I am kaitco

a writer's log

So…I preached a sermon Monday, May 9, 2022

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 4:09 pm
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It wasn’t intentional, but I ended up preaching a sermon.

A couple months ago, one of the newer ministers at my church asked if I would “speak” at the Women’s Day program being held. It must have been a rather strong sermon that had me feeling very holy or something because for some odd reason I answered instantly and answered in the affirmative. The minister told that she’d give me some things that I could use when I spoke and this gave me some comfort. It wasn’t going to be a sermon. Just me, leading the event as a “speaker”.

Well, this past Saturday, I spoke. I’d procrastinated until the last possible moment in hopes that the notes the minister had for me were all I really needed and that I’d be able to simply read her notes verbatim and all would be well. But, upon reading the notes the night prior, I found that I didn’t have as much to go on as I’d hoped. When I’d leafed through them sporadically over the past few weeks, it seemed like I had what I needed, but when crunch time hit, I had no idea how I was going to deliver any sort of message based on what I had.

I called the minister trying to hide my panic as much as possible and expressed some concern interweaved with my questions. Are these all the notes? Am I Mistress of Ceremonies, or am I just give a brief talk? How long am I supposed to speak? Thirty whole minutes?? I tried to stretch out the notes with all the Christianity I could muster, but I simply didn’t have it. So, I did what I often do in times of trouble and I called my mother.

I opened the door for her to begin by lamenting that she was, indeed, correct in her past surmising that I would find myself the Friday prior to the event trying to pull something together, but as she spoke about different things I could do, I started to write. I wrote. I wrote and when I hit a block, I’d Google a bit of scripture, copy some lines from some other preacher’s texts, and then I wrote some more. Some time after I’d hung up with my mother, I had something that would at least last me about 15 minutes or so and sounded like something that would come from me.

Saturday morning found me shaken and nervous. I hadn’t done my best, but I figured if all else failed, perhaps I’d bomb so hard that I wouldn’t be asked to speak at any other engagements. The ladies enjoyed a nice breakfast (I only pecked because there was meat in everything, but that was expected), and for a moment, I even hoped that the minister would sense my unprepared nervousness and forgo calling “the speaker” for the event. Alas, she took the podium and invited me to come forward.

I stood in front of a small gathering of the women of my church, including some family, one of our pastors, and actual ministers, and I gave up a quick prayer…and then I was saying the last few words I’d prepared. I suppose I can say the Spirit took over and just led the message through me, but all I know for certain is that it seemed to go well. There were hugs abound and even a few tears as I made my way back to my seat and, throughout the rest of the event, so many others came up to me saying that they were so proud of how far I’ve come over the years. Then the were a few comments about “Minister Dorienne” which, had I felt like I’d done my absolute best, or that I’d been in any way called, I might have welcomed. Instead, I felt…I’m not even sure how to articulate it; confusion, trepidation, full-on imposter syndrome? The list goes on.

I think what’s presenting as concern is that I don’t see myself as a preacher. I’m not sure that I want to go into the ministry. Yes, I regularly attend church and bible study, and I sing in the choir, and I tithe, but that’s just doing the basics to me. I attend the weekly Sunday School teacher’s meeting for my mother’s church because, honestly, I just can’t get to my own church on time for Sunday School. In fact, I hardly make it to Sunday morning service on time each week; it’s a running joke about how I’m always late! And, yes, I used a long-standing command of the written word to speak to the women of my church, but that was more me being a writer and knowing my “audience” than anything holy.

Days later questions bombard me to the point I find it hard to think of much else. Is this really what the Lord wants me to do? And, if it is, then why? I don’t think I’m a good example for anyone to follow. The fact that I’ve not ended a black American woman statistic has more to do with my current aversion to intimacy than anything holy in my character. I curse, often, mainly in just texts, but it happens a lot. I’ve never been married and I don’t have kids and I’m unsure that I’ll even reach a point in my life when I’ll even want those things. I regularly turn away from all the pinnacles of a preacher’s life. The last time I read the words that a woman should obey her husband, my first thought was that if I want to retain my independence, that means I shouldn’t get married.

Is it so hard to just want to write? Am I ignoring a call? Should I hold my breath and wait to get swallowed up by Jonah’s whale of a life experience if I reject this alleged call? And, then why me? Why should the person who has the least in common with those who preach be one who does? Who would even listen to me if I tried? I get most excited on Instagram when my favorite drag queens post; am I expected to give sermons to drag queens so that they know they can remain who they are and still know God loves them? I have nothing! Nothing but questions.

The more I let others listen to the recording, the more I hear the same words about gifts and callings, but all I really want to do is be a participant who writes. Is it so wrong to just be a participant? Do I have to answer for just living?

Sigh…

Motivation for other types of writing has dwindled to a slow trickle, despite managing to write at least 500 words daily since Easter (save a single day spent trying to survive self-provided food poisoning). Part of me wonders whether I’m facing some punishment for turning away from something I should embrace, while the more conservative part me of me recalls how often I’d attempted to lead Sunday School classes as a teacher years ago while having only read the lesson minutes prior to class starting.

