from those who have lived through sexual abuse, rape, physical abuse, emotional abuse, child neglect, domestic violence, and other forms of trauma. The focus of the blog is to discover our ‘warrior voices’ by telling our truths. 

It is open to men and women and already features some pretty fierce writing.  I am proud of this project and hope that it encourages many writers to tell their stories and aids them in receiving the support and respect they deserve for their stories of survival and dealing with them after the fact.

Also, I’m working on a project called Whisper and the Roar, a feminist literary collective site. I am still an author for Whisper and the Roar. All of the writers on this site are feminist but the content is not overtly feminist. I piece I wrote for this particular site is called “Ode to a Black Eye.” Such as many of my pieces, this post is autobiographical (my childhood friend Wendy had the black eye and we finally talked about the incident when we reconnected on Facebook.


Blood Into Ink’ has a safe and respectful environment for stories of survival to be told. It gives a home for stories from those who have lived through sexual abuse, rape, physical abuse, emotional abuse, child neglect, domestic violence, and other forms of trauma. The focus of the blog is to discover our ‘warrior voices’ by telling our truths.” – Christine Ray


7. Have you Published any Writing or Poetry outside of your Blog? If not do you plan to in the Future? 

I recently had a couple of pieces of poetry published in Felan Magazine which has lit a fire under me to publish more writing into print. Felan centers its issues around a particular feeling so it was easy to pull my best pieces about Anger (Issue 10) and Love (Issue 11). 


8. Can you Briefly Describe to us Your Writing Process? Are there Certain Genres of Writing and Reading You Prefer? 

The vast majority of my writing happens on my PC in the early morning hours with music playing in the background. Some of my work happens on my phone on the train.  Some it is sprawled into notebooks until I have time to type it up. I’ve been known to write a poem or two during long and dull meetings at work (hopefully none of my co-workers are reading this).

Poetry is definitely my primary form of written expression but I do write some prose, some short fiction, and essays. As a reader, I tend to joke that I will read the back of a cereal box if nothing else is handy! I’m obsessed with Jane Austen (I’ve got a Jane Austen quote as a tattoo) and I’ve read the Harry Potter series a ridiculous amount of times.  I love psychological British mysteries,  Young Adult literature, as well as, science fiction, and fantasy. All in all, I’m a serious book nerd!


“Poetry is definitely my primary form of written expression but I do write some prose, some short fiction, and essays. As a reader, I tend to joke that I will read the back of a cereal box if nothing else is handy!” – Christine Ray


Nicole Jones UnSplash
Credit: Nicole Jones via UnSplash

9. Do you have any Wisdom for Other Bloggers and Writers?

Make writing a daily habit even if you can only dedicate ten minutes a day. Write what you like to read! Find writers whose work you like and follow them too! Check out those who follow your blog—you may like their blog too!

Also, don’t obsess about numbers. Fifteen extremely engaged followers are more rewarding than two-hundred disengaged writers. Be brave and leave thoughtful comments on other people’s writing. I have picked up a lot of followers this way. Most vitally, I have made excellent friends by commenting on the writing/blogs of other people. 

In addition, I recommend subscribing and responding to the Daily Post. I want everyone who writes and/or blog to know that their voice matters and their truths matter too. Don’t worry about your audience, worry about what you need to say.

There are twelve million people on WordPress—your people (your followers) are out there. You may need to look for them, but there is someone out there who wants to read what you have to say.


10. Is there Anything Else you Want to Share, something you think is Pertinent to Writing or Yourself? 

One crazy thing that happened to me in May is that one of my pieces was chosen for featuring as WordPress Discover blog called: Brave and Reckless Advice for New Bloggers – Part One.  I went from 164 views on May 1st to 2,439 views on May 2nd. It was thrilling and terrifying all at the same time!

Things have calmed down a little but I spent three days replying to all the comments I received! I still don’t know how the WordPress editors found me or that piece. However, I try to use my newfound readership for good and give lots of other really good writers exposure on Brave and Reckless (I feel like I should be quoting Spiderman or something here)!


“Make writing a daily habit even if you can only dedicate ten minutes a day. Write what you like to read! Find writers whose work you like and follow them too! Check out those who follow your blog—you may like their blog too!” – Christine Ray


11. For fun, do you Have Any Especially Favorite Bloggers that you Love to Follow? 

There are so many blogs that I love! My big writing crushes are:

  • The Feathered Sleep — Candice Louisa Daquin’s writing is elegant, exquisite, and emotionally resonant.
  • A Journal for Damned Lovers — Nicholas is gritty and dark and never glamorizes life, love or himself.  He takes you on journeys into the human psyche that you didn’t even know you wanted to go one. He appeals to my darkness and I want to grow up and write like SK someday!
  • The Lithium Chronicles –Nicole Lyons and the other poets she highlights on her site are badass warriors! There is an electricity to Nicole’s work, a buzz that gets under my skin, and into my blood. Some of her writing is similar to what could be pulled from own diaries.
  • Additionally, all of the writers at the collectives I work with are amazing and deserving of a read.

12. Can You Please Share with us a few of Your Favorite Pieces from your Blogging? 

Poet’s Love Song

by

Christine Ray

*****

Christine Ray = MM photo
Credit: From Christine’s Ray’s Blog ‘Brave and Reckless” for this post.

