NaNoWriMo 2017: Post-Scriptum

Lame word play, I know.

I did NaNoWriMo 2017. I ended up with 48 761 words in 30 days. That’s an average 1625 words per days! Even if I was 1200 words short, my novel is now 65 000 words long. I guesstimate that I will be able to finish the first tome with an additional 20 000. That’s nothing! NaNoWriMo put that in perspective, that’s for sure. If I’m not lazy, I’ll be able to put in the work in December.

 

usami-akihiko.png
Usami Akihiko, my anime counter part

Here are things I learned about my process of writing:

Motivation

I have to reward myself to keep my motivation. I’ve made a little calendar and a stickers system. A blue sticker for 20 minutes of writing, a green sticker for 500 words, a yellow sticker for 1667 and more. My partner would give me the stickers at night. We got both super excited and looked forward for this moment of the day!

I broke my no-Netflix rule, but for a great reason! I decided that whenever I did all my words (when I had my 3 stickers, hihihi)  I could watch TV. I really was grateful for this bent of the rule, because it helps me disconnected when my head was too full of my story. It helped me take a breath and even gave me new ideas! It definitely helped me to pace myself throughout the month. It kept me balanced.

I printed every chapter and binded it into a book. It was incredibly satisfying to see my book grow with every passing week. When I showed it to people, they would be impressed with me, but not half as much as how impressed I was with myself!

Tools

pomodoro
La tomate

I used the Pomodoro Technique to help me focus. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, it is a productivity method developed by Francisco Cirillo in the 80’s when he needed to focus on writing his University thesis. It is quite simple, you give yourself 25 minutes to work exclusively your project, at the end of which you have a 5 minutes break to do literally anything. Then you repeat the cycle 3 times to get a longer break of 15 minutes. I would usually have all of my words done with 4 pomodoros. I noticed that I could be totally focused for 15 minutes; every time I would look up the timer, there would be 10 minutes left. Knowing the remaining time helped me push my attention span limit. It certainly helped me be more disciplined in my approach to writing, and even working!

I used online journal Penzu to write my novel. It’s accessible everywhere and it’s very user friendly. It also allowed me access to my dream and moon journals, from which I drew many lessons that I incorporated in my story. I made one post per chapter and one post for each chapter plan, where I’d dump all of my ideas. It helped me to keep everything in order. Also it saves EVERY FEW SECONDS. I didn’t have to worry about that.

PLANING during writing really, really save my ass. In kept me going in creating situation, developing my world’s logistic and so forth. It also created an overview of each chapters. I now have an outline of what actually happened in the book, instead of what I had originally planed. I was inspired by the Snowflake Method from Randy Ingermanson. I wrote a sentence to say what the chapter was about. I wrote the where the character were at the begging and where they had to go by the end of the chapter…  then I would add how they would get there in bullet points. In between each important point, I’d write the consequences/results of every action… it was so easy to write because I was CLEAR on the story. I’m a total Planer.

Community

tumblr_inline_ms594kJi8t1s57e7q
I don’t have writer block. 😛

I need to have people to bounce off ideas and to talk through my blocks or difficulties situation in the story. I had 7 friends who took the plunge with me. We made a Messenger group and keep up with each other’s writing process, everyday! It was amazing, it motivated me to see that they would times from their busy lives to write stories they cherished. It’s in large part what got me going when I was in a slumb.

My partner really gave me a lot of support. I am so grateful that he was 100% on board and proud of me for writing. During November, I seldom did my housework or cooked meals, he didn’t make me feel bad for doing so. On the contrary, he’d help me and made my daily life easier! His participation was key in the sticker system and the TV regulation efforts. (Thank my Love of Love xxx)

Finally, I enjoyed sharing with the people from the Montreal NaNoWriMo on Facebook. It was great to speak to NaNo veterans or even n00bs like me. It was refreshing to see so many people bringing their story to life!