Anyhoo… I’m likely causing myself a lot of worry over nothing. I think when people are called, they are called. They know it, they feel it, they embrace it. As for myself, I’m just trying to live. I just want to use writing as the catharsis it is and just try to live, which is more than I can say I’ve wanted over the years. So, with all of that out my head and onto the page, onward and upward.

 

Paper Demons Thursday, February 17, 2022

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 9:16 pm
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My family hasn’t got a lot of things to hand down to each generation; this is often the scenario with most black American families. I think I’m a bit more fortunate than most given that Nana literally built her house in Ghana to be a legacy for her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, but I do recognize that it’s just like a generation old and who knows what the future will bring. Instead my family excels at passing down generational curses. I hadn’t given much thought to these generational curses in the past, but about a week ago, my mother and I were discussing the fact that we often pass down things unintentionally.

Not everything we pass on is a generational curse, mind. Sometimes it’s a generational hobby or even vocation. Apparently, I come from a very long line of Sunday School teachers. I’d thought, back when I used to teach, that this was just something I’d been half-called, half-pushed into doing and the fact that my mother started to teach was just part of the process. This was completely untrue, however. Not sure how she managed to hide this fact for all my life so far and also my mother’s so far, but my grandmother used to teach Sunday School for years before my mother was born, and her father used to be the Sunday School teacher when Grandma and her siblings were all still at home. Great-grandfather, grandmother, mother, and then me. If I ever have a kid, almost feels like there would pressure on them to continue the family vocation.

Whether these things all fall into Nature or Nurture, the fact is that generation after generation, and whether or not we like it, we pass things onto the next part of the family. I have a distant cousin whose grandmother was that member of the family. A whole bunch of kids by different fathers, uneducated and always on welfare, and always filled with drama. That cousin’s mother became like her mother with a bunch of kids by different fathers, and uneducated, though she managed to relieve herself of the welfare before all her kids were grown. My cousin managed to escape some of this curse by at least waiting until she was out of high school before having her first kid and all three kids have the same father, piece of trash that he is. My hope is that the next generation might be spared some of these issues, but one can only do so much. The bright side in this generational curse is that each generation does seem to be trying to do better than the generation that proceeded it, which means that there is, indeed, a reason to hope.

Throughout most of my life, I’ve watched my mother plagued by far less nefarious, but still irritating generational curses that plagued my grandmother in her youth. In one example, Grandma never seemed to be able to find her keys when it was time to go when my mother was young and when I grew up, it was like a daily ritual of helping my mother find her keys. When I left for school, one of the very first things I did in my dorm room was establish a key hook on the wall so that I could break the curse. I rarely lose my keys all these years later because they are always on the hook. But, in my zeal to break and avoid one curse, I’ve slowly been toeing the line against another.

My mother’s always wrestled with what she calls “paper demons”. Somehow, the mail just piles up in the house and rather than just managing it one day at a time, one stack becomes two, which becomes ten, which becomes a full room of paper everywhere. It feels like for the first half of my life, if I wasn’t helping my mother find her keys, I was helping her sort through various letters and papers to just get organized. I’d always thought that being part of the digital generation, I’d skated by free of this curse, by the other day my mother mentioned that my grandmother suffers from her own set of paper demons and disorganization. Anytime they try to locate something for Grandma’s taxes, we have to wallow through numbers notepads at best and post-it notes at worst when it comes to finding relevant information that Grandma jotted down somewhere. The rest of the house can be well put together, but behind the closed door that Grandma never lets me go into or in some drawers in a desk Grandma insists I’ve “got no business looking in” the paper demons romp and multiply.

As my mother lamented over Grandma’s paper demons, I recognized that I’d started my own ugly collection on the kitchen table that I hardly use; a table hardly in use because it’s always covered in paper! At recognizing that my own paper demons were already upon me, I spent the rest of that day shredding and tossing every single thing in sight. I got through the large old Amazon box that had been holding my “shreddables” for the last two years, but then I recognized that I still had a basket that I kept by the door with even more odds and ends and more ever-growing paper demons. I’ll tackle the little monsters in the door basket within the next 48 hours, but the idea that these paper demons were a generational curse got me considering where else I stood steeped in clutter and chaos.

I’ve given myself every excuse in the world on why I’ve had to take a pause on Teyrrah. “I’ve got to practice writing to completion again.” “I’ve got a monkey on my back about vampires and that’s got to come out somewhere else.” “I can use these smaller projects to help me possibly build a base before I go into my multi-book fantasy series.” All these excuses, however, are only present to cover my chaos. Paper demons are simply the physical result of chaos, and shredding every piece of mail that comes to me doesn’t fix the chaos of my writing. I’ve spent so much time world-building that my notes for Teyrrah are no better than Grandma’s notes for the password to her Turbo Tax, or the notes on how to use her cellphone.

I’ve written thousands of words for Teyrrah and yet still have no coherent story to tell through them. I’ve tried moving the notes from one application to another to no avail. I’ve tried re-writing the notes from memory and from scratch, only to take a “break” and then have another set of chaotic notes to add to the pile. My digital paper demons, however, are a generational curse. This is something that will creep upon me with greater ferocity as the years go by and ignoring the chaos that causes all of it will just worsen the problem.