*****

I see you

Yes, you poet

You who lives

Behind the misty veil

Dwelling in the border

Between this world

And a hundred other

Shadow worlds

*****

see you

*****

see those ink-stained

Fingers

That hold your pen

Like a lover

That fly across the keyboard

In a torrent

Before stopping, hesitating

Waiting

For the flow of words to resume

*****

see the permanent rings

Countless cups of coffee

Have left on your writing table

The chip in your favorite mug

I see the frayed fabric

On your cuffs

Of your favorite writing shirt

The fabric worn thin at your elbows

*****

see those mesmerizing eyes

That seem to simultaneously

Be looking through me

Straight into my soul

While studying the cosmos

And gazing inward

All at the same time

see the contradictions you are

Your eyes are haunting

Full of knowing

Full of pain

Full of longing

*****

see the dark smudges

Under your otherworldly eyes

Reminders that poets

Are night dwellers

Insomniacs

Who haunt the still hours

Who understand the depth

The texture of darkness

Who can capture the qualities

The acoustics of silence

*****

see the way

That words spill out of

Your sensuous mouth

Like pearls, like diamonds

Beautiful treasures

Embedded with your tears

Your sweat, your blood

*****

Yes poet

see you

You who makes me fall

In love with language

Over and over

Whose words

Stab me in the heart

Punch me in the gut

Jangle my nerves

Bathe me in your radiance

Soothe my weary soul

Take me on a journey

I didn’t even know

I wanted to go on

*****

And you are beautiful

*****

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved



Thank you so much to Christine Ray for being so detailed and open sharing her writing and poetry with us on my blog and on the Go Do Go Cafe. If you would like to be featured as a writer, blogger, or person who is blogging/writing about a cause please reach out to me through my contact page. Next week`s interview will be a ‘Rewind Interview,’ a blogger I’ve interviewed in the past.


©Mandibelle16. (2017). All Rights Reserved.

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Update Fall/Winter: All Is Well, Though Never Easy #amwriting #nonfiction 


It’s been a long while since I’ve given an sort of personal update. Part of the reason is there are somethings I can’t talk about at the moment. The other part has been life has felt incredibly busy and trying to keep up with everything on the reduced schedule I have has been a bit challenging. 

After an initial and yearly week or two dealing with SAD and becoming used to less light, I feel more energy again. Often I find when it comes to blogging, I have so many blogs to follow now, commenting daily is difficult. So you’ve probably noticed I do this less. I’m sorry I can’t keep up, but I’ve found in the last while, I need to maintain a balance in life or become overwhelmed. 

So I’ve been trying to keep up with my usual prompts and also for a couple of months in October and November I was doing daily poetry prompts for OctPoWriMo and November Notes. But I felt at least in poetry, my writing has been improving as has my knowledge of poetry forms. I’ve been so happy to be a guest blogger on Look Around, being able to continually collaborate with Spill Words Magazine Online, having work published on SickLit Magazine and have the possibility of poetry or short fiction pieces being published on a few other sites and/or magazines. 

Credit: http://www.spillwords.com – image used for my poem by this name!

Fiction is something I continue working on through flash fiction and other prompts. A larger story has developed from a piece called Teegan’s Potion. I have an idea this might develop into something much bigger, a longer short story or a novel. I would like to begin planning it out more. 

However, the other part of me is still working on my original novel on WattPad, doing a second draft. Lately, I’ve done about three more chapters and am hoping to put serious work into the novel throughout the winter semester. You can find my completed second draft chapters for How Was Last Night on Wattpad HERE. Events have changed and moved around from the first draft. Lately, I’ve only been able to do about three chapters, but I’m hoping to go through the remaining chapters, rewrite, and edit, and have one up each week. 

Sorry, I cannot promise this but I’m going to try to do this. Please let me know on this post or on Wattpad what you like and don’t like, or if you have any suggestions or thoughts. I’ve completed up to new chapter 12 in second draft. Also playing around with potential covers for this point in my writing. It’s a paranormal romance, so I’m unsure whether I want the cover more mysterious or more of a typical romance cover. What do you think? 

I was most disappointed not to have made it into the online MFA in Creative Writing I applied for for September 2017. My plan is to try applying one more time and to continue publishing pieces of poetry and short fiction until I’m in or not.

 I’m also looking at taking a couple of courses in the certificate program at U if Toronto. This way, I have more writing courses and hopefully more recent great marks, for my Academic CV. I’ll be able to see how my second application for the MFA goes next October. If I don’t get in then, I can work on completing the certificate. I’m not sure if I would try three-years. I’m just taking it day by day right now.


The other part of my life has been dealing with not having money from my disability company anymore. I’m coping with this, but it could take a year to come to a mind of resolution. In between if I could make the $300.00 a month I can make having AISH and CPP disability in Alberta, Canada, I would be most happy. I’m applying for different writing and blogging jobs on a freelance sight called www.upwork.com. They do take a small percentage, but it’s worth it if you can connect with good clients. 

I’ve had job offers so far but had to refuse because I cannot write and research full time. Not to mention, some of the people posting jobs have little clue how long writing up an article or blog from 300 to 1000 words takes, especially with research. They want articles fast and yet they want them to be perfect, free of errors. Some of them want this for only $10.00 an article – not even minimum wage per hour where I’m from. I’m hoping to find some good jobs on Upwork to earn extra money and gain some job experience part time and/or casually. I’m leaning more to the casual end I think, part time would honestly be too much. 

It would help me pay for a course in spring and fall and maybe a vacation. One of my bestest of best friend’s wedding is in Cuba. I was planning to before my insurance revoked my disability. But this is a long ways away, so I’m praying it might work out that I could be there and have a little vacation too. As of now, it’s not appearing hopeful.

