Category: Lonestar Montgomery

May 26

Where things stand

I’ve been so anxious to return to blogging and am finally taking the time to catch up here. Thank you all so much for the comments, emails, and expressions of sympathy for my mom. It is not only tough to lose her, but there has been a perfect storm of other personal issues and family issues that I’m dealing with right now. I still try to count my blessings every day and just be grateful for everything that comes into my life — good and bad. Even the unpleasant things that happen provide some rich learning experiences.

Thankful thing #1 – I’m learning to reach out more, ask for help more often, and stay connected to people who care about me.

Thankful thing #2 – I finished my (2) classes earlier this month!

Ceramics Final

In addition to Texas Government (an online class), I also took Ceramics I for a visual and performing arts credit. It was challenging (not nearly as easy as it looks), but very rewarding. The photo above is from my final — and included several required techniques and projects as well as a critical essay about Ai Weiwei.

Thankful thing #3 – More time working at the shop — it’s instantly calming to walk in and see (and touch!) yarn and fiber, and to spend time with friends.

There are some changes brewing that will involve my engaging more with my blog readers, friends, and like-minded fiber fanatics. I hope to share more soon. (Hint: It might involve occasional videos).

Thank you, as always, for reading my blog and for sticking around!

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Jan 16

2013 – Reach

Put your heart on the page

Reach

Along with my 2013 “theme” word, I’m sharing a quote from what has become an early favorite among my newest writing books, What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers, by Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter. I had checked out the library book first in order to determine if I wanted to purchase it. It was highly recommended by my writing professor and at first read, I was slightly cynical, but it’s become my favorite.

This page was one that somebody dog-eared. It’s fascinating to me what readers choose to mark in a book and this one spoke right to me. When I got my own copy, I dog-eared it too. (Do you write in and mark up your books? I do!)

Putting my own heart on the page doesn’t necessarily mean that I do it in a way that invites public consumption. I think it’s a way of dealing with strong emotion by writing through it — pre-writing perhaps.

And this is where my theme word comes in. I’m facing a number of “heart” issues right now and to say it’s rendered me ineffective as a writer (blog, writing journal, short stories) is an understatement. So, I’m acknowledging it, writing through it and reaching. I have a feeling my theme for 2013 is going to manifest itself in many ways. It already has.

Next up: actual knitting content

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Dec 28

Looking forward by looking back

Old writing . . . really old!

With the holidays and final exams behind me, I’m allowing myself to fully enjoy this lull and to celebrate all the good things that happened in 2012. And among those many good things: finding my fiction-writing “voice” again. I’ve always loved reading novels and short stories, but for me, publication and payment came from nonfiction writing assignments — so I’d read the one and write the other. And until I had this opportunity to take a speculative fiction class, I didn’t take fiction-writing urges too seriously.

I think I figured out why.

Fear.
Fear of doing something that might be emotionally revealing.
Fear that it would expose a part of me that would want more than it could have (instead I found abundance).
Fear that my writing would be dark (it sometimes is).
Fear.

But I wrote through all those fears for a rather shallow reason — my grades! I didn’t want to do badly in the class. I should stress that writing ability was not the criteria for our grade — doing the assigned work, turning it in on time, and participating in the class workshops were what formed the basis for our grades. Halfway through the semester I figured out why I disliked the writing exercises so much: they felt dangerous. And I rather liked the safety of my emotional boundaries. But I’d begin each one by telling myself to just work through each step:

Consider it, think about it.
Engage in it (always pen and paper to start – I can’t compose fiction at the computer).
Begin to write freely, without judgment, or editing.

The process would repeat itself twice a week. I never really learned to look forward to it, but I was always rewarded with something unexpected. And now I have a three-ring binder full of the unexpected.

So for 2013, I’ll have a “theme” — if you’ve been reading me a while, you know I don’t do resolutions. The theme is germinating — I just need to find the one word that encapsulates what I want out of 2013.

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Dec 01

Persistence

Fortune

It’s only two classes, but they’re wedged in with everything else and TWO CLASSES seems to be the limit, the maximum, that can be wedged into my current existence. The things in the margins: housekeeping, cooking, fiber pursuits. (I keep up with the laundry, because it’s one of two chores I actually enjoy, and everybody needs clean towels and underwear). Although my blog is suffering from neglect because of all the writing I do for my creative writing class, I’ve been writing more than I have in years. And Texas History? An absolute gift. Although much of what I thought I knew about the Old West is now revealed to be a collection of myths, the upside is that with the true and sometimes ugly backstory, I now have rich context for re-reading one of my favorite novels — Lonesome Dove.

I saved the best for last.

