Merry Monday – Progress

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I’m steadily making small improvements on my living space. I have the urge to paint. Mostly, I want to paint over the mural I started in my living room, so I can have more wall space for art. That sounds funny probably as I’d be painting over art to hang other art. The problem is that in one spot I used oil paint. I’m not sure if I can just strip that section? It’s a small wall, so wouldn’t be too disruptive in my already messy living space. It’s slowly getting cleaner in here. One small corner at a time. I decided to break down the cleaning task into smaller pieces like shredding, clean shower/tub, dishes, stove, etc. This is helpful and less overwhelming.

I also want to paint my kitchen cupboards a light blue, but I need to finish fixing the drawers and use wood playdough on a piece that needs repair before I can even think about buying the paint. The kitchen is ultra tiny, so it needs to be a very light colour.

I started a course in trans-media. It’s intriguing. I’m looking forward to learning all about it and seeing what I can apply to projects someday. Basically, as soon as a story is told using more than one medium, it is trans-media. Once a movie gets made from a book or a series of books is written based on a video game. Things like that.

My thread has arrived for my sewing business. I need to start that this week, but there are more pressing things being the cleaning and the school things.

On the school front, I need to do the next stage of OSAP application. Hopefully that will be easier than I fear it to be. As it has me going to the post office, I can return my post office box keys. Also, I think the knowledge gained from the course I mentioned above will help me in school.

As far as martial arts goes, I have much more learning ahead and I’m excited about it. Oh, and I really gotta stop playing with weapons in the house. It’s never good to have glass raining down from the ceiling.

My script is plodding along. I am paying a lot more attention to movies and trying to infuse some artistic elements that I pick up on into my work. I do need to read more scripts though. I need to read more in general. I should dust off my Sony e-reader and put the PDFs on there as I don’t like reading on a computer monitor or phone, but I don’t want print them out either. Screenplays are interesting in that most are not exactly how the movie was produced. I meant to go to meet the Ottawa screenwriters but shyness, a lack of funds, and wonderful news made me stay home.

What wonderful news? My novel has made it to a second reading stage! What does this mean? More waiting. It’s the closest I’ve been to publication yet and without getting my hopes up too high, I’m excited about it!!!

Fitness wise, I have been forgetting to put my Fitbit on for the last couple of days. Oops. I’ve started a plank challenge to continue the work of fixing my posture. Right now, 40 seconds is so hard, I can’t see how I’ll possibly make it to 300 seconds someday, but I think I can always take extra time at the lower ranges if needed. If it takes me more than 30 days, so be it.

My love life is going well and that’s all I’m saying about it 😉

Right, better get on that OSAP thing. Schools like money for some strange reason. Something about teachers wanting a salary and a building that needs maintenance or something like that.

Salut,
R~

Frisky Friday – The Well

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There is a well that is first dug at birth. As we gain experience in the world around us, it is dug deeper. Those experiences fill the well and mix with each other to create our identity. Some people avoid experiencing things and have shallow wells as a result. In order to write content that connects with people, one must have a deep well from which to draw inspiration. One must do things and interact with other people as much as possible when they aren’t sitting in their chair hitting keys and forming words on a screen or mapping plots out on whiteboards.

Great erotica is no different. It’s not about knowing 200 different words for genitals. Nor is it about knowing every kama sutra position or all the ways to say wet.

As writers, we are often told to write what we know. You have stories in you that others can’t tell because we haven’t lived your life. You also experience sex differently than others do.

While you don’t need to have done everything you write about, you do need to experience things that bring about similar understanding. Maybe you haven’t been whipped, but you have enjoyed being spanked by a partner. You can reasonably understand that some people enjoy pain and thus get away with writing about something more intense than spanking if don’t get too detailed without interviewing people in the BDSM community who are really into it.

If you are a virgin who doesn’t masturbate, you’re going to get any sex wrong in your writing. You’re going to base it on some porno or something you saw on TV, what you read about online, and your own ideas of what it is actually like. It will read hollow on the page. If you don’t have much experience, you’ll base it on those things and what you’ve done with one partner who may be a terrible lover.

If you are asexual and can’t fathom how anyone could be so attracted to another person during dinner that they yearn to clear the table and jump the other person, then don’t write a scene like that. Write one from a perspective that you relate to and help other people understand what sex can be like from that perspective.

Be safe, but experience things.

Salut,
R~

Thoughtful Thursday – Inspiration

thoughtfulSomething writers get asked often is where we get our ideas from. It’s different for all of us. For me, I get inspired by nearly everything. I’ll watch a documentary and suddenly the synapses in my brain are coming up with snippets that could go in a story. I may not have the other pieces to make a full story yet, so I file it away.

Life is inspiring. Every event you attend can bring you ideas. If you stay holed up in your house and avoid meeting new people, you limit yourself.

Going on a trip, even within your own province, changes the scenery and suddenly you’re surrounded by different people. Maybe you’re all united by a common activity such as a martial art, but you’re all different in how you talk and socialize. You may be at a table with doctors, artists, security guards, counselors, engineers, IT workers, teachers, accountants, Buddhist priests, students, park rangers, interpreters, etc. And they may be from Canada, the US, the UK, France, Chile, Japan, etc.