Credit: http://www.melia.com

My Christmas shopping is finished. I’ve been baking cookies and squares. The best cookies are from this Neiman Marcus oatmeal cookie recipe. You grind the oats into flour in your blender. The cookie is soft and chewy and uses both white flour and the oat flour. I put in lots of chocolate chips and crushed pecans. I’ve become an expert at baking these and my whole family is addicted to them.

Apparently, I haven’t baked them in a while. One batch is about five dozen cookies. One dozen I gave to my brother, and the other four dozen have been disappearing from the freezer at an alarming rate. Let me know if you want the recipe, I can send it to you. I will be making another batch when I replenish the chocolate chip supply. 

Credit: Brown Eyed Baker

I’ve been trying to keep busy, seeing friends whenever I’m able. My one BFF and I went to a Paint Nite event, painting penguins on wine glasses. At home you bake them in your stove so they are useable. It’s a cute craft, but I think the wine glasses themselves would have been nice with some wine in them 🙂 Hanging out with S again this Saturday for drinks a the Art Gallery restaurant and a naughty Christmas show at the Citadel Theatre. Also, always planning for the future.
Credit: Amanda Eifert

I finally found my perfect tattoo and am trying to arrange a consultation with the artist my hairdresser and friend Tess, suggested. It’s a peacock feather but very beautiful. Bold enough in black but also with shades of blue and maybe purple. So excited for this, even though it will hurt! It’s not this whole tattoo, just the peacock feather part. See below:

Credit: http://www.pinterest.com

Have a blessed Christmas everyone! Remember the true meaning of Christmas and the hope a babe in a manger named Jesus became for all mankind. 
Credit: Lamb and Lion Ministries – Prophetic Facts – About the Nativity

——

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

Summer Words: The Latest 


Usually, I attempt to update you guys in the blogging world, every month but I’m sure I haven’t actually done that in a few months. So, it’s summer words because well, summer is almost over and I never updated until today.

I kind of dread the end of summer as much as I love it. There is a freedom and carelessness to summer, no other season has. People relax in the deck, on the patio; they go to beaches and sometimes house boating; they visit and explore foreign places; and those who never relax stay home and sleep in, get a few things taken care of around the house, or not.

IMG_2348
http://www.thedailyroxette.com

Typically, I take a summer vacation somewhere, but I found out this year I had waited much to long to book flights using my airmiles. And the Canadian dollar was down as compared to the US dollar, so the dollar was too low to consider a trip there.

I wanted to go somewhere fresh this year. Somewhere I haven’t visited or haven’t been in a while. I have never actually visited around Vancouver and it’s been ten-years since I visited Quebec City. I feel as if those are both great options for a fall vacation.

If the dollar improved, Las Vegas is always an option, but sticking with the theme of visiting new places, I would like to go to San Francisco or Seattle. There are a few different places I’ve read blogs on or heard about, which I would enjoy seeing in those cities. Not to mention, pretty much anywhere you go, unique food and shopping are always worth the trip.

SanFran Shopping
http://www.youtube.com

I’m day dreaming of a European trip. I’ve narrowed it down to the country of Italy for now. I know the cities I wish to see. I only have to arrange everything, decide where I’m going to stay, and arrange when and which attractions I want to see — oh and there’s always the money issue too. But minor detail lol.

Because of my health, I think it would be a good idea to spend a week in each city, maybe a bit more so I have days to use to do nothing in case I need them. So, a month to two-months for a trip to Italy, and who to take with me?

Anyways, that’s future dreams. Lately, not feeling as well. All around, I feel drained. Maybe, I’m doing too much? But I don’t think so. Maybe, it’s another slump in my health? Or perhaps, I’m only having a bad week or two? The humidity in the air often makes me tired, almost sick at times. But I didn’t think it was so bad in Edmonton this summer as compared to other summers. However, I get through it because, I always do.

Venice1
http://www.aroundtheworld.com (Venice)

Summer has been spent doing a bit of shopping in July as it was my birthday month. I looked at my finances and have been trying to better arrange them, considering retirement, life insurance, and accidental death insurance. Not that I think anything bad will occur to me soon, but we don’t always know so I’m trying to be prepared as best as I can for my future and my family.

I’m into this application on my IPad called Wattpad. It’s a great way to see what other writers are writing and see the quality or lack there of, for different genres of books. I’m doing the second draft of How Was Last Night For You? on Wattpad. I’m happy with it so far and have had Yinglan’s helpful support as she also has some work on there I’m helping her proof. The newly arranged chapters of my book and the sequence of events so far is available in chapters one through nine, and you can check it out at the above link.

I had to completely redo chapter nine, so it might be a bit sketchy yet, but things are coming. The novel is developing slowly, even though I never even conceived it would get this far when I started writing a couple of years ago.

But due to the novel, and doing a being proofread of my Uncle’s historical book on his family, I’ve been hugely busy. #WordhighJuly was great and well done by our hosts Rosema and Maria; but it was also time consuming.

Moon
Unknown Source (Current Cover for my Novel)

So, I have to apologize, I haven’t been able to read and comment on as many posts as I like. In order to not overwhelm myself, I think I will have to consciously, only comment on a few of your posts, each week. I’m ecstatic to have more followers, but I don’t want to forget old friends. I feel it is necessary to comment but it takes time. I’ll work it out.

Don’t worry. But if you don’t see me, I’m off trying to get more poems and fiction published. And I’m probably, working on putting my novel together so I have a manuscript worthy of a good editor. Lately, as I mentioned, not feeling so well, prevents me from completing tasks, I would like to do as well.