I think that instead of waiting until I’ve finished re-reading Potter, and writing Nostrum or PoL, or any of the other projects I’ve got rambling on the wayside, it’s time for me to sit down and get organized. This past Sunday, I spent about 10 hours just sorting through old mail and tossing and shredding everything in sight. If I’d remembered the basket by the door, I’d have forgone sleep to send all my paper demons to the shredder. In the same fashion, I need to attack the chaos in my Teyrrah notes and spend a full day, sorting, copying, re-categorizing all my character details and bits of storytelling and world building into something that I can use. Teyrrah is going to be a massive project, one that will require me to jump in whenever I have the creative juices flowing and I cannot continue to allow myself to be stymied by my digital paper demons.

Like all generational curses, it takes full effort and constant vigilance to avoid the curses of those who came before us. The paper demons, digital or not, grow in chaos. I cannot end the chaos that develops in my life entirely, but I am strong enough to wrangle with them and prevent them from being a stumbling block in the things that I wish to do.

Onward and upward!

 

One of the hardest things thus far… Monday, October 23, 2017

Filed under: Dorienne — kaitco @ 7:39 pm
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From blog.doriennesmith.com/:

My Pastor went home to glory last week. His homegoing service was today.

This has been one of the hardest life experiences I’ve had thus far in my life and it’s so easy to fall into a spiral thinking “there’s so much more darkness ahead as well.” but, I’m going to keep on keeping on.

I have to keep reminding myself that the reason all those around me seem to be doing so well with all of this is because they’ve already had to bury fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, grandparents, children. And, they all got to go through with their Pastor by their side. This is my first time dealing with death so close and I’ve no Pastor to talk me through this.

It’s just been so hard. The calls and texts of encouraging someone whose spiritual strength I’d often taken for granted. Overcoming my own anxieties to see him during hospital visits. Literally picking myself off the floor after collapsing at the news that he was being moved to hospice. Visiting him in hospice every day he was there and watching him slowly transition onto glory. Accepting the news that he was gone. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so hard or as much in the entirety of these 33 years I’ve walked this Earth. I’ve got my ramblings to say and these words may not make sense to many others, so perhaps this is just here for me.

Years and years ago, I was a very skeptical agnostic. I’d been baptized a Christian as a child, but had never really belonged to a church home and with very sporadic church attendance throughout my teens, very little remained of my Christian experience and understanding. In a lost moment in college, I’d attempted to find a renewed spirit within one of the churches my mother and I had visited some years earlier. I walked into that building a proverbial lost lamb, but I walked out of it no longer a Christian and certain that God, whatever form He took, was not to be found withing Christianity.

An extremely difficult period followed afterward, where I’d figuratively wandered lost within the world, but as providence would have it, God brought me to what would become my church home through the teachings of a very great man who would become my Pastor.

After so many years of absolute distrust in ministers and most Christians, my Pastor proved to be a man of the highest character. One of the things that I adored most about Pastor was that he put God first in everything that he did. Because his ministry was about Jesus and not about uplifiting himself, he wasn’t afraid to bring newer or even stronger preachers into his pulpit and he was never afraid to admit that sometimes he simply did not have all the answers. These weren’t overall concerns because he did not feel the need to put himself first, but God. He acknowledged that there was no way he would ever fully understand every single thing that the bible said, but to use a phrase he often did, “I may not know all the specifics about how electricity works, but I’m not going to sit in the dark until I do.”

He often quoted Matthew 6:3: “Seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God, and his righteousness.” and he had this deep, mighty voice that always stressed FIRST; that we were to put God first; that God was not running for any place in our lives but first; that anything that we put before God was idolatry. These teachings allowed Pastor to become the first preacher that I ever really trusted. Above all, I trusted that he would never purposefully tell me something to lead me astray or that would go against God.

Pastor focused on bible-based teachings and rarely did all the screaming and shouting “performance” that is so often found within black churches and we used to talk about that a lot. I told him often that I never liked all the “hootin’ and hollerin'” sermons because that was all show and had more to do about uplifting the preacher than the Word. I also told him that it was part of that latent skepticism that I struggled to lose. He agreed that the shouting was often part of the show, but that sometimes that’s what people needed to ignite their spirits. He also reminded that, in reference to my skepticism, that faith and doubt could not occupy the same heart, and I remind myself of this as often as possible as I continue on my journey.

We disagreed from time to time. He wanted me to be more involved in church auxillaries and often chastized me for quitting just about everything from the choir, to the usher board, to a helping auxillary, to teaching Sunday school…I’m sure there are many other things I’ve even forgotten that I’ve quit. And, he was very right; I quit a lot of activities, arguably out of fatigue. Every once in a while, I had something to throw back at him, though. Once, he demanded that all his lady ushers had to wear skirts when they served, so I sat down and quit. Eventually, it got back to him that the reason I’d quit ushering was because the Word said that men and women were to be dressed differently to be readily identifiable as such, not that men wore pants and ladies were skirts. If I’d been trying to usher in a men’s suit, then by all means call out that behaviour, but if I wanted to serve wearing a finely cut women’s pants suit, where was the harm? Later, he agreed with me and removed this rule, but this was the type of man he was. He acknowledged if he was wrong and moved forward.

