Catpaws Cafe

Random musings from my virtual fountain pen

Archive for the tag “writing”

The angst of a first draft left to cure

I’m considering taking a look at Seeds of Soultraction and I’m scared. It is the sequel to Andino Andina and number two in Seeds to the wind and I absolutely loved writing it, cranking out thousands of words a day and enjoying every minute. My whole life I’ve detested mornings, yet during that time I had no problems getting up and eager to get sufficiently caffeinated to start my writing day. At the end of each day I was still so fired up I couldn’t sleep. I was happy and inspired doing what I love.
Until one evening…which was meant to be just a quick run to the supermarket for a couple of things we needed. Lights left on, food ready awaiting our return to have dinner. Only it didn’t work out that way.
It was 8 months until I could sit up in reasonable comfort, months of painkillers etc that left me mentally on par with vegetables, and over a year before I could put away the crutches. In addition I’ll probably need a splint for the rest of my life.

The manuscript is where I last saved it on the laptop and a thumb-drive and I’m terrified it won’t be as inspirited as I remember.
Or that I will be accused of cultural appropriation, when in my heart it is a love letter to a people that have fascinated me since my very first encounter, long before I was in double digits or had started school. All without being able to find the thread that connects us, in this world or the next.

So much has happened since 2015, I will have to go back and read up on other goings on come to light…because time has ticked away.
It saddens and worries me because it was meant to be the ‘mystical Seeds book of love’ and now there are all these other developments to take into consideration as well.That said, it is long overdue such despicable treatment and practices of indigenous people are being brought out in the open and dealt with, thanks to such dealings and conduct no longer being tolerated from a higher perspective. Maybe it will add depth as opposed to just making it darker?

Regardless, in the microcosm of things I still have my personal conundrum of going back and reading and rewriting/finishing the manuscript. Perhaps I could look at it as going from the first throws of falling in love with my story, the flush of infatuation, now to be followed by the entering of reality and seeing things as they really are when every day life kicks in. It could go either way… perhaps it has already past it’s best before date – or it will ripen and deepen into true love and something rather magical. I don’t know. I hope so.

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Red’ed, Rojito update

Red is doing very well, he’s got his appetite back (and then some!) but he is still very skinny. I guess putting some meat back on the bones needs to happen slowly rather than fat.IMG_20160420_171125

He’s such a writer’s cat: he sleeps when I work and only ever interrupts if I’m late with their dinner.

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Being greeted with his sweet little face (and Milou and Tabita) in the morning reminds me that every day together is a bonus, a gift of allowing us to love them.

Re-writing my life?

ann patchett
With the leg still in the cast this is more true than ever I suppose. Writing has become my life – because it’s one of the few things left in it, even with the challenge it is to find a position to write in. It’s a trade off – less pain, muddled head. Clear head: spine, head and neck hurts.

I very much look forward to getting a splint in a couple of weeks, and with that hopefully some more mobility. I know the cast was to immobilize me and that it has done well, but I still have stuff I need to do. I want my mobility back, and a life.  And I look forward to be able to feel the cats tails under my feet again so I don’t tread on them quite as often…IMG_20160203_093625

To catch you up, I was in a traffic accident 3 months ago. I have no insurance and is now faced with perhaps choosing how much mobility I will have for the rest of my life. Wasn’t planning any marathons, but I’d like to be able to walk easy etc. Do I have surgery and work to pay that cost back til I die and have no money to do the things I want to do, or do I live with a splint and hope for the best? And be grateful to still be here? Focus on what I can do instead of what I can’t? I should add I love long walks, rambling and hiking. And I don’t want to have to write that last bit in past tense.

It’s not as if there really is a choice, no bank will lend an unemployed unknown author that kind of money anyway, so the question is mostly hypothetical.

Strange as it may sound at 47 I finally had a body I was happy with. For a brief year I could look myself in the mirror and like what I saw. Now that’s gone by the wayside, at least for now.  To say that I’m not bothered and not grieving would be lying.

To get back to the topic of writing, like one of my inspirations – Daphne DuMaurier – I write from a longing to be someone other than myself and a need to explore other possibilities, the ones not available to me in this life thus far.
Terry Pratchett said he didn’t want to get a life because he already felt as if he was trying to lead three already. I on the other hand feel more like Katharine Johnson, (a close friend of Nikola Tesla) in that it feels like I’m still looking for my life, and that so far I’ve mostly lived someone else’s.