So in the end, I’m extremely grateful that I had such great resources at my finger tips. It was an amazing experience – maddening at times – but I will absolutely do it again. I’m looking forward to finishing my novel. I had a few set back after NaNo finished, mainly a bad case of the flu in the last week of November. And now that I am looking back on what I have written so far, I started to freak out about the plot holes. But I took the decision to let my future self worry about that. I’ll keep you posted on the EDITION process. ha ha ha… ha ha ha … ha… haaaaaaa.

I can already tell you that it is going to be an emotional roller coaster. I am strangely looking forward to it!

NaNoWriMo 2017 : We are the Braves!

Ah Ah! It’s that time of the year again!

Logo_of_National_Novel_Writing_Month

Do you know the National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short? If you always wanted to write a book, fiction or not, maybe you should. This challenge is based on the crazy assumption that one can write 50 000 words in the month of November – that’s 1667 words a day, every day, for 30 days.

I have participated in NaNoWriMo 5 times in the last 7 years. It is no small feat. I failed many times, miserably. But it got me going. It got me started on the truly humbling path of writing and exploring my inner stories, which are – I won’t lie – the things I value the most about myself. Synchronically, this year the writing marathon falls on the Moon of Value.

It also showed me that I have a serious lack of discipline. More often than not, when I get my ass to sit in front of my screen, I just write, write, write. I rarely suffer from the writer’s block (not to jinx it…) I have a lot of ideas and I just love to see worlds arise and characters being born at my finger tips. What I lack is actual will power, I mean, these worlds, characters and stories live inside me, I don’t reeeeeeeeeally need to put them on paper… right? I’m very good at convincing myself that they are only valuable to myself.

My boyfriend shared with me the technique that got him to discipline himself in his meditation and pranayama practices, an you can apply it to whatever you need to do. The trick is to do it everyday, no matter what, no matter how little. It doesn’t matter if you are kicking and crying, you have to make that beast called Inertia bend the knee. You can’t give in to the weakest part of yourself, aka, my ongoing life project.

So here is this year’s plan. My objective is to write everyday at least 20 minutes.  500 words is okay, 1667 word is fantastic. (I also decided to ask my BF to change my Netflix password for the month.)

I will keep on writing last year’s story. I have worked on it since summer, sporadically. So it is well advanced and I know where I am going with the outline. I have developed a really cool technique that works for me to write chapters:

  1. Find out what this chapter is about and the direction that it is going in, for the general story.
  2. First scene is presenting the “problem”, middle scene is working through the resistances, last scene is how you resolve the problem or a path towards the solution, or towards a bigger problem… lol.
  3. In each scene, I write what I want to happen by the end of it. I bullet point every action that should happen. Then, I bullet point every key sentences or elements.
  4. I write following the outline. But then the miracle of writing happens and I get the coolest ideas, details and side story appear out of thin air.
  5. I got a chapter and about a thousand millions of questions for the next one.

No bad uh? But then again, you do whatever you have to do in order to write, hypnotize yourself with music, drink wine, cry uncontrollably, stop going to work, reward yourself with poutine until you pop, but just write.

In our modern life, we have the choice. We take time for granted. We have so many ways to drive us away from our boredom and our meaninglessness that we see things like “writing a book” as hard. We should consider it a privilege, a way towards self-discovery, towards touching our REAL limitations and shredding down the one we THINK we have.

Just write the damn book!

nanowrimo.png

Captain’s Log: A Thief !

 

Funko Pop Loki statuette

A couple of weeks ago, Loki had become active in my dream life again. I hadn’t seen of him for almost one year, so yeah, this was a huge deal. He was as affectionate and loving, but something was clearly bothering him. He seemed busy and on the lookout, except being directly asked to put up a crazy picture of him, we didn’t have a clear conversation… But things got interesting real fast!

I’ve bought a statuette of Marvel Loki about 3 years ago and put it on my desk at the office. I have grown quite fond of it… But! Uh uhh!