Also, as I’ve mentioned before there’s a masters program I want to apply for. Lately, I’m not sure about it. It’s been a dream for the past few years, but I’m not sure about it. I like to learn, and to build my knowledge of writing. I’m not sure if that’s best done in the classroom or through real-life experience. But just the same, I’ve always wanted a Masters in English or Writing. I think creative writing most of all. Perhaps, I feel, a certificate program such as at University of Toronto online, might be less stressful?

Creative Writing Typewriter
http://www.proessaywriter.net

Fitness is a bust. Sometimes I walk, other times I don’t have it in me. I try to stretch and do a bit of yoga. But it makes me angry and upset I cannot do the cardio I need to do. I complain about this too much, I’m sorry. But I loved the adrenaline rush of exercise, like I love art, and writing. And I miss it so much. I’ve never been able to get it back even wearing myself out. And I know it’s what I need to lose weight. I’m completely confused as what to do for diet right now, probably I will go back on the herbal magic diet, as it seemed to be the diet plan which worked the best for me and the amount of exercise I could do. I’m not signing up again, only following the meal plans.

I’ve been reading a lot on Wattpad. But, it’s frustrating because the authors only update once a week if that. So, I’m reading other books again, with middles and endings, by more well known and accomplished writers. I’m excited to read: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Also, I have some favourite writers, who  I would like to read up on their latest novels.

Pretty Little Liars
http://www.celebuzz.com (Main Characters of Pretty Little Liars – Hanna, Emily, Aria, and Spencer.)

I’m addicted to Prett Little Liars on Netflix right now. It’s a better series than I anticipated. Secrets can be big and convoluted as I’m learning through each season of the show. I’ve only started season three and there are four more to go. Season seven which is on TV now I believe, or just was, is the last season. I’d be happy for Madmen Season 8 to be available on Netflix too. Also, I watch a show based of the Scream Movies once a week, but I think it’s almost done. I watch the Summer Olympics and my Eskimos playing CFL football as well.

Dory
http://www.taormina.it

There are some great festivals in Edmonton during summer. As well, it’s relaxing and fun to be put on a patio with friends and have a few drinks. I’m having a birthday brunch downtown on Sunday, as everyone was busy in July. Also, I’m hoping to get to a farmer’s market in August and to a couple of movies as I have passes. I’m thinking Finding Dory and some kind of action type film?

I’m not entirely sure of my blogging schedule come fall. But tentatively, here is what it looks like:


Sunday – Sunday Photo Fiction

Monday – Moral Monday’s Flash Fiction

Tuesday- Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer

Wednesday – Photo Prompt Fiction\Poetry (Mind Loves Misery’s Menagerie)

Thursday – Three Line Tales (Once A Month – Tale Weaver’s Fairy Tale Prompt)

Friday – Music Prompt (Mind Love’s Misery’s Menagerie)/ Poet’s United Poetry Prompt

Also, Monthly – 15 quotes twice a month, and Writer Interviews every 2 weeks.


wine image
http://www.medicaldaily.com

Also, wanted to let you all know I read: Drinking a glass of red wine a day is equal to an hour of exercise. It could be false, but who am I to say so? It sounds true to me. Cheers!

 

 

 


©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.

Interview With Christopher Leo Couch


Hey everyone. I’m thrilled to share with you an interview on a wonderful writer, teacher, and blogger this first week of July. His name is Christopher Leo Couch of Clcouch123. Please check-out his blog, he’s a fascinating, kind, and learned writer.


Christopher Leo Couch
Christoper Leo Couch
  1. Please Tell Us About Yourself.

My name is Christopher Leo Couch. Christopher because my mother liked the Winnie-the-Pooh stories and Leo because it’s my father’s first name and his father’s and so on back. My last name is Couch because centuries ago, members of my clan made cushions for medieval furniture, furniture otherwise made of only hard stone and brick.

I was born in Louisville, Kentucky; much of my family is from and in the Southern USA.  My immediate family moved to Pittsburgh when I was young, then to Cincinnati. I moved back to Pennsylvania to work. I live in Mechanicsburg, a small town (borough) near Harrisburg (the state capital).

I grew up with four siblings, three brothers and my sister. I am the middle child. As such, I had to be an older child or a younger child, depending on the nature of the situation. The nature of the situation was rarely made clear to me. I never knew which child I was supposed to be and when. As a child, I had a busy imagination. I enjoyed stories and writing them. I made little worlds out of my train set and other toys such as models of spaceships or Lincoln Logs.


2. What Type of Profession Did You End Up Going Into?

I went into teaching, which became the substance of my work. I taught college while in college. Later, I taught my way through Graduate School and teaching paid the bills. I discovered I had great concerns for the accomplishments and growth of my students. In my initial studies and since, I developed a learner-centered approach to teaching that has evolved by experience and further training.

As an educator, I’ve worked in schools and churches. I’ve worked with all ages of students. I find it appealing to teach a range of all ages. I enjoy working  with babies, children, youth, and adults. I have degrees in Communications, and English, and I’ve studied religion. I’ve also, taught both public speaking and writing.

I am Christian though probably a lousy evangelist. I enjoy meeting those from other religious traditions and learning about their faith. I spend time with agnostics and atheists as well. I can articulate my faith well and I’m a devotee of the apologist C. S. Lewis; however, I believe if we’re all going to last in this world, we’re going to have to respect each other first. Rather than attempting to talk someone into my way of thinking and believing, I prefer to listen and respond. Then, I’m able to learn and relate to where others are in their spiritual beliefs.


” . . .I believe if we’re going to last in this world, we’re going to have to respect each other first. Rather than attempting to talk someone into my way of thinking and believing, I prefer to listen and respond. Then, I’m able to learn and relate to where others are in their spiritual beliefs.” – Christopher Leo Couch


3. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging?