One of the things I cherish most, however, was that Pastor never hesitated to teach God’s Word. When I was teaching Sunday School, he gave me (what I later learned was a very expensive) Matthew Henry Commentary Study Bible with my name engraved on it. He’d given one to my mother as well. I think I’ve learned more about scripture and also myself from reading this commentary than anything else in life. I remember asking him how much the commentary cost because my church is sometimes just barely able to keep the lights on, but he refused to say, and refused to accept any payment. I’ve several other spiritual books Pastor has given to me in this same manner and I’ll treasure all of them always.

He didn’t just preach and give out books, though. He was a 21st century pastor. Over the years, I could always depend on texts from Pastor. Admittedly, of late, they were of the variety “Daughter…you are MIA” if I’d missed more than 2 consecutive Sundays. Mostly, though, I could text Pastor any of my questions about scripture and he always had answers for me:

Many Sundays, I would approach him after service and ask further questions about his sermon. Sometimes he would even roll his eyes and laugh when he saw me coming. He’d say, “I knew you’d be coming up here after I preached that!” He always encouraged us, though. He often said, “Don’t just take my word for it. Read the bible for yourself. When you get to glory, God isn’t going to hold you accountable for what Pastor said, but for what God said.”

What I take from this most is that I will miss him so very much. But…in the same way, all those years ago, when he waved me forward as I stepped out in the aisle to join the church, he said to me in that deep voice of his, “Come on, Daughter. I’ve been waiting for you.” I know that when I get to glory too, he’ll be there waiting with a smile again saying, “Come on, Daughter. I’ve been waiting for you.”

One of his last sermons:

 

Obligatory New Years Eve Post: 2015 Edition Thursday, December 31, 2015

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 7:24 pm
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Here we are, at the end of another year. As always, this is the time for deep reflection and promises to do better than the previous year. I have “resolutions”, for lack of a better word, and they haven’t changed all that much since high school, which is probably worth a post all on its own.

I sit here debating how I will spend my evening and usher in the new year. For the past nine years, I’ve attended Watch Night service at my church and usually had a good time. This year, however, I’m honestly just tired and all I really want to do is have some dinner, play video games, and then go to bed at a reasonable hour. The debate comes down to whether bringing in the new year in church is something that I really want to do or if it’s something I feel like I should do from the idea of “how I ring in the year is how I will live the year.” If it’s the latter, well, that’s superstition and nothing more. I suppose I’ll figure it out before 10 PM tonight.

Back to these resolutions…

While there are loads of things that I would like to do better in 2016, I’m going to focus on just one: Blog here more. My desire for writing has diminished in 2015 and every day it seems like it’s more and more difficult to get into my old grooves where I could not wait to have a free moment to write. Nowadays, writing any project feels like a chore; something that must be added to a daily to-do list and begrudgingly attended to while often times getting moved onto the next day and the next without getting completed. I can’t point to a specific moment when this occurred, but this is the current state of things.

I’ve tried to combat my diminishing drive in a myriad of ways, but this being the start of a new year, I might as well attempt to face this from a different method. This blog has long since been my main avenue of visiting my writing struggles and successes and, (as melodramatic as this is about to sound) since I sense I’m at the precipice of ending an activity that has encompassed my very being for the last twenty of my 30+ years on this rock, I suppose it’s fitting to use this blog as a final shield against what may be inevitable. TL;DR: I’m going to commit to blogging here weekly to get myself back into the swing of things.

There are always plenty of things to say and saving it for a monthly update clearly isn’t cutting it. I may fail at this goal, as I’ve failed at so many goals in the past, but at least with this one, I’ll be able to look back and see that I didn’t go down with a hearty fight.

Onward and upward in 2016!

 

A Flight (a novel) to Remember Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Filed under: Dorienne,Reading,Writing — kaitco @ 10:01 pm
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Eight years ago, at the age of 22, I sat at the same desk at which I’m currently writing and decided that the only way I was going to learn how I write novels was to sit down and just write one. I’d written two novels earlier, but as they were both completed before the age of 17 and neither were any good, I abandoned the idea of re-writing a previous project and perused my dozens of handwritten notes. I had notes about female football players and towns I’d called Mansfeld and even lengthy notes about what would eventually become Luka, but I sensed that none of these fit what I was trying to do. I needed something about which I was incredibly passionate and into which I could wholeheartedly throw myself without fear of upcoming boredom and, after a suitable amount of brainstorming, Flight, a novel was born.

I’ve written about Flight here a gazillion times because it was my first real effort in writing as an adult, but over the years I’ve simply looked back at it, fondly recalling what it was like to get new comments from Fanfiction.net about it, etc., and I’d shelved it as a long and so-so written story. Last weekend, however, I found myself honestly bored for the first time in…years, and I sought out something swamped with nostalgia. After cruising Netflix for ten minutes, I perked at the idea of re-watching the earlier seasons of Law and Order: SVU and three episodes in, I had an intense urge to revisit Flight.