Yesterday someone stole the statuette from my (closed-door) office! For them, it might be just a depiction of everyone’s favorite Marvel bad guy (there’s a movie coming up after all) but for ME, the energy I’ve put every day for 3 years, every day, was about my personal connection and experiences with Loki the Norse God. Every day, I’d look at him, kiss my finger and put it between the horns of his helmet, as a way to honor Loki’s presence in my life. Living with Loki in my heart I’ve learn quite a lot about the role of the Initiator. How important the moment of chaos and destruction is to the renewal of the great cycle of Life. Loki will always have a very dear place in my life.

Also noteworthy, in this year without direct contact, I have learned a thing or two about about detachment and faith, all thanks to my dreaming teachers and the community of dreamers. Before, something like this, having my statuette stolen from me, would have sent me in deep emotions, anger and sadness and made me curse the miscreant that dare steal my idol! But no, I wonder about the story, the lesson, behind this.

As we all know by now, Loki is the Norse God of Mischief and Chaos; so when he sees potential he strikes. I wonder what when through the head of the person who entered my office and told themselves : “Why not?” looking at an energy-charged depiction of the Trickster God.

I can’t help but to feel sorry for that person who decided to take on Loki! Did they needed to learn a lesson about chaos?  Their life will be no doubt thrown upside down. It kinda saddens me that they won’t be conscious of it, but I’m speaking from attachment. Maybe that’s what they need.

And what about me? What do I need to learn from this theft? Why does after 3 years at the same spot, 2 weeks after him dropping by, the statuette is stolen? Maybe I don’t need a statuette to remind me of the lessons of the Trickster God. It certainly seems so. There’s something bigger than me, bigger than Loki, that has its hand in this story, and I can’t wait to find out!

Loki says…

When Loki turns up 2 night in a row the first time in a year:

1st: He looks at the lights that looks like floating hearts in the distance and says :

“This is mere illusions. I have much better illusions to show you.”

 

2nd : “Put up a preposterous picture of me.” (I think this one well convey the mood he was in)…

large

(Sadly, I couldn’t find the artist credit :/) 

 

Captain’s log : Sacredness

What are you hunting for?

I’m hunting for EFFICENCY and STRENGHT. 

But you already have that. What are you hunting for?

I AM HUNTING FOR SACREDNESS. Efficiency and Strenght are tools I have to hunt for sacredness.  

-Conversation in Limbo

(Attention, rant below!)

enso

What is it you perceive when you hear the word “sacredness”?

I often use the term “walk in sacredness” (and assume that everyone understands what I mean). Sacredness is not something you can achieve. It is not the communication with the divin or any type of gnosis. It is much more elusive, less charged than anything the notion of “Sacredness” can evoke. It is quite simple, really.

One of my teacher once said: “Sacredness is when you slide your finger on your drum.”

… you had to be there.

Yes! Being there is one of the crucial component of sacredness, being present, not forcing yourself to be present. Maybe it starts in silence, or the realization of silence. No wait, that is wrong: The way you tap in sacredness can start by silence, as sacredness is always there.

There is always a sacred way to walk.  The Medicine Wheel (tool) and Indigenous Dreaming (experience) can show you the full array of possibilities. You have to be attuned to your own role and medicine.

From what I gathered, to walk in sacredness is to it is to follow the underlying principle of nature. (pfff only this).You can have all the knowledge in the world, friend, you can be wise as fuck or be attuned to yours and other people’s feelings. You can be so very creative and wellspoken. I doesn’t matter to sacredness.

For example, one woman was taught the sacred way of the medicine wheel but then decided it was not her path and moved away from it. She continued on living by what she liked from the teachings of the wheel and taught them to other people. 

This, doesn’t matter with how scrupulous respect she shared to others teachings she received, this is not teachings a Sacred Way: this is plain copy-pasting of knowledge for insatiable westerners who needs instant gratification, to feel admire and to control every perspectives of the teaching. You cannot teach or live in a sacred manner if you are not walking your talk.

