Monday, September 2, 2013

By Way of the Portuguese

My writing has taken a turn in a different direction these last couple of months. I’ve stopped working on my novel… in mid- keyboard tap… to take up a project that was unexpected, but welcomed nonetheless. Thirty plus years ago the genealogy bug bit me in the backside, and I’ve taken up the responsibility from time to time to find my ancestors. One-half of my family eluded my efforts no matter how hard I tried to find them. I thought I would never experience success, especially after hunting for non-existent records pertaining to a people on one of the tiniest of the nine Azorean Islands.
Last June, the director of the LDS Family History Center in Oakland, California contacted me after I made an online change to one of my ancestors. He asked me if I was related to the specific individual. Of course I was, and he asked me if I would be interested in research he had compiled as a surprise for a celebrity in another state. You can guess at my answer. To say I was excited is an understatement.

Then my education began. The director taught me how to read enough Portuguese to peruse records the Azorean government has provided online. To my surprise, the Catholic priests took great care to record baptisms, births, and marriages for the Azoreans, and because the island of Flores is so small, I’m discovering I am related to a great many of the people who lived there. The records are taking me back to the 1600s.

My goal is to find the majority of records for about half of my ancestry by early next year and then write a book of enlightenment for my family. This is also helping me understand my heritage and will provide background information so I can finish my latest novel about an Azorean family’s adventure in the early 1900 California Central Valley.

How do you thank someone for gifting you such a magnificent blessing? I will never find a way to sufficiently repay this man for helping me discover who I am and the culture which I am a part of. Obrigado!


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Discipline In Writing

I marvel at the way inspiration ebbs and flows in the mind. Some days I can’t stop typing, and words spill over the brim of my thoughts like flood waters. Other times, my brain coagulates like a molasses pool, the words sticking to the sides no matter how hard I try to free them. I have no control on the fluctuation of the muse, except maybe in what I choose to eat or whether I manage sufficient sleep or not. What I do have control over is the consistent attempt to sit in the chair and write. Two words are better than none.

If I have to edit my work anyway, I might as well have something to edit, right? Having a bunch of garbage on the page is comforting because I don’t write perfect works the first time around anyway. I write and then I make it better.

My case here is that our thoughts may not be perfect, but our discipline can be. And the more we practice, the better we become.

So what if our attitude stinks? What if we give up even before we start? You have just as much choice to return to your desk as you do to leave it. The Internet is full of tools that can help us to turn the difficult days into constructive ones. Still, even research can be distracting and take us from the path of getting our words on paper. Write. It’s as simple as that.

I have to set goals of at least X amount of words every day before I shut down the computer.  I don’t have to set unrealistic goals either. My blood pressure rises whenever I read about someone writing 4000 words during a single session. I don’t work that way. I’m a slow writer, so if I choose to meet my goals at 100 words during an hour’s time, I’m okay with that. Do whatever is comfortable for you, but just do it. The practice of disciplining yourself will become habit and you may find at the end of the day you are closer to the finish line than you expected. It’s your choice, but the time to start your discipline is now. Enough said.

Friday, April 26, 2013

An All New Peggy

What a crazy six months! After blowing out a knee at work, I've learned how to walk smoothly again, survived a company acquisition, had several bouts of illness, and took a giant leap to be fitted with braces on my teeth. In many ways, I feel like I'm teetering on the edge of an all new me, yet at any moment I might plumment to the bottom and splatter in a zillion different directions.

I have continued to write, however, just left the blogging world behind for awhile. I'm already a quarter of the way through a new novel which is pouring out of me like rainwater from a water spout. It is such a good feeling to create on a daily basis, especially a story that is so close to my heart. I'm calling it The Soft Season, and I hope to finish the first draft by the end of the year.

In another realm, I haven't sent out the book I finished last year yet. I will, I promise. But I have some tweaking to do on in that world first before I allow others to partake.

I've also created and launched my new website. Please stop by for a visit and send me your feedback. I hope to soon provide author videos explaining the writing techniques my colleagues use and give insight to the genres they have chosen in their field.

Now that I'm back to Fragrance of Thought, I hope to present a different feel to this blog. Not only did I redesign the page, but I want to broaden the scope of my content also. I'll still write about the techniques of writing, but I want to occasionally veer off a tad, write about things of which I feel passionate.

See, I am presenting a new me; I still haven't gone over the edge. It's exciting and scary at the same time, but as the saying goes, it's all good.  I just hope the next six months aren't as eventful as the last. I'd really like to finish this year's novel and get on to the next.