I hadn’t actually sat down to really read more than a chapter or two of it in likely five years and, as I was already in an SVU mood, I figured I would laugh at my inability to tell a decent story and take a trip down memory lane. And, I was able to take that desired memorable trip…but I haven’t been able to put down my own old book!

There’s something that feels very narcissistic about reading one’s own writing as if reading the works of others, but I can’t help it. There are missing words every few pages, the prose tells the reader everything because I hadn’t learned “show versus tell” yet, the novel is over 450 thousand words, but I can’t help it! This book I wrote when I really had no idea what the deuce I was doing is compelling even to me, the writer, and I love it.

As I’ve been reading my own work, I’ve asked myself, why am I so engaged? It’s not written very well, it goes on too long in certain areas, and one of the plotlines falls completely flat, but I’m captivated. Is it because I’ve been so disappointed in reading the modern fiction of others lately? I wasn’t terribly impressed with The Lovely Bones and, if I’m honest with myself, I’ve likely turned to Flight because I just didn’t want to face reading The Night Circus anymore. It’s hard to say.

I enjoy this old work of mine on so many levels. Years ago, I put it into Kindle form, so I can actually read it like I would any other book, which just makes the process that much more fun. Aside from reading something that’s just generally enjoyable, I get to envision myself eight years younger as I was writing the very words on the page and that’s worth a post all on its own. For example, I was hardly six months into my current Christian Walk when I started the first notes for Flight and it shows. The use of “goddamn” in every other piece of dialogue is so prevalent that I can hardly believe that I wasn’t still an agnostic when I wrote it.

I’ve still got another third of the book left to go, but I’ll admit that I’ve not been this into a book since I read Gaskell’s North and South for the first time. I’m smitten with my own work, as shameful as it at first seemed, and when I shared this revelation, my mother advised that I shouldn’t feel shamed by liking my own writing. She posed that perhaps I write simply so that I’ll have something I want to read. I don’t generally like most modern fiction. Outside of greats like Crichton and King and then Harry Potter, the only books I’ve really loved in the last decade were written in the 19th century by British women…and to be honest, how far off is Potter from there? Before turning to Flight, I was re-reading Frances Hodgson Burnett’s Making of a Marchioness and loving every minute of it.

As I look to my current projects Anne and Jill, I can’t help but see them through different eyes after re-reading Flight. While I don’t wish to fully emulate what I’d created sans-Bachelor’s degree and eight more years of life experience, I do still wish I could recreate the same energy, the same excitement and fervor, in my current work that I had in Flight. Maybe this was what I needed to make peace with my writing endeavours?

As I did with Flight, I write for myself. I write just so that I will have something that I want to read.

 

The Case for NaNoWriMo Friday, October 31, 2014

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 10:24 am
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I’ve said in the past that I dislike the idea of NaNoWriMo for giving the false illusion that a novel can be written in thirty days. A deep dive into the project would show anyone who was really interested that the goal is not to have a complete work at month’s end, but to have a preliminary draft that could edited and re-written a dozen times into something remotely publishable. In the past, however, a lot of people haven’t looked at NaNoWriMo through that lens, or if they have, they have extremely myopic vision.

What has saturated the market for emerging authors is the plethora of people who take the 50K words they’ve written in November, spell and grammar check the project, re-read once or twice in December, and then start sending their work to agents in January. As one who has catalogued the years it takes to have something even worthwhile for rejection, every year NaNoWriMo distresses me.

I actually attempted NaNoWriMo a couple years ago and I never got past the first day; I simply can’t write like that. Despite my reservations, however, I’m going to try this in my own way.

I attended church this past Sunday after missing for a few weeks for various reasons, and my attendance kick-started a lot of inspiration. I’ve been putting real effort into my workouts, I’ve been accomplishing all the goals on my daily to-do lists, and I’ve been really writing. I haven’t been spitting out 100 words a day just to say that I’ve written something, but I’ve really put in the effort that Anne deserves.

So, I’m going to do some form of NaNoWriMo. While in its current form, Anne is far greater than 50K words, but as I go through my re-write process, I’m going to ensure I write at least 1700 words a day throughout November. Rather than retain my pessimistic outlook on the entire NaNoWriMo project, I’ll participate (sign up, check in, badges, the whole thing), and see where it takes me.

Also, in other news, I made the reddit front page last week. I probably waste more hours each week on reddit than I do sleeping, but still…the front page is the front page! 🙂

 

Before I begin my Arrested Development marathon… Monday, May 27, 2013

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 4:16 am
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My goal this month was to post about what I’d written every day, but obviously, that didn’t work well. I made some strides this week and a little the week previous, but I’ve still got another 20 chapters to review. That said, the month’s not over and I’m off of first-job for the next few days, so there’s still a chance that I could get damen12i done before the start of June.

Either way, I’m terribly stressed about the when, but just moving forward so that I don’t end up wondering “what if.”

I’ve been doing some research into the literary world again; I’m not sure why I do as all it does is discourage rather than encourage me. This time, it was all about how ebooks are making life difficult for new writers, blah, blah, blah. For the first time in ten years, I’m content with first-job and, while it’s not what I want to do for the rest of my life, if writing allowed me only to supplement my income rather than become my entire income, I think I could be happy with that…for the present time.