I mean, did you think that you could learn shamanism in books or on your own, without ever being challenged or broken in your illusions and at the same time as living in crazy mundane westerner settings, ALWAYS walking on the sacred path of the ancestors?

Go headed and say your bits because it sounds good and gives you a sense of moral authority and value over your peers, you can go right ahead sell you junk labelled “sacred tools” at fairs for other westerners to enjoy, but goddamn it, stay away from teachings and leading fucking circles, LOL!

Wow, I didn’t know I was that pissed off! Did I acted in the role of the defending warrior or was my moon of value triggered? WE’LL NEVER KNOW. Anyway.

Someday I wish that someday I can be a teacher myself, but I see that I am ages away from it. Even after 4 years of working on knowing myself and my medicine as well as try understand the maps the ancestors have worked on for millenniums, I only can catch glimpses of sacredness, and live it momentarily. Whenever I follow pointers from the dreaming or of nature, I get all excited like a child holding a butterfly. Then it is already gone!

For all I know it might be just the nature of the relationship between incarnated beings and nature.

To be continued.

20160826_121732.jpg
Like a child, holding a butterfly!

 

The Medicine Wheel: Dreaming the clans

It’s been a while that I wanted to write about the Medicine Wheel. I have done a series of texts on my experiences and perspectives with the East, South, West and North anchors, a few years ago, so in the spirit of continuity, I will explore the clans! In the tradition I am learning, seven clans lay on the Medicine Wheel (Starting from the North-East):

  • The Father Clan (Angel)
  • The Mother Clan (Earth)
  • The Grand Mother Clan (Moon)
  • The Turtle Clan (Storyteller)
  • The Frog Clan (!! can’t remember)
  • The Thunder Being Clan
  • The Butterfly Clan

Clans speak of archetypes to which your soul resembles the most. Picture a Teepee, in which a fire is burning. Around the fire are seven figures, where do you stand?

bonfire

***

angelThe first is a tall androgynous creature with wings on his shoulder and a stoic face. He speak in a grave manner, poking at the fire with his stick. He seems to be talking directly at you, explaining, leading. He has been there before and knows what and how it should be done. He was with granted insights and given the terrible responsibilities of caring for the others, which is why you can call him Angel Clan.

fairiesRight next to him is a fairy like creature – in fact, you are not sure if they are more than one person there. Their hands are dirty or wet or dry or burnt from cradling the Earth and Water and Air and Fire alike. They are laughing or crying, you are not sure, but you know they are dancing in that glowing light in a shape of a mother with open arms. She has been blessed with a sensible soul and thin skin that let her hear the beat of the planet, which is why you call her Earth Clan.

oracleThe third figure bears a strange smile. Even though she keeps very still, every time you look to her, she has changed. It looks like she is conversing, sometimes with Spirit sometimes with herself. From her you hear faint laughter or words riddled with strangeness that echoes within one part of your soul. She is ever changing but always present, with one foot in the real and one in the mystery, which is why you call her the Moon Clan.

turtleislandNext to her is sitting a woman who vibrate very slowly. Her eyes are closed and she listen to the sounds of stories. Her skin is riddled with words, it looks like they are slowly flowing in her wrinkles like rivers in their bed. When she open her mouth she speaks like the ancestors, as if she observed them for a thousand years. She has received the gifts of observation, respect of traditions and a quick tongue, which is why you call her the Storyteller Clan.

frogTo her left is a strong and vibrant young man with a quick eye. His joyous demeanour hides the fact that every angles of the environment has been scrumptiously studied to give him an edge, an advantage over you. You see in his eye everything he had overcome to be sitting here and that even in his stillness he looks ready to jump out at any moment.

 

The-Gargoyle-in-the-Rain--102166Next to him is a tall and wide creature, his skin is dark, as if made of stone. He study the circle with a critical eye. His voice is deep like a distant rumbling and  a foggy mist creeps around the room. In the split second you gaze off him, he has already summon enough energy to burn you to a crisp. Then, you hear his laughter as clear as the gentle rain.

