Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Living Here and Now - Writing about the Past

Traveling, in time, in space, in your mind.

Lino-cut Tibetan Tiger Rug
Just before Chinese New Year I wrote a guest post for  writing-artist Rose Deniz's blog. Back in Turkey, after visiting her Midwest childhood home, Rose wrote about jet lag and living in present tense. Reading her post today I uncovered thoughts about my own sentiments in regards to living in the present while writing primarily about the past.

Some find an artist or writer's preoccupation with the past disconcerting. "You lose out on the present, if you think that much of what has been," they say.

There's no loss, only gain, I argue. Writing about things that may have happened in the past, making up details of my parents' romance, getting to know relatives I never knew; bringing to life grandmothers, aunts and uncles, cousins, their friends and even pets, using my own experience in the here and now, I'm constantly mixing my present tense life with what's remained behind, both in time and location.

That's the big picture.

In "Forgiveness" the novel, suitcases play an important role
Traveling to me always means my spirit either zips ahead of my physical being, part of me gone while I'm still saying goodbye to my present home and friends or lags behind. Returning from the old country, I need about three months to feel I'm really back. I cherish the mementos I carry back with me, newspapers and magazines in my native language, the books to be saved for last or later, so I can savor the flavor, aroma, and sounds of nostalgia.

What I like best about jet lag is being awake in the small hours, going to all-night diners, prolonging the feeling of being a traveler, on my way back or from a new or old place, my spirit dancing, free and unencumbered, testing me, treating me to that —in between time— where everyday routine is the element that's foreign, alien —not me.

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Monday, April 25, 2011

Stylish to the Tee

The other day debragirlwithpen asked on Twitter "what do feminist toddlers wear ?" I have to admit, I didn't click on the accompanying link (I might have lost myself in Deborah Siegel's blog The Pink & Blue Diaries, and I'm in ScriptFrenzy mode) but responded off the cuff with: black for both boys and girls. This may or may not account for the fact that I received the classy white on black Stylish Blogger Award. As a matter of fact, the award was issued earlier, but I missed the message since, yes, indeed, I've got my head in characters, scenes, dialogue, action etc.
Last week I was tickled pink for having been called a Homo Universalis and Versatile, or at least I was, in regards to my blog.
Today I'm touched by the magic wand that makes me belong to a crew of bloggers that operates on yet another level.
These days I'm running with a stylish pack.
For someone who sits alone most every day in her writer's den in her homebody's garb, someone who has had to decide whether Skype-ing —and be seen— is really such a good thing, this is big. To dress for work, or not is the question.
Yet, what I want to stress is that style my friends, is in our writing, our presentation of posts, our subjects and approach.
Style is not just about what can be seen ...
Style isn't about color, style isn't black & white, or pink & blue, style is what you make your own with distinction.

So it is with great pleasure that I accept the The Stylish Blogger Award from my Word Warrior friend TG Ayer and with equal pleasure that I pass it on to other writers who approach their place in the blogosphere with a certain flair and distinction. 
♡Look them up, take in what they share and pass it on!

Judy Shintani- Kitsune
Sezin Koehler - Zuzu's Petals
Jocelyn  Eikenburg - Speaking of China
E.Victoria Flynn - Penny Jars

As for black & white garb for babies, Deborah noted that would be very N.Y.

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Homo Universalis = Versatile Blogger

♡I'm tickled pink!
My global community rocks and the members of this worldwide web indisputably add to the quality of my life! Today, on a cold, damp April Sunday, Peter-Paul de Baar in the Netherlands and Kim Koning on the other side of the world in New Zealand managed to warm my heart and soul.

Peter-Paul, editor in chief of my fave Dutch publication Ons Amsterdam, said I am a Homo Universalis as he recommended my new Page on Facebook. I've been called a polymath by the brothers Youtz, so the feeling one gets being called names is not new, it keeps a person humble.

Kim, Word Warrior par excellence and mistress of the Dragon Fly Scrolls (check out and follow her blog!) surprised me with the Versatile Blogger Award. To receive this award at a time when I regularly wonder about the catch-all nature of this here Hope Filled Jars is most rewarding!

It used to be writers had to get their work published in Literary magazines. Seeing your name in print not just a thrill for you, but proof to the publisher that another editor had already deemed your work good enough to pass their scrutiny, meaning you'd passed the first firewall.