My books are set in locations I have dreamt of visiting or would like to re-visit. Places that intrigue and inspire my imagiNation. They are also a case of the story choosing the writer, a phenomenon I hear more and more author’s talk about. Right now I couldn’t even get around an airport without a wheel-chair.
I write to live. I can’t imagine not writing. If I was stranded on a desert island with no hope of ever publishing I’d still write.  It’s part and parcel of who I am.

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That said, I hope there will be readers who will love my books as much as I loved writing them. And that my writing will bring me a new life, new friends, travel and the purpose I have always craved.

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Introverted adventure to Malinalco

I recently went to Mexico’s quirky capital, D.F.– Distrito Federal – on business and decided to tag on some writing time and make it a two in one, just for me. Going on my own was not the original plan, it just happened that way.
I’d forgotten how enjoyable and liberating it can be travelling on your own; doing what I want when I want, no one to take into consideration, no wondering if your companion is bored, or being bored myself with other peoples choices. No fears over missing out; I can relax in the evening with a book back at the hotel room, rather than feel irritated and overloaded in a bar; a compromise to a travelling companion who thinks we should go out; it’s what people do on holiday isn’t it… No packed days of stuff that you have to do or fit in, just a couple of ideas and see where I end up. A lot of cosy bookshops and cafés then…!

Random cafe in Mexico City

Random cafe in Mexico City

I’ve been asked a lot how I found out about Malinalco, or Mali as the locals called their picturesque little mountain town. Happenstance is how. I was in a hurry so I ran into the bedroom, grabbed my Mexico travel book, threw it on the kitchen table in passing en route to the toilet… Out of curiosity looked I looked where it had opened when it landed, read it and thought that sounds good, why not head there? So I did and it was lovely. Truly beautiful.
During the week it was a tranquil, relaxed haven with Wednesday market being a film-makers dream. So much so it felt out of integrity to take photos of all the traditionally dressed up traders with their wares and handmade crafts, come from all the little villages and towns around for the day.
Roll around Friday and the week-enders arrive; hotels and guest-houses fill up, the amount of shops and restaurants triple and the town centre becomes party-central until the wee hours of the morning. Time your visit to suit your recharging needs.

2014-08-20_17-34-53_116Going away to write did not work out quite as I had imagined for a variety of reasons. I missed my husband and the cats yes, that was expected.

Part of me wanted too much to explore to be disciplined. Where we live there is little or nothing I haven’t already done countless times, so being in a new and beautiful setting with wild rambling walks and culture at my fingertips, I wanted it all; Inspiration, experiences, nature, exercise. Though I wouldn’t consider myself a nature person, I do like the absence of other humans and the company of trees and other pretty greenery. Add to that an Aztec temple, museums, and lots of craft shops.
To just lock myself in a room (which I chose specifically because it had a desk instead of a tv) or sit on the balcony, felt a bit like ignoring a buffet when you’re starving – dumb and counter-productive. It also made me feel too weird and judged, though I don’t expect anyone actually took any notice.2014-08-22_10-29-55_164

There was also the old pressure stalking me, ready to pounce… Others may hunt down all the sights for great shots to show friends back home, and to sustain themselves whilst saving up for their next adventure. I’ve realized I travel in search of spiritual connections, in the hope of encountering soul family. I look, I search, even though I know the futility of it all. I can’t help myself. My fear is what if “they” are here and I miss them because I didn’t “make the effort” and “push myself”.
That fear drives me on. I wander aimlessly, perusing, observing, smiling, trying to relax, be approachable. While part of me wants to scream at my soul creator come on, darn it! Something, someone. Make my effort worthwhile! Someone approach me for a change, strike up a conversation. We don’t have to become bff, just ten minutes of meaningful conversation, a connection, a spark of light and glimmer of hope at the end of a solitary tunnel, that the loneliness (not to be confused with solitude) won’t last forever. That it’s not the life sentence I’m beginning to fear.

For someone as introverted and highly sensitive as myself it is a truly horrible pressure to force yourself to “go out and meet and talk to people” because I think I should, but I have yet to find another way to make friends. Noone’s ever come knocking on my door saying “I heard you were in town, I’ve been expecting you. Want to go for a coffee?” and turned into a fast friend.
Just because I’m introverted does not mean I don’t want friends. It just means I’m not interested in what I call extrovert-fun; the bars, clubs, noisy shopping malls and crowded parties. It could mean walks, coffees, lunches, small groups or one on one.