About a year ago, I had heart surgery. My recovery was slow and I couldn’t do much of anything. One activity I could do was write, so journaling became a daily practice. My spiritual director (once) had recommended I keep a blog. Why he suggested this, I’m not sure. I had already found WordPress, but I began to write on my blog more often after his suggestion. I enrolled in Blogging University (the WordPress offered courses). I also participated in a WordPress poetry writing class. I built a basic blog, giving myself enough options so that I could write blog posts, read the blog posts of others, and respond to other WordPress blogger’s comments.

I haven’t done much in a sophisticated fashion with my blog concerning graphics and other technical aspects, but I’ve been posting and corresponding daily for several months now and am learning as I go.


4. What Does Writing Poetry Mean to You? Why Do You Write?

Poetry is an impulse for me. I write poetry because I have to. It’s the reason I write, I think. Poetry is the way I meet the world. Maybe someone else somewhere, said this more profoundly, but for me this is how I can explain it. I write poetry to explore, as I imagine many do with this form. Poetry can be an exercise—a way to play with words—which is fine. I play that way. Usually, there’s more at work behind the poetry, even in the playful parts. I write to speak, to say something to the world, and to engage the world.


“Poetry is an impulse for me. I write poetry because I have to. It’s the reason I write . . .I write poetry to to explore, as I imagine many do with this form. Poetry can be an exercise -a way to play with words . . . I write to speak, to say something to the world, and to engage the world.” – Christopher Leo Couch.


5. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration to Write? Do You Find There Is a Time of Day You Most Like to Write?

Many things inspire me to write such as current events, a moment of beauty, and the concerns of myself and other people. I’m inspired to write when words come to mind or heart which I cannot let go of.

Currently, I most like to write in the early evening and revise in the afternoon the next day. I often enjoy writing first thing in the morning, when my mind is new and I encounter the world in an open way (or as open as the day and I are going to get).


6. What Are Your Most Current Writing Poetry Projects? Any Hopeful Projects You Are Working On?

I’m working on composing a series of psalms. I’m not the first person to express psalms in a new way. I’m not sure how I began working on this project. A psalm, simply put, is a song to God. Perhaps, I was writing out a prayer and thought there might be something lyrical about it. At any rate, I continue working on writing a series if psalms.

It’s also been a dream of mine to study and train for an MFA in Creative Writing. I’ve applied to various programs, though have not worked out a method to afford taking courses in a Creative Writing Program, which is why it’s a dream. But I do have an active, waking dream to lead a creative writing class.

While recovering from my surgery (I must have had more time than I recall), I drafted  a verse novel for a young-adult audience. I have great fondness for the genre and have been delighted to teach it, study it, and simply read it. I’ve written works, often in dramatic voice, for groups and special events; I’d be glad to continue writing works such as this.

I’d love to publish my work, of course. I have mentioned in my blog a dream of mine, to have a collection of my poems published in hardback form. I want my poetry to be a book as the kind of works I look for in bookstores and come upon as treasures abstracted from the mortal—or divine—aspects of earth.


“I want my poetry to be a book just as the kind of works I look for in bookstores and come upon as treasures abstracted from the mortal — or divine — aspects of earth.” – Christopher Leo Couch


7. Have You Published Written Works or Are You Planning to Publish Works of Writing in the Future?

I published numerous works while in graduate school and in my scholarly life. Most of my work, even poetry, has been published in journals. My favorite of these works is an article about ancient riddles and their use in The Hobbit.

For the last church in which I worked, I wrote a devotional series and for a Lenten observance. I wrote The Way of the Cross—a kind of liturgical writing which has been composed over centuries. If you go to the The Trinity Camp Hill Website, you’ll find my Way of the Cross and the entire experience rendered on line.


8. Can You Briefly Describe the Process You Went Through to Publish or Are Going Through to Have Your Writing Published?

I imagine if I seriously wanted to publish widely, I would need to have a literary agent, if not an advanced (terminal) degree. What I often do, is send my writing to a group which might be interested in printing it. Sometimes I’ve been commissioned to write certain pieces. Sometimes sending your writing to interested parties works and sometimes it doesn’t.

On a side note, I’ve heard there maybe a new planet discovered in our solar system. If so, it’s going to need a name. I posted a poem about my choice of Minerva (Roman god of wisdom), which many of you (thank you) like as well. I also sent my suggestion to NASA. Maybe, they will like my name choice as well?


“Most of my work, even poetry, has been published in journals. My favorite of these works is an article about ancient riddles and their use in The Hobbit.” – Christopher Leo Couch


9. What is Your Writing Process Like?

I’ve described something of my writing process above; I write. It’s not usually so hard, because I know I’ll write stuff that I won’t keep. But I’m still writing. The computer is especially (truly, really) helpful with my writing. I can draft, move things around, and create new saved versions and files. It’s so easy now with the a computer. Sometimes, I wonder how I made it through my Master’s Degree using a typewriter. (A mechanical word-calculating device networked to nothing but the typist).

I usually write in response to something—even if it’s only in wondering why or how. Sometimes, I write something and then put it away. (Again, wonderful computer)  I have many pieces of writing saved and stored on my computer (without proper back-up, I’m sure). At times, writing is difficult, because I am writing about something difficult. The recent death of my close friend is hard to write about. Sometimes writing is more straightforward and other times, writing is like playing. The act of writing is a chore (physically speaking) but I’m fine with it’s physical demands.


10. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading Styles or Genres?