These days writers have to have author pages on platforms such as Facebook and GoodReads, they have to tweet and they have to be bloggers. I am and do all of the above. The material I post on Hope Filled Jars is as varied as the interests of a generalist.
To receive a blogging award and accolades for exactly those reasons, is a tremendous thrill! 
In order to receive The Versatile Blogger Award the recipient —that's me— has to agree to share 7 things that the reader —that's you— doesn't know yet.
 That's not that easy considering I've put my whole lifestory on my Website, but here goes:

1. All the toys I played with as a child were antiques.
2. Tights that are to short in the crotch make me have an instant bad temper tantrum.
3. Starting with Kindergarten I've not finished any school, I'm a true autodidact.
4. For a while I was a tasteless chef.
5. I have very sharp ears, but not pointed, deduction, I'm not an elf.
6. Queen Beatrix told me that my sets and costumes for "The Blacks" were most inventive. 
7. My favorite times to sleep: a few hours in the afternoon and a few between midnight and sunrise.

♡Thank you to Kim for surprising me with the award and ♡to P-P for accolades! I'm aglow!

Am passing on the ♥Love♥ to some of the Versatile Bloggers that I follow:

1. Julie Jeffs - Beginning Life at 50
3. Kathryn Brown - Crystal Jigsaw
4. Elizabeth Munroz - Moon Rose
5. Rose Deniz - Love Rose

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Writers Keep on Writing

New routine after waking up: 
Hold on to those brilliant early morning thoughts, jot them down, make tea, go to writer's den. Open a Word document and start working. Do NoT oPen EmAil oR bRowSe oN tHe iNterneT! 

In reply to my rant the other day, Anastasia Ashman posted a question. My answer: Per definition the road has been more important to me than the destination. And that's exactly why I need to focus on getting my book(s) finished. Been humming this homesick blues on my own long enough. Time to share my discoveries!

Talking about the things we do in life my friend Joost Elffers said a while back: "We build a house of cards ..."
"And then what, we build another, and another?" I asked, the image of a colorful, mind boggling building constructed out of all of Joost's published books and cards on my mind. He laughed out loud. "No," he said, "then we die."

There's a certain urgency that sets in when one turns 50.

Folks who have been putting off what they wanted to do until later, realize there's no time like the present. Those who've been enjoying their path and see no need to take another direction, such as yours truly, figure it's time to tidy up, focus on finishing what's been started a long time ago.

To you regular visitors, expect the illustration I am a Tree to appear again on this blog, but next time with blossoms, and the time after that the fruit should be ripe, ready to pick. 

You can bet your boots(*) on that one!

(*) Love listening to the London Homesick Blues by Gary P.Nunn, follow the link for a fun version with him and Jerry Jeff Walker. What's your fave music to listen to while at work?

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How are you writing — While trying to keep up with your social platforms?

Danger, danger, land sharks! I'm having a moment. That kind of moment where I know there's so much more in life that I enjoy doing than just keeping up with my Social Media platforms.  

Ouch! Some of my best friends live on the Internet, we've never met IRL. I love them. Ouch! There's so much of interest to link to, one can continue clicking on and on, without ever really feeling there's an end to that fascinating network. And there isn't.

I nearly typed S&M for Social Media, thinking of the times I pass through my studio on my way to the loo from my writer's den, seeing tools of the artist's trade —and actual projects that don't get any attention— beckon. Remember us? We used to have such fun!

The Social Media are jealous lovers, they'll let you sniff at something. Yes, you may glance in passing, yes you may temporarily lose yourself, but don't have the nerve to really get involved. Ai-ai-ai. 

Don't get me wrong, I love the interlinked platforms and the endless possibilities of engagements as much as every other creative entrepreneur, designing personal and fan Facebook pages, tweeting and blogging for business, for a cause or just plain to stay in touch.
But, no matter how efficient your process, your marketing plan, there's always the text that needs to be conceived of, written and published. If you're a writer, you spend your time creating content to market something you may never finish because you're so busy promoting your abstractions.

There's got to be a way to check whether what you're doing makes sense, whether you're not spinning your wheels and really losing precious time. Mari Smith has some ideas about that. Check out her post on measuring your Facebook engagement.

I'm going to publish this post and get back to my "Forgiveness" WIP lest it becomes the never ending novel, marketed and promoted but not existing IRL.

Do you experience moments when you've had it with all the Online business? How do you deal? Do you go off line, get out of town, visit a slow dial-up coffee house, or do you use/choose "Freedom!"?

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License