Background: I have a very short list of classes I have to take in order to earn my Associate of Arts degree. While I could have transferred to a university as a junior (with my existing credits), there are two reasons I want my AA first: (1) as a milestone marker and (2) the ease of transferring to a university (over transferring with credits from two different colleges in Oklahoma). So with this short list, it seemed a little bit limiting until I allowed myself the luxury of digging a little deeper into matching the requirements with things in which I have an interest. When I learned that a Creative Writing class would fulfill the remaining Humanities credit I needed, I was all over it! Not only that, as some of you might remember, it’s part of a “themed” block of Futuristic classes — my professor was offering this class as a Speculative Fiction and Screenwriting class. And while writing within the theme was optional, I loved that some of the material and supplemental reading was specific to science fiction and fantasy.

I’ll skip to the good part now – screenwriting. Screenwriting really FITS with my writing style and it helps me focus on the parts of my writing I’d like to improve. There is enough structure to screenplay writing, along with formatting and style conventions, that it helps me to construct a story. Every encounter with it (I’m writing one now for an assignment) is rewarding — not easy, mind you, but rewarding. I don’t often feel that way when I’ve invested time in writing – but with screenwriting I do.

Now Write! Screenwriting

With this class, I now not only have more writing under my belt, but more FINISHED writing — a few short stories and nearly 20% of a screenplay. I also have a lot more ideas and inspiration. There are so many great resources, but here are some books we’ve used in class for our in-class writing exercises:

The Lie that Tells a Truth, by John Dufresne

Now Write! Fiction Writing Exercises from Today’s Best Writers and Teachers, by Sherry Ellis

Now Write! Screenwriting: Screenwriting Exercises from Today’s Best Writers and Teachers, by Sherry Ellis

What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers, by Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter

Next time I hope to have a finished knitting project to share. I might even actually model it myself.

16 comments
Sep 07

Mavericks *

Lonestar Montgomery - path to Building F

The path to Building F

The first two weeks of classes are under my belt and I’m feeling a little less overwhelmed. Texas History is incredibly interesting and spans the time period from the earliest arrival of humans in Texas (about 10,000 – 12,000 years ago from Siberia via the Bering Strait land bridge to the area in the Texas panhandle near the Canadian and Red River) through present-day Texas. The textbook is excellent — I highly recommend it for anybody interested in Texas history.

There’s a ton of reading in this class and I’m glad the subject matter and supplemental reading is interesting because it’s challenging to carve out the time for all of it.

Texas History class

Early arrival to Texas History

As for Creative Writing, while it’s gotten better each day, it’s far from easy for me! For somebody who only writes creatively when the mood or the moment strikes, to be assigned something that requires creativity ON THE SPOT (we write something EVERY time we meet) is a much bigger challenge than I anticipated. I do see the value in it and I’m participating and keeping up, but if your perception was like mine — that it would be fun and self-indulgent — that’s only part of the bigger picture. It’s work. We can choose to explore the direction the writing assignment takes us, but it’s still an assignment. The reward is in the doing and in developing the writing (and editing and revising) habit. And by the end of the course, I’ll have a full portfolio of “finished” writing. I’m hoping to be brave enough to share my writing in this space.

But today? I’m just extremely glad it’s Friday and I have a weekend ahead of me.

* Lone Star College‘s official mascot is the Maverick.

14 comments
Aug 29

Clark Cable

Soakbox : Clark Cable

Soakbox

The Instagram shot doesn’t do justice to the red yarn, but it’s stunning (Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport – 200 yards). Included is a Fiona Ellis pattern for fingerless mitts in an interesting cable and diamond pattern. The nail color is “Poor Lil Rich Girl.” I can’t find a good swatch photo online, but it’s a classic plummy red.

My first day of school went well yesterday — only a mild amount of stress and difficulty (confusion regarding which of the published classroom numbers was correct). I had a great non-Starbucks latte (read: less expensive) and had time to enjoy it. Last week, I was feeling a little cowardly for having taken just one class last semester and only two this semester. But I’m now convinced that it was a wise move to continue with the slow transition. It will be challenging to keep up with all the writing requirements in both classes and keep up with my non-collegiate life.

Creative Writing (Speculative Fiction & Screenwriting) will definitely be my more challenging class. It’s been years since I’ve practiced writing fiction with any regularity or purpose and we’ll be writing (and sharing – eeep!) in class every time we meet. While I love speculative fiction as a reader, I’m a little timid about sharing what I write. Among other learning outcomes, we are expected to produce, share, and revise a body of original work and demonstrate an ability to prepare and format work for publication. (3 short stories, 1 screenplay adaptation, 1 original screenplay).

Texas Historya survey of political, social, economic, cultural, and intellectual history of Texas from the pre-Columbian era to the present. I’m very excited about this class and have completed some of the required reading already (Empire of the Summer Moon, Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History). It’s a brilliant book. There’s a LOT more to Texas than this former Oklahoman realized, and Quanah Parker figures prominently in the history of both states.

Knitting-wise, I’m trying to finish (or frog) some lingering WIPs. I have at least four projects close to completion and that will be my weekend focus for the next couple of months. I’ll also reward myself with knitting during my self-imposed study breaks.

13 comments
Jun 26

Let’s Speculate

Off the loom early

Warped backwards

For a July baby

Firefly Fringed Scarf

For my Speculative Fiction class beginning in August

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