So I have been researching, writing and typing and polishing a manuscript for almost 40 years. What is the hardest part? Is it researching, creating, typing or polishing a manuscript? For me it is the polishing of a manuscript. What do you think?
Perspective. How you see something from different angles, or aspects. In my novel, James is defending his opinion of the fledgling city of Pittsburg. “Pittsburg is truly a promising city, little girl,” he declared as he peered into Matty’s face. “Despite what some travelers say of it, too. Sure it has smoke and dirt but I call it character, not ugly. It reminds me of a young lady who’s just learning some manners.”
Opinion. What is ugly to some looks beautiful to others. It is all in how you see things. Just like the old conundrum is the glass half empty or half full?
Choices. James chooses to view the progress being made as the village of Pittsburg grows into the city of Pittsburgh (note- when the city of Pittsburg is chartered on March 18, 1816 an H is added to the name.) as beautiful. How do you view aspects of your life? I am choosing to view retirement as a whole new chapter of life and I think it’s beautiful!
Do you ever wrestle with what your role in life is supposed to be? James, a main character in my book “Seasons” (working title) wrestles with his role in life several times during the War of 1812 against England. A part of him feels he should volunteer to be a soldier especially when he hears the exploits and near death experiences of his friend Jake. Each time he voices his frustration with being on the sidelines, his family and friends and work associates all hasten to remind him that he is doing vital work right where he is. He is overseeing supplies sent to the army, breeding horses for the army, has a shipyard in Pittsburg that is building boats for the navy and he helps oversee the arsenal in Pittsburg that is manufacturing munitions used by the soldiers.
I think people always wrestle with their role in life, are they doing enough? Are they doing the right thing? But when is enough enough?
Recently I’ve been thinking about how I keep putting off my writing. I do all sorts of things instead of writing. All I need to do is retype and revise 14more pages in a manuscript, then review it all, adding anything more before sending it off to a publisher. yet, what do I do? anything but that. I have decided for me, it takes discipline to be creative. I need to set aside time to write, do my artwork, and just be creative. Recently I spent 4 days working on a 1200 piece jigsaw puzzle. I finished it, but it took me away from my writing. Sometimes I tell myself, I need to do these “other things” in order to be more creative, to let my thoughts gel before I write. Yeah, right. Can we say procrastinate???? I had enough discipline to write 325 page dissertation in one year (after a year of research. I even set deadline for myself and my director! I think I need to start doing that for this manuscript. 2019 is the year!
What do you think? Do YOU need to be disciplined in order to be creative?
What do you do to get ready for the new year? Do you “reddup” , cleaning out closets, rooms, basements and attics? As a child I remember watching my parents clean the house, “reddup” our toys and make room for people to visit for the New Year. It probably didn’t help that my twin sister and I shared our birthday on New Year’s Day, when we could expect more toys and presents from our relatives. I give everyone credit for being able to come up with presents so soon after Christmas. But that is a topic for another post.
But I am getting sidetracked here. What exactly do you do when you “reddup”? In some parts of Pennsylvania people use this word all the time. It means to clean up, tidy up something or some place. As a college student I used to use the time after the holidays (but before I went back to school) to “reddup” my heart, and mind; relaxing and reading and just thinking. I wonder how much we do that these days? I am looking forward to that time right after the holidays to “reddup” my heart and mind, now that I am retired. Usually as a teacher, it was jump right back into teaching and school work the day after New Years.
I think we all need time in our lives to “reddup” our hearts and our minds. It might help us be more thoughtful in our speech and actions if we take time to “reddup” or reboot ourselves. What do you think?
The wrapping paper is collected, the garbage taken out, the gifts left scattered under the tree. I look at the lights and tinsel glittering on the tree and sit back with a sigh. A great day, full of good things to do and eat, celebrating with family. Feelings of peace, contentment and completeness fill me. I am so blessed, yet I realize that so many others have less, both materialistically and spiritually.