I think it’s also worth mentioning that yesterday marked the second week in a row that I’d attended church, a feat not accomplished since around February or so. It was good to be in the house of the Lord. Despite the nagging questions and uncertainty that plague me from time to time about life and religion, I know I belong in the church.

I’ll try to pick up my post-a-day efforts again in June. Hopefully, by then, I’ll have brand new topics to discuss!

 

The Remaining 2K Sunday, May 12, 2013

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 8:11 am
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Before I go onto my writing, I’m going to lament about church.

I work nights and despite quite literally asking God for every facet of this current first-job, I can’t help noticing that it gives me almost everything I want, except the ability to attend church at my leisure.

Because I’m too lazy to look up the exact day in my blog.doriennesmith.com blog, I just use Mother’s Day as a general anniversary to really becoming a Christian and today, more or less, would be seven years in the church. There’s a part of me that wholly desires to go, but there are bigger, more sonorous parts of me that can’t be bothered out of fatigue, general laziness, and a fear of over-emoting myself.

The entire way home from work this morning, I wondered what would I do. I want to go to church because I need to go to church, but I don’t want to sing in the choir today and, as selfish as it may sound, I can’t deal with all the pain that comes with this day. There are so many people, especially in church, who when they hurt, I hurt and with so many people and so many lost mothers, the pain is almost agonizing. Just thinking about it starts to bring tears to my eyes. It’s difficult enough at Christmas or any other holiday, but for some reason, Mother’s Day seems to hurt worst of all.

Maybe it’s because I miss my own mother who’s just a few states away. Maybe it’s because with two grandmothers and a my own mother and a godmother and my godmother’s mother all alive and well, I can’t help morosely preparing for the ultimate pain and sorrow that this day will eventually bring for me. I’m not sure how to describe this. I should be happy and sending cards and making calls to all my loved ones, but instead just thinking about the pain of those who can’t share in my happiness brings tears. All of this from a Hallmark holiday.

I think the bulk of my ultimate rationale for not really wanting to attend church today is that I hate crying in church. It’s a baptist church and people do it all the time, but I still never want to do it. Despite only now just drying my own eyes, I still feel that tears should only occur when someone has died or if a limb has been chopped off and if it must be done, it should be done in private. To put it as succinctly as possible as I can at this point, I hate crying in church and, on a day like today, I don’t trust myself to keep it together.

In other news, I got a good deal of work done today and my current word count is 122,008. I’m going to hold off with editing these final two chapters of the book for a couple reasons. The first is that they are the saddest things I’ve ever written and even though I’ve known how this was going to end from the time I conceived the first two principle characters, I still sob uncontrollably while I re-re-read this. Given the aforementioned tears I’ve already endured this morning, I know re-reading these chapters won’t be good for my health. The second is that I’ve long thought I shouldn’t work on a Sunday if I hadn’t gone to church and, as I live my life as if my second job will eventually become my first and only job, I just can’t purposefully skip church and then turn around and spend the day writing. God gave me these gifts and, if I can’t drag my behind in to go praise Him for who He is, I don’t get to use His most special gifts, either…

 

Quite literally, almost there Monday, May 6, 2013

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:53 pm
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No pun intended on the “literally” either…

So, I’d forgot to post yesterday. Meh, Sundays are hard on night shift-working church goers. I’m just happy I went after a two-week absence. I always feel better when I go to church, so I’m not sure why I sometimes let my desire to sleep overcome the need for church, but that’s for another post.

About a week or so ago, I’d sat down and tried to understand all the remaining parts I left to cut/rewrite and came up with just 3 “parts.” Over the weekend, however, I finished the last of these parts, but in re-reading the 4th and 3rd to the last chapters of the book, I saw that a mass re-write and some unfortunately painful cuts are in need. Not so much for word count as I’m down to around 123K, but just because I no longer see it as necessary. It’ll be painful to make these cuts, but as I’ve compromised on several others throughout this problem (e.g., Dana Barrington), this round of cuts and edits doesn’t feel quite as agonizing as others.

After, I’ve done these 4th and 3rd to the last chapters, I’ll finally be able to tackle the 2nd to the last and the last chapters, which because they make even me cry hard, I’ve left virtually untouched since they were in note form. These should be done in another day or two and once that’s done, I move onto the edit file I’ll call dameni (or perhaps I’ll skip to damenk) which will be my last read-through before I fix all the margins, read it again, turn it into a Kindle book and read again as a Kindle book, before I begin the quest of finding an agent.

It sounds like a lot of “3rd to the lasts” and the file before the last file before the last file, but this is, indeed, the process. It’s long and arduous and generally unpleasant when compared with the fun of using my imagination and crafting a plot, but if this is what I plan to do with my life, it’s got to be done. It’s a lot like first-job. No one wants to spend a year or talk on the phone talking to customers and no one wants to work 60-hour weeks as a manager to work a dozen projects, but these horrible tasks are necessary in order to the get the long-term perks.

I suppose I’m finally growing up to the point where instant gratification, no longer gratifies me and, hence, I’m able to remain patient throughout all of this.

