Waking Up In Canada

Time Out Just To See

Another Year Over December 31, 2011

Filed under: New Year,Travel — wakingupincanada @ 4:28 pm
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And what have I not done? It has been a heck of a year.

As I look back, it is like an adventure unwinding. It began with meeting a new best friend in the early hours of January 1st. The month wasn’t over when I had the dream of running away, and I knew I was leaving Ireland for a while. I spent 2 wonderful months in Dunfanaghy, my hometown, under the refuge of my parents, enjoying it in a way I had never done before. I hung out with my 2 nieces and learned the importance of play to a happy life. I spent time with old friends. And, when I was ready, I booked my ticket and flew away.

I cried at the airport, was amazed by Casa Loma, walked the streets of Toronto and looked down at a baseball game from the CN Tower. I soaked myself in the spray of Niagara Falls, and took a long hike out to the Glens and got a little lost, finding the most beautiful view of the Whirlpool accidentally. I talked to strangers and made friends for a little while in children. I drank a peanut butter hot chocolate in Montreal and ran along the water’s edge. I was asked to go swimming by a man my father’s age in the middle of a park. I saw an outdoor adults’ gym of sorts, so easily done, I will bring the idea home with me. I wrote to my old colleague of the Bio-Dome and promised to work harder for my environment. I spent a day in the Museum of Civilisation, a day that was too short, and promise still that I will go back there. I ran below Parliament Buildings and looked out of the Peace Tower and fell in love with the Capital City.

I prayed in cathedrals and little churches and found my faith grew on a yoga mat. I wrote home to friends and family in texts, e-mails and letters and made new friends, slowly but surely but strong and sweet. I realised that my needs are much smaller and more easily met that I ever knew, and that there is something comforting about sufficient rather than substantial.  I fell down a hill on skis, and then learned to ski. I did headstands and handstands and ice-skated. I dressed as a Forest Nymph, the first time I took part in Halloween Dress Up since I was a child. I ran my fastest 5 miles.

I felt more deeply the love of family by taking time apart. I had wonderful chats with my nieces and nephew. I wrote and I read and I sat drinking coffee, watching the world go by. I walked on a frozen river and lay in Central Park under a hot sun.

My year is a photo album of memories. I’m not sure what my intention is for 2012, but on the 31st of December 2010 I would never have predicted being on the far side of the Atlantic Ocean. So perhaps in that lies the way ahead: I will say yes to the opportunities presented to me, and enjoy the blessings granted to me.

Slán agus Beannacht


I got nothing… December 29, 2011

Filed under: writing — wakingupincanada @ 9:17 pm
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I sit here tonight with nothing, no etch of creativity, no angle. I am between Christmas and New Year’s, my traditional time for hibernating, and really, barr the essentials that is all that I am doing. I read. And read and read. And eat. A lot.

One of the things I need to decide is, when 2011 ends and this Post A Day Challenge with it, what happens to this blog. Now, I know it isn’t good to talk about process, but this blog is my meandering musings about taking time away from my normal life, and this blog is part of the time away.

So, I sit here, 2 more days to go until the bells, and wonder, what becomes of Waking Up In Canada? I know it will continue. This page allows me to write, no, more, it encourages, motivates, inspires, challenges, freaks me into writing. I am grateful for it. I want to become a better writer though and, just like the Novel Writing Month, writing every day is more about seeing it through, about consistency, about routine. I now want to see how I can look at quality, and I think that may mean posting less, although writing more. I want time to draft and redraft, tweak and delete.

I am not sure. Again, I find more questions that I have answers for right now.


Ah, rest December 8, 2011

Filed under: rest — wakingupincanada @ 11:44 am
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How happy I am! I awoke and wandered to yoga, I moved through my positions loving each one and then those beautiful words: Savasana. She told us after activity, we need rest and I smiled, as that was my day in full: Rest.

I have had a busy week, a busy few weeks, darting here and there, writing, skiing, living. Today though, is just for me. No plans, nobody to meet, nothing that has to be done. It feels good. I made a list of the things I want to do today. I like lists, you see. All that is on there is the nice stuff. My favourite cafe, read a book my friend is co-writing, maybe e-mail some people. I’ll pop into the library and re-charge my Kindle.

I look at the people around me working 2 jobs, sometimes 3, and I wonder where they get the energy. I love my skiing and working and socialising and writing but here, in the rest afterwards, this is where I glow.



December 1, 2011

Filed under: NaNoWriMo,writing — wakingupincanada @ 8:15 am
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I suddenly have a lot of time on my hands. I have just had an extra hour in my warm, cosy bed, which may be the ultimate item of a life of luxury.

When you are struggling to fit something new into your life, try fitting in another bigger project for a few weeks. When the bigger project ends, suddenly the smaller project can have a lot more time devoted to it. I sit here writing thinking of how little writing I need to do today. Even the days that I didn’t write, at every free moment, I knew I could, and should, be writing.

Instead, today I am going back to the hills. My rental skis are outside in the door waiting for me, and I am determined to spend more time on my feet this time. I look forward to yoga tonight, having given up 2 sessions already this week to focus on writing. Tomorrow, I plan on hitting the treadmill hard, not to recover from skiing, but because I have missed running. In my head, the sign “resumed normal service” has been posted. I will read again. My books are sitting waiting, lonely and hurt at the neglect. My alarm clock will go off an hour later from now on.

Somehow, sometime, I will look at how I can give a little more to writing. A little more time and energy, a little more criticism and review. I still read words and wonder how beautiful a collection of jumbled letters can be, how small little words can hold meaning and inspiration, love and motivation. I wondered if writing 50,000 words in one month would crush my love of words. This would have been a worthwhile lesson in itself, but no, instead it re-affirmed my love of story-telling and sentence building and letting my imagination go. I will stop writing about writing for a while.