As I reflect on the day, I remember anew Christmases past, full of love, and family some gone some still here and am thankful. There are some things I miss, but other things I have gained. Like seeing the wonder and joy on my grandchildren’s faces when they see you or open gifts. sometimes it is the littlest things that bring so much joy.
That’s important to me to remember- take joy in the little things in life. Live in the moment, with no regrets or sadness. And no bitterness either. As adults we carry so much baggage in our memories. I need to focus on the good and forget the sad or painful memories as the new year, 2019 beckons. What about you?
What is your favorite Holiday memory?
One of mine is as a child, when our family and any relative who had come to see us would pack up everything and we would grab a favorite new toy and put on coats and boots to walk up the street in the snow covered or slushy road, to my Aunt Cathy’s house for our Christmas luncheon. As we carried gifts along with toys, we felt privileged to be part of such a happy group, knowing that there would be more gifts, fun, surprises and food ahead for us. Once at my Aunt Cathy and Uncle Ray’s we would shed coats, hats, boots and put toys, presents aside until after we had eaten. There we would wait our turn at the “children’s table” overseen by our Uncle Ray, to go get food from the adult table and return to eat before exploring the train set or newest game Uncle Ray had purchased. Playing with the cousins, all close in age to each of us, minus my brother who as the youngest, was also the only boy until two second cousins joined the family a few years later, kept us happy, and occupied for several hours. As the day lengthened and shadows grew outside, we would gather up our gifts, toys, put on coats and hats and get ready for the walk home, knowing we would see other family later that evening and these relative later for New Years Eve.
My twin sister, Janyce Brawn, illustrated the “Christmas Walk” as we called it, years later. This is the picture as seen in a snow globe. Sorry for the sideways image. Check out her site too. https://www.facebook.com/janycebrawncreativitywins/
Ok, if you were reading an inspirational historical novel, would you expect or want it to be in first person or third person? I look forward to your comments.
This site is new, so please bear with me as we go on this adventure in writing!
Here are some of my publications. In the future I hope to create a fiction mystery series that focuses on a retired ESL teacher using my Geosemiotic analysis rubric to help solve mysteries her former ESL students have. This is still in the thinking stage though. I am currently revising an inspirational historical novel that has been in the works for many years, but put on the shelf as life, work, family and PhD studies took over. Now that I am retired I have the time!
Pierce, J.L. (2018) Cartoon Speaking Presentations. In TESOL New Ways of Teaching Speaking,2nd ed.Ed. J. Vorholt.
Pierce, J.L. (2018). Name It and Claim It Game. In TESOL New Ways of Teaching Speaking, 2nd ed. Ed. J. Vorholt.
Pierce, J.L. (2017). Teaching English language learners: Cultural implications, communications, connections, and curriculum. Pittsburgh, PA: self-published.
Pierce, J.L. (2015). Walking the Walk and Talking the Talk- Making lessons comprehensible to ELLs, Three Rivers TESOL Spring newsletter.
Pierce, J.L. (2012). Webcast video discussion of TESL-EJ vol. 16 article. October, 2012 at www.TESOLacadmic.org
Pierce, J.L. (2012). “Using Geosemiotic Analysis to Explore Power and Interaction in ESL Classrooms.” In TESL-EJ vol. 16.
Pierce, J. L. (2009) A Co-construction of space trilogy: Examining how ESL teachers, English language learners and classroom designs interact. UMI. 3362439. ProQuest LLC.
Pierce, J.L. (2008). Weaving meaning into ESOL curriculum using thematic matrices. Revitalizing a curriculum for school-age learners. Eds. K. Graves, D. Hayes & J. Sharkey. TESOL: New Alexandria, VA.
Pierce, J. L. (2008). People, place and space or the considerations of a conference coordinator. Composition & TESOL Students Spotlight. IUP C&T Program online community.
Pierce, J.L. (2007). Jugglers and jockeys: Identity and power in the ESL classroom. Working Papers in Composition & TESOL, Vol. 2, Issue 1 Indiana University of Pennsylvania.