Sometimes I’ll touch an object and get an idea that helps me flesh out a character.

With screen writing, I’m finding watching movies and anime to be helpful. Some shots are simply of a boat crossing sunlit waters for however long the director wanted it to be. But those images can add so much to the story. Movies and TV are a more visual medium than a novel. I’ll often check what others have done in order to pick up other ways of getting my messages across.

Allowing yourself to feel can inspire you to create works that emotionally connect with other people. Connecting with others is one of the main purposes of creating any kind of art. Another purpose is to say what others find too difficult to say.

Art mimics life. This means that while some people use a lot of ums and ahs while speaking, it doesn’t mean we should put an extreme amount of it in our dialogue. We want to take enough from life that our characters feel real, but not waste too many pages on meaningless drivel. I find this easier to accomplish in a screenplay because every word needs to have more impact.

Sometimes ideas come from reading about problems like pollution. Some of Miyazaki’s work is obviously commenting on environmental issues. But how do you become passionate enough to be inspired to take up a cause? Often it finds us. Having experienced a variety of health challenges, sometimes I put something in my stories to provoke thought on a subject like food allergies. I also have ideas pertaining to family secrets that I plan to explore eventually. These are stories that are so particular to me that it would be hard for someone else to write about them.

You can also use plot generators, character generators, etc.

In short, I feel inspiration finds you when you least expect it, much like your soul mate does. Simply writing this post has given me ideas for one of my stories. How it will take shape is anyone’s guess, but I think it’ll be a fun addition.

Salut,
R~

Warrior Wednesday – Guelph Spring Seminar 2017

The 2017 Sei Do Kai Spring Iaido and Jodo Seminar had a slightly different feel for me this year. I think this was because some of my friends weren’t there and also because I was challenging for ikkyu rank in jodo. Normally, I just do iaido and don’t have a grading to think about, so the whole weekend is just learning and fun. It was hectic trying to fit in both arts, but it I felt it important to do so.

After checking in, I spent some time fighting with the Wi-Fi, which was something new this year. The page was automatically scrolling me down to the portion for people who already had logins rather than letting me register. Then it was telling me I needed an app and it was a mess. I got it working, but missed a chance to play with a Nintendo Switch. The Wi-Fi was a pain in the butt as it kept cutting out and we had to login again when it did that. Not sure why they couldn’t just let it work the whole time.

I had everything I needed with me this year, so I had no need to go to the store for provisions. My suite was 3.2 and I wasn’t far from any of the party areas. There’s a strangely textured wall in the suites. I haven’t figured out its purpose. Maybe it’s just supposed to look artful. The beds, as usual, felt about as soft as these walls.

IMG_20170522_094216There was also a light-switch in the one bathroom that was the colour of poop. Sometimes I wonder who makes these design choices.

Friday was spent doing a mixture of socializing and helping out before heading off to the Shakespeare Arms. Their new gluten free menu is delicious. I found the curry to be the best I’ve had in a long time. Also, never has a Somersby hit the spot so well after running around and working up a thirst.

Day 1 officially began at 8:30 A.M., but we had to wake up and eat before then. We didn’t really start until about 10:00 A.M. as there were announcements and other formalities to attend to first like T-shirts. Lunch time had me running back to the dorms to make myself a grilled cheese, which was delicious. A dojo mate accompanied me. I ate much better this year. I grabbed my auction items, two anthologies, and placed them on the table. I mainly did jodo except for the free practice period where myself and a dojo mate snuck over to the iaido gym to get some sword swinging in. It was a short time, but my quads felt it the next day. We actually got to film each other to help us see where our problems are and I found that really useful. Our jodo sensei were Mansfield and Buxton from the UK and I thoroughly enjoyed their teachings. We also got to watch Mansfield Sensei take on an 8th Dan from Japan and he was dripping sweat by the end. We learned kata 11, which is one of the longest budo kata I’ve seen. There are many pieces to it and it was fun. The day went until around 6:00 PM, but some of us left early rather than doing another free practice session.

After showering, I cooked myself a hamburger and brought it and salad down to the auction where I ended up winning large sake cups and a hat. A friend also gifted me a beautiful coffee mug. I didn’t drink much because I had to grade the next day. There were some shenanigans at the auction that had everyone at my table laughing. Someone was encouraging one person to bid on everything. From across the room. We though the heckler may have been drunk after having basically moonshine in sake form, so someone nearby told him to sit on his hands to prevent himself from bidding on things he didn’t actually want. I had a taste of that booze and it was potent stuff.

Day 2 had us start at 9:00 A.M., which was marginally better. We trained hard all day and were paired up for grading, which began at 5:00 P.M. I took my lunch down to the Peterborough group’s room and ate with friends. They accused me of being a traitor for taking up jo, but it was all in good fun. Hopefully, I can visit them in the summer sometime.