Life resumes on December 1st. It resumes from a prouder point, a higher level, a happier spot.


Post A Day November 28, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized,writing — wakingupincanada @ 10:09 am
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There are days when I do not want to write. Some mornings I roll out of bed, and I want to keep on rolling, not stopping to get on the laptop and post. This is particularly true with a 10,000 word count remaining for NaNoWriMo and/or mornings after a very good karaoke session. I may want to run instead and have to choose between these 2 activities. Right now, the writing has to win. Post A Day is tough. It makes me sit down with my laptop. It makes me come up with something to write. It makes me write, not edit. Some day, I know I will need to start editing and reviewing but right now, writing means just letting go and finishing. My inner editor never let me go beyond 3 lines before I started the challenge. I have her locked in my desk drawer right now. Every now and then she escapes but I shove her back in.

I know there are days I write complete nonsense. I begin with a thought and by the end the thought has morphed, for better or worse. Sometimes my point is never clarified and I stumble through the prose clumsily. I will get better.

Not today though. Today, I am recovering from karaoke, my first trip to a Banff niteclub, chasing a tiger and staring down the barrel of the 10,000 word gun. Some days, it is just enough to stumble through.


One of those days November 26, 2011

Filed under: Doing what you love,Uncategorized — wakingupincanada @ 8:48 am
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I am waking up groggy and tired. I’d like to go back to sleep but I have too much to do before work. I have already put the gym idea in the bin. I have to post, to write another few thousand words to keep in with a chance of winning the NaNoWriMo Challenge, do some laundry, grocery shop, and look for Christmas gifts. I have 2 hours. I know this list needs to further edited. I don’t have a time machine of any sort to slow down time nor do I have the energy to work faster than where I am at.

I genuinely would love a duvet day. Despite the massive word count remaining, I can see the end of Nanowrimo ahead and a guilt free day of nothing looms ahead. It’s Saturday morning and I dream of my old 9 to 5 job, 5 days a week, where I could happily flop down on my pillow for another hour. Oddly, when I have the time to sleep in, I rarely do. It’s like my body fights the idea of getting up but when it is allowed to stay in bed, it finds something better to do. I must remind myself that I chose this challenge, this place, this lifestyle out of love not necessity, that the mornings I wake up wanting to dive back under the covers are less in my new world and that, you know, it’s breakfast time and I do love breakfast time.

I edit my list in my head further. The laundry is not necessary right now and the groceries can wait until after work. Christmas shopping I can spend time thinking about before hitting the shops, and so I am left with eating and writing, and really, what a lovely way to spend a morning. My body is not truly convinced, but I will fake it ’til I make it. So I am about to place one foot on the floor, followed by the other, get up and get on with it. It’s always easier when you are out of, isn’t it?

How are you spending your Saturday morning?


Loving NaNoWriMo November 19, 2011

Filed under: NaNoWriMo — wakingupincanada @ 7:49 am
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So it is day 20 of the NaNoWriMo challenge. This is the Novel Writing Challnege co-ordinated by the beautifully named Office of Letters and Light, an office I am sure that is designed with floor to floor book shelving of every book known to mankind, as well as those not known. These neatly packed book shelves are interspersed with full-length glass windows, perhaps with a view of the mountains or the sea, or a heavily populated metropolis that allows one to cast a glance among the myriad of human relationships reflected in the books. The office is populated by well-spoken, witty, intelligent employees who gush and quote and voice monologues. There are no villains in this office.  Simply put, it is the best place ever in the world. It may not be, but in my imagination it is, and my imagination wants to keep believing it.

I will admit, on Day 20 out of a 30 Day Challenge, I am slightly behind in my word count, only slightly. Do not fear. I am determined, nay, I am positive, I will reach the 50,000 mark in time. I sit at my computer often. I write well at times, or at least fast. There has been moments I have written something, a line, a phrase, maybe just a word, and I have liked it. To be honest, for the most part, it is not well written. The plot is decent enough. The idea, I believe, is a winner. The writing is the kind I would be disappointed with if I were telling it to my niece as a story as we sat on her bedroom floor. She can, and actually has, done better including a tone of raw excitement, using words to show this is the scary part, allowing the characters to walk where they must, even if into the mouth of the shark.

At this stage, I am allowing my protagonist to walk her own way. did try guiding her, but it failed. Sometimes though I throw in an obstacle, as if laughing at her, and showing her who is boss. I am not really laughing though, just learning what she is made of. I blew up the cinema on her once, but oddly she acted quite calmly, concentrating on getting the children to safety. I think her brother is in trouble, but there is a little work to be done before we can go investigate what happened.

I write in spare moments at work, and huge tracts of the morning. I write well after a run, and love writing in my favourite coffee shop after yoga. I sometimes write on slips of paper. I am not sure what I did with my time before using it to write. I once wondered where I would get the time to write a bog every day until December 31st. Look at me Mum, I am juggling, and I can still talk to you while I do. I have also met other people who like to write, just to write.

I love it. I love a challenge but more so, I love immersing myself in something I love. Just like I am not, or rather was not, any good at running, I still loved the act of putting one foot in front of the other and doing it. It’s the same with writing. I learned that in running, you can sprint, do hill repeats, tempo runs, long runs, slow runs. Similarly, in writing there is the same variety of exercises to strengthen you, re-energise you,  pace you. It has been fun, and I am still enjoying it.

I do it not because I have skill. I keep at not because I am committed. It is all out of love.