I read poetry, young-adult literature, and regular mysteries. Sometimes I read varied genres for fun and sometimes for work. For work, I read about pedagogy and religion. My favorite mystery works are by Aaron Elkins who sometimes writes with his wife Charlotte Elkins. Charlotte also writes on her own. My sister and I share mystery titles and our reviews of the books we both read. But, young-adult literature crosses pleasure and work, as does poetry.


“Sometimes, I wonder how I made it through my Master’s Degree using a typewriter. (A mechanical word-calculating device networked to nothing but the typist).” – Christopher Leo Couch


11. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers?

Write! Don’t wait. Write. Share. Get reader response and write more!

When sharing your writing before revising (and after, since writing is an organic process and not artificially linear), choose those whose opinions about your writing, you generally respect. These opinions do not have to be from folks who are writers.

If you would like to know how to increase your vocabulary when writing — read. You can read anything. I suggest reading writing you like. Rosema from the blog: A Reading Writer writes about wonderful books to read along with meaningful poetry. Please check-out her blog in the link above.


12. Is There Anything Else You Would Like to Share With Which Is Pertinent to Writing or Yourself?

I’d like to thank you, Amanda, for arranging this interview. I’d also like to thank everyone who reads my work. I’d like to thank those with whom I interact with online, because your work invites response.Thank you! Don’t let writing be a mystery which stultifies.  Writing is a mystery—but the good kind. When it’s fair and correct, give credit where credit’s due. Identify sources and inspirations.


“Don’t let writing be a mystery which stultifies. Writing is a mystery –but the good kind. When it’s fair and correct, give credit where credit’s due. Identify sources and inspirations.” – Christopher Leo Couch


  1. Can You Share With Us a Few Links From Your Blog With Some of Your Favorite or Most Loved Pieces? 

The first poem is playfulGrandmama used two words in “Collecting Words,” which I especially like. I use these two-words here:

“Pie Outside Can’t Hide”

By Christopher Leo Couch

Crimp pie crust,

Not too hard, ‘cause,’

Dust to dust.

Enjoy the crimp,

With elf and imp.

Like will-o-the-wisp,

When fall is crisp.

We bake our wares,

To cool on stairs.

Steam sprite-rises,

No surprises.

Wafting dessert:

Magic food alert!


My second poem is more soberly reflective:

“Failing Night”

By Christopher Leo Couch

 Just after five,

I have not been asleep.

Pain shoots through,

My leg, a single line,

Of nerve.

As if a wire was pushed,

Through inside.

Then something threw,

A supernatural switch,

And a low current of too-

Warm electric sting,

Without cessation.

Courses through tired,

Muscle.

Having surrendered the,

Day’s labors into,

Aspiration’s night of,

Negligent awareness.

Barely keeping guard,

Letting go of awake,

To turn into dream.

In hope to re-knit and,

Repair stretched.

Measures in the body,

And the mind.

It’s a cycle that’s supposed,

To work.

Why then is pain,

Ruining what I’ve made?

Not fair.

I want to rest then rise,

With normal consciousness,

Beneath the skin.


More of Christopher’s poetry can be found on his blog here.

Thank you so much Christopher for doing this interview for me. I enjoyed learning about you, your past, and your future aspirations. I wish the best for you in life, completing your MFA in Creative Writing, your psalms, and a hardcover book of poetry.


Thanks for reading this bi-weekly interview series. I have another fantastic interview lined up in the next couple of weeks. If you wished to be interviewed on writing and/or blogging, please reach me on my contact page on the top of my blog.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

Sisterhood of the World Blogging Award


  

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Thanks to Joy Pixley of Tales from Eneana for nominating me for the award.

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Here are the rules:

  • Thank the giver and link their blog to your post.
  • Answer the 10 questions given to you.
  • Pass the award on to ‘N’ (as many as you want) other bloggers of your choice and let them know that they have been nominated.
  • Give your nominees 10 of your own questions to answer.
  • Include the logo of the award in a post or on your blog.

———-

Questions:

1. What are you trying to accomplish with your blog? Or put another way, what are you hoping others will get out of it, or that you will get out of it?

The original purpose of my blog was to improve my writing skills. I still think that is an important goal in my blog but I’m also trying to develop writing pieces – even just ideas or beginnings of — writing pieces to submit to literary magazines/contests and for a masters in Creative Writing in 2017. I also think a purpose of my blog is to share writing other people can read and enjoy and to be a community thing where people read my writing and I’m able to read there’s and we can share insights. We develope a lot from what we learn from other people and their ideas and that has certainly been the case with me. I have had many great mentors on WordPress.

How do you deal with the inevitable frustrations of blogging, like posting something you worked really hard on and getting little response? (It’s okay to admit if crying is involved; we’d understand.)

Honestly, it is difficult to predict why people like certain pieces and not others. I’m always surprised when a piece I spent five minutes on and because it was only an emotional outpouring, I receive a lot of likes and comments. I think you have to hook the reader, you also have to be willing to put yourself out there emotionally because people respond to that. Also, commenting on other blogs and reading other’s work opens up new doors and helps you to connect with other people who maybe interested in pieces other bloggers aren’t. It really just depends on the day too. Sometimes people don’t have time to read a long piece but a short piece only takes a few minutes to read.

What is one way that someone has been especially supportive about your blog and/or your writing more generally?

– My parents are pretty supportive of my writing in general and my wanting to get a MFA in Creative writing. I don’t know how much of my blog they read. My friends are good and often read a post every now and then. A great deal of support comes from the blogger community, especially when someone says they like my blog and my writing and are happy to have found it. Also, I have had great mentors as I’ve said in the blogging community – Joyroses, PJ, Clcouch, Jacqueline, to name a few.

