Tuesday, September 30, 2014

IWSG: Keeping a Dream Journal

Today is IWSG day. Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for organizing this monthly event where writers share about their writerly insecurities and other things. This IWSG day is different from others because the posts IWSG folks are sharing today will be put into an eBook called THE IWSG GUIDE TO PUBLISHING AND BEYOND.

A few years ago, I started a dream journal. As much as I want to spotlight all the colorful and surrealistic experiences I've regularly recorded in this notebook, the truth is, I don't write in it very often. But it is there when I need it. I write in it uninhibitedly, and I don’t show it to anyone. (That said, I frequently share dreams with my husband in that just-woke-up mumbling and grumbling way that I speak in after the alarm goes off.)

Here are some benefits I’ve experienced from keeping a dream journal:

-Writing about a dream can help me recognize unresolved feelings I have about a subject.
-Reflecting on a dream can help me see where I'm growing. It can also help me see when it’s time to reach out to a confidante about something that has been troubling me.
-Sometimes stuff from dreams become idea seeds that I can nurture into stories or story elements.  
-Just by having this journal, I’ve gotten better at remembering dreams, even those that I don’t write down.
-Thinking back on a bad dream empowers me to realize something that bugged me was just my mind playing tricks, and that I can always change a bad dream into a good one. So the next time I'm stuck with lousy company in a stranded elevator with a psycho unicorn stabbing its horn through the doors, I’d know better what to do.
-Remembering a good dream is like reminiscing about a great meal.

Do you keep a dream journal? Would you like to share a recent dream you had, good or bad?

Cynthia is a reader and writer who blogs regularly at readisthenewblack.blogspot.com.

I give Insecure Writers Support Group permission to use this post, about writing, in THE IWSG GUIDE TO PUBLISHING AND BEYOND.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Underrated Treasures Blogfest

Today I’m participating in Underrated Treasures Blogfest, hosted by Alex Cavanaugh. From Alex’s page:

Everyone has a favorite movie or band that no one else has ever heard about. For whatever reason, they remain undiscovered and underrated. Now is your chance to tell the world about this obscure treasure! On Monday, September 22, post about your favorite unknown –MOVIE – BAND/ARTIST – TV SHOW – BOOK. Post about one or all four – dealer’s choice! 

My picks for this blogfest aren't "unknown," but they just didn't get as much attention as I felt they deserved. 

MOVIE: View from the Top: A View from the Top received many unflattering reviews. The film is about a small-town girl (played by Gwyneth Paltrow) who aspires to be a flight attendant. I LOVED the movie. As an aspiring kidlit author, I could relate to the longing to achieve something that might not be as monumental as curing disease or walking on the moon, but I believe what I have to contribute is relevant, nonetheless. Dreams, big or small, count.

BAND/ARTIST: Pet Shop Boys’ version of “Where the Streets Have No Name”: I LOVE both Pet Shop Boys and U2, and both bands are definitely widely known. I like the Pet Shop Boys’ electronica rendition of “Where the Streets Have No Name” a teeny tiny bit more, although it had less air play than U2’s version. Having heard PSB’s version of the song a gazillion times through the years, the six seconds between 3:26 and 3:32 still make my heart race.  

TV SHOW: Beyond Reality: Raise your hand if you’ve heard of The X Files. The Twilight Zone. How about Beyond Reality? Got it. This  gone-waaay-too-soon show was about a pair of parapsychologists (one played by Shari Belafonte) who dealt with paranormal and sci-fi themed cases. The show aired for less than two years, and unfortunately, I can’t find much about it online. I remember watching the show alone as a kid and being comforted by the notion that the unknown, as shown by the show, doesn’t have to be scary.

BOOK: THE GIRL IN THE BOX by Ouida Sebestyen: When I was a ‘tween/early teen, the book that most of my girl peers raved about for its dark and disturbing content was GO ASK ALICE. While GAA stroked my 'tween curiosity about "older girl books" and it was groundbreaking for helping to steer YA lit toward a new horizon, it was THE GIRL IN THE BOX by Ouida Sebestyen that really creeped me out. The story about a girl dealing with typical teenage angst being kidnapped by a stranger, then locked in a dark room with a typewriter is what I consider dark and disturbing.  

Do any of these "treasures" ring a bell to you?

Image from epguides.com

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Reacting to Upsetting News Stories

It's IWSG day. Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for organizing this monthly event where writers share about their writerly insecurities and other things...

In the last month, I’ve seen a variety of news stories about people, places, and things that have left me with sadness and frustration in the pit of my stomach. While there is a lot of beauty in this world, these stories remind me that ugliness, hate, and cruelty exist too.

Many times I have wanted to turn to my blog, to Twitter, and to Facebook and unload a rant. I would quietly draft what I want to say inside my head, but I don't end up following through with my intended public outcry. A few things have held me back. One, I try not to turn to the Internet when I’m emotional. Two, sometimes I feel I won't have anything original to add to a dialogue when I’m already thinking what many others are expressing on their social media. And three, my words can’t turn the clock back and prevent the terrible or horrific incident that occurred.

Maybe someday when I'm more comfortable with social media, I could be more expressive online when I come across upsetting news stories. At the same time, there is no requirement that one must reveal all their private thoughts or react to current events on their Twitter.  (But if that were the case, this could be the plot for a dystopian story.) 

We can exercise and grow awareness of issues offline too.  

How do you handle upsetting news stories?