 

shm-5078a7300a677-mockwht_blkThe last creature to complete the circle hovers above ground and flickers on himself. He looks at the figures around the fire and mimics them. With every gaze he touches the deep thoughtfulness, the breath of exaltation, the mysterious, the anchored wisdom, the mindful walk and the rumbling propulsion… and when it is over his wings suddenly stop flapping. He shed away that part of him and see everyone – including himself – anew.

***

Being in one clan does not mean that you are not experiencing the full array of archetypes. It only means that one of them represents the “family of your soul”.  For instance, I believe that I am from the Grand Mother Clan, but it is only after 3, 5 years of intense pondering and soul searching that I came to this conclusion, lol! I thought that maybe I was a Butterfly or – god preserve- a Thunder being!

Truth is that I share much affinities with Thunder beings. At first I was appalled by them, but I understand it was my very own aptitude to snap under a second that I disliked about myself. I was judging the clan based on my own programming. I’ve made my peace with my tendency towards anger and now I can appreciate it as the wisdom of the Thunder being clan: PROPULSION. In general, being angry does not hurt or shame me anymore, it brings me closer to resolution. It is but one mystery of how my inner mechanisms work. I’m glad I have learned a lesson from the TBC, it helps me explore the many – many – fragments of my soul.

 

Interested in learning more about the Medicine Wheel?  Please visit http://www.idreamer.ca

Odin(??) says…

Sexuality is like chemical reactions; it depends on the elements that you mix together. It will most likely create a reaction. It can be a really small one or it can cause explosions… but sometimes when you are truly lucky, it will create Perfection.

JosephWright-Alchemist-Cropped
The Alchemist in Search of the Philosophers Stone- Joseph Wright of Derby (1771)

A Birthday Gift from the Dream

Yesterday night, I dreamed of a Bull attacking me at my workplace. This morning there was a weird event at work regarding my office.

Then, I came across of a karate master, Mas Oyama, Father of the Kyukoshin Karate style. (Karate : “Empty Hand”, Kyokushin: “The Search for the Ultimate Truth”).

He is coincidently known as the BULL KILLER, because he literally killed 3 bull, empty handedly. His goal when he threw a punch was to break the ribs, and if it was blocked, to break the arm.

oyama_bull
Masutatsu Oyama

Just wanted to put it out there. Happy Birthday to me.

Captain’s log: Music, the Original Dream Maker

I’m hypersensitive to music; I find myself engulfed deep in dream from the first few seconds of a song. I love listening to music. I like when music reflects what I’m living and how I feel. I also love not paying attention to music, for instance, when I’m translating, I need white noise to help me focus. Yes, I’m that type of person who listen to thunders and rain, sounds of the forest and Japanese Zen Garden soundtrack for 3 hours straight.

My dad was a huge Pink Floyd fan and had the whole collection of disks with a hardcover book that included the lyrics. I spent hours trying to understand the meaning of each songs… Then I realised that the songs were linked together, and that it was a story! Leave it to concept albums and Pink Floyd to make you dream!

favourite_pink_floyd_album
Iconic picture

At my parent’s house, there was always music on, from dusk till dawn! My parents mainly loved Québec Folk and French Songwriters, so I was immediately drawn to lyrics and the deep meaning being the text… To this day, lyrics more than anything determine my emotional connection to a song. Yes, for me, music is a matter of the heart. I have anchored many artists and/or songs in my life who serves as beacons when I need it the most. I love music for me became a dream language of its own!

I love all kind of music, but metal is probably the music that I enjoy the most, I think it’s because it assume itself a lot as a whole genre that can be really dark to downright comical. I always enjoyed dramatic performances! I also plan on write a post about how Marilyn Manson used the sorcerer energy to attain his level of awesomeness. (Not metal, I know, I know!)