What is one thing you wish you had known when you first started your blog?

I wish I knew how important it was to read and respond to other people’s blogs. I have actually been going at this for four-years and the more time I’m into it, the better response from others I receive. Two-days ago I had the most likes ever. Even though it is a long process somedays, I firmly believe that giving people positive support in their blogging and networking, using social media makes a huge difference. 

How do you find or make or schedule time to write for your blog? How well is that working for you?

Honestly, I probably spend too much time blogging between writing pieces and commenting but I’m on disability, I have time. I’m building myself as a writer and trying to get my name and work out there, so it is somewhat like a career a I do half-time. Writing is what I want to do with my life, so you have to put in the work and effort.

Everyone procrastinates at least once in a while. What’s a guilty pleasure that you indulge in when you’re supposed to be working?

Shopping sometimes. Or just watching movies or TV shows I like that I’m not caught up on. 

What do you like to do when you’re not working or writing? Do any of your hobbies, or your occupation, feed back into your writing?

I enjoy reading a lot. I can spend days just reading if I let myself. I go for walks. The weather has been nice so it’s been great getting down into the park by my home. I do yoga, go on Netflix, watch TV episodes I missed, adult colouring, and drawing in general. I love fashion/makeup so I spend time looking at Magazines, on Pinterest,, YouTube watching how to videos etc. Love watching hockey and going out with some friends. I often take courses too, not at the moment though. All this helps my blog. It is new experiences to write about and new ideas etc…

Which holiday or celebration (annual or otherwise) in the country where you live do you enjoy the most?

Christmas without a doubt. I love finding the perfect gift for everyone and I like our family traditions and the delicious food. I like being able to celebrate with friends too and seeing people I don’t always see often. I enjoy wine and friends this time of year especially.

Since I love food, I have to include it here: Tell us a story about one of your favorite foods, like a special time that you made it, or when you first had it, or just describe what you love about it.

My Dad, before he had to become Gluton free, he used to make the most delicious homemade apple pies. They were so scrumpious. Probably bad for you but oh well. At the time I could work out lots so it wasn’t an issue.

Tell us a story about someone who told you (or implied) that you couldn’t do something because you were a girl/woman, and how you responded.

i can’t think of one off hand. Except if you are a girl, their is a lot of pressure around my age to meet a guy and get married and have kids. It’s a societal thing. Because of my health issues I don’t know if I can handle kids. People don’t get that. And guys can be really dumb these days, they think because you chatted with them a bit or went for a coffee, now you should naturally sleep with them. 

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Nominations

Sonya at 100 Words or Less.

Marie at Doodles and Scribbles

SWritings

Wandering Soul

Jennifer Terry at The Things I Yell
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Questions:

Same as the ones asked to me above

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A New Season Of Life


 

http://www.galmeetsglam.com
 
As I look at my past few blogs throughout December, it seems as if it has been awhile since I have given a general update of my life and where it is headed. I think I have talked about it in pieces in various works but I haven’t sat down and told the entire story.

The house feels empty after having everyone home during the holidays. It bothered me on Monday but now I’m feeling more relaxed and fitting myself into a routein again each day. I have spent a great deal of time blogging and reading other blogger’s posts. I’m at the point where blogging is taking a lot of time. I’m not complaining I like to do it and it’s part of the whole blogging experience, but I know if I want to do some of the other things I need to I might have to cutback in certain days. I’m especially thinking for university courses.

My main goal right now is to do an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of BC starting in May 2017. This gives me almost a year to prepare a portfolio on two to three types of creative writing; write up a five-hundred word essay about why I want to take creative writing; as well as submit university marks and three letters/forms of recommendation. 

But I also feel I could use some more background in creative writing. I have taken a few courses here and there but most of what I have learned about creative writing has come through being self-taught or learning from other bloggers and writers. To fill the time until I can apply for my Masters I’m going to start work on a Certificate for Creative Writing online through the University of Toronto. 

It is only six courses and it has many options I can look at taking for creative writing courses and the online courses go throughout the year. So, I’m going to do one course in February and one course in March or April. They courses are ten sessions and go for two months each. The first course is an introduction to fiction. And I haven’t decided on the second course as of yet. But I’m excited to do writing courses. 

Not only because it keeps me busy and working towards a goal but also because it is difficult to get into the Masters Program at UBC. Since this Masters Degree is online and highly sought after, UBC only take twenty-five percent of their applicants. A certificate is some consolation if I can’t get into the Masters or if it takes me a couple of years to be accepted.

As for New Years Resolutions, I took a typical route and decided I needed to work on my health and fitness. So, New Years Eve I signed up for Weight Watchers online. It is reasonable at only $23.00 a month and it restricts your diet to a certain amount of points foods are worth. Fruits and vegetables are unlimited and worth no points. Weight Watchers is trying to encourage people to eat them this way. Also, you have a certain amount of fitness points each week and exercise does’t have to be hard or for long periods. I have done yoga for twenty minutes, gone on the elliptical all out for ten minutes, walked for 2o minutes at a brisk pace, and done seven minute intervals, and they are all great easy ways to get your fitness in.

 I felt after gaining weight again off a new medication and then not giving much thought to the way I ate over the holidays, weight watchers program promotes excellent habits to achieve. All through an application on my phone I track what I ate and how much exercise I’ve gotten. I track my weight and I’m also taking waist and hip measurements myself. The program is starting off well so I hope it continues that way. 

I was also inspired by Rosema from A Reading Writer to try POPSUGARS 2016 Reading Challenge. There are boxes for forty books to check off on this list.  And I invite anyone who wants to join me to simply print out the list below. I have tried to start doing the list but as Rosema tried to tell me, it requires a bit of research on your part. 