View from the Aztec Temple

View from the Aztec Temple

Lastly it was the am I getting x pesos worth out of this day, x being the cost of the basic hotel-room and food etc. It goes something like this; if I’d been filling notepad after notepad with pages and pages of inspired prose of the kind that barely needs editing, then yes. Heck yes. As it were, I got some good character studies that no doubt will come in handy later when fleshing out the population in my current novel with personality traits and quirks that make them fascinating characters. But nothing near what I had hoped for.

When I started writing Andino Andina the writing flowed. It was a magnificent stream of inspiration and consciousness a writer – any writer – dreams of. Writing at it’s most enjoyable. I wrote for hours, not even pausing to eat, until my hand was all cramped up after some seven hours that I had to continue with my other hand, which is considerably less easy on the eye.

Knowing I only had enough funds for a few days and not producing “enough” to justify the expense to myself, I booked my ticket back home.
I then asked myself what I needed most; more culture nourishment or more nature (both being in short supply where we live) and decided on another 24 hours in DF, rather than listening to another night of bad karaoke while trying to focus and squeeze coherent sentences out of my pen somehow.
It turned out to have been a wise choice. I spent hours in the hazy sunshine topping myself up with the delicious coffee and warm atmosphere at the Mono Azul, watching the hang gliders high above, before catching a colectivo to the bus station in a neighboring town and bus back to the big city.

Coffee at Mono Azul before leaving Malinalco

Coffee at Mono Azul before leaving Malinalco

And that is where I met some truly lovely people; on the microbus, among them the flyers I’d been watching from below, making their way back up the mountain for another flight. It was wonderful to be really seen, in the moment. I have a honest interest in flying of any kind and if I go back I’ll definitely consider a tandem. They in turn showed a genuine interest in me and my writing. We didn’t swap email addresses or anything; it was not one of those meetings. But I came away with a smile on my face that lasted, even in the pouring rain, for the rest of the day.
Or maybe that was the sweet, wild strawberries I’d filled my thermos-flask with and shared with the hotel porter and the cleaner 😉

Until next time,
Catpaw

Meditating in Colour

It is summer in Mexico.  That means it’s ridiculously hot and humid most of the time.  I haven’t posted anything for a while and the reason for this is many-fold:-

My husband have started working days instead of nights, and although this was something we both have wanted to change for a long time, it still created a lot of upheaval.
My computer had a breakdown and took 6 weeks to get fixed.  But mainly, I prioritized finishing the book I’ve been writing for the last two years!  I received the cover for the book a few days ago and I’m thrilled with how it’s looking and I can’t wait to share it with you all!  The manuscript is now with the editors so I’ve had time for a break and time to paint.

Close-up of Exotic Blooms.

Close-up of Exotic Blooms.

For me painting is a lot like meditating; I get an idea and just let the inspiration and mood flow with it.
The only colour that is readily available where we live is grouche (and acrylics, which does not work so well for what I do), so that is what I use the most.  I save my water-colours as a special treat ;)
Cartulina is like a cross between cardboard and plasterboard, and is also available locally rather than involving an energetically draining daytrip to the nearest big city.  It’s great for it’s stiffness when I have to whisk it off the table and out of the way when the cat decides to check out how it’s progressing…
I like cartulina because it is very suitable to the kind of pointalism I enjoy playing with.  I like the way it bleeds just a little when it dries, giving it that mosaicy kind of look that I like.  With the bright daylight we have plenty of it makes the paintings remind me of stained glass windows.  I weave lots of stuff into the dots, and I love it when people see their own pictures within my pictures……

Sorry lovely readers, the sun is shining, I’ve got some more meditating to do!

Blue Yonder mkII“Blue Yonder, mk2”, copyright Liz Rosales CatpawsCafe.  Contact me if you want to use it, buy the original or a print.

A perfectly timed demonstration of boundaries

 

I’d been writing and debating boundaries with myself most of the afternoon, and at the same time had a lovely day with Miao Cat.

On cue she climbed over quietly from the other chair where she had been snoozing just as I was beginning to flag and despair, laid down in my lap and purred away for well over 10 minutes!

She then proceeded to move onto the table so that I couldn’t write – not that I wanted to right then, being quite blissy just spending cuddle time with her.

This is how you do it (set boundaries) she said, and her whole emanation totally changed. She was still an inch away but everything about her told me just to be still and do not touch!

About 10 minutes passed before she said –ok, you can touch me again.  So I did and she purred.

-But KitKit, extroverts don’t seem to get subtleties like that, they seem to think the world is all about them.

-That’s not your problem. Snooze.

And then we just stayed like that, until my leg got numb about half’n’hour later. Companionable silence, very intimate. Me observing everything about her, counting her whiskers, adoring the pretty paws…..

 

21 September, 2012.

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