 

30-Day 5K – Day Ten Sunday, June 10, 2012

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:44 pm
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Well, my plan from yesterday worked; Chapter 27 ended with 4647 words, a couple hundred below the limit, which means that I may have a new mechanism in place for getting through the rest of these chapters.

I rewrote and edited 7806 words today (the middle of reading Animal Farm again). This could have been more, but after pushing myself to church today and spending most of the afternoon trying to troubleshoot my “TV” laptop again (Seriously, though…), I only got started a little after 8:30pm today.

Chapter 28, at first glance, looks very promising in that this will be the first chapter where I’ll be happy to make edits. I knew it was far too long when writing it, but this chapter delves into some interesting politics from multiple sides, which allows me to play devil’s advocate with myself, while trying to prevent my own politics from coating the book too much. Not to mention, I know I’ll have a lot to cut, and at 190K words, I might just push myself into the 170s if I focus.

I’m beginning to see light at the end of this dark tunnel of editing and I may even be able to keep all plot points I’d wanted by the end, too.

 

30-Day 5K – Day Three Sunday, June 3, 2012

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 11:56 pm
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Coming to 4418 words (that made Damen slightly uncomfortable) out of 5000 is very much like tripping at the finish line of a mile race, but behold…I’ve tripped.

I’ve only tripped because I’d spent the better part of this day procrastinating like it was my job. I got to the point that I’d grown bored with playing Minecraft for 3 hours and I just stood in my kitchen for ten minutes trying to think of something else I could besides write.

Anyway, 4418 is still another 4418 that I’d not had yesterday, so even though I tripped in the race, I still succeeded.

With regard to successes, Thursday afternoon the thought came into my head that I wouldn’t go to church today. I tried to push away the thought since I’d been on my best attendance streak since I first got saved, but the idea of it nagged at me on Friday and again on Saturday and I found myself still in bed this morning at 10:30, preparing to tell God, “I’ll try for next week, I swear.”

I’m the last person to always think the devil has any real impact on my life, but I know these thoughts had to come from somewhere and, since I’m a rather ridiculous control freak, I leapt from the bed, even though “I” wanted to go back to sleep and said, “I’m in control here!” and then went on to church.

I’ve mentioned this struggle in the past, but it still tickles me when I overcome and that victory makes me smile more than anything else today.

 

A chapter a day, makes the book…yeah Sunday, April 15, 2012

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 11:01 pm
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I’m currently on Chapter 14 of 40 and I’m down about 44K words, which brings me to a current word count of 243K words. Still quite a behemoth, but it’s getting manageable. If I stay at a rate of about 40K words deleted per 12-13 chapters, I should be able to hit my ideal word count. The problem, however, is tackling that length.

I’ve fallen into this routine of measuring the word count first (10K for Chapter 14) and then reading through the chapter figure out where I was going with it. Sometimes, I’m lucky and I can even recall saying to myself, “I’ll have to cut this on the next draft.” as I was creating the original prose or dialogue, but sometimes this involves almost re-writing an entire chapter. Chapter 14, at first glance, looks like one of those luckier chapters since I know I’ve got loads I can just strikethrough and keep trucking, but it’s tying together the relevant pieces that will require a general re-write that is so infuriating.

Some days, it’s like I take two steps forward and three steps backwards.

I keep praying and asking God if any of this is at all relevant and at all a part of His plan. I don’t get the booming voice from above saying, “Yes, Dorienne. Stay the course.” so there’s that part of me that’s unsure whether some of this frustration is coming from some nagging voice telling me there’s something better I should be doing or if an “I quit” attitude is just so much easier than pushing and pushing.

I suppose the real frustration comes from knowing that I’m not quite sure what else I could do outside of write. When I look back on my childhood and adolescence, all I remember is storytelling. Verbal stories I would tell myself as a very young child and then putting those stories to paper as I reached the latter end of elementary school. From there, I started to write novels and even finished two of them before my eighteenth birthday. Writing is all I know. It’s who I am and to be so close to just touching my goal, only to sit and wonder what else I can do with my life if I fail is a little discouraging.

I haven’t any snippets of inspiration for myself today’s post. The sermon at church today was all about how frightening and hot hell is and while fear can motivate, it does little to inspire.

Maybe I just need to get some sleep…

 

Great year for 2012, Take Two! Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Filed under: Dorienne — kaitco @ 11:51 pm
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So, when speaking to my grandmother yesterday, we both noted that January was an incredibly long month for us. There just seemed to be so many things going on with the start of the year and Uncle Buddy’s passing that there was no way that this could only be the end of January.

Trying to put a positive spin on this, I’ve got a whole new month to get those goals I’d set for myself in motion. With a few prayers on the wind, I may even get the novel close to finished to next.

Speaking of prayers, I’ve decided to start teaching Sunday School again. Right now, I’m just getting back into just getting there on time for the lessons before I’ll start actually teaching, but I think the best way for me to get back into this is to have myself pushed right into the deep end, which is what my mother did last week when she volunteered my services to help. I’m thankful though, because without that shove off the diving board, I’d have never got around to planning to get to Sunday School on time again.