Grading began around 5:00 P.M. The rules were told to us while we were lined up and waited to begin. I and my partner were in the first group and ended up right in front of the judges’ table. Talk about extra pressure! I was quickly able to forget about them and only focus on my partner, which was important as he was trying to hit me with wooden weapons. After switching sides, while my partner defending against my attacks, I realized I couldn’t remember if I had done the right thing at all, but I held it together because I was able to tell myself what was done was done. Of course, adjustments were made on the fly and some of the formalities were skipped, which left us fearful that we had failed to do things like not turn our backs to the judges. Then we were ushered to the back of the room, which was the furthest point from the door.

Originally, my dojo mate and I were planning on leaving shortly after our own gradings, but we didn’t have that option. As I sat there though, I realized that this was an extra special occasion and we were fortunate to be seeing the high level gradings. Our jodo sensei, iaido sensei, and several others we knew were challenging as well. Grading took us to around 8:00 P.M. and we went back to the dorms to change without bothering to shower. I baked my pizza and got my booze and games and headed down to the potluck where I learned that I had passed. I’m short, so that’s why it’s at a funny angle. I’m not 2 apples high, nor do I have hairy feet as some may have suggested, but it was good I didn’t have more to drink anyway.

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Celebrations were in order and I had much rum. As drinking didn’t begin until 9:00 P.M., it’s probably no wonder that I was up until around 3:00 A.M. I slept in some the following day, which meant I didn’t get a lot of iaido practice in, but I was okay with that. We left shortly after lunch.

On the way home from Guelph, we were graced with beautiful blue skies.

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The thing I loved most about the UK sensei was their focus on cooperating with our partners and having fun. The message was why do anything that isn’t fun. I felt like this is what the grading focus should often be on rather than a slew of corrections right before challenging a grading. This attitude helped me stay calm despite being in the pair right next to the judges table.

I picked up a few aha moments while practicing iaido and I’m looking forward to working on both arts at home and in the dojo.

I didn’t make it to the arboretum. Some year I hope to have the time and energy to check it out.

My thread came while I was gone, so I can get working on my other goals now. Since today was spent mainly on cleaning while the painters were painting my door, I haven’t gotten much done yet this week, but there are still two days left. I’m looking forward to getting back to my writing.

Salut,
R~

 

Merry Monday – Success!

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This May long weekend was spent in Guelph​, Ontario. Besides catching up with friends, a focal point was Jodo grading. It was the first time in 7 years that upper levels could grade within Canada and I feel fortunate that I was there for it.

I also passed my grading challenge and now hold an ikkyu rank. The martial arts I practice are weapons based and don’t follow a coloured belt system. Ikkyu is like brown belt, which seems high when looking at karate, but it is shodan (1st black) and above where the most learning happens.

Jodo is an art form that involves partnering up. One uses the sword and the other a jo.

Mistakes were made, but I didn’t get flustered by them. I just continued. Part way through, when seeing my partner do jo side, I realized I didn’t remember doing pieces. But it didn’t matter. It was what it was and I was in the moment completely focused on my partner, which is good because the judge’s table was awfully close by.

I’m thankful to Jarvie Sensei and my senpais Salhani, Green, and Wilson for helping me prepare. There were four of us challenging ranks and we were all successful!

I couldn’t have done it without a partner who was as equally vested in passing, so I’m thankful to him.

I’m also thankful to Taylor Sensei and all the members of Sei Do Kai for making this grading happen. They all worked very hard to organize the seminar and grading.

I’m thankful to the visiting Sensei for traveling halfway across the world. I truly enjoyed getting instruction from Mansfield Sensei and Buxton Sensei. Their teachings have helped me improve tremendously in a short time. Two key things I learned were to be soft at times and to believe I can do it no matter how big my opponent might be.

More to come on the seminar in the days ahead. Right now, I need food and to relax.

Salut,
R~

Frisky Friday – A Kiss

passionThink about the best kiss you’ve had.

Was it a first date? Second? Third? Fourth? Longer?

I find a kiss is better when you have to wait for it. Like great steak, wine, and cheese.

Sometimes all you need is a kiss to set you on fire.

The effects are far more than becoming turned on. If you have to drive right after, it can be hard to think. It can disorient you and lead you to take a longer drive home than you intended simply because you can’t remember which direction home is in.

It can change your worldview in that moment.

Think about this when writing about a kiss.

If you’re somewhere that celebrates Victoria Day, enjoy the first long weekend of summer.

I’m off to Guelph to see friends, train hard, play hard, and hopefully pass an exam. If I can manage to focus on martial arts or anything else after that kiss that is. Packing was much harder than it should have been yesterday…

Salut,
R~

Thoughtful Thursday – On Editing

L4BB3-67RLK3J_RoyRSometimes a contract falls through and it’s the best thing for all parties. Editors and authors can have vastly different visions of what a story should be and sometimes an artist needs to stay true to their vision.

This is a good time to officially say that going forward, I will be extremely choosy about writing short stories. They are very time consuming and I’d much rather be working on a screenplay or a novel or a novel adaptation as those are where my heart is.

Don’t worry. I’ll turn that little story into something. I think a different medium will truly let it shine.

Stay true to yourself and you will never go wrong.

Salut,
R~