I have a background in classical music, and it nearly destroyed my love for music altogether – from my conservatory years, I understand that I am not able to thrive while observing such strict rules and structures (I can… to a point). I had little confidence in myself, I became anxious and it rendered the music I played tasteless and insignificant… Results were expected and I could not deliver, according to my own sensitive appreciation of music and its spirit. That made me hate to play.

Thank the Gods, some people are able to master the rigorous techniques and handle the crazy long rehearsing hours, all the while letting their artistic sense shines through! An orchestra is like a circle that holds a dream. No one can be trapped in their ego (like I was) when playing with others. It is a 50-men job to do just one piece, you and your ego DO NOT matter in the least. All that matter is the piece and its delivery. You have to enter a sort of lucid trance, with one foot in the experience and one foot rooted in the techniques and skills you’ve honed. This is not even funny, this is a tour de force each time!

Annie joue
Doublebass teacher, without permission :S

I often think back my short time as a double-bassist student with much shame, but no regret… maybe except how I promptly quit without a word and how it may have disappointed my teacher at the time. She had somehow faith in me. But I felt I just wasn’t a really good musician. It took me a long time to perceive music like I used to, especially when I played. I had to start dreaming again to really be able to understand it again.

Art for me is the realisation of dreaming. I judged my talents in drawing and painting according to my inner version of what I really wanted to make and it’s why I struggle with production hehe.

Art, as dreaming, is difficult to manifest, it is a skill that you must hone all your life so it can resemble what you see inside, what you love, what is the most precious and valuable version of your vision, according to you. There is a clash, a discrepancy, between form and content that can be filled by spirit or sacredness to make it whole. (ALSO practice, practice, practice…)

johnny-cash-hurt
Ca$h!

An awesome blogger I subscribe to on WordPress posted about covers, and mentioned that the song “hurt” from John Cash had “something more” than the original version from NIN. I believe that this song by a dying man permitted him to express his journey. It is amazing how the same song convey a different emotion. Trent Reznor, 29 at that time, talked about regrets, of bad patterns, of losing yourself in depression. Cash’s version is talking about Death, about HIS death, that is why the last sentence conveys bitter-sweetness instead of TR’s glimmer of hope.

If I could start again, a million miles away, I would keep myself, I would find a way.

Cash made of this song a reflection on his life, regrets, joys, hardship, high and low points of his life. What he did was courageous, vulnerable and honest. It talks about a rite de passage that we will all face, and I believe that’s the “something more” he added to the song… He was able to fill the gap with what was inside of him and to transpose it in reality.

You know, I sure hope at the time of my Death I can look back on my life without edits, shame or mediocrity. (Ah!) I believe that even though I struggled and I did things that I am not proud of, I walked in sacredness, at least from time to time.

Some years ago, I selected the song that I thought was perfect for my funerals, but as I read it now, I see that it is more suited to describe my Life!

🙂

 

MUZZLE

I fear that I am ordinary, just like everyone
To lie here and die among the sorrows
Adrift among the days
For everything I ever said and everything I’ve ever done is gone and dead

As all things must surely have to end
And great loves will one day have to part
I know that I am meant for this world

My life has been extraordinary
Blessed and cursed and won
Time heals but I’m forever broken
By and by the way…
Have you ever heard the words I’m singing in these song?
It’s for the girl I’ve loved all along
Can a taste of love be so wrong?

As all things must surely have to end
And great loves will one day have to part
I know that I am meant for this world

And in my mind as I was floating
Far above the clouds
Some children laughed I’d fall for certain
For thinking that I’d last forever

But I knew exactly where I was
And I knew the meaning of it all
And I knew the distance to the sun
And I knew the echo that is love
And I knew the secrets in your spires
And I knew the emptiness of youth
And I knew the solitude of heart
And I knew the murmurs of the soul
And the world is drawn into your hands
And the world is etched upon your heart
And the world so hard to understand
Is world you can’t live without

And I knew the silence of the world.