I got a little bit of writing in today, 399 words (You’re never like this) and I’m glad to get them. February is another month, so Cheers! to another chance to get it right.

 

Getting Deep Friday, September 9, 2011

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 11:59 pm
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The more I study the bible, the more complex and beautiful it becomes to me. I’ve got my favorite versus such as Matthew 9:20-22 (the woman with the issue of blood) and Luke 15:3-9 (the parable of the lost lamb) to name my favorites and the list grows with each day I spend studying.

As much as I love those verses, the more time I spend studying, the more I find myself getting confused by what I read.

I consider myself moderately well-read and after having to sit through an entire quarter of Elizabethan-era literature that was riddled with Spenser, I imagine that I can read and understand just about anything, but I still find those parts of the bible that just don’t make sense to me, even after I’ve read the commentary notes.

So tonight, I turned to my dear friend Google to seek some new notes that would expand upon what I was reading.

This got me thinking, however, about something I’d read online about someone being so offended that bible versions/translations existed that broke down the text to something as egregious as “Look, ya’ll. At first there was nothing and then God created heaven and then He turned around and made the earth.”

As the anglophile that I am, I too am disgusted by translations such as that, but as Christian, I’m not as opposed to it. The goal of the bible is to help spread the Word and having taught Sunday School for a while, I know only too well how difficult it is to get those who are not accustomed to Elizabethan English to understand what “‘Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them?'” means. I know this also because I had a lot of difficulty understanding that verse and was driven to a Google search to find some real understanding.

While I dislike deterring from the original, I think it’s important to remember that even the King James Version is not the original Greek in which the New Testament was written and so it’s improper to say that this translation is better or worse than that one. Since the purpose of the bible is to spread the Word and save souls, why not put it in the “language” of those who need it? I suppose it’s the same as translating the bible into any hundred languages because it’s far better to translate it than to try to teach someone old English and then try to preach Christianity to them. The second hill is hard enough without adding a pre-cursor to it.

I wrote 687 words tonight (when he stayed with his grandparents), even after a rather abysmal day at first-job, but my mind’s not even focused on word counts this evening.

In reading, writing and studying tonight, I was reminded of a device or phrase or whatever that I’d often use when I was 20 and still lost that convinced me that the bible was fallible and that so was Christianity. I’d heard somewhere, most likely on TV, that there was some discussion by some people somewhere about whether or not the various translations had messed up whether Jesus actually walked on water. The discussion was that it was possible that the original word was the Jesus had actually walked beside the water, not on it, and I heard this and ran with it.

When I’d have lost discussions about religion with my friends this was the first thing that usually spilled from my mouth and I proclaimed this in complete ignorance of what I was saying. I know now that this was complete ignorance because, after actually reading through the gospels for the first time, I saw that any idiot person who’d read the text would have a hard time believing that the translation was supposed to be “beside” the water. If Christ had walked beside the water, then on what boat did Peter leave to come out and stand on the water with Christ and then start to sink when his faith started to fail? If Christ was walking beside the water, then those in the boat would not have thought that he was a ghost and this really would not have been worth mentioning in any gospel. And yet, since I’d not ever read any of the gospels at that point, I was happy to wallow in my ignorance.

It wasn’t so long ago that I’d conferred with my fellow agnostics about what was or wasn’t true about the bible and it’s fascinating to look back on the person I was then versus now. I lacked direction and purpose and today I at least feel as if I’ve got both.

 

Lessons Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 11:29 am
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I’m getting a raise at first-job; a pretty sizable one, but I knew this on Thursday and it hasn’t given me a lot of thought until now.

I got promoted at first-job in April, but even though I got the title and an overall increase in pay, everything totaled to be far less than what I was making prior to the promotion. I tried to negotiate, but worried that the offer might get rescinded and accepted based on the fact that I knew the pay was still liveable and that God would take care of me in the meanwhile. And, God has taken care of me. No bills have gone unpaid and I got to buy my car, which I love dearly as it is a symbol of patience, faith and love…and is also a very pretty, sparkling grey!

It wasn’t until I learned about this new raise today, however, that it occurred to me that everything occurs on His time for His greater purpose.

I went the entire month of July without going to church once and, when I did return at the beginning of this month, I started to tithe again as if I had been tithing the entire time; sort of starting over fresh. I knew I should have given God and His church what was really due, but I didn’t, citing poverty to myself at that time.

Last week, even before the pastor said a single word about tithing, I wrote my check and realized that I wouldn’t have enough money at the end of the month to cover what I wrote unless I moved around some things. It was in this moment that I made up my mind to be more mindful about how I spend money since, if I couldn’t find a way to carve out the 10% I used to give without fail a year earlier, then I clearly needed to re-evaluate some things.

As I discussed my raise with my mother today, it occurred to me that in just a few weeks, I’d learned a lesson about money and my spending habits, mainly that they had grown out of control months earlier and that I needed to ensure that I was living within my means…and now, once the lesson has been learned, I’m getting what I’d wanted back April.

I wrote 536 words today (so get over it and do your thing) and though I’m about to celebrate my 27th year on this Earth, I’m still surprised by my surprise about how God takes care of me.

 

 
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