Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunday Salon: January 5, 2014

Well, here it is... the first Sunday Salon of the New Year.  This is always an exciting time - starting the year with a clean slate.  There are so many possibilities ahead and the regrets of the past have been silenced with the flip of the calendar.  While I have many life changes that await me this year, I am still committed to enjoying each day - live in the moment - and find contentment with what I have.

Today's Weather:  F-R-I-G-I-D!!  At 8:00am the newscaster stated that the temperature was 10 degrees, and that is the warmest of the next 48 hours!  Tomorrow the low is -11 temperature with windchill of -30!!  Fortunately, we did receive the first real snowfall of the year... approximately four inches of fluffy beauty, but the cold will keep us indoors, next to the fire, with a hot cup of Christmas in Paris tea.

What's on the menu:  leftovers.  The New Year's ham was postponed until yesterday, but rather than the traditional dinner with savory green beans and mashed potatoes, we simply had sandwiches while watching the Chiefs vs Colts game (ugh!!)  Geoff is out of town for the next two days, so I may make the green beans for myself and enjoy the comfort food during this cold snap.

Highlights of the week:  It was a low-key week.  We kept Brynn over New Year's so her parents could enjoy an adult celebration... and there is nothing quite so entertaining as watching a 2.5 year old view the Disney movie Frozen.  She adores the theme song, Let it Go, and sings it at the top of her lungs.  I am sure we listened to the soundtrack a minimum of 20 times over the course of 18 hours.  That definitely could be considered the highlight of this last week of Christmas vacation.

Teaching Overview:  I spent Thursday developing lesson plans for both classes, Brit Lit and English Comp, to take me from the present to the end of the year on May 13th.  It was bittersweet... knowing that when I retire I will have free time to pursue personal interests, and yet having to say good-bye to what has been a fulfilling career.

Currently Reading:  I picked up the book, Daily Rituals:  How Artists Work by Mason Currey at the library today.  It is essentially a brief summary of the daily routines of many popular artists, writers, filmmakers, composers, and other creative personalities.  It is a quick read, but interesting... and what I have discerned is that many of the authors tend to get up early (which I do).... have a morning routine (which I do).... focus on writing between 8:00 and 12:00 (which I plan to do)... take a daily walk (which I hope to do)... and then spend the rest of the day socializing, drinking, and/or taking drugs to help them sleep (which I have no plans of doing).

I found it quite interesting that most authors consider it a productive day if they write 1,000 words.  That seems doable to me.

On another note.... I have discovered that I read far more non-fiction than I do fiction... and while there is nothing wrong with that, I am constantly pondering the quote I heard a few weeks ago that says:  Non-fiction gives us facts but fiction gives us truth.  I want to be more balanced in my reading.  I want to continue the study of writing as a craft.. but I also want to read more in my chosen genre.  I think perhaps I will try to read one non-fiction book and then follow that with a fictional narrative.  Hopefully this will give me a more balanced reading life... and one that I can use to help me in my new writing career.

Writing Progress:  I met with my writing coach for a second time this week and have grown to appreciate her wisdom and support even more than before.  I love the accountability she provides and her action steps are quite practical and just a bit outside my comfort zone - the perfect combination.

This week I need to develop an "editorial calendar" (a new term to me, but I have researched it online and created one that I think will suit my personal needs) ... order business cards that confirm that I am indeed a writer ... complete my NaNo story (which I plan to do prior to the first day of class on Tuesday morning) ... and discover a theme for my memoir.  All of these are good action steps that I am certain will bring me closer to my goal of creating a writing routine once I retire.

Artist's Date:  Making strides here... that is a good thing!
I have joined a Facebook group that is going through the Artist's Way over the course of 12 months rather than 12 weeks; this seems doable to me and I am looking forward to the longer, more relaxed study.

To that end, someone on that loop posted a Kindle ebook that gives some ideas for Artist's Dates, and while nothing is a big "aha" moment... there are some good ideas that get the creative juices flowing.  I have some concrete ideas for future dates, and I am sure that I will be able to develop more as time goes on.

In the meantime, I have my first artist date scheduled for this coming Saturday, January 11th.  The Nelson-Atkins museum is sponsoring a Travel France Day to spotlight the current exhibition of Impressionist Art and Photographs.  A friend of mine and I plan to walk through the exhibit in the morning and then take part in a couple of the events in the afternoon.  It should be fun, cultural, educational, and inspire me to revise my NaNo project.

Craftiness:  And believe it or not... I am making very small baby steps in this area as well!

In November a good blogger friend and scrapbooking lover posted about her recent purchase of a Silhouette Portrait die cut machine.  I was intrigued, so I followed the link.  OH MY... what a glorious invention this is.

To make a long story short... the holiday special was two machines for the price of one plus $35 in free die cut downloads for each machine.  This was simply too good a deal to let slip by.

With the help of my eldest, I sold all my Cricut supplies online for $100 and then she and I split the cost of the two-machine deal.  And while I have not actually used mine ... I have downloaded several dies and have a long list of potential projects to create.  I am excited about future Artist Dates with this machine!

Photography:  And I have given this topic some serious thought as well.

I have decided that a 365 project is simply not for me.  There is too much pressure to take a picture a day and quite frankly, writing needs to take the priority in my life right now.

HOWEVER.... I am still devoted to this hobby and I have a desire to improve.  So I think a 52 Project is much more in keeping with my schedule, my priorities, and my goals.  I hope to take my camera out at least a couple of times a week... and then I will post one picture for the week - on Flickr and on the blog.  I am excited about this prospect and have already begun making a list of possible subjects to photograph each week.

What's on the Horizon:  The first week of school of my last semester of teaching.  That is the big deal.  On Monday there is an alumni chapel that I will try to attend, as I love reconnecting with these students and learning about their life after high school - and then on Tuesday we will begin second semester.  I calculated that I have 36 more days of teaching..... not sure how I feel about that.

I wish you all a great first full week of the new year....


  1. Isn't a new year fresh and glorious?

    My writing routine is much like the one you described, even to the 1000 word daily output. When revising, that doubles. And, instead of the final things you mentioned, I gift myself with scrapbooking for a couple of hours each day.

    Have a great week.

  2. I love that quote, and I think it's pretty much right on target. Thanks for sharing it! And I like your "52 Project" concept--I might jump on. I can't do the 365 thing either, but a weekly photo commitment might work. Have a good week, Molly!

  3. Love all of your goals and projects. What a great start to the year!

    Take care in this cold and snow. We just decided that we won't shovel out until Tuesday -- it's just too dangerous to be outdoors. And, we're enlisting some help from an able-bodied nephew for that day!

    Joy's Book Blog

  4. We're supposed to have a low of 9 on Monday night and a high of 27 on Tuesday and I am dreading it. I don't know how you stand weather as cold as you're having. Stay warm!

  5. I hope you are finding ways to stay warm, Molly. I feel for all of you in the colder climates, especially right now.

    We still haven't taken Mouse to see Frozen. I wanted to, but then something was always coming up, such as illness or travel or being busy . . . We will have to catch it on DVD most likely. I am glad your granddaughter liked it so much!

    I hope you have a wonderful 2014, Molly. It sounds like it will be one full of milestones for you.