I do not want to commit to any book I have chosen so far except the book I am reading. I started with the easiest one #30. Read a book with a blue cover. My book I chose is called New Uses for Old Boyfriends by Beth Kendrick. I read on my IPad but it has been giving me real problems lately so until I can replace it (hopefully soon) I have been reading in paperback again. It feels weird actually having to flip pages and use a receipt as a book mark. I hope to do a semi-regular post or part of a post on my progress on this list. 

 

http://www.goodreads.com New Uses for Old Boyfriends (Black Dog #2) – Beth Kendrick
 
Here is the basics of New Uses for Old Boyfriends. Lila is twenty-nine or thirty -years old. She grew up in a life of privilege and married a wealthy guy named Carl. At the beginning of the book Lila is moving out from her house having been divorced by her cheating husband (Carl). She has everything stuffed in her vehicle and she is going back to her home town haven and doesn’t have much money or a job. She was fired from her job as a late night sales woman on the shopping channel and Hawks her engagement ring for money. 

When Lila returns to Black Dog Bay she finds her mother is not in a good state either. When her father died he left her mother in debt due to his construction business. Lila’s mom thinks Lila will fix everything and has ran up her credit cards. They have to sell the house her Dad built for her Mom. The family fortune is gone and Lila’s mother is in denial. Lila can barely take care of herself. 

Lila decides to open up a Vintage Clothing Boutique. She tries to find new uses for old dresses and attempts to reunite with her high school sweet heart, Ben Collier. But she also discovers it’s too late for some of her old dreams. “She’s lost everything she thought she needed but found something — someone — she desperatly wants. A boy she hardly noticed has grown up into a man she can’t forget,” and a second chance at love.

Yes, it’s a chick book I know. But I think you know from some other books I’ve posted about, I like a good romance book at times. So far, I like it and find Beth Kendrick to be a funny and engaging writer. Thanks to my BFF Tara for the book. I’ll let you know what I think of it in the end.  

http://www.pinterest.com
 
Also, I would like to continue exploring new forms of poetry with you each day from Shadow Poetry. It’s a self study thing. I am hoping to be able to write with different kinds of poetry more easily and to learn about forms of poetry I’ve never studied before in a poetry course in school or WordPress courses on poetry. 

Additionally, I have been finding some of the products I received in Luxebox and some additional beauty items I received over the holiday are quite good. There is also some products I received I don’t like. I have a post idea for guys about shaving and what you need to take care of your skin. I did a Clinique Men and Women’s skincare but I think I will search around for some cheaper more common products you can find in any drugstore for this post. Additional ideas for posts pop up at will in my mind. 

Enjoy your days. I hope it’s not cold and snowing where you live. 

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©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved.

Something Changing in the Air


There is something changing inside me, a gradual drift from what I was before. It is not a huge change but I do think my prayer to have more of the path before me revealed has been granted; or atleast a possibility has arisen. I have decided to apply for a Masters in Creative Writing at UBC starting July 2014. I am so excited by the fact that I maybe even would have applied for this coming July, but alas, applications closed at the end of November.
It is a difficult program to get into and I will only be attending classes online but their is an optional residency every July for 10 days. Because of my health I will only be able to complete 2 of the 6 credit classes a year, so the program will take me 6 years to complete. Maybe I will become healthier in that time and be able to take on 2 courses at once. In this program I can focus on one major area which I believe will be non fiction but I also will need to take courses in 2 other areas such as fiction, poetry, children’s writing, or drama writing. I am thinking fiction and children’s writing but maybe poetry. It will be difficult to get into and difficult to stay in this program as I must keep a B+ average. So I am praying and crossing my fingers that when I am able to apply this July I get in and that I have the tenacity to make it through the MFA program. It just feels right.

All this Interior Decorating I am taking is good because it’s portable knowledge that I can take with me. But since I have been writing articles for Flurt I have realized where my true talents lie, where I will be able to possibly make a career from, and where physically I will not be able to withstand a career ie. interior design. I still plan to finish Interior Decorating as I am in the 3rd last course of the program – Architectural Design. I am excited for it since it is a drawing course but I still want to be done the program! I have Lighting and CAD after this semester so will be done by the end of next December, at which time I am planning to take one or maybe 2 U of A writing courses in magazine writing and editing hopefully; a good lead into creative writing I think. Should a MFA in creative writing not work out, my second preference will be Comparative Literature at the U of Alberta. So maybe I will apply for both. But I will tell you, UBC and other Canadian universities I have inquired about have all replied back to me; the U of A has yet to.

So some real opportunities opening up for me despite other difficulties in life. For this year I will finish my 2 possible interior design courses and concentrate on my Herbal Magic Diet to lose another 14 lbs to my goal weight of 165. So far that is proving difficult – but I hope to be more disciplined in the next semester, since Christmas has passed and I can get out for walks more and do more yoga as spring appears. 12 lbs down already I can do more!

As for my New Years resolution to shop less, still getting packages I bought before January 1. And I bought cozy sheets and a Lululemon top. BAD AMANDA! So since, January 10th I have been good and will continue to not buy unnecessary items, clothes, shoes, jewelry, and decorative items for my room. I went crazy once I put that limit on myself… Should have gradually stopped the spending. But if I can go cold turkey for 2 weeks to start I think I can do it for longer, it is just starting out. As for the every year fitness goal, have done yoga 3 times this week so yeah!

Anyways, stay tuned for more Flurt articles and feel free to share with me your New Years resolutions and things you are hoping to achieve in life.